Medical Awareness

Since the club’s members are principally mature travelers, certain kinds of medical conditions are more prevalent.  As we encounter articles of particular interest, we will post them here.

Leading causes of Deaths in the United States

Heart attacks kill 660, 000/yr in the US.  Strokes take another 180,000. Lung Cancer is responsible for 135,000. Respiratory infections – 120,000 deaths.  Alzheimer’s  – 97,000.  If you want to extend your life: treat your cholesterol problems,  watch your blood pressure, and quit smoking.  For women: doing a monthly breast self exam and having a yearly mammogram will help.

Heart Attacks  (66o,ooo US deaths/yr.)

The leading cause of death for people over 45, in the United States, is heart attacks.  Here is the link to the statistics: click here.  Because most victims do not receive the necessary emergency treatment” fifty percent die due to their first heart attack. It is important to recognize when a person is experiencing heart problems and see to it that they receive immediate emergency treatment.  Here is the link to the National Institute of Health’s recommendations : click here

Strokes (180,000 US deaths/yr.)

The principal indicator of stroke potential is high blood pressure.  Monitor your blood pressure regularly and control it by proper nutrician or medication, as prescribed by your doctor. Here is a link   Click here    Here is a link to WebMD  Click here

 

Lung Cancer  (135,000 US deaths/yr.)

The leading cause of lung cancer is smoking –  Quit smoking as soon as possible.

Respiratory infections – (120,000 US deaths/yr).

This includes pneumonia and related illnesses.   There are two pneumonia shots people over 50 should receive. Here is the link to the CDC article.  Click here

 Alzheimer’s  – (97,000 US deaths/yr).

This disease is on the rise, but there are hopeful research results and some medications that can lengthen the survival time. Here is the WebMD articles Click here

Breast Cancer (30,000 US deaths/yr.)

One in eight US women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, sometime during their lifetime.  Breast cancer is the sixth leading cause of death for US women, about 39,000 deaths in 2012. About 186,000 diagnoses/yr.   Early detection gives the best outcome. Here is the link to Breast cancer.org click here

Prostate cancer  (19,600 US deaths/yr)

Like breast cancer, early detection results in the best outcomes.  Men over 45 should have their PSA tested regularly.  Here is the NIH page for further details and treatments.  click here

 Shingles

99.5% of those over 50 years of age have been exposed to Chickenpox and therefore have the potential to develop shingles.  25% of non-vaccinated seniors will contract shingles.  Shingles is very painful and can have lasting negative affects on your quality of life.  Getting a  shingles vaccine (Zostavax) shot will reduce your risk to less that 5%.   Here is the Mayo Clinic article on shingles  click here 

Bee Stings 

Our camping members are more likely to encounter bees.  In the US, about 50 people/yr. die from anaphylactic shock caused by “bee” stings.  That is ten times the number of deaths from:  spiders, snakes, bears, mountain lions or sharks attacks and about five times more than die from nut allergies.   There are 27 varieties of “bees” in the US.Victims usually cannot identify the particular type of bee they were stung by, so all incidences are reported as bees, but include:  bees, wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets.  Cover you food and other sweet things, so as to not attract them.  Put lids on open pop cans or beer.

Anaphylactic shock is an over-reaction of the immune system.  The basic treatment is immune system blockers.  The most commonly used blocker is Benadryl , which is an antihistamine.   It is low cost (less than $.10/pill) and can be bought over the counter without a script.  Epinephrine is much stronger and is the active drug in EpiPens.  EpiPens can only be bought with a prescription for a $100 + and have about an 18 month shelf life. With the higher strength come potential side effects. Read label before use.

There are a small percentage of people who are at risk for these severe reactions.  Different bees produce different venoms and your resistance can change over the years.   Just because you have not had a severe reaction to bee stings in the past, does not mean you are completely safe.  Within 10 minutes after a sting , you may collapsed to the ground, immobile, and incapable of even completing a 911 cell phone call. Immediate action is called for. Get to someone who can monitor your condition.   If you do not have access to an Epipen, take Benadryl immediately,  If reactions start to occur: get to a hospital immediately or call 911.

Be prepared:  Everyone likely to encounter bees should have a rapid acting form of Benadryl immediately available in their car or camper. The liquid form is the fastest acting, but you can also chew the tablets or the liquid capsules.  Do not wait until you feel the effects, as that may be too late.  For an adult, some doctors recommend taking at least 50 milligrams of Benadryl immediately after the sting.  Try to prevent getting stung more than once.  Do not drive after taking Benadryl, as it can make you drowsy or you might lose consciousness from the reaction to the sting.   If your breathing becomes constricted, the tongue or lips swell, or you become cold or start to shiver, have someone take you to the nearest hospital or call 911. There are more specific recommendations on the drug packaging.   Here is a link to an article on WebMD about stings: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/bee-and-wasp-stings

Pneumonia Vaccines

Older citizens can become seriously ill with Pneumonia. The CDC now recommended that adults age 65 and older get both vaccines. Adults who are recommended to get both the PPSV23 and the PCV13 vaccines should get the PCV13 vaccine first, followed by PPSV23 8 weeks later. If an adult was already vaccinated with PPSV23, he or she should receive the PCV13 vaccine 1 year or more later.

Read the complete article at:  http://www.webmd.com/vaccines/pneumococcal-vaccine-schedule

 

 

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