Health Updates 19 January 2012

  • Joint replacement patients face blood clot risk in hospital: “One of every 100 people undergoing knee replacement surgery and 1 of 200 people having hip replacement surgery will develop a blood clot before they leave the hospital, even if they take steps to prevent the development of these blood clots, a new evidence review suggests.  A deep venous thrombosis (DVT) or blood clot can form deep within the veins, usually in the leg.  The real risk occurs if these blood clots dislodge, travel through your bloodstream, and block blood flow in your lungs, which is called pulmonary embolism….Signs of a blood clot may include swelling, tenderness and pain when flexing the ankle…but many times blood clots have no symptoms.”  (NIH/HealthDay)
  • Chickenpox can be serious – protect your child: “Chickenpox is a very contagious disease.  You or your child may be at risk if you have never had chickenpox or have never gotten the vaccine.  Chickenpox causes  a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness and fever.  This can make you feel sick and very uncomfortable and cause you to miss 5 to 7 days of school or work….Most children with chickenpox completely recover in a week.  But it can be severe for babies, adolescents, adults, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems….Chickenpox vaccine is the best way to protect you and your child from chickenpox.  Also, when you get vaccinated, you protect others in your community.  This is especially important for people who cannot get vaccinated, such as those with weakened immune systems and pregnant women.” (CDC)
  • Younger adults on multiple meds at risk for falls: “Young and middle-aged adults who take two or more prescription drugs at any one time may be at increased risk for accidental falls, a new study finds.  The effect is similar to that seen in elderly people…The investigators found that people who took two or more prescription drugs were 2.5 times more likely to suffer an injury in an accidental fall than those who took one or no medicine….Falls are a leading cause of injury and death worldwide, but most research focuses on older adults and children.  ‘The findings signal a need for greater awareness of the association between prescription medications and falls in younger adults, whether this is due to the medications, underlying conditions or a combination of both related factors’.” (Medline Plus)
  • Dementia may lead to avoidable hospitalizations: “People with dementia are far more likely to be hospitalized than their peers who don’t have any impairment in their brain function, a new study finds.  What’s more, about two-thirds of the hospitalizations that occur in people with dementia are for potentially preventable illnesses, such as urinary tract infection, the study shows….Hospitalizations are particularly difficult on people with dementia…’There have been lots of studies looking at the risks for people with dementia in the hospital.  They’re at risk for delirium, falls, pressure ulcers; they may need to be restrained, and many never return to their prior level of functioning….If hospitalizations could be avoided, it would be helpful for preserving cognition and avoiding new problems’.” (JAMA/HealthDay)

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