Safeguarding Your Heart During, After Hurricane Ida
TUESDAY, Aug. 31, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Along with other dangers, the aftermath of Hurricane Ida could pose significant heart health risks. Stress and trauma from the storm that slammed into Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and other states could increase heart risk, and the impact may be more significant for heart disease and stroke patients, the American Heart Association (AHA) warns. For example, it may be more difficult in the storm's
TUESDAY, Oct. 12, 2021 (American Heart Association News) -- The pandemic has highlighted societal inequities that leave historically disenfranchised communities more at risk for COVID-19 exposure. But recent studies suggest the disparities more severely impact Hispanic people who only speak Spanish, especially when it comes to unemployment and food insecurity. © Provided by HealthDay
"This is about structural racism and structural inequities," said Dr. Fatima Rodriguez, a cardiologist and assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine in California. "It has to do with the kind of jobs people do, the kind of communities people live in.
Antibiotics may raise colon cancer risk, massive study suggests
This is the largest epidemiological study to assess this potential risk.Past studies hinted that antibiotics can cause lasting changes to the gut microbiome — the community of microbes that live in the digestive tract — and that these changes may be linked to a heightened risk of colon cancer. Now, in the largest epidemiological study to ever explore this link, researchers report that the heightened risk may be specific to cancers in the so-called proximal colon, the part of the colon that connects to the small intestine and starts in the lower-right abdomen.
"Often the whole family, many generations, live together. It makes it very hard to isolate if you test positive. Whether it's food insecurity or homelessness, all those aspects of where you live have never been more important and when you have a weak public health infrastructure, you get all the downstream consequences of that."
Overall, Hispanic people continue to disproportionally require hospitalization or die at higher rates from the virus than white people. According to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from Oct. 9, Hispanic people comprise 27% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., even though they make up 18.5% of the total population. (Race and ethnicity data is available for 65% of the nation's cases.)
Heading to the Mountains? Heart Patients Should Check With Their Doctor First
FRIDAY, Sept. 10, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- If the Alps or the Rockies are on your bucket list, check with your doctor first if you're at risk for cardiovascular disease. New advice from the American Heart Association (AHA) suggests certain people take precautions before going to high altitude places. These recommendations apply to folks with high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart rhythm abnormalities (arrhythmias) or heart failure. In mountainous areas -- particularly heights of 9,800 to 16,400 feet above sea level -- activities such as skiing, hiking, bicycling or climbing can stress the heart and blood vessels because of lower levels of oxygen and changes
Isolation in the pandemic has led to loss of the usual support systems that would typically carry Hispanic workers through severe economic and food insecurity. Latino workers have faced the largest losses in employment, especially in the service industry. Others with jobs that can't be done remotely have had to soldier on and go to work despite the risk of exposure.
"People have been living on the edge," said Dr. Carlos Jose Rodriguez, director of cardiovascular epidemiology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. He is not related to Fatima Rodriguez. "Many were living on the edge before the pandemic, but now you are talking about severe mental health crisis because people didn't have a way to support themselves, and if they had family members relying on them, it was very distressing.
"And as a cardiologist, I can tell you their risk factors are all out of control: diabetes, hypertension, heart failure. Everything is out of whack because they have not been able to take care of themselves properly. It just affected Latinos and a lot of disenfranchised Americans in many ways."
AHA News: Exercise May Reduce Sleep Apnea and Improve Brain Health
MONDAY, Sept. 27, 2021 (American Heart Association News) -- Exercise may help reduce symptoms of a common sleep disorder and improve brain function, a small study finds. Exercise training could be a useful supplemental treatment for people with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea, the research showed. The condition is characterized by loud snoring and disrupted breathing and can raise the risk for heart disease, stroke and cognitive decline. It is typically treated with continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, a machine that pushes air through a mask into the airway to keep it open while a person sleeps.
Language barriers can leave critical health information about how the coronavirus spreads or how to get tested or vaccinated inaccessible to people with limited or no English proficiency.
A 2020 study in Annals of Epidemiology examined how COVID-19 risks and deaths among Hispanic populations differ by region and are associated with employment rates, heart disease deaths, and less social distancing.
According to the study, cases of COVID-19 were greater in counties with large Hispanic populations in the Northeast and Midwest and in counties with more monolingual Spanish speakers. Deaths were greater in the Midwest counties.
While more than 65% of Hispanic people in the United States are native-born and English speakers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are deeper disparities that Spanish-only speakers face. A census survey this past spring showed people who chose to answer the questions in Spanish reported two times the level of food insufficiency as Hispanic participants who responded in English.
"One of the most important factors of acculturation is language status, how you interact with the world, your health care system, even your health literacy," Fatima Rodriguez said. "Those whose main language is Spanish have not had the same access to information."
AHA News: A Guide For What Doctors and Parents Can Do As Kawasaki Disease Kids Grow Up
TUESDAY, Oct. 12, 2021 (American Heart Association News) -- A medical school lecture taught Dr. Samuel Kung a vital lesson: He needed to see a cardiologist. As a toddler, Kung had Kawasaki disease, an illness of unknown cause that tends to strike young children. He doesn't remember being sick, just the years of follow-up that stretched into his teen years. And the handoff from his pediatric doctors to adult experts was virtually non-existent, he said. "The emphasis was never placed on just how important it was for me to follow up with someone.
So, communities already at a disadvantage have less health literacy, "and it compounds the problem," said Carlos Jose Rodriguez. "There was an additive and multiplicative effect where you'd see disproportionate Black and Hispanic populations dying, or presenting to the hospital with severe COVID, because of the disparities they face, and it was really traumatic."
Medical experts agree that multi-level structural interventions are necessary to begin to address the inequities faced by Hispanic, Black and other populations during the pandemic. For Spanish-only speakers, health education and medical care must be provided in Spanish at appropriate literacy levels.
"Many of us hope that this is a signal for more attention, awareness and action to address these discrepancies," Carlos Jose Rodriguez said. "I think there's been a lot of communication to the fact that we will address many of these issues, but in reality I don't see that yet. I think the action is to press on and not let people forget how bad things were because if we do hit another pandemic or another crisis, it's only going to be worse."
By Maria Elena Fernandez
Shoveling Snow? Beware of Heart Hazards .
SUNDAY, Dec. 26, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Don't let a picture-perfect snowfall turn deadly. Shoveling snow can cause heart attacks or sudden cardiac arrest in folks with heart conditions and even in those who are unaware that they have heart disease, the American Heart Association (AHA) warns. "Shoveling snow is a very strenuous activity, made even more so by the impact that cold temperatures have on your body, increasing the blood pressure while simultaneously constricting the coronary arteries. It really is a 'perfect storm' for acute cardiac events," Barry Franklin said in an AHA news release.