January 4, 2017

How Junk Food Marketing Leads to Unhealthy Diets

Selective focus on the right cheeseburger

In the 21st century, technology has become an unavoidable part of children’s lives. From educational tools, to watching videos and playing games, children are surrounded by screens of all sorts and sizes. These devices are a perfect media outlet for companies to advertise a number of products to children including snacks, toys and apparel to children.

As a part of this impactful demographic, children have influence over how their parents spend.  Much of these expenses are processed junk foods that children ask their parents to buy each time they visit the grocery store.  These foods are intentionally placed near the checkout tills and within a child’s reach; this forces situations where a child is easily able to access them and ask their parents for that particular treat. Furthermore, the effect of these foods on their health is monumental. An article by Time Magazine quoted UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Oliver De Schutter, stating that “unhealthy diets are now a greater threat to global health than tobacco” [1].

This may be due to the fact that junk foods are highly processed and contain large amounts of carbohydrates, unnecessary sugar, unhealthy fats, and extra sodium. Consuming ingredients with little nutritional value has a negative impact on your body. In addition, many of these junk foods are very addictive and tempt a person to keep consuming them. It is important that people control these temptations and are selective in choosing the foods they intend to consume. Unhealthy diets have a direct link with the function of many major body systems such as the cardiovascular and digestive systems.

[1] U.N Official Says Junk Food Just as Bad as Cigarettes. Alter, Charlotte. Time Magazine. Retrieved From: http://time.com/104999/u-n-official-says-junk-food-just-as-bad-as-cigarettes/

 

December 21, 2016

Drug Company’s CEO Salary Rises 6 Times as Prices Increase

ceo salary rise drug price affordableEpiPen is known to be vitally important to people who have extreme allergies and those at risk of anaphylaxis. The EpiPen was taken over by the pharmaceutical company, Mylan, in 2007 and has been increasing their prices drastically over the last eight years. The $100 for a pair of EpiPens in 2007, is now being sold for a little over $600!

There have been many executives who have benefited from this ordeal but Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Heather Bresch, has seen her compensation increase over 600% over the past eight years. While numerous patients and families have struggled to afford the drastically increasing expense of EpiPens, CEO Heather Bresch has enjoyed a “total compensation of $18,931,068” [1]. Although there has been no open investigation of Mylan’s pricing structures, it has received public scrutiny from numerous politicians.

When the company first acquired the rights to the EpiPen, it was considered a failing enterprise. Having developed the product to a satisfactory level the company subsequently began increasing its price. This was seen as a fair business move, but hiking up the prices to such an outrageous number is unfair to numerous families who struggle to afford a crucial medication to treat a common and easily controlled condition.

Furthermore, Mylan has also purchased a drug company in the Netherlands for the sole purpose of paying lower taxes. Mylan was further criticized  for its profit-seeking actions in an article by Michael Hiltzik. Hiltzik pointed out that Mylan is unpatriotic and an “inversion”, which is defined as a “U.S. company cuts its tax bill by acquiring a foreign firm and moving its tax domicile to the acquired company’s homeland” [2]

The EpiPen is not merely an allergy medication that avoids minor symptoms, yet it is an auto-injector which is used in life or death situations. This is why numerous patients find the price increases outrageous, because such a crucial piece of equipment should not be made so unaffordable.

[1] CEO of EpiPen Maker Mylan Sees 671% Compensation Increase in 8 Years. Willingham, Emily. Forbes. Retrieved From: http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2016/08/23/ceo-of-mylan-pharmaceuticals-sees-671-salary-increase-in-8-years/#e1eb0b44b236

[2] Another reason to hate Mylan, which jacked up the price of life-saving EpiPens: It’s a tax dodger. Hiltzik, Michael. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved From: http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-mylan-inversion-20160823-snap-story.html

December 8, 2016

Avocados: An Excellent Way to Fight Cholesterol

hass-avocoado-with-slice_zyPwlDO_Lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels are a reality that many adults are challenged with. An abundance of cholesterol causes your blood stream to carry more plaque and cholesterol in your arteries. Excess plaque can create a blockage that causes chest pains and greatly increases the risk of heart attacks and other heart conditions.

The first step to avoid these severe situations is to improve your diet by consuming foods that help lower LDL levels. A recent study that was reviewed by WebMD showed the beneficial effects of avocados on your LDL levels. This comes as a surprise to many people, as avocados are commonly seen as a fatty food, which seems counteractive to combating high cholesterol. However, they are in fact high in monounsaturated fat, vitamins, minerals, fiber, all ingredients that help lower LDL levels. Researchers concluded that “people on a moderate-fat diet who ate an avocado every day had lower [LDL] cholesterol levels than those on a similar diet without an avocado a day or those who were on a lower-fat diet” [1].

Sources:

[1] Avocados Help Lower Cholesterol in some People. WebMd. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/news/20150108/avocado-ldl-bad-cholesterol]

November 1, 2016

How Depression Medication Affects Your Body

Filed under: Depression,health,stress — Tags: , , , , , — drwatson @ 11:24 pm

Depression treatment and symptomsNeurotransmitters are chemicals in your brain that affect mood and emotions. If you suffer from depression, antidepressant pills are a common treatment option. These anti-depressants help with improving mood, sleeping better and increasing appetite. Improving these areas of a person’s life are all are helpful when coping with depression and to help construct a more positive outlook for the patient. It is important that patients are aware of the emotions and feelings they will exhibit when they are going through their depression treatment.

For each person who takes depression medication, the effects may take different amounts of time to manifest. It normally takes a minimum of three to four weeks before a person taking depression medication starts to notice a change in their mood [1].

Antidepressants, like many other medications, have noticeable side effects. These include headaches, drowsiness, weight gain and agitation. With a variety of antidepressants that can be prescribed, side effects will vary greatly and some side effects may be more common in some types of medication. For example, selective serotonin reuptake inhibiters (SSRIs) tend to have fewer side effects. It is important to seek a medical professional is sought before finding an appropriate anti-depressant.

Lastly, the length of these side effects vary from person to person.  In many cases, these effects only last for a few days whereas in others it may take up to a number of weeks. The effects of a certain medication is variable, each person will react differently to a medication and it is important to keep consulting a medical professional to see if an antidepressant is appropriate for a person’s condition. Sometimes the time of day or type of medication may not be suited to a patient and a doctor can help with that diagnosis.

[1] How Your Depression Medication Can Affect Your Life? Greenlaw, Ellen. WebMd. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/antidepressant-effects#1

October 18, 2016

Copper Is The Simple Solution To Hospital Infections

Copper Sink Hospital Health Bacteria InfectionHospitals are a center for bacterial infections; people sometimes leave with a bacterial infection that they did not have before entering the hospital. The 2011 Health Grades Hospital Quality in America Study stated that the medical harm caused in the United States led to over 40,000 harmful errors each day, causing hundreds of millions in damages [1]. It is essential that there are efforts made in order to reduce this number. Some of this can be rectified by maintaining higher levels of cleanliness in a hospital, but there is always human error. Recent studies based on common knowledge has yielded a unique new approach.

In an article by the New York Times, a new study performed by the American Journal of Infection Control was reviewed. It determined that “installing copper equipment in hospital rooms may be a good way to reduce infections” [2]. Historically, copper has been used to sanitize water and clean wounds. Researchers arrived at a more scientific conclusion by comparing the abundance of bacteria on commonly touched equipment made of copper and commonly touched equipment made of more common materials (metal, porcelain, plastic, etc.). After contamination researchers took swabs of this equipment (toilet flush levers, door handles, light switches, etc.) and tried growing the bacteria in the lab.

The results indicated that the copper fixtures had as much as 98% less bacteria on them, and on half of the swabs taken from the copper fixtures did not grow any additional bacteria.

Although hospital staff have certain procedures for cleansing and sanitizing their environments these new ideas can have a positive effect on improving hospital conditions. Copper fixtures are not yet common in hospital environments but may have a great effect in minimizing bacteria.

[1]Health Grades 2011 Healthcare consumerism and Hospital Quality in America Report. Health Grades. Retrieved from: http://hg-article-center.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/7b/de/dc25d2c94d25ad88c9e1688c9adc/HealthcareConsumerismHospitalQualityReport2011.pdf

[2] Copper Sinks and Faucets May Stem Hospital Infections. Bakalar, Nicholas.  New York Times. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/04/well/copper-sinks-and-faucets-may-stem-hospital-infections.html?ribbon-ad-idx=5&rref=health&module=Ribbon&version=origin&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Health&pgtype=article

October 4, 2016

4 Ways Prescription and Over the Counter Drugs Differ

Drugs can usually be categorized into prescription and over the counter (OTC) drugs. These two categories have many significant differences. Here are four aspects in which they differ:

Prescriptions are not needed for OTC drugs.

OTC Drugs can be purchased without a prescription or a doctor’s referral.  The assumption is that the patient is able to recognize their symptoms and find an appropriate OTC drug to reduce them. Prescription drugs however require a doctor’s prescription. This is due to the fact that the patient needs to see the doctor before he can recommend a stronger or more specific drug to cure their condition.

The sale of prescription drugs is limited compared to OTC drugs.

Prescription drugs can only be dispensed by pharmacies. A mandatory prescription is needed for these drugs and can only be sold once prescription is verified. However, OTC drugs are readily available at pharmacies and grocery stores straight off the shelf.  They are also available at pharmacies but are not limited to them.

Consumption and usage of OTC and prescription drugs is distinct.

When purchasing a prescription drug you are provided with a specific label which guides you on what dose to take. These instructions are highly specific and are recommended by your doctor. You may also receive additional advice from the pharmacist on how to take the drug.  OTC drugs use different reference points, such as weight, height, age, on how to determine what dose is appropriate for each patient.

Use of OTC drugs requires self-diagnosis.

Patients make the decision of which drugs they need to take when purchasing OTC drugs whereas doctors determine which drugs a patient should take when purchasing prescription drugs. However, if the symptoms are uncommon, or are not alleviated by the OTC drug, it is advisable that they consult a doctor so they can prescribe the appropriate medication.

 

 

September 20, 2016

Why is Vitamin D Important for Nursing Babies?

pill-316601_960_720Vitamin D is an essential vitamin and an important part of everyone’s diet. Getting a good amount of vitamin D in the early stages of life can help prevent autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Most importantly, Vitamin D increases calcium metabolism and reduces risk of current infections. Sometime this can be tricky because the main source of our vitamin D comes from food and the sun.  Proper diets have a huge influence in determining our levels of this crucial vitamin.

It is vital that a baby consume enough vitamin D during the first year of life. This is particularly hard to do because breast milk and baby food may contain very little amounts of vitamin D.  However, “new research has found that giving breastfeeding mothers monthly high-dose vitamin D supplements may be a possible way to improve their babies’ vitamin D status”[1].

[1] University of Otago. “Increasing nursing mothers’ vitamin D levels may benefit babies.” Science Daily. Science Daily, 30 August 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160830101350.htm>.

September 6, 2016

What You Need To Know About Your Prescription Medication

team of pharmacist chemist woman group standing in pharmacy drugstore

Make sure to double-check that you are leaving a pharmacy with the right medication.

There are certain measures in place that protects a patient’s health and safety before receiving a prescription medication. Since prescription medications are stronger than medications sold over the counter, the purchasing process is highly regulated. In order to ensure a safe experience, it is important that a patient takes their own precautions as well.

The prescription process begins with your family physician writing a prescription with detailed instructions on how to take the medication. Next, your pharmacist receives this information and double checks to ensure that the information filled out in the prescription is accurate and safe for the patient to take.

When dealing with prescriptions, there are certain things about the ordering process that would be beneficial for patients to know. For instance, reading hand-written prescriptions can be a challenge for pharmacists and has resulted over 7000 deaths related to reading-related mistakes [1]. So, it is vital that you and your pharmacist double check that you are receiving the correct type and dosage of medication.

Children are another safety risk that parents must give special attention towards. Child-resistant lids for medication bottles are the ideal preventative measure, reducing the danger when a child has a bottle of medication in their hand.

It is also important to be well-informed in regards to the kind of medication you are taking. There has been a noticeable decrease of risk perception on the danger of prescription drugs by 20% over the last 20 years, which is a dangerous proposition [2]. There are numerous cases of preventable medication errors each year that causes harm to patients. Knowing the exact instructions and the dangers of accidental overdose is crucial to preventing these accidents.

 

[1] Caplan, Jeremy. Time. Retrieved from http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1578074,00.html

[2] U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm220112.htm

August 23, 2016

How To Prevent Risk Factors That Causes Strokes

Filed under: health,life expectancy,stroke — Tags: , , , , , — drwatson @ 8:39 pm

StrokeThere are specific risk factors that increase the chances of a patient having a stroke. Risk factors having to do with age, gender, and ethnicity are not controllable and inevitably increase the chances of a person having a stroke. Whereas eating habits, physical activity, smoking and drinking are all examples of lifestyle choices that can be altered to better prevent strokes.

According to a recent study, it was “confirmed [that] there were at least 10 modifiable risk factors associated with 90% of stroke cases in all regions, young and older and in men and women.” [1] These modifications included important factors such as daily physical activity, diets, eliminating smoking, eliminating cardiac causes, improving Apoliprotein levels, reducing alcohol consumption, eliminating diabetes and reducing stress.

The majority of these factors are interrelated and are examples of how one modification in your lifestyle can help to better prevent strokes. Furthermore the study indicated that when these risk factors were combined it “brought a 91% reduction in stroke, similar in all regions, age groups and independent of sex.” [2]

[1] Global study finds risk factors for stroke have regional variation. Retrieved from: http://dailynews.mcmaster.ca/article/global-study-finds-risk-factors-for-stroke-have-regional-variation/

[2] Meszaros, Liz. Same 10 modifiable risk factors for stroke span the globe, but with regional variations. Retrieved from: http://www.mdlinx.com/neurology/article/519

August 9, 2016

What You Need To Know About Tylenol Overdose

Filed under: discount canadian prescriptions — drwatson @ 7:14 pm

Acetaminophen is the most common drug that is purchased over the counter. The brand name drug, Tylenol, is relied upon by numerous people who use it for its pain-relieving and fever-reducing properties. It is advisable that a person not take more than 4 grams (4000mg) of acetaminophen in a 24 hour period. It is proven that taking more than this amount causes liver damage. In severe cases, an acetaminophen overdose can be fatal.

Overdoses of acetaminophen are common in children, who can accidentally ingest the drug when mistaking it for candy or juice. In addition, there are some cases where adults can be victims of an unintended acetaminophen overdose. These symptoms are usually a result of taking an incorrect dosage or the effects of multiple medications taken at the same time. It is common that acetaminophen is in numerous drugs because it acts as a vital ingredient which functions to reduce pain. It is always a good idea to consult with your family physician if it is safe to keep taking Tylenol or acetaminophen alongside your other medications.

It usually takes over 12 hours for symptoms to appear from an acetaminophen overdose. Symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin)
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite

It is important that one seeks emergency attention if they fall under one of these specifications:

  • Someone who is 5 years or older has taken 91mg/pound of body weight within 8 hours
  • A person of any age who has taken 68mg/pound of body weight or a total of 6 grams of acetaminophen in a period of 24 hours.
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