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Healthcare related news and updates


Thanksgiving Safety

Thanksgiving is a joyous occasion celebrated in the comfort of home with family and friends. Unfortunately every year countless Americans end up in the hospital or much worse. In 2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,570 home cooking-related fires on Thanksgiving. This makes Thanksgiving the peak day of the year for home cooking fires. Christmas, Superbowl Sunday, and other holidays don’t even compare to Thanksgiving when it comes to danger.

The statistics show an alarming increase in injuries, illness, and death around Thanksgiving. Road-related accidents account for a large number of injuries and deaths, but cooking equipment was involved in almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths. Other turkey day activities like excessive unhealthy eating, deep frying turkeys and drinking contribute further to Thanksgiving harm. Unfortunately, we can’t help you with rowdy in-laws, or by watching your diet for you, but we can give you some helpful Thanksgiving-related safety tips to keep you out of harm’s way this holiday. Doctor Housecalls of Paradise Valley is available from 10AM-9PM on Thanksgiving if you require urgent medical care due to a Thanksgiving injury like a burn, cut, or turkey overdose.Thanksgiving

Top 10 Safety Tips

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey, and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay three feet away.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children alone in a room with a lit candle.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

Top 10 Turkey Fryer Tips

10 Tips for Turkey Frying
Turkey Fryer Top Ten Tips

Top 5 Thanksgiving Traveling Tips

Thanksgiving traveling tips
Thanksgiving traveling tips

Live Longer by Owning a Dog

A study that included more than 3.4 million people found that owning a dog is linked to living longer. The study was published in Scientific Reports and was conducted by researchers in Sweden at Uppsala University. The study included both men and women who were between 40 and 80 years old, and who did not have a history of cardiovascular disease. Researchers followed their health records and found whether or not they owned a dog from registries.

The study found that there was a lower risk of death by cardiovascular disease, as well as a lower risk of death from other causes. This was most prominent for people who lived alone. The design of the study was not to show a cause and effect relationship of owning a dog. However, they believe that those who owned dogs tended to be more active and in better health. They also believe that the dog’s effect on the owner’s microbiome could be a factor by providing immune benefits for adults. Other studies have shown that growing up with a dog can reduce allergies and asthma in children.

The Many Benefits of Taking Daily Naps

Research has shown that taking a nap each day can provide a range of benefits for children and adults alike. Greek researchers conducted a study with close to 400 men and women who were middle aged. They found that taking naps can reduce blood pressure, which can reduce the risk of heart attacks. In addition, those who sleep more often tend to be able to stay more focused, and they feel refreshed when they wake from a nap. Here are some other benefits of daily napping:

  • Research has also found that a nap can help to boost productivity, as it can provide some downtime for the brain.
  • Naps can also help with mood stability for both children and adults.
  • Spanish scientists found that napping can reduce stress.
  • The National Sleep Foundation believes that naps can help to restore alertness, reduce mistakes and accidents, and boost performance.
  • A NASA study found that having a 40-minute nap could improve the performance of astronauts and military pilots by 34% and alertness by 100%.

How to Prevent a Migraine

A migraine is a reoccurring, severe headache that can have side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and a sensitivity to light and sound. The throbbing headache often occurs on the side of the head and is more common in women than in men. A migraine is caused by abnormal brain activity and what triggers the abnormal brain activity differs vastly from person to person. The best way to prevent migraines from occurring is by identifying the root cause of the change in your brain activity. Study your migraines and find out what triggers them so that you can make the necessary changes to prevent the onset of a migraine. Here are some common lifestyle and medicinal tips that can help prevent a migraine from occurring.

    1. Limit caffeine. Withdrawal from caffeine can trigger a migraine. Prevent yourself from having caffeine withdrawals by limiting your caffeine intake to no more than one cup of coffee a day.
    2. Avoid alcohol. If certain types of alcohol give you a headache after just a few drinks, the alcohol may be triggering a migraine. Avoid these types of alcohol all together.
    3. Avoid triggering foods. Foods like chocolate, cheese, other dairy products, gluten products, red wine, smoked fish, and peanuts are common triggers of migraines. Find out which foods trigger your migraines and eliminate them from your diet.
    4. Do not skip meals. A fluctuation of blood sugar from missing meals is a common cause of migraines. Be sure to keep your glucose levels stable by eating consistently throughout the day.
    5. Get a consistent, healthy amount of sleep. Studies show that sleep deprivation can cause migraines. You can help prevent migraines by making sure you get 8 hours of sleep a night and go to sleep around the same time every night.
    6. Take a low-dose estrogen contraceptive (for women). For many women, migraines occur when they have a drop of estrogen right before they start their menstrual cycle. A contraceptive can help balance your estrogen levels and prevent the migraine from occurring.

Beware of Fatal Brain Infection While Swimming in Warm Fresh Water This Summer

With summer coming into full swing and the desire to take a dip in the lake, the last thing you want to hear is that there is a deadly, brain-eating amoeba called Naeglaria fowleri that you need to be aware of while swimming in fresh water. It sounds like something from a horror movie that would never happen in real life. However, while it is rare, the infection that comes from Naeglaria floweri, a single-cell organism living in rivers and lakes, is real and occurs mostly in the summer and in southern states.

According to USA Today, this rare, brain eating amoeba is 97% fatal. The infection is an extreme form of meningitis and has mostly been seen in people swimming in warm fresh water during the summer months. CBS News reported that at least 40 people in the US have died from this infection within the past decade. It is rare, but if infected, the likelihood of survival is minimal. Naeglaria floweri is contracted through the nose, not by drinking contaminated water. The first stage of symptoms are headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Then confusion, loss of balance, seizures, and hallucinations are typical. Most people infected die within 12 days.

The best way to steer clear of this deadly, brain-eating infection is by either avoiding going under while swimming in warm, fresh water or being sure to hold your nose anytime you go under. Be especially cautious this summer if you live in the South.


Benefits and Risks of Testosterone Therapy


The latest of many studies aimed at challenging the anti-aging claims of popular supplements found that while testosterone gel does not improve memory or mental function for men, there are mixed results for other potential benefits.

According to the AP (2/21, Tanner), four National Institute of Health-funded testosterone trials published in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) reported the effects of testosterone gel on nearly 800 US men 65 or older. The group of 800 men were randomly selected to either rub testosterone gel on their skin daily for one year or to to do the same with a non-testosterone gel.

After a year, the testosterone treated men did not show any improvement in memory or mental function, but they did show an increase in bone density and strength, especially in the spine, compared to those who were treated with the non-testosterone gel. The testosterone treated men reported having more energy and those with anemia showed vast improvement after one year. However, the men treated with testosterone gel also reported to having more plaque build up and narrower arteries. CNN (2/21, Scutti) reported that in a separate study published by JAMA, testosterone therapy was found to be associated with a lower cardiovascular risk in men over 40 for a period of about 3 years.


Although diabetes was thought to have been a problem mainly in wealthier countries, the Washington Post reports that the condition now disproportionately affects poor countries. According to the World Health Organization, diabetes cases have doubled worldwide between 1980 and 2014. This means that one in 12 people around the world is diabetic. This increase in diabetes has been attributed to a number of factors such as excess weight gain, obesity and an aging population.

Not only does diabetes significantly shorten lifespans, it is a huge economic burden. Current health spending to treat diabetes and related conditions is over $800 billion every year. The World Health Organization is calling on all governments to draft legislation that will promote healthier lifestyle decisions and limit the consumption of foods that are high in fat and sugar.

A recent article in Medscape reports that although “not all resuscitation strategies after a patient has an in-hospital cardiac arrest are equally beneficial when it comes to survival rates,” three practices have proven more effective than others. They are “watching closely for chest-compression interruptions,” providing adequate resuscitation training to staff and frequent reviews of previous cardiac arrest cases. These findings were discovered in a study of 131 acute-care hospitals in the United States. The study was published online in JAMA Cardiology.

According to Tim Lahey of the New York Times “Well” blog, “Ten thousand people ages 13 to 24 are give HIV diagnoses every year in the United States,” but many of these young people are unaware that they carry the virus. Part of this problem is “the low rate of HIV testing among young people, despite the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to that every sexually active person over the age of 13 be tested for HIV. Recent research has also shown that pediatricians and parents are testing five times fewer young people for HIV than what is recommended by national guidelines.

When we think of our personal health data being stolen, usually thoughts go to a hospital or insurance company data breach.  According to a recent report by The Atlantic (12/17, Waddell), this is far from the case.  In fact, a research report by Verizon’s business division indicates that 90 percent of industries, from construction to mining to finance, have experienced breaches of personal health information. 

While these industries may not keep extensive health records on employees, many do maintain records that relate to wellness, employee benefits, and worker’s compensation claims.  Within these records is a myriad of personal health and identity data that can be exploited by thieves.   These aren’t often the grand hacking operations that you hear about on the news, but rather the result of a careless loss of sensitive equipment or even proliferated by an insider of the organization.

Even as some companies begin to take notice and work towards safeguarding this information, damage to both the individuals and the healthcare system has resulted from the breaches.  Studies show that patients who don’t have confidence in the security of their information may not be as forthcoming with their healthcare providers.  This could create barriers to effective treatment and even life-saving diagnoses.

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Steven J. Lipsky MD, FACEP has been a Board Certified Emergency Physician in Arizona for the last 37 years, and a resident of the Town of Paradise Valley for the last 37 years. Steve Lipsky on Google Plus[/author_info] [/author]

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