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Every year, millions of people in the United States get the flu. Influenza (flu) causes 36,000 deaths and 114,000 hospitalizations each year.
There are three types of flu viruses – type A, B, and C. Types A and B flu are responsible for the widespread outbreaks that occur almost every winter. Type C usually causes a mild respiratory illness (or may not produce symptoms at all) and does not cause flu epidemics.
Uncomplicated influenza gets better with or without treatment, but can cause considerable discomfort during the course of the illness. Many people use over-the-counter medications to ease flu symptoms. Because flu is a viral infection, it can be treated with an antiviral medication (if your doctor feels it's appropriate). Antibiotics are not an effective treatment for the flu. Antibiotics are medicines that kill bacteria and are not effective against viral infections.
There are four antiviral prescription drugs on the market that treat flu. These medications attack the virus that causes the flu, thus shortening the time it takes for symptoms to improve in uncomplicated cases of types A and B influenza.
“These drugs are not a cure for the flu,” says Thelma Hoehn, family nurse practitioner at GMH’s Neighbor Care Clinic in Valley View. “They don’t make people instantly better, but they may save flu sufferers a day or two of aching and sniffling.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Symmetrel (amantadine) in 1976. Taken orally in pill form, Symmetrel is approved to treat and prevent type A flu in adults and children 1 year old or older.
Flumadine (rimantadine), a derivative of amantadine, was approved in 1993. Also taken orally in pill form, Flumadine is approved for treating and preventing uncomplicated type A flu in adults and for preventing (but not treating) type A flu in children 1 year old or older.
“Symmetrel and Flumadine are used…Continue
Approximately 16 million people (nearly 6% of the population) have diabetes and roughly 800,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.
Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults, the leading cause of kidney failure and limb amputations, and is a major cause of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
People with diabetes are also more susceptible to other illnesses and are more likely to die from pneumonia and influenza.
Diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions in the United States. Researchers for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found a 33% increase in the number of Americans with diabetes during the 1990s. A 70% increase was found among individuals ages 30 to 39, a 40% increase in those ages 40 to 49, and a 31% increase among those ages 50 to 59.
Equally alarming is the increase in the prevalence of obesity. The CDC found a 61% increase in the number of Americans who are obese from 1991 to 2000. What’s more is 27% of U.S. adults do not engage in any physical activity; another 28% are not regularly active; and only about one quarter of U.S. adults consume the recommended five or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
Type II diabetes (previously called non-insulin-dependent diabetes or adult-onset diabetes) accounts for 90 to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. The prevalence of type II diabetes has tripled in the past 30 years. While genetics certainly play a role, the increase in type II diabetes is strongly associated with increases in obesity, lack of physical activity, and Americans’ increased consumption of fatty foods.
The Relationship Between Diabetes and Obesity
Diabetes is a disease characterized by high levels of glucose in the blood. It is the result of the body’s inability to produce or properly use insulin (the hormone that converts sugar, starches, and other food into energy). Obesity…Continue
There has been remarkable progress, in recent years, in the study of heart disease. Substantial advancements have been made related to the impact that cholesterol has on the disease. There is convincing evidence that lowering cholesterol ratio decreases the incidence of cardiac events in individuals with and those without heart disease. Greater emphasis is placed on the importance of diet, cutting down on high cholesterol foods & lifestyle changes like regular exercise.
These advances in research have led the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), (a group of the nation’s leading cholesterol experts, coordinated by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute), to issue new guidelines on the prevention and management of high cholesterol in adults. The guidelines are an update of the clinical practice guidelines issued in 1988 and 1993.
Unlike NCEP’s earlier guidelines, which focused on an individual’s total cholesterol, the new guidelines stress the importance of reducing levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein or the so-called "bad cholesterol"). The new guidelines were based on studies that have shown conclusively that lowering "bad cholesterol" (LDL) can reduce the short and long-term risk for heart disease.
Key changes in the new guidelines include:
1. More aggressive treatment for lowering cholesterol and better identification of those at risk for heart attack.
According to NCEP, individuals at risk for heart attack are those who have heart disease or diabetes and those with multiple heart disease risk factors. The guidelines recommend that these individuals be treated aggressively…Continue