Is Life Expectancy Heading Downward?


shutterstock_309649415 (1)Have we reached the tipping point?

An interesting article recently appeared in the prestigious Journal of American Medicine Association (JAMA) about life expectancy and death rates in the US. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US (CDC) noted that death rates for the first nine months of 2015 increased significantly most notably due to obesity. Leading some to predict that life expectancy would decline in the United States by the middle of the 21st century.
The CDC report suggests that a “tipping point may have been reached beyond which technological advances may no longer compensate.” The article goes on to point out that between l961 and l983, life expectancy increased in a relatively consistent fashion throughout the United States. However, between 1983 and 1991 life expectancy decreased significantly for men in 11 US counties and 180 counties for women. The counties were those most severely affected by the obesity epidemic.
Some experts like David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD, of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Centre in Boston predict that the downward trend will almost certainly accelerate as the current generation of children- with high body weights earlier in life than ever before—reaches adulthood.

You might be aware that death rates have been dropping. This is largely due to modern medical care that may be able to prevent premature deaths among adults who develop obesity at a young age, by prescribing blood pressure and cholesterol lowering medications, heart bypass surgery, and various other medical interventions.

But over time, some experts are predicting that obesity-related chronic diseases might outstrip the ability for technology to counteract the rise in obesity and its consequences.

As a physician, I can tell you that the most important step you can do for yourself and your family is to choose to live a healthy lifestyle and make healthy choices.That means getting regular exercise of at least thirty minutes a day, five days a week,eating fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes and nuts while eliminating high fat, processed foods and added sugars in your diet.

Read labels on packaged food and educate yourself and your family on the value of eating nutritional foods and not to be swayed by advertising.

A few actions today may forestall the predictions that children of today and tomorrow will lead a shorter less healthy life than their parents.

Disclaimer
The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.

 

 

 

 

 

Antibiotics aren’t always the answer. Let a viral cold run its’ course

shutterstock_370051118

It’s that time of year again—when colds, flu, bronchitis, sore throats and many sinus and ear infections start to surface at home, school and our workplaces. The tendency when someone gets sick these days is to presume they will need an antibiotic to get better. The facts are that taking antibiotics for colds and other viral illnesses not only won’t work; it can have dangerous side effects—over time. It could result in the development of resistant bacteria that don’t respond to antibiotics that may have worked in the past. Antibiotics that could be vital to recovering from a bacterial infection when you need them the most or are required to take increasingly higher doses of an antibiotic.

Antibiotic resistance is a widespread problem, and one that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US call “one of the world’s most pressing public health problems.” Bacteria that were once highly responsive to antibiotics have become more and more resistant. Among those that are becoming harder to treat are pneumococcal infections such as pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and meningitis.

The Differences Between Bacteria and Viruses
Although bacteria and viruses are both too small to be seen without a microscope, they’re as different as giraffes and goldfish.   Website WebMD says it best: Bacterial and viral infections have many things in common. Both types of infections are caused by microbes — bacteria and viruses, respectively — and spread by things such as coughing and sneezing, contact with infected people, especially through kissing and sex, contact with contaminated surfaces, food, and water, contact with infected creatures, including pets, livestock, and insects such as fleas and ticks. But the infections are dissimilar in many other important respects, most of them due to the organisms’ structural differences and the way they respond to medications.

When do you ride out a cold or see a doctor?
While viruses and bacteria can cause similar symptoms, the concerns that suggest your infection is more serious, include fever and chills, muscle aches and pains, decreased appetite and overwhelming fatigue. These symptoms are more generalized and may need an expert opinion to decide how best to proceed. Symptoms such as a sore throat and swollen glands can occur with either bacterial or viral infections. If this infection/sore throat/flu like illness or cough is overwhelming and feels like the worst infection you can recall, go get checked by your health care professional! Or if you are not improving in a couple of days, with an easing up of symptoms, this may need further attention.

Taking Antibiotics Safely

So what should you do? To minimize the risk of bacterial resistance, keep these tips in mind:

  • Take antibiotics only for bacterial infections. It’s a good idea to let milder illnesses (especially those thought to be caused by viruses) run their course. This helps prevent antibiotic-resistant germs from developing. But leave it to your doctor to decide if an illness is “mild” or not.
  • Remember: Antibiotics can only treat bacterial infection if taken for the full amount of time prescribed by the doctor
  • And most important, never use antibiotics that have been lying around your home.
  • Help fight antibiotic resistance by taking simple steps to prevent the spread of infections such as frequent hand washing and immunization such as a flu shot and pneumococcal vaccine.
  • Ask your healthcare professional about over-the-counter treatment options that may help reduce symptoms.
  • Drink more fluids.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Use a cool-mist vaporizer or saline nasal spray to relieve congestion.
  • Soothe your throat with crushed ice, sore throat spray, or lozenges. (Do not give lozenges to young children.)Disclaimer The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.

#flu #healthy #health

Disclaimer: The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions

 

Why A Company Health and Wellness Plan is Good for Employees and Your Bottom Line

shutterstock_520731397.jpg

In today’s times, it’s astonishing to learn that a whopping 5 million Canadians do not have a family physician. It’s even more alarming when you learn that nine out of ten Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke (smoking, high alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and or diabetes).
More Alarming Statistics:

  • Only 16% have it treated and under control
  • An estimated 2.4 million Canadians have diabetes
  • Almost 40% of Canadian adults are classified as having high blood cholesterol levels
  • 19% of Canadians (4.6 million) age 20-79 are hypotensive
  • Another 20% (4.8 million) are pre-hypertensive

For more alarming stats click here: The ROI of an Employee Wellness Program

Will things get better?
With the population of baby boomers aging and people experiencing hard economic times, more workers are delaying retirement and working well into their 60s—this means that better benefits are required to retain talent. Meanwhile, governments are actively looking to pass on healthcare costs to private sectors. That means fewer services and higher employer costs. However, the bottom line is that over 70% of all healthcare costs in Canada are related to chronic diseases, many of which can be prevented or better managed through more appropriate lifestyle choices.
How health and wellness initiatives add value to companies
By implementing these types of programs, the benefits to companies are indisputable. The programs help contain cost since an aging population means higher employer spending; they help the company compete for talent, especially considering that 61% of 30-year-old Canadians believe their employer has an obligation to assist them in maintain a healthy lifestyle; and they help to target health spending by measuring its returns on investment.
Why should companies care?
Our research shows that companies are more interested in the benefits of creating a culture of corporate wellness rather than the hard dollar costs. The following benefits may not be as measurable as reducing drug and disability costs, but employers rate them higher than cost:

  • Issues around productivity
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Loyalty, employee engagement, recruitment
  • Corporate reputation
  • Attracting talent

Initiatives don’t have to be costly. It could be something as simple as bringing in Weight Watchers, creating a joint program with a local gym, or offering healthy options in the company cafeteria.

#wellness #fitness #healthy #happy

 

Disclaimer: The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.

Flu Season is here!!!

   Flu HRPA email blast (4)                    

      Ontario has already documented a few cases of flu and the vaccine is HERE

      Influenza vaccines authorized for use in Canada are safe and associated with minimal side effects and can be administered to anyone over 6months of age. *We know that between 10% and 20% of all Canadians will get the flu this winter.  And for some of us it can be severe, life threatening and perhaps even life ending. About 4000 Canadians die every year of flu and related complications. Generally the very young and the very old are most at risk, but we know pregnant women, children under 5, those with asthma, COPD, heart disease and diabetes are also at significant risk compared to the general population.  And even if you personally are not a high risk individual, chances are you will spread this easily to others in your family or community who are at greater risk.  You need to protect yourself and others!
Does the flu shot eliminate every case of flu? NO.  But if you have been immunized, but still get the flu, chances are it will be much less severe than if you were unprotected.  So you are less likely to need the emergency room and in- hospital treatment.  And that’s what it’s all about.  We can’t avoid every case of influenza, but we can decrease our chance of a serious episode!

      I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get a flu shot.  I have taken mine, immunized my family, my staff and my coworkers!  Have you had yours?

      Aside from having flu shot,  here are everyday preventative measure to protect you from colds and flu

Top ways to fight the flu*
Wash your hands with soap and water
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as germs spread this way
Sneeze into your arm or sleeve
After or blowing your nose with a tissue, throw away the tissue and wash your hands.
Stay home and avoid crowds if you feel sick

*Health Canada, Flu Watch

Time to Rethink Hormone Therapy Options for Menopausal Women

shutterstock_181675298Women’s Health Advocate Dr. Vivien Brown Advises

World Menopause Day is October 18th

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Oct. 17, 2012) – World Menopause Day is a time to create awareness among perimenopausal and menopausal women about hormone therapy options and talk to their family physicians about says Dr. Vivien Brown, a family doctor and Vice-President Medical Affairs for Medisys Health Group.

A recent study conducted by KEEPS (Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study) indicates that Hormone Therapy started soon after menopause appears safe and relieves many of the symptoms menopausal women face.

“This will be a welcome change and relief for many menopausal women and their doctor,” added Dr. Brown, who is also Chair of the Consumer Education Committee for the North American Menopause Society Group (NAMS).

This clarifies a controversial Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study in 2002, which concluded that hormone therapy was no longer recommended for disease prevention for menopausal women. However, a decade of research and analysis has shown that the 2002 WHI report did not apply to all menopausal women and that hormone therapy is an acceptable option for the relatively young (up to age 59 or within ten years of menopause) and healthy women who are bothered by moderate to severe menopausal symptoms.

“A great deal has been learned in the last ten years,” says Dr. Brown. “Dosages are now lower and there are newer ways of delivering treatment such as through a patch or gel. Too many women have been missing out on the proven benefits of hormone therapy because of the WHI study. Now they and their doctors will be able to more confidently assess whether hormone therapy is the best treatment option for their circumstances and menopausal stage.”

The 2002 findings caused a complete abandonment of hormone therapy in some settings for more than a decade, accompanied by reluctance by doctors to treat women who would benefit from relief of their symptoms.

Hormone therapy reduces symptoms that typically women affect perimenopausal and menopausal women such as hot flashes and night sweats. Benefits of hormone therapy for younger menopausal women may also include reduced risk of heart disease, depression and anxiety.

About Medisys Health Group (www.medisys.ca)

Medisys is a fully integrated national healthcare service that focuses on both corporate and personal needs. We use our medical knowledge and expertise to help companies get proactive about their employees’ health so that they can be their best at work and at home.

We offer a wide variety of services such as executive health assessments, pre-employment assessments and wellness programs, and any other services designed to meet your specific challenges. Imagine healthcare, only simpler!

Medisys offices are located in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver.