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Heart Checks While You Shop: NHS Announces Plan To Have Pharmacies Check Shoppers’ Heart Health In Bid To Cut Deaths

Shoppers will be offered on-the-spot NHS heart checks to detect signs of killer conditions.

High street pharmacies will be overhauled under the national plan to prevent up to 150,000 heart attacks and strokes within a decade.

The country’s most senior doctor said the new approach would be a “game changer,” helping to identify risks far earlier, with advice on lifestyle overhauls as well as targeted medication.

Pilot schemes have seen some types of strokes fall by a quarter.

From October, chemists will begin rolling out the “rapid detection service,” which includes mobile electrocardiograms to spot irregular heartbeats, as well as checks on blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

If successful, the scheme will be rolled out to every pharmacist in the country within three years.

An NHS sign is pictured at St Thomas’ Hospital  Credit: AFP

The plans aim to identify those at risk far earlier, when treatment and lifestyle changes are most likely to be effective.

Pharmacists will be expected to dole out advice on exercise and diet, with results passed directly to GP practices, who can prescribe the right medication.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England medical director, said: “Heart disease and strokes dramatically cut short lives, and leave thousands of people disabled every year, so rapid detection of killer conditions through high street heart checks will be a game-changer.”

The plans, launched to coincide with the world’s biggest heart conference, follow proposals to scrap “one size fits all” health MOTs at GP surgeries.  In future, GPs will be expected to increasingly target checks on those thought to be at greatest risk, due to their medical and genetic history, while routine screening tests are offered by pharmacists.

Heart disease is Britain’s biggest killer, with deaths from heart attacks, strokes and circulatory diseases accounting for 160,000 deaths in the UK every year.

More than 7 million people are living with heart and circulatory diseases.

Speaking at the European Society for Cardiology (ESC) conference, in Paris, Professor Bryan Williams, author of its guidelines on disease prevention, said: “This is hugely important. Heart disease and stroke remain the most important cause of premature death and disability and we have the means to prevent the many of them.

“The key is early detection of those at risk and doing this is a way that is convenient for the public, not having to wait for a GP appointment that could be done simply the local pharmacy.”

Chemists will begin rolling out the “rapid detection service,” which includes mobile electrocardiograms to spot irregular heartbeats, as well as checks on blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA

Yesterday Dexter Canoy, clinical epidemiologist from the University of Oxford, presented research showing that raised blood pressure at the age of 40 is a clear indicator of the risk of suffering heart attacks and strokes in later life.

He said: “We need to find ways to target the people who aren’t seeing their GP regularly – the middle-aged men who think they are healthy, but haven’t actually been checked.”

“If opening it up to pharmacies and shopping malls means that people are more likely to have their blood pressure checked, that could make a significant difference,” he said, calling for proper evaluation of the measures.

The checks are part of a new £13 billion five year contract for community pharmacists which aims to expand their roles and offer earlier detection of diseases.

More than 100 pharmacies in Cheshire and Merseyside have begun offering blood pressures screening services, under a local initiative, backed by the British Heart Foundation, with plans to recruit more than 200 more chemists to the service as it expands.

Medics said widespread use of the monitors by pharmacies, hospitals and individual patients could cut costs, speed diagnosis and avoid preventable hospital admissions.

Pilot schemes in Lambeth and Southwark in south London identified more than 1,400 patients suffering from atrial fibrillation – an irregular heart rhythm –  who should have been taking blood thinning drugs, but were not. In total, 1,300 of the patients have now been put on the medication, leading to a 25 per cent reduction in the rate of strokes linked to their heart condition.

Keith Ridge, England’s chief pharmaceutical officer, said: “This new contract makes the most of the clinical skills of local pharmacists and establishes pharmacies across England as local health hubs – open in the evenings and at weekends – where people can go for an ever-increasing range of clinical health checks and treatment.”

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: “Millions of people in England are living with conditions such as high blood pressure which, if left untreated, significantly increase the risk of having a potentially deadly heart attack or stroke. Reaching more people and encouraging them to check their blood pressure, working with them to lower it where necessary, will play an absolutely critical role in saving lives in the coming years.”

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Source: Heart checks while you shop: NHS announces plan to have pharmacies check shoppers’ heart health in bid to cut deaths

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Missing Dentures Found Stuck in Man’s Throat 8 Days After Surgery

This undated X-ray image provided by the BMJ in August 2019 shows dentures stuck in the throat of a 72-year-old patient. They became lodged in his throat during surgery and weren’t discovered until eight days later. (BMJ via AP)

Here’s why it’s best to remove false teeth before surgery: You just might swallow them.

A medical journal is reporting the case of a 72-year-old British man whose partial dentures apparently got stuck in his throat during surgery and weren’t discovered for eight days.

The man went to the emergency room because he was having a hard time swallowing and was coughing up blood. Doctors ordered a chest X-ray, diagnosed him with pneumonia and sent him home with antibiotics and steroids. It took another hospital visit before another X-ray revealed the problem: His dentures — a metal roof plate and three false teeth — lodged at the top of this throat.

The man thought his dentures were lost while he was in the hospital for minor surgery.How it happened isn’t exactly clear, but a half-dozen previous cases have been documented of dentures going astray as surgical patients were put to sleep.

Placing a tube in a patient’s airway can push things where they don’t belong, said Dr. Mary Dale Peterson, an anesthesiologist at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Besides dentures, retainers, loose teeth and tongue piercings can cause problems, said Peterson, who is president-elect of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. Before a child’s surgery, she’ll pull a very loose tooth and tell the patient to expect a visit from the tooth fairy. “We can make a nice game of it.”

In the British case, after the dentures were removed, the man had several bouts of bleeding that required more surgery before he recovered. The journal article didn’t identify the man or the hospital involved.

What can be learned from this case? Doctors need to listen carefully to their patients and build a timeline of what happened rather than relying heavily on scans and tests, said Dr. Rui Amaral Mendes, an associate editor of BMJ Case Reports, which published the paper Monday.

For their part, patients should tell their doctors about mouth problems before surgery, said Mendes, an oral surgeon at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. That includes dentures, blisters and serious gum disease. Loose teeth could be knocked down the throat when tubes are put into the airway.

“Stay on the safe side,” he said. “Inform your physician of what’s going on in your mouth.”

By CARLA K. JOHNSON

Source: Missing Dentures Found Stuck in Man’s Throat 8 Days After Surgery

 

Blood Type: Microbiome and Diet — CFS Remission

One of my favorite sources for information on the microbiome is run by Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo. For many years he has advocated eating for your blood type. In this week’s issue of New Scientist. an article “Your gut bacteria may match your blood group – but we don’t know why“ The difference between many […]

via Blood Type: Microbiome and Diet — CFS Remission

Researchers Find A Web Of Factors Behind Multiple Sclerosis

As the story goes, nearly 80 years ago on the Faroe Islands — a stark North Atlantic archipelago 200 miles off the coast of Scotland — a neurologic epidemic may have washed, or rather convoyed, ashore. Before 1940 the incidence of multiple sclerosis on the Faroes was near, if not actually, zero, according to the tantalizing lore I recall from medical school. Yet in the years following British occupation of the islands during World War II, the rate of MS rose dramatically, leading many researchers to assume the outbreak was caused by some unknown germ transmitted by the foreign soldiers……..

Source: Researchers Find A Web Of Factors Behind Multiple Sclerosis

How Bill Gates Aims to Save $233 Billion By Reinventing the Toilet – Jason Gale

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Bill Gates thinks toilets are a serious business, and he’s betting big that a reinvention of this most essential of conveniences can save a half million lives and deliver $200 billion-plus in savings. The billionaire philanthropist, whose Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation spent $200 million over seven years funding sanitation research, showcased some 20 novel toilet and sludge-processing designs that eliminate harmful pathogens and convert bodily waste into clean water and fertilizer. The technologies you’ll see here are the most significant advances in sanitation in nearly 200 years,” Gates, 63, told the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing on Tuesday………..

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-06/bill-gates-aims-to-save-233-billion-by-reinventing-the-toilet

 

 

 

 

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Why Doctors Hate Their Computers – Atul Gawande

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On a sunny afternoon in May, 2015, I joined a dozen other surgeons at a downtown Boston office building to begin sixteen hours of mandatory computer training. We sat in three rows, each of us parked behind a desktop computer. In one month, our daily routines would come to depend upon mastery of Epic, the new medical software system on the screens in front of us. The upgrade from our home-built software would cost the hospital system where we worked, Partners HealthCare, a staggering $1.6 billion, but it aimed to keep us technologically up to date……..

Read more: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/11/12/why-doctors-hate-their-computers

 

 

 

 

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