A range of exercises and medications can help with fibromyalgia

A range of exercises and

Dear Doctor: My daughter, who is in her 40s, has fibromyalgia. Is there any cure for this painful condition, or any natural remedies? I hate to see her suffer.

Dear Reader: The word “suffer” perfectly sums up fibromyalgia, and my heart goes out both to your daughter and to you, who can see the condition’s terrible effect on her. A chronic pain disorder initially termed “fibrositis syndrome” in the mid-19th century, fibromyalgia has been an official diagnosis only since 1990. The condition causes widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue, as well as sleep problems and difficulties in concentration and with memory.

In the United States, 2 to 3 percent of the population suffers from fibromyalgia, with women affected twice as often as men. Blood tests can’t detect fibromyalgia, so the diagnosis is based on a person’s symptoms, including the tender points identified during a physical examination. That said, people with fibromyalgia have shown abnormal biochemical responses to painful stimuli, and those responses can help guide treatment.

The first step in treating fibromyalgia is to understand the illness and what triggers a flair of symptoms. Anxiety and depression are common with fibromyalgia, and the resulting emotional stress can create a cycle of worsening pain and even lower energy levels.

Let’s take a look first at non-medical interventions. Practicing good sleep hygiene is vital because poor sleep can worsen fibromyalgia pain and fatigue, and trigger the cycle mentioned above. Relaxation techniques and therapy can relieve anxiety and depression, while meditation training can ease pain. Further, reflexology and acupuncture have each shown benefits in small studies at easing a variety of symptoms.

Exercise is a crucial component of therapy. Multiple studies have shown that it decreases pain, increases flexibility and boosts energy. Note that if exercise is too vigorous or of high impact, it may cause a flair of symptoms. The key is to start slowly with low-impact exercise, such as walking, biking, swimming or water aerobics. As symptoms improve, patients can increase their level of exercise.

Although they don’t cure the illness, various drugs and supplements can improve specific symptoms.

Read More: http://snip.ly/hdpbv#http://elkodaily.com/lifestyles/a-range-of-exercises-and-medications-can-help-with-fibromyalgia/article_39f0864b-c24a-5926-bcdd-c02488b1b52c.html

Depression: Is brain inflammation tied to suicidal thoughts?

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A new study confirms the link between inflammation of the brain and the prevalence of suicidal thoughts in people diagnosed with major depression. This is the first study of its kind to measure relevant biomarkers in living individuals.

Major depression is a very common mental condition, with 6.7 percent of all adults in the United States having had at least one severe depressive episode in 2014 or 2015.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is also currently the leading cause of years spent with disability worldwide.

Some people diagnosed with major depression experience suicidal thoughts, which may result in suicide attempts. In the U.S., “suicide is the 10th leading cause of death.” Now, researchers wonder whether or not suicidal ideation in people with major depression may be linked to abnormal inflammation of the brain.

Dr. Peter Talbot and other researchers based at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom have conducted a study testing the levels of a biomarker associated with brain inflammation in the systems of people diagnosed with clinical depression.

The scientists’ findings were reported in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

 

Read More: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319526.php?utm_campaign=sniply&utm_medium=sniply&utm_source=sniply

Shipley Center Website Offers Prostate Cancer Facts for Patients

One in every seven men in the United States will get prostate cancer, making it the second most common type, after skin cancer, for American men. It tends to be a slow-growing disease, but can sprint to life-threatening severity if detected too late. Screening for prostate cancer can yield false-positive findings, but those most at risk for the disease—men whose father or a brother had prostate cancer, African American men, overweight men, and those in their 60s and 70s who are in good health and could expect years more of life—still should ask their doctors whether screening makes sense for them.

Shipley Center Website Offers Prostate Cancer Facts for Patients.jpg

The website for the Shipley Prostate Cancer Research Center provides basic information about the prostate gland and how disease affects it.

That information comes from the just-launched website of the Shipley Prostate Cancer Research Center at the School of Medicine. Created with a $10.5 million gift from BU trustee Richard Shipley (Questrom’68,’72), the center’s labs will be in the Conte Building on the Medical Campus when it opens. The center’s research will be focused on finding genomic approaches to determine which prostate cancers are aggressive and need treatment, and which can simply be monitored.

The center’s website and its Facebook page and Twitter account are up and running now, offering easy-to-follow, impartial information on practically everything anyone needs to know about prostate cancer. There’s “Prostate 101,” an overview about the prostate, information about prostate cancer and getting a second opinion, and a checklist of symptoms; information on screening; treatment options; and the state of research.

This knowledge is available to patients everywhere, “irrespective of where they choose to get their medical care or where they are in terms of testing, diagnosis, or treatment,” says site editor Gretchen Gignac, a School of Medicine associate professor of hematology and medical oncology.

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Most cases of prostate cancer are slow-growing tumors that have a very high cure rate, but some cases are fast-growing.

For its founding donor, the center is as much a beacon of information to patients as an incubator for medical research. Shipley was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014 and chose focal laser ablation, a new and less invasive treatment than surgery and other therapies.

“The website will be unique in that it will provide up-to-date information, both on diagnostic and treatment options, in a form the layman can easily understand,” Shipley says.

Read More: http://snip.ly/olj5q#http://www.bu.edu/today/2017/shipley-center-website-offers-prostate-cancer-facts-for-patients/

Congress, keep hands off employer sponsored plans in healthcare fights

Congress, keep hands

Lawmakers are back in town and soon the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will once again take up the beast that is healthcare.

Some will be tempted to merely throw more money and the semblance of flexibility into a broken system — we urge them  to reject this Band-Aid, and to instead implement real reforms. The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) implores Congress not to take this opportunity to protect the employer-sponsored health insurance system, which is the single most common source of health coverage in the nation, providing 178 million Americans with access to healthcare.

Congress is focused on stabilizing endangered exchange marketplaces. ERIC heartily agrees that market stabilization is important for everyone, but addressing the cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments to insurance companies is just a small part of solving the problem.

 

Last month, ERIC, along with several other organizations, sent a letter to Congress with policy recommendations that would help stabilize the market, while also ensuring the future of affordable employer-provided health benefits.

We recommended Congress should fund CSR payments to improve affordability in the individual market. Congress should also repeal the 40 percent “Cadillac” tax on employer-sponsored health plans, with no new taxes on health benefits. And lawmakers should repeal the health insurance tax on fully insured health plans, which a recent Oliver Wyman study found will cost Americans $22 billion next year alone. They should also enable employers to innovate with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and protect the ability of employers to offer uniform benefits to employees and their families — no matter where they live, work, or receive medical care.

Tax relief is key to protecting the employer-sponsored system. Since World War II, the American tax code has encouraged employers to set up quality health plans for their employees by exempting company health benefit expenditures from income and payroll taxes. The Affordable Care Act placed a crippling financial burden on plan sponsors through the employer mandate and the taxes mentioned above.

An easy place to start would be fully repealing the highly unpopular Cadillac tax. It has already been delayed until 2020 and lawmakers have voted to repeal it twice. The first time in 2015 and the most recent during the healthcare votes this past July.

The Cadillac tax will hit more than 50 percent of the workforce within ten years of its implementation, according to a January study by the consulting firm Milliman —that’s 60 million Americans. These employees could see their benefits slashed by thousands of dollar while their salaries stay flat.

Some economists theorize that because of the Cadillac tax, workers might see their pre-tax wages increase as employers switch to cheaper plans. But if that happens, employees would also pay a lot more in taxes, costing 12.1 million employees upwards of $1,000 in higher payroll and income taxes.

In fact, 80 percent of the revenue raised by the Cadillac tax is expected to come from workers paying more income and payroll taxes, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Congressional Budget Office.

Aside from health tax relief, another way to improve the healthcare system is updating consumer-directed health options like Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). The Committee and Congress should raise HSA contribution limits, ensuring that HSA and high-deductible plan beneficiaries have access to supplemental benefits. They should also allow consumers to use their HSAs to purchase over-the-counter medicines while updating rules to ensure those enrolled in HSA-compatible plans can benefit from first-dollar coverage for prescription drugs and other medical products and services likely to prevent or reduce catastrophic episodes in the future.

The Senate HELP Committee must also look at value-based healthcare options, which are ways plan sponsors and consumers can spend healthcare dollars smarter. Earlier this year, The ERISA Industry Committee and the Pacific Business Group on Health launched the DRIVE Health Initiative, a campaign to accelerate economic growth by controlling health costs and improving quality through the rapid adoption of value-based healthcare. The initiative calls for targeted deregulation and the use of market-based purchasing strategies by Medicare and other federal health programs.

Fixing healthcare is not easy. As lawmakers move forward in crafting new legislation, they must be sure it protects the employer-sponsored system that has provided affordable, quality coverage to more than half of the population for decades and allow for continued improvement and innovations.

If they don’t, the employer-sponsored health insurance system could be in jeopardy, creating a much bigger problem than that of the ACA exchanges.

James Gelfand is the senior vice president for health policy at The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC). ERIC is the only national association that advocates exclusively for large employers on health, retirement and compensation public policies at the federal, state and local levels.

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Health Buzz: The 10 Best States for Health Care

 

Health Buzz The 10 Best States for Health CareIf you want to get the best health care, you might be better off living in one of these states, according to a new ranking.

Hawaii, Iowa and Minnesota topped WalletHub’s new ranking of the best states for health care. The ranking took into account 35 metrics in the categories of cost, accessibility and health outcomes.

Among access-to-care metrics, the highest percent of insured adults (ages 18 to 64) live in Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, Vermont, Hawaii and Minnesota. The lowest live in Georgia, New Mexico, Nevada, Florida and Texas.

As for outcome metrics, like lowest cancer rate, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and Utah ranked in the top five, while New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Delaware and Kentucky ranked in the bottom five.

U.S. News ranks its own Best States for Health Care, in which Hawaii also stands at No. 1.

Health care concerns, though always present, have been thrust into the national conversation even more this year amid legislative attempts to reform former President Barack Obama’s health care law.

The Senate recently failed to pass a health care bill. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) voted against the Republicans’ attempt to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

A recent report from the Commonwealth Fund found that the U.S. has the worst health care system compared to other high-income countries. The U.S. ranked lowest for health outcomes despite outspending its peers, according to the report.

But in its own health care analysis, the Kaiser Family Foundation discovered the U.S. system has made progress, especially with “its ability to promote health and provide high-quality care, with some recent improvement in the accessibility of that care and a slowing of spending growth.”

Americans typically spend approximately $10,000 each year on personal health care, and that number is expected to rise, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

WalletHub’s top 10 states for health care are listed below, and a complete list can be found here.

Overall Rank State ‘Outcomes’ Rank
1 Hawaii 1
2 Iowa 13
2 Minnesota 8
4 New Hampshire 7
5 District of Columbia 37
6 Connecticut 5
7 South Dakota 24
8 Vermont 3
9 Massachusetts 2
10 Rhode Island 10