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Albuterol to the Rescue


Rescue inhalers are a great comfort to anyone with Read more

Does Back to School Mean Back to Allergies?


Summer is coming to a close for students in Read more

Got Asthma or Allergies? There’s an App for That!


AllergyManager Geared towards helping those suffering with nasal allergies by Read more

The Double Threat of Vaping


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Diabetes Drug Maker Owes Billions in Settlement

Lisa Feierstein Diabetes Leave a comment  

Type 2 diabetes patients should check with their doctor if they’re taking Actos – the medication has been linked to bladder cancer in several medical studies. Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Actos, didn’t admit liability but settled around 9,000 lawsuits related to the drug and owes $2.37 billion as part of the settlement. Patients taking Actos filed lawsuits for a number of reasons including Takeda’s failure to warn the public and health care providers that taking Actos could increase bladder cancer risk if taken for longer than a year, failing to properly test the drug, distributing the drug despite knowledge of dangerous side effects, and withholding research data on Actos from the public.

Actos has been banned in France, Germany and India, but is still on the market in the U.S. with a Food and Drug Administration warning about bladder cancer. Symptoms of bladder cancer include abdominal pain, frequent or painful urination, and blood in urine. Bladder cancer usually occurs in individuals over the age of 55, and the average age of diagnosis is 73. In 2015, 74,000 new cases of bladder cancer were diagnosed in the U.S. and men have 3 to 4 times the risk of developing bladder cancer to women. If you take Actos, talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have after reading this blog.

 


Introducing the Smart and Painless Insulin Patch

Lisa Feierstein Diabetes Leave a comment  

Imagine having to self-administer medication with a needle multiple times a day. This is a reality for diabetics that have to regularly inject insulin. Diabetes currently affects over 387 million people worldwide, and that number is projected to reach 592 million by 2035. Researchers recently made some headway that could create a break in the insulin injection cycle. Scientists at the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University developed a “smart” insulin patch that could make painful injections a thing of the past. The tiny penny-sized patch contains over 100 needles, but the needles are each the size of an eyelash and can painlessly deliver insulin. The needles also contain glucose-sensing enzymes that are released when blood sugar levels spike.

The patch worked well in a study of mice with type 1 diabetes, and researchers hope to mirror those positive results in human trials. The patch lowered blood glucose levels in mice for up to nine hours, but since humans are more sensitive to insulin than mice, the patch could last longer for humans.

The patch is “smart” because it can be personalized to the patient based on their weight and sensitivity to insulin. Injecting the wrong amount of medication can cause serious problems anywhere from limb amputation to comas to death. The “smart” patch could reduce the risk of human error and improve the accuracy of medication delivery. Researchers can also customize the patch to only alter blood glucose levels within a certain range. When administered too frequently, insulin injections can cause blood sugar levels to lower at a dangerous rate, so the customized patches would alleviate this problem.

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Smart insulin patch could replace painful injections for diabetes, by Mark Derewicz, UNC Health Care and UNC School of Medicine


Mystery Solved! The Truth About Common Asthma Myths

Lisa Feierstein Asthma, Breathe EZ Leave a comment   ,

The number of Americans with asthma grows steadily each year; about 1 in 12 people (25 million) have asthma. Although it’s a relatively common condition, there are many misconceptions about asthma. Here are a few common asthma myths, and the reality behind those misconceptions:

  1. Save your asthma medication for when you are having an asthma attack
    If you have mild persistent, moderate persistent, or severe persistent asthma, you will likely need to take a daily medication and have a fast-acting inhaler on hand for asthma attacks.
  2. Asthma symptoms improve in dry climates
    This is true for some individuals with asthma, but others do better in a wetter climate. If moisture helps ease your symptoms, consider purchasing a humidifier for your home. Regularly replace your indoor air filters and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to improve indoor air quality and lessen your asthma symptoms.
  3. If you have asthma, you should avoid intense exercise
    Believe it or not, there are quite a few professional athletes with asthma, and regular exercise can improve lung function. Your doctor can help you determine if you should take medication before working out. Check out this article on exercise-induced asthma for advice on how to safely exercise if you have asthma.
  4. Diet has little impact on asthma
    Fatty foods, like fries or red meat, can cause increased inflammation in the airways that can worsen asthma symptoms. The Mediterranean diet is the go-to diet for gaining more control over your asthma symptoms. Healthier fats, like olive oil, are allowed in this diet and the Mediterranean diet also reduces the risk of heart disease.
  5. You can get addicted to your asthma medication
    Asthma medication isn’t habit forming, but asthma is a chronic condition so long-term use of medication is to be expected. Your asthma treatment plan should explain which medications you should use regularly, and which ones you should use in the event of an asthma attack.

Sources:
Are you being fooled by asthma myths? by Allergies & Asthma, Winter 2014/2015
Common Asthma Myths and Facts by remedy’s health.com communities


Taking Vitamin C Reduces Symptoms of Exercise-Induced Asthma

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Asthma Leave a comment   ,
Photo from Shutterstock.

Photo from Shutterstock.

Starting a new exercise routine can be so challenging. Sometimes I put on workout clothes in the hopes that at some point during the day, I’ll build up the motivation to hit the gym and will already be dressed and ready to go. Finding the will to workout can be an even greater struggle for those with exercise-induced asthma. Individuals with exercise-induced asthma experience chest pain, fatigue, wheezing, coughing, and other breathing problems while exercising. About 70 to 90% of asthmatics are also affected by exercise-induced asthma, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Researchers recently discovered that something as simple as taking a daily vitamin could greatly reduce symptoms of exercise-induced asthma. A new study in the British Medical Journal explained that those with exercise-induced asthma could benefit from taking vitamin C.

Researchers compared the results of 40 study participants that took 500 mg to 2 grams of vitamin C each day versus participants who took a placebo. Scientists looked at changes in FEV1 or “forced expiratory volume,” an indicator of the amount of air that can be forcibly exhaled in one second. Individuals that took vitamin C showed a 50% reduction in the drop of post-exercise FEV1 when compared to those that took the placebo. This result represents a vast improvement in lung function. Lead study author Dr. Harri Hemila suggests trying vitamin C if you have exercise-induced asthma since it could be an inexpensive way to help treat symptoms.

If you have exercise-induced asthma, talk to your doctor about how to develop an asthma treatment plan that will reduce your symptoms. Asthma inhalers, bronchodilators, and medication like albuterol have been known to help when taken about 10 minutes before exercising. Cold air and allergies can worsen symptoms, so you may benefit from moving your exercises indoors during the winter and peak allergy seasons. Take time to warm up and cool down so your lungs have time to adjust before and after you exercise. Exercises requiring short bursts of energy are often easier for those with exercise-induced asthma, so volleyball or walking are preferable to sports like running, soccer and basketball, which require more endurance. Swimming, another endurance sport, is an exception since the warm, damp air can make it easier to breathe.

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Allergy and Asthma Safety at Summer Camp

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Asthma, Breathe EZ, Children's Health 1 ,
Photo from Shutterstock.

Photo from Shutterstock.

Camp memories last a lifetime – swimming in the lake, making crafts, having S’mores by the campfire, and making new friends. In order to keep these memories positive ones, parents should make sure children with insect or food allergies have an EpiPen (epinephrine auto-injector) available at camp. Anyone with a food allergy is at risk for anaphylaxis, and those with food allergies and asthma are at an even higher risk, which is why it’s so important to have epinephrine on hand.

Children should pack at least one EpiPen in case of an emergency, preferably two – one to keep with them at all times and one to leave with the camp nurse or a trained counselor. Campers that plan on canoeing or kayaking should pack their EpiPen in a Ziploc bag or a “dry bag” to keep it dry and secure since the epinephrine carrier tube isn’t waterproof.

Hot temperatures can reduce the effectiveness of EpiPens, but it can be hard to avoid the heat while at summer camp. Ideally, EpiPens are stored at room temperature (68-77 degrees), but they can be exposed to up to 86 degrees for short periods of time. On especially hot days, campers with EpiPens should try to find shade periodically and take breaks indoors. It’s not a good idea to use an ice pack in an attempt to keep an EpiPen cooler because extreme cold can also reduce the medicine’s effectiveness.

Campers with food or insect allergies that are exposed to these allergens should use an EpiPen immediately and go to the hospital for monitoring. It’s important to use an EpiPen right away, even if the affected individual doesn’t immediately exhibit symptoms.

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Children’s Lives Saved by 3-D Printer Technology

Lisa Feierstein Asthma, Breathe EZ, Children's Health Leave a comment  

3-D printers are a unique type of technology since organizations are constantly finding new uses for the devices. What started as an almost novelty item has morphed into a useful tool to progress medical treatment – like these prosthetic limbs for a disabled dog. I recently learned about a wonderful way 3-D printers have been used to create splints in airways of children with tracheobronchomalacia (TBM). Children with TBM are often misdiagnosed as having treatment-resistant asthma, but TBM actually affects breathing by softening the windpipe, which eventually causes the airway to collapse, and leads to breathing failure. The condition is rare – affecting 1 in 2,200 babies, but most grow out of it by age 3. With pediatric TBM, the cartilage supporting the airway strengthens as children age, but in some severe cases, TBM can be life-threatening.

Researchers at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital created a 3-D printed splint to support the airways of children with TBM; three children participated in the study and are doing quite well with no complications from the treatment. Previously, the only way to treat severe cases of tracheobronchomalacia was through high-risk surgeries that often resulted in cardiac and respiratory arrest.

The 3-D printed device supports pediatric patients’ airways long enough so that eventually their airways strengthen on their own. The device is made of biodegradable polyester called polycaprolactone, and the body reabsorbs the device after about three years. Children using the device no longer needed ventilators; paralytic, narcotic and sedating drugs; and no longer had to be fed intravenously. Researchers are awaiting approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to move forward with establishing the 3-D splint as the go-to treatment for TBM.

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Pregnant Mothers of Boys Have Greater Risk of Gestational Diabetes

Lisa Feierstein Children's Health, Diabetes, Women's Health Leave a comment  

Gestational diabetes can be a real source of stress and concern for mothers. On top of stocking up on supplies for the baby and pouring over parenting books, mothers with gestational diabetes also have to regularly check their blood sugar and be extra careful about their diet.

A new study found that a mother’s risk of developing gestational diabetes is actually affected by the baby’s gender. Dr. Baiju Shah, one of the authors of the study, said that a “male fetus leads to greater pregnancy-associated metabolic changes than a female fetus does.” In the study, researchers collected data from insurance records on about 643,000 women who had their first child between April 2000 and March 2010. Although the risk of developing gestational diabetes is greater with a boy, the study also showed that mothers with gestational diabetes carrying a girl had an increased risk of type 2 diabetes post-pregnancy. Gestational diabetes occurs as a result of combined underlying metabolic abnormalities that the mother has plus the metabolic changes that happen during pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes generally develops during the 24th week of pregnancy, according to the Amercian Diabetes Association. As many as 9.2% of mothers develop gestational diabetes, and the condition develops when a mother’s body is unable to create and use all the insulin needed for pregnancy. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can be dangerous to the baby, increasing their risk of conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and breathing problems. By working with a doctor to develop a treatment plan, mothers with gestational diabetes can greatly improve their health and the health of the baby.

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Top 5 Worst Cities for Spring Allergies

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Breathe EZ Leave a comment  

During the spring and fall, many of us (over 45 million!) are no stranger to the struggle with seasonal allergies. This biannual battle is even harder for those of us in southern states. The following cities are the top five most challenging places to live with spring allergies, according to a 2015 report by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA):

  1. Jackson, MS
  2. Louisville, KY
  3. Oklahoma City, OK
  4. Memphis, TN
  5. Knoxville, TN

Each year, the AAFA analyzes data on pollen scores and allergy medication use for the annual Allergy Capitals report. This report identifies the 100 most challenging places to live with spring allergies in the U.S., and is designed as an educational resource to help allergy sufferers better understand their symptoms and make more informed decisions about allergy treatments.

“Even though it seems like you can get all the answers at the drug store, you really can’t manage allergies alone, you need to work with a doctor. Allergy sufferers who wish to avoid allergy misery need to know their allergic triggers by visiting an allergist and having the proper testing done,” says Dr. Clifford W. Bassett, Medical Director of Allergy and Asthma Care of NY and an Ambassador for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). “This will enable patients to have a specific, proactive treatment plan in place before symptoms hit,” says Bassett.

An allergist can help you determine whether combination therapies, mono-therapies or long-term therapies are best to treat your allergy symptoms. Once you and your allergist determine the best treatment plan, you’re on your way to a more enjoyable spring with less sneezing.


Scientists Identify Gene that could Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Lisa Feierstein Diabetes Leave a comment  

The media often focuses on the rising risk of type 2 diabetes on a regular basis, and the importance of diet and exercise as ways to prevent against the disease. A new study took a different route in investigating the causes of type 2 diabetes by looking at genetic factors.

Researchers compared the genes of 81,000 individuals without type 2 diabetes and compared their genetic information to individuals with type 2 diabetes. The study found that individuals with a mutation in the gene for the glucagon-like peptide-2 receptor (GLP1R) are 14% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

The gene mutation is also linked to lower fasting glucose levels, which could also be a contributing factor in reducing the risk of diabetes for individuals with the gene mutation. For the rest of us, it’s still important to focus on the three pillars of health – sleep, diet and exercise – as the best way to prevent against type 2 diabetes.


Marijuana Allergies on the Rise

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Asthma, Breathe EZ Leave a comment   ,


Allergists have noticed a rise in the number of people reacting to an allergy to marijuana as the use of marijuana becomes legal in more states. Marijuana smoke can agitate asthma symptoms, and cause conjunctivitis and allergic rhinitis. Symptoms from a reaction to smoke inhalation can include inflammation of the eyes, coughing and wheezing, sneezing, nasal congestion, and even anaphylaxis. Pollen from cannabis can also trigger allergies; the pollen usually spreads later in the summer into the fall and can travel miles from the plant.

Not many cases of allergies to marijuana have historically been reported, probably since its use was largely illegal. Cases of patients with marijuana allergies are still rare, but allergists have noticed an increase in the number of patients exhibiting marijuana allergies. However, testing for the allergy can be difficult, depending on where you live. In Texas, for example, where marijuana is illegal, allergist Dr. David Engler was denied a request for a small sample of cannabis extract he needed for an allergy test for a patient with a potential marijuana allergy. In this case, Dr. Engler investigated the patient’s historical reaction to marijuana exposure to determine that she did have a marijuana allergy. Getting treatment coverage is also problematic since insurance companies don’t recognize marijuana allergies. If legalization of marijuana spreads to more states, we may see an even greater increase in cases of patients having marijuana allergies, but that will hopefully make it easier for allergists to test for it.

 

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Childhood Trauma Linked to Increased Risk of Diabetes

Lisa Feierstein Children's Health, Diabetes Leave a comment  

Doctors don’t know the exact cause of type 1 diabetes, but a new study shows that childhood trauma is linked to an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Researchers polled over 10,000 Swedish families and discovered that children who had experienced a trauma were nearly three times more likely to develop type 1 diabetes. Scientists questioned families about the occurrence of childhood stressors like divorce, illness or a death in the family. Researchers questioned families in southeast Sweden with children born between October 1997 and September 1999.

Dr. Johnny Ludvigsson, coauthor of the study, said that he’s not surprised by the results because of the “connections between the brain and immune system.” Doctors believe type 1 diabetes could be caused by genetics or environmental factors, like exposure to a virus. Type 1 diabetes develops when the body’s immune system starts destroying insulin-producing (islet) cells in the pancreas. After many islet cells are destroys, the body produces little to no insulin.

Although this study shows a link between a stressful childhood event and an increased risk of type 1 diabetes, it doesn’t prove that those events cause type 1 diabetes. Dr. David Marrero, president of health care and education at the American Diabetes Association, says that although you can’t say a childhood trauma was the direct result of your child developing diabetes, it’s worth making an effort to avoid exposing children to high stress events. Encouraging children to eat right and exercise frequently is also an important step in preventing type 2 diabetes.

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Popular Nasal Sprays Now Available Over-the-Counter

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Asthma 1

Many asthma and allergy sufferers, especially those with hay fever, have been happy to learn that Flonase® Allergy Relief, a corticosteroid nasal spray, is now available over-the-counter (OTC). Nasal sprays maximize allergy relief since the medicine is delivered directly to the nasal passage instead of through the blood stream, which is how allergy pills deliver medicine. They also won’t make you sleepy, which can be a common setback to taking allergy pills.

With any medication, nasal sprays do have side effects, so talk to your doctor or pharmacist about which allergy medication will work best for you. If you use a nasal spray, talk to your pharmacist about proper care – you may need to periodically clean the applicator, for example. When using a nasal spray, spray away from your septum (the tissue at the center of your nose) to avoid irritation or damage to the sensitive nasal tissue.

Saline nasal sprays can also offer allergy relief by moisturizing dry nasal passages and reducing inflammation of mucous membranes. This natural nasal spray option can clear mucus obstructing your nasal passage, and if used long-term, can decrease postnasal drip and reduce bacteria in your nose. Saline nasal sprays come in a variety of forms, from the Neti pot to squirt bottles to battery-powered sprays. Talk to your doctor about whether or not a saline nasal spray will sufficiently provide you with allergy relief, or if you should consider a corticosteroid nasal spray like Flonase or Nasacort® Allergy 24 HR.

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All About Asthma Month

Lisa Feierstein Asthma, Breathe EZ Leave a comment  

Every May, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unites organizations across the U.S. in raising asthma awareness, working to get asthma under control, and improving asthmatics’ quality of life. Over 300 million people worldwide have asthma, and 15 million die each year from asthma-related complications or early death, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Asthma Month also reminds us to be aware of common asthma triggers and to be conscientious of how our behavior can affect asthmatics. Tobacco smoke is a well-known trigger, but irritants like strong perfumes and cleaning chemicals can even trigger an asthma attack. NIH-supported scientists are researching and developing a better understanding of how asthma is affected by exposure to allergens (asthma triggers), pollution and microbes. This type of research will help asthmatics better understand which triggers affect them, and how to improve their asthma management plans.

Many communities are also hosting Asthma Month events, like World Asthma Day and Happy Food Allergy Awareness Week. This year’s theme for World Asthma Day is “You can control your asthma,” and organizations are participating in the event by hosting Twitter chats with doctors, promoting educational materials about asthma triggers and management plans, and providing tools to share information about asthma.

Interested in local Asthma Month information and activities? Check out the North Carolina Asthma Program for resources about asthma triggers in residential environments, information for coaches about how asthma affects athletic performance, and more.

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This Musician Can Soothe Your Asthma Blues

Lisa Feierstein Asthma, Breathe EZ, Children's Health Leave a comment  

Al Keith doesn’t want you down and out with the “asthma blues.” In fact, he’s so concerned about respiratory health, he produced a jazz and blues CD called “Asthma Blues” to educate asthmatics, their families and caregivers about how to have a successful asthma management plan. Al is a respiratory therapist based out of Chicago who understands that music is a powerful educational tool. He created CTK Clinical Consultants, LLC in 2002 as a way to build an “educational bridge between patients and physicians.”

Al’s songs were written based on the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) guidelines. He sings about important components of an asthma management plan like how to identify asthma triggers, how to use a peak flow meter, and why it’s important to have a written asthma action plan. You can download Al’s album on iTunes, or on the Asthma Blues website, and enjoy songs like “Breathin’ Right,” Get Your Peak Flow On,” and “You Need an Action Plan.”

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More Cases of Diabetes Diagnosed Since Expansion of Medicaid Program

Lisa Feierstein Diabetes Leave a comment  

Medicaid access expanded in 26 states in January 2014 and diagnosed cases of diabetes have also increased significantly in those states. Diagnosed diabetes cases among Medicaid recipients grew 23% in the states that increased their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act. In the 24 states that didn’t expand Medicaid programs, the increase was only 0.4%.

Early detection of diabetes decreases the risk of complications related to the condition; undiagnosed diabetes can result in major medical problems like kidney failure, stroke, heart disease, blindness, and leg and feet amputations. The financial cost of diabetes is also high; total medical costs and the price of lost work and wages amounted to $245 billion in 2014, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Quest Diagnostics funded the research on the increase of diabetes cases related to Medicaid expansion, and found a greater uptick in diagnoses among men and older individuals aged 50 to 64.

At least one in three people will develop diabetes, according to the CDC. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can develop at any age, but unlike type 1, most cases of type 2 can be prevented. Combining medication with proper diet and exercise can make a big difference in the success of diabetes management plans. For more information on how to manage your diabetes, check out this infographic, “A Snapshot: Diabetes in the United States” by the CDC.


The Striking Truth about Thunderstorm Asthma

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Asthma, Breathe EZ Leave a comment  

Thunder doesn’t just signal that lightning is coming—it can also trigger asthma attacks. We usually think the rain will help our allergies by washing away pollen, but on rare occasions, thunderstorms can actually make allergies worse. During thunderstorms, the low barometric pressure can stir up mold and pollen that can be an irritant to individuals with allergies and asthma. Some researchers believe the thunderstorm’s electrical charge can make mold and pollen particles more likely to stick to the lungs, and asthma-related emergency room visits actually increase during and after some thunderstorms.

Researchers have had a difficult time fully understanding thunderstorm asthma since it is a rare, localized occurrence. Thunderstorms generally don’t last very long, so it can be hard to determine if an asthma attack was caused by the thunderstorm or something else. Plus, different asthma sufferers have different sensitivities, so not everyone with asthma is at risk of experiencing a thunderstorm-related asthma attack. However, researchers believe the increase in ER visits due to thunderstorm asthma could be because individuals with mild asthma might not have a rescue inhaler on hand. Scientists are concerned that cases of thunderstorm asthma could increase due to climate change that would increase the amount of pollen in the air and lead to stronger thunderstorms. If you have asthma, make sure you have rescue inhalers on hand in case you are susceptible to thunderstorm asthma.

Sources


Temporary Tattoo Painlessly Tests Blood Sugar

Lisa Feierstein Diabetes 3 Comments

Tattoos aren’t just a fashion statement anymore—nanoengineers have developed a temporary tattoo that can test blood sugar levels. This technology is promising for diabetics since their current option for testing blood sugar levels is by taking fingertip pricks several times a day. Using a temporary tattoo instead would be a much more comfortable and convenient way to test blood sugar levels.

Amay Bandodkar, graduate student and colleagues in Professor Joseph Wang’s laboratory at the NanoEngineering Department and Center for Wearable Sensors at the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, developed the sensors in the temporary tattoo. The sensors emit a mild electrical current that measures glucose levels. The electrodes are printed on tattoo paper that gives the user a painless way to test their blood sugar. The tattoos last a day and only cost a few cents.

A closer look at the temporary tattoo that measures glucose levels.

A closer look at the temporary tattoo that measures glucose levels.

The tattoo was tested on seven healthy male patients that do not have diabetes. Although the tattoo recorded a change in their glucose levels, scientists had to remove the tattoo in order to collect data because it doesn’t currently provide the patient with a way to read or monitor their own glucose level. In the future, the tattoos will connect with Bluetooth so data collected by the tattoo can be transmitted to the patient’s doctor or stored in the cloud. The technology used in the tattoo could eventually be used for other medical purposes, like delivering medicine or identifying important metabolites.

 

 

 

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Photo credit: Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego


Your Job Could Be Bad for Your Lungs

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Asthma, Breathe EZ Leave a comment  

Some jobs, like construction and manufacturing, put workers at a greater risk of experiencing a serious accident. However, there are many other professions that pose a less obvious threat. Some common occupations can actually put your lungs at risk for conditions like asthma, fibrosis, cancer, COPD and infections.

Jobs like construction and manufacturing are often thought of as dangerous because of the risk of equipment-related accidents. However, these jobs also expose workers to asbestos, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), dust from demolitions, or to the risk of inhaling microscopic fibers and metals. These risk factors can contribute to conditions like asthma, lung cancer, and mesothelioma (another type of cancer). Firefighters can also be exposed to harmful building materials, but can reduce their risk of exposure by using a “self-contained breathing apparatus” (SCBA).

Housekeepers are regularly exposed to cleaning chemicals, which can also emit VOCs. These VOCs can cause allergic reactions and lead to long-lasting breathing problems. While cleaning, housekeepers can run fans and open windows in an effort to improve ventilation in the area. Cleaning with vinegar, baking soda and water are effective alternatives to commercial cleaners, and are less irritating to the lungs.

Hair stylists are also regularly exposed to chemicals, but from hair-coloring and straightening products instead of from cleaners. Hair-coloring products can cause asthma, and hair-straightening products contain formaldehyde, a carcinogen. Health care workers with a sensitivity to latex can experience asthma-like symptoms, but latex-free synthetic gloves can be an effective alternative.

For workers with work conditions that can damage their lungs, it’s important to wear protective gear like masks and special breathing apparatuses. Working in well ventilated areas can also make a positive difference. Managers and employees should make an effort to understand job-related health risks, and utilize equipment that protects them from harmful chemicals and dust.

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Nascar Driver Teams Up With American Diabetes Association

Lisa Feierstein Diabetes Leave a comment  

Elite athletes have strict fitness routines and carefully calculated diets, and although Nascar drivers are more stationary, they still have to be in top physical condition. Drivers face strong G-forces and have to quickly manually shift so it’s important that they regularly do intensive cardiovascular, upper body, core and leg exercises. A Nascar driver’s overall health makes a big difference on their success on the track, but driver Ryan Reed recently faced a health challenge that threatened to end his Nascar career.

Ryan Reed started racing at a young age and won the Kid’s Kart Track Championship at only four-years old. In 2010, he was named Rookie of the Year in the Super Late Model Division at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, but in 2011 he received news that his career may already be over. Reed was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and told he could no longer race. By working with doctors, his personal trainer, and support systems like his pit crew, Reed has been able to continue driving and also successfully manage his diabetes. He later founded Ryan’s Mission, a non-profit focused on encouraging diabetics and raising awareness about diabetes.

Reed’s story exemplifies how important it is for diabetics to have a strong treatment management plan for their condition. He saw his condition as an opportunity instead of an obstacle; Reed is now the driver of the No. 16 American Diabetes Association Drive to Stop Diabetes presented by Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang. How does your story compare to Reed’s? Did you overcome an obstacle by implementing a better diabetes management plan? Share your story in our comment section!

 


Indoor Allergies Could Increase Risk of Childhood Asthma

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Asthma, Breathe EZ Leave a comment  

Parents know that the safety and health of their children will have an impact on their children’s development and health as an adult. Research has shown us that childhood obesity, for example, could be linked to an increased risk of diabetes; heart attacks; cancers; and in the immediate term, it could negatively affect academic performance. A new study revealed another children’s health risk parents should keep in mind, and it involves the relationship between childhood allergies in toddlers and preschoolers and the development of asthma later in childhood.

Researchers studied about 500 children from Cincinnati at ages 1, 2, 3 and 4, and administered skin prick allergy tests for common indoor allergies to cats, dogs, cockroaches and dust mites. Children in the study were tested for asthma at age 7, and researchers found that those with a year-to-year positive test for cat and dust mite allergies and an increased risk of having asthma. Although there’s a link between these specific allergens and an increased risk of developing asthma, more research is needed to determine if these allergens cause asthma since there are other factors that be at play.

Curious about other childhood conditions that increase the risk of asthma development? Check out our post on the link between childhood eczema and asthma.

 

 


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