Updates from October, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Jack 12:35 pm on October 6, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: baby aspirin, , diabetes, dr. gifford jones, heart attacks, medical advice, strokes   

    Vital Knowledge 

    One – You’re in your 50s. The Medical Publication, Health After 50, reports that a panel of experts has updated the guidelines for taking Aspirin at various ages. It says you, in your 50s, have a 10 percent or greater risk of coronary attack or stroke in the next 10 years, and a life expectancy of at least 10 years with no increased risk of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding. If you meet one of these requirements it says you may be a candidate for a daily baby Aspirin (81 milligrams). You can calculate your risk of heart attack at http://www.cvriskcalculator.

    Two – You’re in your 60s. In this case, the publication says you have a high risk of heart attack or stroke over the next 10 years and a life expectancy of at least 10 years with no increased risk of GI bleeding. If you meet one of the these requirements you must then be prepared to take a daily 81 mg. Aspirin for 10 years which is the minimum required for benefits to take effect.

    Three – You’re 70 years of age or older, or younger than 50.  Here, experts say there’s not enough evidence to advise one way or the other in preventing either a first heart attack or colon cancer. But it adds that, since many over the age of 70 have health problems, the risk of heart attack or stroke may be increased. Then the benefits of a daily Aspirin may be substantial.


    Four – People who have already had a heart attack, stroke or other forms of cardio-vascular disease (CVD) should take a baby aspirin to decrease the risk of a second heart attack, stroke or dying from CVD.

    Five – As you may have guessed by this point, the big risk is that small doses of Aspirin can trigger GI bleeding. In Canada about 2,000 people die from this problem each year and about 22,000 in the U.S. You are at increased risk if you are over age 65 and a male. Or if you have a history of peptic ulcer, hypertension, take blood thinners or corticosteroids, doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, have a low platelet count, liver or kidney disease.

    Six – Some say you can decrease the risk of GI bleeding by taking a low dose enteric-coated baby Aspirin. But other authorities say there’s no scientific evidence that this low dose suggestion or a buffered Aspirin decrease the risk of GI bleeding. One should also limit the amount of alcohol and not take painkillers such as Motrin, Advil and Aleve along with Aspirin unless advised by your doctor. It’s also important to take Aspirin with water and food, not on an empty stomach. And do not stop Aspirin abruptly as this may cause a rebound effect increasing the risk of heart attack and blood clot.

    Seven – Make sure you always discuss the pros and cons of Aspirin therapy with your doctor. Remember the sage advice that he who treats himself or herself has a fool for a patient!

    Eight – Readers know that I do not like long-term medication. But there are exceptions to every rule and I have been taking a baby Aspirin for 20 years after a coronary attack. I also take high doses of Vitamin C to decrease risk of another heart attack.

    Nine – Interestingly, I have found no mention of the use of Aspirin for those suffering from diabetes. But researchers at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta report that 98 percent of diabetes patients should be taking Aspirin and only 20 percent are doing so. This advice makes sense since these patients suffer from varying degrees of atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries) and have a 50 percent chance of dying of heart attack.

    Ten –  It is also ironic that one study showed 51 percent of heart attack victims were not taking Aspirin. In fact, seven percent were taking Tylenol which is not effective in preventing blood clots!


    • Jack 12:58 pm on October 6, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I took an interest in this column and it requires a decent explanation. Back in 2004 I was diagnosed with a serious blood condition and while being interviewed by the hematologist I was asked if I had ever experienced problems with my vision (eyes going out of focus). The answer was yes but very periodic.

      When the doctor heard that (mini strokes) he immediately put me on a baby aspirin a day and I’ve been taking them ever since. Since then I’ve had no more problems that way but there is a side effect I’ve noticed. I tend to get cold easily because my blood is thinner but that is easily dealt with. I just put on a sweater if I need one.

      A small price to pay considering the benefit of the medication.

  • Jack 2:39 pm on September 27, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: bill cassidy, , , lindsay graham, , , , , , , ,   



    The Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare was dead and buried. The eulogies, such as they were, were over and the Health Care Freedom Act of 2017 was dispatched to a forgettable corner of the graveyard. But when a couple of senators noticed a twitch and heard a groan they pulled it out of its coffin and called the medics.

    The Graham-Cassidy bill was a simplified substitute, and soon it was on the way to Capitol Hill as one last Republican attempt to save the nation’s health care system from a collapse that would likely trigger a government takeover. With a few roguish Republicans joining the Democratic opposition, the bill died Tuesday. Back to the graveyard, where this time it will stay dead.

    The measure, drafted by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, would have enabled the states to establish their own systems, funded with federal block grants, empowering the 50 states to operate as the “laboratories of democracy” they were meant to be. President Trump held out optimism that the legislative act he had expected to shake Washington with post-Inaugural shock and awe was about to finally arrive. “I hope Republican Senators will vote for Graham-Cassidy and fulfill their promise to Repeal & Replace ObamaCare. Money direct to States!” the president tweeted, and signaled that he would sign the bill.

    The knock on the plan by Democrats was that the size of the grants would be insufficient, eventually leaving some Americans without health insurance. The biggest losers would be blue states like California and New York, which used Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion to collect more than their fair share of federal dollars. The net winners would be the more frugal red states, whose leaders know that trouble starts when federal largesse evaporates.

    Not every dissenting senator was a Democrat. John McCain, who has never been comfortable as a Republican despite the party having given him its highest honor, vowed to oppose a law written in haste. Rand Paul, the party scold, said that block-granting Obamacare by the states is still Obamacare, and free-marketers Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas threatened to join him. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska declared that the ladies had to be heard. With only two votes to lose and a Sept. 30 deadline to repeal and replace by a simple majority, the once-Grand Old Party, staring at an epic fail, threw in the tattered towel. The fourth time was not the charm.

    The Congressional Budget Office forecast Monday that the Graham-Cassidy measure would reduce the budget deficit by $133 billion over a decade, but “the number of people with comprehensive health insurance that covers high-cost medical events would be reduced by millions.” This killed it for the Democrats, who would have been against it if it were the perfect solution. Reductions in subsidies for Medicaid and individual policies would account for some of the loss, and many healthy, young adults would have cheerfully dropped out of government-enforced coverage.

    The bill for Obamacare’s unworkable financial scheme is already overdue, with health care companies fleeing the marketplace and that will leave 40 percent of the nation’s counties with only a single Obamacare-compliant insurer in 2018. Waiting in the wings for the moment of national health-care crisis is Bernie Sanders with Medicare for All, his euphemism for socialized medicine. At an estimated cost of $32 trillion over a decade, Bernie’s remedy would attempt to cure cancer with a draught of hemlock.

    A free marketplace produces the best products at the most competitive prices, but Congress prefers to write its own reality. Graham-Cassidy may have been Obamacare-lite, but the alternative left in place will devour the nation’s treasure, and eventually its future.


    See Also:

    (1) Republicans Should Reject ‘Bipartisan’ Solution For Obamacare

  • Jack 4:41 am on September 25, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: health tips, jeffrey overall, lyme disease,   

    Lyme Disease 

    I contracted Lyme disease, while hiking through the Sixteen Mile Creek trails in Oakville, on July 2, 2011.

    The bugs were bad and I remember being bitten, but thought nothing of it. After two days, a rash formed on my shin, small at first, but then growing a few days later. I went to a walk-in-clinic and was given cortisone. I returned two days later when the rash grew in size and was feverish. I was given an antibiotic cream and told to return if it worsened. It did.

    Over the next seven weeks, I saw general practitioners, naturopaths, and went to the emergency room. I was given sundry medications and tested for multiple ailments. None of the tests would determine what I had. The medication did nothing. No one knew what was wrong with me. Three days after the symptoms of meningitis set-in, I saw a dermatologist. Because, at that point, my rash had dissipated and my symptoms were evolving, it was difficult to diagnosis me, clinically. However, I had pictures, which was the first of four important lessons that I learned.

    Lesson #1: Take pictures and keep notes

    With the pictures and my history of symptoms, the dermatologist suspected Lyme. I was sent for the Public Health test and given a two week script for doxycycline. The test returned positive. Seven weeks after the initial bite and 10 doctors later, I had a confirmed diagnosis. To be fair, one cannot begrudge medical practitioners who have never treated Lyme before. According to the Public Health professional that called me, I was the first case of Lyme in the Halton Region. Nationwide, I was one of the 266 reported cases that year. Last year, there was nearly 1,000.

    Lesson #2: Do your own research

    This is where it gets tricky. Internet medical searches probably cause more harm than good and I know nothing about medicine. But, being a doctoral student at the time, I knew how to navigate academic journals. In my search, I observed that, instead of two weeks, I should be taking doxycycline for at least eight. I took it for 10. Although I was late-stage acute at the time of diagnosis, I was told that I should recover. The several follow-up Public Health tests that I took suggested that I had.

    Lesson #3: Don’t give up

    I felt better, but never 100%. I experience fatigue, forgetfulness, and energy loss. I’m an energetic person, but I don’t have as much as I used to. I thought that it couldn’t be Lyme because all those tests returned negative. I pacified my symptoms as a sign of aging, but I’m still young. After living with the symptoms, I went through a battery of tests to isolate the problem. Nothing sinister emerged. But just to be sure, I was referred to a Lyme specialist that operates a private practice.

    The specialist suggested two tests. One was the Public Health test that I have taken many times, which tests for one strand of Lyme. The other was a private test (not covered by OHIP) – that tests for 20 strands of Lyme. Consistent with the results of the previous tests, the Public Health test was negative. Meaning that, according to Public Health, I don’t have Lyme. However, the private test results showed that I have weak current cellular activity against Lyme (borrelia burgdorferi). After six years, I still have Lyme disease.

    The reason that it still lingers is because, I was told that, doxycycline is insufficient to eradicate Lyme, on its own. Allegedly, both natural remedies and antibiotics are needed. Now, with a 6 – 12 month herbal remedy course coupled with months of antibiotic treatment ahead, the battle continues. This year, I estimate to pay $10,000 on private care.

    Lesson #4: Seek private care

    If I didn’t take the private test, I would have never known that I’m in the chronic Lyme (post-treatment) stage. I wish I would have known about this test six years ago. It probably would have saved me additional medical expenditures, distress, suffering, and a significant loss in productivity.

    With the Public Health test, chronic sufferers like me can be misdiagnosed. Although options are available to treat Lyme, because they are not covered by OHIP or widespread, they are inaccessible to many. From my experiences, the Lyme care in Ontario seems insufficient. We all pay taxes and to incur additional medical expenditures to address deficiencies in our healthcare, which is supposed to be free, is unacceptable. Policy makers need to wake up because people are getting sick. Some are getting ticked off.

    — Dr. Jeffrey Overall is not a medical practitioner or a Lyme disease specialist. He is not giving medical advice. He is an assistant professor at Nipissing University where he teaches entrepreneurship and strategy.


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