Archive for the ‘mortality’ Category

Your Chair May Be Hazardous To Your Health-The Sins of Sitting

January 13, 2012

You’ve seen that advice about smoking hazardous to your health which is posted on every package of cigarettes. Now they may be putting a similar warning on the very chair you sit on. It was just fifty years ago when half of American jobs involved moderate physical activity, often in manufacturing or agriculture. Today less than 20% are physically active at work. The rest spend most of their time sitting in a chair at work and at home. Most Americans now spend more time sitting than they do sleeping. Many spend 10 hours a day in a car, at work or at home in a chair. The problem is worse with older Americans. Nearly 75% of middle age and older Americans are sedentary, and more than 40% get no physical activity at all. Women who sit more than six hours a day outside of work had a 34% higher risk of death than those who sat fewer than three hours a day. Even physically active men were 64% more likely to die of heart disease if they sat more than 23 hours a week in front of the TV.

The Benefits
Going for a daily walk will immediately help you feel better. Regular walking can help protect the aging brain against memory loss and dementia, help cut the risk of heart disease, and reduce the change of developing type 2 diabetes in high-risk adults. You can reduce your risk of developing cancer by merely getting at least 30 minutes a day of moderate-to-vigorous exercise.

How to Get Started
Start by thinking of ways to add physical activity to your workday and leisure time. You might consider parking your car a few blocks away from where you work and walk to and from the office. Walk up a few flights of stairs a few times every day. Reduce TV viewing. There are many who will watch 10-12 hours of football games every weekend. During a commercial or time out, you can drop down and do 10-15 push-ups or sit-ups. The famous Heisman Trophy winner and professional football player, Herschel Walker, said he never lifted weights but did push-up and sit-ups during commercials while he was watching T.V.

Consider working on your computer while standing up.

Deliver message to colleagues in person instead of texting or E-mailing.

Set the clock in your computer to remind you to stand up and stretch every 30 minutes.

Train yourself to standup when the phone rings.

You can place the waste paper basket on the other side of the room, which forces you to stand up and walk a few feet to make a deposit into the waste paper basket.

If you have to use the restroom, walk up a flight or two instead of using one down the hall on your floor.

Take a brisk 20-minute walk at lunch and eschew the desert.

Bottom Line: Americans, we need to get moving and spend less time sitting. There are simple ways to get more exercise even if you have a sedentary job. Remember, your chair may be dangerous to your health.

Don’t Want To Die? Avoid Going to the Hospital in July

July 23, 2011

You are to have elective surgery or you need to go to the hospital for a procedure. You may want to consider deferring this decision the month of July or in early August. Why? Conventional wisdom has long held that the quality of care in hospitals plummets during the month of July. But now a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on July 11 confirms that suspicion.

Most newly minted doctors, interns, residents, fellows, and nurses graduate in June and begin working in hospitals on July 1. Teaching hospitals where doctors and nurses train have little experience caring for patients, often aren’t well supervised and don’t yet know the hospital system. As a result, patients remain in the hospital longer, and risk of complications and even death are higher in early July than the rest of the year. This finding is designated the “July Effect” in medical circles.

As a group, these physicians-in-training are supervised by fully trained doctors but from day one these new doctors are writing medication orders and doing certain procedures and diagnostic tests with relatively little direct supervision, so there’s always an opportunity for something to slip through the cracks and mistakes can be made.

Because on or around July 1, fresh, inexperienced interns, residents, nurses and other new health care workers first report to work at many of the nation’s hospitals, eager to start practicing medicine — on you.

In medical circles it’s known as the “July effect.” The new study reviewed data from 39 previous studies that tracked health results in teaching hospitals — including death rates and complications from medical procedures. The best designed and largest studies, the authors found, showed mortality rates increase 4 to 12 percent in July and revealed that many patients remain in the hospital longer, spend more time in surgery and have higher hospital charges in July than in other months. After analyzing more than 62 million death certificates issued across the country from 1979 to 2006, researchers found that fatal medication errors consistently spiked in July by about 10 percent — but only in U.S. counties with many teaching hospitals — and then subsided in August to levels on par with other months. Yet there was no measurable increase in counties with facilities that don’t employ residents, such as community hospitals.

How protect yourself from the July Effect

• Bring your own health records (including a “Personal Medication Record”).
• Ask a friend, relative or other health advocate to stay with you.
• To lessen the chance of mix-ups, state your name to anyone providing you with care.
• Know the name of the doctor who is ultimately in charge of your care.
• Ask your doctor who will be doing the surgery or the procedure and consider asking him\her if they will promise to do it and have the new doctor serve as an assistant

Bottom Line: All surgery and all medical procedures have risks and complications but you can reduce these risks by avoiding a teaching hospital the month of July and early August.

This article was excerpted from “Why? New doctors and nurses report to work for the first time, eager to ‘practice’ medicine on you”
by: Sid Kirchheimer