One of the most interesting health issues to resurface this year has been the Measles. Which is interesting because, in the year 2000, the United States was able to declare that the Measles had been eliminated. However, in these last six months, we have seen 1077 cases. A number that is still growing. The last time we saw these kinds of numbers was in 1992. Here is what you need to know about these recent outbreaks:
1. Over 26 states have reported a Measles breakout
These states include: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, and Washington.
2. Small Community Centered
Most of the reported breakouts include a small number of people affected; only a couple at a time. But the most significant reported amounts are in an Orthodox Jewish Community in New York City, specifically in Rockland County. This group has been vaccine skeptic, and the measles virus has spread wildly. So much so that the mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, declared a public health emergency on April 9th. He said that anyone who has not been vaccinated within a specific zip code must get the vaccine. If they refused, they would be fined $1,000.
3. It’s an aggressive virus.
You may have the virus and not show any symptoms. A person can have it up to four days before they ever show signs, and they can easily infect another person during that time if a person who has contracted the measles were to walk into a room, cough and then leave. Hours later, an unvaccinated person could get the virus from the droplets in the air from the infected person. No other virus can do that.
4. It’s making its way into the US from tourists
Many of the outbreaks that stemmed from people that have traveled to countries where measles still is a significant problem. Outbreaks in California have originated from strains of measles found in Vietnam or Thailand. New York’s epidemic seems to come from Jerusalem. If you are traveling to another country this summer, the CDC recommends that you are up on your vaccines so that you do not contract this aggressive virus.
If more people are vaccinated, it creates what is called the herd effect. It helps the people who cannot get vaccines like small children or people or autoimmune diseases from getting the disease. If you need to check up on your vaccines, make sure to call your doctor. If you have already been vaccinated for measles, most people do not need a have the vaccine again, but if you got it before 1967, you might. Your doctor will be able to help you determine what you need as far as vaccines go.
In this blog, we want to cover some changes that you can implement to help with your heart health. Our previous blog covered just how much heart disease affects Americans and also how deadly it is. Almost half of Americans today are at risk for heart disease, and many participate in a lifestyle that puts them at higher risk such as poor diet, no or little physical activity, smoking, excessive alcohol use, and obesity.
So here are some excellent tips if you want to help lower your risk of heart disease
Eat a balanced diet with lots of colors
A balanced diet consists of lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy products. Two diets that are highly recommended are the DASH diet or the Mediterranean diet. Both are noted to be a more balanced approach to dieting allowing people to stick with their plan and not crash and burn when they start to crave foods that are not allowed. If you don’t want to follow anything as formal as these diets, a helpful approach is to watch your portion size. Try using a small plate, that will immediately help cut your portions. And you will want to make sure that you are eating a lot of colors. More colors are in fruits and vegetables which are excellent for heart health.
Smoking introduces deadly chemicals into your body. It also can build up plaque and harden your arteries which can ultimately lead to a heart attack. The good news is that as soon you do quit smoking the effects are immediate and your risk for heart disease begins to lower quickly.
Get up and move!
As with all healthy lifestyles, we recommend some moderate activity. Exercise allows you to keep your weight down which in turn reduces your chance of cardiovascular disease. We suggest something that will get your heart pumping for about 30 minutes each day.
See your doctor
Your doctor can give you the best information and recommendations about your heart’s health. Let them know that you are looking to make this a priority and they can walk you through what needs to change in your life or what additions will make all the difference.
February is American Heart Month! Your heart is one of the most important organs you have because it keeps everything else working properly. Not taking care of your heart can lead to some serious health risks. Here are some statistics taken fromÂ heart.org* on where our country stands on taking care of their hearts.
220.8 per 100,000:Â The overall rate of death attributable to Cardiovascular Disease, based on 2014 data.
On average, someone died of Cardiovascular Disease every 40 seconds.Â That is about 2,200 deaths of CVD each day.
More than 65% of US adults have 2, 3, or 4 criteria at ideal cardiovascular health, with â‰ˆ20% adults within each of these categories. At any age, females tend to have more metrics at ideal levels than do males. Blacks and Hispanics tend to have fewer metrics at ideal levels than whites or other races.
85.7 million, or 34.0% of US adults are estimated to have hypertension, based on 2011-2014 data.
28.5 million, or 11.9% of US adults are estimated to have total serum cholesterol levels â‰¥240 mg/dL, based on 2011-2014 data.
1 in 6 males and 1 in 7 females in the United States are current smokers, based on 2015 data.
On average, 1 in 3 adults, or 30.4% Do not engage in leisure time physical activity. Hispanic and Non-Hispanic black adults were more likely to be inactive.
After seeing these facts, it may be easier to understand precisely why there is a whole month set aside to put a spotlight on heart health. Heath Disease is still one of the leading causes of death for men and women in the United States. Thatâ€™s why we want to do whatever we can to help get the word out about taking care of your heart. In our next blog, you will find some critical steps that you and your loved ones can do to keep yourselves from being a high risk for heart disease.
There have some interesting findings as a team of researchers discovered that the Zika virus kills off the cells that make a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma. This is the most common and most aggressive form of brain cancer and is the kind of cancer that Senator John McCain has been diagnosed with as well as the type of cancer that ultimately lead to the death of Beau Biden and Senator Ted Kennedy. This kind of cancer is severe, and many patients do not live past five years of their diagnosis; making the potential of this discovery invaluable.
The Zika virus has been getting a lot of press lately, and that leads people to have some basic information but not the full picture of what the Zika virus does. The Zika virus it is not considered to be a severe infection for a healthy adult except for when it infects pregnant women because then it has the propensity to attack the developing nervous system of the child leading to a variety of abnormalities. So knowing that investigators realized that this particular virus attacks early cells in the development of the nervous system. With this particular type of cancer, it was surmised that if you could infect these cells with Zika virus, they would selectively destroy the tumor cells and leave the mature components of the nervous system in the brain. And the first series of experiments did show that in a test tube situation the primitive cells were highly susceptible to being destroyed by the Zika virus. The researchers went further and tested mice that had been infected with glioblastoma and as it turned out the mice which were infected with the Zika virus lasted longer than the mice in the control group.
These are still very early experiments done in the test tube and a mouse model, but it at least opens the door to the possibility that you might utilize the capability of this virus to destroy cells in the nervous system that are early in development to become cancer cells. The researchers are excited about their findings but realize that in these beginning phases there is no way to tell if these tests will lead to any real treatments. We will have to keep an eye out for the future of these discoveries.
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