Baby boomers and stress on the system
The U.S. healthcare system is not prepared to take care of aging baby boomers, according to a new Institute of Medicine report titled, "Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce." The report predicts that as the proportion of seniors grows to about 20 percent of the country's population, they'll encounter an understaffed healthcare workforce that is "critically unprepared" to meet their needs. "Fundamental changes in the health care system need to take place, and greater financial resources need to be committed to ensure they can receive high-quality care," according to the IOM. "Right now, the nation is not prepared to meet the social and health care needs of elderly people." Steps need to be taken to address this impending problem, the IOM said.
More reason to try the DASH diet
The latest reason to try the DASH--Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension--diet: It may help women significantly lower their risk of heart disease and stroke, suggests a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine. More than 88,500 healthy women ages 34 to 59 were followed for 24 years, and their eating habits were evaluated intermittently, Lindsay Lyon reports. Those whose diets most closely resembled DASH were 24 percent less likely to develop heart disease and 18 percent less likely to have a stroke than those women whose diets strayed most from DASH. Interested in trying the DASH diet? Here is a sample menu.
High blood pressure and headaches
People with high blood pressure may get fewer headaches, including migraines, than those with normal blood pressure, reports a study, published in the April 15 issue of Neurology. People with high blood pressure may have stiffer arteries--which in turn make them less sensitive to pain--and this may be why they experience fewer headaches.
Still, high blood pressure is a serious health issue--with the potential to cause strokes, kidney damage, or other problems--and it needs to be treated, experts said. The findings are of interest to researchers but don't yet have any application in an everyday office setting. "This is an epidemiological study, and the results cannot be used on an individual level," study author Erling Tronvik, a physician with the Norwegian National Headache Center at Trondheim University Hospital in Trondheim told HealthDay. "The results may, however, be used to try to explain some mechanisms involved in headache and migraine."
Diabetic retinopathy a sign of heart failure?
New research suggests that an eye problem called diabetic retinopathy-- caused by overgrowth and/or leakage of small blood vessels in the eye--may be a warning sign of heart failure. Researchers followed the progress of more than 1,000 middle-aged adults with type 2 diabetes and found that those who had retinopathy at the start of the study period had more than double the risk of developing heart failure than those who didn't have the eye problem, according to the study, published in the April 22 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. "They have made the point that patients with diabetic retinopathy need to be more vigilant in looking for the development of heart failure," Hector O. Ventura, director of the cardiology residency program at the Ochsner Health System in New Orleans and co-author of an accompanying editorial in the journal, told HealthDay. Previous research has shown a similar link between retinopathy and heart failure.
--January W. Payne