Hypertensive Crisis, etc

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What is a hypertensive crisis?

Cebu Mayor Tommy Osmena was recently hospitalized after he collapsed from a Hypertensive Crisis, according to the media. The word hypertensive is derived from the word hypertension (meaning high blood pressure). Hypertensive Crisis is a dramatic and dynamic situation where the blood pressure of a person drastically shoots up to a critically high level causing severe a headache, neck pains, dizziness, or even syncope (passing out). Sometimes, the tremendously high blood pressure could cause an artery in the brain to burst resulting in a stroke.

How safe is heart bypass surgery?

Coronary bypass surgery is a "routine" form of surgery nowadays in major hospitals around the world. The risk ranges between 1 to 4 percent, depending on the integrity of the ventricles (muscles) of the heart. If the muscles of the heart have been damaged or weakened by previous heart attack, leading to poor ejection power of this pumping organ, the risk proportionately goes higher to 5% or 10%, or even higher. In general, coronary bypass surgery is quite safe, most beneficial and a life saver.

Why is it dangerous for children to eat peanuts?

Children who are younger than 10 years of age are advised against eating peanuts and other nuts, not only for the high possibility of allergic reactions but to prevent choking accidents. Young children have very small windpipes and there have been cases of choking deaths due to peanuts and other tiny nuts or foreign bodies. It is best for parents to keep peanuts and other nuts, and potentially dangerous items from their young children to prevent asphyxiation or suffocation. Accidents of this nature are preventable deaths and should not happen.

What is the danger of beta-carotene?

Natural beta-carotene found in yellow/orange and dark green fruits and vegetables are excellent antioxidants that protect the heart. However, studies have shown that the commercially available beta-carotene in supplement form may actually increase the risk of heart disease, especially in smokers. A double-blind intervention trial in Finland involving 29,133 male smokers revealed 11% higher death rate from heart disease and 15% to 20% more strokes among those ingesting beta-carotene supplement, which, by the way, also increases the prevalence of lung cancer.

Should food handlers wear masks?

Ideally yes, in order to prevent food contamination from the exhaled air of a food handler who might have some form of upper respiratory tract infection. However, there is no law that mandates this practice in restaurants. I notice with dismay that among those eateries that require their food handlers or servers to wear masks, the employees do not wear the mask properly, allowing their noses to stick out of the mask. Because we breathe through our nose, this is where the contamination is more prone to come from. The mouth and the nose must both be under the mask, if it is to be effective in minimizing airborne contamination of food. Wearing the mask with the nose uncovered defeats the purpose. Washing hands frequently among food handlers is an excellent practice and a must for the protection of the public.

Is mega-dose of Vitamin C beneficial?

No, a mega-dose (500 mg or higher) of Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) is not necessary nor beneficial to the body. Claims that 1000 mg of Vitamin C is best in boosting the immune system, illness prevention, etc. made by irresponsible food supplement marketing firms are false and baseless. Researchers have found that 400 mg may be the optimal dose, 200 mg from pills and the other 200 mg from the food we eat. Vitamin C in higher doses than that is simply eliminated by the body through the urine. Beware of mega-dose food supplements because some of them may have adverse effects on our body. Consult your physician before taking any of them.

Why do women get bladder infection more readily?

Compared to men, women get urinary tract (bladder) infection more readily because compared to male urethra (the length of the entire penis), the female urethra is a lot shorter and therefore bacteria from the outside can get into the female bladder faster, having s shorter distance to travel into the bladder.

Can blood test detect ovarian cancer?

Preliminary investigations at the U.S. National Cancer Institute show that proteomics (study of proteins inside cells) made it possible for a blood test to detect early stage of cancer of the ovaries. With a simple blood test the physician can someday very soon identify this malignancy in its "Stage One" phase, allowing early detection and a 95% five-year survival among women with ovarian cancer, instead of the 20% among advanced cases. This study needs to be applied to a larger group of women in various medical centers in order to draw a final conclusion as to the merit of this preliminary report.

Is Spinach really good for us as Mom says?

Mother is right once again: spinach is good for us. Just ask Popeye. Spinach contains iron and folate, a B-vitamin that is so essential, it is now added to flour. Folate prevents neural-tube defects in babies and also reduces homocysteine level in the blood, an amino acid that speeds up cholesterol build-up in our arteries and is linked to coronary heart disease. Spinach is also loaded with two phytochemicals, zeaxanthin and lutein, both of which protect us from blindness due to macular degeneration. A cup of spinach has 41 calories and contains no fat or cholesterol. Collard greens, kale and Swiss chard also have similar good attributes as spinach.

Do lipsticks cause cancer?

There is no evidence that lipsticks or lip balms (moisturizers) cause cancer of the lips or of any organ in the body. If anything at all, lipsticks and lip moisturizers (especially those with UV protection) might confer some protection against the adverse effects of sun rays.

Do birth control pills have side effects?

There is practically no medication that is totally devoid of possible side effects, even aspirin. Some of the possible adverse effects of birth control pills include break-through bleeding or spotting, cessation of menses, acne, nervousness, blood clots in the legs, somewhat increased risk of breast cancer, breast tenderness, fluid retention, elevated blood pressure, weight gain. It is prudent to consult a physician before taking birth control pills or any other medication.

What is an intra aortic balloon pump?

An intra aortic balloon pump (IABP) is a machine that helps the failing heart recover, following a heart attack or heart failure. The IABP catheter (which has a sausage-shaped balloon at the tip) is inserted through the groin artery and positioned just below the left subclavian (armpit) artery. The balloon inflates and deflates, computer-synchronized with the heart beat, allowing the heart to work less and rest more, thereby promoting faster healing and recovery. This vital machine is available in major hospitals, those with open-heart surgery.

©2003Raoul R. Diez, M.A.O.D.