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New Tool Predicts Odds of Kidney Disease

11/09/2019 helen 0

FRIDAY, Nov. 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Imagine that your doctor could predict your risk of kidney disease in the next five years with a simple calculation.Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore report they have done just that.”With th…

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ADHD Rates Doubled Among U.S. Adults Over 10 Years

11/02/2019 helen 0

FRIDAY, Nov. 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) — If the latest statistics are any indication, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is no longer an issue for children only.Over a 10-year period, ADHD rates more than doubled among American adults, new…

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How to Eat to Your Heart’s Content

10/25/2019 helen 0

The onset of fall signals colorful foliage, shorter days, cooler temperatures and the start of the endless temptations of the holiday season. From the sugar bombs of Halloween, to the fat-laden carbs of Thanksgiving, all the way to the liquid overindul…

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Women’s Fracture Risk

10/25/2019 helen 0

HealthDay News

FRIDAY, Oct. 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Older women who get even light exercise, like a daily walk, may lower their risk of suffering a broken hip, a large study suggests.

A number of studies have linked regular exercise to a lower risk of hip fracture — a potentially disabling or even fatal injury for older adults. Each year, more than 300,000 people in the United States aged 65 or older are hospitalized for a broken hip, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new study, of more than 77,000 older U.S. women, took a deeper look at the types of exercise that are related to the risk of hip fracture and other bone breaks.

The researchers found that, on average, women who regularly exercised at any intensity — from walking, to doing yard work, to jogging — had a lower risk of hip fracture over 14 years, compared to inactive women.

It all suggests that even light activity is enough to curb the risk of these serious injuries, said study leader Michael LaMonte, a research associate professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

“We were happy to see a strong relationship between walking and lower hip fracture risk,” he said. “As we get older, we naturally do less-strenuous physical activity. This suggests that to lower your risk of hip fracture, you don’t need to do anything fancy. It can be as simple as walking.”

The findings “strongly support” longstanding recommendations for people to fit physical activity into their daily routine, according to Dr. Richard Bockman.

“Get out there and walk,” said Bockman, chief of the endocrine service at the Hospital for Special Surgery, in New York City.

Lower-impact activities do not have a big effect on bone density. But Bockman, who was not involved in the study, said that while bone density matters in hip fracture risk, other factors are also involved. They include muscle strength in the lower body, balance and agility, since broken hips are almost always the result of a fall.

The findings, published online Oct. 25 in JAMA Network Open, come from the Women’s Health Initiative — a study begun in the 1990s at 40 U.S. medical centers. It involved more than 77,000 women who were between the ages of 50 and 79 when they enrolled.

At the outset, the women reported on their usual physical activities, among other lifestyle factors.

Over an average of 14 years, one-third of the women suffered a bone fracture. When it came to hip fractures, women who’d reported higher amounts of physical activity at the study’s start typically had a lower risk.

For example, women who regularly got moderate to vigorous exercise, such as brisk walking or jogging, had a 12% lower risk of hip fracture than those who were less active. But there was also a link between “mild activity” — like slow dancing, bowling or golfing — and lower hip fracture risk. And the more often women walked, at any speed, the lower their risk of a broken hip.

The news wasn’t all good: Women who exercised at moderate to vigorous intensities had a relatively higher risk of a wrist or forearm fracture, compared to less-active women.

It’s not clear why, but LaMonte offered a guess: When women with more “functional ability” do fall, they may be more likely to stretch out an arm to break the fall, which is how wrist and forearm fractures often happen.

One question the study cannot address, LaMonte said, is whether starting exercise at an older age reduces hip fracture risk. Study participants who were physically active may have been active their whole lives.

But, he said, it is clear that “sitting less and moving more” is key in older adults’ overall health, with benefits such as better control of blood pressure and diabetes, and a lower risk of heart disease.

Besides exercise, older adults can take other steps to reduce their hip fracture risk, LaMonte noted. They include getting bone mass measurements as recommended by your doctor, and following a healthy diet with adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D.

SOURCES: Michael LaMonte, Ph.D., M.P.H., research associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health, State University of New York at Buffalo; Richard Bockman, M.D., Ph.D., chief of endocrine service, Hospital for Special Surgery, and professor of medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City; Oct. 25, 2019, JAMA Network Open, online

Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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How a Simple Fall Caused My Spinal Fracture

10/19/2019 helen 0

by Dawn RiddleMoving is never fun, but it’s significantly worse when you get hurt in the process! I was moving to a new home, dragging a bin filled with pots and pans. The carpet shifted and I fell straight down on my butt. I immediately heard a really…

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5 Reasons Why Keeping Your Medical Records Could Save Your Life

10/12/2019 helen 0

WARNING: Not knowing your medical information could be hazardous to your health! Ask for a copy of your test results and medical summary after each doctor visit, hospitalization or emergency visit. No news is NO news when it comes to your health information!

This warning label should appear on every patient health record, with each test or procedure we have, and with each office visit. We sign a mandatory form protecting the privacy of our health information, but we aren’t provided a similar form that assures the availability of our medical records to the one person who needs them the most—you.

We aren’t warned about the dangers of not knowing our own health information.

You have the power to get the best health care possible and even save your own life. The secret is to do for yourself or a loved one what your health care professional can’t do. This means taking charge of your own health information. And taking charge starts with keeping copies of your medical records.

Although everyone should get in the habit of asking for and storing a copy of their medical records, it is especially important that we do this for a parent or loved one. Older adults may be seeing many doctors and other practitioners, have multiple medical conditions and take many and changing medications. Their medical information is often scattered across several hospitals, laboratories and practitioner offices.

No one but you can keep all this information in one place and available to those who need it.

When I wrote my first book in 1999, How to Save Your Own Life, most people thought it was their doctor’s job to keep their health information and know everything about it. Health care professionals were often hesitant to share this information with patients, let alone give them copies of their records. (Ethically and legally patients were always entitled to this information.)

Today, with the widespread adoption of electronic medical records (EMR) and larger and larger health systems sharing this information, some of your medical records may be readily available to you if you through programs like MyChart and OpenNotes.

But having the information more readily available is not enough.

  1. You need to know and understand what is in your medical records.
  2. You need to check for mistakes and inaccuracies. (Hint: Your list of medications may be incorrect and test results may be misfiled.)
  3. You need your medical information and test results to keep you on track and inspire you to follow the treatments you have agreed to.
  4. You need to have in your hand and readily available a copy of your own medical information so you can share it with every practitioner you see. (Not every practitioner has access to your electronic health information.)
  5. No single electronic health record will have all of your personal health information—”cradle to grave.”

Only you can collect and store all this information and see that it is correct and up to date. What I wrote in 1999 about the lifesaving importance of keeping your medical records still applies today. Here are some updates for 2019.

Information That Could Save Your Life

Did you know that 80 percent of what a health care professional relies on to make an accurate diagnosis and recommend the right treatment plan comes from the information in your medical records? This information is arguably more important than any other. Imagine the difficulty of making a diagnosis—let alone recommending the right treatment—if information is unavailable, incorrect or incomplete.

But how many of us actually keep our medical records? We keep financial, car and pet records, but most of us rely on strangers to keep track of our health information. The reality is that the only person you can rely on to safe-keep this information is you.

Marcus Welby Is No More

You may be wondering why your health care professional can’t do that for you. Many of our parents grew up with a Marcus Welby, M.D. impression of a physician. The kind of doctor who had a few hundred patients he took care of from cradle to grave. He knew their names, he made house calls, and he kept all their records tucked in his desk drawer. Without even referring to those records, he remembered who was allergic to penicillin and bee stings, who was on insulin, who had high blood pressure and even who was overdue for a checkup.

The practice of medicine has changed and much of it for the better. Yet, it has grown increasingly complex and specialized. No longer can one health care professional do it all. My own experience, as well as recent research, confirms that the more you get involved in all aspects of your health care—including collecting and understanding your medical records—the better off you will be.

My Experience as a Doctor

As an internal medicine doctor, I saw the importance of my patients taking an active role in their health care and keeping copies of their health information. Many of my patients had complex problems requiring multiple doctors. Some were spending winters in the Sunbelt, which meant they saw a different doctor for half the year. A lot of them were seeing complementary care practitioners and using complementary therapies.

New patients often came for an initial office visit with no paperwork. I had no data to go on—no consultation reports from doctors, no X-ray reports, no test results, no list of medications or immunizations, no history of allergic reactions, no hospital discharge summaries. When I shifted from a solo practice to a group practice, my “panel” of patients was well over one thousand.

Today patients may be in a practice with thousands of patients and are just as likely to see whoever is available from a “panel” of health care professionals in a practice rather than the same doctor each visit. 

Health care professionals also have more demands on their time including the burden of adding data to a computer—the electronic medical record. Your face time with your health care professional may be no more than 7 to 10 minutes. Your eye contact may be less because your practitioner may be focused on the computer screen rather than looking at you. 

Your health care professionals are further hamstrung because they don’t have the time to review all of your records, even if they have them available.

When patients move or change jobs and therefore have new insurance plans and practitioners, charts or electronic records are not routinely transferred or shared. Even if you sign a release to have your records transferred, complete records are rarely sent, and too often records are lost or not sent at all. 

If you ask for your electronic records to be transferred to another physician or practice, the number of pages is often so great that it would take hours for a new health care professional to sort out exactly what the relevant medical history is. Women often have their records divided between a gynecologist and family doctor. When was your last tetanus shot? What antibiotic successfully treated your last urinary tract infection? What is your LDL cholesterol level? Who has your last Pap test result? Mammogram report? Recent blood test results?

If an older adult is lucky enough to see a geriatrician for a consultation or for their routine care, their consultation reports will likely be comprehensive and shared with your family doctor. Yet, there are far too few geriatricians trained in the U.S. and not nearly enough for every older adult with complex problems who could benefit from one. 

Hospital discharge summaries, specialist consultation reports and critical emergency room findings should be sent or made available to family doctors, but that doesn’t always happen. Worse yet, in large practices, consultation reports and test results often get lost, filed in the wrong folder or misfiled in your electronic health record.

My Experience as a Daughter

Let me tell you about my personal experience with this. A number of years ago my then–73-year-old father was rushed to the hospital after my mother noticed that something was “just not right.” He had heart bypass surgery only a few weeks before. By the time I arrived at the hospital two hours later, he was gasping for breath, suffering from what I thought was a potentially lethal heart arrhythmia.

Doctors were at a loss as to how they should treat him when the most likely culprit—a drug called digoxin—did not turn up in the bag of medicines that my mother had brought. “He is taking digoxin,” I told them. But without the bottle present, and with his cardiologist offices closed for the evening, I was helpless to verify that fact. 

My father’s primary care doctor and hospital did have an electronic health record, but his cardiologist was not part of the system, so the new prescription for digoxin wasn’t included in his electronic list of medications. Luckily my story had a happy ending and my father was treated as if on digoxin. However, not all of us can remember the medications that we take—let alone our parents take—in an emergency.

Information That Could Save Your Life

I believe the solution to this problem is a grassroots effort, with each of us taking medical matters literally into our own hands (or on our own computers) by compiling our own medical records. And the key to this is collecting and reading copies of our own medical records and making them available to everyone involved in our care. 

You may be surprised to learn that you are ethically and legally entitled to the information in your medical records—including the electronic information. Yet, many people fear that they will antagonize doctors and hospital personnel by requesting their records. Luckily, when I speak to most health care professionals today on this topic, they react with enthusiasm. They understand immediately that patients who collect and study their own records and who make it their business to become well-informed about their health concerns will be in a better position to engage with them.

In addition to obtaining your records, you will need to review them in detail. After reading their records, some people discover incorrect information about medications and allergies. Others learn that their health care professionals overlooked critical findings in X-ray or blood test results. Still others learn about misleading or missing information in their records only after critical mistakes happen. 

To learn more about the lifesaving importance of keeping your own medical records, watch the documentary film To Err Is Human, available on Amazon Prime. 

If your health care professional questions your request for your medical records, maybe it is time for you to question whether your health care professional is right for you. 

Do It for Your Parents and Loved Ones

As women, we make most of the health care decisions (and provide most of the care) for our children, our parents, our partners and ourselves. We are in the best position to ask for and begin keeping records for everyone in our care. What better gift to give a child going off to college or starting out on their own than a complete medical record? Imagine the comfort an elderly parent will feel knowing that you are helping them keep track of their medical information and test results. 

This may sound daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. My dad began carrying an emergency health card in his wallet listing all his medications, allergies and medical conditions. And countless times his up-to-date list of medications proved time-saving and lifesaving. 

You can download a similar emergency health information form (called “Health at a Glance”) to keep in your wallet next to your insurance card. Your health insurance may pay the bill, but your emergency health information could save your life.

Marie Savard, MD, is a trusted voice on women’s health, wellness and patient empowerment. She currently writes a blog called Ask Dr. Marie, where this column first appeared. Her blog focuses on the challenges of medication overload in older adults and what caregivers can do to help. Dr. Savard is a former ABC News Medical Contributor and author of four books including her most recent, Ask Dr Marie: What Women Must Know about Hormones, Libido, and the Medical Problems No One Talks About. She lives in Philadelphia with her physician husband and has three grown sons.

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Unlocking Some Common Food Myths About Watermelon, Olive Oil and Potatoes

10/05/2019 helen 0

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a two-day nutrition media immersion event at the beautiful Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona. The conference covered the power of plant-based eating, new nutrition research, consumer insights and trends pertaining to nutrition, health and wellness. 

You don’t know what you don’t know—until you uncover some truths. What amazed me is that even though I thought I knew about a lot of these foods, there was a lot I didn’t know. Check out these Tips for Healthy Weeknight Meal-Prepping.

Here’s some food for thought.

WATERMELON

What I knew: It’s one of my favorite fruits, satisfies my sweet tooth and is thirst-quenching.  

What I learned:

  • It may be sweet, but watermelon is low in calories; there are only 80 calories per two-cup serving. Find out about The Best Fruits for Weight Loss.
  • Watermelon is 92 percent water.
  • This fruit is filled with so many valuable vitamins and minerals: vitamin A, for eye health and immunity; vitamin B6, a good source of workout fuel; vitamin C, an antioxidant that can help boost immunity against viruses (a good thing with flu season coming up!); lycopene, which may help protect against harmful UV rays; and citrulline, an amino acid that may help maintain blood flow.
  • There’s no waste with watermelon: It’s 100 percent edible, composed of 70 percent flesh and 30 percent rind. The rind has a lot of health benefits, just like the seeds—most notably, citrulline—and can be used to make pickles or even juiced for a smoothie.

OLIVE OIL

What I knew (or thought I knew): You can’t sauté with olive oil, because it has a low smoking point and will burn and create an acrid taste in your food, emitting dangerous and toxic compounds.

What I learned:

  • Several studies have found olive oil to be more resistant to heat than other oils like soybean, corn and sunflower. And its high antioxidant content makes it especially resistant to changes that can occur when heated (which can happen with any oil, not just olive oil).
  • Keep an eye out for its smoke point (which ranges from 375 degrees to 470 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the type of olive oil you use). This is when it’ll start to, well, smoke. At this point, it’s not harmful for your health, but it can cause the loss of nutrients and affect the taste of your food.
  • Light olive oil does not contain fewer calories than other types of olive oils; they all contain the same calories per serving.
  • You may think that the greener the oil, the better the quality, but the color of olive oil has nothing to do with its quality. Instead, it has to do with the types of olives and the harvest cycle. 
  • Olive oil won’t last forever. But when handled properly (store it in a cool, dark place), it’ll last about two years from when it’s bottled. Once opened, try to use it within two or three months. Learn more about eating olive oil as part of a healthy Mediterranean-style diet

IDAHO POTATOES

What I knew (or thought I knew): Potatoes are white, starchy carbohydrates. Therefore, potatoes are fattening and unhealthy.

What I learned:

  • Potatoes contain lots of phytonutrients, plus they have antioxidant activity and support immunity.
  • One 5.3-ounce potato contains jut 110 calories and is free of fat, sodium, cholesterol and gluten.
  • White, starchy foods, like processed grains and sweets, can raise blood sugar quickly and cause inflammation. But potatoes are actually good for your health, with valuable sources of high-quality carbohydrates plus potassium, fiber and vitamin C.
  • Often, it’s what people add to the potato that makes it unhealthy, like topping a baked potato or mashing a cooked potato with things like sour cream and butter. The healthiest way to eat a potato is baked, with a squeeze of lemon and sprinkled with salt and pepper or topped with salsa.
  • Potatoes should be stored in a cool area, away from light. Don’t wash before storing, because the dampness can cause decay.
  • If you steam potatoes, save the water, which contains some of the potatoes’ valuable nutrients, and use it to make gravies or bread or moisten mashed potatoes. 

 

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Tips for Healthy Weeknight Meal-Prepping

09/16/2019 helen 0

You’ve heard it time and time again. Make your meals on the weekends and you’ll save time and eat healthier during the week. Still, how many of you have actually done that? It’s doable, we promise. When you map out your meals, you’ll be more likely to …

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Awake in the Middle of the Night? Try These 6 Things

09/16/2019 helen 0

What to do when you’re awake in the middle of the night?

Call a friend!

Because chances are that that’s when the gremlin strikes them, as well. Middle-of-the-night waking is quite common, reported to affect about 35 percent of us. It’s no wonder there are a lot of people walking around dragging and sluggish. Even though you may have banked an 8-hour sleep, when you wake in the middle of the night, it messes big time with your sleep cycle, stealing valuable minutes of slumber.

Of course, calling a friend might not be the most helpful or practical answer to getting back to sleep (unless you find comfort in knowing that someone else is suffering, too). And getting into a conversation in the middle of the night will likely be stimulating, rather than relaxing.

You flip over and try a new sleeping position…worry that you forgot to turn off the stove… ruminate about the way your friend betrayed a confidence many years ago…stress about your upcoming colonoscopy.

Your over-wired brain is on over-drive.

How to calm down and get back to sleep? If you’ve already ruled out some obvious and real medical conditions for losing sleep—like arthritis, asthma, sleep apnea, chronic pain, endocrine or gastrointestinal problems—try these things instead: 

Stay put. Many pros suggest getting out of bed and going into another room. But that’s not effective for everyone.  When you get up, it’s likely you’re turning on some lights and moving around. Your brain takes a cue from the lights and thinks it’s time to wake up; your heart rate becomes elevated – all are counterintuitive to falling back to sleep. Instead, stay in bed and do the following things to facilitate sleep. 

If there’s light coming into the room, block it. When you’re trying to sleep, any outside light can be a real sleep-stealer. Make sure your window coverings are securely shut and that any LED lights (like those from cable boxes or clock radios) are blocked. A sleep mask works well to shield your eyes from light’s interference.

Calm your mind. Try deep breathing, meditation or other mindfulness exercises. A sleep app (I love the one I use, from Calm) can also help you meditate and get back into a relaxing state. Another thing to try: Keep a pad and pen at your bedside and write down any random thoughts or things you have to do the next day. The important thing is to distract your mind from rumination and turn your thoughts to tranquil and more pleasant ones.

Keep it cool. Sometimes a too-warm room can cause you to wake up. Optimal sleeping temperature is somewhere around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, say experts.

Block out noise. You may not need complete silence to sleep, but the surrounding sounds need to be somewhat toneless and flat. Think white noise, as in a sound machine or a fan.

Be mindful of when—and what—you drink. Cut off caffeine consumption after about 2PM, since it can stay in your system long after you’ve taken the last sip. And although alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, it impacts your deep sleep and messes with your REM cycle, which is when sleep is most restorative.

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CBD Is Touted for Pain Management—But Does It Work?

09/09/2019 helen 0

Dear HealthyWomen, As my mother always warned me that to get older is to feel some aches and pains. And I’m feeling them! My knees, my back, my.… And I’m finding lots of kinship among my middle-aged pals. I keep hearing that CBD helps relieve chronic p…

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Could Red Wine Boost Your Microbiome?

08/31/2019 helen 0

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A little pinot noir now and then might help keep the bacteria in your tummy healthy and happy, a new study suggests.READ: Alcohol and Sleep: What You Need to KnowAs little as one glass of red wine a week can…

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Pure CBD Won’t Make You Fail a Drug Test

08/09/2019 helen 0

HealthDay News

FRIDAY, Aug. 9, 2019 (HealthDay News) — As the CBD craze sweeps the nation, some users may wonder whether the cannabis extract can make them fail a drug test. A preliminary study suggests the answer is “no” — at least if the CBD is pure.

READ: CBD for Women: What Are Women Using CBD For?

Researchers found that CBD, or cannabidiol, did not react with either of two commercially available tests used to screen for marijuana use. However, another cannabis compound — cannabinol (CBN) — did.

CBD and CBN are two of many chemicals found in cannabis plants. They differ from THC, the source of the marijuana “high.” CBD is present in marijuana but more abundant in hemp — cannabis plants that have little THC. CBN, meanwhile, is a THC derivative.

If you think CBD products are suddenly everywhere, you’re right: There has been an explosion since last year, when Congress lifted a decades-old ban on growing hemp.

Licensed farmers can now grow the plant, as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC. The result? CBD is turning up in everything from oils and lotions to coffee and cookies.

CBD is promoted for easing anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain, among other ailments. The jury is still out on those uses, but there is some science behind the compound. Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug containing pure CBD — called Epidiolex — for treating certain rare, severe seizures.

CBN, meanwhile, is far less famous than its cousin, but it is used in products marketed as sleep aids.

Given that context, it’s important to understand how the compounds interact with drug screening tests, said Grace Kroner, lead researcher on the new study.

She and her colleagues at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center in Salt Lake City spiked three batches of urine samples with CBD, CBN and two other cannabis compounds — cannabichromene and cannabigerol.

The researchers tested each batch with two tests commonly used for THC screening. CBN reacted with one, while the other three compounds triggered no false-positives.

Why did only one test pick up CBN? The tests are known immunoassays — which means they use antibodies to detect drugs. Kroner explained that there are slight differences in the antibodies that test manufacturers use — so it’s possible to get different results.

While the findings may be a relief to some CBD users, there is a big caveat: The researchers used pure CBD. In the real world, CBD products are largely unregulated and may contain other compounds due to processing.

According to Robert Fitzgerald, a professor at the University of California, San Diego’s Center for Advanced Laboratory Medicine, “It would depend on the purity of the product.”

On the positive side, he noted, immunoassays are only screening tests. They would be followed up by “confirmatory testing” that does distinguish THC from other compounds. But you could still have a problem if your cannabis product was contaminated with THC, Fitzgerald said.

Legally, Kroner noted, CBD products should only be produced from hemp plants with no more than 0.3% THC. But there’s no way for consumers to know for sure what’s in the products they buy.

A 2017 study found that about seven out of 10 CBD products did not contain the amount of cannabidiol stated on the label. And about one in five contained THC.

A false-positive on a drug test could have implications for people at work, and in their medical care. For example, some health care organizations do not allow patients to start opioid painkillers if they use marijuana.

It all points to the importance of taking “cross-reactivity” into account when a drug screening test comes back positive, Kroner said.

“Confirmatory testing should be done before any clinical decisions are made,” she said.

What should you do if you use any of these products and have a drug test coming up?

The simplest course is to refrain for a while, according to Kroner. But she also advised being up front about your CBD or CBN use — or any supplement use, for that matter — so that your test results can be interpreted in that light.

Kroner reported the findings Monday at the annual meeting of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry in Anaheim, Calif. Studies presented at meetings are generally considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.

SOURCES: Grace Kroner, Ph.D., fellow, clinical chemistry, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City; Robert Fitzgerald, Ph.D., professor, pathology, Center for Advanced Laboratory Medicine, University of California, San Diego; Aug. 5, 2019, presentation, American Association for Clinical Chemistry annual meeting, Anaheim, Calif.

Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Hair Loss Is a Problem for Women, Too

08/02/2019 helen 0

HealthDay News

FRIDAY, Aug. 2, 2019 (HealthDay News)—The sad sight of a receding hairline is not limited to men, a dermatologist says.

Hair loss is just as common in women, and it can occur due to factors such as genetics and the hairstyles and hair products used by women.

It’s important to identify the cause of hair loss in women to treat it, said dermatologist Dr. Paradi Mirmirani.

“Making sure you have the right diagnosis is critical for successful treatment,” Mirmirani said in an American Academy of Dermatology news release. “However, to an untrained provider this can be tricky, as hair loss can have many causes.”

Female pattern hair loss is one type and features pronounced thinning on top. It’s primarily caused by genetics, certain hormones, age and menopause. Treatment options include topical or oral medications, hair transplants and camouflaging thinning areas.

Another type is marginal alopecia, which is hair loss along the edges of the hairline. One form of this is traction alopecia, which is caused by hairstyles that pull the hair tight, such as cornrows, weaves and tight ponytails or buns.

Hair transplants and medication such as minoxidil can help the hair grow back, but changing hairstyles is necessary to stop the hair loss, according to Mirmirani.

“Regardless of your lifestyle, if your hairstyle is causing you pain, it’s not good for your hair,” Mirmirani said. “If you need your hair pulled back, work with your hairdresser to find a style that doesn’t put pressure on your scalp.”

Learn More: 7 Foods for Healthy Hair

Overuse of heat or chemicals on your hair over a long time can also cause hair loss.

“For the most part, people can dye, perm or heat their hair with no ill effects, but chronic use or using more than one of these treatments at a time can lead to hair loss,” Mirmirani explained.

“No matter the type of hair loss you have, seek treatment as soon as you notice it,” she advised.

“I often see women who have delayed seeing a dermatologist because they didn’t realize their hair loss is caused by a medical issue or they didn’t think it’s treatable. However, it’s important for women to know that most cases of hair loss can be stopped or treated,” Mirmirani said.

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