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Surgeon General Vivek Murthy calls on physicians to screen for addictions

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy today released a landmark report on the country’s addiction crisis, which he says is a bigger health problem than cancer.

In the report, “Facing Addition in America,” Murthy calls for a shift in the way the country addresses substance addiction. “Addiction is a chronic but treatable brain disease that requires medical intervention, not moral judgement,” he writes.

While one in seven Americans will face substance use disorders, the report says only about 10 percent of those with addictions will receive any type of specialty treatment.

Murthy, who earlier this year wrote a letter to America’s… Continue reading

C. Diff Provides Insight Into Antibiotic Resistance and Infection Risks

Exposure to specific antibiotics is linked to the development of certain strains of antibiotic-resistant C. difficile, one of the fastest growing bacteria superbugs, according to a new study published by Stuart Johnson, MD, of Loyola University Health System (LUHS), Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (SSOM) and the Hines VA Medical Hospital.

C. diff has been associated with multiple healthcare facility outbreaks and high national rates of C. difficile infection (CDI) since 2001 and now rivals Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in both frequency and severity.

Several infectious diseases, including MRSA and C. diff, have become resistant to antibiotics. As… Continue reading

Understanding Occult Blood Test

The fecal occult blood test (FOBT), aka Stool Hemoglobin or Stool Blood, is a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) that qualitatively detects human hemoglobin from blood in fecal samples. It is often referred to as FIT.

This is a useful screening aid for detecting primarily lower gastrointestinal (G.I.) disorders that may be related to iron deficiency anemia, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, polyps, adenomas, colorectal cancers or other G.I. lesions that can bleed. It is recommended for use by health professionals as part of routine physical examinations and in screening for colorectal cancer or other sources of lower G.I. bleeding.

Colorectal cancer is… Continue reading

Fasting Before Lipid Panel Unnecessary

Requiring patients to fast for 8 to 12 hours before a lipid panel blood draw is common practice, but fasting adds no clinical value and is an unnecessary burden on patients, researchers said.

Analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey III (NHANES-III) revealed no significant difference between fasting and nonfasting LDL cholesterol levels when it came to predicting all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, New York University associate professor of medicine Sripal Bangalore, MD, and colleagues wrote in Circulation.

The study is not the first to find no benefit for fasting prior to a lipid panel blood draw. Another… Continue reading

Arthritis Infographic

Arthritis affects one out of every five Americans – an estimated 52.5 million people – and is the leading cause of disability in the nation. The condition itself can make it difficult and painful to conduct even the most mundane daily tasks such as walking, climbing stairs, using a computer, or brushing your teeth. The term “arthritis” encompasses over 100 rheumatic conditions that impact the body’s joints, causing pain and inflammation to those who suffer with it.

Arthritis Fact Sheet

Arthritis facts, statistics, and warning signs of this disease, as well as practical methods of treatment and exercise to stay limber and reduce… Continue reading

Cholesterol Levels Linked to Breast Cancer Risk

High cholesterol levels may increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, a large new British study reports (HealthDay News).

The findings suggest that keeping tight control over cholesterol through medication could help prevent breast cancer, said lead author Rahul Potluri, a researcher at the Aston University School of Medical Sciences in Birmingham, England.

Researchers reviewed the medical records of over 660,000 female patients in Birmingham and Manchester between 2000 and 2013, using a statistical model to study the association between high cholesterol and breast cancer.

The investigators determined that high cholesterol increases a woman’s risk of developing… Continue reading

AHCA Secretary and FALA CEO Visit LabFlorida

On July 1, 2014 we had the honor of giving a tour of LabFlorida to AHCA Secretary Elizabeth Dudek and the CEO of Florida Assisted Living Association Shaddrick A. Haston, Esq.

Haston-Leonov-Dudek-Rodriguez
From left to right: Shaddrick Haston, CEO of FALA; Andrei Leonov, President/CEO of LabFlorida; Elizabeth Dudek, AHCA Secretary; and Roberto Rodriguez, VP Operations and Marketing of LabFlorida.

LabFlorida is a leading provider of diagnostic laboratory services to ALFs and home health agencies in Tampa Bay and Central Florida. As an active FALA member we are committed to enhancing the quality of healthcare for ALF residents and our patients by… Continue reading

Low Vitamin D and High Blood Pressure

Low levels of vitamin D may be a cause of high blood pressure, according to a new study published on June 25, 2014 in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Vitamin D is nicknamed the sunshine vitamin because the body produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. People also get vitamin D through foods such as eggs, milk, yogurt, tuna, salmon, cereal and orange juice.

In the new study, researchers analyzed genetic data from more than 146,500 people of European descent in Europe and North America. For each 10 percent increase in vitamin D levels, there was an 8 percent decrease… Continue reading

CBC Test Predicts Life Expectancy

CBC Risk Score TestResearchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Murray, Utah in collaboration with scientists at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston completed a study using the complete blood count risk score, an inexpensive tool that uses all of the information in the common CBC blood test that includes data that is frequently underused by physicians. CBC test may predict who is at highest risk to develop heart problems, and how long these people may have to live.

The study was presented at the 2013 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Dallas on Nov. 19, 2013.

“Physicians can now… Continue reading

Why Blood Cultures Are Important

Blood Draw for Culture

Because every patient with suspected sepsis deserves to be treated following best practices.

Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection. Sepsis occurs when chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight the infection trigger inflammation throughout the body. This inflammation can trigger a cascade of changes that can damage multiple organ systems, causing them to fail.

If sepsis progresses to septic shock, blood pressure drops dramatically, which may lead to death.

Anyone can develop sepsis, but it’s most common and most dangerous in elderly people or those with weakened immune systems. Early treatment of sepsis, usually with antibiotics and large amounts of intravenous fluids, improves chances for survival.