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Study: Heart disease risk higher people with spouses in the ICU

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Oct. 5 (UPI) — Having a spouse in a hospital intensive care unit increases a person’s risk for a heart attack or cardiac-related hospitalization, according to a study published Monday in the journal Circulation.

The analysis of health outcomes for more than 1 million married couples found that those with a spouse in the ICU were 27% more likely to be admitted to the hospital with some form of heart disease than those whose spouses were healthy, the data showed.

They also are at slightly higher risk for being diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, the researchers said.

“Spouses of ICU patients should pay attention to their own physical health, especially in terms of [heart] disease,” study co-author Hiroyuki Ohbe said in a statement.

“The ICU can be a stressful environment with significant care-giving burdens, and spouses may face tough decisions about continuing or ending life-sustaining treatment,” said Ohbe, a doctoral student in the department of clinical epidemiology and health economics at The University of Tokyo.

Roughly one in four family members of a critically ill patient experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression, a phenomenon called “post-intensive care syndrome-family,” the researchers said.

In addition, these family members may be at increased risk for heart disease in the first few weeks following the death of a loved one — a condition referred to as “broken-heart syndrome.”

For this study, the researchers matched spouses of patients admitted to the ICU for more than two days with people randomly selected from the Japan Medical Data Center database of 6 million inpatient and outpatient health insurance claims between January 2005 and August 2018.

They evaluated data for any visit for heart disease, hospitalization for heart diseases and severe cardiovascular events.

Among 2.1 million people — or just over 1 million married couples — more than 7,800 spouses of patients admitted to ICUs were matched with more than 31,000 people randomly selected from the database.

Researchers evaluated data for any visit for heart disease, hospitalization for heart diseases and severe cardiovascular events. Of the people with spouses admitted to the ICU, 2.7% went to the hospital themselves for heart disease-related health problems within one to four week’s of their spouse’s admission, the data showed.

Just over 2% of those who did not have a spouse in the ICU were admitted to the hospital for heart disease, the researchers said.

In addition, 22% of the people with spouses in the ICU developed high blood pressure in the weeks after, while 23% developed high cholesterol, according to the researchers.

For people without spouses in the ICU, these percentages were slightly lower, at 20% and 22%, the researchers said.

More research is needed to explore if behavior adjustments during this stressful time, such as changes in social ties, living arrangements, eating habits, alcohol consumption and economic support, can help affected family members, they said.

“A patient’s admission to ICU puts acute psychological stress on family members, and that stress may increase the risk for cardiovascular disease particularly for the other spouse,” Ohbe said.



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Asthma, food sensitivity linked to irritable bowel syndrome in study

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Teens who had asthma and food hypersensitivity when they were younger are at increased risk of irritable bowel syndrome, researchers report.

For the study, the investigators examined the health of 2,770 children from birth to age 16. Kids with IBS at age 16 were more likely to have had asthma at age 12, about 11% versus 7%.

In addition, the researchers found that 16-year-olds with IBS were more likely to have had food hypersensitivity at age 12, 41% versus 29%.

Asthma, food hypersensitivity and eczema — a condition that makes your skin red and itchy — were all associated with an increased risk of concurrent IBS at age 16, the findings showed.

“The associations found in this large study suggest there’s a shared pathophysiology between common allergy-related diseases and adolescent irritable bowel syndrome,” said study leader Jessica Sjölund, of the Institute of Medicine at the University of Gothenburg, in Sweden.

Sjölund noted that previous studies on allergy-related diseases and IBS have been contradictory.

These new findings could lead to development of new treatments for adolescent IBS, targeting processes of low-grade inflammation seen in the allergy-related diseases, she said.

The study findings were scheduled for presentation Monday at a United European Gastroenterology virtual meeting. Research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

IBS affects more than one in 10 people and is the most common functional gastrointestinal disorder, the study authors noted in a meeting news release. It can cause abdominal cramps, bloating, diarrhea and constipation, and can be extremely disabling for patients.

Hans Törnblom is a leading IBS expert in Europe who was involved in the research. He said, “Even though functional gastrointestinal disorders are common, many patients are, unfortunately, negatively stigmatized and labeled. The fact that many IBS sufferers do not seek medical advice should be of great concern.”

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more on IBS.

Copyright 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.



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Cancer takes heavy toll on women’s work, finances, study shows

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Young women with cancer are at a high risk for employment and financial consequences, a new study finds.

“Our study addresses the burden of employment disruption and financial hardship among young women with cancer — a group who may be at particular risk for poor financial outcomes after cancer given their age and gender,” said researcher Clare Meernik, a fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

She and her colleagues surveyed more than 1,300 women in North Carolina and California a median of seven years after diagnosis. Their cancer was diagnosed when they were 15 to 39 years of age and working.

Following their diagnosis, 32% of the women had to stop working or cut back on their hours. Twenty-seven percent said they had to borrow money, go into debt or file for bankruptcy because of cancer treatment.

Women with disrupted employment were more likely — by 17 percentage points — to have these problems than women who were able to keep working.

Half of the women said they were stressed about their big medical bills, and women with disrupted employment were more likely to suffer psychological distress by 8 percentage points than women who were able to keep working.

The findings were published online Oct. 12 in the journal Cancer.

“Our findings highlight the need for effective interventions to promote job maintenance and transition back to the workforce after cancer treatment, as well as increased workplace accommodations and benefits, to improve cancer outcomes for young women,” Meernik said in a journal news release.

More information

To learn more about work and financial effects of cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.

Copyright 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.



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Study: Less restrictive reproductive rights reduce birth complications risk by 7%

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Oct. 13 (UPI) — Women living in states with less restrictive reproductive rights policies are 7% less likely have low birth weight babies than those living in states with more stringent laws, according to an analysis published Tuesday by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The risk was 8% lower for Black women living in less-restrictive states, the data showed.

“Our study provides evidence that reproductive rights policies play a critical role in advancing maternal and child health equity,” study co-author May Sudhinaraset, of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, said in a statement.

Since the Supreme Court‘s decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973, which effectively legalized abortion, states have had “substantial discretion” in creating policies governing whether Medicaid covers the costs of contraception or reproductive health care.

Some states have taken steps that effectively limit access to abortion services and other reproductive care, Sudhinaraset and her colleagues said.

Black women are more likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth than any other race group, experience more maternal health complications than White women and generally have lower quality maternity care, they said.

In addition, women of color are more likely to experience adverse birth outcomes.

Compared to infants of normal weight, low-birth-weight babies face many potential health complications, including infections early in life and long-term problems, such as delayed motor and social development or learning disabilities.

Sudhinaraset and her colleagues analyzed birth record data for the nearly 4 million births that occurred in the 50 states and Washington, D.C., in 2016, comparing reproductive rights policies and adverse birth outcomes in each state.

They also evaluated if the associations were different for women of color and immigrants.

The findings indicate that expanding reproductive rights may reduce the risk of low-birth weight, particularly for U.S.-born Black women, the researchers said.

“Important policy levers can and should be implemented to improve women’s reproductive health overall, including increasing abortion access and mandatory sex education in schools,” Sudhinaraset said.



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