Category Archives: Prevention

Osteoarthritis: Increased Walking Lowers Knee Pain

People with knee osteoarthritis may reduce their risk of knee pain by walking more, according to a study published online June 8, 2022, by Arthritis & Rheumatology.

photo of three mature adults walking for fitness

Researchers looked at the walking habits of more than 1,200 people with knee osteoarthritis (average age 63, 45% men). They were asked how often they walked for exercise since age 50 and whether they had frequent knee pain. X-rays were done to assess structural knee damage.

The investigators first looked at participants who did not report regular knee pain. They found that among this group, those who walked for exercise were less likely to later develop knee pain (26%) at the follow-up eight years later compared with those who did not walk for exercise (37%).

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Prevention: Flu Shots Lower Heart Attack Risks

Influenza-related stress on your body can launch a negative chain of events that builds toward a heart attack. This video shares how getting a seasonal flu shot can significantly lower your risk of having a heart attack or cardiac arrest, especially if you’re in a high-risk group.

Chapters: 0:00 Can flu shots lower risk of heart attacks? 0:37 How does the flu shot lower risk of heart attacks? 1:08 Who is most at risk of having a flu related heart attack? 1:30 Why else should you get a flu shot?

Tendinopathy: Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention

Tendinopathy is the broad term for any tendon condition that causes pain and swelling. Your tendons are rope-like tissues in your body that attach muscle to bone. When your muscles tighten and relax, your tendons and bones move. One example of a tendon is your Achilles tendon, which attaches your calf muscle to your heel bone and causes ankle movement. If you have pain and/or swelling in that area, you might have Achilles tendinopathy.

The pain from tendinopathy can interfere with your daily life. For example, it can keep you from playing sports and from doing housework. So, if you have pain or swelling, make sure to contact your healthcare provider for help.

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NEWSLETTERS: TUFTS HEALTH & NUTRITION – SEPT 2022

Cover Image

Is That Popular Diet Plan a Healthy Choice?

Some attention and planning may be necessary to ensure popular diet plans provide enough of all the nutrients you need.

SPECIAL REPORT: Small Amounts of Physical Activity Can Have Big Benefits

Grab-n-Go Lunch

FEATURED RECIPE: Hummus and Veggie Wraps

ASK TUFTS EXPERTS: Activated charcoal; oatmeal vs. oat bran

Dr. C’s Journal: Bee Sting Allergies And Reactions

Almost everybody experiences a bee sting sometime in their life, although only a few people have more than a mild reaction to the stings. Adults react more commonly than children, and old people more seriously than young.

Anaphylaxis, which is potentially fatal, is the main worry about bee stings, although if you get stung in your throat, or by 10 or more insects there is risk of problems from the venom alone.

The usual reaction to a bee sting is sudden pain, a small swelling that lessens later in the day, after which there is recovery. A large local reaction can occur where the swelling increases over a 2-3 day period and can last for 7 – 10 days. This is called a large local reaction, and considered to be an allergy, but carries no increased likelihood for anaphylaxis.

A bee sting with hives developing on the skin but no other symptoms usually requires nothing more than an antihistamine. Interestingly, I had a bee sting on my foot after walking on the beach, became itchy all over and developed hives, received desensitization, and had no more trouble with the several stings I had later.

Anaphylaxis is defined as a reaction distant to the site of the bee sting that involves more than one organ system. For instance you might have hives and wheezing, hives and dizziness, or any number of other combination of organ involvements or sickness.

If anaphylaxis results from the sting, it is best to be referred to an allergist.

Interestingly, bee sting allergy is NOT more common with allergic individuals, even though they may have more severe reactions. Apparently, the sting reactions are dependent upon an excess number of a cell called the mast cell, and this is determined by a serum test for tryptase.

The allergist usually performs skin or blood tests to determine whether there is sensitivity to insect stings; in addition to the Honeybee, yellow jackets and to a lesser degree other stinging insects called Hymenoptera can produce analyphaxis.

Desensitization is the only curative treatment for anaphylactic reactions to stinging insects. In addition, rapidly administered epinephrine or adrenalin, such as an EpiPen, as well as antihistamines, are usually kept on hand for use in case of a bee sting.

When I first started practice, we made our own extracts using the whole bee. Unfortunately, the digestive tract enzymes in the bee destroyed the protein of the venom so that our materials were not sufficiently active. Even after pure venom extracts became available, we also would give injections to individuals who developed hives as the only reaction other than the pain and swelling of the sting. A large study showed that  desensitization for a large local reactions, or hives only, was not warranted.

Medical science continues to advance, and you are well advised to go to the best-trained specialist you can find for bee sting anaphylaxis. Your life may depend on it.

—Dr. C.

Potassium-Rich Diets Prevent Kidney Stones

Anyone who has ever had a kidney stone never wants a repeat of the blinding pain that comes when it passes. Now, a new study maps out a diet that can help guard against that.

The cornerstones of that diet include eating plenty of foods that contain potassium, as well as a few servings of low-fat dairy daily, to get enough calcium. High-potassium fruits and veggies that could help include bananas, oranges, grapefruits, apricots, mushrooms, peas, cucumbers, zucchini, and melons such as cantaloupe and honeydew.

To arrive at those recommendations, researchers from the Mayo Clinic used data from questionnaires completed by kidney stone patients between 2009 and 2018. The team compared the diets of 411 people who had already had their first kidney stone and a control group of 384 individuals.

“We had this information and then we, number one, could look at things that … differed between controls and kidney stone formers, but then we’ve also been following these people forward in time,” said study author Dr. John Lieske, director of the O’Brien Urology Research Center at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

During a median of just over four years of follow-up, 73 patients in the study had recurrent kidney stones.

Lower levels of calcium and potassium predicted that recurrence. After adjustments for non-dietary factors, lower calcium continued to be a predictor. So did lower potassium, but only among those who weren’t already taking certain types of diuretics and calcium supplements.

Read more at Health Day

NEWSLETTERS: TUFTS HEALTH & NUTRITION – JULY 2022

  • NEWSBITES: Physical activity in older adults; low- and no-calorie drinks
  • Hydrating for Health
  • SPECIAL REPORT: Cholesterol, Explained
  • Red, White, and …Berries!
  • FEATURED RECIPE: Chickpea Salad with Strawberries
  • ASK TUFTS EXPERTS: Why we say “people with obesity;” Cholesterol and genes

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Infographic: Classic & Exertional Heatstroke

Heatstroke is a condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. This most serious form of heat injury, heatstroke, can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher. The condition is most common in the summer months.

Heatstroke requires emergency treatment. Untreated heatstroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. The damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed, increasing your risk of serious complications or death.

Cleveland Clinic: How To Prevent Oral Cancer

Men face twice the risk of developing oral cancer as women, and men who are over age 50 face the greatest risk. Other risk factors include smoking or using tobacco, drinking too much alcohol and having a family history of oral cancer. But there are lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk. Here’s what you can do to lessen your chance of getting oral cancer.

Chapters: 0:00 What is oral cancer? 0:14 Who is most at risk of developing oral cancer? 0:29 7 ways to reduce your risk of developing oral cancer. 2:12 Is oral cancer curable?

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer (mouth cancer) is the broad term for cancer that affects the inside of your mouth. Oral cancer can look like a common problem with your lips or in your mouth, like white patches or sores that bleed. The difference between a common problem and potential cancer is these changes don’t go away. Left untreated, oral cancer can spread throughout your mouth and throat to other areas of your head and neck. Approximately 63% of people with oral cavity cancer are alive five years after diagnosis.

Who is affected by oral cancer?

Overall, about 11 people in 100,000 will develop oral cancer during their lifetime. Men are more likely than women to develop oral cancer. People who are white are more likely to develop oral cancer than people who are Black.