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Risk Factors

HEALTH
August 9, 2010 | By Jessie Schiewe, Los Angeles Times
Signs of heart disease -- generally thought to be a disease of middle age -- can be seen even in children, cardiologists now know. But risk factors in children and young adults run the risk of being undetected and untreated, largely because of confusion as to who among the young should get screened, and when. One of the most efficient ways to screen for heart-disease risk is via tests for levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol. And yet often that screen doesn't get done.
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NEWS
August 2, 2010
The fascination with low-carb versus low-fat diet continues; the latest news comes from a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine released today that found that people on both diets lost about the same amount of weight over two years. However, the low-carb group had an edge in raising HDL (good) cholesterol and lowering diastolic blood pressure The study looked at 153 people who were randomly assigned to a low-carb diet, and 154 to a low-fat diet. The low-carb group limited carbohydrate intake to 20 grams per day for the first 12 weeks, then gradually increased fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy foods until they reached a desired weight.
NEWS
July 20, 2010
Health screenings — they might be tedious, expensive, and time-consuming, but they also can be worth it, even if you're a healthy young adult. Take the case of cholesterol screening. Even though today approximately two-thirds of young adults have one or more risk factors for coronary heart disease, less than 50% of them are screened for high cholesterol, according to a study published in the July-August issue of the Annals of Family Medicine . Coronary heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease, is a buildup of calcium, plaque and fatty material in the arteries that restricts the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart and can lead to a heart attack.
NEWS
July 20, 2010 | By Tami Dennis, Los Angeles Times
Add sepsis to your list of post-surgery worries. Or, if you're so inclined, to your list of worries in general. First, we'll look at the hospital picture. Researchers at Methodist Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College, set out to document the incidence, mortality rate and risk factors for sepsis and septic shock after general surgery. And what they found wasn't pretty. Using data from 363,897 patients, they established that sepsis, a life-threatening blood infection, occurred in 2.3% of those patients and that septic shock, dangerously low blood pressure from said blood infection, occurred in 1.6%.
BUSINESS
July 15, 2010 | By Duke Helfand, Los Angeles Times
David Axene was flat on his back in a hospital bed with a swollen left leg. His kidneys had shut down. His blood pressure had plunged. Doctors pumped him with potent antibiotics to stave off a deadly infection. Yet there he was sifting through spreadsheets on his laptop, cradling his cellphone to his ear, waving off doctors to finish another conference call. California's top insurance watchdogs had hired Axene to scour Anthem Blue Cross' files for any flaw in the voluminous paperwork that accompanied its rate hikes of up to 39%. Anthem's plan to impose higher premiums March 1 had outraged consumers and politicians alike.
HEALTH
April 5, 2010 | Los Angeles Times Health staff
Cancer, diabetes, accidents — heart disease trumps them all, killing more people in the United States than any other condition. The term is actually a fairly broad one, encompassing an array of conditions, but it's most often used as shorthand for coronary artery disease. The latter is caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries that supply blood to the heart, which in turn can lead to chest pain, arrythmias, heart attacks and heart failure. The risk factors: High blood cholesterol High blood pressure Smoking Diabetes, insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome Being overweight Growing older Family history of heart disease What you can do: Get that high blood pressure and high cholesterol under control.
HEALTH
April 5, 2010 | By Kendall Powell, Special to the Los Angeles Times
The differences in men and women's hearts may not be limited to problems of the small and large arteries. Sudden cardiac arrest and how it's predicted may play out differently by gender as well. In the U.S., sudden cardiac arrest claims around 250,000 lives each year, which is about 30% of the total deaths from cardiovascular disease. In sudden cardiac arrest, the heart's electrical activity becomes disrupted or chaotic, preventing the organ from beating. Without immediate treatment by an external defibrillator or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the victim will die; the mortality rate is 95%. In a heart attack, blood flow to the heart muscle is restricted, causing damage to the muscle.
SCIENCE
April 1, 2010 | By Thomas H. Maugh II
Men at an above-normal risk of prostate cancer may be able to reduce their risk of developing the disease by taking a drug already on the market. In research reported Wednesday, the drug dutasteride, currently used to shrink enlarged prostates, was found to reduce the risk of prostate cancer by about a quarter in high-risk men. The medication, sold under the brand name Avodart, apparently caused small tumors to stop growing or even to shrink, researchers...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 30, 2010 | By Garret Therolf
Responding to recent deaths among children who passed through Los Angeles County's child welfare system, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas renewed his call Monday to improve the computer system designed to provide county agencies with information about a child's risk factors for abuse. The Times reported Sunday that an upgraded system for sharing information among agencies about suspicious injuries, domestic violence and other key risk factors was one of a number of unfinished reform efforts.
HEALTH
March 8, 2010 | Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
Pam Levin's daughter weighed less than 5 pounds at birth. But by the time the child turned 3, Levin and her husband had begun to bristle at some of the comments about her. "People would say, ‘She's chunky' or ‘She's a big girl,'" Levin says. The comments may not have been tactful, but the Los Angeles mom caught herself wondering if they were true. Was the adorable, easygoing preschooler overweight? During the child's first year of life, she had been smaller than 95% of children her age, according to pediatric growth charts, weighing about 17 pounds on her first birthday.
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