Weekly health rail, with items on prescription pain relievers, how a positive attitude helps your heart, tips to get toned arms, and more.
Prescription pain relievers help people with chronic pain lead productive lives. Most people who take prescription medications use them responsibly, but when abused, prescription medications can produce serious adverse health effects, including addiction.
The majority of people who report misusing pain medication say they got the medicine for free from family or friends, while only a very small percentage (2.3 percent) of people report giving their leftover medications away.
An estimated 72 percent of persons who were prescribed pain medication during the past year had leftover medication, and the majority (71 percent) of those with leftover medication reported keeping it, according to CDC research.
Opioids are analgesic, or pain-relieving, medications. Studies have shown that properly managed medical use (taken exactly as prescribed) of opioid analgesics is safe, can manage pain effectively, and rarely causes addiction.
But these drugs, which include hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine and codeine, affect regions of the brain that mediate what one perceives as pleasure. Repeated abuse can lead to addiction—a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and abuse despite its known harmful consequences.
Opioids can produce drowsiness, cause constipation, and, depending upon the amount taken, depress breathing. Taking a large single dose could cause severe respiratory depression or death.
These medications are only safe to use with other substances under a physician’s supervision. Individuals who abuse or are addicted to prescription opioid medications can be treated.
Visit www.samhsa.gov for more information on how to get help for substance addiction, or how to help someone who might have a drug problem.
-- Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute on Drug Abuse
New research: Get happy to protect your heart
People who are usually happy, enthusiastic and content are less likely to develop heart disease than those who tend not to be happy, according to a new study.
Over a period of 10 years, researchers followed 1,739 healthy adults who were participating in the 1995 Nova Scotia Health Survey. At the start of the study, trained nurses assessed the participants' risk of heart disease and measured symptoms of depression, hostility, anxiety and the degree of expression of positive emotions, which is known as "positive affect."
After taking into account age, sex, cardiovascular risk factors and negative emotions, the researchers found that increased positive affect predicted less risk of heart disease.
-- European Heart Journal
Did You Know?
University of Florida aquatic animal health experts say dolphins may be the ideal model for the study of cervical cancer in people.
Health Tip: 3 exercises for sculpted arms
As you dream of summer, why not tone your arms in preparation for the season of short sleeves and tank tops. Here are some tips:
- Overhead triceps press: Position dumbbells with both hands under the weights in a heart-shaped grip. With elbows overhead, lower the forearm behind the upper arm by flexing your elbows. Raise the weight overhead by extending your elbows while hyper-extending your wrists. Repeat for three sets of 12 repetitions.
- Build your biceps: Start with the weights in your hands at your sides, palms facing each other. Bending your elbows, lift the weights up to about 90 degrees and slowly lower. Repeat for three sets of 12 repetitions.
- Don’t cut the cardio: Lean, sculpted arms are only achieved by reducing your body fat, so cardio exercises are a must.
-- Life Fitness, www.lifefitness.com
Number to Know: 40
A new study has found regular users of ibuprofen were 40 percent less likely to develop Parkinson's disease than people who didn't take ibuprofen. The results were the same regardless of age, smoking and caffeine intake.
-- American Academy of Neurology
Children’s Health: Does your child have asthma?
Sometimes it's difficult to tell whether your child's respiratory symptoms are caused by asthma. Make a doctor’s appointment if you notice:
- Coughing that's constant, intermittent or associated with physical activity.
- Wheezing or whistling sounds when your child exhales.
- Shortness of breath or rapid breathing that may or may not be associated with exercise.
- Complaints of chest tightness.
- Repeated episodes of suspected bronchitis or pneumonia
If your child is diagnosed with asthma, creating an asthma action plan can help you monitor symptoms and be ready if an asthma attack does occur.
-- Mayo Clinic, www.mayoclinic.com
Senior Health: Risks of untreated poor vision
Elderly people with visual disorders that are left untreated are significantly more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, according to a University of Michigan Health System study.
The study used Medicare data and shows that those with poor vision who visited an ophthalmologist at least once for an examination were 64 percent less likely to develop dementia.
The types of vision treatment that were helpful in lowering the risk of dementia were surgery to correct cataracts and treatments for glaucoma, retinal disorders and other eye-related problems.
-- University of Michigan Health System
GateHouse News Service