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Energy drinks and your health

Are they safe?

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The number of emergency room visits associated with energy drinks has skyrocketed since 2007.

Energy drinks — Red Bull, Monster Energy and Full Throttle, just to name a few — are the fastest-growing beverage in the entire beverage industry. In 2012, Americans spent $10 billion on energy drinks. Makers of energy drinks tend to target advertising toward children and young adults, which might explain why three-quarters of individuals age 2-22 drink at least some caffeine — the main ingredient in energy drinks — daily. Even more alarming, 63 percent of children ages 2-5 consume caffeine on a daily basis, according to the March issue of Pediatrics.

How much caffeine is safe?

Energy drinks can contain up to 500 mg of caffeine per serving. In comparison, coffee averages 100 mg per cup while cola averages 35-55 mg per 12-ounce can. Too much caffeine can lead to anxiety, hyperactivity, insomnia, increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established 400 mg of caffeine per day as a safe limit for most adults; however, the agency has not set a safe limit for children and adolescents. Continue reading

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Grocery shopping for cancer prevention

grocery shopping for cancer preventionApril is National Cancer Control Month and its goal is to boost awareness of cancer, its care and to help more people win the battle against cancer. While it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of cancer, you can take action to reduce your cancer risk through various lifestyle changes. One key area in your control is making healthy changes to your diet. Instead of just listing these healthy habits, follow the tips below to make your next grocery shopping trip a cancer-fighting experience.

Stick to the list: The very best thing you can do for yourself is to be prepared. Continue reading

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Are people really that divided over mandated health coverage of birth control?

OB/GYN talks about new poll showing that 7 in 10 Americans support universal contraceptive coverage

BLOGBirthControlAs Obamacare’s contraceptive coverage is challenged in the Supreme Court, we’ve been hearing a lot about the issue from the media, lawmakers and policy experts. Our team of researchers wanted to hear from the general public: What do Americans support when it comes to health plan coverage?

In a recent national poll, we asked people to share their opinions about whether health plans should be required to cover different types of health services, including mammograms, colonoscopies, vaccines, dental care, mental health services, screening for diabetes and high cholesterol, and birth control medications.

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The role of friends and family during your treatment

You’ve probably heard the lyrics, “I get by with a little help from my friends.”

In this week’s new Kids4Kids video, patients from C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital talk about the important role their friends and families play in supporting them during treatment or living with chronic illness.

Tell us:

What tips do you have for letting friends and family help you through illness?  Use the “reply” tool at the bottom of this post to share your advice with others!

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Are e-cigarettes safe?

New study shows rise in nicotine poisoning from liquid nicotine used in these devices

The use of e-cigarettes is skyrocketing, particularly among teens.

The use of e-cigarettes is skyrocketing, particularly among teens.

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, were created as a safer alternative to the real thing - mimicking cigarettes in size, shape, even a glowing tip. But are they really safer than tobacco? Research into the effects of the growing use of e-cigarettes is lacking, but, for the first time, the FDA is considering regulating the devices, potentially changing an industry that generates some $2 billion each year in the United States.

A gateway drug?

Also referred to as hookah pens, e-hookahs or vape pipes, these devices are part of a fast-growing market, particularly among teens. The products come in a variety of colors and flavors. E-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco. Instead, there’s a mechanism that heats up liquid nicotine and turns it into a vapor that smokers inhale and exhale. Many contain other unregulated chemicals as well. Continue reading

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Heart transplants: The ultimate gift of life

David Parker inspires others in the fight for their life

Since 1984, The University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center Heart Transplant Program has performed more than 900 heart transplants, as well as implanting more than 500 ventricular assist devices (VADs) — most as a way to “bridge” patients to transplant. The U-M team also provides the multidisciplinary care required for complex transplant patients and includes specialists in advanced circulatory support, cardiac critical care, nutrition and social work.

This closely integrated team of cardiac transplant surgeons and transplant cardiologists is highly skilled in treating and implanting donor hearts in patients with the most urgent cardiac needs. U-M’s high volume, vast experience and active research program makes it a leader in heart transplant surgeries.

U-M patient David Parker received a new heart in December 2012. Today, he is living a full, active life that includes walking three miles, weight training and swimming most days of the week.

David shares his story of courage and his path back to living …

David Parker and his wife, Carol

David Parker and his wife, Carol

“My name is David Parker. I am 64 years old and thankful to the University of Michigan cardiac team for my new life. I first became ill in 2001. I started with an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation, or afib. I was in and out of the hospital getting ‘cardioverted,’ a procedure in which the heart is shocked back into normal sinus rhythm. After a while, the doctors saw that this was not going to work. So I went to the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center, where Dr. Hakan Oral and his team performed three ablations. This helped for a period of time, but the afib eventually returned.

I was getting weaker and weaker as time passed. My doctors decided the only thing that would work was a heart transplant. I was put into the hospital to try to build up my strength and was put on the heart transplant list. At this time, my organs were starting to shut down and I was told I was too sick for a heart transplant. My only other option was to have a left ventricle assist device (LVAD) inserted. An LVAD is an electrical pump that attaches to the heart and pumps blood throughout the body. With the LVAD surgery, performed by Dr. Jonathan Haft, my organs started improving. I had the LVAD for 11 months, running on batteries during the day and plugged into a wall outlet at night. During that time, I was put back on the heart transplant list. Continue reading