The 2014 flu shot: What’s new and why get it now

vaccine imageNow is a great time to roll up your sleeve because the flu vaccine takes two weeks to kick in, says Elizabeth Jones, M.D., a family physician at the University of Michigan Health System’s Livonia Health Center. Everyone 6 months of age and older is encouraged to get their yearly flu vaccine, ideally in the fall.

More must-know flu season information

Needle-free season for kids. New this year, the nasal spray vaccine has become the preferred flu vaccine for healthy children ages 2-8. Studies suggest it may work better than a flu shot in younger children. But don’t delay getting vaccinated to find the nasal spray vaccine, Jones says.

A boost for seniors. Adults age 65 and older, there’s an alternative for you: a high-dose vaccine that new research shows is 24 percent more effective at preventing flu. As we age our immune system Continue reading

Young woman’s stroke launches Fibromuscular Dysplasia movement

Pam Mace, founder of FMDSA, urges patients to join patient registry

A stroke at age 37 is rare for most any one, but as an active adult who had adventures like scuba PamMace3.fwdiving and skydiving, it just didn’t make sense to me. I knew my body.

The day it happened, I woke up with a headache. After going for a 3 mile run later that day I noticed my pupils were unequal. I should have gone to the hospital right away but I didn’t. I just didn’t think I could have a stroke. But I did.

It would take a year before my doctors could explain why I had a stroke so young: fibromuscular dysplasia. The diagnosis would inspire me to start a movement around a rare vascular disease that affects women in the prime of their lives.

The two most common symptoms of fibromuscular dysplasia are headaches and high blood pressure. Think about how many people are walking around with those symptoms that could have FMD but they are treated as every day symptoms that millions of Americans have.

It’s why FMD has been called the rare disease that isn’t. FMD has always been considered a rare disease, and is still classified as a rare disease. But because it manifests so differently it’s likely underdiagnosed. Some research suggests as many 5 million Americans have FMD. Continue reading

Celebrate Go Red for Women: Wear Red, learn your risk for heart disease

Meet three women meeting the challenges of heart disease

Ask women when they’re at risk for heart disease, and they may say they have until after menopause gored.fwto start thinking about their cardiovascular health.

Not only is this wrong, it’s also dangerous because it prevents women from taking signs of heart disease seriously.

“The idea that heart disease is not a major risk for women is the biggest myth we need to counter,” says Claire Duvernoy, M.D., chief of cardiology at VA Ann Arbor Healthcare and an interventional cardiologist at the U-M Frankel Cardiovascular Center. “The truth is that more women die from cardiovascular disease than all forms of cancer combined.”

The good news is that women can lower their risk for heart disease, and campaigns like Go Red for Women, which celebrates National Wear Red Day, Feb. 7, inspires women to stand together for what is the fight for their lives. Every minute a women dies from heart disease, and 1 in 3 women’s deaths are caused by heart disease.   Continue reading

Snoring and its link to heart disease

Annoying habit raises risk for hypertension, stroke, heart attacks

 

Men more than women are at risk for sleep problems that raise the risk for hypertension, stroke, heart attacks and other cardiovascular issues.

Men more than women are at risk for sleep problems that raise the risk for hypertension, stroke, heart attacks and other cardiovascular issues.

Heavy snoring can sound funny to your sleep partner and annoy them terribly, but it is no joke. It is often the sign of a condition called obstructive sleep apnea, which we now know raises the risk for diabetes, obesity, hypertension, strokes, heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.

People with obstructive sleep apnea stop breathing for 10-20 seconds while they sleep, and this can occur from a few to hundreds of time a night. Snoring doesn’t occur in every case of sleep apnea, and all people who snore don’t have sleep apnea, but anyone who is told they snore should consider obstructive sleep apnea as a possible cause. Continue reading

Heart of a Hunter: Meet hunter Cleo Seay, heart attack survivor

Enjoying the great outdoors, seven years after a heart attack

Hunting small game like rabbit and quail and bringing in larger hauls of turkey and deer are important memories and adventures for contractor Cleo Seay, 62, of Flint, Mich. Cleo Seay

The desire to be in nature and enjoy the primal rush of the hunt didn’t change after a heart attack in 2006.

“Hunting season is the one time of year I get to see some of my friends,” says Seay. “We’ll eat, lie, hunt, fish. To be honest if we really wanted to kill a deer, we wouldn’t go in such a big group. Hunting deer is a quiet thing.”

Rather than a tent, he spends nights under the stars in his cork-floored Airstream, but it feels just as good to get away from it all with a dozen close friends on private land in Benton Harbor, Mich. Before loading up his gear we asked Cleo to talk about his journey with heart disease. Continue reading

Mexican Americans and stroke: What BASIC means to a South Texas native

Corpus Christi, Texas is 1,500 miles from Ann Arbor, Michigan, yet there is a strong connection between the two cities that I am so honored to be a part of.Nelda Garcia

When people ask me what my job is, I’ll say, “I work for the University of Michigan.”  I usually get a funny look and then explain that I manage a stroke research study being conducted by the U-M. The study is called Brain Attack Surveillance in Corpus Christi (BASIC) and was started over 13 years ago by stroke neurologist Dr. Lewis Morgenstern.

What makes the BASIC study so unique is that it is the only research project in the country that is studying Mexican Americans and stroke. Being born and raised in South Texas, it gives me an even stronger sense of pride to be a part of this critical research.

We have partnered with local hospitals to collect vital information about stroke in a community that is over 60 percent Mexican American.  For those stroke patients who participate in an interactive interview, our field office research staff have the opportunity to connect with them on a one-to-one basis.  The real heroes of this story are the patients.  Their contribution to this knowledge base is beyond measure.  It’s so very rewarding to hear patients and families thanking us for the work we’re doing!

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