Guard your heart when shoveling snow

Tips to make shoveling a winter event, not a cardiac event

Despite a relatively dry December and predictions for less snow than the wallop winter gave us last year, it’s almost certain we’ll be seeing the white stuff in the coming weeks and months. When the snow starts piling up, many who pick up their shovels and head outside are putting themselves at risk for an adverse cardiac event. These include heart attacks, shoveling2where a blockage cuts off the heart’s blood supply leading to tissue damage, and cardiac arrest, when the heart beats irregularly and then stops. But for those at risk, there are ways to guard your heart when shoveling show.

Who’s at risk?

Men are more at risk than women but certain people with health problems have higher risk than others for a cardiac event. These include anyone who:

  • is in poor physical condition
  • has a history of heart disease, including heart attacks, heart failure and stroke
  • has hypertension or diabetes

The greatest risk is with people who are still recovering from a heart attack, or who are being treated for heart failure. People in these groups should avoid snow shoveling entirely. Continue reading

Advancing understanding of inherited cancer risk through collaboration: The PROMPT Registry

PROMPTInnovations in genetic testing technology over the past 5-10 years have opened up the ability to test multiple cancer risk genes at one time, at the same or lower cost than past testing for one or two individual genes. As a result, many testing laboratories now offer “next generation panel tests.” These tests allow investigation of multiple cancer risk genes with one sample, at one time, for one cost. This can be an attractive option when the family history could suggest more than one inherited syndrome – one test can evaluate for multiple syndromes. However, panel tests have also created some new challenges for patients and health care providers. Continue reading

Conquering cancer through innovation and collaboration: the year in review

new-year2014 was another year of discovery and innovation at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center as we work toward our goal of conquering cancer. Here are summaries of select clinical, laboratory and population collaborations by Cancer Center members that will benefit cancer patients everywhere:

  • March 25, 2014: 25% of breast cancer survivors report financial decline due to treatment, and the financial impact varied greatly by race. “As oncologists, we are proud of the advances in our ability to cure an increasing proportion of patients diagnosed with breast cancer. But as treatments improve, we must ensure that we do not leave these patients in financial ruin because of our efforts,” says study author Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil. In a second study, Dr. Jagsi found
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Infusion pharmacy use of technology to prepare patient care

infusion pharmacyAlong with the rest of the University of Michigan Health System, the infusion pharmacy at the Comprehensive Cancer Center has been using new technology to improve patient care. One new feature takes a picture of your prepared chemotherapy and links with the new barcode medication administration system to:

  • Confirm correct drug selection (right drug for the right patient)
  • Automate dose calculations (right dose)
  • Automate dose labeling to increase efficiency for pharmacy staff (right time)
  • Reduce waste

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Traveling this holiday season? Know the risks of DVT

Tips for travelers on extended flights or drives

planeThe 2014 year-end holiday travel period is defined by AAA as beginning today, Tuesday, December 23, through Sunday, January 4, 2015.

Travel volume for the year-end holidays will reach the highest peak recorded by AAA (since 2001), with nearly 91 percent of all travelers (89.5 million) celebrating the holidays with a road trip and 5.7 million travelers taking to the skies.

Travelers with varicose veins — both men and women — should know the risks of DVT. Anyone with varicose veins is at a slightly higher risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE) during a long flight or ride.

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Keep your holidays from going up in flames!

U-M Trauma Burn Center offers fire prevention tips for a safe and festive holiday season

Don't let a fire ruin your winter holidays - practice safe cooking, decorating & celebrating

Don’t let a fire ruin your winter holidays – practice safe cooking, decorating & celebrating

For most of us, the holiday season represents a time for family festivities and good cheer. What few of us consider is that the holiday season is also a time when there is an increased risk of home fires.

Many households engage in holiday activities that are leading causes of U.S. home fires, including cooking, Christmas trees, candle usage and holiday decorations. Add to that the hectic nature of the holidays, when people are trying to accomplish multiple tasks at one time, and the chance for home fires grows even more.

As everyone gets busier during the holidays, we often become rushed, distracted or tired. That’s when home fires and burn injuries are more likely to occur. I should know: I’m managing director of Injury Prevention at the University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center — one of the nation’s oldest and most respected centers for treating patients who have suffered burn injuries.

Fortunately, with a little added awareness and some minor adjustments to holiday cooking and decorating, the season can remain festive and safe for everybody. By taking some preventative steps and following some simple tips, most home fires and burn injuries can be prevented.

With unattended cooking being the #1 cause of U.S. home fires and injuries, be sure to stay in the kitchen while you’re frying, grilling or broiling food.

Most cooking fires involve the stovetop, so keep anything that can catch fire away from it, and turn off the stove when you leave the kitchen, even if it’s for a short period of time.

If you’re simmering, boiling, baking or roasting food, check it regularly and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking. Create a “no-kid zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food and drinks are prepared or carried.

This is NOT a safe way to use candles during the holidays - too close to flammable materials, and not on a stable base.

This is NOT a safe way to use candles during the holidays – too close to flammable materials, and not on a stable base.

Candles are widely used in homes throughout the holidays, and December is the peak month for home fires from candles.

The nonprofit National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) statistics show that two of every five home decoration fires are started by candles. Consider using flameless candles, which look and smell like real candles.

However, if you do use traditional candles, keep them at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn, and remember to blow them out when you leave the room or go to bed. Use candle holders that are sturdy, won’t tip over and are placed on uncluttered surfaces.

Avoid using candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep, as one-third of U.S. candle fires begin in these locations.

Lastly, never leave a child alone in a room with a burning candle and be sure to store any matches/lighters used in a secure location, up high and out of the reach of children.

Christmas trees also cause a significant number of house fires:

One of every three Christmas tree related fires is caused by electrical problems, and one in five resulted from a heat source that’s too close to the tree.

By following these fire/burn prevention tips and measures, you can greatly reduce the risk of fire in your home, and enjoy a safe holiday season. The holidays can quickly turn from joyful to tragic when a fire occurs. By taking simple precautions, people can avoid potential fire and burn injury hazards, and make this time of year a healthy and happy one.

I wish everyone and their loved ones a very happy and safe holiday season!

 

Take the next step:

Trauma Burn Center logoFounded in 1959, the U-M Trauma Burn Center was one of the first  dedicated burn units in the U.S. Verified as both a Burn Center & a Level‐1 Trauma Center by the American Burn Association & the American College of Surgeons, it is recognized for the ability to care for the most severely injured patients, and leadership in research, education, outreach & prevention. Each year, an average of 1,400 multiple-trauma and burn patients are admitted to U-M. The center serves as the State Burn Coordinating Center for Michigan & offers award-winning outreach programs.