Recently in Wellness studies Category

Brain Injuries May Affect Girls Differently Than Boys

October 27, 2014

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the impairments that is listed in the Social Security Administration (SSA) impairments listing, which categorizes illnesses that are eligible for disability benefits.

A new study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found that girls may have different responses to traumatic brain injuries, compared to males. According to the study, teenage girls who suffered a concussion, or a mild traumatic brain injury, are much more likely to suffer difficulties such as psychological issues, suicidal thoughts, smoking, and being the victims of bullying.

Those are interesting study results, because traumatic brain injuries typically affect more numbers of boys than girls. Approximately 2.5 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury that is serious enough to require a visit to an emergency room, and those injuries are much more common among males. However, girls are likely to suffer injuries in bicycle accidents, while playing sports, and during cheerleading.

Any type of head injury is very serious, and symptoms and complications can linger or appear long after the initial event which caused the injury. Please seek medical help as soon after an injury to the skull as possible.

Feds Approve Treatment for Persons with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

September 2, 2014

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new treatment for the respiratory condition called Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

According to the FDA, patients who suffer from this often deadly ailment now have a new tool with which to treat symptoms. The medication is delivered via inhaler, with a spray called Striverdi Respimat and the active ingredient known as olodaterol. It is believed that the drug works by relaxing the airway muscles in the lungs. The drug is often prescribed to be taken once a day, and can be used over a prolonged period of time.

The FDA has conducted testing of the medication, including comparison with a placebo. More than 3,000 people with a diagnosis of COPD were included in the study. Those who used the inhaler were compared to a control group that took a placebo. The researchers found that those who were on the medication exhibited improved lung function compared to those who were on the placebo

However, the medication may not be for everyone. People who suffer from COPD that is in a state of rapid progression should avoid taking the drug. In these people, the medication could actually cause complications, including cardiac problems. It is also not recommended for people who suffer from asthma, or people who suffer from any kind of sudden breathing problems.

Before taking any medication, it is important to consult with your doctor.

COPD is included in the Social Security impairment listing. If you suffer from COPD, and would like to learn about your options for disability benefits, call attorney Lisa Siegel today.

Body Vibration Therapy May Benefit Fibromyalgia Patients

July 1, 2014

Patients with fibromyalgia may benefit from a new therapy that involves whole-body vibration exercise.

Whole-body vibration exercise is not new, and has been used for the treatment of symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome. However, research on the effectiveness of this therapy in treating this painful condition has been sporadic. Now, however, scientists from Indiana University have announced the results of a pilot study which they say indicates that the therapy is very promising in treating symptoms of fibromyalgia.
As part of the study, patients who suffered from fibromyalgia were asked to sit, stand, and lay on a machine that came with a vibrating platform. When the machine was turned on, the vibrations caused the patient's muscles to contract and relax. Subjects reported a significant alleviation of muscular pain.

According to researchers, what is really beneficial about this therapy is that it encourages patients to exercise who otherwise would avoid it because of the accompanying pain. When patients who have fibromyalgia avoid exercise, it only leads to weight gain, and also leads to other conditions that can only worsen symptoms. Those conditions include type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension.
More studies are needed to further confirm the benefits of this whole-body vibration exercise. However, the study seems to indicate that patients did report and experience better strength, increased muscular spasticity, and reduced pain.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia appear because of a disconnect between the nerves and the brain. About 5 million American adults currently suffer from symptoms of fibromyalgia that include severe pain, stiffness in the morning, and sleep disorders.

Drinking Milk Could Slow Progression of Arthritis in Women

May 27, 2014

Persons who suffer from debilitating knee arthritis may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits if the pain impairs their ability to work and earn a living.

Something as simple as drinking six glasses of milk per week could actually help slow down the progression of painful and disabling knee arthritis in women. According to new research that was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH), women who drink more quantities of low fat and fat-free milk see a slower progression of knee arthritis. However, the same results were not seen when men drank the same amount of milk. Furthermore, women in the study did not see the same types of benefits when they consumed other dairy products, such as yogurt or cheese.

Researchers were looking at the effect of dairy products on the progression of knee arthritis, a fairly common form of osteoarthritis, which affects nearly 27 million Americans above the age of 25. Women tend to be much more frequent victims of knee arthritis, which can lead to consistent and disabling pain. The study analyzed more than 1,200 women and monitored the progression of knee arthritis in these women when they consumed significant quantities of milk.

Researchers believe that the fact that estrogen is closely linked to bone health may help explain why consumption of milk benefits females much more than it does males. Similarly, cheese is high in some unhealthy fats, which also may explain why knee arthritis symptoms were accelerated because of cheese consumption.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Linked to Kidney Disease

May 9, 2014

Persons who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis may experience a number of symptoms including swelling, pain and fatigue that may prevent them from standing for long periods of time, or performing certain routine activities. A new study finds that persons who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis may actually be at a much higher risk for suffering kidney disease.

The study which was conducted at Mayo Clinic focused on 813 people who had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and compared them with another group of people who did not suffer from the condition. They found that over a period of 20 years, persons who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis had a 25% risk of developing chronic kidney disease. In the general population, the risk was 20%. According to researchers, that may not seem like a statistically significant disparity, but it is quite a big difference, and creates serious implications for the management of rheumatoid arthritis.

Typically, a person who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis may suffer from stiffness of the joints because of inflammation. In fact, this is a hallmark characteristic of this condition, and the stiffened joints make the upper and lower extremities difficult to use. Apart from stiffness, patients may also suffer from chronic pain and severe fatigue, both of which affect their ability to work. Approximately one out of three people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis leave their jobs.

If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and believe you are eligible for disability benefits, call Atlanta Social Security disability benefits attorney Lisa Siegel.

New Non-Surgical Treatment for Knee Arthritis Show Promising Signs

April 28, 2014

Knee osteoarthritis causes chronic pain, stiffness, and difficulty in walking, often making it challenging for individuals to perform routine activities. As a result, going back to work may not be an option for persons with this medical condition. Now, researchers have announced a new non-surgical technique to treat the pain and stiffness that accompanies knee osteoarthritis.

The technique has been developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. According to researchers, they have experimented with a two-solution treatment, which involves a series of injections that are administered to the knee region. This therapy is called prolotherapy, and the results of the study were recently published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Researchers reported substantial improvement in symptoms in a group of participants who were monitored over a one year period. During the testing time, participants received at least three of the two-solution injections. The researchers found that there was an improvement in symptoms varying from 19.5% to 42.9% compared to the person's original status.

Additionally, researchers reported that there was improvement in pain, function and stiffness beyond the minimum clinically important difference in approximately 50% to 75% of the patients.

There is no separate category for knee osteoarthritis for a person to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. However, if the condition has proven to be so severe that the person suffers from regular, chronic and severe pain or stiffness, and is not able to stand, walk or perform important routine activities that are essential to the performing of his job, he may be eligible for benefits.

Hormones May Provide Relief from Chronic Pain

March 24, 2014

Persons who suffer from chronic pain may find that their symptoms are so extreme that they are unable to perform normal, routine day-to-day activities. According to a small study conducted recently, a combination of two hormones could provide some relief to people who suffer from such chronic pain.

The study was conducted on nine patients, who were given doses of oxytocin and human chorionic gonadotropin. The researchers found that seven out of the 9 patients, reported a decrease in pain of up to 40% after using the hormone combination. In addition, the levels of painkillers that these patients needed in order to deal with the chronic pain also dropped by as much as 40%. The patients also reported that there was a much longer time period between flare-ups of pain, and much lower pain intensity.

This was a very small study of nine patients, and therefore the findings are not conclusive enough to actually confirm whether this combination of hormones could actually have a long-term positive effect in controlling chronic pain. Researchers say that their next step will be to study whether these hormones could act as an alternative treatment for chronic pain.

Often times, persons who qualify for Social Security disability benefits are those whose ailments or medical conditions may not be visible from the outside, or may not include external symptoms. For example, persons who suffer from chronic pain may look perfectly healthy, and may not even be able to pinpoint the exact cause of the pain. But that doesn't mean they are symptom free.

Chronic pain is not listed as a separate category by the Social Security Administration for benefits, but patients who suffer from chronic pain may be eligible for benefits if their symptoms closely mirror a condition that is included in the listings.

Chronic Pain Often Accompanied by Emotional Challenges

January 16, 2014

Millions of Americans suffer from chronic musculoskeletal pain, which often leaves them in deep discomfort, and often unable to perform even routine daily activities. New research finds that such chronic pain may have other unfortunate consequences. Individuals who live with such chronic pain often suffer from a number of emotional health issues, including reduced self-esteem.

According to the study which was conducted in the United Kingdom by the National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research Program, patients who suffer from chronic pain very often struggle with feelings about their bodies. They were also very often likely to feel uncertainty about the future, and trapped by the restrictions imposed by their bodies.

The study also found that many of these people were also likely to be disillusioned by the health care system, which they felt had failed them. They were also prone to feelings of helplessness. One of the more serious consequences that these individuals struggled with struggling with inability to explain their pain to others or prove their pain existed. Overall, these individuals had a much lower quality of life, compared to persons who did not suffer from chronic pain.

Experts believe that individuals who suffer from chronic pain benefit emotionally from participating in support groups. These are designed to connect them with other individuals who also suffer from such chronic pain, and have gone on to live happy and fulfilling lives. It is important for people to understand that it is possible to move on with their lives in such a situation, and to take any steps they can to avoid feelings of helplessness.

People with Disability at Greater Risk of Obesity

October 1, 2013

According to new research, people who suffer from a disability are at a much higher risk of obesity than non-disabled persons. This indicates that obesity may be a much greater physical health challenge for the disabled than earlier believed.

The study found that approximately 42% of American adults who suffer from a disability also suffer from obesity. About 9% also suffer from extreme obesity. In comparison, among adults who did not suffer from any disabilities, nearly 29% were found to be obese, and 3.9% were found to be extremely obese.

The results of the findings were published recently in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. This is believed to be the very first time that obesity has been strongly linked to disability.

Earlier research has also tried to link disability to obesity, but there had been deficiencies in those studies, and the findings were based on an obesity prevalence among people with a disability that was at just between 39% and 31%. The new study put that number closer to 42%.

Data for the study came from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which includes data collected from physical examinations of Americans as well as interviews about diet and nutrition. Obesity rates, as well as health information from more than 11,000 American adults who suffer from a disability, were compiled as part of the research, and then compared to data involving more than 20,000 people without disabilities.

Apart from the higher risk of obesity, disabled persons were also found to be much more likely to suffer from chronic illnesses like diabetes, high cholesterol levels as well as hypertension. In addition, many were likely to be on high blood pressure medication, as well as medications to lower lipid levels.

Our law firm helps clients receive disability benefits, as well as work through other health challenges such as obesity and high blood pressure.

Study Finds Steroid Injections to Treat Back Pain May Increase Risk of Spinal Fracture

August 29, 2013

Back pain is one of the most disabling conditions that a person can suffer from, and very often the pain is so debilitating that it no longer allows the person to work. A recent study, however, showed evidence that some back pain sufferers may also be at risk of a spinal fracture if they are taking steroid injections for pain.

The study was published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, and suggests that older patients who suffer from low bone density should be particularly cautious when receiving steroid injections.

At issue are lumbar epidural steroid injections, which are injections into the spine where the nerve is being compressed, usually due to a spinal stenosis or herniated disc. While it has been widely accepted in medical literature for years that the use of steroid injections over a period of time can lead to a decrease in bone mineral density, this new research goes a step further by linking this lowered bone mineral density to the more serious spinal fracture.

As part of the study, more than 3,000 patients who had been given steroid injections for back pain were analyzed. The patient group was then compared to another group of 3,000 patients who received alternative treatment for their back pain. Researchers found that approximately 150 patients from the injection group were later diagnosed with a spinal fracture.

More research will be necessary to determine whether the risks of spinal steroid injections outweigh the benefits. However, the lesson we can all take is to make sure that you are not only receiving treatment for your conditions, but also that you are receiving the right treatment based on your unique circumstances. It's also very important to know the risks associated with any treatment plan, and how you can alter your activities and lifestyle to minimize them.

ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE SAVES LIVES

July 16, 2012

Frequently, someone contacts me who is recently disabled due to a traumatic accident and has no access to healthcare. A similar scenario was depicted recently in a New York Times article on healthcare. Oregon resident Wendy Parris shattered her ankle. Because she was uninsured, the emergency room doctors did not operate on it, but rather placed the ankle in an air cast and discharged her. For four years, she hobbled on the broken foot becoming less mobile and gaining weight.

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In 2008 Oregon participated in a study where it opened its Medicaid rolls to some working adults living close to the poverty level. Oregon provided healthcare insurance to these uninsured via a lottery system. This allowed Oregon to test a hypothesis on how having healthcare effects individuals and whether having healthcare actually saves money. The study showed that having health insurance made people happier, healthier and more financially stable. The study also dispelled the myth that Medicaid does not help people and that people can get care in ways other than through Medicaid. In fact, the chronically ill or traumatically injured have trouble navigating the healthcare maze of community clinics and charity hospitals. Frequently, they go without care.

Wendy Parris won insurance in the lottery. When she did she was able to have her foot surgically repaired. She was also able to get treatment for her depression, help with her mobility and help losing weight. According to Wendy, "it saved my life."

The study did show, also, that those with insurance coverage spent more on healthcare. Insured individuals spent about 25% more on healthcare than those who did not win insurance in the lottery. Thus, the same study also dispelled the idea espoused by preventative care advocates that access to preventative care reduces healthcare costs as it keeps the chronically ill out of emergency rooms. Thus, the benefits of expanded access to healthcare coverage also created budgetary concerns for government.

Federal and state governments continue to look for ways to fund Medicaid. In Georgia, state residents have high rates of obesity, infant mortality, cardiovascular deaths, diabetes and asthma. Access to health care does help those who must fight chronic diseases.