New information finds senior citizens are doing a good job getting two vaccines that could save their lives, in 2003. 70% of people over age 65 received a flu shot and 64% received the pnuemococcal vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control says we can do better than that. The CDC would like to see that number increase to 90% annually by the year 2010 believing both those vaccines are that important when it comes to adding years to your life.
Every year thousands of people go the emergency room complaining of chest pain. While some are diagnosed with a heart problem, others are not. New information finds some of those patients sent home may still be in danger of having a heart attack. Researchers at Wake Forest University found nearly 3% of patients who came to the emergency room with chest pain, but weren't diagnosed with a heart problem, ended up having a heart attack within 30 days. Understand most of the patients in the study had a history of heart disease, high cholesterol or diabetes. Researchers suggest that further screening tests should be done on patients with one of those risk factors. The study is published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. 15,000 patients participated in this study.
Researchers are reporting yet another benefit to breast feeding, a lower risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. The Brigham and Women's Hospital study in Boston followed more than 120,000 women. Those who breast fed their babies for a total of 13 to 23 months had a 20% lower risk of developing the rheumatoid arthritis than those who never breast fed; women who breast fed for a total of 24 months or more had an even lower risk. Researchers also found that those women who had very irregular menstrual cycles were 40% more likely to develop the disease than those who had regular periods. Researchers suspect hormonal factors and the immune system may contribute to the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. This study was published in the Journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.