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Exercise Can Lower Older Women’s Fracture Risk

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Older women who get even light exercise, like a daily walk, may lower their risk of suffering a broken hip, a large study suggests.

A number of studies have linked regular exercise to a lower risk of hip fracture — a potentially disabling or even fatal injury for older adults. Each year, more than 300,000 people in the United States aged 65 or older are hospitalized for a broken hip, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new study, of more than 77,000 older U.S. women, took a deeper look at the types of exercise that are related to the risk of hip fracture and other bone breaks.

The researchers found that, on average, women who regularly exercised at any intensity — from walking, to doing yard work, to jogging — had a lower risk of hip fracture over 14 years, compared to inactive women.

It all suggests that even light activity is enough to curb the risk of these serious injuries, said study leader Michael LaMonte, a research associate professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

“We were happy to see a strong relationship between walking and lower hip fracture risk,” he said. “As we get older, we naturally do less-strenuous physical activity. This suggests that to lower your risk of hip fracture, you don’t need to do anything fancy. It can be as simple as walking.”

The findings “strongly support” longstanding recommendations for people to fit physical activity into their daily routine, according to Dr. Richard Bockman.

“Get out there and walk,” said Bockman, chief of the endocrine service at the Hospital for Special Surgery, in New York City.

Lower-impact activities do not have a big effect on bone density. But Bockman, who was not involved in the study, said that while bone density matters in hip fracture risk, other factors are also involved. They include muscle strength in the lower body, balance and agility, since broken hips are almost always the result of a fall.

Continued

The findings, published online Oct. 25 in JAMA Network Open, come from the Women’s Health Initiative — a study begun in the 1990s at 40 U.S. medical centers. It involved more than 77,000 women who were between the ages of 50 and 79 when they enrolled.

At the outset, the women reported on their usual physical activities, among other lifestyle factors.

Over an average of 14 years, one-third of the women suffered a bone fracture. When it came to hip fractures, women who’d reported higher amounts of physical activity at the study’s start typically had a lower risk.

For example, women who regularly got moderate to vigorous exercise, such as brisk walking or jogging, had a 12% lower risk of hip fracture than those who were less active. But there was also a link between “mild activity” — like slow dancing, bowling or golfing — and lower hip fracture risk. And the more often women walked, at any speed, the lower their risk of a broken hip.

The news wasn’t all good: Women who exercised at moderate to vigorous intensities had a relatively higher risk of a wrist or forearm fracture, compared to less-active women.

It’s not clear why, but LaMonte offered a guess: When women with more “functional ability” do fall, they may be more likely to stretch out an arm to break the fall, which is how wrist and forearm fractures often happen.

One question the study cannot address, LaMonte said, is whether starting exercise at an older age reduces hip fracture risk. Study participants who were physically active may have been active their whole lives.

But, he said, it is clear that “sitting less and moving more” is key in older adults’ overall health, with benefits such as better control of blood pressure and diabetes, and a lower risk of heart disease.

Besides exercise, older adults can take other steps to reduce their hip fracture risk, LaMonte noted. They include getting bone mass measurements as recommended by your doctor, and following a healthy diet with adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D.

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Sources

SOURCES: Michael LaMonte, Ph.D., M.P.H., research associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health, State University of New York at Buffalo; Richard Bockman, M.D., Ph.D., chief of endocrine service, Hospital for Special Surgery, and professor of medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City; Oct. 25, 2019,JAMA Network Open, online

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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40-Year Study Sees Steady Rise in Pregnant Women’s Blood Pressure

MONDAY, Sept. 9, 2019 — Over the past four decades, the U.S. has seen a sharp rise in the number of pregnant women with high blood pressure, new research reveals.

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from about 151 million hospitalizations between 1970 and 2010 to determine the rates of chronic high blood pressure in pregnant women aged 15 to 49.

Chronic high blood pressure was defined as high blood pressure before pregnancy or during the first 20 weeks of gestation. The researchers used a lower measurement — 140/90 — than the 130/80 benchmark that now brings a high blood pressure diagnosis.

High blood pressure poses risks for both fetus and mother. It increases the odds of stillbirth, as well as the mother’s risk of preeclampsia (life-threatening high blood pressure during pregnancy), stroke, heart failure and heart muscle disease, kidney failure and death.

Nearly 1 million (0.63%) of the women had chronic high blood pressure during pregnancy, and the rate rose steeply over time — from 0.11% in 1970 to 1.52% in 2010, a more than 13-fold increase, according to the report.

Since 1979, the rate increased an average of 6% every year, the study findings showed.

White women had a slightly higher annual increase (7%) than black women (4%), but black women were more than twice as likely to have high blood pressure during pregnancy.

The report was published Sept. 9 in the journal Hypertension.

“Women who already have high blood pressure and are planning to become pregnant should work closely with their health care provider to closely monitor and manage their blood pressure, especially during pregnancy, to reduce the serious health risks to both themselves and their unborn child,” study author Cande Ananth said in a journal news release.

Ananth is chief of epidemiology and biostatistics in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Rutgers Medical School in New Brunswick, N.J.

He noted that older mothers were more likely to have chronic high blood pressure.

“Since more women are electing to postpone their first pregnancies, and advanced maternal age is strongly associated with chronic high blood pressure, women should be aware of the risks associated with having high blood pressure during pregnancy,” Ananth said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on high blood pressure during pregnancy.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: September 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Finances Affect Women’s Choice of Breast Cancer Treatment: Study

FRIDAY, Aug. 2, 2019 — Cost often influences breast cancer patients’ decisions about surgery, even if they have good incomes and insurance, a new study finds.

“Eligible women with early-stage breast cancer often have choices for surgical treatments that are equally effective and result in excellent cancer outcomes,” said lead study author Dr. Rachel Greenup. She is a surgeon at Duke Cancer Institute in Durham, N.C.

“Surgeons often discuss the emotional and physical side effects of treatment, yet we rarely discuss the costs,” Greenup noted in an institute news release.

For the study, the researchers surveyed more than 600 women with stage 0 to stage 3 breast cancer. Of those, 90% were white; 70% had private health insurance; 25% had Medicare; 78% were college educated; and 56% had household incomes above $ 74,000 a year.

Even though the women were more affluent than the U.S. average, 43% said cost was a consideration when deciding on treatment, and nearly one-third said it played into the type of surgery they chose.

Among women with annual household incomes below $ 45,000, treatment cost was more important than keeping their breast or its appearance, the study findings showed.

Also, 35% said their treatment caused a financial burden, and 78% never discussed costs with their cancer care team. Even among top earners, 65% said they were financially unprepared for the cost of their cancer treatment.

Of the types of breast cancer surgeries — lumpectomy with radiation; mastectomy; and double mastectomy with or without breast reconstruction — double mastectomy was associated with higher patient debt and financial hardship.

The findings were published online July 29 in the Journal of Oncology Practice.

“Women are weighing many factors when deciding what type of surgery is best for them, including their personal desire for breast preservation, options for reconstruction, recovery time, sexuality, appearance, demands for future surveillance, and their own peace of mind,” Greenup said.

“While other side effects of surgical choice are routinely discussed with their physicians, the potential for financial harm is not explicitly addressed, including both the out-of-pocket payments and lost productivity for patients and their families,” she added. “Our study suggests this should change.”

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on breast cancer surgery.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: August 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Could Antibacterial Triclosan Weaken Women’s Bones?

By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Triclosan, a chemical commonly added to a myriad of consumer products to kill bacteria, may be bad for women’s bones, a new study suggests.

“We found that higher triclosan levels in urine were associated with lower bone mineral density in the femur and lumbar spine and increased the risk for osteoporosis in U.S. women, especially postmenopausal women,” said lead researcher Yingjun Li, from Hangzhou Medical College School of Public Health in China.

Triclosan has been shown to affect bone mineral density in cells and in animals, Li added, but this is the first evidence in humans that it can have the same effect.

Triclosan is widely used in a variety of products including soaps, toothpaste and mouthwash. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the chemical from hand sanitizers, it’s still used in other products.

Because the researchers looked at women who were exposed to triclosan, as well as many other chemicals, during their lives, this study cannot prove that triclosan caused osteoporosis.

According to the FDA, triclosan has been linked to reduced levels of some thyroid hormones and to an added risk of making some bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

Neither of these risks, however, have been conclusively proven, the agency says.

“The data that triclosan alters bone biochemistry seems reasonable,” said Bruce Hammock, a professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis.

But it is a stretch to say that the exposure most people get can cause this, he added.

Hammock said that people have to look at the benefits of triclosan to determine if the potential risks are worth taking. That’s the best way to judge any chemical, he said.

“If it offers no benefit, as it is in most cases with triclosan, any exposure gives you risk without benefit, so it should be avoided,” Hammock said.

For the study, Li and colleagues collected data on nearly 1,900 women who took part in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2005 and 2010.

Continued

They found that women with high levels of triclosan in their urine were more likely to have weakening of their bones.

The Personal Care Products Council, an industry group, noted the study had several limitations, including not proving a cause-and-effect link, taking only a single sample of urine from the women, and reporting an effect that was just barely of statistical significance.

Not only that, “the authors acknowledge that ‘Future prospective studies are needed to validate the findings,'” Linda Loretz, chief toxicologist with the council, said in a statement.

However, even though the health risks tied to triclosan haven’t been proven, another expert still believes you should avoid it when possible.

“This study provides cautionary data on yet another potential adverse health outcome from exposure to the overused antimicrobial triclosan,” said Rolf Halden, director of the Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering at Arizona State University.

Consumers can limit their exposure to triclosan by not using toothpaste containing triclosan and by avoiding antimicrobial consumer products laced with triclosan, including clothes, kitchenware, office and school supplies, carpets and workstation surfaces, he said.

“Even after the recent ban of triclosan from most personal care products by the FDA, opportunities for unwanted human exposure abound from a large spectrum of consumer products containing significant quantities of this risky antimicrobial compound,” Halden said.

The report was published online June 25 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Yingjun Li, Ph.D., Hangzhou Medical College School of Public Health, Hangzhou, China; Rolf Halden, Ph.D., professor and director, BiodesignCenter for Environmental Health Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe; Bruce Hammock, Ph.D., professor, entomology, University of California, Davis; June 24, 2019, statement, Personal Care Products Council; June 25, 2019,Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, online

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Bedroom Light at Night Might Boost Women’s Weight

MONDAY, June 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Women, beware: Sleeping with a light on or the TV going in your bedroom could make you put on weight.

That’s the finding of new research published in JAMA Internal Medicine. While the study doesn’t prove that sleeping with a light on causes weight gain, it suggests the two may be linked, the researchers said.

“Turning off the light while sleeping may be a useful tool for reducing a possibility of weight gain and becoming overweight or obese,” said lead author Dr. Yong-Moon Mark Park. He is a postdoctoral fellow at the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Park said that exposure to artificial light at night may suppress the sleep hormone melatonin and disrupt the natural sleep-wake cycle.

“It also may disturb day-to-day variations of stress hormones and affect other metabolic processes in ways that contribute to weight gain,” Park added.

Keeping a light on might also result in poorer sleep. Shorter sleep could prompt you to exercise less and eat more, he noted.

For the study, Park’s team relied on self-reported data from nearly 44,000 women, aged 35 to 74. They weren’t shift workers, daytime sleepers or pregnant when the study began.

Women who slept with a light on were 17% more likely to gain 11 pounds or more over five years, the study found. And the level of artificial light seemed to matter, Park said.

“For example, using a small nightlight was not associated with weight gain, whereas women who slept with a light or television on were,” he explained.

The findings didn’t change when researchers accounted for women’s diet and physical activity, which suggests that light during sleep may be important in weight gain and obesity.

Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center in New Haven, Conn., reviewed the findings. He said the link between exposure to artificial light at night and obesity may not indicate that one causes the other.

“As with any study of association, two findings are true — true, but not directly related,” he said.

The key takeaway relates to poor sleep, Katz suggested.

“Sleep deficiency and impairment is a known obesity risk factor, for reasons ranging from mood and reduced restraint, to changes in hormonal balance,” he said.

It’s also possible that reliance on artificial light at night and obesity are both linked to other factors, such as “loneliness, anxiety or some form of social insecurity,” Katz said.

The report was published online June 10.


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Most States Restrict Pregnant Women’s Advance Directives: Study

FRIDAY, April 26, 2019 — Laws in half of U.S. states override a pregnant woman’s advance directive if she becomes incapacitated, a new study finds.

And most of those states don’t reveal this in advance directive forms.

An advance directive is a legal document completed by a patient that appoints a surrogate to make health care decisions if the patient becomes unable to do so. It also outlines the person’s health care preferences.

For the new study, Mayo Clinic researchers reviewed advance directive laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia as of February 2019. The findings showed that 38 states have laws that define pregnancy as a condition that affects decisions for incapacitated pregnant women.

Eight of those states ask for a woman’s pregnancy-specific care preferences. The other 30 limit a woman’s or her surrogate’s decision about withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment. And 25 of those invalidate a woman’s advance directive during pregnancy.

Twelve of the states that forbid withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment require it to continue until the woman’s fetus can be safely delivered, no matter the stage of pregnancy when the mother became ill or injured, the investigators found.

Those states are Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

The study was published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Advance directives were designed by lawmakers to safeguard patient autonomy and control over medical circumstances that are difficult to anticipate but that may lead to life-and-death decisions,” said lead author Dr. Erin DeMartino. She’s a pulmonary and critical care doctor at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

“It would come as a great surprise to many people that there’s a medical condition in which women’s control of their own health destiny is taken away by the state,” DeMartino added in a Mayo Clinic news release.

Ethics and health law in the United States put a premium on a patient’s treatment preferences, according to the study authors.

“This analysis suggests that a majority of U.S. states restrict the health care options available to decisionally incapacitated women during pregnancy, and do not disclose these restrictions in advance directive forms,” the researchers wrote.

The new study suggests that states need to do a better job informing women how pregnancy affects medical decision-making, DeMartino said.

“It’s of fundamental importance that women understand what they’re signing, and that we are aware of how these types of health care decisions are being influenced by state law,” she added.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on advance directives.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: April 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Long Antibiotic Use May Raise Women’s Heart Risks

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, April 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Antibiotics can be lifesaving, but using them over a long period might raise the odds of heart disease and stroke in older women, a new study suggests.

Researchers tracked the health of nearly 36,500 U.S. women over an average follow-up of nearly eight years. During that time, more than a thousand developed heart disease.

The study found that women aged 60 and older who used antibiotics for two months or longer were 32% percent more likely to develop heart disease than those who did not use antibiotics.

Women aged 40 to 59 who took antibiotics for longer than two months had a 28% higher risk than those who did not take the drugs, said a team led by Lu Qi. He directs the Tulane University Obesity Research Center in New Orleans.

Said another way, the results mean that for older women who take antibiotics for two months or more, 6 per 1,000 would go on to develop heart disease, compared with 3 in 1,000 among those who did not take the drugs.

There was no increased risk of heart disease among women aged 20 to 39 who took antibiotics, according to the study published April 24 in the European Heart Journal.

“This is an observational study and so it cannot show that antibiotics cause heart disease and stroke, only that there is a link between them,” Qi said in a journal news release. “It’s possible that women who reported more antibiotic use might be sicker in other ways that we were unable to measure, or there may be other factors that could affect the results that we have not been able take account of.”

However, the researchers did take into account other factors, including age, race, sex, diet and lifestyle, reasons for antibiotic use, overweight or obesity, other diseases and medication use.

The most common reasons for antibiotic use among women in the study were respiratory infections, urinary tract infections and dental problems.

So what could be the link between antibiotics and heart risk?

Continued

One possible reason could lie in the fact that antibiotics do alter the balance of gut microbes, destroying good bacteria and increasing the proportion of viruses, bacteria or other microbes that can cause disease, Qi suggested.

“Antibiotic use is the most critical factor in altering the balance of microorganisms in the gut,” he said, and “previous studies have shown a link between alterations in the microbiotic environment of the gut and inflammation and narrowing of the blood vessels, stroke and heart disease.”

Study first author Yoriko Heianza is a research fellow at Tulane University. She noted that, as the women in the study aged, “they were more likely to need more antibiotics, and sometimes for longer periods of time, which suggests a cumulative effect may be the reason for the stronger link in older age between antibiotic use and cardiovascular disease.”

According to Qi, the take-home message from the new study is that “antibiotics should be used only when they are absolutely needed. Considering the potentially cumulative adverse effects, the shorter time of antibiotic use, the better.”

Dr. Eugenia Gianos directs Women’s Heart Health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She wasn’t involved in the new research, but said the findings are “interesting and warrant further analysis.”

Gianos agreed that the study couldn’t prove cause and effect. “It is very possible that patients who require antibiotics for an infection have a worse underlying infectious or inflammatory process, and that the systemic effects of these diseases are what cause cardiovascular disease,” she reasoned.

But the interplay between antibiotics, the gut’s “microbiome” and the cardiovascular system could be important as well, Gianos said.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES Eugenia Gianos, M.D., director, Women’s Heart Health, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City:European Heart Journal, news release, April 24, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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AHA News: Belly Fat Ups Older Women’s Heart Risks, Even Without Obesity