Tag Archives: chronic disease

Acorns Signify Spike in Lyme Disease

Experts warn that a bumper crop of acorns could be the catalyst for an unprecedented outbreak of Lyme Disease in the United States. Dr. Andrew Heyman, Program Director of Integrative and Metabolic Medicine at George Washington University, and an expert on chronic infections and Lyme, confirms: “New Lyme cases correlate with acorn bumper crops. Not to say there IS an outbreak—but the conditions are right for one.”

According to Rick Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, the illness is on track to produce its worst numbers in 2017. An estimated 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year; yet the illness is a global phenomenon, and diagnoses could soon soar to historically unprecedented levels. Researchers in Poland discovered similar acorn trends last year, and are expecting 2018 to pose a high risk of Lyme disease infections.

The acorn surge indicates that mouse populations will climb, which in turn gives rise to more disease-carrying ticks. Mice population predictions are based on the acorns, and infected nymph ticks correspond with the mice numbers. One mouse alone has the potential to carry hundreds of immature ticks. The tick population is further spiking due to the country’s warmer winters and earlier springs.

The rodents’ blood contains the bacteria that causes Lyme—Borrelia burgdorferi—which is transferred to the stomach of the tick as it feeds. The bacteria can subsequently be passed on to whatever new host the tick ultimately latches onto: including humans.

There are few preventive measure to take, as there is currently no vaccine available for Lyme disease. Moreover, ticks are tiny—some as small as poppy seeds—and the flu-like symptoms that occur after being infected are often easy to misdiagnose, as some people infected with Lyme may not exhibit the telltale bulls-eye rash. The later stage is generally when people get untreated, highly problematic Lyme disease.

While a French-based biotech group Valneva has produced a new Lyme vaccine, it is currently in early human trials, and at least six years away from being publicly released.

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Chronic Disease: Continued

A recent new report published by Trust for America’s Health reveals that most states score low in terms of public health preparedness, despite alarming statistics that indicate the emergence of one new contagious disease each year–impacting millions of people across the country.

These nationwide major weaknesses are most evident when assessing whether health care systems are able to care for a mass influx of patients during a pandemic, a major outbreak, or attack. Only ten states have instituted formal programs for funneling private-sector medical staff, supplies, and resources into restricted areas during disasters.

The lack of coordinated biosurveillance systems, coupled with dwindling hospital emergency preparedness funds, help explain why only ten states vaccinated at least half of their respective populations against the seasonal flu during the last season.

The potential of dangerous viruses and other biological agents require increased oversight, in addition to upgrading infrastructure and technology. The lack of an overarching strategic approach furthers the challenges in caring for patients during a mass event.

Authors of the publication reported that a severe new flu pandemic could cost the nation more than $680 billion, with the potential to completely disrupt the global economy. Lead authors recommend that regions, states, and communities develop strong, reliable baseline public health capacities through a consistent and coordinated planning approach. Ultimately, investing in both prevention and ‘effective standing response capabilities’ can help avoid exorbitant costs in both dollars and lives.

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The Cost of Chronic Disease

The primary issue that consumes approximately 86% of healthcare costs in the United States is avoidable chronic disease: while the most prevalent health conditions are simultaneously the most preventable, they continue to cost the country’s budget billions of dollars.

While overall numbers have decreased since 2010, when chronic disease cost the U.S. a total of $315 billion, morbid obesity rates have continued to rapidly spike—a condition that leads to a range of critical health issues including heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

In large part due to increased public awareness, three of the five leading causes of death have declined, yet the trend of chronic disease is still disconcerting and dangerous. Almost half of all adults in the U.S. have a serious health condition, while 31 million Americans over age 50 are at great risk of contracting a chronic illness because of sedentary inactivity and lack of proper nutrition.

Being conscious of medicinal needs and treatments requires a consistently high level of responsibility and awareness. Healthcare experts urge patients to take active, informed roles in managing their health: online workshops have been developed to offer chronic disease self-management programs, which have been proven to significantly improve health status. Moreover, healthcare practitioners and professionals must collectively work together and cooperate with patients in order to create effective health plans, and communicate the ways in which to incorporate nutrition, health, and wellness into their lifestyles.

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