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I watched my sister die, so I understand what Rush Limbaugh is going through

It appears that Rush Limbaugh is dying. He announced on his radio show Monday that his lung cancer had gotten worse and is “going in the wrong direction.”

I have never cared for Limbaugh’s kind of politics. I’ve always felt like the right-wing talk radio host’s sole purpose was to further polarize America and push conservatives further away from a middle ground.

In spite of that, I am saddened that his cancer is terminal. I would like to see his condition turn around, but he doesn’t seem to think that it will.

“It’s tough to realize that the days where I do not think I’m under a death sentence are over,” the 69-year-old host said.

“We all know that we’re going to die at some point,” he added. “But when you have a terminal disease diagnosis that has a time frame to it, then that puts a different psychological and even physical awareness to it.”

He described his life the past eight months as a roller coaster, with lots of ups and downs.

“Many people have experienced this,” he said. “If it isn’t lung cancer, it’s some kind of cancer. If it isn’t you, it is someone really close to you.”

My father died of lung cancer in 2006 at the age of 91. But it is my sister’s death in 1995 from myeloid metaplasia, a rare form of bone marrow cancer, that haunts me still. Patricia was only 54.

It is difficult to imagine what it must be like to learn that you are dying. For some, I suppose, such a diagnosis could be met with relief. After months of agonizing pain, there is respite in knowing that it will be over soon.

With such advance notice, there also is a rare opportunity to try to right what you have done wrong. To say to loved ones words that needed to be said. And to ask for forgiveness for the things you cannot change.

But for most, such news likely would cause overwhelming grief. Most of us, regardless of our age, feel as though we have much to live for and many more things to do. Taking that opportunity away seems unfair.

Like Limbaugh, Patricia understood that her illness was considered terminal. Still, she believed that she would somehow defy the odds and live past the maximum 10-year survival period of people with her form of cancer.

She thought that she could beat the monstrous illness if she fought hard enough. The idea that she wielded such control got her through the painful days and nights. She fought with every bit of strength she had — until she couldn’t.

She had grown thin and frail. Food wouldn’t stay down, but she kept trying to eat. She used to enjoy the broccoli casserole from Piccadilly cafeteria, and when she asked for some, I rushed out to get it. But even the aroma of it made her nauseous.

With her spleen filled with blood — one of the effects

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Homeless More Likely to Die After Heart Attack | Health News

By Steven Reinberg, HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

THURSDAY, Oct. 22, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Homeless people are three times more likely to die after a heart attack than other patients, a new study finds.

“Our study shows a dramatically higher rate of mortality after heart attacks in people experiencing homelessness compared to non-homeless patients,” said researcher Dr. Samantha Liauw of the University of Toronto. “More research is needed to discover the reasons for this disparity in outcomes so that the chances of survival can be improved in this vulnerable population.”

Liauw and her colleagues compared more than 2,800 heart attack patients admitted to a Toronto hospital between 2008 and 2017. Of those, 75 were homeless.

Among homeless patients, 19% died in the hospital, compared with 6% of others. Homeless patients were younger than others and more likely to be men.

Eighty-four percent of homeless patients smoked compared to half of patients who were not homeless. Rates of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes were similar between the groups.

Also, more homeless patients suffered from mental conditions. They were more likely than others to abuse alcohol and drugs and were more likely to suffer a serious complication of heart attack called cardiogenic shock that occurs when the heart cannot supply enough blood and oxygen to the brain and other vital organs. They were more likely than other patients to go into cardiac arrest.

Both groups received medications, testing and stents, but the rate of stenting was lower in the homeless (80% versus 90% in non-homeless patients).

The findings were scheduled to be presented Wednesday at a virtual meeting of the 2020 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress.

“The elevated risk at a younger age could be related to chronic stress from being homeless, higher rates of smoking, poverty, and unreliable access to healthy food. Lack of trust in the medical system, poor access to health care for chronic conditions and slower receipt of emergency therapies may also have contributed,” Liauw said in a news release from the European Society of Cardiology, which will participate in the meeting.

Although both patient groups received timely treatment, she suspects the symptom start time listed for homeless people may be inaccurate, resulting in a longer gap before therapy began.

“This illustrates that we need new methods to study this disadvantaged part of society,” Liauw said.

Findings presented at meetings are considered preliminary until they’re published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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COVID-19 Infects 62 Nursing Home Residents In Kansas, 10 Patients Die

KEY POINTS

  • 62 nursing home residents in Kansas have tested positive for COVID-19
  • 10 have died due to the virus
  • 51 are being quarantined in their rooms at the center, while one resident was brought to a hospital
  • Influx of new infections across U.S. may be what health experts believe to be “third wave” coronavirus cases

What health experts believe to be the third wave of COVID-19 cases has reached Kansas as the virus infected nearly an entire nursing home in its wake.

The Norton Country Health Department told NBC News the outbreak happened at the Andbe Home earlier this week. All 62 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, while 10 have died.

A total of 51 patients are being quarantined in their respective rooms at the center, while one resident was brought to a hospital. An “unspecified” number of staff members have also contracted the virus. Health officials said all staff members of the nursing home are being tested.

One week of new Covid-19 cases One week of new Covid-19 cases Photo: AFP / John SAEKI

“Steps are being taken to prevent any further outbreak including quarantining residents in their rooms and not allowing outside visitors into the facility,” said Health Department, adding that family members of the residents have been notified of their situation.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported that, as of early Monday, the state has 72,968 cases of COVID-19. A total of 872 deaths were reported state-wide, while 525,426 tests turned out negative.

A total of 2,113 new cases and 13 new deaths were also reported since Friday.

The grim increase of new COVID-19 cases that is sweeping across the United States and some countries in Europe is what experts claim to be the third – and possibly largest – outbreak of the virus. Business Insider wrote in an article over the weekend that the U.S. saw an average of more than 50,000 cases per day, with the country’s seven-day average of new cases have skyrocketed to about 25% since the beginning of the month.

“We’re clearly in the third wave if we’re looking at the true overall case counts in the country, realizing that our baseline has gotten higher and higher,” Columbia University emergency medicine physician Dr. Dara Kass told Yahoo. “So, as we head into this third wave over the country, we’re still now 40,000 to 50,000 cases a day.”

While reasons for the sudden rise of infections range from other states slowly loosening lockdown and stay-at-home guidelines and reopening of businesses and schools, Vanderbilt University epidemiologist Dr. William Schaffner also sees the country’s current plight will be made complicated this winter.

“During the summer, people went indoors for air conditioning, but they did spend more of their time outdoors. Nonetheless, it spread as people become lax in their attention to social distancing and mask-wearing. As far as I can tell, that’s growing,” Schaffner told CNBC.

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Five South Koreans die after getting flu shots, sparking vaccine fears

By Sangmi Cha

SEOUL (Reuters) – Five people have died after getting flu shots in South Korea in the past week, authorities said, raising concerns over the vaccine’s safety just as the seasonal inoculation programme is expanded to head off potential COVID-19 complications.

Authorities said there was no reason to believe the deaths were linked to the vaccine but an investigation, including post mortems, was underway.

“It makes it hard for us to put out a categorical statement,” Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip told a briefing on Wednesday about the deaths, which include a 17-year-old boy and a man in his 70s.

Coming just weeks after the rollout of the national vaccine programme was suspended over safety worries, the deaths have dominated headlines in South Korea.

Officials last month announced plans to procure 20% more flu vaccines for the winter than the previous year to inoculate 30 million people in a bid to prevent the health system being overloaded by patients with flu and COVID-19 exposure.

However, the start of a free jab programme for around 19 million eligible people was suspended for three weeks after it was discovered that some 5 million doses, which need to be refrigerated, had been exposed to room temperature while being transported to a medical facility.

Boosting public trust in vaccines has become a major global challenge this year, as some countries rush to approve experimental COVID-19 vaccines before full safety and efficacy studies have been completed.

South Korea’s flu vaccines are supplied by different drugmakers, including LG Chem Ltd <051910.KS> and Boryung Biopharma Co. Ltd., a unit of Boryung Pharm Co. Ltd. <003850.KS>. A Boryung official told Reuters the company was aware of the reported deaths, but had no immediate comment. LG Chem said the company would follow government advice.

A 17-year-old boy who died on Friday was the first death noted by officials to follow receipt of the vaccine. The boy died two days after receiving the flu shot in Incheon, near the capital Seoul.

A man in his 70s, who had Parkinson’s disease and arrhythmia, was the most recent case. He died in Daegu on Wednesday, a day after receiving the flu vaccine. Daegu officials said the man had received vaccines since 2015 with no prior adverse reactions.

Officials said 8.3 million people have been inoculated with the free flu vaccine since it resumed on Oct. 13, with around 350 cases of adverse reactions reported. The highest number of deaths linked to the seasonal flu vaccination was six in 2005, according to Yonhap news agency.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, trust in vaccines was a growing challenge for public health bodies. The World Health Organization named vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 global health threats for last year.

In South Korea, a poll earlier this month found that 62% of 2,548 respondents in Gyeonggi province, near Seoul, would not get vaccinated against COVID-19, even if a vaccine is approved, until all safety questions are fully answered.

(Reporting

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Hospitalized COVID-19 patients are five times more likely to die than patients hospitalized with flu, CDC says

Coronavirus patients are five times more likely to experience complications and die in the hospital than hospitalized flu patients, a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Tuesday says. 

The CDC assessed data from the national Veterans Health Administration that included health records of nearly 4,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 between March and May 31 and 5,453 patients hospitalized with influenza between Oct. 1, 2018 and Feb. 1, 2020. 


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Researchers found 21 percent of COVID-19 patients died in the hospital compared with 3.8 percent of those who died while hospitalized with the flu. 

“Findings from a large, national cohort of patients hospitalized within the VHA illustrate the increased risk for complications involving multiple organ systems among patients with COVID-19 compared with those with influenza, as well as racial/ethnic disparities in COVID-19-associated complications,” the CDC report said. 

COVID-19 patients were hospitalized nearly three times longer than flu patients and had a higher risk of 17 respiratory and nonrespiratory complications — including more than twice the risk of pneumonia. They were also twice as likely to need intensive care and 19 times more likely to experience acute respiratory distress syndrome. 

Influenza patients were more likely to experience worsened asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 

Coronavirus patients were slightly older on average and flu patients had more underlying conditions. Researchers said Black and Hispanic patients were at higher risk for respiratory, neurologic and kidney complications than white patients. 

“Compared with influenza, COVID-19 is associated with increased risk for most respiratory and nonrespiratory complications. Certain racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” the CDC said. 

The CDC estimates there were about 22,000 influenza deaths last flu season with 38 million infections. As of Tuesday, more than 220,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. since the outbreak began earlier this year and more than 8.2 million have been infected. 


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Young women may be likelier to die after heart attacks than men

Younger women may be more likely to die in the decade following a heart attack than men of the same age, a new study suggests. 

In general, women under age 50 experience fewer heart attacks than men in the same age range. The new study, published Oct. 13 in the European Heart Journal, also reflects this trend; of 2,100 heart attack patients treated at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston between 2000 and 2016, only about 400 were women. The average age of all the patients in the study was 44 years old. 

But over the long-term, these young women were more likely to die than young men. The study authors followed the patients for a median of 11 years, and found that women were 1.6 times more likely to die from any cause than men during that time. 

Related: 9 new ways to keep your heart healthy 

“Notably, the differences in mortality in our study were primarily driven by non-cardiovascular death,” meaning deaths not caused by a heart condition, study author Dr. Ersilia DeFilippis, a cardiology fellow at New York Presbyterian-Columbia University Irving Medical Center, told Live Science in an email. Examples of these non-cardiovascular causes of death included cancer and sepsis, a kind of overblown immune response to an infection. 

Unfortunately, “there were no clear explanations as to why women had lower survival,” DeFilippis noted, though the study revealed a number of factors that may be at play.

“The risk factors for disease of other organs overlap with risk factors for heart disease,” Dr. Marysia Tweet, an assistant professor in Cardiovascular Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, who was not involved in the study, told Live Science in an email. “A heart attack and the ramifications of a heart attack may affect the health of other organs. Long-term mortality is likely due to a combination of multiple factors.”

For instance, women in the study had higher rates of diabetes than the men, as well as higher rates of diseases such rheumatoid arthritis , where joint pain and inflammation are often triggered by an immune system attack. This persistent inflammation may drive the formation of fatty plaques in blood vessels, which can block arteries and lead to a heart attack, according to a 2012 report in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. That same inflammation may also affect how patients recover.

In addition, the women showed higher rates of depression than men in the study. “Depression impacts adherence to healthy lifestyle recommendations and medications,” which could impact women’s long-term survival after a heart attack, Tweet wrote in a commentary also published in the European Heart Journal about the research. But it’s also possible that the physiological changes that coincide with depression independently worsen outcomes; for instance, elevated levels of stress hormones and inflammatory molecules called cytokines could worsen a patient’s prognosis, she wrote.

In general, women are about twice as likely as men to experience stress-induced reduction in blood flow to

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Thousands more underfed children may die due to COVID

LONDON (Reuters) – An extra 10,000 children per month may die this year from malnutrition due to the COVID-19 crisis, the head of the World Health Organisation warned on Wednesday.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a U.N Food and Agriculture (FAO) conference that due to the pandemic he expected a 14% rise in cases of severe child malnutrition this year – or 6.7 million more people – mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia.

“We cannot accept a world where the rich have access to healthy diets while the poor are left behind… the rich can afford to stay home, the poor must go out to work,” he said.

After the economic devastation of the pandemic, governments must work with the private sector and civil society to support sustainable food systems and end subsidies for producers of unhealthy foods, the WHO director general added.

Millions of lives could be saved if countries expanded childhood feeding programmes, reduced marketing of unhealthy foods and used fiscal policies to drive better food choices amongst consumers, he said.

“COVID has reminded us that life is fragile, health is precious, and healthy diets are not just for the wealthy, they’re a human right,” he said.

“The pandemic has caused serious disruptions to essential services, immunisation, maternal services, child nutrition, family planning and more.”

(Reporting by Maytaal Angel; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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