Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The hidden danger lurking in hospitals...

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1 March 2011

UK Edition

Dear Reader,

Having your child or grandchild admitted to the hospital is scary enough as it is.

You really don't need anyone adding to your worries, but I'm unfortunately going to do just that. Because news of this killer risk absolutely must be shared.

In fact, if you know other people with children or grandchildren, you might want to forward them this email.

New findings uncovered by US researchers from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Centre have doctors very worried.

Hospitalized children are becoming infected with the bacteria Clostridium difficile more frequently than ever. Infected children are more likely to die or require surgery.

The infection may show no symptoms, though it can also cause diarrhoea, extreme inflammation of the large intestine, perforated bowels, or other fatal complications.

Looking at national hospital discharge data from several years spanning from 1997 to 2006, the researchers found that the number of cases of infection increased by 15 per cent each year, in the US alone. The risk of death or surgery to remove all or part of the colon also rose.

The risk is highest among those who had diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease or cancer, or were undergoing organ transplant. Researchers aren't exactly sure why, but suspect the risk goes hand-in-hand with antibiotic exposure.

Hospitalized children are more susceptible to infections than adults, and they're less able to fight the effects, which means they are more likely to die. The researchers who discovered the rise in infections are pushing for knowledge among doctors so that testing is increased. I think we need to go further — parents must be made aware of this risk so they can discuss it with their children's doctors.

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Q: My legs get very swollen on a regular basis. Can you tell me why this is happening and what I can do about it?

Dr. Jonathan V. Wright: Your first step should be to visit a doctor who can run tests to make sure your condition isn't the result of something serious, such as a weak heart, liver, or kidneys.

Other causes of chronic leg swelling include food allergies, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.

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Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone's personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own doctor before acting on any recommendations contained herein.

Wishing you the best of health,

Andrew Miller
UK Editor
Nutrition and Healing

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"Uptick in hospital-based C difficile infections in children raising concerns," Newswise (newswise.com)

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