Miscellaneous Health Topics

Some items of interest from the world of medicine:

1. Screening: what does it mean?

Physicians’ opinions differ on the meaning of the word “screening”. One definition used in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (Oct, 20 1998) is: “Screening for disease control can be defined as the examination of asymptomatic people in order to classify them likely, or unlikely, to have the disease that is the object of screening.”

Screening is recommended for variety of diseases-malignant and non-malignant. This is based on the premise that benefit will follow if an asymptomatic person undergoes a particular test.

2. Violence against health care workers:

There is a growing trend toward violence in society at large, says Barbara Sibbald, in an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (Oct, 20 1998). She is an Associate Editor of the Journal.

Statistics Canada data indicate that the number of violent crimes committed annually per 100 000 Canadians increased from 865 to 1037 between 1988 and 1994.

The figures from BC Workers’ Compensation claims resulting from workplace violence indicates that BC nurses now face the same risk of workplace violence as police officers – nearly 4 times the incidence of any other profession.

Health care workers in psychiatry and emergency medicine are more exposed to violence in a hospital setting. Danger can follow physicians outside the institutions they work in. Some of the reasons given are: cutbacks in the health system, political differences and/or ideological motivation.

3.Death from recreational activities:

Drowning is the leading cause of death related to recreational activities in Canada and is exceeded only by motor vehicle crashes and drug overdose as the cause of death among young adult men, says the Canadian Medical Association Journal (Aug, 11 1998).

Nearly 40 percent of all drowning result from boating accidents, and most of these involve motorized boats used for fishing and power-boating. High use of alcohol and low use of personal flotation device is the 2 main reasons for the boating related deaths.

4. A pill for every ill?

A recent Statistics Canada survey found that 10 percent of seniors had taken 5 or more drugs during the 2 days immediately before they were surveyed (Canadian Medical Association Journal, Aug, 11 1998).

That numbers rose to 13 percent among respondents aged seventy five or older. A full 10 percent higher than for the population as a whole.

The 1994-95 National Population Health Survey found that pain relievers, high blood pressure and heart pills, water pills (diuretics), stomach remedies and laxatives were the most common prescription and nonprescription medications taken by seniors.

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