Sat | Dec 10, 2016

HEALTH TRENDS

Published:Wednesday | July 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Cornwall Regional haemodialysis unit to be operational by September

The expanded Haemodialysis Unit at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James will be up and running by September. The $38-million project is being funded by the National Health Fund (NHF).

Minister of Health, Dr Fenton Ferguson, said the facility is "at a stage of practical completion" and all that is left is the installation of equipment and furniture, which should happen before September.

He is optimistic that when completed, the unit will allow for the creation of additional space to increase the hospital's overall bed count.

The Haemodialysis Unit is located on the hospital's second floor, in space previously occupied by the Cornwall School of Nursing. It has benefited from expansion over the years to meet the increased demand for dialysis service, because of the rise in the prevalence of hypertension and diabetes among Jamaicans.

The unit has moved from five treatment stations in 1998, to 18 in 2013. The newly expanded facility will house some 27 dialysis stations, and will increase the treatment capacity from 123 on two shifts to 325 dialysis episodes for patients each week.

A 2007 World Bank-commissioned study showed that the direct and indirect treatment of diabetes and high blood pressure was costing Jamaica US$461million per annum.

Diabetes, which is one of the main risk factors for kidney failure, is ranked as the leading cause of death among women and the third leading cause of death for men in Jamaica.

Toolkit to help treat menopause

A first-of-its-kind toolkit can be used by doctors to help manage menopausal conditions for women globally, scientists are saying. Created at Monash University in Australia, the toolkit is designed for general practitioners to use with women from the age of 40.

The Practitioner Toolkit for Managing the Menopause includes a diagnostic tool, as well as a compendium of approved hormone therapies.

Led by Professor Susan Davis, the research team from the School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine combined existing research on menopause, diagnostic algorithms and extensive clinical experience to develop the diagnostic tool.

Designed for use in GP surgery, it also works through a patient's medical history and risk factors to arrive at the best treatment solution.

Davis said the toolkit fills the void of clear guidelines on menopause diagnosis and management, equipping doctors with the fundamentals to care for any woman who walks through the door.

"Based on feedback from patients and doctors, we realised there's widespread confusion, not only in how to determine when menopause starts but also prescribing appropriate treatment to help with side effects," Davis said.

The kit includes a flow chart of standardised questions for doctors to ask, and assess women who are potentially experiencing menopause. The kit also flags safety concerns, provides a list of all hormone therapies approved by regulators in different countries and lists non-hormonal therapies that have evidence to support their use.

The toolkit can be downloaded for free from the journal Climacteric.

Menopause marks the end of the monthly cycle of menstruation and reproductive years in a woman's life. Most women reach menopause between the ages of 45 and 55.

UWI selected as home for Global Hypertension Research Project

The University Of The West Indies, Cave Hill campus, has been selected as the academic home for the Global Standardised Hypertension Treatment Project (GSHTP) - Barbados Pilot. This joint Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) initiative in collaboration with local organiser, The Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC), seeks to revolutionise the management of hypertension through the creation of an effective management model to be reproduced on a global scale.

The GSHTP-Barbados Pilot, which started in earnest in April 2014, seeks to address hypertension management on three fronts: standardised use of a core set of antihypertensive medications; ensuring the availability of this core set of drugs; and improved elements of care delivery.

It is currently in the educational and data gathering stages with the Edgar Cochrane and Winston Scott Polyclinics in Barbados as the implementation sites. Despite being in its infancy, the GSHTP has already had its debut on the international academic scene, having been featured in the editorial of the May 2014 edition of the high impact medical journal The Lancet.

Hypertension, which is rampant throughout the world and affects as many as one in three adults, has the potential to cripple the economies of even the wealthiest of states. It is, therefore, of utmost importance that a more focused and aggressive approach be made to the standardised management of hypertension.

Study: Hotter temperatures linked to kidney stones

Researchers have found a link between hot outdoor temperatures and kidney stones.

A study by doctors at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia found as daily temps rise, the more patients reported kidney stones.

The study team analysed the medical records of more than 60,000 adults and children in Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas and Philadelphia. They found that as temperatures rose above 50 degrees, the risk of kidney stone symptoms increased everywhere except LA.

Researchers caution that kidney stone cases in general have increased over the last 30 years.

The exact cause of the ailment is unknown but changes in diet and fluid intake can increase the risk.