The Risks Brought About by Actos Unveiled

In 2008 Actos, also called Pioglitazone, made it to the top ten list of the most widely prescribed oral diabetes drugs in the United States. It was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for distribution in 1999 and just a year after it was able to gain entry in European markets, being certified by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to help patients suffering from Mellitus, a type of diabetes.

Actos is aimed at helping diabetics control their insulin absorption and glucose level by simply increasing their sensitivity to the said hormone (insulin). It is meant for Type 2 diabetes patients who continue to suffer from this chronic, incurable disease.

Type 2 diabetes is a dreaded illness suffered by millions of individuals around the world. It occurs when a person’s pancreas starts to be irresponsive to insulin, produces very little insulin or stops producing insulin altogether. The pancreas’ main job is to control the amount of glucose in the blood. Glucose, on the other hand, is no other than the sugar produced from all the food a person consumes. This sugar is transformed into energy, the kind of energy the body needs to accomplish daily activities.

People who seldom engage in activities, those with high-blood pressure and those who are overweight and over 45 years old are usually the target of Type 2 diabetes. Said disease could very well be prevented, but once neglect to treat it happens, it will go on to develop and make the person suffer all throughout his or her life.

With Actos it seemed that patients had something to hope for, finally. Though not a total cure for the disease, Actos, somehow, eased their suffering. This was the scenario until 2010 when research showed that patients who have been under Actos medication for at least a year were at great risk of developing bladder cancer. Hepatic or liver failure, congestive heart failure, macular edema or eye ailment, bone fracture, and lactic acidosis are some of the other severe adverse effects to Actos.

Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Actos is said to have been aware of the drug’s effects even before its release in 1999. Despite such knowledge, it decided to introduce the drug as totally safe, making its alleged deception more serious and its liability greater. Many people who have been diagnosed with bladder cancer after taking  the drug have filed Actos lawsuits in an attempt to make Takeda take responsibility for the consequences of its actions.

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What is a Root Canal?

More than 75 percent of American adults have some amount of dental fear. For those who are anxious at the thought of visiting the dentist’s office, the words “root canal” may cause them to break out into a cold sweat. Understandably, there are a number of misconceptions about the root canal procedure, including exactly what the process does, and how painful it is.

To understand the basis for a root canal, it is important to understand basic tooth anatomy. Teeth are protected by a thin layer of enamel and a hard substance called dentin. Inside those protective coverings is a tissue called pulp, which contains fragile components such as connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves. Pulp helps a growing tooth obtain nutrients, although an adult tooth can survive without the pulp–unfortunately, pulp can become infected due to tooth decay or chips in the tooth, killing the nerve and causing intense pain at the base of the tooth.

In a root canal treatment, a dentist removes the infected pulp with a dental file and shapes the empty canal. Next, the dentist fills the canal with a pink material called gutta percha and seals the tooth by fitting it with a crown.

Many people worry that root canal therapy is painful. When done by a trained endodontist, the root canal procedure should use a local anesthetic and should be pain-free. Occasionally patients have minor pain for a day or two after the procedure when biting down, but the pain is normal and can be treated with ibuprofen.

A root canal is often necessary if a patient desires to keep an abscessed or damaged tooth. Trained dentists have experience performing the procedure, making sure it is pain-free and as comfortable as possible. As always, preventing dental problems before they occur is easier and less expensive than surgery—remember to visit your dentist for regular checkups to prevent tooth decay and other dental diseases.

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Why Are Record Numbers of Americans on Social Security?

After a rash of previously denied Social Security disability claims were approved in the past few years, the House of Representatives is investigating why judges are suddenly changing tack. As several experts testified in Congress last Thursday, Social Security is urging judges to approve claims to reduce the massive backlog that has accumulated over the past few years.

Benefits claims have increased significantly, by 25 percent since 2007. Social Security attributes the surge to baby boomers who may have developed disabilities but are not yet old enough for retirement benefits. Last year alone, 3.2 million people applied for disability benefits, and the agency stated it has a backlog of over 1.3 million overdue reviews of previously denied claims. Administrative law judge Larry Butler of Florida said Social Security is “paying down the backlog” by imploring judges to award benefits to possibly undeserving claimants.

Perhaps as a result, the number of people receiving these disability benefits has skyrocketed by 44 percent in the last ten years–today, approximately 11 million workers get benefits, compared with only 7.6 million at the beginning of the last decade. Governmental officials and other experts worry the agency may be on a fast track to collapse.

Social Security disability claims are processed locally, and then at the state level. Applying for a claim is typically a complicated process, and can be frustrating since two-thirds of the cases are initially rejected. However, applying for a claim with the help of an experienced attorney may increase the chances of success.

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Wrong Site Spine Surgery Errors

People count on medical professionals, especially surgeons, to treat them safely in all situations. Still, surgeons make mistakes, and surprisingly enough, operating on the wrong area is one of the most common errors. In May, the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) presented some troublesome findings in an article entitled “Wrong-site Spine Surgery.” The article reported that as many as 50 percent of spine surgeons admitted to having performed at least one wrong-site operation, and the number is likely higher since mistakes are often under-reported. According to the Joint Commission, wrong-site surgery is the most commonly reported cause of serious injury of all medical errors.

A presentation at the 2012 Cervical Spine Research Society Annual Meeting by representatives of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. found that “approximately 30 percent of wrong-site surgeries reported in Minnesota are wrong-level spine procedures.” This information constitutes significant cause for wariness, when considering that the AAOS article called wrong-site spine surgery “an adverse event that has potentially devastating consequences” and “the potential for serious medical [and] personal…repercussions.”

The AAOS journal article describes a number of consequences that can result from wrong-site spine surgery, which include trauma of soft spine tissues, “increased postoperative pain, prolonged recovery, and an accelerated degenerative process at the wrong surgical site.” The report also mentions the potential for “adjacent segment degeneration,” or the harm of vertebrae next to the wrong-site operation.

Surgical errors such as wrong-site spine surgery are rare, but in the event of such a mistake, it is important to seek immediate medical treatment. According to the website of Pohl Berk, victims of medical malpractice can seek financial compensation for harm caused by medical errors.

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Taking Care of Your Teeth

Cavities can be a painful annoyance, causing bad breath and unsightly teeth, but they can also lead to more serious conditions and diseases, from gum infections to sinus inflammation. In fact, medical studies have shown time and time again that poor dental health is a leading cause of numerous disorders including heart attacks, diabetes, and strokes. While mom was right about brushing twice a day, here are further important tips and reminders from the website of BridgeView Dental about oral health–following them may help you prevent cavities and protect your smile.

Avoid acidic foods

Lemons, fruit juices, and citric acid from soft drinks can erode enamel, the thin protective covering on your teeth. If you’re going to consume acidic food or drink, do it along with other food and keep the sugary soda to a minimum.

Cavities have few symptoms

It’s very difficult to self-diagnose mild tooth decay, mainly because it doesn’t cause pain (pain comes from advanced tooth decay or harmless sensitivity). In addition to good dental hygiene, regular dental checkups are incredibly important to stop tooth decay from to dangerous levels.

Cavities are more likely to occur in gaps and between teeth

Areas that are tough to reach with a toothbrush, such as in between teeth, are perfect places for bacteria to grow. Brush thoroughly, floss each day, and consider using a fluoride rinse to get the maximum protection against tooth decay.

Don’t brush too soon

Brushing is absolutely necessary, but not right after a meal. Eating acidic foods and carbohydrates can break down enamel–brushing immediately after can wear away the already-weakened enamel. Wait at least half an hour after eating before brushing.

Following the above tips, along with going in for regular dental checkups, will lead to excellent dental health, helping you feel better and smile with confidence.

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Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits

Disabilities affect the lives of millions of Americans each year–in 2012 alone, 3.2 million people applied for Social Security disability benefits to gain compensation since they were unable to continue working. However, definitions of disability vary from person to person and organization to organization. Due to this sliding scale, the process of applying for disability benefits can be a confusing and difficult one; this article briefly explains who can apply for benefits and the steps they must take to submit a claim. More detailed information can be found at the website of the Hankey Law Office.

According to Social Security, someone who cannot work for a year or more as a result of a medical condition is considered disabled. A study funded by National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research shows that approximately 16.9 million people have a work disability in the United States–of those, only 51.8 percent between the ages of 18 and 64 participate in the workforce, opposed to the 83 percent of healthy individuals who participate. Social Security requires that disabled persons have a prior work history which corresponds to their age and can be verified by their employer.

Social Security recommends those applying for benefits make a claim “as soon as [they] become disabled,” and requires information including a Social Security number, birth certificate, medical records from hospitals and doctors, and work history, including a W-2 Form. Social Security employees review each application with a five-step process that determines if the claimant’s condition is “severe” and if the claimant can do the work he or she did before, or any other kind of work. Social Security employees typically mail or call with their decision after they have reviewed the case.

A large percentage of disability claims are initially rejected. However, Social Security does allow claimants to appeal their claims, and offers them the right to employ a professional attorney who has experience arguing for disability benefits.

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