Vital Signs | KERA News

Vital Signs

Vital Signs is a weekly consumer health chat featuring leading North Texas medical figures. Hosted by Sam Baker, topics range from flu to skin cancer to exactly what a New Year’s cocktail does to your body.

Listen every Monday at 8:44 a.m. on KERA 90.1 FM.

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The CDC says only 35% of pregnant women in 2018 received vaccines against flu and whooping cough —putting them and their infants at risk of severe illness. 

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Many people with arthritis and other long-term chronic pain conditions believe the cold, the heat or maybe damp or rainy weather makes their pain worse. A new U.K. study supports that belief.

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The Thanksgiving meal will mean some overindulgence for some. Those with diabetes will have to exercise some care, but holiday food doesn't have to be a major issue.

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A current trend in food, clean eating's not about the actual cleanliness of food, but rather choosing minimally processed, ethically raised foods rich in naturally occurring nutrients.

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A recent study says less than six hours of sleep per night can lead to cancer or early death for someone middle aged or older with existing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes or heart disease.

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A recent study suggests fast food is one possible reason teen depression is on the rise in the U.S. It went up 52 percent between 2005 and 2017.

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A new state law that took effect in September requires health providers to perform additional testing for congenital syphilis, but a county hospital official says education is key to effectively addressing the surge in cases.

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It’s estimated there’ll be nearly 269,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer this year. It’s not a disease most people care to think about until it happens to them. As a result, there are plenty of myths out there about breast cancer.

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The CDC currently estimates more than 1,000 cases of lung-related illnesses across the country related to e-cigarettes. The cases have developed over years, and doctors have learned a lot over that time about vaping. But one pulmonologist worries about what we still don’t know.

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Although some students view school as a pain, it really may be a pain for others because of heavy backpacks. A local physical therapist talks about ways to minimize the discomfort.

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As if the discomfort from the virus wasn't enough, here's another reason to get your flu shot: New research suggests the vaccine may help avoid heart attacks and strokes.

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More people can now take advantage of a less invasive way to replace the major valve in the heart and avoid open heart surgery.

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One more reason to avoid high blood pressure: A new study suggests a possible link between high blood pressure and dementia.

The study followed about 4,800 Americans for 24 years. The results found two blood pressure patterns associated with increased risk of dementia.

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Americans usually eat salad at lunch or dinner, but a current food trend involves salad for breakfast. A North Texas dietitian says this can be a great way to get a healthy start.

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The Texas heat makes air conditioning nothing less than a necessity, but it also can make for health-related problems if you’re not careful.

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Individual household cleaning products are considered safe when handled correctly. But the North Texas Poison Center says mixing any of them is a bad idea.

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More than 3 million people are diagnosed each year with the spinal disorder spondylolisthesis, in which  one bone slips onto another. It can impact both adults and children and is common among teenagers involved in athletics.

www.medtronic.com

About 250,000 people each year get pacemakers implanted to help maintain a steady heartbeat. Infection rates from the procedure are low in the U.S. But a simple mesh envelope is helping to reduce that rate further. 

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A new study disputes previous ideas about a link between vitamin D and cardiovascular disease.  A North Texas cardiologist talks about what prompted the idea in the first place.

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Summer heat in Texas at or near 100 degrees is uncomfortable, but also dangerous if you’re not careful. An emergency medicine physician warns not to take the heat for granted.

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A vaccination can prevent 90% of cancers caused by human papillomavirus or HPV. But Texas has been slow to embrace it. Denton County's public health director looks to his own region for possible reasons for the low vaccination rates.

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New scientific evidence suggests the blue light coming from LED lighting may be harmful to your eyes. There are preventive steps you can take. But a local ophthalmologist thinks it’s not cause for worry.

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Previous research has warned about consuming too many sugary drinks. But a new study has linked sugary drinks and supposedly healthier natural fruit juices to an increased risk of premature death.

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Cardiogenic shock happens when your heart suddenly can't pump enough blood to your body. Whether it results from a severe heart attack or not, cardiogenic shock can be deadly if it's not treated immediately.

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In response to the nation’s opioid crisis, Baylor Scott &White Fort Worth's emergency department is among a growing number across the country choosing to reduce their use of opioids to manage pain.

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New research shows fatal falls have nearly tripled in older Americans in recent years, rising to more than 25,000 deaths yearly.

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A recent study of people 65 and older found stroke survivors four times more likely to suffer a fracture than someone with no history of stroke.

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Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children’s Health have developed a new screening approach that can more quickly identify diseases hard to diagnose in kids.

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The American Diabetes Association has launched a public awareness campaign in Dallas County to battle an ongoing high rate of type 2 diabetes.

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A new study says the more eggs you eat — mostly because of the cholesterol inside ­— the more you’re at risk for heart disease and premature death.

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