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Women in TCI facing High Blood Pressure at higher rate, says Health Minister on World Hypertension Day

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 19, 2022 – Mostly women make up the Hypertension cases in the Turks and Caicos Islands, nearly 60 percent of those diagnosed in 2020 were females and that fact has caught the attention of the TCI Ministry of Health, as the globe marks World Hypertension Day.

Often called the ‘silent killer’ Hypertension is a medical condition with very few outward symptoms and deadly consequences if left untreated.

“Hypertension, also known as high or raised blood pressure, is a condition in which the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure.”  The World Health Organization says.

TCI Health Minister Jamell Robinson said in 2020 the Turks and Caicos Islands recorded 1,523 cases of hypertension with women disproportionately affected, making up over 900 of the cases.

The higher your blood pressure becomes the harder your heart has to work, this often leads to the blocking or bursting of blood vessels that supply blood to the brain. Often arteries get hard, decreasing the flow of blood to the heart causing heart attacks and heart failure.  It can also cause your heart to ‘skip a beat’ literally, due to an irregular heart beat which may lead to sudden death.

1.6 billion people worldwide suffer from hypertension but many more may be affected and be none the wiser. Symptoms of hypertension to look out for include “early morning headaches, nosebleeds, irregular heart rhythms, vision changes, and buzzing in the ears. More severe forms may exhibit fatigue, nausea, vomiting, confusion, anxiety, chest pain, and muscle tremors.” The WHO says.

The theme for this year’s World Hypertension day is ‘Measure your blood pressure; Control it, live longer.’

“It is crucial that you measure your blood pressure regularly and accurately to determine if you are hypertensive and seek the required treatment to control it.” said Jameka Williams, Member of the House of Assembly.

“Many people die from high blood pressure when the disease is controllable and treatable; I would like to see our population thrive and live healthy lives,” Minister Robinson added.

Tips to prevent hypertension include: lowering intake of salt, alcohol and unhealthy foods and increasing intake of fruits and vegetables and exercise.

Health

Monkeypox NOT a Public Health Emergency, but watch out, its changing says WHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

June 27, 2022 – The World Health Organization says while Monkeypox is not a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (the highest alert the body can give) they are concerned about the rapid spread and data gaps in the current outbreak.

“I am deeply concerned by the spread of Monkeypox, which has now been identified in more than 50 countries, across five WHO regions, with 3,000 cases since the early May,” said Director General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus.

There had been fears that the WHO would declare the outbreak an emergency of international concern going into a June 23 meeting. He maintained that the world had neglected Monkeypox research despite the fact that it had been circulating in Africa for many years. He stressed that this approach to neglected diseases must change as the world is an interconnected population. This inter connectivity could prove disastrous for vulnerable people.

“What makes the current outbreak especially concerning is the rapid, continuing spread into new countries and regions and the risk of further, sustained transmission into vulnerable populations including people that are immunocompromised, pregnant women and children,” he said.

In order to combat this he called for the communication and collaboration between member states and a collective response.

So far the disease has been exhibiting different symptoms than usual including rashes localized to the genitals instead of the entire body like usual. This prompted the US Centers for Disease Control to change the requirements advising doctors to test anyone who appeared with a rash seeming like Monkeypox.

Ghebreyesus revealed Monkeypox was an evolving health threat that the WHO was following extremely closely and maintained that countries should use surveillance, contact tracing, isolation, and ensuring health tools were available to at risk populations as ways to control the spread.

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Health

Moderna & Pfizer approved for toddlers in US

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, June 25, 2022 – Toddlers can now be vaccinated with either Moderna or Pfizer in the United States following the US Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Committee vote to authorize the jabs for the youngest humans.

Some 2.5 million vaccines were ordered for these youngsters from Pfizer and 1.3 million are on order from Moderna.

The authorization committee voted unanimously on both vaccines and it comes as a relief to millions of parents who opted to keep their children away from family gatherings, even school

The lowest age a US resident can now get vaccinated is 6 months, Pfizer says their shot is ready for children six months to four years old and Moderna goes one year higher at 6 months to 5 years.  Both Pfizer and Moderna say the toddlers will need boosters in the future.

As of June 2, there have been 442 children between the ages of 0-4 years old who have died as a result of Covid-19 in the United States.

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Health

Listeria kills three in UK

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#UnitedKingdom, June 25, 2022 – At least 3 people have died in an ongoing listeria outbreak in the United Kingdom linked to smoked fish.  The Food Standards Agency in the UK says,  “Listeria is widespread in the environment and can contaminate a range of food at low or standard refrigeration temperatures.  It can be destroyed by thorough cooking.  It is of most concern in chilled, ready-to-eat foods that do not require further cooking, such as smoked fish.”

At least 12 cases, six of them since January, are linked to the fish.  Vulnerable individuals were especially affected by the outbreak including a pregnant woman and several elderly persons.  The three victims who died were all over 65 years old.

The agency said there was no need to avoid smoked fish but to cook it thoroughly.  Contaminated food may not look or smell spoiled but it can cause severe illness in pregnant women, cancer patients, children, and the elderly.

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