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Understanding rare diseases

According to statistics, around one in every 10 to 12 people in New York and across the United States are living with a rare disease. In the U.S., a rare disease is defined as any condition that affects less than 200,000 people. The European Union considers a disease to be rare if it affects 250,000 people or less.

There are more than 6,000 rare diseases on record. Unfortunately, these conditions are often misdiagnosed because a doctor may not be familiar with the symptoms. Even in cases where a correct diagnosis is made, a doctor may be unfamiliar with the proper treatments for the condition. Many rare diseases have no known cures and few treatment options.

Patients with this collagen disorder are often misdiagnosed

Most people in New York probably haven't heard of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. That may be because EDS exhibits symptoms that are similar to other, more common disorders. In fact, those with EDS are often misdiagnosed with a variety of conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis and even hypochondria. The average EDS patient receives an accurate diagnosis 20 years after they begin to show symptoms.

EDS is a connective tissue disorder that affects the way a patient's body makes collagen. Making up 30 percent of the body, collagen is a vital part of the bones, skin, blood vessels, muscles, brain, tendons and cartilage. When EDS alters a person's collagen production, the person may experience symptoms in all different parts of their body. The apparent randomness of the symptoms is part of the reason why EDS is so difficult to diagnose.

Mesothelioma often misdiagnosed as other forms of lung cancer

Specialists from New York University's Langone Medical Center contributed to research that achieved a promising breakthrough that could improve the diagnosis of mesothelioma. The research team identified a protein, BAP1, that could be used to distinguish mesothelioma from lung cancer.

The researchers looked at 45 tissue samples of non-small cell lung cancer and 35 samples of pleural mesothelioma. Lab tests of every lung cancer tumor revealed a normal level of BAP1. In the pleural mesothelioma tumor cells, however, over half of them lacked the presence of BAP1.

Taking premises liability seriously

A shopper in a New York store who slips and falls on a wet surface or is hurt by falling merchandise could pursue a premises liability lawsuit. However, a business owner can take many steps to create a culture of safety and reduce the odds that anyone is hurt because of owner negligence. It is important to note that a company is not always responsible when an individual is hurt on its premises.

For instance, a person who slips on an icy sidewalk or a wet floor would have to prove that the company did nothing to mitigate the situation. If salt is put on the sidewalk or a wet floor sign in place, that may relieve the owner from liability. Furthermore, customers and others who may pursue a lawsuit are still responsible for their own actions.

Woman dies, daughter injured in car accident

A New York mother was killed and her 9-year-old daughter was injured following a car accident on July 17. The accident occurred around 5 p.m.

According to police, a 58-year-old man was driving a BMW X5 westbound on 115th Avenue in South Ozone Park when he ran a stop sign and hit a Toyota Corolla traveling northbound. A 40-year-old woman was ejected from the Corolla and died at the scene. The man hit three more cars and then left the scene. The woman's daughter was hospitalized in critical condition.

American fatal car accident rate higher than many other nations

Statistics recorded in New York state and across America have shown that, though car death rates are decreasing, America still has more car crashes deaths per capita than 19 other wealthy countries. Of the 20 countries surveyed, all had a car accident fatality rate that was decreasing more quickly than America's.

In 2013, an average of about 90 people were killed in car crashes daily in the United States. This rate is 31% lower than it had been in the year 2000.

These tips can reduce medication errors at home

People in New York taking prescription medications have a lot to keep track of when taking their medicine. From following a proper dosing schedule to avoiding foods that interact dangerously with certain drugs, people need to follow safety steps that start in the doctor's office and pharmacy.

When a doctor prescribes a medicine, the patient should ask questions. An understanding of side effects, expected results and the duration for taking the drug should be obtained. The doctor should also be asked to write the reason for the medication on the prescription instructions. This information might enable a pharmacist to spot possible mistakes when filling the prescription.

Discerning between psoriatic arthritis and osteoarthritis

Some types of weather changes in New York can cause those suffering from arthritis to notice increasing pain. Statistics indicate that 70 percent of older adults suffer from osteoarthritis, a form of joint damage caused mostly by wear and tear. However, other types of arthritis can closely mirror OA, which makes it important to pay careful attention to ongoing arthritis symptoms. Psoriatic arthritis affects approximately 1 percent of all individuals, but it can be difficult to detect.

Some of the similarities in psoriatic arthritis and OA include swelling of small joints, bone spurs, and pain. However, the swelling in PsA can result in deformity. Psoriatic patients often deal with psoriasis as well as inflammation of the joints in the axial spine, which is also known as spondylitis. The feet can be severely affected in PsA as well, causing severe pain in walking. The disease can be cyclical, causing periods of severe pain, inflammation, and deformity. As a cycle ends, these issues can decrease.

OSHA launches summer safety campaign

New York residents who work outdoors know how oppressive summer temperatures in the Empire State can be. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recorded more than 2,600 cases of temperature-related illness or injury to workers around the country in 2014, and heat stroke claimed the lives of 18 American workers. Many of these injuries and deaths may have been prevented if the dangers or working outdoors in searing temperatures were better understood, and this has prompted the federal safety agency to launch a campaign designed to educate both employers and workers about how to get through the summer months without incident.

Many of the campaign's suggestions may seem like basic common sense to those accustomed to working outdoors, but OSHA points out that workers with only a few days of experience are often among the sick or injured when temperatures climb during the summer months. OSHA urges employers to provide a sheltered area that workers can use during regular breaks that features an ample supply of potable water. The OSHA campaign features instructional videos, illustrations showing the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and a series of useful links. The campaign is being promoted by the agency on social media as well as an updated webpage.

The dangers faced by America's nurses

New York residents may be shocked to learn that more than 12 percent of U.S. emergency room nurses are threatened with physical violence during an average work week, and medical professionals who work in mental health facilities encounter such threats far too frequently as well. While most of the injuries that occur in hospitals and clinics are caused by falls, mishaps or overexertion rather than acts of physical violence, the threats faced by nurses serve as a reminder that health care remains one of America's most hazardous occupations.

Safety advocates are taking the problem seriously because health care is the country's fastest growing industry and employs more than 18 million people around the country. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration put the number of work-related hospital accidents and injuries in 2011 at 253,000, and nurses are injured in workplace accidents at a higher rate than even construction workers.

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