• iStock/Thinkstock(HONG KONG) -- Saving a life -- there's an app for that.Hong Kong resident Gaston D’Aquino, 76, told ABC News that he got “a new lease on life” after an alert from his Apple Watch last month that resulted in surgery to unclog his arteries.“I was in church on Easter Sunday when I got an alert from my watch that I had an elevated heart rate,” said D’Aquino, who is a diamond trading consultant.He said he felt fine but decided to go to the hospital just to be safe. After a series of tests, the doctors informed him that his coronary arteries were almost completely blocked.“Out of three main arteries, two were blocked and one was 90 percent blocked,” D’Aquino said.Prior to this incident, he’d never had any serious health emergencies.The day after he received the test results, D’Aquino underwent angioplasty surgery to unclog the arteries.“Considering the fact that I had only 10 percent use of one artery, if I hadn’t gone to the hospital, it could have ended really badly,” said D’Aquino.D’Aquino was so grateful that he even sent an email to Apple CEO Tim Cook in early April, thanking the Apple Watch for saving his life.To D'Aquino's surprise, Cook replied, writing, “Gaston, I’m so glad you sought medical attention and you’re fine now. I appreciate you taking the time to share your story. It inspires us to keep pushing.”D’Aquino told ABC News that he simply input his age and weight into the health app on his watch to get the notification.D’Aquino wants others to know how helpful the watch can be."It is my wish that more people are made aware of what the Apple Watch can do in alerting people of impending serious medical conditions,” he told ABC News. “It can, as in my case, save their lives.”Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- More than 50 percent of women consider their OB/GYN to be their most important doctor – if they can only get to one checkup, that’s the priority, according to a joint advisory from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Heart Association published in Circulation.But OB/GYN problems aren’t what kill most women -- heart disease is still the No. 1 killer. More than 90 percent of women have at least one risk factor for heart disease – and many don’t know it.“OB/GYN doctors can be a “secret weapon” for improving the heart health of women," said Dr. Stacey Rosen, MD, a cardiologist, co-author of the advisory and vice president of The Katz Institute for Women's Health at Northwell Health. "We know that 90 percent of women have at least one risk factor for heart disease and that 80 percent of heart disease is preventable through a heart-healthy lifestyle."The annual 'well woman' visit is an ideal opportunity to include a heart disease risk assessment throughout a women’s lifespan.”Even women who know the traditional risk factors for heart disease – high blood pressure and cholesterol, and diabetes — don’t know that they affect women differently than men, according to the rare joint advisory, which pointed out several instances:-- The risk of dying of heart disease is greater for women than men (21 percent vs. 15 percent)-- Diabetic women have twice the risk for heart disease as diabetic men-- Cardiovascular risk for women who smoke is 25 percent greater than for male smokers-- Women over 65 are more likely to have high blood pressure than men -- only 30 percent of women that age have adequate blood pressure control-- High cholesterol gives women the highest boost in cardiovascular risk -- 47 percent-- After a heart problem, women are 55 percent less likely than men to participate in needed cardiac rehabilitation exercise programsOnly 45 percent of women know that heart disease is the leading cause of female death – what’s even stranger is that fewer than half of primary care doctors (39 percent ) consider heart disease to be their “top concern” with female patients, the report says. Like women themselves, they’re more likely to be worried about breast health and weight management, since it affects so many diseases, according to the advisory.Women’s hearts are put to a real-world test during the ordinary health milestones of their lives. Pregnancy and all its complications are first up: pre-term delivery, preeclampsia (high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, most often the liver or kidneys during pregnancy), and gestational diabetes all increase risk. Preeclampsia and hypertension during pregnancy, for instance, increases women’s risk of heart disease threefold to sixfold at the time, with a twofold risk of having heart disease later. Menopause and its hormone changes have their own challenges for the heart.Given all this, should OB/GYNs use their annual appointments to educate women about heart disease? The experts say it seems straightforward to them -- it’s all about the value of collaborative care between OB-GYN specialists and cardiologists.What is the main message?According to the current AHA president, Dr. John Warner, “AHA’s Go Red For Women and Woman’s Day conducted a survey of just over 1,000 women across the U.S. back in the Fall … The survey also indicated that heart health was the least likely topic to be discussed during a woman’s OB/GYN visit. … OB/GYNs are a useful resource for heart health, particularly during a woman’s pregnancy years.”What took so long?“The advisory represents the American Heart Association’s promise to convene experts and deliver innovative solutions – action – that will enrich the quality of care,” Dr. Warne
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Boston Red Sox Pitcher David Price is ready to return to the field this week after being diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition some speculated could be related to his affinity for the video game "Fortnite," ESPN reported. But the hours he has logged with teammates in front of the TV battling monsters are unlikely to be the cause of his carpal tunnel.Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is common and is caused by the compression of a large nerve in the wrist.Symptoms include pain, tingling, or even numbness in the fingers and hand -- particularly in the thumb, index, and middle fingers. Women, and particularly pregnant women, people with diabetes, and those who do work with repetitive hand movements tend to be at increased risk for it, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.Most of the time, a doctor can diagnose this condition based on a patient's symptoms and a physical exam. Other times, patients may need to undergo further testing in what is called a "nerve study."Symptoms, if mild, can be relieved with a wrist splint or a steroid injection –- both help to take pressure off the nerve.Patients can also try resting the affected hand, yoga (and in particular, hand yoga), and avoiding the situations that seem to make the symptoms worse.For his part, Price's CTS will be treated with dry needles, a technique similar to acupuncture, according to ESPN. Price has said he also plans to wear a brace and switch hands for activities like brushing his teeth, ESPN reported.If a case of CTS is severe, however, surgery may be needed. It’s fairly straightforward and can even be performed with local anesthesia, according to orthopedic surgeon Dr. Joel Ferreira of the UCONN Musculoskeletal Institute.People can usually resume normal activity in two weeks following the surgery.But Ferreira warns that "prolonged severe compression of the nerve" can cause "irreversible damage," which would make the annoying symptoms of CTS permanent. Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A grassroots exercise movement that encourages women to focus less on the scale and more on overall health started with a single photo posted by a fitness blogger.Arianna Dantone shared a photo of herself last year with the caption, “Gaining weight is cool.”“I had gained like 20 pounds, and that whole year I was super depressed about it,” she told “GMA.” “But when I looked back at the pictures, I didn’t see 20 pounds there.”Dantone’s tweet went viral as people weighed in with the hashtag #GainingWeightIsCool, and responses like, “Thank you for helping me realize that gaining weight is okay.”“I am sooo on board with this. #Idon’tweightmyselfanymore,” wrote another commenter.Dantone said she still gets messages from women today, more than one year after she posted her photo.“I get messages every single day from women telling me that it helped them, so it's just amazing,” she said.Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak told “GMA” that not looking at the scale is good for both your mental and physical health.“That scale can really affect you,” he said. “It can make you depressed and can make you do extreme things as a reaction to seeing that number.”He added, “Hashtag 'don’t weigh yourself' is cool. Hashtag 'live an active healthy, balanced, moderate lifestyle' is cool.”Studies have shown that people who weigh themselves regularly are better at maintaining their weight, according to Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News’ chief medical correspondent.“But it’s not just about that number on the scale,” she added, calling weight “just part of the picture” of health.For instance, if you are gaining muscle, you may actually see your weight increase, Ashton explained.“Muscle is a dense tissue and you can be very healthy, very fit and see that number on the scale go up,” she said.For a more accurate judgment of your overall health, Ashton recommends asking these three questions.1. How are you clothes fitting?2. What is your exercise tolerance? Can you walk or run up some stairs without being completely winded? How strong are you?3. How are your objective measures? Know your blood pressure, total cholesterol and blood sugar level.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new blood test could potentially transform the way peanut allergies are diagnosed.The test, called the mast activation test (MAT), is in early stages of testing and won’t be at your doctor’s office anytime soon. If its promise delivers, it could be used to help find the peanut allergies earlier, and less expensively, than the system now in place.Now, if a child shows a reaction to a “skin prick” test, the standard for diagnosing peanut allergies is the oral food challenge (OFC). For that test, patients are fed incrementally larger amounts of peanuts in a medical setting -- with a team standing by in case of anaphylactic shock.The MAT would be a relief for parents, patients and clinicians alike because it would be less expensive and less stressful.The U.K.-based researchers behind the new blood test claim it is accurate, almost eliminates false positives and is five times more cost-effective than the OFC.They also claim it would mean clinicians could eliminate the need for two-thirds of the OFCs currently done.Details of the new blood test were revealed in a letter to the editor published last week in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.The test is still in the experimental phase, with no clinical prototype yet. The researchers behind the MAT acknowledge that it needs further study before it could be widely used.Research suggests that approximately 4 percent of children and adolescents are affected by food allergies, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The MAT blood test is a glimpse into a possible future when it comes to treating and detecting peanut allergies. Other experimental therapies are being tested, as well.Allergy vaccineA potential new therapy for those with allergies "tricks" the immune system into responding to exposure to an allergen, like peanuts, with a different immune system pathway than the body’s typical allergic response, which can prevent activating the cells that cause allergic reactions.Researchers at the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center at the University of Michigan successfully tested the new allergy "vaccine" in mice with peanut allergies. They hope human trials are in the future.They’re calling it a vaccine because it primes the body to eliminate the typical allergy response.A pill to help peanut allergiesResearch has shown that pills containing actual peanut protein could act like a vaccine for the immune system in a different way -- by teaching the body, gradually, to react more normally to peanuts.Use of the pills in a method called oral immunotherapy isn’t meant to eliminate the allergy; it is meant just to reduce the severity of an allergic reaction to peanuts, according to a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. It works by slowly desensitizing the patient with increasing doses of the allergen.With parents looking for guidance to navigate the often nerve-wracking process of figuring out exactly when, and how, to introduce allergenic foods to their babies and toddlers, some companies are stepping in with precise plans and even ready-made powders that offer help.Medical advice of the past was to keep babies away from allergy-producing foods such as oranges, peanuts and eggs until they were older.New research and the rising numbers of children with documented food allergies have contributed to a shift in guidelines that now recommend early introduction of foods.Until 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics had recommended waiting until a child was 3 years old to introduce peanuts. Now, parents are often being guided to start introducing allergen-containing foods closer to when they begin feeding babies solid foods, generally around 6 months of age. Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A Congressional hopeful in New York became the first woman candidate for federal office allowed to use campaign funds for childcare after a decision by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) Thursday.Liuba Grechen Shirley, a 36-year-old mother of two, submitted a request with the FEC early last month. She told ABC News that the process went smoother than she had expected."I was expecting to testify today and to answer questions, but was thrilled with their unanimous vote," Grechen Shirley said.Though Grechen Shirley said "the overwhelming response has been support," not all feedback has been positive.Grechen Shirley's opponent in the upcoming June 26 Congressional primary for New York's 2nd District, fellow Democrat DuWayne Gregory, was critical of her request to use campaign funds for childcare."It's disappointing that my primary opponent can't support something as critical as childcare," Grechen Shirley said of Gregory, who said Thursday he's glad the issue has been put to rest."It was not an approved expense," Gregory told ABC News. "But now it is, so certainly, as long as it's within the guidelines of the FEC, I'm fine with it."Gregory said that he has been mischaracterized, noting that he was named "childcare advocate of the year" in 2013 by the Child Care Council of Suffolk."It's politics, I get it," Gregory said.Grechen Shirley said that several skeptics have come around to her side."There have been a few people who have had concerns," Grechen Shirley said. "Some people thought that these funds were taxpayer dollars, and when they realized that these were funds that I am raising for our campaign they were fine with it."As a countervailing force to critics, a letter of support was submitted to the FEC by 24 members of Congress on Tuesday, and another on behalf of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last month. The latter took Grechen Shirley off guard."My campaign manager called me on a Friday afternoon, and it was an incredible surprise," Grechen Shirley said. "I had no idea that was going to happen."The FEC's decision hinged on Grechen Shirley's childcare expenses not being deemed "personal use," defined as costs that "would exist irrespective of the candidate's election campaign." Campaign funds would not be allowed to pay for such "personal use" expenses."The Commission concludes that your authorized campaign committee may use campaign funds to pay for the childcare expenses described in your request because such expenses would not exist irrespective of your candidacy," the FEC's opinion stated.While Grechen Shirley has touted Thursday's opinion as a "game changer," it is not clear whether it has set an entirely new precedent, as the FEC made a similar decision over two decades ago."The Commission has previously considered the permissibility of using campaign funds to pay for certain childcare expenses in more limited circumstances," the opinion read, referring to a 1995 decision that granted a male candidate permission to use campaign funds for "occasional childcare" expenses."The fact that you seek to use campaign funds to pay for more than the 'occasional' childcare expenses approved of in Advisory Opinion 1995-42 (McCrery) does not change the relevant question, which is whether such expenses would exist irrespective of the candidate’s campaign or officeholder duties," the opinion stated.Regardless, Grechen Shirley hopes her victory will encourage many more women to run for office, especially those for whom childcare is a financial barrier to entry."I wouldn't be able to do this," she said of her own campaign.Even with her babysitter's fee covered (around $440 per week to watch her 2-year-old son and 3-year-old-daughter), Grechen Shirley said it's "an interesting juggling act" being both a candidate and a mom."I'll run home from events and do bath time and dinner and get them to bed, and then run back out to events," she said.
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