COPD: What it is and how you can prevent it

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a condition that occurs when there is a chronic inflammation in the lungs that causes your airflow to be obstructed. It is oftentimes a result of chronic bronchitis (persistent inflammation of the bronchial tubes that deliver air to the lungs), or emphysema (destruction of the air sacs or alveoli).

People with COPD may experience one or more of these signs and symptoms:

  • Chronic and productive cough
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Wheezing
  • Cyanosis (bluish lips and fingernails due to lack of oxygen)
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Other respiratory illnesses, such as lung infections
  • Throat obstructed with sputum, especially when waking up in the morning

People with emphysema and chronic bronchitis, those who smoke, and those with asthma who smoke are at highest risk of COPD. Furthermore, older age, genetic predisposition, and exposure to second hand smoke and workplace fume may all contribute to the disease.

In areas where air quality is low, people may also be exposed to irritants that may cause COPD-causing lung diseases. Car pollution is considered among the primary culprit for this disease. Unfortunately, many car makers ignore their responsibility in creating healthier and more lung-friendly cars. In fact, many people are now filing a Volkswagen emissions fraud lawsuit after learning that the German car company installed software in some of its newer cars to deceive standard emissions tests.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, speak with your doctor right away for an accurate COPD diagnosis. When left undiagnosed and untreated, this condition may lead to even more serious lung complications, such as lung cancer, lung infections, heart disorders, depression and pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the blood vessels of the lungs).

Even though COPD sounds like a very serious disease, this lung condition is completely manageable. Medications such as steroids, antibiotics, and bronchodilators are usually recommended to relieve its symptoms. Lung therapies, such as lung exercises and oxygen therapy, can also be used to improve breathing and quality of life.

Car Recalls and Defects

Many times a year, car manufacturers release recalls on defective parts to vehicles for the safety of the driver. These are common, however, sometimes the defects can be particularly serious and even dangerous to the driver.

As of late, several brands have released recalls on parts of their cars, many of which could lead to serious injuries, if left untreated.

Although not everyone is fortunate enough to drive a Ferrari, those who do should be aware that a recall was issued on the LaFerrari model’s tire pressure monitoring system. The system offers a false readout on tire pressure, which alerts the driver of low tire pressure, but still advises a max speed of 50 mph. However, this readout is incorrect, and driving with this defect could lead to crashes.

Another tire pressure recall comes from Toyota. Southeast Toyota distributors are recalling some 2015 Toyota Tundras for incorrect tire pressure information. Some tires on these Tundras are equipped with incorrect information on how much to inflate tires, which can result in under-inflated tires and can increase the risk of crashing.

Fiat Chrysler has recently announced a recall on about 164,000 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees. Parts of these SUVs may become exposed to water and cause short-circuiting, therefore creating a fire hazard. This is just one of several recalls on this model, including recalls due to unexpected airbag deployment and issues with rear shocks becoming detached.

In the midst of controversy over an ignition switch recall, GM is also recalling 2015 Cadillac ATS and CTS models due to break pedal issues that lead to an increased risk of crashes.

Visit the following informative website to view more about car defects and malfunctions, and the liability of automobile manufacturers.

Is Monsanto Responsible for the Effect of PCBs?

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) are, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a man-made synthetic compound used in electrical equipment, mostly, due to its insulating properties. The Monsanto Company was responsible for the manufacturing of the substance as 99% of all PCB presence can be attributed to their company and they had been in operation of the pollutant since 1930 until the United States Congress issued a ban on their production in 1979 due to hazardous effects to the environment and the people who live in it.

An internal memo discovered from within Monsanto claims that the company had been aware of the potential toxicity of the substance as early as the 1960s.

EPA conducted a study, then, in order to observe the health effects that exposure to PCBs has had on people over the years. Due to its synthetic nature, PCBs do not naturally decay with the environment and cause harm just by existing. Improper disposal of the chemical also led to the poisoning of the bodies of water that it touched, unsettling marine life as well as contaminating fish for consumption.

Toxic Monsanto PCBs were then used to test the direct effect of exposure on humans. One such study involved exposure to the compound with a Rhesus monkey – a species that is 93% compatible with the human genome – and found that exposure caused significant change in the creatures’ thymus glands. The thymus gland in people is at its most active before puberty and is responsible for the development of necessary hormones that fight infection, as it is directly linked with the body’s immune system.

There have been claims of people who have filed for legal action against Monsanto, claiming that it was exposure to PCBs that have caused non-Hodgkin lymphoma in their system – a cancer that starts from the lymphocytes, a part of the body’s immune system. The link cannot, therefore, be ignored as after blood tests – the victims were found to have had high levels of PCBs in their blood.

Vulnerable Nursing Home Residents Frequently Victims of Abuse

It can be one of the most difficult decisions to make, to put an elderly loved one in a nursing home. However, elderly people have a very definite set of needs that cannot always be looked after by professionals in this day and age. They need companionship, comfort, and care in this old age of theirs, which is why it is often more recommended for elderly folk to be enrolled in a nursing home so that they can be given the care and attention that they need and deserve.

People have shown to live longer these days than in the decades prior. This can be attributed to the fact that technological and medical advances over the last few years have changed the playing field for human existence forever. And things will only ever keep growing and improving.

However, something that can never be fought is that with extended time comes age. And old age means an added physical and mental frailty. Some elderly people even experience severe memory loss or disorders that impair their everyday ability to do usually simple tasks. People with Parkinson’s disease, for example, find difficulty with the supposed to be easy act of feeding themselves.

These elderly folk require constant surveillance for their own protection and for their own good. Due to this demand for facilities that care for the aged, nursing homes are then legally expected to adhere to a certain standard of care while caring for their wards and patients. Should any of these standards be violated, this can constitute as nursing home abuse, upon further investigation.

It can be hard to spot, however; as is the case for most abusive situations, wherein the victims are too scared of their abusers to actually report the abuse to authorities. If you or someone you know suspects that a nursing home is displaying abusive behavior towards the elderly they are meant to care for, it is advisable that legal aid is sought in order to know what the next best possible to take is.

Pregnant Women at Risk for Birth Defects, Heart Disorders

As if women didn’t have enough on their plate, a majority of them suffer from what is euphemistically called “morning sickness” but which can actually strike at any time of the day, even all day for some unlucky ones. For most women, though, the nausea and vomiting is worse in the morning and then tapers off during the day.

Most people consider the miseries that a woman going through a lot of hormonal problems during pregnancy as fleeting, and in most cases for morning sickness at least, it is all over by the 14th week. Sufferers still feel miserable, but at least it is usually mild and short term. There are also indications that morning sickness is a way to protect the developing fetus from whatever toxins that may be in the mother’s body.

However, there are cases where the nausea and vomiting are severe enough to be life-threatening. This happens to about 1% of all women who get pregnant, and it is definitely not something that you can just ride. The biggest danger of prolonged and persistent nausea and vomiting is dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, which can cause certain organs to shut down if it gets bad enough. In such cases, the attending physician will most likely prescribe an antiemetic.

An antiemetic is a drug that blocks certain receptors in the brain which can trigger nausea. Zofran (ondansetron) is one such drug that blocks the reception of serotonin, but it is approved only for the use in treating nausea caused by chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. However, as the manufacturer claims it is safe for use in pregnant women, physicians have prescribed it for severe pregnancy-related nausea.

This may turn out to be a serious mistake. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, attorneys who handle Zofran cases, there is strong indication that Zofran may lead to birth defects in the fetus as well as an irregular heart rhythm (QT interval prolongation) for the mother which under the stress of childbirth can cause sudden death.

As if pregnant women didn’t have enough to deal with.

Domestic Assault Laws

Texas law has three subsects of domestic violence. The crimes can be considered domestic assault, aggravated domestic assault and continuous violence against the family.

An act of violence against the following list of individuals is considered domestic assault:

  • A current or former spouse
  • A child of a current or former spouse
  • A person with whom the offender has a child or children
  • A foster child or foster parent of the offender
  • A family member of the offender by blood, marriage, or adoption
  • Someone with whom the offender lives
  • A person with whom the offender has or had an ongoing dating or romantic relationship

A domestic assault charge is considered a Class A misdemeanor if the defendant has had no prior convictions. Any following offense is considered a third degree felony.

Texas law states that an officer of the law is able to arrest a person accused of domestic assault on the spot regardless of whether or not the officer personally witnessed the act of violence. Witnesses or any physical evidence of the crime are acceptable probable causes for an arrest. The state of Texas does not require physical violence to be the only form of domestic assault; intent or threats of violence are also considered domestic assault.

According to the website of the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, domestic assault charges are prosecuted aggressively. Some domestic assault charges can carry a 2-20 years prison sentence. Probation, community supervision, fines, and protective orders are also possible penalties of conviction.

Seeking Compensation for Injuries Related to Being Hit by a Car

When you as a pedestrian have been struck by a vehicle while walking along the street, your right to receive compensation may depend on several factors. In order to know whether you can file an insurance or injury claim against the driver may depend on these factors and what your personal injury lawyer would advice.

One factor that can affect a pedestrian and car accident is the fact of who is at-fault for the accident. It is generally understood that when a car accident involving a pedestrian occurs, the fault immediately goes to the driver, but this is not always true. There are situations where the pedestrian is the one who caused the accident. If you are the pedestrian who have been injured in a car accident, you have to make sure that you were not violating any traffic laws.

Next, injuries sustained following the accident should be significant enough to merit an injury or insurance claim against the driver of the vehicle. An insurance claim is the initial step in acquiring compensation that would help cover for medical expenses, lost wages, and other general damages that you have suffered (including pain and suffering). It usually ends up with a settlement, however if both parties don’t agree on the settlement then they can proceed to a lawsuit in the civil court where the judge or jury will be the one who ill deice on the amount of compensation and damages that will be awarded.

It may be easier to file an insurance or injury claim against a driver who stopped and acknowledged their fault in the accident, but in situations where the driver didn’t stop, it may be difficult to pursue a claim. In hit-and-run situations, the best and often the only way to have a valid claim is to immediately report the incident to the police in order to have an investigation. Witness reports and medical records would help prove the accident occurred and validate your claim, which will be field to your own insurance provider. If the police investigation yielded results for possible driver, you may want to consider consulting with a lawyer to determine the next best option for compensation.

Machines Make Better Taskmasters

Research shows that humans prefer to be assigned tasks by robots than another human when it comes to micromanagement.

Far from resenting the incursion of soulless robots into the workplace, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab found that human workers welcome them. An experiment involving two humans and one robot in a manufacturing setting revealed that humans were most comfortable and efficient when taking direction from a robot when it came to assigning and coordinating repetitive tasks.

Giving over more control to the robots improved the way workers functioned; it relieved them of making scheduling decisions that when made incorrectly hindered production significantly. When a robot was tasked to oversee the activities of two workers so that they were coordinated in the performance of their tasks, they did better than when the robot was not coordinating either worker, or was overseeing the work of just one worker.

Automation has always been the prize that manufacturers have had their eye on ever since mass production became the name of the game. Robots don’t get tired, bored, sick, or make mistakes. Once they are programmed to execute a certain task, they can do it over and over again without a hitch over a full-day’s hard work. Fears of humans resenting working alongside autonomous robots, however, dimmed this Utopian vision.

The finding by MIT scientists of the direct relation of robot participation and productivity in the workplace in limited capacities is a very welcome one. This may very well pave the way for robots to become involved in other scenarios where collaboration with humans may be beneficial, such as in search-and-rescue missions, construction, and medical care.

Puppies on Prozac

Most people support the medication of mentally ill adults. Parents may be a little more reluctant to accept the idea of medicating a child with signs of depression or anxiety.

Medicating the family dog, however, may be a stretch for most pet owners.

Recently, veterinarians have been diagnosing troubled pups with mood disorders similar to humans. According to the ASPCA website, animals may suffer from emotional issues such as compulsive behavior, separation anxiety, general timidity, or even a tendency toward “excessive licking”.

These mental illnesses may be treated with a variety of drugs normally used for treating people suffering from psychological disorders like anxiety, depression, or OCD.

For dogs suffering from a tendency toward sudden panic, which may be marked with trembling, pupil dilation or excessive panting, low or moderate doses of Xanax or Valium may be prescribed. The medication has a calming effect and reduces panic, but may cause perpetual sleepiness or hunger.

Canines who lean more toward general anxiety—meaning they are nervous in everyday situations, and don’t usually experience short-lived panic attacks—may be treated with animal versions of serotonin re-uptake inhibitors such as Zoloft or Prozac. These medicines may be harmful to the animal’s kidneys or liver, so any preexisting issues should be discussed at length with the veterinarian.

Once the pet has been prescribed a drug, owners should come up with a strategy for feeding it to him or her. Often, dogs hate taking pills. In fact, some pups may even avoid their owner at length to avoid taking their medication.

In order to avoid this issue, most pet owners resort to hiding the pills in food. Small pills may be shoved in a chunk of cheese, hidden in a meatball, or even pulverized and mixed into a spoonful of yogurt.

If you have noticed a behavioral problem in your pup, a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist may be able to assist you in finding a solution.

How to Handle a Workplace Injury

A great number of injuries that occur in the workplace are covered by workers’ compensation, and these injuries can be because of anyone and anything, and can happen at any time. Workplace accidents account as anything unanticipated and work-related incidents that leads to a loss or any form of injury. If the incident occurred during the course of employment then it can be considered a work-related injury, and many of these incidents are caused by fellow co-workers. According to the website of Evans Moore, being injured in your place of employment while doing your job doesn’t mean you have to pay for your medical expenses with your own money. You cannot be at fault if you were on the job, responsibly performing tasks you were assigned to do, and something happens to you. Worker’s compensation laws provide compensation regardless of who caused the accident, but rely more on the fact that the incident and injury occurred during the time of employment.

When the injury is caused by a fellow co-worker and happened while you were at work, the first thing to do is to inform your employer regarding the incident. This would enable the employer to document the incident and would require you to get immediate medical treatment. Reporting the incident immediately would also allow the employer to protect other employees from suffering the same injuries. When getting medical treatment, it is essential to document your injuries, and its extent. Proper documentation of the circumstances and acquiring medical records can make worker’s compensation claims more legitimate and easier to acquire.

Lastly, it is also important to make a Work Injury Accident Report, and since every state can have their own claim forms, it may be necessary to find help from workers’ compensation lawyers. Hiring a lawyer to help you fill out the forms and guide you through the whole claims process would ensure that all the necessary documents and information are given and guarantee that the workers’ compensation claim will be granted. Additionally, because there are statutes of limitations for worker’s compensation claims, having the help of Charleston workers’ compensation lawyers can assure you that you have not forfeited your right for your workers’ compensation benefits.

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