Thursday, August 30, 2007
Should you take aspirin?

By Anthony Policastro, M.D

Aspirin was discovered long before the FDA existed. It has a lot of useful effects. It also has a lot of side effects. The number of side effects is so many that it would never get FDA approval if it were a new drug today. However, it does play an important role in prevention of heart attacks and strokes. Most adults who are old enough to have a heart attack should take an aspirin every day. That will help decrease the chance of a blood clot blocking an artery to the heart or brain. For quite some time there have been two different doses of aspirin used. The baby aspirin dose is 81 mg. It is used to prevent clots in the arteries of the heart. The adult aspirin dose is 325 mg. It is used to prevent clots in the arteries of the brain. About 60% of adults take 81 mg. Another 35% take 325 mg daily. Recently these doses were both evaluated. The 81 mg dose appeared to work well as expected for patients with heart disease. The 325 mg dose worked for stroke prevention. However, it appears that the 81 mg dose works as well for stroke prevention as the 325 mg dose. Therefore, we will likely be changing the dose in the future. That way everyone will likely take 81 mg in the future. Another use for aspirin is in individuals who feel like they are having a heart attack. Those individuals need to call 911. While they are waiting for the ambulance to arrive, they should take an adult aspirin. Adult aspirin has more side effects than baby aspirin does. It has more of an effect on bleeding. For that reason, it is possible that unexpected bleeding might occur. However, there is no evidence to support that possibility at this time. The bottom line here is that all adults with any kind of risk for heart disease or stroke should be on aspirin. The exact dose is not yet fully determined. However, a minimum dose of 81 mg daily is advisable.

MS support group for couples
With one in every 800 Delawareans being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, chances are good that you or someone you know has the unpredictable and disabling disease. Although MS affects each individual in different ways, the disease affects intimate relationships the same: getting between the person with MS and a loved one. "Does MS sometimes feel like the third person in your relationship with your spouse or partner?" acknowledges the director of Programs at the Delaware Chapter, Ginger Stein. "If you and your partner or spouse are experiencing difficulty living with the challenges of multiple sclerosis, then we hope you will join this new Couples Support Group. The new MS support group for couples is led by licensed therapist Kathy Finkle, L.P.C.M.H., of People's Place. Understanding the unique aspects of life with MS, Finkle creates an environment in which people with MS and their significant others can build a positive and supportive relationship as well as meet and get to know other couples with MS, socialize, and laugh. The group meets the second Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to noon in room 218 of the Easter Seals Building, 22317 DuPont Blvd. in Georgetown. For more information or a reservation, call Kathy Finkle at (302) 422-8026, ext. 146. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society funds more MS research, provides more services to people with MS, offers more professional education, and furthers more advocacy efforts than any other MS organization in the world. About multiple sclerosis Every hour in the United States, someone is newly diagnosed with MS. Most are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50-during life's most productive years-and more than twice as many women are diagnosed as men. MS affects more than 400,000 Americans; worldwide, 2.5 million people have been diagnosed. In Delaware, more than 1,350 people have been diagnosed. Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information from the brain to the body. Symptoms range from tingling and numbness in the limbs to blindness and paralysis. In other words, MS stops people from moving. Although the progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS cannot be predicted, advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. Studies show that early and ongoing treatment with an FDA-approved therapy can reduce future disease activity and improve the quality of life for many people with MS. To learn about the current research as well as ways to help manage MS, visit

Geriatric Care course
Nurses can expand their knowledge of geriatric care with an upcoming continuing education course at Delaware Technical & Community College, Owens Campus, Georgetown. This 24-hour program includes theory acquisition and clinical application via three-hour classes every other week for eight weeks. Classes may be taken individually or as a complete series. Content is based on the Nurses Improving Care to Health System Elders (NICHE) program, developed by New York University and funded by the John Hartford Foundation and the Christiana Care We Improve Senior Health (WISH) program. Successful completion of the course prepares the clinician to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center certification exam in gerontology. Classes begin on Tuesday, Sept. 4, and will run through early December. For more information, call 855-5988.

Del Tech offers office tech course
Those interested in pursuing a career as a medical office technician can gain the skills they need through a new course being offered at Delaware Technical & Community College, Owens Campus. This course is designed to equip students with the knowledge necessary to perform a variety of administrative duties within a medical office setting. These multi-skilled individuals work with other members of a health care team and will be capable of performing multiple duties, including scheduling patients, managing records, and processing accounts. Classes begin on Tuesday, Sept. 4, and will run through mid-December. For more information, call Corporate and Community Programs at 854-6966.

Substance abuse classes
Two separate courses addressing substance abuse treatment and management will be offered this fall at the Owens Campus of Delaware Technical & Community College. "Case Management with Substance Using Clients" will include a history of case management and the various models of case management available. Classes begin Wednesday, Sept. 12, and will run in the evenings through Oct. 30. "Enhancing Motivation for Change in Substance Abuse Treatment" will link research to practice by providing clear applications of motivational approaches in clinical practice and treatment programs. These approaches may be particularly beneficial to populations who are often seen as having a low motivation for change. Classes begin Thursday, Sept. 13, and will run in the evenings through Nov. 15. For more information on these offerings, call the Corporate and Community Programs division at 854-6966.

Heart Walk
Each year, more than 1 million Americans suffer a heart attack and 700,000 have a stroke. A leading risk factor for heart attack and embolic stroke is lack of physical activity. About 70 percent of Americans are not getting enough exercise, blaming lack of time and lack of motivation, ignoring fitness and health increases our chances for disease. Trinity Transport Inc. and Nemours Health & Prevention Services are proud to be partnering with the American Heart Association's Start! Campaign, a physical activity program to fight heart disease and stroke by getting people moving through workplace working programs. Participating in this program can significantly improve your health. We ask that you join us in the American Heart Association's Annual Sussex County Start! Heart Walk to show your commitment and support for this amazing cause. The 5K (3.1 miles) walk will raise money for research opportunities as well as education and awareness resources. The American Heart Association goal for this event is 1,000 walkers, so get a group together and register today! You can register online and find more information at or call 302-856-7386. Contact Trinity Transport at 302-23-3900 ext. 3812; or Nemours at 302-444-9173 with any questions and take charge of your health! When Oct. 6, at Delaware Technical Community College, 9 a.m. registration.

Prostate cancer test at NMH
Nantiocke Health Services will provide PSA screenings on Friday, September 21. The blood tests will be offered at the Nanticoke's Cancer Care Center 1st Floor, adjacent to the Hospital from 8:00am till 5:00pm. The fee for the test will be $5.00. Results will be mailed approximately two weeks after the event. Prostate cancer is the most frequently occurring cancer in men. Between 1980 and 1990, prostate cancer incidence increased 65 percent. It is believed that this increase was the result of improved early detection. There is expected to be a further increase related to the use of the prostate specific antigen blood test. Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a substance that is produced by the prostate gland. Men normally have a small amount of this substance in the blood. PSA levels differ according to age and tend to rise after the age of 60. PSA can be affected by several conditions in the prostate such as the normal enlargement in the prostate, which occurs with aging. Infection or inflammation and surgery to the prostate can also cause increased levels. There is no specific level of PSA that tells whether prostate cancer is present; however the higher the level, the more likely it is that cancer may be developing. Nanticoke Memorial Hospital encourages men over the age of 50 to take advantage of this service. If you are 40 years old and at high risk of developing this cancer you are also encouraged to participate. African-American men are at high risk for developing prostate cancer, as are men who have a family history of the disease. For additional information on the PSA screening contact the Cancer Care Center at 629-6611, extension 3765.

CNA of the Year
To recognize the importance of Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) as invaluable members of the health care team, nominations are being accepted at Delaware Technical & Community College, Owens Campus, for the annual CNA of the Year award. The award will be presented at the 11th annual CNA Recognition Day held on Friday, Oct. 19, at the Owens Campus in Georgetown. The honoree will be chosen from nominations submitted by family members, friends, employers, and patients based on the CNA's dedication to providing care, comfort, and commitment to his/her patients. Nomination forms must be completed and returned to the college no later than Sept. 15. CNA Recognition Day is an annual event held at the Owens Campus and is co-sponsored by the college along with local hospitals, long-term care facilities, and home health agencies. The event includes workshops, exhibits, door prizes, and networking opportunities as it brings together CNAs from Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland. For more information about the award, the event, or to receive a nomination form, call 302-856-5400, ext. 3190.