Heart risk calculator due for an update

Over 11 million Americans are at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years — at least, that’s what the numbers say.

The equation doctors use to estimate cardiovascular risk is prone to miscalculation, according to a new study, meaning patients may be popping daily aspirin or statins at the wrong dosage. The stakes are higher for African-Americans.

With the old equation, 1 in 29 African-Americans may be incorrectly labeled very low or very high risk, according to the study. For example, a 46-year-old black man was estimated to have a 40 percent lower chance of having a heart attack or stroke than a white man of the same age and in identical health. In general, African-Americans are at higher risk of cardiovascular conditions than Caucasians, so miscalculations shouldn’t be taken lightly.

The heart risk calculator transforms patient information — age, gender, race, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, prescriptions, and whether they are diabetic or a smoker — into a percentage. That percentage estimates the chance that patient will have a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years. The number is just one element of a patient’s overall cardiovascular evaluation, but it gives patients an idea of where they stand, health-wise. Then they can talk with their doctor about potential lifestyle modifications or preventative medications.

In 2013, the heart risk equations were updated by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology. The good news: the new math incorporated a variety of risk factors as well as data from minority populations, rather than exclusively Caucasians. The bad news: estimates generated by the new equation are often wrong.

“I saw a patient in clinic who I thought was at very high risk of having a stroke,” said Sanjay Basu, a Stanford physician and senior author of the new …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Health


Sonoma: 3 epic food, wine and beer experiences this summer

Sipping a smooth pinot noir in the Sonoma Valley. Eating al fresco in Healdsburg. Hiking through the open meadows of Glen Ellen.

Sonoma is one of the most fabulous and family-friendly places to spend summer in Northern California. Not only is it stunning — open space, rolling hills and thousands of acres of vineyards to woo your spirit — but there are a ton of activities of the food, wine and beer variety.

And in typical Sonoma fashion, most of them are low in cost, laid-back and feature fabulous entertainment.

Alexander Film Society Summer Drive-In Series

Pack up the family and head over to the grounds of the Cloverdale Citrus Fair for a warm Sonoma night of cult classic movie screenings and food from Falafel Fix and Fruity Moto, wines from the AVFS cellar and beer from Bear Republic Brewery and Cloverdale Ale. “Jaws” and “Grease” sold out last year. We have a feeling this summer’s lineup will, too.

Details: 6:30 p.m.-12 a.m. “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (June 9), “Back to the Future” (July 21) and “The Wizard of Oz” (Aug. 18). 1 Citrus Fair Drive, Cloverdale. Tickets: Cars are $40, individual tickets (bring your own chair) are $12 in advance; www.avfilmsociety.org

Friday Nights at Charles M. Schulz Museum

The museum devoted to the work of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz is rolling out a series of 21-and-older Friday night events that’ll delight hipsters of the foodie variety. Beer and wine drinkers? You’ll like it, too.

The series, which runs through July, pairs Peanuts-themed food (May’s Pigpen in a Croissant Blanket with fried chicken was all kinds of adorable) with local alcohol and creative activities, like cartooning and animation. Upcoming purveyors include The Whole Pie and St. Florian’s Brewery. Guests will also enjoy access to the museum galleries and an outdoor fire pit. Good grief — …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


Letter: Why did Oakland stop its bulky-waste pickups?

Why did Oakland stop its bulky-waste pickups?

In Oakland, we used to have scheduled bulky-waste pickup twice a year.

This was one of the city’s best services. You could get rid of a lot of dangerous junk this way. You could always tell which streets were having their pickup. Piled on the curb were mattresses, appliances, stacks of wood and metal, and all kinds of stuff that makes great kindling.

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Now you have to call to request the service. As responsible as I try to be about fire hazards, I find I never seem to remember to call and schedule an appointment.

For the safety of the people of Oakland, this life-saving service must be renewed.

Pamela Dernham

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Source:: The Mercury News – Health


Does Disneyland have too many annual passholders?

Does Disneyland have too many annual passholders?

I suspect that many Disneyland fans have asked that question when backed up behind hundreds of other cars all waiting to get into the Mickey and Friends parking structure on a Friday night. Disneyland has so many annual passholders that it no longer follows the same crowd patterns as every other major park in the country.

At most theme parks, the crowds hit hardest on summer weekends and holidays, when children are out of school and workers take vacations. Not at Disneyland. Thanks to huge number of annual passholders who are blocked out on those days, you actually are more likely to find parking lots filled on Friday nights during the school year, when all of Disney’s annual passholders are eligible to visit.

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As much as some Disneyland fans would love to have the power of Thanos and make half of the crowd disappear with a snap of their fingers, Disneyland isn’t about to give up the money it makes from selling what is reported to be hundreds of thousands of annual passes every year.

To Disneyland, the answer to the question is clear. No, Disneyland does not have too many annual passholders. But even resort managers will concede that Disneyland often does have too many of those annual passholders in the park at once. So the resort must look for creative ways to manage those crowds.

Its latest move was to switch to park-specific blockout calendars, which it announced on June 2. Starting next summer, some annual passholders will be blocked out from Disneyland on days that they can get into Disney California Adventure. The change takes effect the month that …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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