Category: Lifestyle

Surge in Overdose-Related EMS Activations During Pandemic

At the beginning of the pandemic, the trends predicted by public health officials forecasted an increase in the proportion of individuals using substances alone, widespread toxification of the drug supply, and markedly reduced access to treatment, all of which could increase the lethality of overdose incidents. In addition, experts warned against the negative implications of social isolation which was likely to drive a surge in overdoses as people increasingly began using drugs alone without a person to call emergency medical services (EMS) or administer naloxone in the event of an overdose.

The rates of overdose deaths were increasing prior to the beginning of the pandemic, yet social distancing measures, increased isolation, heightened stress levels, and decreased emotional wellbeing in the population have contributed to a further rise in an alarming trend. Provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that there was a total of 19,416 overdose deaths recorded between January and March – an increase of nearly 3,000 compared with the same quarter last year. According to an analysis of national EMS data, overdose-related cardiac arrests – which typically result in death – spiked amid pandemic conditions. Data from a recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry indicate that as of October 31, 2020, all but nine U.S. states have reported increases in opioid-related mortality among their populations.

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The Challenges of Long-Term Obesity Care

Several of the leading causes of death across the globe are diseases related to the obesity epidemic, such as ischemic heart disease, cancer, and stroke. High-calorie diets, sedentary lifestyles, and recently, pandemic lockdown measures have contributed to a continuous rise in obesity prevalence. Widespread stay-at-home orders and a shift toward remote life have had a negative impact on a range of weight management practices causing experts to forecast a significant worsening of the obesity epidemic in coming years.

The current approach toward obesity care, which prioritizes weight loss as part of a typically short-term solution, is not sufficient to effectively manage this condition. A new message for both patients and providers is needed – one that classifies obesity as a chronic disease requiring comprehensive management to avoid weight regain and prevent health complications.

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