Health Highlights: May 2, 2014
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Pregnancy-Related Deaths Rising in U.S.
The United States is one of the few countries worldwide that had an increase in pregnancy- and childbirth-related deaths in the past decade, a new study says.
Along with the U.S., just seven other countries had rises in maternal deaths between 2003 and 2013, including Afghanistan, Belize and El Salvador, said the researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA Today reported.
The global maternal death rate in 2013 was 209 per 100,000 women. In the U.S., the rate was 12.4 in 1990, 17.6 in 2003 and 18.5 in 2013, according to the study published Friday in The Lancet.
While last year's maternal death rate in the U.S. was lower than in many poor countries, it was higher than the overall rate in developed nations of 12.1 per 100,000 women, which is half the 1990 rate, USA Today reported.
"For American women, high-risk pregnancies and the number of women with inadequate access to preventive and maternal health care are just two potential causes of this trend," study author Nicholas Kassebaum said in a news release. "The good news is that most maternal deaths are preventable, and we can do better."
The rising maternal death rate in the U.S. has been noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency said that better tracking of these deaths may be one reason for the increase. But it also says that a growing number of pregnant women in the U.S. have conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, which increase the risk of pregnancy complications and death, USA Today reported.
Each year in the U.S., there are about 650 pregnancy- and childbirth-related deaths.
Another study in The Lancet said that 28,000 children younger than 5 died in the United States last year. It noted that while the number of such deaths fell in the U.S. and worldwide between 1990 and 2013, the rate of decline in the U.S. has slowed, USA Today reported.
Generic Anti-Allergy Drugs Recalled
Nearly 30,000 packets of generic anti-allergy medicines are being recalled in the United States by Indian drug maker Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd.
The recalled allergy relief and nasal decongestant products were made by Ranbaxy's U.S. subsidiary Ohm Laboratories Inc., the Wall Street Journal reported.
The recall was launched after defects were found in blister packaging for the Loratadine and Pseudoephedrine Sulphate Extended Release Tablets.
They were sold at drugs stores in California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Texas, WSJ reported.
New Sleep Apnea Device Approved by FDA
A new device to treat obstructive sleep apnea has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The pacemaker-like unit is the first of its kind and stimulates a specific nerve in order to prevent tongue and throat muscles from relaxing too much during sleep and blocking airways, the Associated Press reported.
The device, made by Inspire Medical Systems, offers an alternative for sleep apnea patients who have trouble using continuous positive airway pressure machines, which keep airways open by pumping air through a mask that's worn while sleeping.
Left untreated, sleep apnea increases a person's risk of accidents, heart attack and stroke, the AP reported.
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