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HEALTH NOTES: Hidden risk to the heart from kidney disease

HEALTH NOTES: Hidden risk to the heart from kidney disease, with patients 20 times more likely to die from heart problems

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Three quarters of Brits are unaware that kidney disease can affect the heart, a poll shows.

About 1.8 million people in the UK suffer from chronic kidney disease, where the organs don’t function as well as they should.

But the condition can also put a strain on the heart – studies show that kidney patients are 20 times more likely than others to die from heart problems.

This is because the heart has to pump much harder than usual to deliver blood to malfunctioning kidneys.

Fiona Loud, director of policy at the charity Kidney Care UK, said: ‘Most people don’t realize the vital role their kidneys play until they stop working properly. If detected early enough, further damage or deterioration can be delayed or even prevented.’

Steps to lower the risk include quitting smoking, reducing salt intake, and losing weight.

People with chronic kidney disease are 20 times more likely to die from heart problems than people who don't (stock image)

People with chronic kidney disease are 20 times more likely to die from heart problems than people who don’t (stock image)

Harmful salt levels are lurking in ‘healthy’ supermarket food, experts warn.

Campaign group Action On Salt analyzed 100 popular products and found that of the 62 making health or nutrition claims, 23 (37 percent) contained levels of salt above the government recommended level.

Experts warned shoppers to beware of the “health halo” effect when manufacturers highlight a positive aspect of a product and hope consumers aren’t looking at the overall picture.

Cardiovascular expert Graham MacGregor said: “It’s a national scandal that big food companies are blatantly contributing to unnecessary strokes and heart disease.”

Magical way to sweeten pills

Doctors at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital have invented a new technique to persuade sick children to take their medicines.

The patients turn old pill bottles into “magic potions” by writing their own labels, such as “This makes me a superhero,” and describing how they want the medicine to taste.

Pharmacists secretly fill the bottles with candy and dispense them separately from their actual medication.

Richard Goodwin of the hospital said: ‘Taking regular medicines can be quite daunting. This helps them gain a sense of control over what’s happening and build their confidence to ask questions.’

What is the difference between measles and German measles?

The MMR vaccine (stock image) protects against both measles and German measles

The MMR vaccine (stock image) protects against both measles and German measles

The MMR vaccine (stock image) protects against both measles and German measles

Both are infectious diseases caused by viruses. But the viruses are different and the two diseases have slightly different characteristics.

German measles, also known as rubella, is caused by a toga virus. It causes a red-pink rash made up of tiny spots. Patients also develop swollen glands in the neck and flu-like symptoms.

It can take up to three weeks for the rash to appear after the patient is infected.

Measles is caused by a morbillivirus. Patients suffer from a cough and rash, which usually appears as a collection of red spots.

Cold-like symptoms appear about a week after infection and the rash three to five days later.

The MMR vaccine protects against both diseases.

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