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Carers 'at breaking point', blood pressure device shows promise and death test tool developed

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines

Britains millions of unpaid carers are ‘at breaking point’, according to a report in the Mirror.

According to the article, 6.5 million people are caring for a loved one who is older, seriously ill or disabled, saving the economy an estimated £119bn a year.

However, research reveals 80% feel completely alone, while 50% feel depressed.

The head of the charity Carers UK, which carried out the research, said: ‘Pressures on finances, a lack of support to allow carers to have a break and a lack of understanding from friends and colleagues, mean many carers feel that their world is shrinking.’

Meanwhile, a novel device fitted in the groin could offer a breakthrough in the management of blood pressure, the BBC reports this morning.

The device - the size of a paper clip - is termed an ‘arteriovenous coupler’. It creates a chamber between an artery and vein in the upper thigh, which appears to help lower resistance and bring blood pressure down, the BBC explains, and could be particularly helpful in patients resistant to drug treatments.

Professor Tom MacDonald, president of the British Hypertension Society and professor of clinical pharmacology at the University of Dundee, told the BBC: ‘It’s another potentially great advance in the treatment of hypertension. It’s not without its problems, but the beauty of it is you can reverse it, and it can be given to people on top of hypertension medication.’

Elsewhere, researchers in Australia have developed a check list of 29 health measures that can tell whether an elderly patient is likely to die within 30 days, or within 12 weeks, reports The Telegraph.

The 29-point ‘death test’ tool could help avoid using unnecessary treatments in people who are unlikely to benefit, the paper says.

The researchers write in their paper in the BMJ: ‘Delaying unavoidable death contributes to unsustainable and escalating healthcare costs, despite aggressive and expensive interventions.

‘These interventions may not influence patient outcome, often do not improve the patient’s quality of life, may compromise bereavement outcomes for families and cause frustration for health professionals.’

 

 

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