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Last chance to stop the health bill, thousands at risk from undetected heart problems, and nurse shortage on elderly care wards

A round-up of the health news in the papers on Tuesday 20 March.

Last gasp political machinations over the health bill make the headlines in the broadsheets this morning.  The Guardian reports on Labour securing an emergency Commons debate in which it will call for the publication of an internal assessment of the risks posed by the proposed reform of the NHS. 

The 90-minute debate, granted by the Commons Speaker John Bercow under the emergency Standing Order 24 provisions, will lead to a slight delay in what should be the bill's final stage in the Commons. 

The bill returns after it completed its last stages in the House of Lords on Monday night after Tory and Liberal Democrat peers defeated two last minute challenges, the Guardian says.

 
Thousands are at risk from undetected heart problems warns the Daily Mail
, in the wake of Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba´s collapse from a cardiac arrest during a match at the weekend. 

The paper warns that often, death is the first sign that anything is wrong with a person's heart.  

It says experts are worried that an estimated 200,000 people under 35 have such an undiagnosed heart problem. 

The Independent is among the papers reporting on a survey by the Royal College of Nursing which shows that hospital wards caring for elderly patients have up to a third fewer nurses working on them than other wards

A survey of almost 1,700 nurses for the Royal College of Nursing found staffing levels on older people's wards was significantly lower than those for other specialties and general medical admissions, the paper says.

Overall, wards for elderly patients had one registered nurse for every 9.5 patients compared with an average of one for every 6.7 patients.  

One third of the nurses questioned said the staffing shortages meant they were unable to help patients eat and drink. 



People who feel lightheaded when they stand up quickly may be at increased risk of heart failure, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina found a link between people who feel light headed when they stand up - orthostatic hypotension - and heart failure, especially those aged between 45 and 55 years compared with older people.

Blood pressure was taken from 12,363 healthy adults when lying down and shortly after standing up and patients were followed up for an average of 17 years.

Results published in Hypertension suggested that people with orthostatic hypotension were 54 per cent more likely to develop heart failure than those without.

Once other factors that can cause heart failure
, including high blood pressure, were accounted for, the increased risk was around one third.

And still at the Telegraph, a campaign group is warning that chemicals in everyday items such as paint, plastics and mattresses are linked to obesity and diabetes.

A report from the Chem Trust argues that chemicals including pesticides, paint additives, flame retardants, diesel, and ingredients in plastics used to make food containers and tubing enter the food chain and build up in the body where they distrust human hormones to encourage the storage of fat, alter appetite and slow the rate at which fat is burned.

The report - Review of the Science Linking Chemical Exposures to the Human Risk of Obesity and Diabetes - was written by two academics from the University of North Carolina and Kyungpook National University, in South Korea who reviewed 240 research papers. 

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