Shulkin is shuck off

The Secretary for the US Department of Veteran Affairs has been fired. Or resigned. That seems to be a point of contention. Aaaaanyway, David Shulkin is best known for taking charge of the department in 2015 after a scandal that exposed false record-keeping and wait times of over 115 days for veterans to get an initial primary care appointment. More recently he’s been pushing for the use of private health care in the VA system for routine things like getting hearing aids. But while he’s a fan of private-sector coordination he’s really against full on privatization, at least according to his NYT editorial published after his elective/non-elective dismissal. President Donald Trump has nominated White House head physician Ronny Jackson to take Shulkin’s place at the head of the VA’s 370,000 employees.

Take this cancer test with a shaker full of salt

Genetics company 23andMe—popular for their DTC ancestry tests—has been FDA approved for their mail-order breast cancer tests. Consumers can check whether they possess one of three mutations to their aptly-named BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which increase breast cancer risk by 45%-85%. Thing is, there are 1,000 known variations of those genes, and it doesn’t even test the most common. Also, the genes tested mainly affect women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. Also, if a patient doesn’t test positive for these mutations they may think they’re in the clear breast cancer-wise. Also, some physicians are worried about the mental health effects of learning you may be at risk for cancer without being counseled through it by a professional. But hey, they send the tests to your home so that’s convenient!

Surprise! You now have high blood pressure

That’s the news 4.2 million Americans woke up to on Monday when the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology released new guidelines on what is considered hypertension. Now, if your sphygmomanometer reads 130/80, then your blood pressure is considered high. But the new guidelines aren’t changing much in terms of treatment—the physicians are advising that only about 80,000 more patients will benefit from hypertensive drugs. Those newly within the high blood pressure range are pretty much just being put on notice to change their lifestyle habits. However, nearly everyone can benefit from lowering their blood pressure—here’s 10 ways to do that without medication.