Archive for the ‘Health Tips’ Category
Thursday, August 12th, 2010
Pfizer’s cancer drug, Mylotarg, is no longer available after being on the U.S. market for the past 10 years. If you have a prescription drug plan, then now is the time to start looking into your health insurance carrier’s “formulary,” which is the list that includes drugs that are covered. You will need to consult with your doctor to find an appropriate alternative that is covered through your health plan.
Pfizer decided to remove the drug from the market because studies failed to prove that it has any effectiveness. Additionally, there were reported deaths from liver and lung complications linked to its use.
Thursday, June 3rd, 2010
Who would have thought there were any dangers lurking in the fresh fruits and vegetable isle of your local supermarket? Whether organic or commercially grown, everyone agrees that fruits and vegetables are good for you. The more you eat the better, right? Well, this isn’t entirely true.
Pesticides in Your Fruits and Vegetables
It’s no secret that pesticides aren’t good for you, but did you know that the main source of pesticides found in the human body is a direct result of consuming fresh fruits and vegetables? It’s true. Organophosphate exposure mostly comes from consuming those otherwise healthy fruits and vegetables. Scientific study showed long ago that exposure to high levels of organophosphate is very harmful to your health, but new studies are indicting that even small amounts of pesticides (Levels that were once thought to be safe) can be extremely harmful; especially in child and teenagers.
Fruits and Vegetables and ADHD
A study published in the May 2010 edition of Pediatrics, suggested that low levels of pesticides were associated with a higher risk of developing Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in young children. The research comes from the University of Montreal and Harvard University. After testing the urine of 1,139 kids aging from 8 – 15, it was revealed that almost 95% of them had at least one of the chemical byproducts of pesticides in their systems. So what’s the answer?
Making Your Fruits and Vegetables Safe
For starters, you can change your diet to entirely organic. Although there is a higher cost involved with purchasing organic, the health benefits are remarkable. If your pocketbook can’t handle a diet that is entirely organic, the next best thing is to wash all your fruits and vegetables before consuming them.
Wednesday, March 24th, 2010
For over a year, Congress has been squabbling over the health reform bill championed by President Barack Obama. The long effort finally came to fruition last Sunday, when congress narrowly passed (by a 219 to 212) margin of victory. Known as HR4872, the bill was revised from an earlier bill that was passed by congress on Christmas Eve of 2009.
As a result, the nation seems even more divided than it was before the bill, with Republican John Boehner vowing to fight the bill, and adding, “The American people are angry… Shame on us!”
Friday, March 12th, 2010
The economy is sick and in desperate need of a transfusion of new ideas. Everyone hopes that President Obama’s proposals for a revamp of the health care system will prove successful, but in the meantime how do you keep the sick economy from having a negative effect on your own health?
Even for the insured, the cost of copays and other out-of-pocket expenses add up quickly, whether you’re single or have a family. If you’re feeling the pinch, you’re not alone – according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 53% of respondents said they had cut back on their health care to try and save money.
Many respondents reported an increased use of over-the-counter medications or home remedies, rather than scheduling a visit to their doctor. Others said they didn’t fill prescriptions to save money; some even skipped treatment or tests that their doctor recommended.
Ignoring your doctor’s instructions could prove risky if you have a serious medical condition. But no matter health status, you can cut down on some of the costs of healthcare without having to neglect your health. What can you do?
- When you visit a doctor, make sure you’re prepared. Take along all the information the doctor might need, including paperwork and medical records if necessary. Take note of whether your health has changed recently, including energy or weight fluctuations. If you have any questions you want to ask, make a note so you don’t forget them. Being prepared for a doctor’s visit cuts down on the need for repeat visits, and helps save on copays.
- Get your test results over the phone. Most of the time you won’t need to return to your doctor to get test results, so there’s no reason to spend money on the copayment when it’s not necessary.
- Consider setting up a flexible spending account when open enrollment comes around. Flexible spending accounts let you put pre-tax dollars aside to fund certain types of medical expenses.
- Call an organization such as the Patient Advocate Foundation (800- 532-5274) if you have a chronic disease and want some help with getting the most out of your insurance plan.
- If you’re uninsured, then consider visiting a store clinic. In some locations, retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart now run clinics where you can receive routine medical care for about half the price of a doctor’s visit.
- Try and track down locations where you can receive free medical screening. Organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can help you locate such programs.
- Request a quote for affordable health insurance here. Our system is able to connect you with leading health insurance carriers from across the country, and it could save you a lot of money on premiums or health care costs.
photo credit: effekt!
Tuesday, October 27th, 2009
How many prescription medications are you taking? How many over-the-counter herbal medications or other nutritional supplements? The alarming results of a new study on the combinations of medications taken by American seniors indicate that it’s best to be cautious about taking certain prescription and over-the-counter medications in tandem.
According to the report—which reviewed the medications taken by 3,000 men and women aged between 57 and 85—at least two million older Americans might be taking a potentially dangerous combination of prescription or over-the-counter medications. And up to one in ten older men might be taking a combination of drugs which could be potentially harmful.
Another factor affecting seniors is the fact that older people tend to take more medications overall, including both prescription and over-the-counter preparations. In the 57 to 85 age group, 91% of people take at least one medication, and more than half use five or more medications, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
The consequences of drug combinations aren’t always dangerous, but for older people, the side effects and interactions of drugs and over-the-counter medications are often more hazardous, due to the way metabolism changes as we age.
An example of a potentially serious drug interaction is that between warfarin, which is used to dissolve blood clots, and aspirin, which has a similar blood-thinning effect. The risk of internal bleeding can become dangerously high when both drugs are taken together. The combination of warfarin and garlic can also have a similar effect.
Other potentially dangerous combinations include:
- Aspirin and gingko biloba, taken together, can increase the risk of excessive bleeding.
- Taking Lisinopril (prescribed for blood pressure), along with potassium supplements (which may be prescribed because some blood pressure drugs reduce potassium levels), can cause abnormal heart rhythms.
- Over-the-counter niacin supplements can be dangerous when taken with statins (prescribed for managing cholesterol levels), due to an increased potential for muscle damage.
Experts say it’s best to be cautious when it comes to over-the-counter medications – don’t take them without the ok from your doctor, and make sure you ask about side effects and drug interactions every time your doctor prescribes a new medication.
photo credit: Nils Geylen
Wednesday, March 4th, 2009
When a doctor explains treatment options to a patient, it’s often little understood; frequently glossed over; and delivered in over-technical terms. A new movement in health care is makings strides to change the status quo, and with it the decisions of a whole new group of patients.
Case Examples of Informed Consent Opportunities
Currently, the most effective early warning signal for prostate cancer is an elevated level of prostate-specific antigen in the blood. But that test is nowhere near perfect – many men with prostate cancer test negative for PSA, and men who are overweight and have developed prostate cancer often have reduced PSA levels. Up to 25% of men with prostate cancer test negative for elevated PSA.
Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009
Trees are good for your health – they suck up carbon dioxide and release oxygen, help reduce greenhouse gases and provide welcoming shade during the summer. But those aren’t the trees that have recently been in the news for helping to improve the health of many Americans. This time it’s family trees that are up for discussion – and electronic ones, at that.
Importance of Knowing Your Health History
The importance of knowing your family medical history can’t be emphasized strongly enough, according to Acting Surgeon General Steven Galson, whose office has been in charge of a new initiative to promote the use of a website where users can grow an electronic family tree to find out where their health risks lie.
Thursday, January 22nd, 2009
The Healthy People program recommends that adults get 30 minutes of moderate exercise (such as walking) five times a week, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (such as running) every week. It seems, however, that the majority of people still aren’t meeting these goals.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released its figures for the most and least fit metropolitan centers in America, and the results indicate that many people aren’t getting as much exercise as recommended by the Healthy People 2010 initiative.
Monday, January 19th, 2009
The medical breakthroughs that get reported in the media rarely end up being the miracle cures they’re often portrayed as. In 2008, however, there were several important advanced made in medical science that could have a significant impact on public health in years to come.
- The question of whether organic food is good for you has finally been answered: A review of studies on nutrient content of organic fruits, vegetables, and grains has confirmed that these have up to 25% more nutrients than conventionally-grown produce.
- Another long-held myth—about the efficacy of antibiotics for sinus infections—was also dispelled in 2008. Over the course of nine studies involving 2,500 participants, it was found that antibiotics didn’t significantly hasten recovery. According to allergist Neil L. Kao, MD, taking a decongestant or mucus thinner, along with a painkiller as needed, is just as beneficial.
Thursday, December 18th, 2008
Nearly two million Americans have lost their jobs over the last year: around 500,000 in the last couple of months alone. That’s a staggering number of people who have lost their livelihood, perhaps their sole source of income.
Among their worries is the question of what’s going to happen to the healthcare their employers provided. Families with young children, in particular, may find the doctor’s bills piling up, with no healthcare insurance to cover them.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, every 1% increase in the unemployment figure translates into another 1.1 million people who don’t have healthcare insurance. The national unemployment rate was at 6.7% in November 2008 – an additional 7 million people without that crucial insurance.