Archive for the ‘Staying Healthy’ Category
Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
There’s a new bill in the works in California, and it stands to force health insurance companies to cover programs that would help people who smoke to try and quit. Considering there are already bills that require California healthcare companies to cover things like in-vitro fertilization, and bone-density screening, it’s hard to believe that a bill such as SB 220 has taken this long to come to possible fruition.
Understanding the language of SB-220
There is much optimism that the bill will pass, complete with provisions for copays and OTC (Over-the-counter) medications such as nicotine gum and patches. It also includes provisions for group counseling, which is very effective for some individuals. The bill is designed to make it easier for Californians who smoke to kick the habit by making treatments available at little cost to those who wish to try.
Thursday, July 8th, 2010
California has one of the highest rates of uninsured citizens in the country with more than 6.4 million people currently without health insurance coverage. That said, it stands to reason that any additional coverage at the federal level is a huge plus for not only the California government but for the residents as well.
Positive effects of health care reform in California
When it comes to California, the federal overhaul would help those who can afford health insurance but are currently unable to get it. It will assist those who aren’t able to obtain coverage by providing them with a means to acquire health care benefits. Additionally, the bill will also go a long way in tackling the desire to provide Californians with the preventative means to uncover unhealthy conditions in the early stages, where they can be addressed promptly, and thus help everyone get more affordable California health insurance. There is a downside of this bill, however; read below to learn what it is.
Thursday, June 10th, 2010
Is Your Teen Equipped for Health care?
Adolescence is a unique time in the human life span. Between the ages of 10 and 19, biological changes occur at a greater rate than at any other time barring prenatal development and infancy.
Teenagers aren’t just slightly bigger children – and once the childhood stage of preschool vaccinations, childhood checkups, and summer camp physicals is over, they’re much less likely to get regular preventative medical care.
In fact, a new report suggests that many teens are slipping through cracks in the health care system simply by virtue of their age, and the existence of an “in-between” stage in the health care system that means teenagers aren’t being provided for.
For most teens, adolescence is a time of not only change, but also of boundary-pushing and risk-taking that can involve anything from smoking cigarettes, to experimenting with drugs, underage drinking, reckless driving, sexually transmitted diseases, or teenage pregnancy.
Just as important, habits that are formed during these teenage years are very often the habits that persist throughout adulthood. That tends to be true whether it’s work ethic, social behavior, or health-related habits.
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.
Monday, December 8th, 2008
For various reasons, the Western world has become increasingly reliant on medication to preserve health. It’s not uncommon for people to receive more and more prescriptions as they age: a full twenty percent of people over 65 take ten or more prescription medications regularly. So what’s the problem – those pills are helping you stay healthy, aren’t they?
The problem is, that’s not necessarily true.
An Avalanche of Prescriptions
Health care coverage for chronic diseases tends to shunt people off to multiple doctors – according to statistics from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 81% of people with a chronic condition see two or more doctors – more than half have three or more, and around a third have four or more.