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Category Archives: Health

Be Smart about Your Health before Things Get Expensive

One of the keys to sparing cash on your social insurance is to abstain from becoming ill in any case. An ounce of savvy counteractive action can spare you what you’d spend on cures. Furthermore, in the event that you do build up a genuine therapeutic condition, you’ll keep your yearly out-of-pocket expenses in line in the event that you pay consideration on what your specialist orders. Take after these four stages to spare.

# Make this a habit

One of the best ways to avoid getting sick doesn’t cost a dime: Wash your hands (for 20 seconds, says the CDC). Handwashing cuts respiratory illnesses like colds by 21%, a published review found. No sink nearby? Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

# Take your best shot

A 2007 study put lost earnings from the flu at $16.3 billion a year. Between 5% and 20% of the U.S. population comes down with the flu each year, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you’re in that group, you’ll probably miss up to five days of work. You can get an annual free flu shot from an in-network health care provider; plus schools and companies often offer them at no cost.

# Be smart about tests

Preventive care is covered by insurance with no cost sharing. There’s a debate, though, about whether the harms of some screening outweigh the benefits. Talk to your doctor, but these seven tests are likely a net positive, says Wanda Filer, a family physician and president of the American Academy of Family Physicians: All adults should be screened for high blood pressure, depression, alcohol misuse, HIV (ages 18 to 65), and cholesterol (starting at 35 for men, 45 for women at risk of heart disease). Diabetes, for people 40 to 70 who are overweight. A hepatitis C test is recommended if you were born between 1945 and 1965.

# Follow doctor’s orders

When you have a chronic condition such as diabetes or heart disease, the amount you’ll spend on doctor visits and prescriptions adds up. Heeding doctors’ orders not only can keep you healthier, but can also improve your cash flow.

A 65-year-old diabetic who follows her doctor’s treatment plan will pay 13% less in health care costs at age 75 than her less compliant peers, according to HealthView Services, a Danvers, Mass., company that provides retirement health care cost data and tools to financial advisers. For a 65-year-old with heart disease, the cost gap at age 75 between diligent and not-so-diligent patients is 7%.

“If we make minor changes in lifestyle, we can significantly reduce health care costs, both pre-retirement and in retirement,” says HealthView Services founder and CEO Ron Mastrogiovanni.

Prevention is always the best money saver, and the CDC lists community-based diabetes prevention programs at Costs vary and may be covered by insurance.

Successful management of Type 2 diabetes often involves taking insulin, exercising, monitoring your blood sugar levels, and regulating the amount of carbs and sweets in your diet. For those with diabetes, Medicare covers medical nutrition therapy, as do many private insurance plans.

To ward off heart disease, embrace a healthy lifestyle—diet, exercise, no smoking. The American Heart Association has tips at When you have heart disease, the key is to take your medications as directed, even if you feel fine.

Avoid Flu and Cough using This Helpful Tips

flu-and-coughIs it accurate to say that you are maintaining a strategic distance from your collaborator with that hacking hack, chilly, or influenza in the desk area alongside you? Do you step your hand once again from each doorknob? Have frosty and-influenza fear? Take a few to get back some composure before the grippe gets you. Weve counseled many therapeutic specialists to convey you 14 approaches to maintain a strategic distance from colds and influenza this season.

Each time you shake someones hand, wash yours

Be that as it may, dont stop there. Wash them however much as could reasonably be expected, says Mark Mengel, MD, seat of group and family solution at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Running loads of water over your hands will weaken any germs and send them down the channel.

Get your shot
Last years flu-shot shortages are, well, last years shortages, says Jeff Robertson, MD, and chief medical officer for health insurer Regence. Finding flu shots should be easier this year, but you should get one early.

Build up with healthy food
You may think its hard to eat healthy on a regular basis, but eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables supports your immune system, Robertson says. And thats a lot easier than fighting off the flu.

Go to bed
As if getting enough sleep on a normal basis isnt hard enough, you need more zs when youre feeling under the weather. When youre tired, your body isnt fighting as hard, so Mengel suggests getting 8 to 10 hours a night.

Keep your hands off
Touching your nose and your eyes may hurt you, Mengel says. Those are the most common places for germs to get in.

Work out
Get those sweats on and exercise, says Ann G. Kulze, MD, CEO and founder of Dr. Ann and Just Wellness. Working out regularly enhances immune function, she explains.

Stay away
Keep your distance from people displaying symptoms like sneezing and coughing. While that strategy may seem obvious, it applies to more than just strangers and colleagues. Stay away from sick friends and family when possible, Robertson says.

Another reason to quit

Smoking increases the risk of infections by making structural changes in the respiratory tract and decreasing immune response, according to a study of smokers and infection published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2004. In particular, Mengel says, smoking destroys cilia, the little hairlike fibers inside our noses; this can help increase infection risks.

Did you just double dip that chip?
Beware of the dip. It may be harboring more than savory salsa. Double-dippers may be passing germs to those who eat after them, Mengel says.

Already sick?
Here are four things you can do to get better, according to Jeff Robertson, MD, and chief medical officer for health insurer Regence.

Take some alone time
This is the when youll want to shy away from company. Stay home and take care of yourself.

Watch your symptoms
If it goes from simple sniffles to raging sickness, contact your doctor. Your cold may have escalated to the flu.

Drink, drink, drink
Dehydration can easily occur (especially if you are running a fever or vomiting). If youre unable to keep fluids down, contact your physician.

Nows not the time to save up
Dispose of all used tissues. As easy as it is to grab whatever is on the nightstand (including crumpled Kleenex), dont! You may be furthering the cold.

Not Enough Sleep Impact

Both an internal “clock” and an internal “hourglass” affect how different parts of your brain respond to sleep deprivation, a new study shows.

The Belgian researchers said these findings could eventually aid in the understanding of sleep disorders, and help folks who work night shifts or those with jet lag.

The study involved 33 healthy young people who volunteered to stay awake for 42 hours and have their mental sharpness tracked along the way. Sleep scientists from the University of Liege used MRI scans to chart the volunteers’ brain activity as they performed tests of attention and reaction time.

Not surprisingly, their performances dulled as their sleep deprivation worsened.

But the brain scans revealed a complicated interaction between two basic biological processes: the body’s central “circadian rhythm,” which pushes people to be awake and active during daylight, and wind down when it gets dark; and “homeostatic sleep drive,” which pressures people to go to bed when they’ve been awake too long.

The findings were published Aug. 12 in the journal Science.

The circadian rhythm is like a clock, while the sleep drive is like an hourglass, explained Dr. Charles Czeisler, a professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. He wrote an editorial that accompanied the study.

The sleep drive is an hourglass, he said, because the pressure to knock off gradually builds the longer you’re awake.

The circadian clock, on the other hand, determines the timing of your sleep and wake cycles by responding to light and darkness.

That’s why, if you stayed up from 7 a.m. until 7 a.m. the next morning, you won’t sleep the day away to make up for it, Czeisler explained. You’ll drop off, but only for a few hours, he said, because your “internal alarm clock” will go off.

“The primary determinant of how long you sleep is not the amount of time you’ve been awake,” Czeisler said. “It’s what ‘time’ it is in your body.”

Sleep scientists have long recognized the two processes of sleep drive and the circadian clock, said Christopher Davis, of the Sleep and Performance Research Center at Washington State University-Spokane.

But the new findings reveal how the two forces affect different areas of the brain during sleep deprivation. “This dissects which brain area serves which master,” said Davis, who wasn’t involved in the study.

Those details, he noted, are important for scientists trying to understand how sleep supports brain function, and how sleep loss hinders it.

But for your average person, the message is pretty simple. “Get more sleep,” Davis said. “It’s important. The brain functions differently without it.”

Most people, of course, aren’t staying up for 42 hours straight. But it’s well known, Davis said, that real-world levels of sleep loss decrease work performance and raise the risk of accidents.

Then there are the “insidious” effects of insufficient sleep, he pointed out: People who habitually get too little sleep have higher risks of chronic ills such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Getting more sleep can be easier said than done, Davis acknowledged. People with certain jobs—including shift workers, first responders and service members—may have to stay awake for prolonged periods or be active overnight.

And then there is insomnia. According to Czeisler, modern-day exposure to artificial light can be a factor.

In the latest study, he said, people’s brain activity showed a pattern that supports the idea that humans and many other animals evolved to suddenly become more alert just before dusk.

“Most species have this surge of energy, probably so we can get our act together and seek shelter before it’s dark,” Czeisler said.

But in industrialized societies flooded with artificial light, he said, that surge in wakefulness has shifted to later in the evening. And that, according to Czeisler, can help drive insomnia.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults younger than 65 get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night; older adults can get by with 7 to 8 hours.

But the “right” amount of sleep does vary to some degree from one person to another, according to Davis.

He recommended paying attention to the “signals” your body is sending out during the day.

“Observe your daytime sleepiness levels,” he said. “Do you get to the afternoon and want to just put your head down on the desk and go to sleep?”

Know More About Pillow for Side Sleepers

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Why You Stay Awake at Night ?

# Drugs

Medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, can disrupt your sleep, particularly if you take them close to bedtime or if your dosage is increased. If you notice sleep difficulties that coincide with a change in your medication regiment, ask your doctor about a possible connection.

# Medical illnesses

Often, sleep difficulties surface along with other medical conditions. With lung disease or asthma, for example, wheezing and shortness of breath can disrupt your sleep, particularly in the early morning. If you suffer from heart failure you may develop abnormal breathing patterns. Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases count insomnia as a frequent side effect.

# Hormonal changes

Menopause, menstruation, and pregnancy are some of the primary sources of sleep problems among women. Hot flashes, tender breasts, and frequent urination all interrupt regular sleep patterns. According to the National Sleep Foundation, approximately 40% of perimenopausal women (those who are in their menopausal transition years) have sleep problems.


Shift work

A schedule that’s contrary to normal wake-sleep hours—like those of doctors, nurses, or other shift workers—can upset your body’s circadian rhythm. People who work rotating shifts have lower levels of serotonin, a hormone and neurotransmitter in the central nervous system that helps regulate sleep, according to a 2007 study at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, in Argentina.

Jet lag

Crossing over time zones throws off your internal clock, which tells your brain to sleep when it’s dark and wake up when it’s light. Your body can take up to three days to adjust to the new light/dark schedule in another time zone, and if you fly across time zones often, jet lag can cause chronic sleep problems.


If you are one of the 37 million chronic snorers in the U.S., your buzz saw may be no big deal; an estimated 30% to 50% of Americans snore, most without consequence. But in some cases snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea, a disorder linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

Mental illness and stress

Insomnia is both a symptom and a cause of depression and anxiety. Since the brain uses the same neurotransmitters for sleep and mood, it’s often hard to know which starts first. Stressful situations or events, such as money or marital problems, often kick off insomnia that can become a long-term problem.


In one study, 15% of Americans reported suffering from chronic pain, and two-thirds also reported having sleep problems. Back pain, headaches, and temporomandibular joint syndrome (problems with the jaw muscles) are the main causes of pain-related sleep loss.