Posts made in March, 2014

Colon Cancer – Screenings Cut Death Rate down for 50+

Posted by on Mar 17, 2014 in Aging Adults, Healthy Habits | 0 comments

Colon cancer incidence, death rates down among Americans 50 and older The Wall Street Journal reports that research suggests that colon cancer incidence among individuals in the US aged 50 and older has declined 30% of the past decade, with the decline being driven by an increase in colonoscopies. USA Today reports that additionally, “death rates from colon cancer…have fallen, declining at a rate of about 3% a year over the past decade, the report found.” The largest “declines in colon cancer incidence were in people over age 65, who qualify for Medicare, which makes colon cancer screenings available for free.” The study also indicated that “declines in colon cancer rates became more dramatic in more recent years, falling at an annual rate of 7.2% a year from 2008 to 2010.” The National Journal reports that the findings were published in…CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. Investigators “evaluated data from the CDC and the National Cancer Institute in preparing the report.” The Journal points out that “the data comes as the Health and Human Services Department and National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable – an organization founded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Cancer Society – make a new nationwide push to increase screening rates to 80 percent by...

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4 Million Have Signed Up for Insurance Under Obamacare

Posted by on Mar 4, 2014 in ACA (Affordable Care Act), Healthcare Reform, ObamaCare | 0 comments

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that some 4 million people had signed up for health insurance through exchanges provided by his signature healthcare law known as Obamacare. Obama made the comments to a gathering put together by Organizing for Action, a political group formed from his 2012 campaign apparatus. A full enrollment report for February will be released in mid-March, the lead Obamacare agency, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in a statement. The figure given by Obama showed an increase of 700,000 from the 3.3 million people who had enrolled in private Affordable Care Act plans from October 1 to February 1. Enrollment has picked up momentum since the botched rollout of the HealthCare.gov website in October. The deadline for enrolling for 2014 coverage is March 31, and the administration and allied groups are pushing to persuade more uninsured people in big cities to sign...

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A Guide to Healthy Aging

Posted by on Mar 4, 2014 in Aging Adults, Healthy Habits | 0 comments

A century ago only four out of every hundred people in the U.S. were age 65 or older. Today that number is 12 of every 100, and older adults make up the fastest growing part of our population. While growing older is inevitable, many people don’t realize that there are many things we can all do that will help keep us stay healthy as we age. The following is a guide to healthy aging that can help you enjoy better health and greater independence in later life. Make sure you’re not making medication mistakes ■ MANY OLDER ADULTS take prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and other supplements, such as herbs or home remedies, every day. Taking lots of different pills can cause side effects and problems. It is very important that your healthcare provider, pharmacist and others who care for you know every medication or pill you are taking. ■ BRING A LIST of each and every pill, vitamin or medicine you take—even if you buy it without a prescription—with you every time you see your healthcare professional. Make sure you write down the dose of the pill and how many times a day you take it. Your healthcare provider should check all of your pills to make sure they are safe for you to take. ■ ALWAYS CHECK with your healthcare professional, or your pharmacist, first before taking any new medicines of any kind. Take all medicines as directed, and tell your healthcare professional right away if a medication or pill seems to be causing any problems or side effects. Ask if there is any way to take care of your health problems without having to take pills or medicine. Never borrow or take any pills or medications that were meant for someone else. Stay on top of health problems ■ GET YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE CHECKED at least once a year: High blood pressure can cause heart disease, kidney problems, blindness and other health problems. ■ GET A CHOLESTEROL TEST at least every five years. Cholesterol is a fat in our bodies; when cholesterol levels are high, this fat can cause heart disease, strokes and other health problems. If heart disease or diabetes runs in your family, you should have your cholesterol checked more often. ■ GET CHECKED FOR DIABETES, especially if you are hungry or thirsty all the time, are overweight or find that you have to urinate often. These problems could all be signs of diabetes. Lower your risk of falling ■ HELP KEEP YOUR BONES STRONG by taking calcium and vitamin D every day. Most older adults absorb calcium citrate better than calcium carbonate, so read the labels on the calcium bottles carefully. Ask your healthcare provider how much calcium and vitamin D you should take. ■ IF YOU DON’T EXERCISE REGULARLY, START. Just be sure to talk with your healthcare provider first, so he or she can help you come up with an exercise plan that’s right for you. Walking is an ideal aerobic (“heart healthy”) exercise; gradually increase the amount of time you spend walking, aiming for at least 20–30 minutes a day. In addition to walking, or doing other aerobic exercises like cycling, lift weights to help strengthen your muscles—and help protect your bones. Learn to do yoga or tai chi, which can improve your balance and make you less likely to fall. Many local senior centers and Y’s offer exercise, yoga and tai chi classes. ■ IF YOU’VE ALREADY HAD A FALL, be sure to ask your healthcare provider about exercise programs in your community that include not only strength training...

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How to Fight the Flu

Posted by on Mar 3, 2014 in Flu, flu shot, Vaccinations | 0 comments

Take 3 Actions To Fight The Flu The CDC Says:   1. Take time to get a flu vaccine. CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the three viruses that research suggests will be most common. (See upcoming season’s Vaccine Virus Selection for this season’s vaccine composition.) Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine as soon as the current season’s vaccines are available. Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness. People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older. Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to high risk people. Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead. 2. Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs. Try to avoid close contact with sick people. If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.) While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu. See Everyday Preventive Actions  [257 KB, 2 pages] and Nonpharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) for more information about actions – apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine – that people and communities can take to help slow the spread of illnesses like influenza (flu). 3. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them. If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can treat your illness. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter. Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For people with high risk factors  [702 KB, 2 pages], treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay. Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high-risk health or is very sick from the flu. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug. Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a...

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Why Severe Cold Weather may have you feeling Sick like the Flu more often

Posted by on Mar 1, 2014 in Flu, Healthy Habits | 0 comments

The Midwest and Chicago in particular has been victim to one of the coldest and snowiest Winters on record.  This may have many of you feeling sick or like you have the flu more often and/or actually catching every virus more readily.  So, why does this happen? The origin of the word “flu” comes from the Italian phrase Influenza di freddo which means Influence of the cold.  It’s not so much the cold itself that causes us to be sick, but what we do in response. In the winter, we close ourselves off like bears to in a cave and limit our exposure to the elements.  This often places us indoors in closed environments where germs are consistently blowing around through the same air space.  Schools, offices and closed transportation sources like buses, air planes and commuter trains are often the primary “germinating” centers for bacteria, microbes and viruses when we sneeze or cough, and then touch things with unclean hands afterward. DID YOU KNOW? At 41F, the flu virus is the most stable but at 86F it can’t be transmitted anymore.  It’s for this reason, we see cases of the flu and other viruses that thrive under these conditions as the weather turns colder. But we can’t avoid contact with all human beings.  So, what should you do? Basic Tips for Staying Healthy in the Winter: 1. Cover up when you sneeze or cough – This will cut down on the transmission of germs.  Sneezing or coughing into the elbow are of your sleeve has proven best. 2. Keep clean! – Clean your hands in particular as they are the largest transmission tools and receivers of germs.  Using anti-bacterial gel for keeping your hands clean on the go is fine, but good old fashion soap will do the trick. 3. Be disciplined about taking vitamins daily especially Vitamin D to replace your lack of exposure to sunshine.  This helps strengthen your immune system and give your body balance to see yourself through the day. 4. Get some fresh air – While I’m not recommending you go out for a walk in the middle of a blizzard, taking a walk 2-3 times per day and breathing in fresh air helps to revitalize your senses and positively stimulate the brain. 5. See your doctor at least 1x/year especially when really can’t shake symptoms like consistent fever, discolored drainage, changes in skin color (e.g. red rashes) and lethargy. All may be signs of a winter flu or virus. Best to come and see us to be...

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