Roughly one-third of Americans on Medicare have no insurance coverage for prescription drugs, and many of those with coverage still have high out-of-pocket expenses. While some Medigap plans offered through private insurance companies are designed to cover prescription medications, experts say the system isnt working.
According to the American Association of Retired Persons, seniors with Medigap coverage spend an average of $570 a year on prescription drugs, while those without the extra coverage spend only $20 more.
Repairing a bone fracture requires a healthy diet adequate protein, calcium, vitamin C and other essential nutrients. But in the case of athletes or heavy exercisers, time off from exercise is crucial, to give the bone a break from physical stress so it can heal.
If you eat or drink two to three dairy products daily, or regularly consume calcium-fortified orange juice or other calcium-fortified products, chances are you are already meeting your calcium needs. A calcium supplement of about 500 milligrams will help ensure adequate intake. Remember: Its rest, not calcium, that will most help mend your bones. Source: Onhealth.com
Your protein requirement is based on your body weight. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight about 65 grams for a person who weighs 180 pounds. But the extra 25 percent to 50 percent required by physically active people bumps the requirement up to 81 to 98 grams daily for a 180-pound athlete. Your body uses the extra protein for building and repairing muscle tissue and burns small amounts for fuel.
A major headache
The symptoms of migraine vary from person to person in intensity, frequency, character and duration. Migraine attacks occur in two basic forms: migraine without aura and migraine with aura, a warning usually consisting of visual disturbances or neurologic symptoms occurring within an hour before the onset of the headache. About 60 percent of all types of migraine attacks consist of migraine without aura.
The most prominent symptom of migraine without aura is headache, which may be severe and is often described as throbbing. About 60 to 70 percent of the time, the headache pain is unilateral (occurring on one side of the head). Symptoms which commonly accompany the headache include photophobia (severe sensitivity to light), phonophobia (sensitivity to noise), nausea and, occasionally, vomiting. These features distinguish migraine from tension-type headache, often described as a band-like sensation around the head without other associated symptoms.
Migraine with aura is characterized by the same symptoms as occur in migraine without aura, except that the headache phase is preceded by, or less often accompanied by, visual disturbances or neurologic symptoms. Some patients experience symptoms of the aura without subsequent development of headache, referred to as acephalgic migraine.
Take a snooze
Americans dont sleep enough, according to the National Sleep Foundation, which reports that only 35 percent of adults sleep the recommended eight hours or more per night during the average workweek.
Most sleep six hours and 58 minutes per night, the foundation reports. Sometimes the loss of a few zzzs is inevitable, but more often, its not.
It is an interesting sociological phenomenon, where, at a time of timesaving devices and so many material things that are supposed to make your lives easier, we still lead lives where theres not enough time for sleep, says Joe Cunningham, an internist and senior vice president for medical affairs at Providence Medical Center.
A clear gel containing an investigational compound may help prevent hair loss in chemotherapy patients, report researchers at Glaxo Wellcome Inc.
Hair loss is a common side effect of drug therapy used to fight cancer. Anticancer drugs act on rapidly dividing cells, a feature typical of cancer cells and of hair follicle cells.
In a recent report, Dr. Stephen T. Davis told conference participants about GW8510, a newly synthesized gel compound that may inhibit or stop rapid cell division in hair follicle cells in chemotherapy patients.
Davis and his colleagues at Research Triangle Park studied the agent in rats undergoing chemotherapy. They found that whereas typically 90 percent of rats treated with the anticancer drug etoposide lose their hair, this fell to less than 50 percent in rats treated with a gel containing GW8510. No GW8510-related side effects were detected.
The compound renders normal cells insensitive to chemotherapy. Researchers say they do not believe that it interferes with chemotherapeutic drugs.
Italian for everyone
Italian scientists report that patients with high blood pressure reduced the amount of antihypertensive drugs they needed by switching to a diet low in saturated fat and rich in olive oil. Whats more, some patients were able to stop their high blood pressure medication completely with the dietary changes.
A slight reduction in saturated fat intake, along with the use of extra-virgin olive oil, markedly lowers daily antihypertensive dosage requirement, according to Dr. L. Aldo Ferrara and colleagues, who first reported their findings in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Study subjects who increased their intake of sunflower oil did not achieve the same beneficial results, according to the report.
Fads no more
Ever in search of a faster, easier way to lose weight, more and more Americans are bravely confessing to their so-called carbohydrate addictions, swearing off sugar and diving headlong into the latest fad diet.
The pursuit of a slimmer body has translated into big business. In 1995 alone, Americans spent an estimated $30 billion on weight-loss aids, including diet books, appetite suppressants and other diet pills, diuretics, mechanical reducing devices and health spas geared toward weight loss.
The problem is that, for the vast majority of the population, these diets, gadgets and pills just dont work over the long run, and may even be harmful.
Any diet that deviates from sound nutrition principles, reflected in the U.S. Department of Agricultures Food Guide Pyramid, should be viewed with suspicion. Such diets are easy to recognize they almost invariably promise quick and painless weight loss by following a regimen that is contrary to common sense and often defies the laws of physics and chemistry. They may advocate consuming no fat or no carbohydrates or even no solid food. Every fad diet has its special gimmick, sometimes a whole truckload of them.
The typical crash diet initially creates a rapid loss of water due to sudden changes in the bodys metabolism the way the body uses food. While the scale may show a drop in weight after only a couple of days, what has been lost is water, not fat. Much like a dried prune, when water levels are restored to normal, the body plumps up again. Of course, after a few days or weeks, some fat, along with muscle, will be lost, too.
But the only way weight can be shed quickly more than two pounds per week is by following a diet that is too low in calories. Any diet that is too low in calories is necessarily unbalanced and/or extremely restrictive.
While its fortunate that most people lack the stamina to adhere to such regimens for long, any quick-weight-loss diet is ultimately self-defeating because the dieter is likely to regain the lost weight once the program is discontinued.
Health plans must earn the trust of their customers to compete in the managed care marketplace, according to experts at a recent meeting of the National Managed Health Care Congress.
To improve the quality of health care, we must restore consumer trust in physicians, health plans and insurers, says Les Meyer, a marketing and sales executive for Access Health Group of Denver. Trust is the cornerstone of the buyer-seller relationship. To earn it, you have to do what you say you will do. We must be patient-centered.
To survive in todays competitive health care industry, health plans must attract new members and make sure they remain loyal customers.
If 3,100 customers drop your plan during open enrollment, thats $15 million in lost revenue, Meyer said. We must earn loyalty and retain it. To do that, we must keep the focus on patients and exceed their expectations.
An uncommon heart problem that suddenly triggers a rapid heartbeat is frequently mistaken for panic attacks, especially in women, new research suggests.
The disorder, called paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia or PSVT, results from an abnormal bundle of fibers on the hearts ventricle that periodically makes the heart flutter wildly sometimes for just a few seconds, other times for hours. PSVT can be tricky to diagnose but is easily corrected by surgery or medications.
Nothing to sneeze at
Although about a third of Americans believe they have food allergies, studies show that no more than 2 percent actually do, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system mistakenly makes antibodies against proteins in food. Histamine and other chemicals are released, producing mild hives, swelling and even life-threatening shock. Common culprits include eggs, nuts, seafood and some fruits.
A metabolic food intolerance can cause similar, severe symptoms, but unlike a food allergy, does not involve the immune system. People with a metabolic intolerance lack an enzyme necessary to digest a certain food or additive, such as milk or wheat. But this condition is also quite rare. So why do so many people believe they have adverse reactions to food? Reasons include normal but unpleasant reactions to food properties (think of the familiar relationship between beans and gas), as well as instances of food poisoning.
Certain foods may also have bad associations if they were eaten when a person was sick from other causes. Because true adverse reactions to food are so rare, its best to see your doctor before resorting to dietary restrictions that could be unnecessary. Source: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases