Simple Foods to Eat to Boost Your Health

SMOOTHIES & MORE

Being healthy does not have to be complicated. There are so many food regimens trying to outshine each other as the go-to, better diets for ideal health. This can cause one to shy away from making dietary commitments. The good news is there are simple ways to enhance your well-being.

The key is to incorporate more foods that provide a proper balance of specific nutrients, to give your body what it needs. Here are a few simple foods you can add to your diet that will give you a health boost.

Oats.

Indeed a great way to jump-start your day. Oats are packed with minerals like zinc and copper and is the best source of fiber. It helps lower cholesterol and assist greatly in weight loss without leaving you feeling hungry.

Salmon.

Also known as “brain food” because of its high omega-3 fatty acid content, salmon does wonders for reducing depression and boost mood. Also consider this; it’s a good alternative to add variety to your menu and a good substitute for meat, which can provide healthier long term benefits.

Almond.

Almond is a good snacking companion, especially if you are embarking on a fitness journey. It is rich in magnesium and vitamin B, which are essentials for energy and a strong metabolism.

Apple.

The saying “an apple a day” has truth to it. The benefits range from weight loss, lowering diabetes, to even reducing the risk of heart disease. Being rich in antioxidants, it is your trump card to good health.

Kale

Tired of lettuce? Try kale, with it’s energy-boosting attribute. Its richness in amino acids are excellent for mental lift. Kale makes for a great side dish and one of the many greens to consider to increase your veggie intake.

Avocado

The darling of the health conscious, with good reason. Avocado is a great source of magnesium, potassium and vitamins B, C, E and K, a regulator for good bone health and maintenance. It’s also excellent for pregnant women to consume, as its high folate content is important to babies development.

These foods can help make eating healthy more manageable. They are inexpensive and the benefits definitely pay off. Good eating habits, paired with good exercise routines and proper hydration will yield favorable results for optimum health. Cheers.

 

Do I have a Cold or is it the Flu?

Do I Have a Cold or is it the Flu_

Fall is here and with the change in weather comes the start of cold and flu season. The common cold and the flu both share some of the same symptoms that make it hard to tell which one you’re coming down with.

Both the flu and a cold are viral infections spread through coming in contact with germs from someone already infected. A cold and the flu both develop in stages where certain symptoms start to emerge as the infection develops in your body.

Common cold symptoms

The cold usually starts off with a sore throat which goes away within a day or two. A runny nose, congestion, a cough, and nasal symptoms appear by the fourth or fifth day of feeling under the weather. A runny nose will also start within the first few days and as the cold progresses, the mucus will become thicker and darker. While a fever isn’t common with a cold in adults, children will sometimes run a low to mild fever for a day or two.

Flu symptoms

Symptoms for the flu are much more severe than the symptoms of a cold. You can come down with the flu within a couple days of coming into contact with the virus. The symptoms usually come on quickly and are much more severe than the symptoms of a common cold. Within the first couple days of coming into contact with the virus, you will start to develop a sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches and soreness, congestion, and a cough.

Most flu symptoms start to improve over the course of 2 – 5 days, but it is not uncommon for the flu to leave someone feeling run down for longer periods of time.

Is it a cold or the flu?

One of the best ways to determine if it’s a cold or the flu is to check your temperature. While the flu mimics a cold, the flu will also come with a fever above 100 degrees. You will also feel completely miserable and have body and muscle aches as well. The common cold rarely comes with a fever above 100 degrees and while you will be tired and a little run down, you will still have enough energy to go about your day.

Remember, a cold or the flu are spread through direct contact with surfaces where cold or flu germs have been spread. This happens through sneezing or coughing. Person-to-person transmission can also happen when someone touches their nose or mouth and then touches someone or something else.

Cold and flu germs can live up to 24 hours on any hard surface. Make sure you are washing your hands and not touching your mouth, eyes, and nose during cold and flu season. Not only will this keep germs from spreading, but it will help keep you healthy too!

Benefits of Visiting Urgent Care Facilities

When people aren’t feeling well, they may think that they have two options: wait days to get an appointment at their doctor’s office or rush to the emergency room for a condition that might not actually be an emergency. However, a third choice exists: they can go to urgent care facilities. While this may not be the ideal situation, urgent care facilities are accessible and beneficial in a number of circumstances.

Reduce Waiting Time

While urgent care facilities may still have a waiting period, a decision to visit such a practice is likely going to save time overall. When visiting the emergency room, patients often have to wait for hours before they are seen, especially if their situation is not high priority. Waiting to see a primary care physician may result in the individual’s condition worsening.

Meet Qualified Doctors

When individuals think of urgent care facilities, they may imagine doctors who aren’t able to get a job anywhere else. However, as urgent care facilities have improved, this thought is not necessarily representative of reality. Patients at such facilities still meet with real doctors and receive a diagnosis just as they would at their physician’s office. They may be asked to follow up with their primary care specialists in order to fully evaluate the situation in terms of their long-term health, but the physicians at urgent care facilities are capable of diagnosing and treating patients.

Sooner Recovery

One of the major benefits of going to an urgent care facility is that patients can start to feel better sooner than they would if they had to wait for an appointment or to see a doctor in the emergency room. Urgent care facilities are able to assist with a number of issues. For example, if an injury has occurred, the doctors there might provide a recommendation or a referral for a physical therapist. When patients are dealing with illnesses, the doctors at urgent care facilities can write prescriptions. People sometimes have the misconception that going to an urgent care facility is not going to bring about a resolution, but that is not the case.

 

Urgent care facilities have a host of benefits to offer. Additionally, interested parties can sometimes even schedule appointments so that they don’t have to wait long in the office at all. Taking advantage of this type of practice can seriously help people who are suffering and either can’t meet with their doctors or don’t want to go to the emergency room.

 

When To Go To Urgent Care

Many people struggle to decide whether they should go to the urgent care facility or the emergency room. Both of these centers are designed to treat medical problems quickly. However, there is a difference between the type of care that you can get an emergency room and the type of care that you can get an urgent care facility.

When to go to the Emergency Room

You should pay attention to the symptoms that you are experiencing. If you have any of the following symptoms, then you should go to the emergency room.

  • A severe headache
  • Any type of severe pain
  • Chest pain
  • Breathing problems
  • Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy
  • A newborn baby with a fever
  • Severe heart palpitations
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal thoughts

If you suspect that there is a medical emergency, then you will need to call 911. Paramedics can start treatment for emergency medical problems, such as severe bleeding or heart attack before you get to the hospital.

When to go to Urgent Care

Urgent care is not the same as emergency care. However, there are many conditions that can be treated at an urgent care center. Many people go to the emergency room when their doctor’s office is closed because they do not think that they have another option. If you have any of the following symptoms, then you can go to an urgent care center.

  • Fever without a rash
  • Diarrhea
  • A sore throat
  • Shallow cut
  • Sprain or strains
  • Ear infection

It is important to remember that an urgent care center is not a substitution for your primary care doctor. Your primary care doctor is the one who knows your medical history. However, an urgent care center is a great place to go if you cannot see your primary care doctor.

Be Prepared

You will need to be prepared no matter whether you decide to go to an emergency room or an urgent care center. You will need to have a list of all of the medications that you or your loved ones take. You should also keep a list of your allergies and medical procedures that you have had.

Signs, Symptoms, and Solutions: Lyme Disease

What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness caused by four main species of bacteria. The disease is transmitted by the bite of an infected deer tick. Each year, approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to the CDC. However, research suggests that around 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year.

Prevention
The best way to prevent getting infected with Lyme disease is to wooded, bushy areas with long grass. Other ways to prevent Lyme disease include:

  • Cover exposed skin when spending time in wooded or grassy areas
  • Use an insect repellent with a DEET concentration of 20 percent or higher
  • Check for ticks after spending time outdoors
  • Remove ticks as soon as possible with a pair of tweezers and apply antiseptic to the bite area

Signs
Signs of Lyme disease vary case by case and usually appear in stages. Within a month after being affected, a rash will appear at the spot of the tick bite. The rash, known as erythema migrans, usually forms in a bulls-eye pattern; a clear center with a ring of redness surrounding it. This is typically not a painful or itchy rash. Often, flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills and fatigue accompany the rash.

Symptoms
If Lyme goes untreated, then further symptoms will appear. These can include erythema migrans spreading to other parts of your body; severe joint pain usually localized to knees but can shift to other joints; and neurological problems, such as meningitis, Bell’s palsy, impaired muscle movement, and numbness or weakness in your limbs.

Less common symptoms that develop after several weeks include heart problems, such as an irregular heartbeat, that typically lasts a few days or weeks; eye inflammation; liver inflammation; and severe fatigue.

Solutions
Antibiotics are used to treat Lyme disease. Oral antibiotics are the standard solution for early-stage Lyme disease. If the disease involves your nervous system, a doctor will often recommend intravenous antibiotics for 14-28 days. The sooner treatment begins, the faster and more complete the recovery will be. After treatment, some people still experience some Lyme symptoms, like muscle weakness and fatigue. Known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, the cause of this is unknown and is not helped with further use of antibiotics.

4 Ways to Make Big Impacts on Your Health

When people hear their doctors recommend lifestyle changes, they often envision a complete overhaul of their way of living. Making changes in your life to live healthier doesn’t have to be drastic or immediate. You can take things one step at a time and make changes that won’t force you to sacrifice too much, yet these simple changes can have a long-lasting and positive impact on your health.

  1. Create Positive Morning Habits

You can begin to change your life by choosing healthier habits to employ in your daily morning ritual. Again, you don’t have to completely overhaul your lifestyle. Maybe just add a five minute meditation session or get up 20 minutes early, so you can fit in some yoga. Over time, these practices will become second nature and you won’t even remember a time when you didn’t meditate.

  1. Add More Protein to Your Morning Meal

Another good morning practice is to add more protein to your breakfast. In addition to giving us more energy and improving our mood, a high-protein breakfast can actually help us sleep better in the evenings. The ingestion of proteins will promote the production of serotonin in the brain. In addition to elevating our moods, serotonin also helps the flow of melatonin, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for promoting better sleep.

  1. You’re Not Drinking Enough Water

Most people think they do drink enough water, but you’re probably not drinking as much as you should. Bear in mind that our bodies are 70% water and that water is used to fuel virtually every biological process. It can help dilute sugar, which means your glucose levels will be better regulate, and it can improve blood flow throughout the body. You should be drinking half of your body weight in water each day.

  1. Help Your Body Detox

No, you don’t need to add juice smoothies to your routine. In fact, all you really have to do is stop snacking late at night. The liver begins a regeneration cycle between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. each night, but that process can be inhibited, if your body is digesting snacks at that time. Simply laying off the late night snacks and giving your body time to regenerate can help you live and feel healthier.

If you’re drinking enough water, this shouldn’t be a problem, since you will be getting up to use the bathroom more frequently. At the very least, you should be standing up every few hours to get the blood circulating and the heart pumping a little faster. Just by getting on your feet every few hours, you can reduce your risks of weight gain, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease.

While each of these are minor changes, they can have lasting benefits to your health. As you make them a part of your normal routine, you may feel motivated to make other changes as well. Before you know it, you’ll be living a healthier life.

Tips for Senior Workers Seeking Healthcare Coverage

pexels-photo-220723Selecting health coverage at work can seem tedious and overwhelming, this applies in particular to older members of the workforce.

Mature workers in their 50s and 60s require additional time and space to select the right employer-sponsored health coverage so that they can access the most significant benefits for their individual needs. Out-of-pocket costs are on the rise, as well the average deductible for single coverage.

According to Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust survey, single coverage increased from $1,318 to $1,478 in just a year’s time. There are four steps experts recommend to those who are interested in making smart choices and keeping costs down.

Keep health bills down and maintain the quality of your health care. You can do this by choosing a plan that will support your regular prescription needs and your common medical needs. People tend to require more care as they age, which is why it’s so important that adults 65+ gain access to plans that will help to care for chronic and preexisting conditions known to older Americans. A good tip is to calculate last year’s expenditure, including copayments and co-insurance, as well as estimating non-emergency costs, then deduce how much you’re likely to spend in the months ahead.

Take your time and choose the right plan for you. When deductibles were lower, choosing which insurance plan is the right for you was easier for the public. The climbing costs of deductibles have changed the marketplace, so insurance seekers should feel comfortable with taking the time to choose plans that speak to needs and spending limits. According to the 2016 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey, 58 percent of baby boomers spent less than 30 minutes browsing options during the last open enrollment period. More than that, most seniors (93 percent) of user choose the same benefits as they did the year before, simply because of familiarity.

The issue with continuing with service that doesn’t serve you well is that won’t necessarily translate to you having the best deal. Also, it’s important to note that holding on to the same plan doesn’t necessarily guarantee you access to the same coverage and same doctors. The detailing plans and physicians within a network can change from year to year. It’s a fact that many understand their health plans far less than we believe they do. With that in mind, many don’t have the patience, time, or attention span to truly scour all coverage options, plans, and health savings accounts –but you have to set aside at least an hour or two of your time. Online calculators should narrow options.

Comb through the list of out-of-pocket expenses and compare premiums. National surveys indicated that the premiums for PPOs (Preferred Provider Organizations) were much higher than the high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) sold by large employers, which averaged $84 per month for single coverage and $321 for family coverage. Kep in mind that lower premium costs often translates to higher deductibles. Out-of-pocket limits can be exorbitant, especially when HDHPs are concerned. PPO deductibles tend to be two to three times smaller, but deciding what’s right for you is a matter of comparing coinsurance, co-payments, deductibles, and premiums.

Find out if you can save money using a Flexible Saving Account (FSA), Health Reimbursement Account (HRA), or a Health Saving Account (HSA). Both employees and employers can contribute to HSA accounts when employees have high-deductible health plans. All investment gains, deposits, and withdrawals are tax-free, and ownership of the account means that you can carry it with you for years. HSAs are the best option when you have significant health care costs, and HRAs (exclusively funded by employers) can offset health insurance premiums and reduce expenses incurred ahead of meeting the deductible. Deductibles, copayments, co-insurance, dental bills, vision expenses, and additional out-of-pocket costs can be paid using an HRA.

Employees can fund FSA up to $2,600 in 2017, with there being no tax deduction. With that said contributions are pre-tax, and distributions are untaxed. A high deductible plan isn’t needed to secure an FSA.

 

3 Reasons Why We Need Global Health Education

3 REASONS WHY WE NEED GLOBAL HEALTH EDUCATION | Roger stanmoreWhile medical school is a common path for many, few of those students focus on global health. Between the sentiment that we should focus on the problems in our own country to the desire to focus more on the entrepreneurial side, there are many people who are forgoing global health and choosing more “local” paths.

We should not be creating this dichotomy between local and global health. The definition of global health offered by the Committee on the U.S. Commitment to Global Health states that global health involves health issues that transcend national boundaries and might best be solved by cooperative measures. Here are a few reasons we need to emphasize global health in medical programs:

  1. Our world is interconnected

With people constantly traveling internationally, national boundaries don’t carry as much significance as they used to when it comes to disease control. Take the Ebola outbreak, for example. In the U.S, we largely ignored the outbreak until it reached our soil. It is not surprisingly that with the amount of air travel that occurs, a disease cannot be contained nationally or regionally. Technology is making the world smaller and the medical profession needs to accommodate this. Future physicians should all get basic epidemiology training so that they can recognize suspected disease outbreaks.

 

2) Doing residencies abroad can make better doctors

Global health professionals have as much to learn from the communities in which they work as the communities do from them. Doing clinical work abroad requires a level of humility. Another important part of the global health field is cultural sensitivity. Doctors learn the importance of respecting patients of different cultures and working alongside people of different cultures. In addition, much of the work done abroad is in areas with low resources. Research shows that medical students and residents who work in settings with limited resources may become more capable physicians. When a medical student is removed from a technology-intensive environment, he or she learns to think outside the box. If all physicians were trained this way, there would likely be a decrease in the excessive medical testing that is a part of our rapidly increasing healthcare expenditure.

 

3) More and more medical students are interested in global health today.

While it may seem as if medical students don’t have an interest in global health, the truth is they do. It just isn’t as available to them. Many students are taking away years for international fellowships. A number of these students seek out jobs abroad after graduating from residency. But international work is very competitive. Doctors Without Borders, for example, is extremely difficult to get into. There needs to be more emphasis on global health in medical school so that students can fulfill their passions of helping people all around the world.

We should not separate global health issues and U.S. health issues. With the frequency of airplane travel, epidemics do not often stay within particular areas. Furthermore, we should help people everywhere rather than just people who are close to us in proximity because this is the right thing to do. It is important that medical schools and residencies put more emphasis on global health so that people throughout the world can have better healthcare.

The Vivid Pros and Cons of Freestanding Emergency Departments

Roger Stanmore MD, JDFreestanding emergency departments (FSED)  have proven to be the hot, new emergency care model, brandishing all of the expensive, life-saving equipment of traditional emergency rooms.

With that said, some are concerned that these 24-hour facilities, which offer on-site laboratory testing and diagnostic imaging, concentrate their services in high-income areas, predominantly servicing those with private insurance, rather than those with Medicaid.

Nothing stands still. Not time, not emergency care medicine. The surge and gains with regards to freestanding urgent care centers and emergency departments is a mark of progression, signifying the fact that the future of emergency care medicine is happening now. The economics of emergency medicine make sense for a number of communities, making emergency and ambulatory care more accessible.

Freestanding EDs are defined by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) as “a facility that is structurally separate and distinct from a hospital and provides emergency care.” There are two types of ownerships for these facilities: hospital outpatient departments (HOPD), which are owned and operated by medical centers, and independent freestanding EDs (IFECs).

Sources suggest that there are 10,000 urgent care centers, 5,000 hospital emergency departments, 5,000 ambulatory surgery centers, 2,800 retail clinics, and the 500 freestanding EDs. These functions have been enabled by technology and consumer preference, and ideally, both insured and uninsured parents are immunized from overbearing out-of-pocket debt that’s usually due following a visit to the standard emergency department. More than a visit costing about a third of emergency room costs, the wait time is also significantly shorter.

The freestanding ED has gained momentum in recent years, and this can be contributed to the fact that these facilities tend to be open 24/7. They’re equipped with CT scanners, labs, x-rays machines, and sophisticated diagnostic equipment than urgent care centers.

With that said, these facilities have been accused of precluding poor and non-white communities. These standalone ER facilities tend to be located in affluent, growing communities with high incomes, and often welcomes cherry-picked patients with private insurance. FSED have roused concern and criticism due to the fact that this particular type of care access blooms in areas that has higher annual spending, fewer minorities, and diminished need for emergency care access.

“In the states with the most freestanding EDs, it seems less likely that they will expand access to underserved populations,” corresponding author Jeremiah Schuur, M.D., vice chair, Clinical Affairs, Department of Emergency Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said in a statement, “as they are preferentially located in areas where people had more available health services, higher rates of private health insurance, lower rates of Medicaid and higher median incomes.”

The lowered rates of Medicaid users can be attributed to the fact that only HOPDs are able to bill for Medicare patients, influencing the cause for independent facilities to seek out those who are privately insured. On the most part, FSEDs exist in Texas, Colorado, and other states that don’t require a certificate of need.

Expanding nationwide, freestanding emergency departments are equipped to care for those in need of cardiovascular stress test as well as anything from chest pain, asthma attacks, allergic reactions, seizures, gastrointestinal bleeding, infections, and other conditions traditionally cared for at hospitals. FSED have helped to decrease admission at emergency rooms and lower costs nationally. Some researcher suggest that this effort could be furthered if FSED partnered with medical home models and feel the need for community-based medical care.

The Correlation Between the Affordable Care Act and Emergency Department Visits

Emergency_roomThe University of California published a study, titled “Relationship of Affordable Care Act Implementation to Emergency Department Utilization Among Young Adults,” which found that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) extended eligibility for health insurance for young adults aged 19 to 25 years. It’s fairly unclear how expanded coverage has changed health care behavior, as well as how it promotes efficiency for emergency department services.

Researchers indicated that the objective of the research was to use population level emergency department data to characterize changes in diagnoses noticed by emergency departments among young adults since the incorporation of ACA dependent coverage expansion. Difference-in-differences analysis of 2oo9 to 2011 ED visits from New York, Florida, and California was performed, and they utilized all-capture administrative data to calculate just how the use of emergency department services have changed for clinical categories following the implementation of ACA provisions among those aged 19 to 25, compared to those slightly older (26 to 31 years).

Approximately 10,158,254 emergency department visits made by 4,734,409 patients were analyzed, and after implementation of the 2010 ACA provision, it was found that there was a .5 percent emergency department decreased for younger adults per 1,000, compared to the older group. Young adults’ rates and rate and risk of visits didn’t know change relative to the slightly older group following the implementation of the ACA. With that said, young adults’ emergency department visit significantly increased by 2.6 percent and there was a 4.8 percent increase in visits for diseases of the circulatory systems (eg, nonspecific chest pain).

There was a 3.7 percent decrease for pregnancy-related diagnoses and diseases of the skin (eg, cellulitis, abscess), compared to the 3.1 percent for the older group. The results indicated that coverage increases have kept young people out of the emergency department for conditions that are being cared for elsewhere. Conclusively, the report established, “As EDs face capacity challenges, these results are encouraging and offer insight into what could be expected under further insurance expansions from health care reform.”