Health Supplement

Surgeon
Surgeon

Health Supplement – what is it?

So what is a health supplement? Health supplement is a term that means products made of one or more of the fundamental nutrients, for example vitamins or minerals and which is very beneficial for our health. It provides you with some specific (or a mix of) vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, amino acids, metabolites, etc. Our health depends on the correct intake of these nutrients and if the diet doesn’t work, some type of health supplement or supplements would be the answer.

Health Supplement – vitamins.

Many health supplements provide us with various vitamins. For example, vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E. Vitamin A plays an important role in vision, bone growth, reproduction, and cell division and cell differentiation. Vitamin D maintains normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus, helping to form and maintain strong bones. Vitamin E is a very powerful biological antioxidant, which plays a great role in preventing cell damage that may contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Health Supplement – minerals.

Health supplements also provide us with various minerals. Minerals play a number of roles, like helping your body to use the energy from foods. For example, iron supplement provides your body with iron, which is an important component of proteins involved in oxygen transport and metabolism. Calcium supplement provides us with calcium, which is critical for transmission of nerve impulses, regulation of the heartbeat, clotting of blood, and building and maintaining healthy bones.

Health supplement – be careful.

Before you start taking some type of health supplement, make sure that an appropriate diet is not enough to increase the intake of some minerals or vitamins. Consult with a doctor to see that using supplements is right for you. Some supplements may have side effects.

New Federal Policy Initiatives to Boost Health Literacy Shows Promise

A smiling research technician standing in a research lab
A smiling research technician standing in a research lab

Approximately 12% of US adults are proficient in health literacy and are able to make responsible choices when it comes to health insurance enrollment, medical provider selection as well as understanding pharmaceutical dosages and preventative care. Nearly half the US adult population has an intermediate understanding of health care materials leaving the remainder of the population with a limited health literacy. A constricted health literacy can lead to detrimental outcomes such as overall poor health and higher mortality rates for elders. Improving health literacy is important as it may increase the quality of opted care, wider range of access to care as well as decreased healthcare costs.

As our population becomes more culturally diverse, the current design of shared medical information limits the communication between patients and healthcare providers. Currently, providers require that patients already possess the skills necessary to read and understand complex and lengthy medical documents and have familiarity with medical jargon relayed by their physicians. Patients are typically trusting that their physician is all-knowing and that there is little room for a second opinion. Thus, a person can go home with confusing instructions for their medication but will ask little to no questions about them. A patient might also forego any follow-up treatments if there is no communication between doctors and their staff members to encourage any follow through with further care.

Health literacy will overall improve quality of care by providing necessary information to patients in a clear, concise way that can be understood easily. Since 2010, there have been collective efforts made by the Affordable Care Act, the National Action Plan of Health Literacy of the Department of Human Health and Services, and the Plain Writing Act to make medical and health documents easy to understand for consumers and patients.

The steps these entities are taking to help consumers make better decisions include the following:

  • Simplifying and making material easier to understand
  • Improving providers’ communication skills
  • Improving patients’ self-management skills

The results are promising:

  • Medication errors when down from 47.8% to 5.4% when simple language and pictograms were used to counsel patients.
  • 38% reported more counseling understanding versus 9.3% of the control group.
  • Physicians that underwent communicative training had higher patient rates for colon screening tests than patients whose physicians were not as properly communicative (41.3% and 32.4% respectively).
  • A congestive heart failure program reduced hospitalization by 35%

Currently, there are government websites that aid consumers in selecting public and private health coverage that best suit their needs and budgets.

Despite these positive changes, seniors that are dependent on outside care are still vulnerable and unlikely to become more health literate as they age. Call your local health care to have a health literate professional assist you or your loved one when it comes to making health choices.

A Few Healthy Lunch Ideas for Losing Weight

Nurse Taking Girl's Blood Pressure at Clinic
Nurse Taking Girl’s Blood Pressure at Clinic

For those looking to lose weight, you know it can be a challenging process. Some struggle to get the process started while others struggle to keep up the hard work. They may reach a peak in which they aren’t losing any more weight and aren’t sure how to increase their progress. Others simply don’t know where to begin.

The other struggle many have is that during their busy work week, they simply don’t have the time to work out and cook healthy meals. They end up grabbing fast food during their quick lunch break, taking part in work celebrations in which there are unhealthy treats being passed around, and potentially skipping breakfast to get to work on time.

All of these things are a recipe for weight gain. So what can people do to help with their weight loss? The key is to start eating health lunches for weight loss and the rest will fall into place. Here are some excellent lunch recipes for those looking to lose weight.

Lunch Ideas

Whether you’re looking for a healthy lunch on the weekends or you are looking for food to prepare and bring to work for lunch, here are some healthy recipes to try. Not only will they taste great, but will also help you during your weight loss journey.

Turkey, Hummus, and Avocado Wrap

If you’re looking for something quick, start with this delicious turkey, hummus, and avocado wrap. Use a whole wheat tortilla, since wheat is much better for you than white. Spread it with 2-3 tablespoon of red pepper hummus. Layer on 1/4th sliced avocado, 3 slices of low-sodium deli turkey, and pickle slices. Roll it up and you have a wrap in only five minutes.

Sweet Tuna Salad

If you love salads or want to give them a try, making a sweet tuna salad for lunch today is a great choice. The sweetness will cover any sugar cravings, the tuna will make you feel full, and the greens will make you feel energized. You’ll combine the following ingredients in a bowl and mix together:

  • 3-4 tablespoon sweet relish
  • 1 tablespoon honey mustard
  • 1 can tuna in water, drained
  • 2 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional to add chopped grapes, cucumbers, celery, corn, onions, baby carrots, and dried cranberries

Once you’ve mixed the ingredients, add them to a bowl of lettuce. You can even put it in a sandwich or a pita. Some even scoop it up with whole-grain crackers. This is a tasty way to eat a healthy lunch.

Turkey Chili Taco Soup

Soup lovers will love this Turkey Chili Taco Soup. It’s a healthy way to eat soup for lunch without all the calories. You may want to cook it the night before, and then heat it up at work tomorrow.

You’ll need to take a large pot and brown 1 1/3 pounds of 99% lean ground turkey on medium heat. Break it up with a wood spoon while it cooks. Once it’s cooked all the way, add 1 chopped bell pepper and one chopped onion. Cook it for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Next, you’ll add 10 ounces ROTEL Tomatoes and Green Chilies, 15 ounces of kidney beans drained, 15 ounces of canned or frozen corn, thawed and drained, 2 ½ cups of fat free and low-sodium chicken broth, 1 packet of reduced sodium taco seasoning, and 16 ounces of fat-free refried beans.

Some people serve the soup with baked tortilla chips and toppings, such as jalapenos, reduced-fat cheese, low-fat sour cream, onions, and fresh cilantro. What is great about this dish, you can freeze it and reheat it for lunches later in the week. This is a super healthy lunch because of all of the healthier ingredients chosen to make it.

From salads and soups to sandwiches and wraps, there are so many great tasting lunch ideas to help you lose weight just by choosing better ingredients. Try these recipes to get started.

Mental Health Maintenance Is Made Simple

Woman with a medicine bottle
Woman with a medicine bottle

Your mental health is often drastically improved when you use the techniques Dr. Kuhn teaches in this article. When you are able to experience this improvement, your relationships blossom, career paths open, and people find you attractive and accessible. You deserve to have fun and joy in your life – and Cliff Kuhn, M.D. will help you do that.

In the classic Frank Capra film, It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey’s mental health is overwhelmed by the difficulties of his life and he wishes he’d never been born. George’s guardian angel grants his wish and takes him to a grim reality as it would’ve been without him. George feels nothing when he reaches into his coat pocket to retrieve the flower his daughter, Zuzu, placed there – and that’s when George knows that his wish has come true…he’s never been born.

Wishing she had never been born, Roberta became my patient, seeking desperately to improve her mental health. Like the fictional George Bailey character, Roberta’s depression and anxiety had grown so strong as to threaten her ability to lead any semblance of a normal life. Fortunately for Roberta, she soon discovered exactly why the natural medicine of humor is one of the most powerful adjunctive treatments for improving mental health, because humor literally pours water on the fire of depression and anxiety.

Roberta is not alone. As many as 35% of all Americans suffer from depression and anxiety, the twins that make mental health elusive for millions. Your depression and anxiety is exacerbated by your seriousness – taking yourself too seriously. As we move into adulthood, we unfortunately buy into the notion that responsible and productive people must be “serious.” As we make the biggest mistake of our lives and relegate our humor nature and fun to recreational activities (if we experience fun at all), we doom ourselves to all the symptoms of the corresponding seriousness that fills the void – declining health, rising stress, increased pain, lessened energy, impaired creativity, and more.

The good news for your mental health, however, is that we know how to shrink your deadly seriousness to practically nothing and reduce almost completely the sway it holds over your health, vitality, wellness, and zest. The natural medicine of humor is an incredibly powerful resource that you already possess; you’ve only forgotten how to use it to maximum effectiveness. You will soon discover that, while not a panacea, the natural medicine of humor is a tremendous tonic for depression or anxiety and will also supercharge other treatments because it is an amazing adjunctive medicine too!

I have distilled the natural medicine of humor, through my years of medical practice, into an amazing prescription I call The Fun Factor. Based on what I learned over twenty years ago from a terminally ill fifteen-year-old patient, I created a unique set of principles I call the Fun Commandments, then forged these Commandments into my Fun Factor prescription and have been prescribing The Fun Factor with great success for years. This report will show you how to use just three of my Fun Commandments to turn your mental health around, and gain new joy, pleasure, and appreciation from your life!

Improve Your Mental Health Using My Fun Factor Prescription

Step One: Always Go the Extra Smile

The first Fun Commandment I recommend for improved mental health is: Always Go the Extra Smile. This Commandment is doubly helpfully for depression and anxiety because not only does it provide measurable emotional and physical relief, but it also is completely under your control – regardless of your circumstances. Because smiling remains totally under your control, it can be your greatest resource for using humor’s natural medicine to accelerate your mental health.

Smiling produces measurable physical benefits you can experience immediately: your stress decreases, your immunity improves, your pain and frustration tolerances increase, and your creativity soars. And guess what? You experience all these benefits even if your smile is “fake.” That’s right…forcing a smile onto your face perks up your immune system and lightens your mood just as readily as a genuine smile. Fake a smile and you’ll soon feel well enough to wear a real one!

This is great news for your proactive stance on sustainable mental health. You have an amazing amount of pre-emptive control over your mood – you can, literally, choose more energy and happiness. The key for your use of this Fun Commandment in enhancing your mental health is to start practicing right now, so that smiling becomes an entrenched, habitual method of accessing the natural medicine of humor. If you wait to smile until your mental health has taken a turn for the worse, and depression or anxiety has taken hold of you, it will not be as effective.

Step Two: Act and Interact

Smiling leads us right into the second Fun Commandment you’ll find instrumental in maintaining your mental health: Act and Interact. Humor’s natural medicine works best when we are sharing ourselves and this Commandment will teach you how to capitalize on the control you’ve taken over your physiology and mood by smiling. Acting and interacting is now easier for you to do because you’re smiling more. Not only is your mood improved, but your smile is also a pleasant invitation to other people.

My suggestion is that you solidify the power of this Commandment by setting a reasonable goal regarding the number of people you will interact with each day. These social interactions are great for your mental health, forcing you to exchange information and ideas with another person. Combined with your commitment to smiling, your interactions should be pleasant, because your heightened energy, lessened pain, and lowered stress levels are very attractive to others.

Beyond keeping you out of isolation, there is another reason why acting and interacting with the people you encounter fosters improved mental health. It allows you to avoid spiritual “flat tires.” Spiritual flat tires occur when you sidestep, or avoid, an interaction that is about to happen naturally – you duck into an office to avoid encountering someone in a hallway or you don’t answer the phone because you don’t want to talk to the person calling. This type of avoidance drains and deletes your reservoir of powerful natural energy and siphons your mental health reserves.

Have you ever noticed that it usually takes you twice as much mental and physical energy to avoid doing a job than you would have expended just doing it? It also takes twice the energy to avoid acting and interacting with the people who cross your path because you are, in effect, saying, “I’m going to correct the mistake that nature made by putting this person in my path and I’m going to correct it by being mentally and spiritually negligent.” Mental and spiritual negligence have the same effect as physical negligence (isn’t it strange how you get tired if you don’t exercise?). If your mental health can afford to allow this much energy to be drained, then you have a much bigger reservoir than I!

But spiritual flat tires do more than drain our energy, they are detrimental in at least two additional ways:

We miss out on an interaction with a teacher. If nature didn’t have a lesson for you, that person you just avoided would not have been placed in your path. You say that the person you just avoided was a negative influence or would’ve wasted your time? I know we have legitimate schedules to keep, but if I am avoiding people based on my prejudgment of them, I’m cutting myself off from my greatest teachers – those very same people.
We all learn tolerance from the intolerant, patience from the impatient, temperance from the intemperate, gentleness from the ruffian, etc. I am supremely grateful for those teachers and the lessons they give me.

We create a small, nagging spiritual void of dishonesty, the kind of dishonesty that keeps us from laying our heads down with complete peace of mind each night. Our spiritual flat tire is caused by the pothole our avoidance created; it is a natural consequence, or symptom, of our spiritual dishonesty. These consequences clutter our lives with mental and emotional baggage that further drains us of our energy and vitality.

Step Three: Celebrate Everything

The third Fun Commandment which will help you use the natural medicine of humor to charge up your mental health is: Celebrate Everything. Celebrating everything may sound like a monumental task to someone who’s mental health isn’t up to par, but you will find this part of my doctor’s orders much easier to fulfill once you start practicing my first two Commandments. In fact, celebrating everything is more than a maintenance step providing sustainable mental health. It will also become your lifestyle, the more you practice it, because you will enjoy the results so much.

How do you celebrate everything and how will this keep your mental health on the upswing? The epitome of this Commandment is found in the old joke about the boy who wanted a pony for his birthday. Instead, he found a room full of manure waiting for him. But he dove right into the dung, gleefully exclaiming, “With all this manure, there’s got to be a pony in here somewhere!”

Laugh as we might, we’re quick to remember that, as adults, we would never allow ourselves such “naive” enthusiasm. Why not? Do you realize what is behind such a “grown up,” “mature” decision? Your deadly seriousness (taking yourself too seriously) encourages the attitude that a mature adult should not let herself be so optimistic and thus mental health is jeopardized.

We could do more than chuckle at this birthday boy’s unabashed optimism – we should emulate it! When was the last time you encountered an unexpected pile of manure in your life? You had absolutely no control over the mess, right? But you had absolute control over your reaction to it and this is the key to using celebration to keep your mental health improved!

When you celebrate everything, the natural medicine of humor creates spiritual, emotional, and mental health like nothing you’ve felt before. You will find that your fears become much less controlling when you are celebrating everything because it no longer matters so much how things turn out. In fact, you are literally ready for anything because you are prepared to find the blessing in whatever happens.

My daughter-in-law, for example, broke her back last year. My son, who is often my model for the embodiment of my Fun Commandments, can tick off a laundry list of blessings his family has received as a direct result of his wife’s “tragedy.” Not that his mental health hasn’t been challenged, but faced with the choice of depression and anxiety over an event he couldn’t control versus finding the blessings waiting for him, he has chosen the latter.

The choice to celebrate everything is not a panacea; my son’s choice did not change the reality of his wife’s injury. What did change, however, was his ability to respond to the injury and, thus, keep his mental health on an even keel. Celebrating everything changes our lives because it allows us to positively control the only things we have control over – our actions, ideas, and attitudes.

There you have it. Start by going the extra smile, use your newfound smiling energy and vitality to act and interact with people, and celebrate everything to maintain your positive momentum. Say good-bye to imprisonment from depression and anxiety and welcome to your new world of improved mental health!
Start Using The Fun Factor to Improve Your Mental Health…Right Now

Here are some simple, easy steps you can take right now to turbo-charge your mental health.

Subscribe to my Fun Times newsletter. The Fun Times is all about using your natural power of humor to increase the quality of your life – including your mental health. The Fun Times is 100% free, and is delivered instantly, every week, to your email inbox. If you sign up now, I’ll also throw in a copy of my “Stop Your Seriousness” Ecourse and my book, Ten Ways You Can Be Happier…Right Now! which will show you how you can use my Fun Factor prescription in your life to increase your mental health!

Check out The Fun Factor. This prescription has changed so many lives for the better – it would be a shame if you passed it up. Check it out here if you’re sick of wishing for mental health and want to finally achieve your greatest mental health!
My patient Roberta, by the way, learned to use these three Fun Commandments – and the rest of my Fun Factor prescription. She has enjoyed the same job for three years now and was recently engaged to be married. Roberta occasionally has setbacks, as most people suffering from depression or anxiety do. But, her mental health has never been stronger as she continues to apply The Fun Factor to her life.

In It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey is so shocked by the grim vision of a world without him that he decides he wants to live again and begs to return. He knows he is back when he finds Zuzu’s flower petals in his coat pocket again.

Let this article be like finding Zuzu’s petals. Move forward today with a new, positive outlook on your improved mental health by using my Fun Factor prescription.

Your Sexual Health is Super-Charged by the Natural Medicine of Humor

Portrait of female surgeon
Portrait of female surgeon

Giovanni Casanova (1725-1798) was an Italian adventurer, writer, soldier, musician, spy, and diplomat. Those accomplishments, however, have been historically overshadowed by Casanova’s reputation as a freewheeling sensualist. The term “Casanova” has come to represent a person of great sexual ability and indulgence.

The feeling that he wasn’t a “Casanova” and the thought that he should be, was what motivated Paul to seek my help. He was worried that he was letting his partner down sexually. Paul’s problem was not unique and it had an understandably common effect on his self-esteem and self-worth. Humans are sexual creatures, by nature, and the inability to enjoy healthy, appropriate sexual activity and/or sexual desire weighs heavily upon our holistic health and well-being.

When you are unable to enjoy appropriate sexual activity, your mind, body, and spirit feel off kilter because of your inherent sexual nature. You were born to have fun – and sex plays a large role in that. You deserve to have a regular, healthy expression of your sexual nature. It is fun and doesn’t need to harm or impose on anyone else.

Concerns regarding a lack of sexual activity, as well as a lack of sexual desire, are becoming more frequent each year. Consequently prescriptions for erectile dysfunction and low libido are growing at an astonishing rate. Perhaps part of that growth can be explained by a lessening of the stigma of reporting sexual problems, but we certainly know that the typical causes of sexual dysfunction are more common today than ever before. Putting aside diet and physical health, which can play a vital role in a healthy sexual lifestyle, the number one cause of sexual dissatisfaction is stress.

Stress-related illness is at an all-time high (and still growing), so it comes as absolutely no surprise that symptoms of stress are also prevalent. The good news for you is that we know what causes most of the debilitating stress you experience. Your stress is a direct byproduct of seriousness – taking yourself too seriously. As we move into adulthood, we unfortunately buy into the notion that responsible and productive people must be “serious.” As we make the biggest mistake of our lives and relegate our humor nature and fun to recreational activities (if we experience fun at all), we doom ourselves to all the symptoms of the corresponding seriousness that fills the void – declining health, rising stress, increased pain, lessened energy, impaired creativity, and more.

Even better news for you, however, is that we also know how to shrink your deadly seriousness to practically nothing and reduce almost completely the sway it holds over your health, vitality, wellness, and zest. The natural medicine of humor is an incredibly powerful resource that you already possess; you’ve only forgotten how to use it to maximum effectiveness. You will soon discover that, while not a panacea, the natural medicine of humor is a tremendous remedy for a variety of health concerns and will also supercharge other treatments because it is an amazing adjunctive medicine too!

I have distilled the natural medicine of humor, through my years of medical practice, into an amazing prescription I call The Fun Factor. Based on what I learned over twenty years ago from a terminally ill fifteen-year-old patient, I created a unique set of principles I call the Fun Commandments, then forged these Commandments into my Fun Factor prescription and have been prescribing The Fun Factor with great success for years. This report will show you how to use just three of my Fun Commandments to turn your sexual health and performance around, and gain new joy, pleasure, and appreciation from your sexual activity!

My first Fun Commandment has a profound effect on your sexual health because it is a fabulous introduction to the natural medicine of humor, in general: Go the Extra Smile. Smiling, as simple as it sounds, is a key to improved sexual appreciation because of its simplicity and almost constant appropriateness. A smile almost never offends and it is completely controllable, regardless of your circumstances; smiling is the easiest way to infuse yourself with the natural medicine of humor!

Smiling enhances your sexuality because it immediately decreases stress and fills you with energy and creativity. The best news about the positive effects of smiling is that these benefits are measurable even if you are wearing a “fake” smile. If you are thinking that lowering your stress level, while simultaneously snowballing your energy level and creativity, will add rocket fuel to your sexuality…you are absolutely correct!

Smiling has multiple benefits for your sexual health and wellness because it turbo-charges both your mood and your physiology. But smiling does another thing that accelerates your sexual satisfaction. It attracts reciprocal attention from your mate because a smile is an open invitation. Think of a smile as a happiness virus and you’ll soon realize that your improved sexual health, your reduced stress, and increased energy can be easily shared with your partner.

Another of my Fun Commandments that allows the natural medicine of humor to soup-up your sexuality is: Laugh with Yourself. Laughing with yourself is the epitome of self-acceptance, not self-denigration as you might’ve been led to believe. You cannot take yourself too seriously when you’re willing to laugh with yourself because you’re embodying the philosophy of taking yourself lightly.

Let’s face it, we are funny creatures and that’s how we’re supposed to be! Looked at objectively, our bodies are both fun and funny; the physical act of sex forces us to conjoin in some awkward and, almost, impractical ways. Giving ourselves permission to see the humor in our funny bodies and their functions eases the pressure we place on ourselves to perform sexually and our humor adds further fuel to our commitment to take ourselves less seriously.

Why wouldn’t we laugh out of sincere appreciation for our perfect imperfections and the funny physicality of sex? To not see the gentle, and sometimes obvious, humor in these things means we are taking ourselves, and our sexuality, way too seriously. It’s really all quite hilarious, in my opinion…we spend so much time, energy, and resources focusing on an act that takes less than 1% of our waking time. If we’re not careful this teeny, tiny portion of our day can dominate our culture and our personal thoughts! Not that you don’t have some good reasons to think about sex, but give yourself permission to gently laugh at your obsession and you’ll find some additional stress released.

The last Fun Commandment we’ll apply to your sexual health today is: Let Go Frequently. I always say that in life, as in juggling, success depends on how quickly you are able to let go. Also in life, as in juggling, we all have a tendency to hang on to things too long, even when they are no longer working for us. In this case, hanging on to our harsh expectations creates stress that deflates our sexuality because we are unable to measure up.

Society deluges us with images of youthful sexuality; it’s easy to imagine that everyone except us is engaged in passionate, daily sexual activity and we begin to feel that there is something wrong with us when our sex lives don’t match the Madison Avenue fantasies. Let go of those images today, because no one except you has the authority or knowledge to decide what your optimal sexual habits and practices should be. Your sexual expectations regarding frequency, sensation, and/or duration are only placing unneeded pressure on yourself and that pressure only creates more stress.

Let go of your expectations of performance too. Many of my patients and clients imagine they must achieve a certain level of sexual performance for their mates to be pleased. Nothing could be further from the truth. When you set expectations regarding outcomes, you set yourself up for failure because you are putting even more pressure on yourself. Let go of the end results; concentrate on the fun, joy, and love inherent in sex because that is where the true pleasure is found.

Let go of sexual frequency and performance expectations, smile, laugh with yourself, and go along with whatever unfolds as a result of your footwork today. If you can do these things you will be a very sexual, passionate creature and sexy in the most important eyes of all – yours! Remember that you are already perfect (perfectly imperfect) and you don’t need fixing. Instead of fixing yourself, use the natural medicine of humor to relax, smile, and enjoy the ride.

My patient, Paul, committed himself not only to these three Fun Commandments, but also to my entire Fun Factor prescription. He and his partner did not morph into Casanova’s…but they didn’t care because they formed their own definition of sexuality based on fun, joy, and love. Over time Paul and his partner arrived at an open, honest, and fun expression of sexual passion, based on my Fun Commandments, with a frequency and zest that satisfied both.

By the way, what you don’t know about Casanova was that his true value to humankind was not as a red-hot lover, but as one of the most gifted and authoritative social historians of his age. He spent his last years as a librarian, before dying of syphilis. Still want to be just like him? I suggest using the natural medicine of humor to find your own sexual identity and enjoy a healthy satisfying sex life of your own creation.

Why Does Health Insurance Cost So Much?

Pediatrician showing little girl syringe
Pediatrician showing little girl syringe

Why does health insurance cost so much? Year after year, many of the articles that appear in print detail the specific factors driving the cost of healthcare.

These factors include: general inflation, advances in drugs and other medical devices, rising hospital and doctor expenses, government mandates, increased consumer demand, litigation, fraud, and cost shifting.

The basic answer is that a magic bullet to solve the cost of insurance does not exist because the real difficulty is controlling the cost of healthcare. A simple way to dramatically decrease the dollars spent on healthcare is to reduce the demand for healthcare.

I have seen estimates that up to 40% of all healthcare related expenses result from preventable conditions. These preventable conditions are caused by lifestyle choices such as tobacco, obesity, stress, lack of exercise and poor diet.

Most of us, myself included, make lifestyle choices everyday that eventually increase our demand for healthcare. We are never going to be able to totally eliminate all lifestyle related healthcare costs. However, improved lifestyle choices would cause a dramatic reduction in demand. This would then result in a similar reduction in the dollars spent on healthcare.

Lower demand for healthcare would result in lower health insurance costs, increased productivity, and reduced absenteeism. If your organization has not done so already, your organizational leaders need to seriously consider the benefits of health promotion and disease prevention programs. Your return on investment will most likely be as high as 2:1 in the first year.

Trans Fats – The Good and the Bad

Young woman sitting at desk,listening to man
Young woman sitting at desk,listening to man

Trans fats have been the talk of the nutrition world for some time now. There are two basic categories that trans fats fall under. GOOD fats help with muscle building, preventing cancer and losing weight. BAD fats are a leading cause of weight gain and can cause serious health issues like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Unfortunately, bad fats are a food additive found in most fast foods and all processed foods. Most are man made compounds that have been used since the 1950’s which coincides with the start of the ever increasing occurrence of heart disease.

Bad Fats

Man-made trans fats are created by modifying vegetable oil by turning them into artificially hydrogenated oils. They are found in margarine and shortening which are used to create processed food, junk foods, and to deep fry various dishes.

The process to hydrogenate oils uses high heat, pressure and a chemical solvent like hexane. The resulting compound is bleached and deodorized. The strange part is that the FDA allows a small percentage of the solvent to remain in the oil.

Hydrogenated vegetable oils cause inflammation which signals your body to deposit cholesterol on artery walls as a healing agent. Clogging your arteries is the cause of heart disease. We have been eating these oils for more than 60 years in our society. We are just now starting to realize how bad they can be. Food labels are now stating if trans fats are in the food. Some countries are banning their use. or setting a date for phasing them out.

As hydrogenated vegetable oil is being phased out in some locations, companies are turning to other types of oils that are still processed in the same way. Sources now include soybean, cottonseed, and corn oils. Unfortunately, these processed oils still cause the same effects though not as drastic in some cases. Somewhat safer but still dangerous.

Your best bet for avoiding these trans fats is to stay away from fast and processed foods and eat whole, natural, minimally processed foods.

Good Fats

There are bad man-made trans fats but there are also good ones too. Natural trans fats are made by animals like cattle, sheep, and goats. As they are created, they are stored in layers of fat the animals create. As a result, any product coming from these animals will contains them as well like their milk and meat. The highest quantities of healthy fats are found in animals that have been fed natural grass and allowed to roam free as opposed to being fed soy and grain on farms.

health care experts have been using a common natural trans fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). The man-made version has been made into pills but the source is a plant based oil and the process used is similar to the one used to create hydrogenated oils. Natural sources in ruminant animals is far better quality. There are healthy grass-fed beef and other free range meats available online.

Food labels list trans fats but understand what you are eating to determine the good ones versus the bad ones. Meat or dairy product will most likely contain the natural good trans fats while the processed foods will contain the bad ones.

One more important note: Food labels can be tricky to understand as “trans fat free” does NOT mean it has no fats. The lower limit of what is allowed is 0.5 grams. It has trans fats but is still labelled fat free.

These are a number of good resources I would recommend:

Nourishing Traditions – by Sally Fallon and Dr. Mary Enig

Eat Fat, Lose Fat – by Sally Fallon and Dr. Mary Enig

An health care by Dr. Mary Enig

Trans fats are not all bad. Understanding the products you are eating and whether the food label is listing good or bad fats is a good starting point. Eating whole foods is a really good idea, especially if you can eat organic.

Health Care and Health Insurance Costs Can Be Controlled Through Lifestyle Choices

Professionals doing research
Professionals doing research

As you probably know all to well, the cost of healthcare and health insurance premiums continue to increase at levels substantially above the general inflation rate. The reasons given for these extraordinary cost increases are numerous and include: technological advancements in the medical field, increased demand for medical services and prescription drugs, the aging of the population, cost shifting caused by the uninsured and governmental reimbursement rates, state and federal mandates, and costs associated with medical related lawsuits.

As individual consumers, we have very little control over some of the factors contributing to the cost of healthcare. However, all of us have control over lifestyle related health insurance claims. A simple formula of eating a balanced diet, getting the appropriate amount of daily exercise, participating in annual physicals and other recommended routine care, limiting alcohol consumption, and eliminating the use of tobacco products will no doubt reduce our personal healthcare costs. In addition to reducing medical costs, the other benefits of following such a formula include more energy, self confidence, less stress, and increased productivity. If you are not doing so already, I encourage you to consider practical ways to promote a healthy lifestyle for you and your family. For example, one of the individual health insurance companies my organization works with has an option that will offset 25% of the annual cost of a health club membership. Simple things such as taking a walk, bike ride, or going swimming promote both a healthy body and mind. If you have a sweet tooth, consider limiting yourself to eating desert once a week. You will enjoy it more and your body will thank you.

Health insurance premiums will continue to increase as long as the cost of healthcare continues to go up. The best way to reduce the overall cost of healthcare is to decrease our need for healthcare. Healthy lifestyle choices and prudent use of the healthcare system are the best and easiest ways to get a handle on our healthcare expenditures. Perhaps the greatest benefit of a healthy lifestyle is our ability to enjoy our precious time here on earth to the fullest.

Family Medical Budget With an RX Discount Card

Male veterinarian with american bulldog in vet exam room, smiling
Male veterinarian with american bulldog in vet exam room, smiling

Money is tight for many people nowadays, and issues over money can cause serious stress on couples and families. Unfortunately people might feel like they need to choose between their health and a full bank account, but this is not true. People can save money on their healthcare costs through many means, including using a prescription or RX discount card. Here are a few ways families can save money on health and medical costs.

Check healthcare coverage:

The choice does not need to be money or health: it is possible to have both

Whether a person is eligible for Medicare (run by the Federal government) or Medicaid (run by the State government) depends on several factors, including age, pre-existing conditions, and income. No matter what healthcare coverage a person has through government programs or through their work, they should always read and ask questions about what medical procedures are covered under their plan, how much premiums are, and how much they have to copay for said procedures. Whether a person has an RX discount card for prescriptions or not, knowing exactly what is covered under a person’s healthcare plan means being able to be informed about a person’s financial and medical health.

Talk to professional medical care staff

Some people might assume that if they get sick or run into a health scare they have to pay whatever price is available and that there are no other options for treatments, but this is not always the case. It is important for people to ask their doctors, pharmacists, and any other medical care staff they interact with questions about their health, and any medical problems that may arise. Find out if there are lower cost treatment or prescription medications that can be taken to help with any medical problems. Ask if a free RX discount card can be used for current medical prescriptions. No matter what the issue is, people should ask questions and raise concerns if they are worried about choosing between their health and their financial wellbeing.

Improve health and lifestyle

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 7 out of 10 top causes of death in the United States are for preventable diseases like diabetes, heart attacks, and cancer. For many people, making positive changes to exercise more, eat a better diet, improve sleep, quit smoking, and reduce alcohol intake will greatly improve their quality of life-and help lower their risk of getting most of these preventable diseases. While up front it might seem more expensive to eat a healthy salad than to splurge for fast food, by preventing illness through healthy habits people are saving money in the long run, and they are investing into their own wellbeing. Even if someone does get sick, they can get a free RX discount card. This card is available to anyone online and can be used to help save people money on prescription medication costs-sometimes up to 80% off the listed price. While it might not seem like a big deal, these changes can make a drastic improvement in a person’s health and, eventually, in their wallet as well.

Health Packages – A Must Do Choice for You and Your Family

Surgeon in operating room,portrait
Surgeon in operating room,portrait

There goes a popular saying that “Health is Wealth”. It’s only the health that can fetch you a rewarding and productive life. In today’s date, desk-bound lifestyle has made people increasingly indolent and this very fact has taken a toll on the healthy being. Health is one of the most concerned topics for every human being in the present scenario. Staying fit and healthy has become one of the top priorities. As a result, people take to different routes to remain healthy to desperately shed off the weight.

You would come upon a range of ways to slim down. In fact, if you ask the meaning of staying healthy, you will come across varying answers. One of the most popular and beneficial ways to downsize the fat is through the health packages. Their popularity is on a rise, especially in these days of inactive lifestyle. Staying healthy can only keep away the diseases from attacking you. Hence, by adopting the well-designed packages, you can ensure a healthy and happy living.

Why health packages

This might be one of the decisive questions striking your mind. Well, in the present situation, people are often compelled to sacrifice their health for the sake of earning money. Too much workload, stress and varying office timings often lead to improper food habits, thereby disturbing the balance in life. To address this serious issue, a lot of medical companies have come up with highly advantageous health packages.

Such packages are specifically tailored to suit the needs of people with diverse health issues and spanning all ages. For instance, you can find health packages for teenagers to be unique from the offer for elderly. Once you enroll for a specific package, you will be given different mechanism to keep yourself hale and hearty. Going for routine medical check-ups is integral to keeping healthy as early detection and prevention can arrest the development of many diseases.

Where do you get

A lot of hospitals, specialty clinics, and nursing homes advertise various health package deals. Keep your eyes open to avail the lucrative and discounted offers, which include you and your family’s entire medical and hospital expenses. However, you got to be discerning enough to pick up the most beneficial and the reliable one out of the crowd.

It is beneficial

The customized health packages facilitate the prevention of illness and the preservation of wellness. During emergency you will not have to run to accumulate money or sacrifice your health due to the hefty expenses. The comprehensive health package deals make the entire treatment and medication cost manageable and affordable. In a way, the beneficial health packages also assure you savings in the long-term. It is important to mention that before making the final go, cross-check the offerings and ensure that whatever promised has been included in the health package that you have asked for.

Bird Flu : A Disease You Can’t Ignore

There is bloodpressure measured by a patient
There is bloodpressure measured by a patient

AS BIRD flu, or Avian Influenza, raged through Asia, countries such as Vietnam, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Japan, Korea and Taiwan are stepping up on massive culling of their poultry as they are seized by a realisation that the animal virus could eventually threaten human lives.

Their fears are not unfounded. According to a warning issued by the World Health Organisation’s spokesman for Vietnam, Bob Dietz, it is possible that an avian influenza virus could mutate to the extent of person-to-person transmission. This would then spark a global outbreak of an influenza pandemic which would be more severe than SARS. Past influenza pandemics have led to high levels of illness, death, social disruption and economic loss.

Faced with the vicious spread of Bird Flu, we have collated some information regarding this potential pandemic and highlighted necessary precautions to be taken, in order to provide all Bel’Airians with insights to assist them in the active protection of their health.

Understanding Bird Flu?

All birds are believed to be susceptible to infection with avian influenza (bird flu). In the reservoir of influenza viruses, fifteen subtypes are known to have adverse impacts on birds, thus presenting a potential time bomb circulating amongst bird populations. To date, all outbreaks of the highly pathogenic form have been caused by subtypes H5 and H7 of influenza A viruses.

Recent research has shown that viruses of low pathogenicity can mutate into highly pathogenic viruses after brief circulation among poultry. From 1983 to 1984, America witnessed an epidemic where the H5N2 virus, which initially caused low mortality, became highly pathogenic within six months, driving the mortality rate up to 90%. During an epidemic in Italy from 1999 to 2001, the H7N1 virus, which started of on low pathogenicity footing, mutated within 9 months to a highly pathogenic form. More than 13 million birds died or were destroyed.

The quarantine of infected farms and destruction of infected or potentially exposed flocks are standard control measures aimed at curbing the spread of the disease. Avian influenza viruses are not only highly contagious, they are readily transmitted from farm to farm by mechanical means, including contaminated equipment, vehicles, feed, cages and clothing. The key protection measure really lies in stringent sanitary measures on the farms.

The Highly Pathogenic H5N1

Of the 15 avian influenza virus subtypes mentioned earlier, H5N1 is of particular concern due to its rapid mutation speed and documented propensity to acquire genes from viruses infecting other animal species. Laboratory studies have demonstrated that isolates from this virus have high pathogenicity and can cause severe disease in humans. Birds that survive infection will excrete virus for at least 10 days, orally and in faeces, thus magnifying the spread at live poultry markets and by migratory birds.

The epidemic of highly pathogenic avian influenza caused by H5N1, which began in mid-December 2003 in Korea, is now rampaging in other Asian countries. H5N1 variants demonstrated a capacity to directly infect humans in 1997, and have reared their ugly heads again in Vietnam in January 2004. The spread of infection in birds increases the probability for human infection as well as the likelihood that humans, concurrently infected with human and avian influenza strains, could serve as the “mixing vessel” for the emergence of a novel subtype with sufficient human genes that encourages easy person-to-person transmission. This would kick-start an influenza pandemic.

According to the latest news from the World Health Organisation, the H5N1 virus has been discovered from the corpse of pigs infected with avian influenza. This greatly elevates the possibility of avian influenza virus combining with the human flu virus to form a new virus which constitutes a danger 1000 times that of SARS. This could probably reactivate a catastrophe like the Spanish flu which plagued the world from 1918–1919, resulting in 20 to 50 million deaths worldwide.

Possibilities of Human Infection

The first documented infection of humans with an avian influenza virus occurred in Hong Kong in 1997, when the H5N1 strain caused severe respiratory disease in 18 humans, of whom 6 died. Extensive investigation determined that the source of infection was close contact with live infected poultry. Studies at the genetic level gave a shocking revelation that the virus had jumped directly from birds to humans.

Alarm mounted again in January 2004, when laboratory tests confirmed the presence of H5N1 avian influenza virus in human cases of severe respiratory disease in the northern part of Vietnam. Taking our cue from recent history, it is now a necessity for us to be equipped with comprehensive protection.

Symptoms of Avian Influenza in Humans

The reported symptoms of avian influenza in humans have ranged from typical influenza-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat and muscle aches) to eye infections, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress, viral pneumonia and other severe and life-threatening complications. Present cases infer that lower bronchial tube symptoms and lung inflammation are also striking differences that set avian influenza apart from the common flu.

Prevention Methods

1. Refrain from travelling to areas infected by avian influenza. If travel cannot be avoided, be sure to update yourself with all your shots and see your health-care provider at least 4-6 weeks before you leave to get any additional shots or information you may need.

2. Avoid areas with live poultry, such as live animal markets and poultry farms, especially in areas infected by avian influenza. Large amounts of the virus are known to be excreted in the droppings from infected birds. Clean your hands often using either soap and water or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitisers, especially after contact with poultry. Children should especially avoid contact with live poultry.

3. Heat will destroy influenza viruses. Therefore, all foods from poultry, including eggs, should be thoroughly cooked.

4. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water when they are contaminated with secretions (such as after sneezing).

5. As there are currently no effective vaccinations, it is vital to keep one’s immunity at the peak and maintain a healthy lifestyle for protection against diseases.

Bel’Air Action Plan should the Bird Flu Spread

Maintaining personal hygiene, optimal health conditions and a strong immunity system are of course essentials. As Bel’Airians, we can also use certain products to boost personal and family health.

Combining the recommendations of Professor Tsai Ying Chieh and Professor Willy Wang, we present to you some health guides:

1. Maintain hygiene of your hands: The chief way by which we can be infected with
bird flu is through physical contact. Therefore, clean your hands frequently with
Guardian Angel and Genie to help combat the growth of virus and germs and to
eliminate such pathogens which could exist in the environment.

2. Use aromatherapy often: Besides removing germs and pathogens, aromatherapy
also enhances health maintenance. Use essential oils such as thyme, juniper,
green tea, chypre, eucalyptus, pyrethre, bois de santal and basilic.

3. Raise Immunity: The immunity system is the defence system of the body and
needs to have sufficient rest to restore its strength and prevent its exhaustion from
inflammation and over-reaction. Use Magnolia bio-tech pure essential oil to
reduce chronic inflammation and maintain the proper functioning of the immunity
system. Use the essential oil by means of direct aromatherapy or
aroma-vapourisation using the bio-tech burner. Combine it with Vital Meridian
Essence to massage the chest, back and nose, so as to ease absorption.

4. Be happy: Stress will decrease immunity by as much as 80%. Use 50% of lavande
and 50% of basilic, with the addition of Nepenthe bio-tech pure essential oil using
the aroma-vapourisation method. These will reduce unnecessary stress and promote
good sleep. Disease precaution, which serves to elevate immunity and maintain a
healthy lifestyle, is more important than medical cure!