Are You Confused And Overwhelmed Trying To Make Healthy Choices At The Grocery Store?More
They need to be properly fit and adjusted to each individual. You should not just grab one off the shelf or use a spouse’s as this can potentially lead to further injury. The handle of a walker or cane should come up to you wrists when arms are resting at your side.
There should be a slight bend in the elbow and no being at the waist. The most common misuse when using a cane, is that it should be in the hand opposite the affected limb. Please see a physical therapist to assess your gait and recommend the proper device, fit, and use for you.More
Beginning in October of this year, the government is changing the diagnosis codes that we presently use. It’s hard to believe that we currently have 17,000 codes at our disposal, but the new coding system, which every medical practice will have to use, consists of 68,000 codes! If we have to spend all of our time learning this, how can we possibly keep up with what is really important—like continuing medical education!
This is important, because in an era of higher health care costs and LOWER payments to physicians, the average small medical practice is expected to spend between $56,639-$226,105 to implement this. Unfortunately most practices don’t have this kind of money and it is projected that as many as 40% of ALL medical practices will be forced to close by the first quarter of 2015. This is on top of a projected shortage of 45,000 primary care physicians by the year 2020.
The funny thing is: this new coding system will not improve your healthcare.More
Several months ago I wrote a blog about e-cigarettes stating that safety was an unknown factor at the time, but that ANYTHING has to be safer than real cigarettes. Here is a study from Germany which found that e-cigarettes increase fine particle air pollution and levels of potentially carcinogenic compounds in people who use them. The researchers found a 20% increase in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and a 100% increase in aluminum levels. The study also indicated a concern for second hand exposure by non-smokers and children.More
On January 30, 2014 The FDA recalled a weight supplement called Mega Slim Herbal Appetite Management because it contained DMAA-which is illegal because of its link to heart disease and high blood pressure
The US Marshals service seized $3,000,000 worth of weight loss supplements from Hi Tech Pharmaceuticals that contained EPHEDRINE (dangerous to the heart) called LIPODRENE, STIMEREX-ES and BETADRENE
Tanalbit, a product claimed to help with digestive health, was found by the FDA to be adulterated because of manufacturing violations. The company was also warned about making false drug claims
5 more sexual enhancement products were found to contain Viagra and Cialis illegally. These include: BALI MOJO, JINQIANGBUDOR RED DRAGON, VIMAX, TIGER KING, and SEXRX.
As always, please be aware of what you are taking. Supplements and Herbal remedies are a $28 billion/year industry and completely unregulated.
Fitness and Fatness Independently Linked With CVD Risk Factors
February 6, 2012 (Columbia, South Carolina) — Maintaining or improving current fitness levels, as well as not packing on the fat pounds, are both independently associated with a lower risk of developing hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and hypercholesterolemia in healthy adults, research shows.
“We know that people who exercise will lose weight and improve their fitness, but in the real world, some people don’t lose weight even though they might gain some fitness,” Dr Duck-chul Lee (University of South Carolina, Columbia) told heartwire . “Some of these people might stop exercising because they expected to lose weight and haven’t, but this study shows that they should also be aware about their changes in fitness. Even though they don’t lose weight, if they increase their fitness, they can offset some of the negative effects of being overweight.”
The results of the study, an analysis of the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study (ACLS), a prospective study of individuals who received preventive medical examinations, are published online February 6, 2012 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Fitness and Fatness Both Important
To heartwire , Lee noted that fitness and fatness are two variables that consistently change over time in individuals and that there are many diverse combinations of fitness and fatness in US adults. In fact, the “fit-fat” paradox has been demonstrated in some studies, showing that improvements in fitness can eliminate the harmful effects of fatness and suggesting that fit but fat individuals might not develop health problems.
In the ACLS analysis, 3148 healthy subjects underwent three medical examinations, with fitness levels assessed using maximal treadmill testing and fatness documented with body-mass index (BMI) and skinfold measurements of percentage of body fat. During a six-year follow-up after the second medical examination, 752 subjects developed high blood pressure, 426 developed metabolic syndrome, and 597 developed hypercholesterolemia.
Individuals who maintained or improved their fitness levels had a 26% and 28% lower risk of developing hypertension, a 42% and 52% lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome, and a 26% and 30% lower risk of developing elevated levels of LDL cholesterol, respectively. These reductions were observed after adjustment for potential confounders and baseline fitness levels.
For those subjects who got fatter in follow-up, as measured by percentage of body fat, they had a 26%, 71%, and 48% higher risk of developing hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and hypercholesterolemia, respectively, when compared with individuals who lost weight. Similar results were observed when BMI was used as the criterion for fatness levels.
Every 1-MET improvement in fitness was associated with a 7%, 22%, and 12% lower risk of developing hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and hypercholesterolemia, respectively, while every unit increase in percentage of body fat was associated with a 4%, 10%, and 5% increased risk of developing the cardiovascular risk factors.
“In the real world, people change their fitness levels or fatness over time,” said Lee. “Fitness and fatness, not the baseline levels, but the changes over time, are both independently important to reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors.”
Attenuating the Adverse Effects of Weight Gain
In joint analyses, the researchers found that patients who had stable or increasing amounts of fatness in combination with loss of fitness had significantly higher rates of cardiovascular risk factors when compared with the reference group, that being individuals who gained fitness over time and lost fat. They did observe that losing fitness regardless of fat changes and getting fatter irrespective of the change in fitness levels were associated with a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome. The adverse effects of getting fatter were attenuated slightly if fitness was maintained or improved, while declines in fitness could be offset by reductions in body-fat percentage.
“Maintaining or improving fitness levels and preventing fat gain are both important, independent of the changes of each other,” said Lee. “Second, we found that the ideal combination is to improve fitness and prevent fat gain, but as long as individuals maintain fitness and fatness, they are not likely to be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease risk factors. Losing weight and gaining fitness is very challenging to the general population, but maintaining fitness and fatness are less so and more doable.”
Publish date: NOV 19, 2013
by Donnaa Marbury
Physicians’ relationships with insurance companies are becoming even more strained during Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation. UnitedHealth Group is one of the first insurance companies to drop thousands of physicians from their network, according to the Wall Street Journal.
UnitedHealth, one of the top healthcare insurance companies in the country, is cutting at least 15% of physicians from its network in 10 states due to “significant changes and pressures in the healthcare industry” by the end of 2014, according to the Journal. Most of the cuts target physicians in the Medicare Advantage Program. UnitedHealth chief executive officer Jack Larsen bought full-page newspaper ads across the country explaining their decision, which disrupts thousands of patients, who may have to scramble to find new physicians in the next few months.
“We are working to collaborate with a more focused network of physicians to help us provide higher quality and more affordable healthcare coverage to meet the needs of our members, and help them get more from their health plan benefits,” Larsen said to the New York Post. “This work has become even more urgent in light of the severe funding reductions for Medicare Advantage plans that have come from Washington.”
Forbes.com is reporting that UnitedHealth is the first of many insurance companies that will be making cuts to their networks in the upcoming years as Medicare reimbursements continue to shrink and physicians are unwilling to take pay cuts. Aetna is also reported as warning of a massive decrease in its physician network due to shrinking Medicare reimbursements.
Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, says that the instability in the healthcare insurance industry now affects everyone involved. “Changing the rules after health plans have already met the requirements of the law could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumers,” Ignagni said in a press release. “Premiums have already been set for next year based on an assumption of when consumers will be transitioning to the new marketplace. If due to these changes fewer younger and healthier people choose to purchase coverage in the exchange, premiums will increase in the marketplace and there will be fewer choices for consumers.”
Are these cuts the product of another broken promise made by President Barack Obama concerning the ACA? Obama promised that people who liked their doctor would be able to keep their doctor. But ultimately that will depend on whether their doctor is still available in their healthcare insurance network.
From 7 million to 12 million people have lost their original coverage from their insurance companies due to ACA regulations, according to ABC News.More
Many antiaging physicians and patients believe that taking GROWTH HORMONE INJECTIONS can reverse the aging process. According to scientific data, this could not be further from the truth. The FDA has approved the use of growth hormone for only 3 indications: adults and children who are truly deficient in it, patients with AIDS and those who have “short bowel syndrome”. The only physicians who should be prescribing growth hormones are endocrinologists.
According to most experts, not only does taking growth hormones NOT produce antiaging benefits, but are also potentially dangerous to take (diabetes, joint pains, high blood pressure and heart disease).
There are no quick fixes to reduce aging, but healthy diet and exercise still seems like the most effective way to “stay young”. (Also beware of supplements and herbals, which are also, for the most part, worthless.)
The physicians who prescribe this should be ashamed of themselves and the patients should avoid these (expensive) scams.More
A wonderful new development at Kaizen Total Wellness is that we are now able to take advantage of the resources of many medical specialists in different fields. Today’s post is from Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch nephrologist V.C.Chauhan, M.D.
ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES FOR BLOOD PRESSURE CONTROL
Veeraish Chauhan,MD, FACP,FASN
Sometime ago, I had written a post exploring the role of alternative herbal medications in the treatment of chronic kidney disease. That post had evoked strong reactions, both for and against, from the readers! Which set me thinking…is there a role of alternative therapies in the treatment of high blood pressure? If yes, is it based on hearsay, or solid medical evidence?
Luckily, to make my job easier, the American Heart Association came out with an official statement addressing this issue early this year. This was published in the journal Hypertension. I will try to summarize this statement’s conclusion’s addressing the efficacy of approaches like acupuncture, yoga, meditation, etc in treating high blood pressure. Please note that these conclusions apply only to treatment of high blood pressure, and not to other health/psychological benefits that may be derived from doing these activities. – Veeraish Chauhan, MD,FACP,FASN
Most types of exercise: aerobic, weight training, and isometric hand-grip exercises helped patients lower blood pressure, with people doing isometric hand-grip exercises showing the most blood pressure reduction (about 10 percent). This was greater than the benefit obtained from a mild aerobic exercise like walking. However, the researchers speculated that this could be related to the lack of intensity or shorter duration of walking done by the subjects. Some older studies have indicated that intense walking over 35 minutes done regularly confers the same cardiovascular benefits.
2) Behavioral therapies
The above is an umbrella term that includes biofeedback and different kinds of meditation and relaxation techniques. The statement concluded that transcendental meditation and biofeedback behavioral therapies do help somewhat with lowering blood pressure.
Transcendental meditation, or TM, was developed in India in the 1950s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It has had it fair share of celebrities, from the Beatles to Madonna, swear by it. The technique involves using mantra (sounds or chants) to focus meditate, while one sits for about 15 minutes with the eyes closed. It gained some notoriety/free publicity in 1977 when a US Court ruled against a TM program being taught in New Jersey schools as being “overtly religious in nature”. The program ended up getting scrapped, but the case also helped TM get even more attention in the US. This was followed paradoxically by a comeback of sorts by TM. Later, in a sort of quasi-recognition by the establishment, the Maharishi University in Fairfield, Iowa, received $20 million in NIH (National Institute of Health) funding to study the effects of TM on human health!
Biofeedback, often referred to as “Yoga of the West”, is a technique that involves being aware of your internal physiology (using our own senses, or artificial sensors like an ECG machine), and then controlling or adjusting one’s behavior to get a favorable outcome. It is used, among other things, for the treatment of urinary incontinence, chronic pain, and stress reduction.
3) Breathing devices
Certain commercial devices available in the market today help people gather data about there breathing rate and depth, relay the information back to them, and play soothing music via headphones to help them relax. One such device quoted by the researchers was Resperate. I tend to think of such devices as basically a type of “assisted-biofeedback” therapy. Such devices could have a role to play in treating hypertension.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
Surprisingly, practicing yoga and other meditation/relaxation techniques (other than TM) did not translate in to better blood pressure control (however, it is also acknowledged that it is hard to measure the “dose” or intensity of yoga, for any health study).
The ancient Chinese technique did not lower blood pressure demonstrably for subjects.
There are three important facts about these conclusions that I cannot overstate:
- All the above techniques produced small modest reductions in blood pressure; sometimes as little as 2 mm (compared to 10-15 mm for most medications).
- The conclusions apply only to effects of these approaches on blood pressure, and nothing else. If you are doing yoga because it helps you relax, you should still go ahead and do it!
- As much as I want, these alternative therapies do not replace traditional approaches for blood pressure control (low salt diet, medications). The best way to look at them is as strategies to complement what your doctor has already been prescribing you for your high blood pressure. This could really help if you have mild hypertension, where the alternative therapies could potentially help you get off your blood pressure medications, but I highly doubt anyone with severe hypertension is getting off their Norvasc just because they started doing TM.
My take home message: if you happen to love any of the above alternative approaches, or are doing it as part of your healthy lifestyle, you can continue to do so. You might see a modest reduction in your blood pressure (more with some modalities than the others), but you know what, it is probably not going to hurt either! – Dr. Chauhan