ACA Enrollments Up

ACA enrollments exceed 5M, White House says

The White House said Monday that more than 5 million people have enrolled in private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, with two weeks left until the March 31 deadline, raising the possibility of reaching 6 million by the month’s end. “The last several days have been the busiest since December, with the Call Center taking more than 198,000 calls on Thursday alone … and more than 130,000 calls over the weekend,” CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner wrote in a blog post. “Last week, HealthCare.gov saw more than 4 million visits — and an additional 1 million visits this weekend.”

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National Kidney Month

March is National Kidney Month, the perfect time to remind adults 60 and older to get an annual urine test to screen for kidney disease. The National Kidney Foundation recently changed its guidelines in light of research showing that 59 percent of Americans will at some point have moderate kidney disease. Persons with high blood pressure or diabetes face a special risk.

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A Growing Health Concern

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which projects that by 2050, as many as 1 in 3 adults will have the disease. Diabetes is one of the major causes of heart disease, stroke, new cases of adult blindness, and leg and foot amputations not caused by injury, U.S. News reports. Those are facts.

Yet there are many mistaken beliefs about diabetes.  One misconception is that diabetes is not that serious. In fact, diabetes causes more deaths than breast cancer and HIV/AIDS combined.  Still, people with type 2 diabetes — the most common form of the disease — may go a long while, even years, before being diagnosed because they may downplay their symptoms or write them off to other causes.  So if you are making frequent trips to the bathroom at night; experience extreme thirst, overwhelming fatigue, or blurry vision; or notice that you keep getting infections, ask your doctor to test you for diabetes. An early diagnosis can help ward off complications.

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US Health

A recent study by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council reports that, when compared with citizens of 16 other high-income democracies, including those of Western Europe, Japan and Canada, Americans not only die younger but have poorer overall health. The researchers traced U.S. health disadvantages to a number of causes, including the fact that Americans have “more limited access to primary care.”

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What to Say

Anyone who has been seriously ill or had a loved one with a health crisis knows that friends and family can say just the right thing — and just the wrong one, too.

Letty Cottin Pogrebin, 73, author of How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick. The don’t-say-this examples in her book range from flinch-worthy reactions to a diagnosis — “Wow! A girl in my office just died of that!” — to empty platitudes like “Maybe it happened for the best” and “God only gives you what you can handle.”

Pogrebin casts a wide net in her book, offering suggestions for a number of tough situations, including how to remember which friend has what health problem — an increasingly common occurrence for those in her seventysomething age group. She writes about how to show compassion to someone with Alzheimer’s, to those with a terminal illness, and — in a chapter titled “As Bad as It Gets” — to parents who’ve lost a child to a disease.

She also offers some alternatives to that knee-jerk phrase, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do,” which puts the burden on the patient or the family to ask for needed assistance, something they may be embarrassed to do.

“It’s OK to say, ‘What can I do to help?’ as long as you follow it with something like, ‘I’m not just saying it, I really mean it,’” Pogrebin says.

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AMA Says Obesity is a Disease

One in three American adults is obese, and the American Medical Association (AMA) believes the medical community needs to do more to help fight this problem.

The AMA’s solution is to declare obesity a disease.

The nation’s largest physician organization said this week that “recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue.” It could have a greater impact on how insurance companies deal with the problem and what additional treatments they decide to cover.

The obesity epidemic costs the country about  $150 billion a year on treatment for obesity-related conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Diabetes – Potential Complications

Diabetes occurs when the body cannot properly convert food into energy. Over time, the high blood glucose levels caused by the condition can lead to several health problems and complications. There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational. Effectively managing the condition is critical to help minimize the risks of future complications.  These complications can affect almost every part of the body. The condition often leads to problems such as:

·  Blindness

·  Heart and blood vessel disease

·  Stroke

·  Kidney failure

·  Amputations

·  Nerve damage

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Diabetes – a Growing Health Problem

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which projects that by 2050, as many as 1 in 3 adults will have the disease. Diabetes is one of the major causes of heart disease, stroke, new cases of adult blindness, and leg and foot amputations not caused by injury, U.S. News reports. Those are facts.

Yet there are many mistaken beliefs about diabetes.  One misconception is that diabetes is not that serious. In fact, diabetes causes more deaths than breast cancer and HIV/AIDS combined.  Still, people with type 2 diabetes — the most common form of the disease — may go a long while, even years, before being diagnosed because they may downplay their symptoms or write them off to other causes.  So if you are making frequent trips to the bathroom at night; experience extreme thirst, overwhelming fatigue, or blurry vision; or notice that you keep getting infections, ask your doctor to test you for diabetes. An early diagnosis can help ward off complications.

 

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Misconceptions About Diabetes – Part 2

3. Being overweight causes diabetes. Just because a person gains weight doesn’t mean they are going to get type 2 diabetes. Having a body mass index over 25 is just one of several risk factors for diabetes, but there are many overweight people who don’t ever get the disease. Still, being obese—having a body mass index of 30 or more—is considered to be a major risk factor, and the increase seen in diabetes diagnoses has coincided with a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States, according to the CDC.

Other risk factors for diabetes include being older than 45, a lack of regular physical activity, or a family history of diabetes. You’re also at risk if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, polycystic ovary syndrome, metabolic syndrome, or acanthosis nigricans (a condition that causes dark, thickened skin around the armpits or the neck). Having suffered from gestational diabetes during pregnancy or given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds also raises the risk of the disease. And African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian-Americans, and American Indians are at higher risk than are Caucasians

4. Having diabetes means you must eat foods that are different from everyone else’s. People with diabetes don’t need to follow a restricted diet but instead should try to follow the same healthful eating guidelines as everyone else, including choosing foods that are lower in fat, higher in nutrients, and contain an appropriate amount of calories.

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Misconceptions About Diabetes – Part 1

1. Diabetes is not that serious. In fact, diabetes causes more deaths than breast cancer and HIV/Aids combined.   People with type 2 diabetes—the most common form of the disease—may go a long time, even years, before being diagnosed because they may downplay their symptoms or write them off to other causes. So if you are making frequent trips to the bathroom at night; experience extreme thirst, overwhelming fatigue, or blurry vision; or notice that you keep getting infections, ask your doctor to test you for diabetes. An early diagnosis can help ward off complications.

2. Eating too much sugar causes diabetes. Certainly, anybody will benefit from eating less sugar…because it is not a nutrient-dense ingredient.  That said, simply eating too much sugar does not cause diabetes.

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