Tag Archives: staying healthy

Bribes from Big Insurance

I had to comment on this.  The scanned in document below comes from a post that I saw from a friend of a friend on Facebook.  To me it illustrates everything that is wrong with the way health care is implemented in this country.  Take a look at the picture below and read it carefully.  I can’t believe this is even legal.

This letter comes from United Healthcare, which is a major U.S. health insurance company.  They are “encouraging” people to get their children vaccinated by bribing them with $20 gift cards, one of which is to McDonald’s!

In one breath they are asking you to do something they say is healthy for your child which is get vaccinated.  Whether vaccines are healthy or even safe is a topic for another blog but let’s forget that point and take the view of the health insurance company.

United Healthcare actually believe vaccines are a good thing.  They believe it so much that they are offering $20 to their clients whose children are not up to date on their vaccines.  One of their offers includes $20 to McDonald’s!  This company is supposed to be getting people healthier, not encouraging behavior that will make you exceptionally unhealthy!

More and more, people are exercising their right not to vaccinate their children.  This blog is not about whether that is right or wrong but suffice it to say, I support parents who make that decision if they feel it is right for them.

This type of letter, sent to thousands of parents, is a way for Big Insurance and Big Pharma to get people to use their products and services more frequently to make more money.  The facts in the letter aren’t even true.  No child “needs” certain vaccines before a certain age.  The current vaccine time line is in place only to provide pediatricians with a template to vaccinate their patients and make it easier to keep track of.  The letter implies that these vaccines are necessary before the age of two or they won’t work.  Do you really think a vaccine given to a 2 year old works any better than one given to a 4 year old?  Of course not.

I also cannot figure out how this is legal.  I was under the impression that medical service companies, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, etc. were not allowed to offer gifts in exchange for any kind of service or product.  Of course, with major insurance and big pharma involved the laws always seem to bend just enough to allow them to walk that fine line between lawful and unlawful.

I hope those of you reading this can see through this type of deceptive marketing because that’s all it is.  The insurance companies do not truly care about your health or else they wouldn’t offer $20 to McDonald’s to go get vaccinated.  This is just another way for you to use their services and for them to make more money.

 

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10 Way to Live Longer and Healthier

Two views of local Extension leaders drilling ...

Image by Cornell University Library

Exercise –

Exercising is a key to staying healthy and research shows that people who exercise age more slowly. This is perhaps due to the fact that exercise has been associated with preventing telomere shortening.  Telomeres are strands of DNA at the ends of each chromosome that shorten as we age.

Don’t Smoke –

Smoking causes the skin to wrinkle and wreaks havoc on our brains, heart and lungs.  The inflammation caused by smoking is thought to speed the aging process.

Eat a Healthy Diet –

You are what you eat.  A healthy diet provides antioxidants that gobble up free radicals that speed the aging process.  It also helps maintain a healthy weight which is important in preventing a host of diseases.

Stop Snoring –

Sleep apnea, a condition is which people stop breathing during sleep because tissues in your throat collapse blocking the airway, can cause high blood pressure, memory problems, weight gain, and depression.

Take Resveratrol –

Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant found most prevalently in the skins of grapes. It provides the health benefits associated with red wine. Just like exercise, it slows telomere shortening. It is available in supplement form.

Manage Your Stress –

Excessive stress leads to the production of hormones in the body that are detrimental to long term health. High stress levels delays healing, increases fat deposition and suppresses the immune system.

Keep Your Insulin Levels In Check –

Insulin is a hormone in the body that is secreted in response to carbohydrate consumption.  An excessive level, due to excessive carbohydrate and sugar intake, is associated with increased cellular aging.  Keep grains and sugar to a low level in your diet.

Get Out in the Sun –

Being in the sun not only improves mood, but it produces vitamin D.  Vitamin D affects up to 10% of your genes and allows them to function optimally.  Vitamin D has also been shown to reduce the rate of many types of cancer.

Get Your Fats –

Eating a diet high in healthy fats, like omega-3, is essential for heart and brain health.  Good sources include fish and nuts.  To get optimal benefit, however, most people will likely have to supplement with fish oil.

Control Your Blood Pressure –

High blood pressure increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and a host of other diseases.  Controlling it will allow you to live longer.  It is best to control it by losing weight and exercising.

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Common Pain Killers Increase Stroke Risk

Medicine Drug Pills on Plate

The news on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs just keeps getting worse and worse.  Just a month ago I posted about how this class of drugs was associated with an increased risk of heart problems.  Now a Danish study has found that these drugs are associated with an increased risk of stroke.

This class of drugs known as NSAIDs are used mainly as pain killers.  They are also used to effectively reduce fevers.  They are available over the counter and are used by millions upon millions of Americans every day.  This new

study finds that even short-term use of these drugs leads to an increased risk of having a stroke in the future.  What’s even scarier is that they studied a healthy population.

In many instances these types of studies are done on people with already existing conditions that make it difficult to assess whether the increased risk is associated with a person’s previously existing condition or the medication.  Not this time.

Over 500,000 healthy Danish people were included in this study.  The authors used a prescription registry to track which of these people were prescribed an NSAID.  About 45% of them took an NSAID from 1997-2005.  They then used stroke data from further hospitalization and death registries and estimated the risk of fatal and nonfatal stroke associated with the use of NSAIDs.

Results showed that NSAID use was associated with an increased risk of stroke. This increased risk ranged from about 30% with ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) to 86% with diclofenac (Voltaren). The data were controlled for age, gender, and socioeconomic status.

They noted that there was a dose dependent relationship as well.  With doses over 200mg of ibuprofen the risk increased by a staggering 90%!  This is quite problematic as the base dose for over the counter ibuprofen is 200mg.  Millions of Americans take much more than that on a daily basis.

The authors of the study were not terribly surprised by the data considering the recent studies that have surfaced regarding the negative effects these medications seem to have on the cardiovascular system.  They did say it is hard to make absolute conclusions because no randomized controlled studies exist to date.  In light of this most recent evidence I doubt you will ever get an institutional review board to approve such a study because the risk seems to be too high.

The author also stated that in Denmark the availability of NSAIDs over the counter is relatively low compared to the United States. He stressed the need for closer monitoring of these drugs.

He also said, “If half the population takes these drugs, even on an occasional basis, then this could be responsible for a 50% to 100% increase in stroke risk. It is an enormous effect.”

In my opinion, we need to regulate these drugs as closely as possible.  If one were to watch the evening news you would see these drugs being advertised as health food practically.  It is studies like these that make it abundantly clear  they are not without risk.

Options abound for people who take these on a regular basis for mild to moderate pain.  Exercise and diet are a great start.  Reducing the use of NSAIDs would likely have a very positive effect on the cost of health care in the U.S. We need all the help we can get in that department.

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Avoiding the Common Cold and Flu

It’s that time of year again.  Cold and flu season is upon us.  Fortunately there are things that can be done to avoid getting the cold and flu outside of getting that nasty flu shot.

It all starts with diet

Perhaps the best things you can do is eat a healthy diet.  A diet filled with high quality protein, healthy fats and brightly colored vegetables and fruits is a great way to keep your immune system functioning at its best.  Remember, your immune system depends on what you put into your body for fuel.  Junk in = junk out!

Control stress

In times of stress the body goes into fight or flight mode.  This means it is trying to survive and survive right now. When you are under stress your body views the immune system as unimportant.  Because your body is trying to survive in the short term it begins to shift energy away from long term systems like the immune system.  Your body is not concerned with that cold you might get two weeks from now if it doesn’t think it will survive today or tomorrow.  Do your best to manage your stress so that your immune system can stay as potent as possible.

Exercise

You will see this over and over again in my posts.  Exercise is good for everything!  Exercising stimulates immune function in our bodies by facilitating immune cells that go after viruses.  Plus, there are many other benefits to exercise.  Its importance cannot be over stated.  There is one caveat to this; do not over exercise.  This will shift your body into that fight or flight scenario discussed above and will have the opposite effect your are desiring.  Thirty to sixty minutes of exercise 3-4 times per week is adequate.

Supplements

Listed below are helpful immune boosting supplements that you can use to ward off the cold or flu this season.  You should always buy the highest quality supplements that you can.  All supplements are not created equal! The company that I like to use is a company called Metagenics. They have superior quality control and prove their formulations through research.  Their products are safe and effective.

Vitamin D

D3 1000 is vitamin D in a highly absorbable form.  Vitamin D is known to boost immune function and it has been shown that people who have the lowest levels of vitamin D in their blood are at the highest risk of illness.  I recommend 2,000-4,oooIU per day.  D3 1000 is 1,000IU per tablet.  You may order this supplement from Metagenics though my online store here. Simply register and begin shopping!

ImmuCore

ImmuCore is designed to enhance the  activities of macrophages, natural killer cells, and T cell subsets.  These cells are the cells in your immune system that will fight the fight!  It contains vitamin C, zinc, selenium and a proprietary blend of immune boosting herbs.  Click here to purchase.

Kaprex AI

Kaprex AI contains a small amount of vitamin D as well as zinc and selenium.  Its major ingredient is a complex derived from hops (yes, those hops) that has been shown to have hugely beneficial effects on the immune system and inflammation.  Click here to purchase.

How To Purchase

You may purchase these supplements many places online.  You do not have to buy them from me but you may.  If you would like to here is how to order them.

You may click one of the links in the above paragraphs at the end of each description or you may click the link to our online store under our blog roll on the right hand side of your screen.  Once you’re there register your name and begin shopping.  They will be shipped straight to you, usually arriving in 1-2 business days.

If you have any questions please let us know!

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