by James Tuck

Top 10 Health Insurance Companies in the US

A short list and description of the top 10 health insurance companies. The state of the health insurance industry has been one of the most intensely debated topics in theUnited States. With such a wide range of diversity within the industry, targeting a list of the top 10 health insurance companies can vary greatly depending on criteria. This list of the top 10 health insurance companies was created using 2011 data based on direct premiums written.

UnitedHealth Group: With over 84 million policy holders in 2011, UnitedHealth Group has the highest market share and has the highest number of direct premiums written of any other insurance company on this list. It is also very committed to preventative medicine issues and to health education.

WellPoint: Since its merger with Anthem, Inc. in 2004, WellPoint Inc. has held the distinction of being the largest, publicly traded health benefits company. Though it is a young company, it stands out in its mission to provide high quality health care at an affordable cost.

Health Care Service Corporation: Offering a wide variety of private and group insurance options, Health Care Service Corporation stands out to employers as having affordable, versatile policy options. It is the largest customer-owned health insurance company which shifts the focus away from accountability from investors, towards accountability towards customers.

Humana: This company distinguishes itself by marketing its products in the United States, Puerto Rico and Western Europe. Additionally, they administer health insurance for one of the United States’ largest markets, the U.S. Military.

Highmark: Highmark Inc. covers a smaller market than most of other companies on this list but excels in a much needed niche, providing supplemental and temporary insurance policies. These types of policies provide services for short-term needs and cover costs that normally might not be covered under a single insurance policy.

Coventry Health Care: Coventry stands apart in it diversified coverage offerings. Plans are set up so that individuals or businesses can select the coverage options and create a unique package that suits their particular needs. As of 2011, their prescription coverage plan is ranked third in the nation.

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan: The Kaiser Foundation is a non for profit insurance provider, dealing exclusively in HMO insurance. This means a dedication to lower costs and affordable premiums. The Kaiser Foundation is often praised for its quality of customer care and stance on preexisting conditions.

Aetna: Aetna has a long history which starts in 1819 as a fledgling fire insurance company. At the turn of the century, it became one of the first companies to offer health insurance. Since that time it has grown to be one of the world leaders in health insurance providers and a Fortune 100 company.

EmblemHealth: Providing coverage exclusively to New Yorkers, EmblemHealth Inc. has committed itself to community-focused partnerships and superior customer care. It is a relatively young company yet, as of 2011 it held 2.3% of the total market share.

Independence Blue Cross: Innovation drives this Pennsylvania-based health insurance company. Independence Blue Cross has committed itself to seeking out creative solutions to meet the everyday challenges in health care systems. Their goal is not to keep up with the changes in health care, but to create those changes.

 


by James Tuck

Good VS. Cheap Family Health Insurance

You may need to purchase a private cheap family health insurance policy if your employer does not offer you one. Finding a health insurance policy for your family can be a very overwhelming prospect. Do you get a cheap policy or a good policy? Is it possible to find a good policy that is inexpensive?

The Cost Of A Family Policy

Depending upon your employer, you may be pleasantly surprised at the cost of a health insurance policy. Perhaps you may be overwhelmed when you see the prices and fear that a cheap family health insurance policy doesn’t exist! Keep in mind that costs can vary from company to company. This is why it is so important to compare prices as well as the services offered with each policy.

Cheaper Isn’t Always Better if your budget is tight, you may be tempted to pick the cheapest policy you find and hope that nothing goes wrong. This may or may not be a good idea.

If you have young children in your family, you can expect frequent doctor visits for well care appointments as well as for care during an illness. The cost of these visits can be quite a bit if you are uninsured. For that reason, you may want to see if the policy you are considering covers well baby visits and shots. One shot can cost several hundred dollars in out of pocket expenses.

Older children may also need to visit a doctor frequently, especially if they are in sports. An injury may cost thousands in unpaid medical expenses which could severely impact your budget.Of course, if you have a disabled child or a child with a chronic disease, this will also affect the type of policy that you need.

It is important to remember that cheaper does not always equate with better, especially if a policy does not offer all the services that you need. In fact, a cheaper policy may end up costing you more in the long run than a more expensive policy.

Out Of Pocket Expenses Can Create Problems

Your monthly payment will vary depending upon the number of people insured as well as your deductible. It may be tempting to choose a high deductible in order to get a very low monthly insurance premium rate. However, this may not always be a good idea.Keep in mind that your deductible must be paid before your health insurance benefits are covered.

If you have a $5,000 deductible, you will need to pay that plus your insurance premiums before your insurance coverage will apply. If you and your family are very healthy, this may not be a problem. If you or someone in your family has health problems, you may quickly go over the $5,000 deductible. If you have a mild illness however, you may end up spending several thousand dollars out of pocket. This is especially frustrating at the end of the year as you will never meet your deductible.

Finding Cheap But Good Coverage

To do this, you must first assess your needs. Then, look for a policy which meets your needs. You should find that several different companies are offering similar policies. After this, you should research the insurance company to make sure that it is a reputable company. Finally, compare insurance rates between companies. By doing this, you should be able to find a cheap family health insurance but also a good policy for your family health needs.


by James Tuck

4 Tips for Getting Family Health Insurance

1. The state insurance

State insurance has been set up for people who can’t afford to invest in a private policy and have no other options. Most of the time, the state will not make the parents pay any money for a co-pay but it really depends on the policy. If a person is under insured, the state will often pick up the rest of the tab that isn’t covered by the first insurance. The state has programs specifically set up for families, and pregnant women. Ideally, the state would like to be the second insurance behind a primary insurance. The state programs have been set up for people in need though, so it’s not an option for everyone.

2. Work insurance

Many companies will offer health benefits to the immediate family of an employee. In order for the spouse to get the health benefits, the couple has to be married. It doesn’t matter if the employee is male or female, the spouse is entitled to the same benefits once the couple is married. Although every health insurance company and employment company will do things a little bit differently. The kids are entitled to the company of their natural parents or their guardians. It doesn’t matter if the parents are married or not. Ultimately, the rules and regulations are up to the employment company. All the companies do not offer health benefits though, so this also may not be an option.

3. Private family health insurance

Sometimes, families choose to invest in a private health insurance company. Often times the premium of these polices are decently priced monthly payments for the head of the household. This is a good option for families who do not get insurance through their work but make too much money to get the state insurance. The companies that sell polices to certain companies will also sell polices to individual families, so these private health insurance companies are well known in the health insurance industry. These polices may not be an option for everyone because some people can’t afford the premiums but still make too much for the state insurance.

4. The factors of getting improved for private health insurance.

There are certain factors that are important to the health insurance industry when it comes to getting approved for private family health insurance. The age and overall health of the person at the time they apply are key to how much it will cost to get a policy. It’s highly recommended that people get family health insurance while they are healthy because it’s nearly impossible to get a decently priced policy when you are sick. Bad health can come unexpectedly such as a car accident; which is all the more reason to get good health insurance before you need it.


by James Tuck

5 Tips on Getting Family Health Insurance

Purchasing family health insurance can be confusing for someone who does not have knowledge of the insurance arena. Most people know that insurance is there to protect them during times of sickness or accidents, but there are also things that the common person does not know. Here are some things to consider when purchasing family insurance:

1. Most employment companies offer some sort of health insurance plans, but these plans are often not as good as the plans that can be purchased outside of the company. Many people assume that their company will offer them the best rates, but that is not always the case. In fact, while company benefits may be beneficial for an individual or a couple, when adding to a family plan these coverages can become extremely expensive. Companies are not required to cover additional members at a discount and this could make a drastic difference in premiums.

2. If a person quits their job, they can still have coverage of their benefits through COBRA. COBRA is an insurance plan that allows a person to keep their family health insurance benefits, but without the discount they used to receive. COBRA’s costs are astronomical and many think they have no options, but to have a lapse in coverage. In fact, purchasing an insurance policy from a company independently, avoiding COBRA, can actually be way more cost effective.

3. The lowest plan is not always the best plan. Just because the premiums are within the families’ budget, does not mean that this plan will provide the best coverages. In fact, sometimes the plans that have the economical payment plans will end up costing way more in the long run. Large deductibles and prescription coverages are things that people need to consider when purchasing plans. Family health insurance plans need to be reviewed and carefully read for fine print. What usually happens is that too good to be true insurance plan, is really that, too good to be true.

4. Family health insurance falls into two basic categories, HMO’s and PPO’s. It is always important to shop around and compare rates when dealing with either type of plan. There are numerous insurance companies that have various coverages options. Some will restrict insured people to only use hospitals or doctors that are in their network, this is called a PPO plan. Other plans, will allow a person to go to any medical facility these are called an HMO plan. A policy for a home is pretty standard, but health insurance plans vary greatly; it pays to shop around.

5. Those that have pre-existing conditions may have a hard time finding great insurance coverage. For instance, those who have a family member who is overweight may find that they are denied for coverages from many companies. If insurance is purchased through an employer, the employer cannot limit coverages due to pre-existing conditions. However, when purchasing insurance outside of employment, the insurance company can put all the stipulations the state will allow. Oftentimes, they will put waiting periods and may or may not cover the condition at all in the future.

Regardless of which company one chooses to purchase health insurance through, it pays to do some plenty of research. What works for one family may not work for another. Depending on ages and medical history coverage rates can be drastically different.


by Logan

Are You Taking Fake Medications?

Have you ever picked up a medication tablet or capsule, looked at it, and wondered what in the world you were really taking. Luckily for you, the FDA governs medications very closely. Pharmacies are held to a very high standard when they are getting their medication that they in turn dispensing them to you and me, their customers.

But, as health insurance prices are climbing higher and fewer employers are offering insurance, people are looking at different avenues to get their prescription medications.

I have been approached by several people about my opinion of getting medications through the internet. Of course, this is often without a prescription.

Their argument is that they have been on the medication for years. Why do they need to see a Doctor, just to be written for another prescription that they have already been taking.

On one hand, I understand their dilemma. Doctor visits are expensive, especially if you don’t have health insurance.  But, they need to be followed and evaluated for improvement on the medication or lack of improvement despite the medication.  So, for me this argument doesn’t hold water.

But regardless, more and more people are looking to Canada,  Mexico, China, and other countries for their medications

The problem is that they can no way verify that what they are actually taking is what is being sold.

Absorption of a Medication

Every time you take a medication, whether it is Acetaminophen or a Depression medication, a portion of the medication will be lost in the digestive process.

What does this mean?  

For arguments sake, lets say that 50% of the medication is lost from the moment in enters your mouth, until it is absorbed in the stomach.  As the process of digestion begins, the medication usually is intended to be digested through the stomach. As this happens, the medication is actually broken down and absorbed. Sooner or later it enters your blood stream.

This is why dosing is very important. A larger does may mean more absorption. This will help treat you more effectively.  Though there is a saturation point, where more medication doesn’t mean a better effectiveness. A balance is needed to be found.

Counterfeit Medication

This is also called fake medication. Often the medication cannot be verified.  This means you could be taking IBU instead of that expensive muscle relaxer that you are trying to find.   Even if they work to make the medication look like what you are used to taking, you just never know.

Then we are back to dosing. Even if you are taking the right medication, how do you know the dosing is right. This is the real problem. Maybe you are over or under medicating. It is hard to tell, unless you are a pharmaceutical and analysis genius to know if you are taking what you need to be taking.

Some medications, even off by a small amount will drastically change the effectiveness of the medication.

I’ve brought this argument up with my friends, and they think that even some medication is better than no medication. It is hard to sway them differently. But, I hope that they at least know the risk that they are taking.

The WHO or World Health Organization has also looked into this large problem.  They are identifying several areas where fake medications are being used and abused.

They are following several cases where treatment failure and death have resulted because of fake medications.   They tend to call fake medications SFFC medicines.  SFFC means Spurious – Falsely labeled – Falsified – Counterfeit (SFFC) medicines.

The WHO also came up with some of the fake medications.  In 2012 in the US, a counterfeit medication for cancer was found. Avastin was the medication name and it lacked the active ingredient in the medication.

For the last several years Viagra and Cialis have been counterfeited.  This medication is for erectile dysfunction and is a common “underground” medication.

Other medications that have been targeted are HIV medications, Weight loss medications, depression medications, high blood pressure medications, and more.

Overall, the risk of fake medications far outweighs the benefits they could provide. You must think that whoever is creating these medications is doing so for a profit. They will cut corners, even if they are well intended. There is a reason medications are so closely controlled. It is a very difficult and important area and we need to make sure we are doing it right.


by Logan

Learn more about Prostate Cancer. Part Two

This is Part Two of Prostate Cancer.  In Part One we looked at the prostate gland and some risks of getting prostate Cancer. We also began to look at Diagnosis Prostate Cancer. Diagnosis is a very important aspect of Prostate Cancer. It should be done starting at age 50.  Today we will look at diagnosing prostate cancer. In addition, we will also look at the management, treatment, and prognosis of this disease.

Classification of Prostate Cancer

If prostate cancer is found, it is very important to classify it.  Not all prostate cancers are the same. Some are more concerning than others. It is also important to see where, if at all, the cancer had spread. We talked about this at the beginning as Metastasis.  By classifying we are essentially trying to understand the prognosis.

Most Common system of Diagnosis is the TNM system.

T  –  describes the size of the tumor and if it has invaded nearby tissue

N –   describes the lymph nodes surrounding the area and if they are involved

M –  describes the amount and severity, if any, of the metastasis that is involved.

Each letter has 4 or 5 categories that explain the amount of size, lymph node involvement, or metastasis.  Each patient could have a different score, depending on what was happening.

For the prostate, the most important thing is to identify if the cancer is still found only in the prostate.  The prognosis is dramatically better if the cancer remains in the prostate.

 

Management and Treatment of Prostate Cancer

The first thing that is discussed when prostate cancer is found and depending on where it is and what the age of the pateint,  is if it needs to be treated at all.

Low grade forms [less concerning or invasive] types are found often in the elderly patient. The cancer grows so slowly that no treatment is required.  And in this type – there is relatively no risk for the patient.

If there are serious health concerns – treatment may not be a reasonable option either. With serious heath concerns, things could only get worse in most of these patients.

Therefore treatment is dependent on age, health of the patient, and staging of the cancer. Concerns for side effects of treatment should also be considered.

Treatment of Surveillance only

This is typically for those with low-risk prostate cancer. The goal is to watch the tumor over time. This allows for the possibility that something could change in the future where more aggressive treatment may be needed.

This means that a curative procedure may be something that will be considered down the road. It does not mean that no treatment will ever be given.

This approach is often used, but should not be used in more aggressive cancers.

 

Treatment for Aggressive Prostate Cancer

1.)    Surgery

2.)    Radiation Therapy

3.)    Chemotherapy

4.)    Oral medications

5.)    Hormonal therapy

6.)    Combination of treatments

7.)    Other

In most cases, prostate cancer is found only in the prostate. Therefore removing the prostate is curative in most cases.  There are a number of side effects including sexual problems, urinary problems, bowel problems and more. The problem is that in slow moving cancers, removal of the prostate does not always change life expectancy. This is because it was so slow moving that the risk of dying from prostate cancer was so low anyways. The risks though, of removing the prostate are high, and therefore surgery should be done in more aggressive forms of prostate cancer.

If the cancer has spread beyond the prostate it is considered very aggressive.

A variety of treatments are required to help treat this patient. Hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, and even radiation therapy are often seen in cancers that have gone beyond the prostate.

 

Overall and Prognosis

Prostate cancer is serious and should be treated as such. But the understanding that most cases of the prostate cancer are never found until after the autopsy. These patients died of something else and happened to have prostate cancer. If prostate cancer if found, diagnosis should be done to understand what the best treatment options are available.  Prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer and the sixth leading cancer death of males worldwide.

This cancer is seen more often in developed countries.   If a patient undergoes treatment, and the stages of cancer are higher, the poorer the prognosis. This means, the worse the cancer, the worse the prognosis.

Since this cancer primarily develops in men over the age of fifty, the diagnostic procedures are started near that age. This should be something that is done for every man as they approach this age. Even though most prostate cancers are low risk, this should not cause someone to push on being evaluated for the risk of prostate cancer.

In the long run, it is important not to overlook prostate cancer.


by Logan

Learn more about Prostate Cancer. Part One.

Today were are going to look at Part One on understanding prostate cancer. We will look at the prostate itself and describe what prostate cancer is. We will also look at some of the more well known causes of prostate cancer and we will look at the important steps of diagnosing prostate cancer. In Part Two we will also look at the management, treatment, and prognosis of this disease.

Prostate Cancer is a very common cancer that affects the prostate. It is something that is often highly publicized. It is often seen as the cause of some deaths and can be found in many cases on autopsy.  It has similar symptoms as other prostate problems such as prostatitis and benign hyperplastic prostate or BPH.

Prostate cancer is often a very slow growing cancer.  In most cases, the cancer remains in the prostate but in some cases it can move to the surrounding tissues.  Metastasis is when is spreads to different tissues. In rare cases the cancer can move to the brain, bone, and other parts of the body. These more invasive cancers have a worse outcome.

 

What is the Prostate?

The prostate is a gland that is needed in producing the fluid in semen. The prostate , along with other glands, produce a mucus fluid that helps keep sperm alive. This gland is a large part of the male reproductive system.  It is located near the bladder. It is only found in male, but a similar type of organ is found in women.  Women though, can not get prostate cancer.

 

Causes of Prostate Cancer

Many different elements play into causing prostate cancer. It is likely that not everything is known. Age seems to be the primary cause. As men age, the likelyhood of prostate cancer increases dramatically.  Other important risk factors are obesity, family history, diet, sexual activity [or lack of].  High blood pressure can also be a risk factor and there may be a small risk with lack of exercise.  Even, high alcohol intake may increase your risk.

1.)     Genetic

With a first degree relative that has prostate cancer, your risk increases directly.

It is unknown of a specific gene is causative for prostate cancer. But additional research is looking at specific chromosomes. Mutations that occur in these genes may lead to an understanding at the connection between genetics and cancer0..

2.)     Dietary

This is an area that is not very well known. In some circles, it is believed that a good diet with plenty of fiber will help prevent prostate cancer. But just as interesting, is the belief that some foods has a risk of getting prostate cancer.  It is currently being studied the possible link of certain such as fruits, vegetables, red meat, lack of vitamin D, excess taking of multivitamins, folic acid supplements, and high alcohol intake.  These are still being studied and are currently just risks rather than a direct correlation.

3.)     Medications

Some studies point to some medications at causing a risk.  Medications for cholesterol such as statins may actually decrease the risk of prostate cancer.

Agent Orange – was a chemical that some US war veterans came into contact with. It is believed that a double increase in risk and a possible risk for re-occurance was seen.

Elevated Testosterone levels may also increase the risk for prostate cancer. Therefore, consideration must be taken in when excess testosterone is given in a patient.  Obesity is also a risk.

4.)     Virus

This risk is just being studied.  A possible link may exist with a retrovirus that may cause a protein to be produced that is found in prostate cancer. This is just in the beginning stages of being tested.  No significant hard data can confirm this possibility.

 

Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer

This is where things can get debatable in regards to prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is slow growing and the current belief is that early diagnosis is not necessarily worth the risks of testing and treatment.

This means that early diagnosis, although occurs, is not something that is a prime concern. Starting at age 50 – this is when diagnosis is really something that should be addressed.

The American Cancer Society has discussed this when they said, “Research has not yet proven that the potential benefits of testing outweigh the harms of testing and treatment.”

The age of diagnosis may be lowered to 45 if a few conditions or concerns are met:

1.)     African American – increased risk is seen and diagnosis is often begun earlier

2.)     Prostate cancer in brother before the age of 65

3.)     Prostate cancer in father before the age of 65.

(These are not AND but rather OR – which means that if you fall into any one of these three – diagnosis should begin earlier.)

The only test that can confirm prostate cancer is a prostate biopsy.  This is when several small pieces of the prostate are removed for examination under a microscope.

Other diagnostic procedures may include:

1.)     A urine test to check for a protein.

2.)     Another test is a blood work for PSA.

3.)     A digital rectal examination or DRE is a relatively non invasive way for a medical provider to examine the prostate.

4.)     A cytoscopy allows a camera that is flexible to travel through the urethra

5.)     Ultrasound

6.)     MRI is another way to take a close look at the prostate. It allows for evaluation of the tissue of the prostate. A clinical suspicion of prostate cancer can be seen. At this point, confirmation is done through a biopsy.

Tune in to Part Two for more information on Prostate Cancer.


by Logan

Health Benefits From Eating Dinner Together

Eating at a table, surrounded by your family may seem as something as foreign to you as aliens. But it also might be something you are already doing.  But studies are showing that there is a developmental and health benefit to having family dinner a few times a week.

As a teenager, I hated eating a meal with my parents. That was usually the time that I got in trouble about my poor grades or something that I did wrong. But, I also remember getting praised for the good things that I did and our family even solved some family crisis around the dinner table. fo

Also, when sitting around the dinner table, I was much more likely to get a better meal. When my parents cooked, I was getting some meat, vegetables, breads, milks, and other necessary daily vitamins. Eating around the table really provided a good baseline for nutrition.

Now, was every meal a perfectly balanced nutritional masterpiece?  Of course not.  But you are allowed a few indulges every once in a while.

While nutritional benefits are great, the social and relationships advantages are immense. Really, a family that eats together, is far better off than a family that doesn’t. Of course this isn’t an across the board statement. There are plenty of good families that don’t eat together and they survive. There are plenty of families that eat together all the time, that don’t survive. But, on average, it is a great things.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits

1.)     Forms a connection

When you take time to listen to your family, you form a strong bond with them. This is a great time to learn how everyone’s day went. A connection is especially important between spouses and children and parents. Both sides want the other side to listen and give feed back.  Plans are made and goals can be set.  Then, at a later time, they can be reevaluated and changes can be made.  A sense of security and love can be formed.

2.)     Helps you relax

After a long day of work, or school, or watching the kids, or whatever…this time can help you relax. You sit back and enjoy each other’s company.  You learn something and are others are listening to you. You can discuss the day and sort of release some bent up tension.

3.)     Solves problems

Problems arise in families all the time. Dinner time can be a moment to identify the problem and make solutions. Skipping this moment can have lasting effects. A problem that could have been solved early in the process, no may take days and weeks to solve.

4.)     A great teaching moment

This moment can provide time to discuss things like manners and behavior around the dinner table. Open discussion can happen on expectations and what worked and didn’t about a specific incident or moment.  Often we are busy with sports, homework, television, or something else. Eating time provides a few moments where important things can happen.

5.)     A great time to have some fun

Dinner time is a great time to laugh and enjoy what others are saying. Jokes and fun times are routine around the dinner table. My own children love to hear my work stories and the awesome things that happen. More than once, I’ve had milk pouring from my nose on the funny things that they have said.

 

Overall, eating together provides both mental and nutritional well being. It can be overstated the importance of that time that is spent. Often, if used in a good way, then more than just a good meal can occur. Opportunities to try new food and get input from your children is priceless. Eating together is such a good boost to your health.  Don’t miss this chance.


by Logan

Which is more expensive – Healthy Foods or Bad Foods?

If you are like most people I know, food and you have a weird relationship in your life. On one hand, you love to eat it. On another, you hate what it does to your wallet.  But, there are some people, who see food as a necessity and are much more comfortable spending $50.00 on eating out and have trouble spending $50.00 on a pair of jeans or a shirt that is needed.

Whatever your relationship is with food, you have to admit it is expensive.  But, food also determines how healthy you are.  No matter how much you exercises or avoid the topic, a healthy person eats healthy food. This isn’t saying that we can’t indulge or even have a bad week or two. But, overall we are what we eat.

So, if this is the case, why don’t more people purchase healthy food from organic stores and such. The prevailing belief is that healthy food costs more.  This is really the basis of many things. The thing that pushes people over the top is price.

This may be the case when comparing organic tomatoes to regular tomatoes. We often see  the single extra dollar we are spending and we say to ourselves, “Healthy food is too expensive.”

But…if you were to really look at your spending; you would come to find that on average, most people spend far more on unhealthy foods than healthy foods. We purchase many foods that are high in saturated fats and added sugars.

I really think that when it comes to food, we get tunnel vision. When we are concentrating on our grocery bill, money is the primary concern. But when we are out eating, tastes, food choices, and our emotional standing plays more of an issue.

Be honest, have you ever needed a break from work or from kids and the best option was a good lunch moment with some bad food. We often exclude this little expenditure in our overall viewpoint of the cost of food.

The USDA looked into this very argument. They compared near 4,500 different types of food both healthy and less healthy.  They compared price per calorie, edible weight, and average portion size.

If the researcher is based on edible weight and price per portion – it is easy to see that healthy food such as fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk, yogurt and other healthy foods are more affordable than roast beef, chicken, or canned tuna.

When it comes to price per calorie – healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables are slightly more expensive than chocolate, candy, ice cream, and chips.  But barely. The interesting thing is that based on the edible weight – the cost is about the same.  The discounts that are given at stores are largely due to the desire to sell more foods. Vegetables and Fruits don’t last forever on the shelves as does most candy and ice cream. That should tell you something right there.

How to overall improve your diet and save money

Money is often lost due to lack of preparation. If we don’t bring food with us to lunch – we tend to spend large amounts of money for food that is unhealthy. Fast foods are often the haven for the unprepared.

1.)      Plan meals ahead of time to cut out cost

2.)      When cooking – make leftovers and minimize waste. An entire meal could be saved and not wasted in some cases.

3.)       Since meats are so expensive – use other items as the main course and meats as a side to the meal.

4.)       Buy fruits in season – they tend to be less expensive

5.)      Build a garden.  Save money by planting a garden. This pushes you to eat the food that you’ve grown.

 

Food prices are increasing dramatically. Be more conscious of good food and good prices. Planning is really the key.  Good and healthy food is well within our reach, both price wise and availability.


by Logan

Health Tip – How often should you see the Eye Doctor?

Our schedules are so busy and so many things are going on that I bet it has been ages since you’ve seen the eye doctor.

The exceptions, of course, are those who have serious eye changes. But I bet, even the majority of you have waited too long to set up an appointment with your Optometrist.

The eyes are very complex organ system and can be the first signs that a serious medical issue is happening. If you’ve experience a loss of vision, change in vision, double vision, eye pain, serious eye redness, and a host of other eye related symptoms. It is probably time that you bite the bullet and schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.

Diseases such as glaucoma, diabetes, Multiple sclerosis, retinal detachment, and several other diseases can be seen as changes in the eye.

Factors that Determine how often you should see an Eye Doctor

1.)     Symptoms that alarm you or your family

2.)     Age – the older you get, the more often you need to be seen

3.)     Eye Health – If you are often getting infections, vision changes, or a change to your prescription – you should be seen more often.

4.)     Family history – If your family has a history of some of the more serious eye medical issues or diabetes – you should be seen more often.

When should Children see the Eye Doctor?

Children should have some sort of eye exam early in their lives. This will often be done by your primary care physician. They may be looking at a wall evaluation piece with shapes and such. If obvious vision changes are noted – then a referral to an eye doctor may be in order.

Beginning at age 3 – children should be checked every one to two years by their pediatricians.

If younger, school aged children start to develop eye changes – they need to be seen quickly. Development  and educational advancement is lost quickly when a child is unable to see the board quickly.

I first went to the Eye doctor in 1st grade and got my first pair of glasses. I had complained about not seeing things on the board. It happened x 3 weeks in and it took me another 3 months to catch up with the rest of the students.

Adolescents

They should be seen every two years unless they wear glasses or contacts or if an Eye Doctor specifically wants to see them sooner.

Many eye injuries occur at this age. Even if the symptoms improve – it may, in some cases, be helpful to visit the eye doctor after serious eye injuries.

Adults – Ages 20 to 40

If you wear eyeglass or contact lenses – you need to be seen yearly.

If normal vision continues with an adult who doesn’t wear corrective lenses – they can usually wait two to three years in-between visits.

If a change occurs to the vision, an appointment should be made quickly following the change.

If you have normal vision but have diabetes – you should be checked yearly.  This may also be the case for other medical issues.

Adults – Over the age of 40

At age 40 – most adults should have a eye screening. Things such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and many other eye conditions should be evaluated. Age causes several eye changes and/or damage.

If you have no corrective lenses and a normal Age 40 check. You can be seen every two years.

If there are problems or you wear corrective lenses – you still must be checked yearly.

Another age check should be done around age 60-65.  From that point – depending on what is already been happening for the last several decades, specialized or specific guidelines will be given.

It is safe to say that yearly checks are recommended for some.

Overall

Eye examinations are vital and important to maintaining a good eye health and really a good overall health. Losing your eyesight when it could have been preventable is a devastating problem. Simple eye examinations can really be beneficial.

Don’t lose sight of the need to be checked for something, even if you are healthy. A slight modification early can really prevent a serious problem down the road.