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Archive for the ‘Health Insurance Tips’ Category.


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.


by Logan

What is Autism? Part Two

In Part One we looked at  What Autism is.  Today we will look at the causes, the diagnosis, and the management of Autism. We will also look at how Autism is trending. I was surprised to learn what I did.

Remember – Autism is a Development Disorder and the symptoms are important to know. Symptoms will help us more than we can realize.

Causes of Autism

For years it has been believed that there is a common cause at the genetic level causing cognitive changes, symptoms and others.

As time moves forward, the pool becomes even murkier.  It is becoming apparent that a very complex set of aspects occur that is multi-focal.

There must be a genetic component but it is unclear if a mutation is to blame or heritable factors, or even gene expression.

Environmental causes are also being and have been explored.

Such causes may be:

1.)    Infectious disease
2.)    Metals
3.)    Diesels
4.)    Phenols
5.)    Drugs
6.)    Vaccines
7.)    Prenatal stress
8.)    and much more.

****No specific link has been found for Autism and vaccines though this is largely disputed depending on which side of the argument you are on.

Screening for Autism

When a parent becomes concerned about a possible Autism diagnosis – a screening tool can be used. It doesn’t always work and in some cases, can cause additional concern. But for the most part, it is a good rule to know.

50% of parents notice a change in behavior by age 18 months

80% of parents notice a change in behavior by age 24 months.

Screening pattern that should indicate concern – this does not mean Autism is the cause.  But this should generate a concern.

1.)     No babbling by around 12 months
2.)     No pointing or waving bye- bye around 12 months
3.)     No single word by around 16 months
4.)     No two word sentences or phrases by around 24 months
5.)     Any loss of previously seen language or social skills at any age.

Diagnosis

Autism is a very difficult and concerning diagnosis.

In many cases, concern about a false diagnosis leads to a diagnosis that comes later than it could.   Diagnosis is done on a perceptual behavior concern.  There is not a blood test or X-ray that shows Autism.

A multitude of symptoms must be considered.

Initially, the data of the above screening along with physical examination will help point the provider in the right direction. It is possible that an Autistic specialist will also be called in to see the child and to talk with the parents.

Management of Autism

Management is really the key for everything when it comes to Autism.  The rest are things that will happen sooner or later.

But management is something that can really help the child. A cure should not be the goal in mind when thinking of an Autistic child.  Management though, helps the child in many different areas.

No single treatment or management will work in all cases. The management process should be based on the child’s need.

Behavior therapy early can help the children as they grow learn self-care, job skills, social behaviors and much more.

A one-on-one teaching is helpful for the child who may have difficulty learning in a large setting.  Speech and language therapy can help many children in improving their communication skills and helping them to adapt to their condition.

Occupational Therapy helps them to learn to use their body and how they can perform daily living, cooking, cleaning, and other tasks.

Overall

Remember that Autism severity is a spectrum.  Some children will have such serious problems, speaking and normal activities are out of the question. Others have such a minor symptoms that you may not ever know that it was Autism but you may think rather a learning disability or less.  Many are somewhere in between.

Children do recover on their own and are no longer considered Autistic. But that is extremely rare and is not what should be considered a cure.  Improvement is seen after treatment or without.  Little is really known why this happens.

Some children may grow up and are able to live on their own and hold down good jobs. Often the social support, friends, and family are very instrumental.

For an unknown reason, Autism rates are increasing.  Around 1996 it was less than 1 per 1,000 children was found to have Autism.  As of 2007 – that rate increased to over 5 per 1,000 and that number has certainly increased in the last few years.  It may also be as high as 11 per 1,000 now.  Boys seem to have a higher risk than girls.

This could be a lack of adequate data over the decade and a half of diagnosis Autism.  This could easily be explained as stat error.  But others are thinking that a combination of environmental and genetic predominance is the real reason we are seeing an increase.

 

In the end, we need to be more mindful of the diagnosis and the possibility with the children in our lives. School teachers, parents, friends, and more need to have a better understanding of Autism. Early management is a real key to a more productive life.


by Logan

Watch out for Pink Eye

The name pink eye is really a slang term for Conjunctivitis.  This is where the eye becomes red, pink, inflamed and sometime mildly painful.

When you see your kids or your neighbor kids walking through the door with this, you know that sooner or later you will probably get it as well.

The inflammation occurs in an area of the eye known as the conjunctiva. The eye is rather complicated with several layers of tissues, lenses, nerves, blood vessels, and more.

The conjunctiva is the outermost layer of the eye. It can also include the inner surface of the eyelid.

Let’s look at some of the causes of Pink Eye

1.)     Viral Conjunctivitis

2.)     Allergic Conjunctivitis

3.)     Bacterial Conjunctivitis

4.)     Chemical Conjunctivitis

5.)     Neonatal Conjunctivitis

The most common cause is viral.  The second and third most common are allergic then bacterial.

Conjunctivitis means that the eye alone is mostly affected

Blepharoconjunctivitis is when the eye and the eyelids are involved

Keratoconjunctivitis is when the eye and a corneal inflammation occurs.

 

Symptoms of Pink Eye

–           Red or Pink changes to the white part of the eye

–           Tearing or watering of the eye

–           Discharge over eye after waking when sleeping

–           Itching of eye

–           Some cases, vision changes

Viral infection

This is often a virus that is easily passed from person to person. It can be very contagious.  The severity of the pinkness is less. Watering of the eye is seen though it is usually clear.  In some cases, an associated cold, flu or similar symptoms may precede or follow the infection.

Allergic

Is similar to viral conjunctivitis. The severity of the redness can depend on the seriousness of the allergic reaction. Can be worse in times of high pollen count or when around animals – if allergic to the animals. Severe itching causes the redness and irritation. Clear discharge is often seen. Crusting can be seen around eyes after sleeping in some cases.

Bacterial

This if often a bacteria that causes large amounts of discharge.  Discharge can be cloudy, white, yellow, or other. Lids often stick together after sleeping.  Crusting around the eye can be seen as well.  Gritty or scratchy feeling is explained by many patients.

Chemical

The irritation from an external chemical or object can cause serious injury and redness. If the chemical is alkalis – the burn to the eye can be more severe than acidic burns. But not in all cases.   Serious irrigation of the eye is essential

Diagnosis of Pink Eye

Culture of eye fluid, tears, or discharge is done rarely.  Often done if other treatment options are unsuccessful.

For Allergic, Chemical, or other infections – diagnosis is often associated with the history of a chemical or foreign object history.

The real diagnosis is between viral and bacterial.

Since most Pink Eye is from a virus – time is usually the tell all. But the severity of redness can also be important.

Management

65% of cases resolved in two to five days. Most of the time, prescriptions are not needed or helpful in these cases.

Cool water can help allergic and chemical irritations.  Artificial tears are helpful.

Antibiotics may be used as eye drops, ointments, or along with oral medications.

 

Overall, Pink Eye is a very contagious problem that can spread quickly around a school, a work, or even a family. Treatment is often done after five days of symptoms. This is outside of hand washing, artificial tears and others.

If symptoms do continue, additional treatment options are available. Pink Eye is so common, that it is possible for you or your children to get it a few times each year.

Talk about fun!


by Logan

What is Autism? Part One

This is the first part of this series on Autism. Today we are going to talk about What Autism is.  Since it is such a broad category and the symptoms are very important to understand. This is where we will spend our time today.  In Part Two we will look at the causes, the diagnosis, and the management of Autism.

 

Autism has been a word that has been used in the media so much over the past several years. But do you really know what Autism is?  Are your children at risk of getting Autism and is Autism on the rise?  These are great questions.  Now let’s take a look.

Autism is a Development Disorder

Really this is means a neurodevelopment disorder.

On a basic level, autism is a behavioral issue.  You will notice that children with this condition have difficulty functioning with other children. The problem is that there is a large range of symptoms. You may not even know that someone has Autism because their symptoms may be very mild.

It often deals with the repetitive movements or restricted social behaviors. Both can be seen in some degree.

It can become seen in children during infancy or during childhood.  Often, changes are seen between six months of age and three years. Though changes can really be seen at any age.

There is not one symptom that defines this disease. It is more of a collection of symptoms or evaluations.

Main Symptoms

1.)     Problems with Social Interactions

This may mean that the child doesn’t react in a social setting as other children do. They may have less stimuli with other children.

They may smile less often than expected and they may avoid eye contact or have limited eye contact.  In some cases, pointing at things may be a problem.

They may avoid talking with other children or a normal quizzical behavior. They prefer to be left alone, but not always.

Speech is often affected. Sentence structure or communication is a problem.

Babbling, slow speech, confused speech, unrecognizable gestures, voice pattern changes, screaming, and other speech problems can be seen.

2.)     Repetitive Behavior

Several types of repetitive behaviors can be seen.  No one child may have all the repetitive behavior or the exact behavior seen. But often, a similar or exact behavior can be identified.

Hand flapping or banging occurs often.  Head rolling to one side or the other. This happens over and over again as if a game.  A large percentage of the time, the child will rock their body back and forth. It could be torso, head, arms, or legs. Often though, it is the entire body.

They may arrange items according to size, color, lines,

Also seen is a desire to have a pattern in their day.  This means that they prefer the same chores, processes to get ready for the day and more.

An aspect of Repetitive behavior that can become a real problem is self-injury.  This happens repetitively.  They will start biting their hand over and over again. They can also bang their head again and again.

This can also be seen with picking of skin, poking an eye, kicking a foot.

These self-injuries behaviors seem to affect just under fifty percent of those with Autism.

3.)     Restricted Interests

There is a sense of sameness. This means that there is a huge resistance to change. This can be seen in changing schools, vacations, moving, or even day to day things like where furniture is positioned in the room and other more basic things.

Preoccupation is another thing that is seen. This means that their attention gets grabbed by a certain object, toy, game, or television program.  They become so preoccupied that they only want that toy or object. They lose focus or interest in other things for a period.

4.)     Others

This area is far more difficult.  Often it is difficult to say that a particular behavior is or isn’t an aspect of Autism. It could be just something they are going through at the time, or something unique to the child.

Abilities – this area is not a given. Some children with less affecting autism may have some ability. It is estimated to affect somewhere between 1 percent and 10 percent of those with Autism.  A sub category of Autism is Asperger’s. Abilities are found liked with this diagnosis in some cases.

An ability could be memorization, math extraordinaire,  musical instrument, and many other rare talents. In many cases these individuals are called Savants.

Other symptoms may include: muscle loss, difficulty walking, unusual eating patterns, stomach problems, and others.

 

Classification

Autism falls under the category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders or PDD.

There are five disorders

1.)     Autism
2.)     Asperger Syndrome
3.)     Rett Syndrome
4.)     Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
5.)     PDD not otherwise specified

Stay tune to Part Two to look at:  the causes, the diagnosis, and the management of Autism.


by Logan

Are You Choosing Not to Have Health Insurance?

Health Care and health insurance is a huge debate – both on national levels, state levels, and even in our own homes. The dilemma is present and the outcomes are even scarier. No matter what side you are on, hopefully you can see that not having health insurance can be a potentially huge problem.

Often health insurance is something that we take for granted. Of course, this isn’t in all cases. It appears to be especially true for college age students.  Is the reason for this availability or choice. Are more people loosing their jobs or is good coverage becoming too expensive.

A recent study came out and indicated that some 48 million Americans may be without health insurance. But not all of the cases are because of a lost job or unemployment. Some are by choice. Others site that individual health insurance is too expensive.

Without health insurance, large problems brew. With no insurance, you may skip out on that yearly exam or you may avoid getting treated for moderate pains, problems, or concerns. In the end, this only worsens your overall health.  In the long run, this could prove to be a vital problem.

The Commonwealth Fund provided the study of around two thousand individuals. 25% did not have any insurance and around 25% of those who didn’t have insurance have never had insurance. Another 30% or so indicated that they had lost their insurance from an employee sponsored insurance through cutting of jobs, benefits, or a complete loss of a job altogether

Some argue that no one is choosing to not have insurance

There are those who report that choosing not to have insurance and being unable to pay for it is vastly different. What do you think?

Could someone make enough money on paper, but have too much debt. It looks like they may be well off but really, they are struggling to stay afloat.

Common sense or your own history would make it difficult for you to believe that anyone would actively choose not to have insurance.  Ideas that they may be saving the money that they were going to use for insurance into a special account to use for doctor visits.  Are you money savey enough to save your money enough to have a real benefit from not getting insurance.

Remember back to your College years

I personally had tons of friends who choose not to waste their money when they were single on insurance. They had the invincibility shield on and believed that they would never need the insurance and so why pay for it.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human services estimated that in 2008 – 44 percent  of those uninsured were between the ages of 18 and 34.  Their belief that a good portion of these people believed that they were immune to sickness.  In half of these cases, the individual could pay for individual insurance.

But many of those, who choose not to have insurance while single and a student, once married, are strong supports for health insurance. When a family comes into play, a lot of things change.

Overall

Health Insurance is a very tricky issue to deal with.  Without a doubt, there are those who need insurance who can’t get it. This could be a variety of reasons, and the most basic, is that they haven’t taken enough time to search through and find a individual coverage that suits them.

Others have recently lost their job or are in-between jobs. Another good proportion of people, their companies no longer offer this benefit. That would be so hard, to previously have had insurance, to have not lost your job, but are no longer able to have insurance through your employer.

But at the same time, for whatever reason, there are those who are actively choosing not to have insurance. They may see someone else forcing them to have insurance as a bad thing.

The one thing that we know for sure, not having insurance is a horrible thing. You may think that you are invincible but one day, something may happen. By not having insurance, you could be setting yourself up for a life full of financial misery. 

Take the time and find an insurance that is right for you.