Facts about Patient Education: Know the Basics

Patient education is a key driver of a treatment outcome. Learn here what it is, what the benefits are and what you can do.

Do you remember your doctor’s instructions on how to use an inhaler? Are you confused about which medicine to take first when you have a bag full of pills? Well, you are not alone if you have difficulty following medical advice. In fact, it happens to a large number of patients. Regrettably, low health literacy is a common yet often overlooked problem in the US. In this article, we will explore facts about patient education and how increasing health literacy boosts treatment outcomes.

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Before we begin our journey, let’s have a quick look at patient education.

What is Patient Education?

Basically, patient education is a patient’s right to actively participate in a treatment program. In essence, it enables them to gain sufficient knowledge about the proper use of medicines, medical devices and helps them to follow a medical advice. On a healthcare provider’s part, it is their duty to ensure the patient is getting information as intended.

Patient education may also be considered as a subset of health education. The latter concept embraces other aspects of disease like prevention, lifestyle changes, and dietary habits. Traditionally, the concept of patient education was limited to patient information. However, now, the trend has progressively shifted to empowering the patients through individualized approach and attention to the individual needs.

“Patient Education is a teaching learning process aimed at ensuring good health and optimal treatment outcomes”

Know the Benefits of Patient Education

  • The high quality of care. Educating a patient is key to a high quality of care. In order to optimize the treatment outcomes, it is very important that a patient knows how to use a medicine, the importance of following medical advice, and what the medicine is doing to their body.
  • Enhanced quality of life. According to a WHO report, patient education significantly decreases the number of hospital admissions of patients with bronchial asthma or diabetic coma. Moreover, it results in a better quality of life by delaying amputations in 75% of cases.
  • Improved patient satisfaction. High quality of care naturally results in improved patient satisfaction. We should always keep in mind that patients are central to any treatment program as they deserve the right to know what’s happening to their health. Particularly, this is critical in the management of chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, problems with respiration and arthritis.
  • Increased compliance. Compliance, also called adherence, refers to the degree to which a patient follows a doctor’s advice on the use of medicines. In a broader sense, it also includes proper use of medical devices, self-care measures, and therapy sessions. Most notably, you should understand that it’s not only the patient who is key to increase In fact, a positive patient-physician relationship determines the degree of compliance. When apatient can’t understand what they were told, you cannot expect a good result.
  • Improved staff satisfaction. Though staff satisfaction comes next to patient satisfaction, it is the quality of care. Highly motivated staffs are always in a better position to deliver high-quality health services.
  • Effective use of resources. A treatment program comprises of a number of resources. For example, human resources, financial resources, materials and time. An effective patient education ensures all these resources are optimally utilized.

What Physicians Can Do to Make Patient Education Effective

Considering the patient is a beneficiary, it’s the duty of the doctor in charge to make the patient education effective. Here are some tips the doctors may want to consider.

  • Evaluate your patient’s needs, preferences, level of knowledge and potential barriers in the teaching-learning process.
  • Sit with your patient and make a plan about how you are going to deliver the information in the best possible way.
  • Set realistic objectives and goals.
  • Find the essential resources and make sure to use them efficiently.

Irrespective of the type of patient education, do not miss the following factors.

  • What your patient needs to do and why
  • When your patient can expect results (if applicable)
  • Warning signs (if any) your patient should watch for
  • What your patient should do if a problem occurs
  • Who your patient should contact for questions or concerns

The Role of the Patient in Patient Education

As a patient seeking treatment and high-quality health services, you may want to follow the tips mentioned below.

  • Ask questions whenever there is a confusion or you have a query.
  • Take a note of the key points.
  • Prepare a list of the questions that you would like to ask on a doctor visit.
  • Learn enough about your condition through reliable sources like authentic health websites, printed materials, and counseling from registered health professionals.

Know the Means of Patient Education

A doctor can use various methods to impart patient education through many ways. One-to-one communication forms the cornerstone but you may use other methods mentioned below.

  • Brochures or other printed materials
  • Podcasts
  • YouTube videos
  • Videos or DVDs
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Posters or charts
  • Models or props
  • Group classes
  • Trained peer educators

Key Takeaways

  • Patient education is patient-centered approach and a subset of health education.
  • Doctors, patients, pharmacists, nurses and other health professionals are the components of patient education.
  • To address specific patient problems, there may be a need for training the concerned health professionals.
  • Patient education is critically important to the patients with long-term illnesses.
  • Over the last few decades, the patient education model has changed from a general information delivery approach to an individualized approach.

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Want To Know More?

To learn more about patient education and ways to enhance thequality of health care, visit http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

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How to Cut Healthcare Cost: Top 10 Tips to Consider

Meta: Are you spending a large chunk of money to pay for necessary healthcare services? Read on to learn some tips to cut healthcare cost.

How to cut healthcare costs

It may not be entirely possible to cut healthcare cost by a huge margin. However, with the following tips, you can surely limit out-of-pocket spending. Continue reading to discover more.

Health Is Wealth. Does It Mean You Should Spend all Your Money on It?

No, but you should not hold back from spending your earnings for something as important as health.

However, that does mean it should create a big hole in your pocket. Healthcare costs have been rising significantly with every passing year. The growth is fueled by many factors, such as an increasing prevalence of lifestyle and chronic diseases, availability of new treatment options, and rising drug costs.

The key to spending less for healthcare services lies in identifying the leakage and taking timely measures to repair the leakage.

What Can You Do to Cut Healthcare Cost?

1. Review your contract with your health insurance company. Choose an insurance plan that best meets your healthcare needs. For example, if you often become ill or have a chronic condition, you may opt for a plan with higher premiums. On the other hand, if your medical needs are few, you may choose a plan with lower premiums. Moreover, you should learn about medications that the plan covers. You may want to switch to another plan if the early plan does not cover the medicines you take or are more likely to take in future.

2. Ask your doctor the right questions. That said, you should communicate with your doctor closely but not ask irrelevant questions. Ask if a generic version of the prescribed medicine is available. As a matter of fact, the generic versions are less expensive than the brands. In case there is no generic version, ask if there is a less expensive substitute. In any case, follow your doctor’s instructions and take your medicine as directed. That way, you may be able to reduce further health complications.

3. Leverage the benefits of technology. Using telemedicine and disease trackers may be another option to bring healthcare cost down. That way, you might be able to prevent an ER visit. According to the CDC, reducing ER visits and subsequent hospital stays could save $7 billion a year.

One such technological innovation is http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

4. Reap the benefits of discount programs. Depending on your income and health needs, you may apply for discounted medicines through a patient assistance program. Some pharmaceutical companies, states, or insurance providers run such programs. Find out if any such program is currently running in your area.

5  Reduce medicine wastage. Buy only what’s necessary and store medicines as per the instructions. Moreover, talk to your pharmacist to know more about how you can reduce medicine wastage.

6. Prevention is better than cure. The best way to cut healthcare cost is to practice prevention. If you work to maintain your health, the diseases will definitely stay far from you. So, don’t wait for the perfect moment to start working for your health. Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, limit alcohol intake, and quit smoking.

7. Get more out of services made available to you. A number of healthcare services are often available without cost. For example, health screenings, vaccinations, and pregnancy care. Don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of such services in your area.

8. Learn if you can get a procedure or surgery done at an outpatient facility. Service at an outpatient facility is usually cheaper than that in a hospital. Understand that using this method may not be applicable to all cases.

9 .Compare in-network and out-of-network healthcare providers. Go for the first option as the in-network providers charge you less.

10. Open an HSA. An HSA or Health Care Savings Account is a great way to save hundreds of dollars a year. You can use an HSA to render a certain amount of your income tax-free. If you have been paying lower premiums for your plan, this may be an option. Many financial institutions allow you to open an HSA. Remember the amount in the HSA gives you interest and is solely your property. This is in contrast to Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Your employer owns the FSA and the amount in it does not give you interest.

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Key Takeaways

  • Staying healthy is the best way to cut healthcare cost. Following a healthy diet and lifestyle habits can save you from many diseases. Most notably, the chronic lifestyle disorders like high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.
  • Opening an HSA could save hundreds of dollar every year. Interestingly, you can also earn interest on the amount in HSA.
  • Purchasing medicines from online pharmacies (whenever possible) can be an effective way to bring drug cost down. For long-term medicines, you may look for a reliable online pharmacy and order a bulk quantity. However, be sure first if the plan covers the medicines. Also, never trust everything that’s on the internet. You make want to do thorough research about the online vendor before purchasing.

 

Want To Know More?

To learn more about the ways to cut healthcare cost, visit http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

 

Medical Device Attacks: A New Threat to Patient Safety

Meta: Medical device attacks can be a nightmare. Learn here what it means, what are the types, and the potential solutions. 

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 In May 2017, a Forbes article revealed how a ransomware infected 48 UK hospital systems and some US medical facilities. The news of medical device attack spread like a fire. This essentially pointed out security loopholes in our systems.

 Can a hacker remotely make your insulin pump go haywire? Does it make sense when your pacemaker suddenly starts sending abnormal signals? Well, it may look like a scene from your favorite sci-fi movie. But these things do not seem too far from happening. In fact, the emerging threat of medical device attack is something many should worry about.

What Is Medical Device Attack?

Also called medical device hijack (MEDJACK), it is a type of cyberattack where the hackers target medical devices by intruding into their operating systems. Though a relatively new form of cyberattack, it has gained considerable attention in the last few years. With the increasing use of embedded devices that lack proper security measures, such attacks present a big threat to patient data integrity and patient safety.

The motive of the hackers behind medical device attacks might be different. For example, some are concerned with patient data theft while some are more interested in earning some bucks through the attack. For example, a ransomware asks money for not revealing the confidential patient information. In the worst case, it could be a terrorist attack or state-sponsored spying on some politically influential persons. Whatever the motive might be, hacks endanger patient safety in every case.

Any medical device is potentially vulnerable to medical device attack. Be it an MRI system, a CT scan machine or an X-ray machine. More serious concerns arise when the hackers attack EMR/EHR systems.

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Types of Medical Device Attack: Know the Basics

There is no standard classification system that categorizes medical device attacks. Nonetheless, researchers have outlined five types depending on the outcomes of the attack. They are:

  • Destroy attacks. The hackers make an attempt to physically destroy a device or its components.
  • Disturb attacks. They impair or alter the functionality of a device.
  • Reprogram attacks. Making changes in how a program functions. Indeed, these are a subset of the disturb
  • Denials of service (DoS) attacks. These attacks refer to a situation where you cannot get the service from your device as a result of the malfunctions in its software.
  • Eavesdrop attacks. These are basically spying on your communication in matters related to health.

Why Medical Device Attack is Becoming Common

First, the widespread use of connected devices offers hackers a playground for their misdoings. It’s quite natural that a greater number of devices are associated with an increased risk.

As a matter of fact, every machine carries a certain degree of risk. But there are more reasons for the attack than the number of the machines. Here are some more things that might play a contributory role.

Experts believe it’s the security loopholes that provide a breeding space for such attacks. Many computers in the hospital are still running on some old versions of a Windows operating system. Moreover, the hospitals do not express much interest in spending enough to train their staffs.

Another security expert points out a different reason for the increasing events of medical device attack. He says the mismatch between the lifetimes of the software and hardware is fueling the events. Meaning, normally, the software has a shorter lifetime than a medical device.

For example, if a medical device works correctly for 30 years, the software inside it serves no more than 10 years. Moreover, the software also needs regular updates. What actually happens in the real world is the machine is left to work even though the software has expired.

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Understanding the Role of FDA

In the US, the FDA regulates medical devices. The manufacturers are allowed to market their products only after they are able to show clear benefits over the risks. It urges the manufacturers to keep a close eye on their products in the matters related to cybersecurity. Similarly, the hospitals and health care facilities are required to closely monitor the performance of the devices in their institution.
Unfortunately, these efforts are apparently failing to prevent the attacks. We cannot expect a better situation until both the parties get serious about the hazards of the attack.

What Might Be the Solutions?

Owing to the complex nature of the problem, an exact security framework may not be possible, at least for now. However, practicing some essentials of cybersecurity will go a long way in minimizing the risk. The following list consists of the potential remedial or preventive actions.

  • A well-defined reporting and feedback system in the health care facility.
  • Identification of potential risks and evaluation of the risk management factors.
  • A more stringent FDA regulation for the manufacturers and hospitals.
  • Development and implementation of the industry standards among the device manufacturers. For example, ISO/IEC 27032:2012, IEC 62304:2006, IEC/TR 80002–3:2014 and others.
  • Proper training and instructions for health care professionals and patients.

 Want To Know More?

To learn more about medical device attacks and the measures to reduce its risk, visit http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

 

10 Tips for a Smooth Back-to-school Transition

Meta: Returning back to school is not easy but it should not be difficult either. Read on to learn the Top 10 tips that ensure a smooth back-to-school transition.

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It is very likely that your child will face a lot of difficulties when they get back to school after a hiatus. As a parent, it’s your duty to ensure their back-to-school transition is smooth and hassle-free.

As a matter of fact, transition of any kind is not easy. For the children, it is even more challenging as they are naturally less equipped to adapt to the new environment. Typical problems may occur when your child gets back to school after a long period of illness or a vacation. For example, difficulty connecting with friends, problems with learning, and mixing up in the changed school environment. With the following tips, you can help them have a smooth ride.

Things to Do to Ensure a Smooth Back-to-school Transition for Your Child

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  1. Ask them to follow a schedule. Most importantly, focus on bedtime routine and wake-up times. Start the schedule at least a week before the school starts. That way, your child will find it easier to follow the real-time schedule during the school days. Sound sleep is essential for concentration and energy levels during the day. Therefore, it is very important that your child gets enough quality sleep. To help your child adapt to the bedtime routine, you may make subtle changes there. For example, shifting the bedtime earlier by a few minutes every day.
  2. Talk to your child. It’s not only your child who is stressed at this time. You may be stressed, too. A clear and loving conversation, during this situation, can ease the stress. In fact, communication is the best way to prepare them for a new school routine. Ask them about their fears and expectations. Then, share your experiences as a child. Do not forget to tell them how positive attitude helped you during the stressful times.
  3. Give them healthy meals. No doubt, everyone needs healthy meals, but children need them even more. This is because their rapid growth demands a more nutrient-dense diet. Also, it is very likely that their food habits have changed during the holidays or over breaks. To get them back on track, try gradually replacing any junk foods with healthy alternatives. You know how busy you can be. Make sure your child gets healthy meals for breakfast, after returning home, and for dinner. Include colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grain foods, lean proteins, and dairy products.
  4. Take them to a doctor even if they look fine. In addition to regular medical checkups, you should schedule a doctor visit for your child before the school starts. This helps to ensure the children are well both physically and mentally. You know how important health is for your child’s performance in school.
  5. Go shopping with your child. Shopping is a great time to strengthen your bond with your child. In fact, it is one of the most enjoyable times where children get to express what they like. Even better is when you buy the school supplies together. Such practice brings them closer to you and teaches them the value of investing in education. At the end of shopping, all the necessary supplies should be in your basket.
  6. Take a keen interest in their activities. Every child wants to be loved and taken care of. Participate in your child’s activities, be it reading a story book or playing a game. Before the start of school, it is even more important that your child feels you are taking care of them. It motivates them to learn new things and make a better use of their brilliant idea.
  7. Set rules. Rules are key to maintaining discipline. When the children learn to follow rules, they become more efficient and can manage their time better. Set aside study hours, screen time, and time for play. If they fail to follow the rules, ask them the reason in a polite manner so as not to offend them.
  8. Teach them good manners and basic safety rules. It does not take a great mind to understand why good manners are important in life, especially during the growing years. After all, a grown up man is an extended version of a child. Another critical thing to take care of is a child’s safety in the school. There may be times when your child falls into some problematic situations. To minimize the risk, always carry an emergency contact card.
  9. Contact the teachers. Keeping in regular touch with your child’s teachers is an effective way to monitor how your child is performing. Most importantly, make time to attend back-to-school night.
  10. Organize a party for your child’s friends (after school starts). You don’t need a lavish party to show your love and care towards your child. A small party will do all the work if you can handle the noise and let the child inside you play the lead. At the party, you can get an idea of your child’s friends and how the relationship with them might affect your child.

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Want To Know More?

To learn more tips for a smooth back-to-school transition, visit http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

 

Three-Day Sugar Detox: A Short-cut to Beat Sugar Addiction?

Meta: The claims of the three-day sugar detox seem too good to be true. What is it? Does it really work? Read on to learn more.

The three-day sugar detox allegedly curbs your craving for sugary foods. It’s no surprise to see that many sugar detox programs have surfaced in the media. Considering the alarmingly rising rate of obesity and related health issues, everyone seems to be in a hurry to quit their so-called sugar addiction.

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No doubt, sodas and cakes are a treat for the taste buds. But they can also take charge of your brain when you consume them in large amounts. While debates are rife whether you can have sugar addiction, there is enough evidence that shows excessive sugar consumption is very bad for your health. It increases your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. For these reasons, giving up on sugar is great for health improvement.

Is Sugar Addiction Real?

Many researchers categorize sugar addiction as a type of food addiction. Like other forms of addiction, it may cause cravings, loss of control over binging, and often some symptoms of withdrawal.

The main problem with this term is that people in almost all the cases, do not binge on sugar alone. Can you imagine someone devouring spoonfuls of sugar? Well, it is very unlikely. Instead, they eat more sugary foods to satiate their hunger. Thus, food addiction may be a more appropriate term, at least for now.

What is Sugar Detox?

In addiction therapy, detox is a program that aims to rapidly clear the drug from your bloodstream. In fact, it is the first step of long-term addiction care.

By the same token, sugar detox also aims to get rid of the glucose molecules from your body within a short duration. Many detox programs claim to offer superior outcomes. Nonetheless, their effectiveness still remains largely unknown.

Three-Day Sugar Detox: A Potential Short-term Treatment for Sugar Addiction

Three-day sugar detox has the following components.

  1. Quit it cold turkey. The proponents of three-day sugar detox recommend completely avoiding sugar and all the sugary stuff all at once. This method is called cold turkey, and according to them, it is the best because it is not likely to cause severe withdrawal problems. Withdrawal symptoms are the set of unpleasant experiences that follow an abrupt discontinuation of a drug. In fact, detox programs for powerful drugs like heroin do not recommend a cold turkey approach as it can cause some life-threatening withdrawal effects. The first few days are definitely going to be troublesome for you. You will have cravings and some physical signs like excessive tiredness, headache, and nausea. However, these are mild and do not warrant any special medical attention. Once you conquer your cravings, the journey ahead will be much easier.
  2. Do not eat sugar or sweets for 3 days. It might seem like an uphill task to stay away from your favorite sweets for three long days. However, when you shift your thoughts from the sweetness to the potential benefits of giving up, you will definitely feel better. Also, make sure not to eat any fruits, starchy vegetables (for example, corn, peas, and sweet potatoes), dairy, grains, and alcohol. Instead, follow a healthy diet which consists of foods that contain complex carbohydrates. These foods release glucose into the bloodstream slowly. Unlike fast carbs like white bread and pasta, they do not cause a spike in blood glucose levels.

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What to Eat During the Three-day Sugar Fasting

To maintain energy and nutrition levels during the fasting, make a 3 days food list which includes:

  • Eggs for breakfast
  • Poultry, fish or tofu and a green salad for lunch
  • Steamed vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and spinach for dinner

You may also eat nuts for snacks. In the meantime, keep yourself hydrated with sufficient water. If you like, you may also have tea and black coffee with no sugar in it.

Does No Sugar Mean No Sweetness in Life?

Definitely not.

There are many sweet things in life other than sugar. Once you clear the three-day test, you can restart eating healthy sweet foods. For example, fresh and dried fruits, beans, and nuts.

In addition to containing slow carbs, they are rich in essential nutrients like vitamins, fibers, and plant proteins.

Does Three-Day Sugar Detox Really Work?

An early verdict on this is not wise. It is because every individual responds differently to the dietary regimen. You may achieve your goal with a three-day sugar detox while your friend may achieve it with a thirty-day detox.

Unlike medicines, these diets and programs are not strictly evaluated by any of the US FDA. Thus, the best approach for you would be to wait and see

Most importantly, talk to your doctor before using the above three-day detox program if you have diabetes or any other chronic illness.

Key Takeaways

  • Limit your daily sugar intake. Know how much to have in a day. Make sure not to have more than 6 teaspoons of sugar if you are a woman, and not more than 9 teaspoons if you are a man.
  • Beware of added sugar. Some common sources of added sugar are soft drinks, candy, cakes, cookies, pies, and fruit drinks. Read the labels on these products to know how much energy the sugar provides.
  • Make some simple changes in your daily eating habits like reducing sugar in your coffee and replacing chocolates with dry fruits or sweet fruits. Or, prepare a recipe on your own and see if it works.

Want To Know More?

To learn more about three-day detox and its benefits or risks, visit http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

3 Day Sugar Detox

More people now are becoming aware of how sugar can detrimentally affect their health and are seeking ways to reduce or eliminate it from their diets.After doing a number of 10-day and 30-day guided sugar detoxes with people over the last couple of years and ultimately writing a book on the topic, I realize that folks often fall into two camps

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The “tell me what I can and can’t eat” crowd and the “let me learn why I eat the way I do” contingent. Regardless of what “camp” you fall into, these steps will help you curtail your sugar consumption and set you on a stronger path toward looking and feeling healthy this summer (and for the rest of your life):

  1. Set up your environment and develop practices that are health-centric

Practices that can help us deal with stress, like mindful meditation, brisk walks, yogic breathing, and setting up your environment so you can eat healthfully, can ultimately be little tweaks that lead to big results.

  1. Even committing to start something is progress

Doing a sugar detox for a short period of time can give you a small but solid goal to work toward. If you’re able to complete that, then you can begin to decide whether you want to do one for longer. And if the “test” didn’t go so smoothly by your estimation, then you can learn from it and ask yourself why that may have been so, and what you, in fact, would change or would like to change moving forward.

  1. Understand that good eating can take some time for certain reasons

If you’ve been reliant on sugar, as I had been in the past, then you may find that reducing or removing it from your diet can be a little challenging but far from impossible. It takes time for withdrawal symptoms to subside and for your brain and enteric nervous system to begin producing their own neurotransmitters, like dopamine and serotonin, again. Additionally, it takes some time to make key switches in your work, home, and social environments so that you can eat better without having to think about it.

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  1. You are your best health adviser

Part of this discovery of eating better is not necessarily what I—or any other person, for that matter—can dictate to you. Sure, there are tactics and best practices that you can learn, but in the end, you have the answers of what will work best for you. Let these ideas serve as a guide that can provide you with the tools, skills, and confidence to be your own best health advocate.

  1. Supplant sugary beverages from the start

Nearly half of the average American’s sugar intake comes from sugary beverages, including sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, coffees with sugar, tea with honey or agave, and yes—juices and smoothies, as well. If you’re a beer and wine drinker, those will also need to be put on hiatus—that is, unless you can keep your red wine consumption to a serving, which is no more than 5 ounces. Once you eliminate sugary drinks—that’s half the battle! Instead, turn your fizzy sodas into sparkling water, flavored with a squeeze of lime or lemon. Try more flavorful teas; loose-leaf varieties tend to have more flavor, and ingredients like cinnamon, licorice, turmeric, ginger, and mint tend to be fuller-bodied. That will help eliminate the need to use added sugars, like honey.

Once you’re finished with your three-day sugar detox journey, give yourself time to be reflective of the process and progress you’ve made. What behavior changes were you successful at making? And what were true challenges that will need greater amounts of attention or effort going forward? These discussions with yourself will lead to a self-discovery of answers that will allow you to be a better critical thinker so that you can be your best health advocate and adviser.

Access to Vital Medicine: What We Need to Know

Meta: Lack of access to vital medicine is a serious public health issue worldwide. Read on to learn about the actual problems, the role of duty-bearers, and potential solutions.

According to a 2012 study, more than two-thirds of the world population living in the developing and underdeveloped countries have no access to vital medicine. While this may seem just like another stat on paper, the real-time scenario is far worse than you can ever imagine.

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Can you imagine someone dying from simple diarrhea or a common cold? This is what is actually happening in the developing world. Therefore, such a dire situation warrants immediate attention from every stakeholder which includes national governments, theinternational community, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Access to Vital Medicine: What Are the Problems?

Despite some serious efforts to ensure access to vital medicine, certain problems still persist. In fact, public health in the developing world is marred by two principal factors. They are:

  • Drug shortage
  • Low-quality drugs that fail to deliver the expected treatment outcomes

Whenever we talk of about vital medicine, the key determinants of its accessibility are its cost and effectiveness. No doubt, the WHO has a list of essential medicines. The selection of medicines on the list is based on their cost and effectiveness. But the real problem occurs when these drugs are not available in local healthcare organizations. Many factors influence this. For example, geographical location (aproblem for a landlocked country), pricing issues, lack of storage facilities, and socioeconomic conditions of a particular nation.

Let’s take an example. A local governmental health organization has enough vital medicine, but when the patient reaches the facility to seek help, the medicines are already degraded due to poor storage conditions. This case is more relevant to vaccines that need to be stored at a certain temperature to maintain their potency and efficacy.

Take another example. Political instability and worsening social conditions cause medicine delivery delay. It is very unfortunate that many developing countries have piles of medicines lying somewhere in the warehouse.

Regrettably, this is just the tip of the iceberg and more complex situations prevent the impoverished citizens from getting their basic healthcare needs fulfilled. In fact, this is a major blow to the international law that states everyone has the same right to health.

Aftermath of Lack of Access to Vital Medicine

When people cannot get access to vital medicine, they turn to private pharmacy services. As a result, they have to pay a greater amount for the same medicine which would otherwise be available at a minimal cost. Moreover, the quality of the medicine on the market often comes under scrutiny.

Altogether, such a situation only complicates the matter, putting a big question on the roles of local government and NGOs.

How to Improve Access to Vital Medicine

As a matter of fact, this is one of the most difficult questions to answer. Even if we find an answer, everything is not going to be fine overnight. It will take decades before the people get access to vital medicine.

Here, we attempt to explore the roles of key stakeholders.

  • The role of the local government. Naturally, it is the duty of the local government to ensure their citizens are getting access to vital medicine. In essence, they are the primary duty bearer. If they do not work to resolve the issue, there is no point blaming the international community or the NGOs. It is commonly seen that the governments of poor countries spend only a small fraction of the budget in healthcare. Experts believe if a country spends 15% of the national budget on healthcare, the poor people will have no major problems getting their health needs fulfilled. Unfortunately, this is something which many poor people can only imagine. The reality is different–in fact, harsh. To solve this issue, in part, economists recommend cutting down taxes on medicines so that the end-user prices reduce by a huge margin.
  • The role of theinternational The rich nations approve certain amounts to fund the healthcare needs of the poor people. But, at times, problems arise when they fail to live up to their commitments. Cutting funds will have a major impact on how healthcare organizations in poor countries function. Therefore, it is very important that the international community respects the declarations and joint agreements.
  • The role of Non-governmental organizations (NGOs). NGOs are often regarded as the bridge that connects the donor nations with a country’s public healthcare organizations. Their role is even more crucial considering they come in a direct contact with the patients. Not only this, they also play a major role in raising health awareness, disease prevention, and general health maintenance. Unfortunately, many NGOs are focused only on specific diseases such HIV/AIDS or TB. This seriously impacts how people with other diseases get access to vital medicine. For this reason, Millennium Declaration recommends a wider area of work for the NGOs.

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Key Takeaways

  • Lack of access to vital medicine is a serious global health issue. More than 2 billion people in developing countries lack access to vital medicine.
  • The major causes of an inadequate access to vital medicine are drug shortage, low-quality drug, and socioeconomic and political scenario in the state.
  • Local government, theinternationalcommunity, and NGOs are accountable stakeholders. The list is in decreasing order of responsibility. Other minor stakeholders are pharmaceutical companies.
  • The most effective solution for this problem is a collaborative effort among the major stakeholders.

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