A Guide to Healthy Aging for Women

Aging women and men differ in the diseases they face and their exercise and health needs. For women around the world the leading cause of death is heart disease, followed by breast cancer. Most medical conditions that women face can be controlled and sometimes treated, so there is a possibility of reducing the number of deaths if the symptoms are spotted on time.

As research has shown, a healthy diet, exercise and regular checkups are the key ingredients for healthy aging for women. Take a look at the following lifestyle modifications that can have a significant impact on your overall well-being as you age.

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Major health problems afflicting women

The number one cause of death in women in the US is heart disease. It is interesting to note that more women than men die of stroke every year. Moreover, twice as many women die of stroke than breast cancer. At 21%, cancer is the leading cause of death in women, with breast cancer having the highest number of fatalities.

Some other conditions in women are osteoporosis, osteopenia and osteoarthritis. Fortunately, these conditionsare not life threatening, but may affect mobility. The number five leading cause of death in women is Alzheimer’s Disease.

The disease is estimated to affect 5% more women over 71 years than men. It is also estimated that 18% of women over 65 are affected by depression. 50 million Americans suffer from different types of autoimmune diseases, 75% of them are women.

1.Decrease Body Fat

Extra body fat increases inflammation that causes premature chronic dis­ease, while lean body mass increases strength and mobil­ity as we age. If you are overweight, now is the right time to focus on reasonable weight loss through healthy diet and an exercise plan that will help you build lean muscle. Due to a decreasing metabolic rate that occurs with aging, a realistic weight-loss goal for older adults is 2 to 4 pounds per month.

2.Eat a Healthy Diet

Good nutrition and food safety are extremely important for older adults. As you age, you may be more susceptible to foodborne illness and food poisoning. You also need to make sure you eat a healthy, balanced diet. Make sure that you make wise food choices and practice safe food handling.

3.Move more

Exercise is one of the best anti-aging remedies. Regular exercise not only helps you live longer, but it also helps you sleep better. So, stay at a healthy weight, and feel good about yourself. Aim for two and a half hours (about 30 minutes a day) of moderately intense activity a week (such as brisk walking) and two or more days of strength training that works all major muscle groups – sit-ups and lifting weights are great for this purpose. Whether it’s gardening, yoga, or hiking, finding activities you enjoy can make it easier to stick with it!

4.Take A Vitamin D Sup­plement 

Adequate vitamin D not only decreases rates of hip frac­tures but is thought to decrease risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers as well. Most of us don’t get enough of this important vitamin because so few of the foods in the typical American diet contain it. And while sunlight is a good source, sun exposure is attended by risk of skin cancer, so many women avoid exposure when they can. But, you can consider taking a vita­min D supplement of 800 to 1,000 international units daily.

5.Monitor your Health 

Schedule your well-woman visit every year. It’s your time to get important screenings and to discuss your health habits, family history, and future plans for your health. It also gives your doctor or a nurse a chance to identify problems early, when they’re easiest to treat.

Some of the diseases can be blamed on a poor lifestyle. As mentioned earlier, regular exercise is a crucial component of healthy living. It helps to build muscle mass and burn excess fat, which is good for your health. However, that should not be the end of it. Be sure to also take into account other tips and life the healthiest life you can!

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2018 Health Care Crisis

In the second year of the Trump administration, healthcare leaders will be adjusting their strategies to focus on investments, collaborations and efficiencies that build enterprise resilience on a baseline of continued uncertainty.

Healthcare players will continue to thrust which will likely result in unavoidable policy changes. Moreover, healthcare providers should anticipate the changes as they come. Beyond health reform, additional risks and uncertainties are moving appearing, as is the consumer, and the health industry is being forced to act.

Artificial intelligence, IoT, cybersecurity, disaster preparedness and the patient experience are only some of the prime concerns. So, here are some of the most important challenges for health care in 2018 in a period of crisis.

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1. Health reform isn’t over, it’s much more complicated

Politicians and policymakers at the state level may be making important decisions in 2018 if many healthcare reforms are enacted. The overarching trend has been toward state autonomy in healthcare policy.

Healthcare organizations, especially ones doing business in multiple states, should strengthen compliance and local advocacy efforts. In an unsettled policy environment, however, health organizations should focus on understanding how potential policies would specifically affect their business projections, and construct volatility ranges for those policies. They should understand that fixed costs and federal and state policy decisions’ impact on margin.

2. Fake news and misinformation

Two decades have passed since one notorious paperclaimed a link between childhood vaccines and autism. It took years for scientists to discover the study results were fraudulent. By then, the damage was done. This one piece of fake news helped inspire public doubt in one of the most powerful weapons we have against human disease, and it persists to this day.

In the past few years, myths and misinformation have resulted in outbreaks of measles and mumps in the US and in the stubborn persistence of polio in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. In West Africa, they contributed to the deaths of over 11,300 people due to Ebola. False facts have the power to maim children, kill health workers, and stoke public health disasters. Misinformation will affect global health in many ways in 2018, ranging from Internet-powered self-misdiagnoses to misguided policies.

3. Medicare advantage swells in 2018

Organizations need to inform older adults about Medicare Advantage before they hit 65. In a recent study, only 28 percent of consumers ages 50 to 64 were familiar with Medicare Advantage.

The federal government is ramping up reviews of Medicare Advantage plans. In order to avoid penalties, health insurers should manage risk by focusing on members, paying particular attention to some important services and up-to-date provider directories.

4. Tackling the opioid epidemic

With 64,000 deaths from opioid overdoses in 2016, there is an expected bigger collaboration across payers, providers and regulators in addressing the industry’s role in the crisis. In many healthcare environments, there are already new partnerships being forged between would-be rivals to figure out new approaches, like pharmaceutical companies discussing non-opioid pain treatments. Beyond the humanitarian reasons, these collaborations help move the industry to where we think the market needs to go in fostering new, cross-sector relationships.

5. The evolution of the health workforce

Millions of young people will pour into the global job market this year. All want jobs that pay decent wages, but perhaps many want something more—a sense of purpose, a job where they can help others. For obvious reasons, a career in health care can offer both. Today’s massive generation of young people is already transforming the health workforce worldwide, and will keep doing so for many more decades. But demographics aren’t the only shift taking place in the health workforce.

The skills health workers need are changing, as well. Many health workers around the world are now facing challenges they may never have imagined, much less trained for. Hurricanes, earthquakes, and wars make even the most routine care difficult. During disasters, trauma victims fill hospitals to capacity, the power goes out, and health workers have to think and work fast.

So what would be the solutions? For starters, healthcare education needs to adapt to the changing needs of the industry. Experts say that most healthcare professionals are trained in silos, and then asked to work in a team environment. The focus needs to be on teamwork from the start. That and a better understanding of the fast-changing landscape of the healthcare workforce will help come up with solutions to some of the industry’s biggest challenges in the future.

Differences Between Urgent Care vs Emergency

It’s very important to understand the differences between emergency rooms (ERs) and Urgent care. If a medical condition is life-threatening, or involves severe wounds or amputations, patients should go to the ER. On the other hand, if the medical condition is non-life-threatening, urgent care at can be a less costly and faster alternative to the ER. To receive the most appropriate medical care, it’s important to know the difference between urgency and emergency.  So, here is everything you need to know about the two.

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When to Use Urgent Care

If health needs suddenly arise on the evenings, weekends and holidays, urgent care clinics are available at those particular times. With walk-in appointments and flexible hours, urgent care clinics are good options when the unexpected happens.

Urgent care is available during times your primary care doctor may not be, with later and weekend or holiday hours. Urgent care can handle injuries and illnesses, but it isn’t a good place to get care for chronic conditions. If you have a primary care doctor, urgent care clinicians will have access to your electronic health record and can communicate information back to your regular doctor which is a great thing when in hurry.

Remember, urgent care should be used for injuries and illnesses that aren’t life threatening but still require fast attention. Here is what you can go to urgent care for:

  • Upper respiratory problems
  • Sinus infection, sore throat or ear infection
  • Minor injuries, including small cuts or burns
  • Non-life-threatening allergic reactions
  • Bug bites, minor animal or human bites
  • Urinary tract infection

When to Go to the Emergency Room

For serious or life-threatening health issues, you need to dial 911 or go to the emergency room. The emergency department is an expensive place to receive care and should be utilized for life-threatening injuries and illnesses. When people use the emergency department for minor injuries and illnesses, it causes the cost to go up.

Reasons to go to the emergency room include:

  • Chest pain or symptoms of heart attack
  • Symptoms of stroke – sudden dizziness, weakness, loss of coordination, balance and vision problems
  • Injuries from a car accident
  • Head pain or head injury
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Open broken bones
  • Abdominal pain
  • Choking
  • Poisoning
  • Foreign object in the eye

Payment and Wait Time in Urgent Care Vs. Emergency Rooms

Emergency rooms operate by treating patients with the most serious and demanding conditions first, leaving those with less severe problems to wait. 12.5% of emergency room patients are typically served within one hour or less, while urgent care clinics usually treat 88.6% of their patients within an hour. Also, there are several financial downsides to emergency room visits. Urgent care centers are usually around seven times cheaper than a visit to the emergency room. At an ER, you may also have multiple charges, higher co-pays, and you may be left to pay the medical bills yourself if your insurance company determines that the event that brought you to the emergency room was a non-medical emergency.

It makes sense to go to the hospital if you suspect a serious illness or a serious injury. Doctors can always do an initial evaluation at the urgent care center, but there’s a good chance that you’ll end up transferring to a hospital for further evaluation and treatment.So, it’s important to know the difference and be able to react properly in case of emergency!

Blood Types

If a doctor talks about your blood type, usually he or she is referring to two things: your type in the ABO system and Rhesus (Rh) factor. Human blood type is determined by antigens on the red blood cells. An antigen is a structure on the cell surface that causes a human immune response reacts to if the structure is foreign to the person’s body. Consequently, blood type match is of crucial importance. The donor’s blood type is identified at the Blood Centre, and the patient’s blood type is determined before transfusion. Here is everything you need to know!

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How do blood types work?

Logically, you inherit your blood type from a mix of your parents’ genes. There are eight main blood types, organized through two combined systems. These systems are ABO (blood types A, B, AB or O) and Rh type or group (positive or negative). Therefore, your blood type is a combination of these two systems. For instance, the most common blood type is O positive and the least common is AB negative.

The most important blood group system is ABO, in which your blood is classified as A, B, O or AB. This is determined by two antigens on the red blood cells:

A — red blood cells have only the A antigen

B — red blood cells have only the B antigen

AB — red blood cells have the A and B antigens

O — neither A nor B antigen

If a person has A, B or O blood type, their plasma contains antibodies that destroy the antigens that the person doesn’t have. Here is a good example: If you have blood type A, it’s important that you don’t receive a B type transfusion, as you have antibodies that will destroy B antigens. If you have blood type O, you have antibodies that will fight the A and B antigens.

If a person has blood type AB, they don’t have such antibodies, and they can accept transfusions from all other blood types. Thus, AB blood type people can be termed universal patients.

However, O Rh negative donors can be called universal donors, as red blood cells from such donors can be used for transfusions for all patients.

The Rh factor

Each blood type is also grouped by its Rhesus factor, or Rh factor. Blood is either Rh positive (Rh+) or Rh negative (Rh-). Statistics says that about 85% of Americans have Rh+ blood. Rhesus refers to another type of antigen, or protein, on the surface of red blood cells. The name Rhesus comes from Rhesus monkeys, in which the protein was first discovered.

Blood Transfusions

A blood transfusion is the transfer of blood from one person to another. Blood that is lost through an injury, an illness or a surgery can be replaced through transfusion. Aside from transferring blood as a whole, part of blood, such as red blood cells, platelets or plasma can also be transferred to individuals. Donor blood is always tested for HIV, hepatitis, syphilis, West Nile virus and other diseases before every transfusion. There are more than 9.5 million blood donors in the United States and an estimated 5 million patients who receive blood annually, resulting in a total of 14.6 million transfusions per year.

What is the Rarest Blood Type?

According to the American Red Cross the rarest is AB(-), present in 1% of the Caucasians, in African Americans it is even rarer. B(-) and O(-) are also very rare, each accounting for less than 5% of the world’s population. Some people with rare blood types bank their own blood in advance of surgical procedures to ensure that blood is available to them which is always a smart move.

Blood types are inherited. Like eye color, blood type is passed genetically from your parents. Whether your blood group is type A, B, AB or O is based on the blood types of your mother and father.

6 Types of Heart Related Disease

Heart disease describes a variety of conditions that affect your heart. Heart diseases include blood vessel diseases, such as coronary artery disease; heart rhythm problems; and heart defects you’re born with (congenital heart defects), among others. The term “heart disease” is often used interchangeably with the term “cardiovascular disease.” Cardiovascular disease refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain or stroke. Other heart conditions, such as those that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or rhythm, also are considered forms of heart disease. Many forms of heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices.

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Types

There are many types of heart disease that affect different parts of the organ and occur in different ways.

  1. Congenital heart disease

This is a general term for some deformities of the heart that have been present since birth. Examples are:

Septal defects: There is a hole between the two chambers of the heart.

Obstruction defects: The flow of blood through various chambers of the heart is blocked.

Cyanotic heart disease: A defect in the heart causes a shortage of oxygen around the body.

  1. Heart valve problems

When heart valves don’t open enough to allow the blood to flow through as it should, it’s called stenosis. When the heart valves don’t close properly and allow blood to leak through, it’s called regurgitation. When the valve leaflets prolapse back into the upper chamber, it’s a condition called prolapse. Discover more about the roles your heart valves play in healthy circulation and make sure to learn more about heart valve disease.

  1. Myocardial infarction

This is also known as a heart attack, cardiac infarction, and coronary thrombosis. An interrupted blood flow damages or destroys part of the heart muscle. This is caused by a blood clot that develops in one of the coronary arteries and can occur if an artery suddenly narrows or spasms.

  1. Arrhythmia

This is an abnormal rhythm of the heart. There are many types of arrhythmias. The heart can beat too slowly, too fast or irregularly. Bradycardiameans that the heart rate is less than 60 beats per minute. Tachycardia is when the heart rate is more than 100 beats per minute. An arrhythmia can affect how well the heart works. The heart may not be able to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.

  1. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

This is a genetic disorder in which the wall of the left ventricle thickens, making it harder for blood to be pumped out of the heart. This is the leading cause of sudden death in athletes. A parent with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy has a 50 percent chance of passing the condition on to their children.

  1. Heart failure 

This doesn’t mean that the heart stops beating. Heart failure, sometimes called congestive heart failure, means the heart isn’t pumping blood as well as it should. The heart keeps working, but the body’s need for blood and oxygen isn’t being met. Heart failure can get worse if it’s not treated. If your loved one has heart failure, it’s very important to follow the doctor’s orders.

Prevention

Some types of heart disease, such as those that are present from birth, cannot be prevented.Other types, however, can be prevented by taking the following measures:

  • Eat a balanced diet. Stick to low-fat, high-fiber foods and make sure to consume five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables each day. Increase your intake of whole grains and reduce the amount of salt and sugar in the diet.
  • Exercise regularly. This will significantly strengthen the heart and circulatory system, reduce cholesterol, and maintain blood pressure.
  • If you smoke, quit. Smoking is a major risk factor for heart and cardiovascular conditions.
  • Reduce the intake of alcohol. Do not drink more than 14 units per week.

Heart disease is easier to treat when detected early, so make sure to talk to your doctor about your concerns regarding your heart health. If you’re concerned about developing heart disease, talk to your doctor about steps you can take to reduce your heart disease risk. This is especially important if you have a family history of heart disease. If you think you may have heart disease, based on new signs or symptoms you’re having, make an appointment to see your doctor.

Breast Health

No matter how old you are, in order to keep your breasts healthy it helps to learn what’s normal and what’s not. It will definitely put you on the lookout for changes that could be the signs of trouble. Just like any part of your body, it’s important to find out what to expect at different stages of life. Knowing what your breasts look and feel like can help you recognize when something is suddenly different. The same way you take care of your skin and watch for new moles, you should pay attention to your breasts. Your doctor may give you a breast exam at your annual visit, and teach you how to do a self-exam on your own at home. Research doesn’t show that breast exams save lives or detect cancers earlier, but a great deal of doctors still recommends them. And it’s always a good idea to be aware of your body changes and let your doctor know if you notice any changes.

Breast Health

Normal breast changes during life

From adolescence to menopause, breast tissue is subject to the hormone changes associated with the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and lactation. Breast tissue can become more tender and lumpy just prior to a menstrual period and less tender and lumpy after a period. It is perfectly normal and quite common for breasts to be lumpy or have benign nodules. In the perimenopausal years, when women transition from regular periods to their final period (menopause), women often experience increased breast discomfort because of a change in hormone levels, which affects breast tissue. After menopause, the glandular tissue of the breast is largely replaced by fatty tissue.

What’s not normal?

Tell your doctor if you see any unusual changes. For instance, make an appointment if you notice:

  • A firm lump you’ve never felt before
  • Swelling around your breast, or armpit
  • Dry, cracked, red, or thickened skin around your nipple
  • Blood or fluid leaking from your nipples
  • Warmth or itching in your breasts

Prevention

It’s important to remember that your body’s immune system is able to recognize and destroy cancer cells in the right environment. Here are some health and lifestyle tips for creating healthy breasts:

  • Get Enough Sleep. Sleep restores the body and it’s during sleep that our bodies metabolize stress hormones. Aim for 8 hours per night. Try your best to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Sleep in a dark room and turn off your cell phone and WiFi.
  • Exercise regularly. The benefits of regular moderate exercise are numerous and research shows that physically active women have a decreased risk of cancer. You don’t have to join an expensive gym. Instead, keep it simple with activities that you will stick with such as walking with a friend or dancing to music in your home.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Try to maintain a diet that keeps your insulin, estrogen and eicosanoids balanced. Include lean protein in every meal. Reduce or eliminate sugar, including alcohol and packaged foods. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Include a good source of iodine from food or as a supplement, as well as Omega 3 fatty acids. It is also well-documented that alcohol consumption increases the risk of breast cancer, even in small amounts. But, this fact doesn’t stop most women from enjoying a glass of wine regularly and for many this is not a problem. But, make sure to be careful and try to stick to these tips!

No matter your age, you can significantly lower your risk of breast cancer if you limit alcohol to one drink a day or less, quit smoking if you’ve got the habit, and stay at a healthy weight. It’s also important to get at least 200 minutes of moderate exercise a week and eat plenty of fruits and veggies. It’s never too early to start thinking about how to have healthy breasts for life!

 

How the NHS Is Monitored: Get the Facts

Currently, there is news of the NHS going through one of the worst phases in the recent times. Just three months ago, news regarding US President Trump’s criticism of the NHS was published in the New York Times.

In fact, a 2015 news article in The Independent reported that the UK had one of the worst healthcare systems in the developed world and the blame was all on severely limited funding from the NHS. Moreover, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) noted that NHS funding had remained static between 2009 and 2013.

At this point, it is important to keep in mind that the annual growth health spending in the UK is a mere 1.2 percent, which is “considerably less” than what one would expect in a developed nation.

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Having read all of this criticism, one should think of the possible factors that have contributed to the ailing NHS and what is possibly its worst performance ever. Before you jump to any conclusions, it is critically important that you learn the factors that monitor NHS. After all, it’s not the NHS that is solely responsible for this condition.

For this reason, you should learn how the NHS is monitored. This article looks at the bodies that monitor NHS and how they might be responsible for the current bad health of the NHS.

A Quick Overview of the NHS and Its Role in UK Healthcare Services

The NHS (National Health Service) is the national healthcare system for the UK. It was established in 1948, in the aftermath of the Second World War. One of the core principles of the NHS is to provide healthcare irrespective of their wealth. In addition, it aims to meet the healthcare needs of every citizen of the nation based on clinical needs rather the patients’ ability to pay.

NHS-funded services include – primary care, in-patient care, long-term healthcare, ophthalmology, and dentistry. It provides either free or subsidized services depending on the type of the care.

It employs over 1.3 million staff and has a budget of over £90 billion. The major sources of funding are taxes and national insurance contributions.

The Department of Health, headed by the Secretary of State for Health, oversees the NHS. In fact, the Department of Health spends a big chunk of its budget in running the NHS. During the period between 2013 and 2014, the Department of Health spent most of its £110 billion budget on the NHS.

What Is NHS Commissioning?

According to the NHS England, “Commissioning is the process of planning, agreeing and monitoring services.” In simple words, commissioning is the act of granting certain powers or the authority to carry out a particular task or duty. This means the NHS commissioning body grants authority to NHS organizations based on the scope of their services.

The commissioning body develops frameworks for the commissioning groups, tools to support their policies, provides opportunities to address their needs, supports the struggling clinical commissioning groups (CCG), and promotes their autonomy.

Which Bodies Monitor the NHS?

The NHS and its bodies are monitored and inspected by the following organizations.

●    Audit Commission

The Audit Commission was active from 1 April 1983 and 31 March 2015. Now, the Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd, National Audit Office, Financial Reporting Council and Cabinet Office have replaced it.

The major functions of the Audit Commission include:

  • Manage the contracts.
  • Exercise statutory powers to appoint auditors.
  • Set and determine fees.
  • Arrange housing benefit subsidy certification.

●    Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission aims to make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care.

The major functions of the Care Quality Commission include:

  • Registration of care providers.
  • Monitoring, inspection and rating services.
  • Taking action to protect people who use services.
  • Publishing independent views on major quality issues in health and social care.
  • Protection of the rights of vulnerable people, including those restricted under the Mental Health Act.
  • Listen to and act on your experiences.
  • Involving the public and people who receive care
  • Collaboration with other organizations and public groups.

●    The National Patient Safety Agency

The NPSA is a partner organization that collaborates with the Department of Health. Therefore, it is also called an arm’s length body (ALB) of the Department of Health.

The major functions of the NPSA include:

  • Identification of the risks to the patients who receive NHS care.
  • Reduction of the risks
  • Take national initiatives to improve patient safety.

●    The Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is an executive agency that regulates medicines, medical devices and blood components for transfusion in the UK. The Department of Health and Social Care sponsors it.

The major functions of the MHRA include:

  • Ensuring that medicines, medical devices and blood components for transfusion meet applicable standards of safety, quality, and efficacy
  • Ensuring that the supply chain for medicines, medical devices, and blood components is safe and secure
  • Promoting international standardization and harmonization to assure the effectiveness and safety of biological medicines
  • Helping to educate the public and healthcare professionals about the risks and benefits of medicines, medical devices, and blood components, leading to safer and more effective use
  • Supporting innovation and research and development that’s beneficial to public health
  • Influencing UK, EU and international regulatory frameworks so that they’re risk-proportionate and effective at protecting public health

Want To Know More?

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