The allure of whiter teeth
I’ve never whitened my teeth, and usually I’m happy with that. But sometimes I get the niggling idea that I would look younger and more sparkling if only my teeth were whiter. My life would be so much better!
Not true, of course, but we all have those unhelpful thoughts now and then, don’t we?
Having your teeth whitened professionally, by a dentist, is the safest way to go and offers the best result. However, it can be expensive.
There are many over-the-counter teeth bleaching sets available for a fraction of the cost—although still pricey, … Continue reading
This guest post is from a good friend of mine. She’s not in the healthcare industry, but she is one of the most savvy healthcare consumers I know. When she was telling me about some of her recent dealings with providers and insurance, I immediately asked her to write up her experiences to share with my readers!
I don’t willingly part with my money, especially when I see a healthcare provider.
I question unnecessary tests, and I don’t want the office staff to be cavalier about spending my money. I expect the office to be familiar with my insurance plan, … Continue reading
Wear a wrist brace at night
I’m one of millions of women over the age of 45 who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel—numbness, tingling, pain and eventually weakness—occur when the median nerve is pinched as it passes through the “tunnel” of your wrist.
Because I definitely want to avoid surgery, I’ve done a lot of research into the best home treatments.
Studies show that a three-week stint of wearing wrist braces at night helps alleviate mild to moderate carpal tunnel symptoms. Wrist braces are a low-cost, low-risk home treatment, and a good place to start.… Continue reading
Happy New (Calendar) Year!
It’s the start of a new year or, in health insurance lingo, the start of a new calendar year deductible. I’m reposting this from last January, because this month is the best time to start trying to schedule that annual exam or annual wellness visit (it could take weeks, after all, to get an appointment!)
I usually advise people to get any screening tests or annual exams done early in the year, just in case an abnormality is found and more testing/treatment is necessary.
Especially with the current trend towards enormous deductibles (up to $14,300 for … Continue reading
Physicians don’t agree on statin use
This subject came up in my family recently after my husband’s last annual exam. He has always had borderline high cholesterol, and as the “target” or ideal cholesterol level keeps falling, his cholesterol seems to be rising.
His primary care provider immediately told him he should take a statin.
“Hold the door!” I said, when he told me his doctor’s recommendation. “Let’s think about this a little more.”
I know there are two schools of thought about statins: those researchers and physicians who think statins are so wonderful they would like to put them … Continue reading
I’m spending the day online getting some gift shopping done, and I thought I’d post about some of the healthcare books and gifts I’m buying for friends and family this year.
I use Amazon a lot (Prime, so I get free 2-day shipping), and I have to include a disclosure here that the following links will take you to my Amazon Associates page. That said, I’m not trying to make any money with my blog, so if you can find these products for better prices elsewhere, great!
For the sleep deprived
As someone who has battled insomnia most of her … Continue reading
December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month!
Miami Children’s Hospital has a great public service video with toy safety tips.
My local pediatric hospital, Seattle Children’s, has a webpage devoted to toy safety and safety tips, including how to choose age-appropriate gifts, how to recognize potential dangers, and how to keep toys in good condition to keep them safe.
They also offer links to toy and gift suggestions for different age groups.
The sponsor of Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Prevent Blindness, has this toy safety list on its website:
… Continue reading
LASIK isn’t a cure all
LASIK has tempted me.
I’ve been nearsighted almost my entire life, and began wearing glasses when I was 5.
I would love to wake up in the morning and not have to fumble for my glasses, or worry about my lenses getting wet in the rain or fogging up when I come in from the cold.
I would love to say goodbye to irritating contact lenses, and the yearly expense of buying contact solution, new lenses and some years new eyeglasses. They’re expensive and I don’t have vision insurance.
But the truth is LASIK isn’t … Continue reading
Taxpayers footing the bill
I watched this on my local news the other night: Runaway drug price hikes squeeze Washington’s budget.
Our state is one that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), so I knew we were spending a lot. But I had no idea now much. Through the first 9 months of 2016, my state has spent $1.1 billion on prescription drugs.
Not total medical care. Just prescription drugs.
And Washington is not the only state facing a fiscal nightmare because of skyrocketing drug costs.
Almost half of that spending is for the really high-priced specialty … Continue reading
My goal for 2017? Use as little healthcare as possible
How will healthcare change under a new president and political party?
That’s a question I can’t answer. As I wrote in my last post, both candidates had multiple-point plans to tweak/improve/repeal/replace the Affordable Care Act, aka the ACA or Obamacare.
But I don’t know what will change or when.
What I know for sure is that for 2017 my premiums will be 20% more expensive, my co-insurance and co-pays will be higher, and my current primary care doctor will no longer be in-network.
I can and will shop around … Continue reading
I started this blog four years ago, the day after President Obama won the general election. I needed an instrument to give voice to my frustrations and fears about the direction of our country’s health and healthcare policy.
I just re-read what I wrote back then:
So, the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare, as it’s commonly known), having survived its precipitous birth and a few close-calls with death, is poised to enter a prolonged and awkward adolescence.
I am not a huge fan of Obamacare because it seems to be more health insurance reform than health care reform.
… Continue reading
I’m going with an overdiagnosis theme this week.
Here’s the latest healthcare parody video from pharmacy professor James McCormack, as he continues his much-appreciated effort to raise awareness of overscreening, overdiagnosis, and overtreatment in this country.
As usual, this video is full of supporting statistics and excerpts from leading healthcare journals, so take time to pause the video and really understand the information being shared.
As I said in a previous post, overdiagnosis and the resulting unnecessary treatments cost hundreds of billions of dollars every year.
Equally bad, if not worse, I think, is … Continue reading
I’m all about high-value, evidence-based healthcare.
I’ve written a lot of posts about the problems, including high costs, of overscreening and overtreating. (We spend hundreds of billions of dollars every year on unnecessary healthcare!)
So I love this video by Andrew Lazris, MD, and Erik Rifkin, PhD. They use the visual of 1000 women sitting in a theater to illustrate why screening mammograms are not the life savers many women think they are.
A picture (or video) is worth a thousand words, isn’t it?
I understand Lazris and Rifkin want to create more videos to … Continue reading
I’ve posted before about the limitations of Life Line Screening.
The screening tests they offer in their basic “wellness” package are either not recommended at all because they aren’t effective screening tools (carotid ultrasound), or are not recommended for the general public (abdominal aortic aneurysm ultrasound). Please read my previous post for more information on that: Don’t reach for Life Line Screenings
Screening tests are best discussed with your primary care physician. He or she will help you know which tests are right for you—based on your age, health history and family history—as well as how often they … Continue reading
What’s in your medicine cabinet?
I admit it.
I have a few old pill bottles stashed in a kitchen cupboard. These are mostly leftover pain meds dating back several years to when my son had his wisdom teeth removed, or my husband had his thyroid taken out.
I need to get rid of them.
Luckily, this Saturday, October 22, from 10 am to 2 pm, is the semi-annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
On Saturday, local law enforcement agencies will partner with the DEA to act as drop-off sites for unused … Continue reading