Healthy living abroad
My husband dreams of retiring abroad to a tropical country, like Belize, Panama or Costa Rica.
While I’m not quite as attracted to year-long sun and beaches (we Northwest natives have an aversion to too much sunshine), the idea of a less stressful lifestyle coupled with low-cost healthcare definitely makes me think about it.
He showed me a recent email he received from an expat living in Ecuador, and it made me realize just how much our American lifestyles and our healthcare system work together to keep us unhealthy.
In the email, this man described how much … Continue reading
Unnecessary tests = unnecessary expense
This is a follow up to my last post about the dangers of too much medical care.
One of the biggest doors leading to an overabundance of healthcare and healthcare costs is the annual exam and all the “routine” lab work that is ordered almost without thought.
Doctors’ offices strive to be efficient. They have a lot of patients to see every day, after all.
One way they streamline their practices is to set up routine or “standing” orders for common lab tests, such as an electrocardiogram (EKG), complete blood count (CBC), urinalysis (UA), … Continue reading
Too much testing = too much medicine
I just ran across an old doctor joke: What is a well person? Someone who hasn’t yet been thoroughly examined.
It’s not funny, of course, if you’re the patient and have suffered the harms—and the expense—of too much medical care.
In 2010, my husband was the victim of too much medical care. Because of complications and a string of medical errors he almost died. His care cost our insurance company over $100,000 and we were out of pocket for our $10,000 deductible.
Now he has no thyroid and has to take medication every … Continue reading
What’s in your chocolate?
I’ve been in the dark about chocolate!
I just received a newsletter from ConsumerLab, one of my favorite consumer websites, that details not only what makes dark chocolate healthy (flavanols), but what potentially makes it just a little bit toxic (the heavy metals lead and cadmium).
And apparently this isn’t new news. I’ve found stories talking about trace levels of heavy metals in chocolate going back over ten years, so I don’t know how I missed it other than I’m not much of a chocolate eater.
Still, I have friends that are chocoholics and I … Continue reading
What are PSAPs?
PSAP stands for Personal Sound Amplification Product.
They are available at Target or Walmart or Amazon for a fraction of the price of a traditional physician-prescribed hearing aid.
BUT…they can’t actually be called hearing aids and they can’t be marketed as a treatment for hearing loss. That’s because they are currently not regulated as medical devices by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The FDA will only allow them to be sold as sound “amplifiers” to help with recreational activities, such as hunting, bird watching or eavesdropping 😉
Not being hard of hearing … Continue reading
What is deprescribing?
As an advocate for less medicine and better health, I love the latest healthcare trend of “deprescribing,” or cutting down the number of prescription drugs a patient is taking.
Dr. Aaron Carroll of Healthcare Triage explains the importance of deprescribing in this video:
Polypharmacy—taking multiple prescription drugs—has become much more common over the last couple of decades. There are more drugs than ever on the market, and the drug companies are spending billions of dollars to make sure we know all about them.
Related post: Bohemian Polypharmacy
The elderly are especially … Continue reading
The best tip? Take your time and ask lots of questions
I’ve been exchanging emails this week with a friend who is in the market for a new dentist.
Like me, she expects good value for her money. She doesn’t want to feel like a cash cow and have unnecessary x-rays, procedures of questionable benefit, or expensive cosmetic dentistry.
She wants a dental office that’s clean and well managed, and a dentist she can feel comfortable talking to about costs. Someone who will answer her questions clearly and then let her decide what is best for her health and her … Continue reading
Any nurse who has worked in an emergency department, especially in a children’s hospital, dreads the Fourth of July.
We’ve seen what fireworks can do to a hand. Or a face. It’s not pretty. (Look on YouTube if you don’t believe me.)
Every state has its own laws on what fireworks are legal. Many cities and communities ban fireworks because of fire danger.
But even legal fireworks are risky and bans don’t necessarily stop people from doing stupid things.
The American Academy of Pediatrics makes this statement on their website:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) continues to urge families
… Continue reading
Just last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new epinephrine auto-injector, Symjepi.
I don’t much like the name, but if it’s cheaper…!
I’ve posted several times about the skyrocketing cost of EpiPens—over 500% in the last 10 years.
Anyone who, like me, has been shocked at the pharmacy to discover how much a two-pack of EpiPens costs will be hoping Symjepi will be more affordable.
It won’t be available on the market until later this year, so I don’t know yet how much it will cost. But Adamis Pharmceuticals, the company that makes Symjepi, … Continue reading
My peek into the future
Health insurance companies in my state finally submitted their requests for 2018 rate hikes.
Usually I can look up this info online by mid-May, but all the partisan and intra-party bickering over the future of healthcare in this country has left insurance companies scratching their figurative heads over how to price next year’s policies.
I remember a time when I never gave my health insurance much thought. Like my car or home insurance, it didn’t change much year to year, and was simply there when I needed it.
But for the last ten years or … Continue reading