Tag Archives: Health

Nine surprising reasons U.S. healthcare costs the most, yet delivers the least (part one)

What’s lost in all this discussion about repealing the Affordable Care Act is that U.S. healthcare costs more than every other industrialized nation, yet delivers some of the worst returns. United States Comes in Last Again on Health, Compared to Other Countries (Maggie Fox, nbcnews.com, Nov. 16, 2016), “Americans still pay far more for medical care than people in other rich Western nations but have little to show for all that spending.”

Other countries handle their healthcare differently — they create less expense, but produce healthier, more productive citizens. The way our malpractice insurance system is structured, a culture that promotes unhealthy practices, processed food leading to chronic inflammation, which triggers chronic illnesses, overuse of pharmaceuticals, ignorance as to the role addiction plays, lack of functional medicine, and that it is nearly impossible to compare prices for medical treatment are some of the surprising reasons the entire U.S. economy is held hostage to its healthcare system.

Malpractice not the same in Europe
In single-payer systems such as Germany’s, doctors are not independent operators, they are employees of hospitals, and the hospitals are held accountable and the ones sued. Malpractice therefore is less onerous and less costly. “In the other countries, where doctors working in a hospital are employees, there is internal quality control,” Professor Uwe Reinhardt, Health Economist Princeton University (Frontline, Sick Around the World, How Does it Work for Doctors in These Five Countries?, pbs.org).

The Library of Congress explains further, “The causes of liability for medical malpractice under German law are similar to those encountered under the laws in the United States. German damage awards, however, are still much lower than those awarded in the United States, even though the German awards have increased in recent years.

“The German health care system provides universal access and coverage for the entire population. It is, however, a decentralized and diversified system that consists of more than 200 insurers that compete with each other to some extent,” (Library of Congress: Medical Malpractice Liability: Germany, loc.gov).

Culture of unhealth
Much of our culture subtly promotes and rewards illness and injury, which, in turn enriches pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, and law firms. Some examples:

  • Apartment buildings inches from freeways – asthma anyone?
  • Sleep treated as optional – Alzheimer’s, obesity, auto accidents… (The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington showcases the research regarding the consequences of sleep deprivation.)
  • Sugar on every corner – eating too much sugar and processed food leads to chronic inflammation of the arteries
  • Sitting nearly all waking hours — Too much sitting linked to heart disease, diabetes, premature death (Julie Corliss, Harvard Health Blog, January 22, 2015, health.harvard.edu)
  • Nutrition treated as a nice to have as opposed to disease prevention
  • Financial stress — post-2008 Sharing Economy…
  • Lack of exercise

And then there’s the job juggle. The more jobs, the more hours, the more commuting the average citizen has to endure, the more the health risk factors pile up.

Poor nutrition creates markets for high-priced pharmaceuticals
Recurrent miscarriages and the ticking of my biological clock prompted me to improve my nutrition. I have, at times, struggled with extreme eating habits since childhood. I found the help I needed to change in a support group that practiced a spiritual discipline. I knew I was an emotional eater, but I discovered that I was sugar sensitive and had an addictive response to sugar and white flour. I learned tools such as planning meals, meditation, outreach calls, and journaling that provided alternatives to overeating and helped me to change my habits.

Hundreds of individuals passed through those meetings. Some had lost 100 pounds or more and had kept the weight off for years. Many had lost 30 to 50 pounds. I used to think that the only consequence from eating too much processed food was gaining weight, but I repeatedly witnessed members sharing significant health improvements with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and more. Many no longer needed pharmaceuticals to treat their chronic conditions. Not only had they changed their nutrition, but they had changed their attitudes and their lifestyles to make the changes stick.

Preventing heart disease with nutrition
Several cardiologists explain why magnesium and healthy eating are generally the answer to heart disease, not statin drugs.

“We know that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease. Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol can accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without sufficient magnesium in the body inflammation results and it is the inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped. Quote?” (“Inflammation and Pain Management with Magnesium,” last modified on Feb. 9, 2017, drsircus.com).

“There is no escaping the fact that the more we consume prepared and processed foods, the more we cause inflammation in the body. The human body cannot process, nor was it designed to consume, foods packed with sugars and soaked in omega-6 oils. Treat the inflammation and not the cholesterol (“Treat the inflammation and not the cholesterol,” July 16, 2015, drsircus.com)

I only touched on the link between how eating an abundance of processed food year after year helps to manifest chronic illnesses.

(end of part one of three parts)

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Filed under Mental Health and Addiction, Nutrition and Health

Scrimp on Skincare Products by Developing Healthy Skin Care Habits

It is simply not possible to escape TV ads for skin care products or to find a celebrity who hasn’t developed her own line.  Don’t be tempted to drop a couple of hundred dollars a month or more on magic formulas, develop simple, healthy skin care habits.

  • Apply sunblock… According to WebMD, “Exposure to sun causes most of the wrinkles and age spots on our faces.”  (http://www.webmd.com/healthy-beauty/guide/sun-exposure-skin-cancer).  We get most of our exposure in small doses while walking and driving around.Don’t deprive yourself of the uplifting effects of sunlight.  Protect yourself by using a combo sunblock/moisturizer on your face every day. I get good results from relatively inexpensive drugstore brands such as Neutrogena and Aveeno.
  • Cleanse daily… I buy the cheapest facial cleanser I can find at Target that doesn’t look too abrasive. Clean & Clear Morning Burst is in my shower right now.
  • Consider your nutrition… Whatever you eat or drink influences everything
    about you including your skin.
  • Don’t smoke… Unless you want to look like Keith Richards.
  • Enjoy sex5 Reasons Why Sex is Good for Your Skin by Realbeauty.com http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/sex/5-reasons-why-sex-is-good-for-your-skin-622761)
  •  Exercise… Benefits skin by improving circulation and counteracts wrinkles by providing stress relief according to the experts cited in Improve Your Skin with Exercise at http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shake-your-beauty/200904/improve-your-skin-exercise).
  • Exfoliate… It can easily be done on the cheap.  (Home Remedies to Exfoliate Skin http://skincare.lovetoknow.com/Home_Remedies_to_Exfoliate_Skin)
  •  Laugh… Laughter makes more attractive wrinkles.
  • Meditate… Even a few minutes a day will counteract stress and rejuvenate.
  • Moisturize… Use a combo sunblock/moisturizer on your face every day and night moisturizer.  Save money by sticking with drugstore brands such as  Oil of Olay.
  • Sleep… Unless you want to look at least 10 years older than you are.  No skin care product can substitute for adequate sleep.
  • Wear minimal makeup… Less is more, especially as you mature.

Can you moisturize your skin by drinking more water?

I was surprised to read that unless you are dehydrated, drinking extra water will not further moisturize your skin, “Basically the moisture level of skin is not determined by internal factors.  Instead, it is external factors such as skin cleansing, the environment, the number of oil glands, and the functioning of these oil-producing glands that determines how dry the skin is or will become. The water that is consumed internally will not reach the epidermis.” (http://www.healthy-skincare.com/benefit-of-drinking-water.html)

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