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April 11, 2011 / fuflozar

Women, Estrogen, and Heart Health

One of the main issues surrounding menopause is that it coincides with a steady increase in heart disease among women — it is often said that women have a “protection” from heart disease that they lose, seemingly along with their estrogen, around the time they undergo menopause.

But Duke cardiologist Kristin Newby, MD, notes that the exact link between the two has not been proven. “it could be that estrogen is an innocent bystander to a process that we haven’t discovered yet,” she says.

“In some ways I think we do a disservice by perpetuating the idea that women have this almost magical protection against heart disease up until menopause,” says Newby.

While estrogen debates may continue indefinitely, there is no controversy about the fact that women and men alike are developing heart disease at earlier ages than ever before — and that women should adopt heart-healthy behaviors including healthy diet, regular exercise, stress management, and regular well visits to a doctor, in their twenties.

What’s a “Bioidentical Estrogen?”

Bioidentical hormone replacement can be a confusing term, because it can be applied to any non-estrogen substance (often available without a prescription) that is meant to relieve the symptoms of menopause.

These substances are often promoted as panaceas that provide the benefits of estrogen replacement without the risks, but a variety of groups — including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Medical Association, and the Food and Drug Administration — have released advisories that bioidentical hormone therapies may be no different from estrogen replacement therapies, in terms of risk.

Duke gynecologist Charles Hammond, MD, says that one of the major safety concerns of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is that there is no regulation of the manufacture and marketing of these formulas.

“And there’s not one shred of good scientific research that shows these products are any safer or any better than estrogen.”

“In fact, there have been a number of papers showing that they sometimes don’t contain the ingredients they say they do. so on the down side they may carry the same risk as estrogen, and on the ‘plus side’ they may not be worth a thing, because you don’t know what’s actually in it.”

April 5, 2011 / fuflozar

Best Buy Now Offers Personal Health and Fitness Solutions

Beginning today, Best Buy Inc, the electronics chain, will sell health and fitness equipment in 40 stores across the United States.

Stores in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Texas will begin offering equipment such as treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical machines, pedometers, Blue-tooth enabled weight scales, yoga mats, and heart rate and blood pressure monitors from popular brand names such as Lifespan, ProForm, Reebok, and Gaiam. The products are also offered online at

The chain has also recently branched into other new arenas, selling musical instruments and DJ equipment and expanding its mobile offerings.

According to the retail chains press release, Best Buy prepared for the launch of the health and fitness concept by identifying the challenges frequently faced by customers – especially busy moms — as they try to establish a regular fitness regimen. This early research revealed that while people typically launch a routine with the best of intentions, they often find it difficult to stay interested and on track. They want guidance for using technology to help them get fit, and to help monitor their progress so they are inspired to make fitness a long-term habit.

“We’re constantly looking for the most innovative solutions to address our customer’s lifestyle needs,” said Steve Trier, director for new categories at Best Buy. “There’s been a lot of change in that industry and what these products can do for our customers and their lives.”

“Customers expect quality, selection and service from Best Buy, and with health and fitness, we’re matching the right combination of gear with experienced BlueShirts and Geek Squad to help them manage and stay motivated by their fitness routines.”

Best Buy, a multinational retailer which based in Minneapolis, says its services and staff differentiate it from its competitors, because customers can get help from its Geek Squad technical support staff setting up any Best Buy product including fitness equipment. The staff will also be able to set up surround sound to a home gym or download workout data to a home computer or mobile phone.

Of course, in addition to the new offerings, those seeking health and fitness items can also peruse the stores current offerings of fitness DVD’s, personal music devices, Nike Sports Kit, and the Wii Fit.

January 19, 2011 / fuflozar

Premiums may be raised by health insurers

Stating the reason for seeking premium hikes, health insurers blame the health overhaul. However, the cost hikes are coming from small business owners and individuals, not necessarily the larger companies that may be able to absorb the costs. Some of the proposed hikes will cost some consumers a 20 percent or more increase on their premiums. The reform was meant to help those without access to healthcare, and yet, the insurers are targeting some of the very groups meant to be protected.

In the health care reform bill, health insurance premiums were calculated to be 1 to 2 percent at the most. Insurance companies state that keeping children on their parents plans until age 26, covering all children especially those with preexisting conditions and the like are raising costs and someone has to absorb them somewhere.

Health insurance premium hikes may affect elections

The health insurance premium hikes may affect midterm elections for many Democrats who had promised that the health care overhaul would not affect premiums. The Obama administration officials have stated that insurers are using the new law as an excuse to raise their premiums to alarming hikes. It is expected that many of the state regulators across the nation will see right through the requests.

Aetna, some BlueCross BlueShield plans, and some other smaller health insurance companies requested increases of between 1 to 9 percent for the raising medical costs. Insurers are defending themselves by stating the government made incorrect predictions into health insurance premium increases.
In the Los Angeles Times, Health Net, an insurer in California has gotten the okay to raise medical insurance premiums 16% for insurers who purchase private insurance. In Colorado, some insurers have dropped plans because they were unable to continue with increases and ways to cover costs.

January 17, 2011 / fuflozar

Uninsured El Paso Residents Cross Border for Health Care

A study published in the Journal of the National Medical Association, finds that El Paso residents, who are without health insurance coverage, may be risking health by buying medicines and seeking health treatment across the Texas-Mexico border in Ciudad Juarez.

The study is the first report examining the trend of cross border health care. Approximately thirty-three percent of El Pasoans are now driven across border to buy medications and obtain health service because they have no health insurance.

Victor Cardenas, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H, associate professor of epidemiology at the University Of Texas School Of Public Health says, “The border region is underinsured and underserved in terms of healthcare provision. It is a major concern that clearly plays a role in the cross-border healthcare phenomenon.”

The study also found that educated, financially stable residents of Ciudad Juarez were also more likely to cross the border to obtain health care in the US. Men, as opposed to women often come to the US to buy medication with cash.

The study from Dr. Cardenas also found that 59.6 percent residents of El Paso and 82.8 percent of Ciudad Juarez residents have no healthcare insurance.

Crossing borders to obtain health care can pose health risks. According to the authors, buying medication in another country can be dangerous from drugs that may be laced with toxic chemicals, counterfeited, or dispensed and prepared by unqualified personnel.

There are no laws in Texas that can prevent El Paso residents without health insurance from crossing the border to buy medications and health care services. However, most diagnoses are made across the pharmacy counter by nonprofessionals, making the practice less than desirable.

Making health insurance affordable to US residents may stop the trend of buying medications and health services across the border, seen in one third of El Paso residents in the study. Cross border, health care, delivered by nonprofessionals, is not without risk.

January 17, 2011 / fuflozar

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