FOR YOUR HEALTH: Benefits Of CBD Products

(NAPSI)—One of the best and most effective ways to benefit from nonpsychoactive, THC-free CBD is to use it on the largest organ of your body: your skin. CBD oil is the nonpsychotropic component of marijuana and hemp, well-known for relieving aches and pains when applied topically. Now, it’s found in skin care products such as the luxury line from Mermaid Wizdom—and with good reasons.

Here are three:

  1. Acne: CBD oil is an anti-inflammatory with the ability to help calm skin. Because acne is an inflammatory condition, research indicates CBD’s soothing properties can help diminish breakouts and reduce redness. Recent studies show that CBD may also decrease excessive oil production.
  2. Aging and Wrinkles: CBD oil’s antioxidant properties can help lessen the visible signs of aging. It’s rich in vitamins A, C and E. Vitamin A stimulates the cells responsible for producing tissue that keeps skin firm. Vitamin C stimulates collagen production. Vitamin E blocks free radicals from the body, to help slow down the aging process.
  3. Sensitive Skin: CBD oil has been found to sooth sensitive skin and studies indicate that it helps inhibit triggers of disorders such as psoriasis and eczema.

For more information, visit www.MermaidWizdom.com.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Pressure ulcers costs healthcare billions each year

Pressure ulcers cost U.S. healthcare $10.2 billion and contribute to nearly 29,000 hospital deaths each year. But new technology can dramatically curb the pressure ulcer pandemic.

by Margaret Doucette, D.O.

(NAPSI)—American healthcare, renowned for pioneering new technology to save lives, has all but ignored one of the most costly and deadly Hospital-Acquired Conditions (HACs), which the federal government defines as preventable patient injuries.

While the number of other HACs has decreased by 8 percent, pressure ulcers have been resistant to improvement efforts. They continue to grow by 10 percent annually.

Pressure ulcers are both costly and deadly.

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports that pressure ulcers add $10.2 billion to U.S. healthcare costs. As the chart above shows, pressure ulcers are associated with more than 45 percent of the nation’s 63,619 HAC-related deaths and are the leading contributor to HAC-related deaths.

Costly, deadly problem

Averaging the impact among the nation’s 5,534 hospitals means that each will treat more than 127 pressure ulcers, write off more than $1.8 million in unreimbursed treatment costs and see more than five pressure ulcer patients die every year.

Medicine has wrestled with the problem of pressure ulcers for generations. Their prevention relies on physically moving or turning a patient at frequent intervals to relieve pressure on different parts of the body. Unfortunately, turning a patient can slip on the priority list of busy hospital staff.

Technology that monitors patient movement and notifies nurses when a patient needs to be turned exists and is available throughout the United States. Dozens of studies presented in public medical forums demonstrate that a wearable patient-monitoring technology helps hospitals prevent pressure ulcers, reduce their medical costs and save lives. These studies all monitored patients at risk for pressure ulcers using the Leaf Patient Monitoring System, the only system on the market designed exclusively to help providers prevent pressure ulcers.

One randomized trial of more than 1,200 patients at a large California academic medical center concluded that the pressure ulcer incidence rate was 74 percent lower among patients monitored by the wearable monitoring system.

Tech can save lives, money

Applying the same rate of reduction to the national problem, the deployment of wearable technology could save more than 21,000 lives and nearly $7.5 billion in unreimbursed healthcare costs each year. For the average hospital, that would mean $1.36 million in annual savings.

Technology can help our understaffed clinical teams reduce the risk of very preventable pressure ulcers. For the sake of our patients’ well-being—and our healthcare institutions’ financial stability—we need to seriously consider the benefits new technology can provide.

  • Margaret Doucette, D.O. is chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Boise VA Medical Center, where she oversees wound prevention and care efforts. The founder and former medical director of the Elks/St. Luke’s Wound Care Center and a co-founder of the Idaho Pressure Ulcer Prevention Coalition, Dr. Doucette has been instrumental in developing wound care programs across the continuum of care in Idaho. She is published and presents nationally and internationally. She is adjunct faculty at several universities and a clinical associate professor at the University of Washington.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Floods Can Affect Your Well Water’s Well-Being

(NAPSI)—For over a million families, farmers and business owners, seeing floodwaters receding may just be the beginning of their troubles—but it doesn’t have to be.

The Problem

The National Ground Water Association (NGWA)—a not-for-profit professional society and trade association—says people who have inground wells in areas affected by flooding need to watch for contaminated water.

This is particularly likely to be a problem in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin and any place with broad, sand and gravel valleys and glaciated rolling countryside. These places could be standing in water for several days, risking contamination if the wells aren’t properly maintained. Exposure to E. coli, coliform and other pathogenic microbes from human and animal fecal matter in floodwaters is a common health concern following a major flooding event. Floodwater can also carry other contaminants.

“Even slight flooding around a well can potentially carry contaminated water to the wellhead,” explained Chuck Job, NGWA regulatory affairs manager, “and if the wellhead is cracked or faulty in any way, the well and water system could be compromised.”

Adds Bill Alley, NGWA science director, as temperatures rise, well owners should continue to monitor and test their systems. “While frozen ground may not be saturated from storm water, warmer weather may allow floodwaters to infiltrate and contaminate subsurface water during a thaw,” he said.

Similarly, hundreds of thousands of wells were potentially affected during the Atlantic hurricane season in places including North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Virginia and Alabama.

What To Do

Following a flood, disinfection and wellhead repair may be common needs among well owners. Well relocation and elevation may also be useful and protective. As always, NGWA recommends water well system professionals be used to assess and service wells.

NGWA has a flooding resource center on its website. Included is information on how to protect well systems before and after a flooding event.

Learn More

The association also has other resources that may help when dealing with flooded water wells. These include the best-suggested-practice “Residential Water Well Disinfection Following a Flood Event: Procedures for Water Well System Professionals” and a Water Well Journal article titled “Responding to Flooded Wells.”

You can find these and more at www.WellOwner.org.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Health Services And Screenings Every Woman Should Know About

(NAPSI)—Eating a healthy diet, exercising, getting a regular Pap smear and mammogram—these are just a few of the many steps women can take to help ensure they live longer, healthier lives. However, it can be tough to figure out what to do, given the mountains of information that are available. So, how can women determine which services and screenings are right for them—and when? You can start by being aware of what the science says about preventing certain health conditions and by having an open and honest conversation with your doctor about your values and preferences.

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of death for women. Fortunately, you can help prevent CVD by addressing important risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity. For example, if you are age 40 to 75, talk to your doctor about your CVD risk and whether a low- or moderate-dose statin may be right for you. Statins are medications that lower your cholesterol, prevent buildup of cholesterol and fats in your arteries, and reduce your chances of having a heart attack or stroke.

Depending on your age and risk factors, taking a low-dose aspirin daily can also potentially help prevent CVD. When blood clots form in narrow blood vessels, such as the ones in your heart and brain, it can cause a heart attack or stroke. Aspirin can help keep these blood clots from happening, lowering your risk. There are some risks associated with taking low-dose aspirin every day, so make sure you talk to your doctor about whether aspirin is right for you.

Taking statins and aspirin to prevent CVD are effective but they are just one part of CVD prevention. You can reduce your risk of CVD by quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and becoming more physically active. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to help you quit. If you are overweight and have other CVD risk factors or even if you are healthy and simply want to stay that way, ask your doctor about how you can develop heart-healthy habits.

Cervical Cancer

Screening for cervical cancer finds the disease when it is most treatable. Unfortunately, 12,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. Most cases of cervical cancer happen in women who have not been regularly screened or appropriately treated. That is why it is critical for women to get screened regularly starting at age 21. There are several effective options for screening, depending on your age and preferences. The Pap test and the human papillomavirus (HPV) test are the most effective ways to screen for cervical cancer and are done during a visit to your doctor’s office. Talk to your doctor about which test is best for you and how often you should be tested.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women; roughly 237,000 cases are reported in the United States each year. Breast cancer screening aims to find the disease early, when it is easier to treat. Mammograms, which are X-ray pictures of the breasts used by doctors to look for early signs of the disease, are the most effective method of screening for breast cancer. Evidence shows that the benefits of mammograms increase with age, with women aged 60 to 69 most likely to benefit from screening. Still, about one in three women who should get a mammogram regularly do not. If you are between the ages of 50 and 74, talk to your doctor about getting a mammogram regularly. Some women decide to start screening as early as age 40. Talk with your doctor about your individual situation and circumstances, when you should start screening, and how often you should be screened.

Screening for Osteoporosis

As people age, their bones begin to thin. For some people, their bones become very weak and can break or fracture more easily, a condition known as osteoporosis. Osteoporosis affects one in every four women age 65 or older in the United States. Bone measurement tests can be used to screen for osteoporosis and identify the likelihood of future fractures. For people who have osteoporosis, treatments are available to reduce the risk of a fracture. If you are a woman age 65 or older (or younger than 65 with certain risk factors), ask your doctor about being screened for osteoporosis and other ways to improve bone health.

Recommendations for Keeping Yourself Healthy

These recommendations were developed by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force—an independent group of national experts in prevention. The Task Force makes recommendations, based on the latest science, about what works and what doesn’t work for preventing disease and promoting good health.

Learn More

For more information on these and other Task Force recommendations, visit www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Health Benefits Of Plant-Based Nutrition

(NAPSI)—As people continue to look for ways to live healthier lifestyles, the plant-based diet continues to gain momentum. A plant-based diet describes a way of eating in which there is an emphasis on plant foods in the form of colorful fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains.

Supporting Your Health with Plant-Based Foods

Benefits of eating more plant foods are numerous. Plant foods are nutrient dense, which means that they provide an abundance of nutrients relative to their calorie cost. Fruits, veggies, beans and whole grains are terrific sources of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients and they’re naturally cholesterol-free. Most contribute a fair amount of fiber, too, so they help to fill you up and keep your digestive tract running smoothly. When you include plenty of these nutritious, filling foods in your diet, it leaves less room in your stomach for less healthy fare.

That said, as the proportion of U.S. consumers who adhere to a vegan diet grows, so does the desire for these people to get more protein. In fact, a Nielsen HomeScan survey recently found that 39 percent of Americans are actively trying to eat more plant-based foods and 60 percent want to get more protein in their diets.

Identifying Sources of Plant-Based Proteins

The major sources of plant-based protein include beans, peas and lentils but whole grains are also important. You may think of whole grains as more of a carb than a protein and that’s true–most grains have more carbohydrate calories than protein calories. But whole grains contribute important essential amino acids to the diet. Most vegans know that in order to get the full complement of essential amino acids (the building blocks of proteins in the body), it’s important to consume both legumes (beans, peas, lentils) and whole grains. Soy is one of the few complete plant-based proteins, meaning it contains the nine essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own.

How Much Protein Is Right For You?

Protein is important for maintaining lean body mass. Susan Bowerman, Registered Dietitian and Senior Director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife Nutrition says the Institute of Medicine recommends you eat 10 to 35 percent of your total daily calories from protein.

You can estimate your protein needs based on your current body weight. Simply, multiply your body weight by 0.7. The number you get is a reasonable target for the amount of protein, in grams, that you should eat each day. For instance, a woman who weighs 140 pounds should aim for about 100g of protein a day. A 220-pound man should shoot for at least 150g of protein.

Introducing Other Plant-Based Proteins

While most plant-based diets place an emphasis on whole foods, other plant-based foods that are derived from these whole foods can be included. So, in addition to legumes and whole grains (brown or wild rice, oats, quinoa, millet and the like), other sources of plant-based protein include soy milk, soy cheese, soy yogurt, tofu, tempeh, and protein powders made from plant sources such as soy, pea, rice, hemp, oats or quinoa.

To help, Herbalife Nutrition’s Formula 1 Select and Protein Drink Mix Select are two new plant-based nutrition mixes specially formulated with a high-quality blend of pea, quinoa and rice proteins. Formula 1 Select is specially formulated to provide an excellent balance of protein and other key nutrients for optimal nutrition, is an easily digestible source of high-quality plant protein and fiber, and contains no artificial flavors or sweeteners.

Learn More

For more facts, go to www.herbalife.com.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Talking With Your Health Care Provider About Kidney Health

(NAPSI)—Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a serious health problem, affecting an estimated 30 million adults in the United States. Yet more than nine out of 10 people who have kidney disease don’t know they have it. The sooner you find out you have kidney disease, the sooner you can take steps to prevent or delay serious health problems.

CKD means your kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood the way they should. Kidney damage can cause wastes to build up in your body and can lead to other health problems such as anemia, bone disease and heart disease. You can have CKD without any symptoms, especially in the early stages of the disease, and over time it may lead to kidney failure. If your kidneys fail, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain your health. You can’t reverse progressive kidney damage but you may be able to avoid or delay dialysis or a kidney transplant with medications and lifestyle changes.

Understand Your Risk for Kidney Disease

If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or a family history of kidney failure, you are at risk for kidney disease. An estimated one in three people with diabetes, and one in five adults with high blood pressure, have CKD. Therefore, it’s important for people who are at risk for the disease to get tested.

Get Tested Early

Testing for kidney disease is simple—it involves a blood test and a urine test. Your health care provider uses a blood test to check how well your kidneys are filtering your blood and a urine test to check for protein in your urine.

Talk with Your Health Care Provider

If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or a family history of kidney failure, talk with your health care provider about kidney disease. Stay informed and ask for the results of your kidney tests. You can start the conversation with your health care provider by asking these three questions:

  1. Have I been tested for kidney disease and how healthy are my kidneys?
  2. How often should I get my kidneys checked?
  3. What should I do to keep my kidneys healthy?

Take Steps to Protect Your Kidney Health

If you don’t have kidney disease but are at risk for it, your health care provider may suggest ways you can keep your kidneys healthy. Here are some steps you can take to protect your kidney health:

  • Manage your diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease
  • Make healthy food choices
  • Aim for a healthy weight
  • Make physical activity part of your routine
  • Get enough sleep—aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night
  • Stop smoking
  • Find healthy ways to cope with stress.

Learn More

For more information about kidney disease, kidney failure, diabetes and more, visit the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) website at www.niddk.nih.gov.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Major Changes Headed To A Product Label Near You

(NAPSI)—If you’re like 90 percent of shoppers, you consult the Nutrition Facts panel on food packages before you buy. To make it easier to make informed food choices, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has developed a new Nutrition Facts label. Here are the seven major new features:

1. Increased print size for “Calories.”

Calorie counts will be easier to see.

2. Inclusion of “Added Sugars.”

The FDA currently defines added sugars as “sugars that are either added during the processing of foods, or are packaged as such, and include sugars (free, mono- and disaccharides), sugars from syrups and honey, and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices that are in excess of what would be expected from the same volume of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice of the same type.” Sugar alcohols, or polyols, provide sweetness but aren’t counted as “added sugars” because they’re not sugar. These low-digestible carbohydrates can replace sugar as a lower-calorie alternative. Common polyols include erythritol, maltitol, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, lactitol, isomalt and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates.

3. Changing “Sugars” to “Total Sugars.”

Sugar can be present in healthy foods. This change can help consumers understand the amount of sugar the product contains from any source.

4. Removal of “Calories from Total Fat.”

Research shows the type of fat (for example, polyunsaturated) is more important than the total calories from fat. Labels still include “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat” and “Trans Fat.”

5. Increased print size for “Serving Size” and “Servings per Package/Container.”

Portion control remains a problem for many. Increased visibility of recommended serving sizes can help people make better, more accurate decisions.

6. The amounts of vitamin D and potassium are now required, instead of vitamins A and C.

Based on research from the Institute of Medicine, the new labels will include this information to increase visibility of vitamin D and potassium requirements. Though voluntary, similar information for vitamins A and C may still be included.

7. Revision of “Percent Daily Value” Footnote.

The new language will specifically state: “The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.” Experts at the Calorie Control Council, a nonprofit association that seeks to provide objective, science-based communications about low-calorie foods and beverages, suggest that this revision may help clarify the meaning of “Daily Value.”

FOR YOUR HEALTH: What You Need To Know About Heart Valve Disease

(NAPSI)—More than 8 million American adults have a condition known as heart valve disease (HVD). While it can be managed, too many people who have HVD don’t know it.

To help that situation, the American Heart Association, with support from Edwards Lifesciences Foundation, answers seven frequently asked questions.

1. What is HVD? In HVD, heart valves don’t work as they should. A heart valve should open one way and seal tight when closed. Sometimes, either due to congenital heart defects, side effects of cancer treatment, or secondary heart disease, the valve allows leaks, putting a strain on the heart and prohibiting proper circulation of blood.

2. Who’s at risk? HVD can happen to anyone at any age, but the risk increases with age and in those with congenital heart valve defects or who have had a heart attack, rheumatic fever, hypercholesterolemia, or an infection in the lining of the heart walls or valves. These individuals should speak frequently with their health care providers about HVD.

Currently, HVD prevalence is greater in older Caucasians, though African Americans and Hispanics tend to have lower ideal heart health levels, which can lead to HVD.

3. Is HVD preventable? No, but it can be managed through a healthy lifestyle including proper nutrition, exercise, not smoking, weight management and medication. Most people who get treatment experience improved symptoms and can continue to live longer, healthy lives.

4. What are the signs and symptoms?

  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling easily fatigued
  • Swollen ankles or feet
  • Heart palpitations (rapid rhythms or skips)
  • Chest tightness or pressure.

Symptoms can be subtle and are often attributed to aging or other diseases. If you experience any of these, see your doctor.

5. What treatments are available? The heart valve can be repaired, or replaced with an artificial one.

6. Who can help? There’s a group of volunteer ambassadors comprised of heart valve disease survivors and caregivers who represent the face of heart valve disease in America. They work to raise awareness about heart valve disease and share available resources for patients and families. You can connect with them at sharefromheart.heart.org.

7. Where can one learn more? You can get further information from the American Heart Association at sharefromheart.heart.org.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Small Changes Can Mean Big Differences In Blood Pressure Control

(NAPSI)—Almost half of the U.S. adult population has high blood pressure—that’s any reading at or above 130 for the top number or 80 for the bottom number.

If you find yourself among them, it may be wise to consider four lifestyle evaluation questions:

  1. How often do you eat fruits and vegetables?
  2. How much salt do you take in?
  3. Are you at least moderately active for half an hour a day?
  4. Are you at a healthy weight for your height?

What To Do

If your assessment reveals room for improvement, Michael Hochman, M.D., MPH, a Los Angeles physician and professor at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, has an encouraging message for you: “Know this: Small changes can make big differences. You don’t have to overhaul everything you do and eat. Tracking your blood pressure between health care visits lets you easily stay on top of your health. In 10 minutes or less, you can check your numbers. If you are learning for the first time that your blood pressure is creeping upward, small changes in your lifestyle—a bit more physical activity, a few more fruits and vegetables—could mean the difference between low vs. high risk for heart disease or stroke.”

Here are some hints to help you make those small changes:

  • 15−20 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per day can reduce the top number in your blood pressure reading, called systolic pressure, by 5 to 8 mmHg
  • Reducing sodium intake by 1,500 mg (3/4 of a teaspoon) per day can result in lowering systolic pressure 5 to 6 mmHg
  • A 10-pound weight loss could lower systolic blood pressure by 5 mmHg.

Little-Known BP Raisers

If you do have high BP, consult your health care provider or pharmacist about the safety of your over-the-counter medicines.

Some OTC pain relievers, known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs—such as naproxen and ibuprofen—may raise blood pressure. Acetaminophen may be a better choice for pain. Drugstore cold and flu medicines that contain decongestants can also raise blood pressure. To avoid these BP raisers, read medication labels and discuss alternative pain, fever or cold medicine with your doctor. A quick guide to BP raisers is at heart.org/BPtools.

Take It Home

Monitoring at home can help confirm a diagnosis and determine how well your lifestyle changes and medications are working to reduce your blood pressure.

The American Heart Association’s efforts to improve healthy choices related to living with high blood pressure are proudly supported by Tylenol.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Can You Afford an Unexpected Hospital Bill? Preparing Your Family for Unforeseen Costs

(NAPSI)—Whether it’s a broken leg or the flu, illness and injuries that result in hospital stays are unfortunately commonplace for American families.

After a hospital stay, you’ll likely pay your entire deductible before your health insurance starts paying benefits. You may still be exposed to expenses your major medical may not cover, leaving you responsible for the entire amount.

Protect against rising hospital costs with Hospital Assure from Washington National.

Medical emergencies and rising hospital costs are a major financial concern for most Americans. The average hospital stay costs over $10,700 and hospital bills are the largest out-of-pocket expense for people who filed for medical bankruptcy.1

Hospital Assure, Washington National’s new hospital indemnity insurance product, complements existing health insurance by paying lump-sum cash benefits in the event you or a covered family member are hospitalized due to a covered sickness or accident. You can use your cash benefits to help pay:

  • Deductibles
  • Co-pays
  • Out-of-network hospital costs, and
  • Everyday bills and expenses when you’re unable to work.

Because cash benefits from Hospital Assure are paid directly to you, not a doctor or hospital, you have no restrictions on how you use your benefits.

For individuals without a health savings account, Hospital Assure offers an optional Return of Premium/Cash Value Benefit rider, a distinctly competitive feature in the marketplace that allows you to get 100 percent of your premiums paid, minus any claims incurred, at the end of the rider period. This means if you don’t use your policy, the premiums you paid will end up back in your pocket. Learn more at www.WashingtonNational.com.

Business Insider, The 35 most expensive reasons you might have to visit a hospital in the US—and how much it costs if you do, http://www.businessinsider.com/most-expensive-health-conditions-hospital-costs-2018-2, March 1, 2018.

  • Washington National Insurance Company is not licensed and does not solicit business in the state of New York.

LIMITED-BENEFIT POLICIES. These policies have limitations and exclusions. For costs and complete details of coverage, contact an agent. Policies and benefits are subject to state availability and may vary by state. Underwritten by Washington National Insurance Company. The return of premium (ROP) or cash value (CV) (in MO, “cash return”) benefit is subject to state and product availability. The benefit has an additional charge and may pay minus claims or regardless of claims based on the policy selected. The policy must remain in force until the end of the ROP/CV period for the benefit to be paid.