Posts Tagged ‘wellness’
By Marlo Thomas, award-winning actress, author and activist
(original on Huffington Post)
I like to think of myself as someone who doesn’t get rattled easily — I get my work done, I pace myself, I’m cool under pressure. But that’s during the workday. Once I get in bed, all bets are off. My mind begins to tick, and then I start making lists — and the next thing you know, I’m the Queen of Eyes Wide Open. “Toss” and “Turn” are my middle names.
So, I’ve recently begun researching what’s behind those sleepless nights, and I’ve been amazed at what I’ve read. Did you know that insomnia affects women nearly twice as much as men– but women are more likely than men to report their insomnia to their doctor? Were you aware that the optimal temperature for deep sleep is around 68 degrees — which is why we keep flopping around at night when it’s too warm? And did you know that if you fall asleep in five minutes or less, chances are you are sleep-deprived? Ideally, it should take you ten to fifteen minutes to drift off at night. Read the rest of this entry »
The findings, published in the journalExperimental Biology and Medicine, showed that sleep-deprived rats had decreased bone mineral density — which researchers said in the study indicated osteoporosis. The rats also had less fat in their bone marrow than fully-rested rats, as well as double the amount of megakaryocytes, which are bone marrow cells that produce platelets.
It’s the Health Care, Stupid:
As Our Health Goes, So Does Our Economic Recovery
By Peter Abaci, M.D., Chronic pain specialist
(original on Huffington Post)
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
– Albert Einstein
As we head into the final stages leading up to election day, expect the fight over whom and what is best for our economy to rage on. Debating how best to stimulate the economy has been anointed as the de facto topic of importance heading into our upcoming election, but let’s not forget that the health of Wall Street and Main Street is inextricably linked to the health of our citizens. As I have written here in the past, I am no economic expert, but I do work in the trenches every day in a profession that impacts our nation’s budget like no other.
The fact that doctors like me seem to drive the spending of tax dollars more than other occupations like teachers, governors, and generals tells you right there that health care is the elephant in the room of any debate on our economic future.
By Susan Redline, MD, MPH and Dr. Michelle A. Williams, ScD
Individuals from disadvantaged neighborhoods and racial/ethnic minorities are at increased risk for sleep disorders due to a variety of environmental exposures, occupational and psychosocial conditions, and possibly genetic factors. Editor: They also have higher rates of obesity and other health conditions, and they don’t live as long.
A wide range of serious health problems disproportionately afflict individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. These conditions, which reduce quality of life and shorten lifespan, include heart disease, stroke, diabetes,asthma, and cancer. Other health problems commonly associated with poverty are obesity,pregnancy complications, increased infant mortality,HIV/AIDS and dental disease. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s “Healthy People 2020,” which sets 10-year national objectives for improving the health of the nation, has prioritized the need to close the gap in these “health disparities.” There are numerous potential targets for improving the health of low-income people, such as improving nutrition and access to health care. In addition, accumulating research points to a need to improve sleep as means for improving alertness and daily functioning, as well as for reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Occupy Healthcare is a movement to influence and impact the future of healthcare, as well as an online community to discuss healthcare reform issues. Recently they invited me to submit my perspectives, and below is what I sent.
Occupy Health Care – a proposal from Wayne Caswell, Modern Health Talk
Historically, the biggest impact in health outcomes has come from public health initiatives such as clean water, sewage systems, and immunization programs. But that success is minimized by a “sick care” system that is profoundly broken, with perverse incentives to view patients as customers, treat symptoms, and pay practitioners for each test, drug and procedure.
ACA is meant to fix that, with more emphasis on positive outcomes and overall health & wellness, both to minimize the need for medical care in the first place and thus reduce costs, and to maintain a healthy and productive workforce that contributes to a vibrant economy. ACA is a good start, but there’s still more work to be done, and it won’t come from private industry or the insurance model, because natural incentives prevent it.
I believe that the key to health reform is getting the incentives right, and that means getting private insurance companies out of BASIC health care entirely. Their profit motive gives them an incentive to increase costs, knowing that higher costs = more insurance customers paying higher premiums. What I propose instead is a hybrid public/private model that capitalizes on contrasting incentives, eliminates the need for health insurance, and saves over $1 trillion per year.
Professor Carl J. Schramm wrote about Improving the Nation’s Health with More Efficient Care as part of a GE Ideas Roundtable that included two good interactive infographics about working in America and how different nations view innovation. But I don’t think improving the efficiency of care is where the biggest benefits lie, so I added this comment:
Technology can be a two-edge sword. On one hand it has contributed to the doubling of the amount of published medical information every year or two, causing general practitioners to specialize just to keep up with changes in their field. On the other hand, innovations such as telehealth, remote monitoring and analysis of medical & environmental sensors, and IBM’s Watson supercomputer applied to medical diagnostics, will help to move many procedures and tests down-market from MD to PA, NP, RN, aid and consumers in their homes.
But aren’t we still addressing the wrong problem? It’s not so much about the efficiency of delivering care but eliminating the need for it. We currently have a “sick care” system, not a health care system, and that’s the real problem to focus on. When patients are viewed as customers of the health care system, practitioners and institutions have financial incentives to keep them as patients – i.e. treat symptoms rather than provide cures or prevent illness in the first place. Even health insurance providers fuel this backwards view, since more demand for medical care leads to higher premiums and larger profits.
Some of the most effective progress in health care has come from public health programs such as immunization, clean water, and education about smoking, nutrition, and exercise. I’d throw poverty and obesity into that mix since, according to HBO’s documentary The Weight of the Nation, public health officials can reliably predict a community’s average weight by zip code and have noticed lifespan differences of more than 20 years between poor neighborhoods on one side of town and affluent ones on the other side just 8 miles away.
The American Medical Association (AMA) recently took up the question of whether obesity should be classified as a disease but deferred any decision to a later date. As noted in HBO’s The Weight of the Nation, obesity has now become the largest threat to the health, wellness and future survival of our nation. It’s an epidemic and one that needs swift action and an unprecedented public health campaign. But is it a disease? And what would it mean if we called it that? What do YOU think?
American Heritage Dictionary defines DISEASE as (1) an abnormal condition of a part, organ, or system of an organism resulting from various causes, such as infection, inflammation, environmental factors, or genetic defect, and characterized by an identifiable group of signs, symptoms, or both AND (2) a condition or tendency, as of society, regarded as abnormal and harmful.
Even doctors disagree. Read the rest of this entry »
How do you deal with the inefficiencies of the healthcare system?
This question was posed to a LinkedIn discussion group by White Glove Health, an Austin-based company that provides health care directly to you at home or work or over the phone. It’s a new discussion thread, but here’s my initial response.
Given advancements in technology, and related but slower advancements in regulatory oversight, I see companies like White Glove Health leading us into a more efficient future where advice, tests and procedures move down-market over time from specialists to general practitioners, PAs, NPs, RNs, medical aids, and health consumers themselves. I see many functions moving from hospitals to clinics, satellite clinics, and homes. And I see eventual changes in licensing that allows care to extend across state lines, and even international boarders.
Past articles promoted the health & productivity benefits of good sleep, but what about a short nap? The folks at Patio Productions shared this great infographic on the science and statistics of napping, spent inside or in the majestic outdoors. Enjoy, and pass it along to friends.
A Health Mandate That Business Can Live With reminds me of a visit to Panasonic in Osaka, Japan over 10 years ago, just before I retired from IBM. I’ll always remember pulling into the plant facility and seeing workers lined up in formation in the work yard performing calisthenics before starting their shift. They all looked fit and ready to “attack the day” with high morale and productivity. So what happened to America?
Some Article Highlights
- Six of every seven (~86%) full-time US workers are now either overweight or have a chronic but preventable health condition. (recent Gallop poll)
- $1.3 trillion per year is the amount that American businesses loose due to ill health-induced absenteeism and presenteeism, which is when employees manage to show up for work but are less productive. 70% of that cost is totally preventable. (Milken Institute) Read the rest of this entry »