Basic Concepts and Categories of Personal Health

Basic Concepts and Categories of Personal Health

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We understand that there is a great deal of confusion associated with health and wellness. Unlimited varying opinions from nutritionists, doctors and other health experts can often cloud one’s judgement and learning capabilities. We have gone to some lengths to create a message that could be easily understood. With this in mind, we cover a wide variety of topics such as disease, nutrition, social issues, and weight loss to help you understand these concepts within the overall context of your personal health.

 

Nutrition

What you eat is probably the most important aspect of your health and wellness. Your nutrition is responsible for feeding the trillions of cells of your body in order that they may grow, reproduce and flourish as they were intended to do. When you fail to provide adequate nutrition, the body systems start to malfunction and breakdown.

 

Personal Growth

The world is constantly evolving. As things continue to change so must we if we desire to be on the winning side. The consistent and constant search for personal enhancement is the infrastructure of any successful person’s life. The largest room that you will ever be in is the room for improvement. It is not only your physical state of health that determines your level of health and wellness but it is your mental state as well.

 

Diseases

The word disease has scared more people than the famed folklore character known as the “boogeyman.” Just mention this word in a conversation and look at the fear in the eyes of others around you. When you dissect the word disease you notice that it is simply a dis-ease within the body. In other words, the body is not at ease. In order to fix the situation you simply have to learn what it takes to help the body to become at ease again. Learning about diseases and what you can do to prevent and in many cases heal from them will prove to beneficial for anyone in the long run.

 

Exercise

There is an adage that says “use it or lose it.” The human body is a perfect regenerating system that requires daily movements in order that it may function at optimal and efficient levels. Failure to exercise consistently leads to a lethargic body that is prone to attract sedentary-type degenerative diseases. When you exercise you perspire which is a form of cleaning toxins and releasing endorphins. Endorphins are known as the “happy chemicals” that are released during exercise or other activities. As a result the more active you are the better you feel. Working out helps you to strengthen and stretch certain body parts which essentially enhances your body’s proper mechanical function or an extended period of time.

 

Environmental Health

Clean air, clean water and plants are necessary for the survival of all life forms on earth. We have taken the liberty to provide what we feel to be important environmental information that can help improve the quality of your particular environment. Remember that you are a product of your environment. If that environment is contaminated then so shall you be. Be aware of your surroundings and do your best to do your part.

 

Weight Management

The United States is currently number one in the world in obesity. This epidemic has spiraled far beyond out-of-control. The issue now affects children. The result of this trickling effect is the contraction of adult diseases during their childhood years. Wherever there is excess weight gain you can be certain that there will be a health issue attached to that weight gain. Refined foods, fried foods and snacks are all primary contributors to weight gain. Eating the right foods and avoiding the “artificial foods” will be the key to combating this issue. Managing your weight does not require that you become a vegan, but you need to select foods from a group of known micronutrient rich foods. There are no magic bullets.

 

Take Care of Your Mouth and Throat During Cancer Treatment

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Most people associate chemotherapy treatment with extreme nausea and loss of hair, but this kind of treatment can have serious dental and oral consequences, consequences which can be mitigated or avoided altogether by taking preventative steps. The following are common occurrences for a person having chemotherapy treatment.

 

Oral Effects of Chemo

  • Mouth sores and infections.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Bleeding of the gums and the inside of the mouth.
  • Pain, discomfort and soreness of the mouth.

There may be difficulty with eating and swallowing which can cause nutritional problems. The food will can taste different due to the effect of the treatment on the taste buds and tongue.

 

Oral Problem Prevention Before Chemo

Preventive measures can be taken before the onset of the cancer treatment. The oncologist will suggest a visit to a specialist dentist a few weeks before the chemotherapy begins. The dentist will expect the person to—

  • Have a thorough examination of mouth and gums.
  • Be given careful instructions on how to carry out oral hygiene while having the treatment.
  • Participate in any dental repairs deemed necessary by the dentist.
  • Cooperate in having a thorough dental cleaning by a dental hygienist.
  • Have a dental x-ray carried out. 

 

Oral Hygiene During Chemo

The person should carefully follow the instruction given by the dentist. Also, the oncologist in charge of the chemotherapy treatment may advise that –

  • A special mouth wash be used to prevent any mouth sores which could lead to infection, since chemotherapy treatment can affect the immune system of the aged person and lower its resistance to other infections.
  • The person avoid eating any food with sharp edges in order not to scratch or cut the gums.
  • Alcohol, tobacco, and spicy or acidic foods should not be taken at all.

 

If the above instructions are followed, then the person can safely maintain his/her normal oral hygiene habits. This should include brushing and flossing twice each day with a soft toothbrush and avoiding mouthwashes which contain alcohol. Some specialists recommend sucking on ice chips and keeping the mouth moist at all times to counter dry mouth.

What it Means that No Amount of Alcohol Consumption is Healthy

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A new massive global health study suggests what we’ve been told for decades isn’t true—or at least it isn’t the whole truth. One or two glasses of red wine isn’t good for overall health. The truth is that no amount of alcohol, no matter how small, can deliver health benefits that outweigh the costs. And here’s where things get interesting. While this study doesn’t contradict previous studies that indicate 1-2 adult beverages may have heart benefits, what it does say is that the increased risk across a range of cancers outweighs the heart benefits.

 

Look at Your Family History, and Talk to Your Doctor

It also means that it’s potentially important to consider individualized health risks. If up to 2 glasses of wine helps reduce the incident of fatal heart disease, while increasing cancer risk, then it’s fair to ask whether the conclusions of this study are valid for people with a long family history of heart disease but only minimal rates of cancer. Even then, it’s not as though the alcohol consumption doesn’t increase the risk of cancer, but it’s possible that such an individual who focuses on their heart health is able to live long enough to get the cancer that eventually kills them. On the flip side of the coin, if you have a more established family history of cancer, this is an even stronger reason to think twice about consistently indulging even moderate amounts of alcohol. This is the type of modification we make to our thinking in light on this study.

 

True at Every Age

Another interesting takeaway from this study is that it holds true at every age, and based on mortality rates is especially true for younger adults. From this National Public Radio report, here are the most compelling statistics:

The study looked at a broad range of risks posed by alcohol consumption, including diseases, driving accidents and self-harm. According to the report, alcohol led to 2.8 million deaths in 2016. It was the leading risk factor for disease worldwide, the study found, accounting for almost 10 percent of deaths among those ages 15 to 49.

 

Quality of Life, Knowing the Facts, Making Choices

Even if follow-up studies continue to suggest that any amount of alcohol isn’t the best possible health choice, we’re not sure stopping is the right choice for everyone who’s currently…partaking in the habit. Certainly, fewer seniors will take up the habit as their primary care physicians dial back or stop offering this advice altogether. But if you enjoy an adult beverage and/or have a family history of heart disease and if you understand there’s a higher risk of getting cancer that comes with this habit, this practice can be chocked up to personal choices and quality of life. Put differently, we don’t know anybody who makes the healthiest possible choice in every single situation.

And more to this point, while clinical studies are different than hospital-based care, when we talk about healthcare outside of hospital settings, know too that these types of studies must be consumed within the perspective of our personal health goals.

 

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NY Times Op-Ed Agrees that Hospital Care is in Decline

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Oncologist, bioethicist, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress—and a key figure in the development of the Affordable Care Act—Ezekiel Emanuel recently wrote an op-ed in the New York Times that describes how the hospital has been in decline for decades and how this is more of a sign of medical progress than a lack of access to care. For those who are unfamiliar with our site, this is pretty much our raison d’etre, and it’s good to know that some of the most experienced professionals in the healthcare field agree with your central tenet.

 

Among the facts cited in the NY Times article:

 

At its peak, in 1981, there were “over 39 million hospitalizations — 171 admissions per 1,000 Americans. Thirty-five years later, the population has increased by 40 percent, but hospitalizations have decreased by more than 10 percent….the number of hospitals has declined to 5,534 this year from 6,933 in 1981.”

In 2002, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that there were 1.7 million cases of hospital-acquired infections that caused nearly 100,000 deaths….Studies have shown that patients with heart failure, pneumonia and some serious infections can be given intravenous antibiotics and other hospital-level treatments at home by visiting nurses. These ‘hospital at home’ programs usually lead to more rapid recoveries, at a lower cost.

 

Just to say it, neither we nor Emanuel are zealots or absolutists when it comes to hospitals. There is still an important place for hospital-based care including major surgeries, trauma care, and other types of acute and specialized medical care. But hospital settings also carry their own unique healthcare risks—namely healthcare-associated infections—that may outweigh the potential benefits. Likewise, you may be that infectious agent. Otherwise healthy adults should avoid the hospital when they have the flu lest they infect more vulnerable populations.

 

Barriers to Empowerment in Modern Health Care

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One of the big ways in which the traditional hospital and healthcare system fails is when it disempowers individuals to understand the cost of their healthcare services. Health provider networks frequently claim to offer greater overall efficiency, but it’s hard to know and hard to measure when costs and services so frequently seem made up on the fly. Perhaps, just as bad, it creates an environment in which patients are unable to clearly understand the cost of their healthcare and, thus, are less empowered to plan for their future health needs.

 

Even Dental Coverage is Anything but Transparent

I’ve recently had a couple different circumstances to experience these frustrations, if not outright failings. I had a crown put in last November and December. During the initial visit, I sat down with the dentist’s billing coordinator to go over how much it would cost. I was told one price, split over two different bills that I paid during the initial visit as well as the follow-up visit. Putting in the crown was a two-step process.

In between the two visits, our health insurance was cancelled by my wife’s employer. So, then, in January, I got a bill for $133 itemized over some two dozen different largely indecipherable service descriptions. Now, this wasn’t my first rodeo when it comes to billing codes, service authorization, coverage policies, and the murky ways in which health insurance doesn’t works. But this bill seemed entirely unintelligible. I ended up calling the dentist and, after telling my whole story to a new billing coordinator and the regional manager, they decided to simply write the bill off. I still don’t know how much what service cost. I mean, it’s one thing to not consider costs for emergency health services, but the dentist office? Can’t I at least take a proactive approach to my dental care and service costs?

 

Trying to Get a Quote at the Dermatologist Office

Right around the same time, my wife went to the dermatologist and was deciding whether to get ultimately harmless but not very pleasant-looking age spots removed from her face. How much was the necessary liquid nitrogen treatment going to cost? The dermatologist’s office wasn’t sure. The Internet said the treatment might cost anywhere from $150 to $1,600. We eventually had to contact the health insurer with the correct billing codes from the dermatologist office to know what the bill was going to be.

 

Partisan Conflict Increases Dysfunction in the Health Care System

The health care system suffers from the haphazard way that competing philosophies have been implemented. It’s like we keep telling people and families to take greater personal responsibility for their health care and health outcomes, while simultaneously subjecting them to an over-managed and largely opaque health care system that tells them to shut up, wait to see what the bill will be, and then pay it—or don’t.

It starts with our state and national politics and then slowly, perpetually infects local health providers and individual health consumers. It degrades the trust that patients have in any number of hospital and healthcare settings. And it creates invisible inefficiencies that make it difficult for even health care industry experts to understand how to improve the system itself.

 

Food Choices More Effective than Nutritional Metrics?

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Sure, there are dozens of headline-grabbing studies that have us tweaking our diets and lifestyle for optimal health, but the fundamentals of good nutrition never change. Or do they? A new study published in JAMA suggests some fundamentals are, shall we say, more fundamental than others. For years, we were told if you want to lose or manage your weight, above all else, you need to watch and limit your calorie intake and increase your calorie consumption.

Here’s the key takeaway in this NYTimes feature story:

It found that people who cut back on added sugar, refined grains and highly processed foods while concentrating on eating plenty of vegetables and whole foods — without worrying about counting calories or limiting portion sizes — lost significant amounts of weight over the course of a year.

 

Consistent Results Across Subgroups

The study also suggests that these weight loss benefits applied to whether the individual was following a low-fat or low-carb diet, as well as different genetics and insulin responses. Indeed, it’s easy to think that this type of approach might work for other people, but you think the meticulous details involved with counting calories in (diet) and calories out (exercise). It’s not as though you can’t lose weight, especially in the short-term, with this method. But it seems like the best long-term results must also take into account the composition and food choices of one’s diet—and the physiological effects that may be caused by the psychological act of counting calories.

It’s also easy to think that using added sugar and refined grains as a carrot for the rest of your diet and exercise is a solid strategy. And cutting these types of foods out of your diet altogether is hard in today’s culture and time demands. Still, incremental progress can be substantial progress over time. By picking out and eliminating even one food that you regularly eat that’s high in added sugar or refined grains and replacing it with a wholesome grain or vegetable, you’re likely doing yourself more good than all the calorie counts and exercise charts in the world.

 

The Human Body is a Complex Organism

In many ways, it makes us think of physics and the ways in which the observer and the observation itself can change the outcome of an experiment. Worrying about and counting calories really do seem to make the consumption of these calories less satisfying. Stress changes the composition of hormones and enzymes swirling around in our bodily system. If you combine counting calories with tracking your weight on a scale—or even just pant size, and who doesn’t do this?—but as you track more and more nutritional metrics, there becomes the very real possibility that you’re so removed from the holistic process of choosing what foods you eat and how you perceive these foods satisfying your appetite.

 

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Modern Health Care and the “New Hospital”

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Compared to the health services of yesterday, healthcare today is a lot more sophisticated and responsive. Part of this improvement has been technological advancements, but these contributions are often over-hyped. By comparison, the contributions of taking an integrated and holistic approach aren’t given their proper due. It’s not so much that people are unfamiliar with integrated health or holistic medicine, but rather it’s the way they’re portrayed and received by patients and health-conscious audiences. More than new-age buzzwords, these terms speak to wide-ranging improvements to treatment protocols that seek to integrate different approaches and therapies to the benefit of the patient and health outcomes.

 

At Modern Health Care, we like to say that the new hospital has no walls. Instead, it’s a community of services, providers, and information resources. Sure, you still need a suitable building to house various types of medical equipment and health supplies. Yes, you still need a highly trained and highly skilled staff of health professionals. But the thing is that, more and more, health providers are doing a better job of understanding how to design treatment programs that take into account an individual’s environment and behavior outside of the clinical arena. It’s this kind of integration and innovation that we seek to highlight at Modern Health Care.

 

And yet, even as we recognize how interconnected our health and health services truly are, we can’t talk about the stories and influences and connections all at once. So, we created a few different landscapes and organizing themes to help you explore these various connections and what they mean to your personal health.