Monthly Archives: February 2016

Natural Health Remedy Tips and Tricks

Everyone is sick at one point or another throughout the year. Illnesses affect your ability to make it into work and can have a negative impact on your life if the sickness lasts. While many doctors would suggest taking antibiotics, the reality is not everyone can afford them and in the long run they can have negative health effects on your immune system. Instead, there are a number of natural medicines that you can utilize, that not only cost less than pharmaceutical medicines, but are naturally occurring and will boost your immune system.

Oregano Oil
Oregano oil is made from naturally occurring wild oregano and is rich in carvacrol. Carvacrol is a phenol, which had antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Oregano oil is used as an immune booster that should be taken when you are beginning to develop a cold. It comes in a small bottle with an eyedropper. Take one drop, 1 to 4 times daily until the symptoms of the cold are gone. It can be found at most health food stores and if you want an extra potent version of the oil then look for the branded “Oreganol P73” type.

Ginseng
Ginseng is a natural health remedy that helps to boost your immune system, lower stress levels and increase your libido. It also helps you recover your health during illness and the flu. It often comes in capsule form and should be taken regularly when you are sick. You can find it at health food stores or through a naturopath.

Echinacea
This plant is native to the United States and is an immune stimulant. It helps the body develop more white blood cells, which are in charge of fighting infections that develop within the body. Most people use it daily to help fortify their system during the winter months when you are more prone to becoming ill.

Ginger
If you develop the stomach flu or are experience stomach cramps then a dosage of ginger will help calm the stomach and relax the muscles. Ginger is a root that can be made into a tea and consumed to help relieve stomach illnesses. It is excellent for relieving nausea and giving you enough comfort to relax and sleep.

Grapefruit Seed Extract
Known, as a citrus extract is a natural antibiotic that can be used in place of a synthetic one. You can put a few drops into your juice or water and consume a couple of times a day to help relieve discomfort due to an infection. The only downside is that it can counteract the effects of some synthetic medications, so consult a doctor before using it.

Tips for Choosing The Right Health Insurance Plan

When it comes to health insurance, there’s no one-size-fits-all plan that you can rely on. Of the numerous plans in the market, you will find that each is unique in some way, with its own benefits and limits. This makes purchasing health insurance a difficult task where painstaking research is sometimes required, before you find the right plan for you.

Before you go plan-hunting, there are some questions you need to ask yourself:

  • What is my financial ceiling?
  • What do I have to cover? Am I responsible only for myself? Do I have dependents? Am I planning for retirement yet? Am I already retired?
  • How often do I need to visit the doctor?
  • How much premium can I afford?
  • Do I have any pre-existing medical conditions?
  • How comprehensive a plan do I want?
  • Do I need regular dental and/or vision check-ups?
  • Do I use many prescription medicines?
  • How much preventive care do I want?
  • Am I constantly exposed to hazards such as the possibility of an accident, exposure to toxins, a weak immune system, etc.?
  • Am I at risk of any hereditary diseases?

Knowing the answer to these questions will help you recognise which slot you fall into, and what your insurance needs are. It’ll narrow down your search and give you an estimate of how much you should be spending – and what benefits you ought to get for your money.Once you know your healthcare requirements, it’s time to go shopping. Even with the field narrowed down, it’s easy to lose sight of what you need. Here are some tips you should keep in mind to ensure that you aren’t buying the wrong plan:

    • Know how much the average cost of your healthcare should be. For example, it is generally accepted that a Rs.5 lakh cover is sufficient for a single adult.

 

    • Individual covers are usually more comprehensive than family plans, and also cheaper on your wallet in the long run. Moreover, individual health insurance plans cover most, if not all your checkups, pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses, and other domiciliary costs, which are usually somewhat limited in an umbrella cover.

 

    • Check your policy to see if it provides cover for atypical expenses, like maternity, vision, dental, etc. If it doesn’t, find out if such covers can be added to your policy, or if they will be covered after a certain number of years have elapsed.

 

    • Never select a policy based on premium alone. Find out what your insurer’s claim settlement history is. If they have a reputation for speedy claim resolution and better payouts, go for it. If, however, the claim settlement takes ages and too much paperwork or other hassles, search for another provider.

 

    • Assess your risk-taking ability before you choose to opt for a floater plan. Though these are comparatively cheaper than individual plans, and provide cover for your entire family, they also mean that you have to assume a higher amount of risk in exchange for a smaller premium.

 

    • If you are employed and your employer pays for your insurance cover, it would be wise to get a separate cover privately, as well. The main reason being – though workplace insurance covers are usually very beneficial, they may be terminated when you leave your organisation. Today, most people are mobile when it comes to changing jobs, so you might not always have a cover when you’re transitioning from one job to the next.

 

  • Consider getting additional covers, like critical illness cover, accident cover, hospital cash, surgical cover, etc. These can be added to your existing policy as riders, for an added sum to your premium.

Health Care Tips You Need to Know

As patients, we all like to think our doctors are on top of their game — they know everything there is to know about our particular health problem. We like to think this because we are putting our health and our lives in their hands.

However, what we really should be thinking is how can doctors stay current on all the new developments, knowledge and recommended treatments available? After all, there are so many new medical findings/reports given everyday it is impossible for any one doctor to stay current in all areas of medicine. It is even a challenge for a doctor to stay current in one specialized area of medicine.

Yes, doctors are required to take continuing education classes, but the number of hours required per year is minimal compared to all the new medical information available each and every day. To stay current, doctors need to make a concerted effort to learn what is new in their particular practicing area. Doctors who are expert lecturers even hire full-time staff to review all the available new medical information. That is how they stay current and can be considered experts.

The point of sharing these thoughts with you is, no matter how good your doctors are there may come a day when they cannot answer your specific questions. They may not know about a particular new treatment, may not know about a change in the current standard of care. You, the patient, may find yourself educating your doctors about something you have read. Think this is not likely to happen, then think again! This happens much more often than we like to admit. Here is an example of a real-life situation a friend recently shared with me . . .

Sarah (not her real name) recently told me she had been feeling very tired and was gaining weight. Her doctor was running some blood tests and was checking her thyroid function. She would know about her test results in a few days. A few days later she told me her blood tests came back fine, within the normal lab ranges. I asked her what her TSH value was and she said it was 4.8. Her doctor thought they could repeat tests in about 3 months.

I was shocked to hear her doctor thought a TSH of 4.8 was normal. I thought she was probably becoming hypothyroid. I explained to her that the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) established new guidelines in 2003 for the TSH range and the new normal range for TSH is now 0.3 to 3.04. Using this narrower range, Sarah would be considered hypothyroid (not enough thyroid hormone) and would be given thyroid supplements.

I suggested Sarah visit the AACE website [http://www.aace.com/newsroom/press/2003/index.php?r=20030118] or Mary Shomon’s thyroid column at http://www.about.com to learn more. (Mary Shomon is the guide for thyroid issues and she provides patients with a great deal of helpful thyroid information.) I encouraged Sarah to speak with her doctor now and not wait three months. Sarah’s doctor was following old standards and most likely did not know about the narrower TSH range. Her doctor was just reading the range the laboratory provided instead of following the new guidelines.

Sarah’s situation is just one example of a doctor not knowing the latest information. In case you find yourself in a similar situation, here are some helpful tips when educating your doctor:

  1. Do your health homework. No matter what doctor you see, you need to verify and discover information yourself. Go to reputable medical sources on-line and print out copies of information you want to discuss with your doctor. Reputable medical sources are sites run by well-known doctors, organizations, or universities like http://www.webmd.com or http://www.americanheart.org. Avoid sites written by unknown individuals merely express an opinion and not verifiable facts. For rarer medical information, visit medical libraries and ask the librarian for assistance in finding answers to the questions you have. No matter how you do your homework — have a hard copy to show your doctor.
  2. Ask your doctor for some time to answer your questions and show him or her printed material. They may want to see the specifics for themselves before they can comment. One of several scenarios should then follow: The best scenario would be for your doctor to already be aware of the information you are providing and for you both to have a thorough discussion about it. The next best scenario would be for your doctor to be unaware of the information and for him or her to be willing to look into if further for you or refer you to someone who is more knowledgeable in that area. Perhaps the worst scenario would be for your doctor to be unaware of the information and be unwilling to take the time to discuss it with you.
  3. Smart doctors will react to information a patient presents by either already knowing the information or by wanting to know more about the new information. Smart doctors know they can always keep learning and they are not offended by patients asking questions and providing information. They are often grateful for patients who bring important issues to their attention because it may help them treat other patients better in the future. You should seek out doctors who are willing to discuss information with you and have a true partnership relationship when it comes to your care.
  4. On the flip side, you should avoid doctors who are unwilling to discuss new information with you. If they are too busy to answer your questions, then you don’t need them. Stay with them only long enough to find a new doctor who will have a quality doctor-patient relationship with you. You need a doctor who has your best interests in mind. Remember in the end, it’s your or your loved one’s health at stake.
  5. Doctors are human beings too. They genuinely want to help people. That is why they went into medicine in the first place. Just like you, they have many time pressures on them and in this fast-paced world it is not easy to keep up on everything new in medicine. Give your doctors the opportunity and flexibility to help you before you decide to move on. If they are willing to spend time answering your questions, but ask to do so at an alternative time or by an alternative means, then try being understanding and work with them. Some doctors have a time during the day when they are more easily able to speak with patients by phone or some will even communicate with patients via e-mail. The best solution is to find a way to get your questions answered that works for both you and your doctor.

3 Tips For Building Your Immune System

A healthy immune system is the key to avoiding flu, preventing cancer, and living a life of vitality and longevity. In today’s frantic paced society we are more stressed than ever and our immune systems are bearing the brunt of it, as evidenced by the ever increasing rates of cancer and other autoimmune diseases like, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

In Ayurveda terms, prevention is the best medicine., and strengthening one’s immune system is essential. It is more beneficial to stay healthy than to try to restore health after it is lost. The road to recovery can be long.

Ayurveda gives us tips for daily routines and to balance each individual’s constitution (dosha). Some of these include specific times of day for arising, bathing, eating, resting, exercise, meditation, and bedtime. Consistency is the key. Yet many find that sticking to a self care routine is challenging. In our fast paced culture there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day, which contributes to the vicious cycle leading to chronic illness.

Ayurveda offers some alternatives to going through life, weak, frazzled, sick, and exhausted. Supported by scientific research here are three ancient herbs that support a healthy lifestyle when used properly and consistently.

1) Ashwaghanda: is a popular ayurvedic medicine that is “good for just about anything that ails you”. Traditionally it is recommended to clear the mind, calm the nerves, and promote restful sleep. Ashwaghanda has been found to improve thinking skills in double-blind, clinical research. Its active ingredients may bolster the immune system, buck up stamina, fight inflammation and infections, oppose tumors, reduce stress, and protect the liver. It may also prevent diabetes, combat malaria, and appears to strengthen bones.

2) Guggul: is the resin of a small indian tree. It stimulates the skin, mucous membranes, and kidneys to excrete toxins. This herb also relieves pain and strengthens the thyroid by raising the blood level of thyroid hormones. Its strong anti-inflammatory action makes guggul the best medicine for relieving many kinds of arthritis. In india, the standardized extract of this herb is a cholesterol and triglyceride lowering medicine.

3). Licorice: means “sweet talk” in the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit. However, the medicinal herb is a far cry from the candy that is eaten in the United States today. As a popular medicine in China as well as India, it is recommended for asthma, bronchitis, cough, and sore throat. It is used in conditions of arthritis, bladder and kidney problems, and tummy troubles including peptic ulcers. Recent studies point to this herbs anticancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and antimicrobial powers. But, therapeutic doses need to be monitored and evaluated by a qualified alternative health care practitioner because long term use may lead to some unwanted side effects like, headache, high blood pressure, and water retention.

Ayurveda offers many wonderful solutions for restoring health. As with any herb or medication, one should always consult with their healthcare professionals and integrate a holistic approach to natural health and healing.