As diabetics, people with diabetic loved ones, and anyone who has seen a TV commercial starring Wilford Brimley all know, keeping track of one’s blood glucose levels is an important part of staying healthy with diabetes. But what happens when you suddenly can’t get the supplies that you need for the brand of meter that you’ve chosen because your health insurer will only cover one brand of meter?
Kim received a solicitation in the mail from Anthem BlueCross BlueShield offering her the opportunity to apply for guaranteed health insurance coverage. This plan offers appealing benefits like no copay for routine screening tests or immunizations. Sounds great! Except it’s not. [More]
Every year, Americans spend $28 billion on potions that we imbue with magical powers. We mean, of course, vitamin pills and supplements. We take them by the handful even though study after study has showed us that for people who have a deficiency, vitamin pills don’t do very much good, and may harm our health in the long run. Yes, harm. [More]
Cows’ stomachs are optimized to graze on grass. As ruminants, it’s just what they do, but modern milk production doesn’t give them opportunities to wander outside and eat grass. It turns out, though, that when cows get to eat grass, the milk they produce is better for humans. [More]
The good news is that Healthcare.gov, the health insurance marketplace for states that haven’t set up their own exchanges, is now up and functional. Well, the front end is working. Now that eligible people in need of insurance are able to log in and sign up, the next step is for the site to send their information over to the health insurance companies. That’s where things might go very wrong. [More]
It should be obvious that the dose of medication that works in one person doesn’t work in all people. So it shouldn’t have been a surprise for women this morning to learn that an emergency contraceptive pill identical to the one sold here in the US as Plan B will carry a new warning label in Europe cautioning women that it doesn’t work if they weigh too much. [More]
The next time you visit your clean, safe commode in the privacy of your own home, take a minute to think about how lucky you are. Seriously. Today is World Toilet Day, and despite the easy potty jokes you could easily summon, a third of the world’s population doesn’t have access to basic, clean sanitation. Never mind that heated seat you love so dearly. [More]
Any 17-year-olds in New York City ticking off the days until they come of legal age and can go out to buy cigarettes or other tobacco should probably know that the City Council just voted to move the legal age to buy tobacco products — and also e-cigarettes — from 18 to 21. Keep ticking those days off. [More]
When it comes to clinics for women’s health, who counts as a woman? For breast cancer screenings funded by the CDC, there’s a requirement that advocates for transgender Americans find discriminatory and problematic: patients must be “born as women,” excluding women who were identified as male at birth but who now need services like mammograms. Routine health care can become very complicated, and accessing public health services is too. [More]
A neti pot is a little pitcher that you use to gently blast warm saline solution through your sinuses to remove dust, pollen, mucus, and other nastiness. This all seems very gentle and healthy, until you learn that incomplete instructions that come with some pots may lead to you delivering pathogens to your brain rather than sweet relief to your congested sinuses. [More]
Americans are buying a lot of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, which are intended to help ease the pain of or prevent symptoms from arthritis. The problem is that there’s no proof that the pills do any good…and tests from our lab-coated cousins down the hall at Consumer Reports showed that many brands don’t even contain the whole dose claimed on the label. [More]
For those of you out there on the neverending search for the next miracle product that will keep your skin smooth and taut through the years, we’ve got bad news: There is no fountain of youth. If there was, GPS probably would’ve found it by now. But research out of hot hot Australia says that using sunscreen regularly could slow the aging of your skin.
Don’t expect your mail-order pharmacy to look out for you or for your health. That’s what reader Kathleen learned when her auto-refill prescription got auto-refilled, in spite of her new and exciting prescription for the same medication in a higher dose. Isn’t the point to having everything run by benevolent computers that they’re smarter than we are, and don’t make silly human errors? [More]
Should our health insurers try to nudge us toward the healthiest habits possible, like eating fresh, healthy food and exercising regularly? Or should they just give up, accept Americans’ crappy habits and hope that we do less healthy versions of unhealthy things, like eating giant plates of whole-wheat pasta? Reader Scott wonders whether that’s what his health insurance company, Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, is up to with a package of coupons that they sent recently. [More]
Those in the know have long recommended eating fish like salmon and tuna to get the benefits of its omega-3 fatty acids, or swallowing fish oil capsules to get the same good stuff. But a new study says that if you’re at high risk for heart problems and already taking medications to prevent them, fish oil won’t really do anything for you.
So there you are, hanging out with your baby and oh, whoops — his or her pacifier hits the ground. Most parents would take it to the sink, run it under some water or perhaps sterilize it in boiling water to prevent their baby from sucking on germs. But a new study says if you want to help your baby, you should really just suck on that pacifier to clean it off. Say whatnow?
Before you pucker up and slather on your favorite lip lacquer, consider the carcinogens: A new study tested 32 lipsticks and lip glosses and found they contain things like lead, cadmium, chromium, aluminum and five other metals. Some of those were present in potentially toxic levels, especially bad news if you’re the type to chew your lip.
The Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday that the morning-after pill has been approved for girls and women 15 and older without a prescription, as well as putting it out on drugstore shelves instead of keeping it stashed behind the pharmacy counter.