Jumat, 25 Oktober 2013

Discrimination And Health Insurance

Until current health care reform legislation takes full effect in 2014, individuals with pre-existing conditions will continue to legally be subject to certain exclusions and limitations in coverage from health insurance companies. However, despite legislation to the contrary, various types of discrimination continue to occur throughout the country in regards to offering fair coverage and premiums when it comes to health insurance.

A recent study has found that individuals with genetic conditions are actually twice as likely to be denied health insurance as individuals with other equally serious chronic illnesses. This population is also more likely to be subjected to higher premiums as well as higher deductibles. The same study also found that half of the individuals interviewed did not want to leave their job because they were fearful of losing much needed health coverage.

Past legislation has attempted to address this issue to some extent. HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) was partially designed to help ensure that health insurance is made available to all. Previous to the passing of the law, there was widespread fear of almost every employee to move to a different job as they could easily lose health coverage. With this act, most employees were put at ease with the introduction of COBRA and additional federal regulations regarding offering health insurance to new employees.

Unfortunately, with the economy as it is, employees are again fearful of losing their group health insurance, regardless of any pre-existing conditions. As companies continue to lay off workers and stop offering group health insurance benefits, more and more people are finding themselves without health insurance.

Another provision of HIPAA was to prevent, in no uncertain terms, the use of genetic information in the writing of any health insurance policy, whether group or individual. This type of information may not be used to determine eligibility or be treated as a pre-existing condition that may be subject to exclusions or additional limitations. In addition, if someone has been found to have a genetic marker for a disease, their policy may not be affected by the finding.

However, anyone that exhibits symptoms of a certain genetic disease or have been otherwise diagnosed by a medical professional can legally be discriminated against, along with anyone else with any kind of pre-existing condition. In addition, anyone with a strong family history of breast cancer or colon cancer is likely to be (illegally) considered "high risk," and as a result are subjected to the same limitations and high premiums as those with diagnosed chronic conditions.

One of the unfortunate results of permitting discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions is that insurance companies often take advantage of their ability to impose limitations. Those that do not reject an initial application will attach riders to the policy which make obtaining the necessary care essentially the financial responsibility of the patient.

With so many discriminatory practices in today's health care industry, it is the hope of many of those that have been downtrodden by such a broken system that the upcoming change in legislation will be a saving grace, changing lives for the better.

Selasa, 22 Oktober 2013

Diabetes, Its Investigations and Complications

There are many people in the world who ignore the small signs their body gives them to indicate diseases. Frequent urination, increased hunger and increased thirst are some signs that need immediate consultation from a doctor otherwise they might lead to coma and potential death. These signs are due to the presence of excess blood sugar levels which indicate Diabetes Mellitus, simply acknowledged as Diabetes.
Diabetes is of two types, type I and type II Diabetes. These were previously referred to as insulin dependent and insulin independent types but, since recent researches prove that insulin can be used in both types, this classification has been discarded. Type I diabetes is due to the body's inability to synthesize insulin requiring insulin injections. It occurs below the age of 20 and accounts for 10% cases of diabetes. In Type 2 diabetes the cells either stop responding to insulin or the insulin production is insufficient as compared to the glucose intake. The major cause of this form of diabetes is sedentary lifestyle along with obesity. It occurs after 30 years of life and accounts for 90% cases of diabetes. This form of diabetes can be controlled by dietary and lifestyle changes along with the use of oral hypoglycemic medicines. Insulin injections in this type have little or no effect but can be used in some cases. Other forms of diabetes include gestational diabetes in which, during pregnancy, the sugar level of the mother escalates beyond normal. This might result in intrauterine death of the baby and type II diabetes in the mother, later in life.
Due to the numerous damaging effects of diabetes, routine check ups for blood glucose levels are advised to all. These check ups include tests like fasting blood sugar or random blood sugar, which provide the first sign of high glucose levels in the blood. If the fasting or random blood sugar is raised then the confirmatory test for diabetes is done which is the oral glucose tolerance test. In this test standard carbohydrate load is given to the patient and then glucose levels are checked after 2 hours, if the glucose level is more than 200gm/dl even after 2hours then this confirms diabetes. These tests are also included in routine antenatal check ups for pregnant women to help in the immediately diagnosis of gestational diabetes, as early diagnosis will help to save the life of the baby as well as the mother
Heart attack is the most common cause of death in uncontrolled diabetes, the reason behind it is the fact that diabetes causes damage to arteries. This damage to blood vessels not only leads to stroke and paralysis but also causes blockage in peripheral vessels of the body leading to the formation of gangrene. Gangrene is formed as a result of blockage of vessels which lead to cell death and pus formation. Gangrene in feet is most common in uncontrolled diabetes and requires amputation to prevent spread of gangrene to the whole leg. Uncontrolled diabetes also affects the eye leading to, reduced vision, blindness or cataract formation. Moreover, due to changes in the kidney and progressive loss of proteins in the urine, diabetes also results in kidney failure.
Article writer who works on Odesk

Selasa, 08 Oktober 2013

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Rabu, 02 Oktober 2013

Complications That May Occur in Long-Term Acid Reflux

Though lifestyle habits and healthy eating habits may be capable to reduce the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (or acid reflux disease), they are not able to cure the disease. Left unseen by a medical specialist and untreated for a longer period of time, acid reflux disease can seriously impact the body by irritating the lining of the esophagus, a cause for later, more serious complications.
What is gastroesophageal reflux disease?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a chronic condition in which mucosal damage is caused by the stomach acid coming up into the esophagus. Acid reflux is usually caused by the abnormal relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter changes in the valve between the stomach and the esophagus.
What are the most severe long-term complications of acid reflux?
  • Barrett's Esophagus is a condition characterized by intestinal metaplasia, which usually precedes carcinoma. Because of the risk of chronic heartburn progressing to Barrett's, patients with acid reflux are recommended to undergo esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) at least every five years. It is observed that patients with Barrett's esophagus have significantly increased chances to develop esophageal cancer compared to acid reflux patients without Barrett's. Symptoms of the condition include: frequent and longstanding heartburn, difficulty swallowing, vomiting blood, chest pain and unintentional weight loss.
  • Esophageal Cancer is the cancer of the tissues of the esophagus. Despite all efforts of medical scientists, the actual cause of cancer remains unidentified, but a definite link can be made gastroesophageal reflux disease and esophageal cancer. Symptoms include difficult, painful, and husky cough, as a result of the tumor affecting the laryngeal nerve.
  • Laryngeal Cancer is the cancerous disease of the larynx and the condition is associated with preexisting acid reflux disease. Symptoms include hoarseness and other voice changes, lump in the neck, sore throat, persistent cough, bad breath, earache.
  • Erosive Esophagitis is the inflammation and swelling of the esophagus commonly caused by acid stomach that makes its way back up into the esophagus. Symptoms include pain in the chest or abdomen, nausea, etc.
  • Esophageal Stricture is a narrowing or tightening of the esophagus which can lead difficulties in swallowing food. Symptoms of esophageal strictures include heartburn, acid taste in the mouth, coughing, shortness of breath, and frequent burping or hiccups. Severe symptoms include pain or difficulty swallowing, throwing up blood and weight loss.
A simple glance at the list above is enough to point out the life-threatening aspect of a neglected acid reflux case. It is in consequence important to contact a medical specialist as soon as the first signs and symptoms of acid reflux disease are observed. Early diagnosis is one of the surest ways to keep the disease under control. Adopting healthy lifestyle habits can only help maintain good overall health.
To learn about laparoscopic surgical treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease and whether or not you are a candidate for such an intervention, contact a specialized medical specialist.
Dr. Thomas E. Lavin is a board certified general surgeon specializing in minimally invasive surgery. He is the founder of the Surgical Specialists of Louisiana.