5 New Year’s Resolutions for Family Caregivers

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Family Caregivers

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According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, nearly 44 million Americans provide “informal” (unpaid) care each year for family members and friends with chronic diseases or conditions. Informal caregiver duties can range from buying groceries and helping around the house to making important medical appointments and decisions. Depending on how much time and care is required, informal caregivers can find themselves burnt out, isolated, and with health problems of their own. These New Year’s Resolutions for informal caregivers can help you find your footing in 2019 and avoid caregiver burnout.

Take Care of Your Own Health

If you’ve ever flown on an airplane, you’ve no doubt heard the instructions to put on your own oxygen mask before helping your child. This same principle is important in caregiving: if you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll be unable to take care of your friend or family member. While this seems obvious, it’s easy to let your own needs slide, especially when they feel less urgent than the needs of your family member. Schedule your yearly check-ups, find ways to implement a workout routine, get the recommended amount of sleep, and prioritize your own emotional, physical, and spiritual needs whenever possible.

Find a Support Network

Taking care of someone else can be isolating, but it’s important to realize you’re not alone. Not only are there plenty of people in the same situation as you, but there are organizations that exist to help you connect with them. Even if you can’t find a caregiver support group in your area, there are online caregiver support groups designed to help you connect with others, even when navigating a busy schedule.

Ask for Help When You Need It

It can be hard to ask for help, but you’d be surprised how many people are willing to offer assistance, especially when they know what would be most helpful. Next time someone asks you if there’s anything they can do to help, be prepared to answer. Maybe you’d love an hour or two a week for a favorite workout class or for a date night with your spouse. Maybe you’d be better able to attend to your own needs if someone else took care of dinner one night a week. If it makes it easier, remember that you’re asking for help for your loved one, not just for yourself.

Take Advantage of Temporary Respite Care

Did you know that many nursing homes offer temporary respite care? Rather than waiting to plan a vacation until a sibling or other family member is able or willing to come into town to help, you can arrange short-term stays with professional caregivers who are prepared to properly care for your loved one. This can also be a great way to give full-time care a trial run before making any long-term decisions. You can even find in-home senior care providers to spend some time with your loved one in the comfort of their own home.

Be Aware of Available Resources

Whether you’re looking to better understand different health problems and caregiving issues or the 2019 changes to Medicare Part D Coverage, you can find plenty of caregiver resources online. There are even programs to help pay for medications, including Simplefill prescription assistance. Apply for prescription help online today!

How to Pay for Prescriptions Without Insurance

How to Pay for Prescriptions Without Insurance

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Unfortunately, if you missed the Medicare and marketplace open enrollment for 2019, you might find yourself without health insurance for the upcoming year. We understand how scary it is to face medical issues during a period of being uninsured, which is why we’re committed to helping you out during this trying time. If you’re without insurance and unable to afford your medication, here are some steps you can take for prescription help.

Ask About Generic Prescription Options

Wondering how to pay for prescriptions without insurance? One way to save money on prescription medication is by requesting generic options. Just like when you shop at the grocery store, generic prescription options are often more affordable than their name-brand counterparts. While the prices are different, they frequently have the exact same dosage, intended use, effects, side effects, route of administration, risks, safety, and strength as the original drug. If you decide to use a prescription assistance program like Simplefill, we’ll even help you do the research to find affordable generic prescription options.

Sign Up for a Prescription Assistance Program

With or without insurance, Simplefill’s Prescription Assistance Program can help you afford your medications. Because we understand how complicated it can be to navigate the healthcare system, we do everything we can to simplify your experience. Not only do we take the time to learn about your specific medical and financial situation, but we take care of all the research and paperwork in order find the best possible option for you.

What to Expect from Simplefill

  • We research your situation and work with you to complete applications for any available prescription assistance programs, discount brand drug programs, discount generic drug programs, and/or available grant funding.
  • We help research alternative medications that serve the same purpose but have a lower price tag.
  • Depending on your specific illness, we help you research and apply for alternative funding programs, including government grants.
  • If you’re eligible, we can help you enroll in the Social Security Extra Help Program.
  • We assign you an advocate who monitors your medications and eligibility in the programs and continues to provide support even after the medication is received.

If you suffer from a chronic disease like cancer, HIV, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, or depression and are having trouble affording your prescriptions for any reason at all, start an application online or call us at 1.877.386.0206. A Simplefill Advocate will respond within 24 hours.

4 Tips for Dealing With Chronic Medical Issues While on Medicare

4 Tips for Dealing With Chronic Medical Issues While on Medicare

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Dealing with medical issues is always challenging but coping with a chronic illness is especially difficult. These four tips for dealing with chronic diseases while on Medicare can help you live your happiest, healthiest life.

Choose the Right Medicare Plan

The Medicare system can be confusing, and the internet is full of misinformation about how Medicare works and what it covers. When choosing your Medicare plan, be sure to check information against the official U.S. Government Site for Medicare to ensure that you’re getting the right information. That said, no one should be denied Medicare coverage based on a pre-existing, chronic condition, and if you’re having trouble securing coverage related to a chronic medical issue, there are people who can help. Groups like the Center for Medicare Advocacy can help answer your questions about Medicare coverage and skilled coverage, as well as helping you choose the right Medicare plan for your health journey.

Ask Doctors for Written Instructions

Especially if you have a chronic condition, it can be hard to keep track of changing treatment plans, medication schedules, and lifestyle instructions. Asking for written instructions from your doctor prevents confusion and ensures that you have the information you need to make smart medical decisions. It can also be reassuring for family members who might not be able to attend a doctor’s visit with you.

Take Small Steps Toward Better Habits

We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s hard to teach old dogs new tricks.” But just because you’ve developed bad health habits doesn’t mean you’re doomed to repeat them. Small changes can make a big difference, especially when it comes to chronic conditions, and it’s much easier to commit to a small habit change than a large one. Think about your health challenges and find low commitment habits that might help. You might, for example, try to take a short walk after dinner or make a certain day of the week “dessert free.” You can work toward bigger lifestyle changes in the future but starting small will help keep you from getting overwhelmed or discouraged.

Take Advantage of Prescription Assistance Services

Especially when you’re suffering from a chronic condition, it’s so important to consistently take any medications that have been prescribed to you. Still, millions of Americans are forced to ignore doctor’s orders because they can’t afford the medication they need. Even with the closing of the Medicare Part D Donut Hole Coverage Gap, you may still find yourself in need of Medicare prescription help, either because your co-pays are too high or because your medication is not covered by Medicare. Using a prescription assistance program like Simplefill can help you afford the medication you need to treat your chronic illness.

If you’re having trouble affording your prescriptions for any reason at all, start an application online or call us at 1.877.386.0206 and a Simplefill Advocate will respond within 24 hours.

How to Find Help with the Cost of ADHD Medication

How to Find Help with the Cost of ADHD Medication

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According to the American Psychiatric Association, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects an estimated 8.4 percent of children and 2.5 percent of adults. October is ADHD awareness month, and here at Simplefill, our prescription assistance program is dedicated to helping with the cost of ADHD medication for children and adults.

In fact, our Pediatric Assistance Program can even help with non-prescription medical expenses, including counseling services for children with ADHD. Here’s what you need to know about ADHD, its treatment, and how Simplefill can help.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a mental disorder that typically manifests as trouble remaining still and/or a short attention span. Because it mimics typical childhood behaviors, it’s important to remember that these symptoms must be serious enough to cause distress or problems functioning at home or school. There are three types of ADHD: inattentive type, hyperactive/impulsive type, or combined type, which is some combination of the two.

Inattentive Type ADHD symptoms can include: trouble paying attention to details, repeatedly making careless mistakes, problems staying focused on tasks, trouble paying attention to people while they’re speaking, trouble following directions, problems organizing tasks, avoiding tasks that require long-term mental effort, frequently losing important objects, etc.

Hyperactive/Impulsive Type ADHD symptoms can include: fidgeting, tapping, and squirming, running and climbing during inappropriate times, an inability to be quiet, talking too much, blurting out answers or finishing other people’s sentences, trouble taking turns, frequently interrupting others, etc.

ADHD Medications Available with Simplefill Prescription Assistance

The cost of ADHD medication can be incredibly expensive, especially if you don’t have insurance. That’s why Simplefill prescription assistance offers low cost options for the following prescriptions for ADHD:

  • Vyvnase
  • Focalin
  • Concerta
  • Intuniv
  • Strattera
  • Quillivant XR
  • Quillichew ER

How Our Pediatric Assistance Program Can Help with ADHD Treatment

If your child has a chronic or life-altering condition like ADHD, our Pediatric Assistance Program can help! If you meet the income and diagnosis guidelines, Simplefill can help get funding up to $5,000 for nearly all medical expenses, including help with prescription drug co-pays, help paying for related counseling services, and help with other out-of-pocket costs that are associated with your child’s specific diagnosis.

At Simplefill, we work hard to help with medicine costs for the people who need it most. Whether you’re looking for discount prescriptions without insurance or help paying for unaffordable co-pays, Simplefill may be able to help relieve some of the financial burden. For help with paying for ADHD medication, insulin, or other eligible prescriptions, start a prescription assistance application online or give us a call at 1.877.386.0206 to find out if you qualify.

Here’s What You Need to Know About the 2019 Changes to Medicare Part D Coverage

Here’s What You Need to Know About the 2019 Changes to Medicare Part D Coverage

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Medicare plans and health insurance coverage can be confusing. Here’s a breakdown of what Medicare Part D is and what changes are in store for 2019.

What Does Medicare Part D Cover?

Medicare Part D is Medicare’s prescription drug coverage. It has its own list of drugs that are covered, which is called a formulary. Drugs are then placed in different tiers, which have different costs and coverages.

Medicare Part D Deductible Changes for 2019

In January 2019, the Medicare Part D deductible will vary. In some plans the deductible will go from $10 to $415. This means that you must pay $415 before Medicare begins to pay its share of the prescription cost.

Medicare Part D Initial Coverage Limit Changes for 2019

The Medicare Part D initial coverage will go from $3,750 to $3,820 beginning on January 1, 2019.  Once you and your prescription plan have hit $3,820 in 2019 for covered drugs, you’ve reached the Medicare “donut hole.” In the donut hole coverage gap, your prescription coverage is temporarily limited until you reach your out-of-pocket threshold.

Medicare “Donut Hole” Changes for 2019

With the Affordable Care Act and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, Medicare is trying to close the “donut hole” coverage gap. Beginning in 2019, Medicare Part D enrollees will now receive a 75% discount on the total cost of their brand name drugs purchased between their Initial Coverage and their Out-of-Pocket Threshold.

Medicare Part D Out-of-Pocket Threshold Changes for 2019

In 2019, the out-of-pocket threshold will increase from $5,000 to $5,100. This is the amount of money you must pay to exit the Medicare “donut hole.” In other words, once you’ve payed $5,100 for prescriptions through your plan, you begin your catastrophic coverage benefit.

Medicare Part D Catastrophic Coverage Benefit Changes for 2019

In 2019, the minimum cost-sharing once you’ve met your out-of-pocket threshold of ($5,100) will increase to either 5% or $3.40 for generic or preferred multi-source druga, or to either 5% or $8.50 for all other drugs.

How Can Simplefill Help Those Who Can’t Afford Their Prescriptions?

Simplefill prescription assistance can often help people in the “donut hole” coverage gap, people who are uninsured, people whose copay is unaffordable, or people whose medication isn’t covered. If you’re having trouble affording your prescriptions for any reason at all, start an application online or call us at 1.877.386.0206 and a Simplefill Advocate will respond within 24 hours.

 

Suicide Prevention Week: 4 Things You Need to Know About Crisis Intervention & Support

Suicide Prevention Week: 4 Things You Need to Know About Crisis Intervention & Support

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Note: If you or someone you know is in crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

September 9-15 is National Suicide Prevention Week, which is why we’re outlining a few tips for how you can help prevent suicide throughout the year.

1.    Know the Warning Signs

While there’s no single cause for suicide, there are prominent warning signs to look out for if you suspect someone might be suicidal.

  • Negative talk, including making comments about wanting to die, expressing overwhelming hopelessness, stating that they have no reason to live, expressing concern that they’re a burden to others, or referring to unbearable pain
  • A sudden change of behavior, including increased drinking and drug use, researching methods for suicide, preoccupation with violence and death, withdrawing from people and activities, sleep pattern changes, doing risky or self-destructive things, giving away prized possessions, contacting people to say goodbye
  • Moodiness or frequently displaying negative emotions, including depression, anxiety, irritability, shame, anger, or sudden improvement or relief
  • Environmental and historical factors, including prolonged stress, financial crisis, exposure to another person’s suicide, previous suicide attempts, a family history of suicide, or childhood abuse

2.  Ask Hard Questions

If you suspect someone might be suicidal, one good course of action is to ask them if they are considering suicide. By being direct, you’ll communicate that you’re willing to discuss suicide in a supportive, unbiased, and non-judgmental way. You can also ask the individual how they’re hurting and how you can help. While it can be hard to hear about other’s pain, it’s important to listen to their specific answers and help them focus on their own reasons for living, not your personal reasons for living.

3.  Remove Immediate Threats

Once you know that someone is suffering from suicidal ideation, it’s important to find out if they’re in immediate danger. You can do this by asking if they’ve already done anything to try to kill themselves, if they’ve determined how they would kill themselves, if there is a specific time they’re planning on doing it, and if they’ve already taken steps toward this goal. Studies have shown that if you can reduce a suicidal person’s access to their intended method, you can drastically decrease their chances of killing themselves by that method, and even other methods.

4. Provide Helpful Options

For many, financial hardship or a lack of insurance creates another barrier for seeking help. If someone you know is suffering from depression or suicidal ideation, try providing a list of therapy options or detailed information about anti-depressants that might benefit their condition. Even small barriers, like having to make a phone call to schedule the appointment, might prevent them from seeking help. So, if you’re able, offer to do so for them.

Financial concerns can be another barrier to seeking help. At Simplefill, we’re committed to making prescribed medications more affordable to our members. Some Simplefill eligible medications, including Cymbalta, Pristiq, Trintellix, Biibryd, Fetzima, and Symbyax can be helpful in treating depression. Just knowing how Simplefill works can help reassure individuals who are afraid they shouldn’t seek treatment because it isn’t financially viable.

 

A Hard-Fought Battle with Ovarian Cancer

A Hard-Fought Battle with Ovarian Cancer

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Shared with our friends over at consumersafety.org

Ovarian cancer affects thousands of families each year. And despite the fact that this ailment is usually found in older women — over the age of 65 — in the case of Megan Santa Croce, it has been a devastating battle since the age of 15. Diagnosed with a sertoli-leydig tumor in her abdomen attached to one ovary, she spent months undergoing chemotherapy. And in spite of the odds, she miraculously was able to overcome her illness. But, by the age of 22, she had begun her second battle with the disease, and currently has no ovaries, fallopian tubes or uterus. Megan once described her chemo as “a full-time job.” She went on to say that “when [she] was 15, [she] had five days straight of chemo, 8–5, and the doctors had [her] on hydration 24/7 through that entire five-day period.” Regardless of her hardships, she has a message for women of all ages and demographics that are fighting their own battle with ovarian cancer. “Be positive.” Powerful words that emulate her as a ray of light through even the darkest of times. Megan continues to fight on and is truly an inspiration to women everywhere.

In honor of Megan, as well as every other woman battling ovarian cancer, it is important to share the cold hard facts about a widespread condition that, if caught in the early stages, is treatable. We want to hear more inspiring stories like Megan’s and beat the odds this September, which has been designated as Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

The Facts 

Ovarian cancer has recently been ranked as one of the top five most deadly cancers for women in the world. And as unfortunate as that is, most women are unaware that they have ovarian cancer or do not seek medical help until the cancer has spread and become hard to manage. The National Cancer Institute estimates that there were 22,240 new cases in the United States last year alone. By being aware of the risk factors and symptoms of ovarian cancer, we can help to raise the survival rate of this serious disease, giving women everywhere a fighting chance after being diagnosed.

Risk Factors

Many of the risk factors for ovarian cancer are uncontrollable such as age, race, genetics, and ethnicity. Additionally, there are several lifestyle related causes including obesity, smoking, and heavy alcohol consumption.

Environmental Risk Factors

The use of oral contraceptives such as birth control pills have been shown to decrease a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer for those who do not have direct family members who have at some point been diagnosed. While on the other hand, there are certain medications and even household products that may be tied to ovarian cancer due to long term use. Talcum powder, for instance, has recently been proven to be a contributing factor to a California woman’s cancer diagnosis. Johnson & Johnson was found liable of toxins found in their talcum powder to cause mutated genes in a woman’s genital area due to decades of use. Other environmental factors include herbicides and pesticides.

To Decrease Your Risk
  • Stop smoking.
  • Eat a healthy diet every day.
  • Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits.
  • Maintain a healthy weight through regular exercise.
  • Check personal hygiene product labels for talc and other toxins. 
Prevention is Key

Having regular screenings for ovarian cancer is one of the most powerful weapons for prevention. Although many tests are unable to catch early, onset ovarian cancer development, blood tests are the best way to catch the disease.

Conclusion

Following the guidelines mentioned above is the first step in halting what has become one of the most common cancers in women around the world. The more knowledgeable one is about an ailment such as ovarian cancer, the easier it is to spot symptoms early, making treatments much more successful and increase survival rates worldwide.

The Sandwich Generation

The Sandwich Generation

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Are you raising your own children and caring for aging parents? If so, you are part of an ever-growing group called the Sandwich Generation. The sandwich generation is typically people in their thirties or forties, responsible for bringing up their own children while at the same time, responsible for the care of their aging parents.  While this generation is probably well-versed in summer camps, daycares, and immunization schedules, they may also be familiar with topics like Medicare, Long-Term Care Insurance, or how to prepare for a decline in their parents’ independence. If thinking about all of that is enough to send you running for the hills, don’t. Knowledge, in this situation as in most every situation, is power and peace of mind.

The Sandwich Generation is rapidly growing as the number of people over the age of 65 is set to double over the next 25 years. Being a member of that generation means you are taking care of the people in your life who matter the most, but it comes at a cost, both financial and personal.

There are a number of things you can do to prepare for this potential situation and to reduce your stress load.

Take care of yourself. You need to sleep, eat well, exercise, and remember to laugh. Caretaking takes a heavy toll and if you are taking care of your kids as well as your parents, you’re getting hit by a double whammy.

If your parents are still able to manage their finances, you don’t know that they always will be. Talk with them about their finances and be sure to understand what they have, how they have it managed, and if they will need long-term care, how it will be paid for.

Educate yourself about Medicare. It’s an alphabet soup with Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D and you’ll want to know what your parents have and what they don’t.

  • Part A covers hospitalization, some skilled nursing facility and home health care, and hospice. Both your parents get this coverage free even if only one of them worked and paid Social Security taxes for at least 10 years.
  • Part B covers doctor’s care, lab tests, screenings and preventive services. Your parents will usually pay a monthly premium for this coverage.
  • Part C, also called Medicare Advantage, consists of Medicare-approved plans offered by private insurers that include Medicare Part A and Part B coverage in one package. Some plans also include coverage of prescription drugs.
  • Part D is the Medicare prescription drug benefit plan that your parents can purchase if they are eligible for Medicare. 
The need for help with transportation, growing hospital and medication expenses, and extra homecare increases substantially as we age. Learn about programs that are available for people juggling caretaking on both ends. 
  • Getting Around: Sometimes your aging parent just needs help getting around. Well, there’s an app for that and an app you are most likely familiar with—UBER or LYFT.  If you’re shuttling kids from soccer practice to friends’ houses, you probably can’t take your parent to every appointment. The use of these ride services among seniors is steadily increasing and helping many seniors get to doctor appointments, the grocery store, or invaluable social time with family or friends. One of the worst things for an elderly person’s state of mind can be feeling isolated or stuck. Ride services like Uber or Lyft can help alleviate that isolation and the pressure on the caregiver. See this article on senior.com about using Uber to care for elders.
  • Affording Medications: Getting sticker shock at the pharmacy when picking up your folks medications? Simplefill , the leading prescription assistance company, is here for you. As we age, our medication needs can grow exponentially and managing costs can be overwhelming for the entire family. A prescription assistance company like Simplefill helps patients find ways of affording their increased medication expenses. Simplefill is a service that is easy to use is well known for their customer care. Just call to talk to a service representative and she will walk you through the process.
  • Home Care or Assisted Living: There are reputable companies that can give you help in the home if your parent isn’t ready for a nursing home yet. Home Instead and A Place for Mom are two companies helping the sandwich gen care for their parents.

It’s stressful answering the needs of young children or teenagers while juggling the needs of an aging parent. It can feel like a never-ending battle. Remember to take joy in having your family around—at whatever stage of life. Know that you are able to give back to your parents all the love and support they gave to you. And know that you’re teaching your own children that we do what we can for our family.

The Cost of Diabetes

The Cost of Diabetes

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With over 30 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes, we all know someone living with the disease. For me, it’s my mother and a younger cousin. My mother was diagnosed with Type 2 when she was in her mid-50s. My cousin was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was eight or nine. The first signs for both of my family members? Lethargy, the constant need to urinate, and extreme thirst. My mother has adjusted and manages her disease well; she’s now the grandmother of eight and doesn’t let her disease slow her down. My cousin, now a woman in her mid 20s, was a young child when she was diagnosed and had to adjust to giving herself daily blood tests, and learn to deal with the discomfort—physical and social—of wearing an external constant glucose monitor. No matter your age or the type of diabetes you might have, the diagnosis always comes with a period of adjustment, but it also comes with a significant cost.

There’s no way around it—the cost of diabetes is staggering. And it’s a problem on many fronts. The financial realities of treating diabetes and diabetes-related diseases can add up. According to the American Diabetes Association, health care costs for individuals with diabetes can run 2.3 times higher than for a person without diabetes and average nearly $17,000 in annual medical expenses. And it’s not just the individual patients impacted by the costs. Diagnosed diabetes costs America $327 billion per year—up 26% in a five-year period—including $237 billion in direct medical costs and $90 billion in reduced productivity.

With approximately 4,000 Americans being diagnosed daily with diabetes and 84 million with “prediabetes,” these costs are just going to keep going up.

The good news is that there are effective medications to help manage diabetes and reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications. There are also companies like Simplefill whose mission is to help their members afford their treatment.

Understanding The Two Types of Diabetes

Both types of diabetes are chronic diseases that affect the way a body regulates glucose or blood sugar. Glucose fuels our bodies cells but needs insulin to work. People with Type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin. People with Type 2 diabetes either don’t make enough insulin or don’t respond to insulin as well as they should. Both types of diabetes may lead to chronically high blood sugar levels and can lead to many ancillary diabetes complications.

Understanding What Is At Risk

Hypoglycemia: Since diabetes is essentially a condition that makes it hard to regulate blood sugar levels, people with diabetes often experience hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels. Skipping a meal or taking too much insulin can lead to hypoglycemia. Symptoms include dizziness, blurred vision, shaking, rapid heartbeat, and headache.

Ketoacidosis: Ketoacidosis is a condition that results from the body’s inability to use glucose due to lack of insulin. When cells are starved for energy, the body begins to break down fat and, when this persists, ketone bodies—potentially toxic acids that are byproducts of fat breakdown—build up in the body. Symptoms include dehydration, abdominal pain, and breathing problems.

Diabetic Kidney Disease: Chronic high blood sugar levels can damage the kidney’s ability to flush waste from the body. It can also cause protein and other substances not filtered through urine to be released. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease and if kidney disease isn’t treated, it will lead for the need for dialysis. A year of dialysis can cost between $53,000 to $80,000.

Eye Problems: Since diabetes can damage the vessels in the eyes, people with diabetes might develop:

  • Cataracts: People with diabetes are 2 to 5 times more likely to develop cataracts than people without diabetes. Cataracts cause the eyes lens to cloud and can be treated Mild cataracts can be treated with sunglasses and glare-control lenses. Severe cataracts may be treated with a lens implant.­
  • Glaucoma: People with diabetes are 2 times as likely to develop glaucoma, a condition that results from pressure building up in the eye and restricting blood flow to the retina and optic nerve. Glaucoma causes gradual loss of eyesight.
  • Diabetic retinopathy: This is a catch-all phrase that describes any problems of the retina caused by diabetes. The early stages are defined by the capillaries in the back of the eye being enlarged and forming pouches. The ensuing swelling and bleeding can distort vision. In advanced forms of diabetic retinopathy, the blood vessels of the retina are so damaged that they close off and force new blood vessels to form. These new vessels are weak and bleed. This stage of retinopathy can lead to vision loss.
  • Macular Endema: Caused by diabetic retinopathy, macular endema is the result of fluid leaking into macula (the area of the eye that enables us to recognize faces and read). Left untreated, macular endema can lead to vision loss. Treated promptly, the condition can be mitigated.

Neuropathy: Chronic high blood sugar levels can damage the nerves in the body including the nerves that control automatic processes like digestion as well as nerves in the extremities (feet, hands, etc). Symptoms of neuropathy include: tingling, numbness, pain, and burning sensations.

Foot Problems: People with diabetes are more likely to have foot issues because of the nerve and blood vessel damage which leads to limited blood flow to the extremities. Small sores or breaks in the skin may turn into deep skin ulcers, which, if left untended, can grow larger and deeper. Gangrene and amputation of the foot may be necessary. In fact, each day, 295 Americans will undergo a diabetes-related amputation.

These are  the physical risks that diabetics need to be aware of. However, Americans with diabetes also need to be prepared for all of the financial hardships that can occur from a lifetime disease.

How To Prepare For Diabetes, Financially

Manage your finances well: Cut down on unnecessary expenses, especially when it comes to items that impact your health. One tip would be cutting down excess junk food and sugar. It has been revealed that consuming even two sugary drinks per week could increase your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. By cutting down on such unhealthy dietary habits, you improve your health and also save money.

Buy health insurance: While you may not have health issues right now, it does not mean you should not add a layer of protection. Diabetes is an expensive disease. In order to stay healthy, you could need regular medicinal supplies such as insulin, oral tablets and test strips. You will also need to get periodic check-ups at the hospital. All of this can cost a lot of money. Health insurance is the best way to ensure that these expenses do not dent your savings account.

Create an emergency fund: Save, save and save more! The one guarantee in life is that you will have ups and downs. You never know when you will face a hardship and often times it comes with a price tag.

Contact companies that are built around helping patients:  Simplefill works with many diabetes patients and can help you navigate the costs of insulin and other medications needed for the diabetes related complications. Our representatives are available to help you find a low-cost plan for your diabetes medications. Apply now or call us at 1-877-386-0206 Ext. 1.

The Lives You Could Save

The Lives You Could Save

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June 14 is World Blood Donor Day. Donate Blood, Save Lives.

She was a two-year-old with leukemia and lymphoma who needed frequent blood and platelet transfusions while she was being treated for her illness—three bone marrow transplants, seven rounds of chemotherapy, and surgery to remove her spleen. All told, she received 77 units of blood from over 70 strangers. Today, she is happy, healthy, and at times, according to her mother, mischievous. But neither she nor her parents will ever forget the impact that strangers  can have. “They saved her life,” says her mother. “It’s as simple as that.”

He was a 31-year-old who nearly died in a motorcycle accident. 200 units of blood later, he is thriving and now the father of two. His kids are too young to know this, but without the 43 strangers who donated blood, their father would not have survived and they would never have been born.

She was a young mother who needed a high-risk emergency cesarean to deliver her premature son. Uterine hemorrhaging threatened her life when she lost half of her blood after giving birth to her third son. After receiving nearly 30 units of blood, platelets, and plasma, this young mother was able to return home and raise her sons.

4.5 million Americans will need a blood transfusion this year. In fact, every two seconds, someone will need blood. The demand is high, but less than 10 percent of Americans donate blood annually. There are millions of other sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers out there who will need blood because of an accident or an illness.

Kindness and generosity always have a ripple effect. But the effect of donating blood is immeasurable. In honor of World Blood Donor Day (June 14), the SimpleFill team would like you to consider donating blood and saving some lives.

Are There Health Benefits To Donating Blood?

Absolutely! Not only do you do good for others, but you also do good for you. Read on to learn how you can benefit while saving lives.

  • Peace of mind. You get a mini check-up when you donate blood. Your blood is tested for 13 different diseases including West Nile and HIV. If you test positive, you’ll be notified immediately. This is no reason to skip your annual exam, but you can gain some peace of mind about your health
  • Altruism is good for your health. A study in Health Psychology found that people who volunteered for altruistic reasons has significantly reduced risk of mortality four years later than those who don’t exercise altruism.
  • Helps prevent heart and liver ailments caused by iron overload. Donating blood can help regulate your iron levels.
  • Reducing iron levels in the body can reduce the risk of developing cancer.
  • After donating blood, the body works to replenish the blood loss. This stimulates the production of new blood cells and, in turn, helps in maintaining good health.

About Donating Blood

  • It’s a simple process and you can either donate through your local Red Cross chapter or a local hospital.
  • The Red Cross supplies nearly 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply.
  • Eighty percent of the blood donations given to the Red Cross are collected at blood drives set up by community organizations, companies, high schools, colleges, places of worship or military installations. The remaining 20 percent are collected at Red Cross blood donation centers.
  • Blood donation is a four-step process that, from start to finish usually takes just over an hour: registration, medical history and mini-physical, donation, and refreshments. The actual donation part takes about 15 minutes.
  • The average adult has 10 pints of blood; roughly 1 pint is given during donation.
  • There are four types of transfusable products that can be derived from blood: red cells, platelets, plasma, and cryoprecipitate. Each pint donated usually yields two or three of these products meaning that your donation can save up three lives.
  • A healthy donor may donate every 56 days.

O! The Lives You Could Save!

  • Type O blood is the universal blood type (meaning it can be given to any blood type), and is needed in emergency situations before a patient’s blood type can be determined. Only about 7 percent of Americans have Type O blood.
  • Type AB blood is the only universal plasma type and only about 4% of the population has Type AB blood.

Why is Plasma So Important? Lives depend on plasma protein therapies.

Plasma can help people with bleeding disorders whose blood will not clot properly. A minor injury for these patients can result in internal bleeding, organ damage, and death.

Intravenous Immunoglobulin Therapy or IVIG—There are more than 150 primary immune deficiency disorders (PID) and people suffering from these diseases need IVIG to fight off infections because they have improperly functioning immune systems, and they do not respond to traditional antibiotics. Without IVIG, they are exposed to frequent and often serious infections.

People with the following conditions benefit from IVIG treatments that depend on plasma.

 

You may know someone who has needed blood. Or someone who loves a person who has needed blood. You may need blood someday. Either way, it only takes an hour of your time and the good you can do is limitless. Be a hero and donate blood.

To learn more about blood donation and the Red Cross, please visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).