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.

 

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.

Are you an Informal Caregiver?

Are you an Informal Caregiver?

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What is an Informal Caregiver?

When a disease or disability makes it impossible for a person to live on their own, they require round-the-clock assistance for their health and safety. The people that provide this assistance are called caregivers. While some people opt for formal caregivers — trained professionals hired to help with day-to-day assistance — most people cannot afford such care. Most rely on a spouse, partner, family member, or friend to provide informal caregiving. In order to be there in case of emergency day or night, many informal caregivers either move in with their loved one or bring them to their own home.

You Are Not Alone

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, in 2015 approximately 43.5 million caregivers have provided unpaid care to an adult or child while about 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older. The value of services provided by informal caregivers is more than $470 billion annually — almost as much as WalMart makes in a year.

Caregiver Stress Syndrome

The terms “caregiver syndrome” or “caregiver stress” refer to the exhaustion, anger, rage or guilt that result from unrelieved caring for a dependent. Illness and injury have a way of making a person feel out of control of a difficult situation. The demands of caring for someone dealing with a serious illness or injury can quickly grow overwhelming. Eventually, some people experience extreme burnout, leaving them unable to care for themselves, let alone another person.

Signs of caregiver stress syndrome include:
  • Uncontrollable irritability
  • Overreacting
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulties sleeping
  • Depression
  • Issues with concentration
  • Growing feelings of resentment
  • Becoming withdrawn
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Destructive behaviors
  • Poor eating habits
  • Loss of interest in leisure activities
  • New or worsening health problems
Self-Care for Preventing Burnout

Taking time to care for yourself is the best way to prevent burnout. It may seem selfish to put your needs first when your friend or loved one is sick, but if you work yourself into the most extreme symptoms of caregiver stress syndrome, you won’t be able to help anyone. Prioritizing your health and wellbeing isn’t selfish at all– in fact, it’s necessary for the both of you.

Here are just a few ways caretakers should practice self-care.
Reduce Clutter, Reduce Stress: We can’t always help the ways life stresses us out, but we can control our environment and align it in a way to reduce things we recognize as triggers. If you want to reduce stress in your household, go through room by room and throw out all the excess items and trash. Clutter is a significant source of stress in life. It bombards the senses, distracts, and inhibits mindfulness. Throw out things you don’t use or need — only keep things you can tuck in places out of sight and out of mind.
Ask for Help: Caregivers are just that, giving. But giving people often make the mistake of thinking they have to do everything on their own. Don’t get caught in the thought that you don’t deserve help in areas where you need it. If it costs a little bit of money, it is worth it if it contributes to the preservation of your sanity. Look into services that can provide household help with chores from dusting to dog walking. When you outsource daily chores, use the free time to do something simple for yourself.  
Spend Time Outdoors: Being cooped up indoors all the time is incredibly stifling for both the body and mind. Humans need fresh air and sunshine. Just being outside helps to regulate blood pressure, reduce cortisol in the body and clear the mind. Make time in nature a priority for both you and the loved one you are caring for. Reap the physical and mental benefits of the outdoors.

***

When disease or disability leaves a person unable to care for themselves independently, they often turn to a friend or loved one to become an informal caregiver. Caregiving is a noble thing, but it can cause a lot of stress and health problems that accompany stress. That’s why it is so important for these caregivers to practice self-care by doing things such as reducing stress in their life, asking for help and being proactive about spending time outdoors.

This blog post was written by Harry Cline, creator of NewCaregiver.org and author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.

The Facts About Colorectal Cancer

The Facts About Colorectal Cancer

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By Ryan Waterfield

Colorectal cancer (the term used to describe both colon and rectal cancer) is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States and the third leading cause of cancer death (excluding skin cancers). The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 97,220 new cases of colon cancer and 43,030 new cases of rectal cancer in the United States in 2018, and it’s expected to cause about 50,630 deaths this year.

Risk Factors

Many of the risk factors for colorectal cancers are outside of our control including age, race (African Americans have a greater risk of colon cancer than other races), inflammatory intestinal conditions, genetics, and radiation therapy directed at abdomen. Other risk factors are lifestyle related such as low-fiber, high-fat diets, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, smoking, and heavy alcohol consumption.

To Decrease Your Risk

  • Exercise most days of the week.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Practice moderation in alcohol consumption.
  • Avoid red meat.
  • Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

Prevention is key

Regular screening for colorectal cancer is one of the most powerful weapons for prevention. The most common and effective form of screening is colonoscopy—especially for those with a family history or other high-risk factors.

To learn about screening options (in addition to colonoscopy) for colorectal cancer: https://www.cancer.gov/types/colorectal/screening-fact-sheet

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms that might indicate colorectal cancer:

  • A change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool, that lasts longer than four weeks
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
  • Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
  • A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

If you have a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, or you have signs or symptoms that may indicate colorectal cancer, speak to your doctor as soon as possible. Early detection means a higher likelihood of survival.

To learn about the stages of colorectal cancer: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/staged.html

Treatment Options

There are a number of treatment options for colorectal cancer including: surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or targeted therapy—a form of treatment that uses monoclonal antibodies to help treat metastatic (cancer that spreads) colorectal cancer.

Medications such as Xeloda, Avastin, and Cytoxan are commonly prescribed to help fight the spread of colorectal cancer. If you need prescription assistance to help afford the cost of Xeloda, Avastin, or Cytoxan, contact a SimplFill representative. Simpelfill provides expert patient assistance and helps patients and their families understand and access the appropriate medications.

Call Simplefill at 1.877.386.0206 or go to www.simplefill.com to start the application process online.

 

 

 

Top 10 Medical Issues for Baby Boomers

Top 10 Medical Issues for Baby Boomers

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By Ryan Waterfield

Baby Boomers are a powerful demographic group

About 76 million people were born during the baby boom years—1946-1964. As more Baby Boomers are leaving the work force and enrolling in Medicare for their insurance needs; healthcare providers are focusing on the most common health concerns this generation is facing. Here’s the lowdown:

Certainly, the risk of chronic illness increases with age, but there are behavioral factors that can mitigate many of these issues. A healthy diet, physical activity, and avoiding tobacco use are three key factors in reducing the risk of chronic diseases associated with aging.

Many of these illnesses require a plethora of medications. Simplefill’s Prescription Assistance programs can help you get the right medications for the right price. There’s no need to overspend on your medications. Simplefill will make the process easy, advocate on your behalf, and give you peace of mind.

The more aware you are of the potential health risks that you face as you age (and their potential costs), the more proactive you can be about preventative care and seeking medical attention when you show signs or symptoms. So, here’s to knowing what might ail you.

1.TYPE 2 DIABETES: In a 2011 study by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showed that people ages 65-74 were diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes 13 times more often than people 45 years or younger. Because Diabetes increases the risk of other serious health problems, it is of significant concern. Other problems include: high blood pressure, vision loss, nerve damage, foot problems, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease.

2. HEART DISEASE: is the leading cause of death for both men and women over the age of 60. Coronary artery disease (when the arteries that deliver the blood to the heart are narrowed or blocked) is the most common type of heart disease. How do you avoid heart disease? Avoid tobacco, control your blood pressure and cholesterol, exercise and eat a low-fat, low-sodium diet. Maintaining a healthy body weight is also important.

3. CANCER: Once you hit a certain age, it seems like some type of cancer is affecting someone you know or love. And no wonder, it is the second-leading cause of death for people over 65. Cancer screenings and early detection can save lives so don’t avoid tests like colonoscopies and mammograms.

4.DEPRESSION: More than 6.5 million Americans 65 or over are affected by depression. While depression is not a typical process of aging, there are many realities about getting older that can lead to depression: changes in work status, changes in family dynamics, health concerns/struggles etc. It is important to know that it is not a sign of weakness to seek help for depression and baby boomers are a generation less likely to admit to feeling depressed than many of the generations that follow. If you are feeling down, lethargic, sad, talk to your doctors, they can help you get the treatments you need.

5.ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE: The sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., Alzheimer’s is most common in people over 65, but people can experience symptoms in their 40s or 50s. Recent studies have shown that there is a connection between the general health of the heart and blood vessels and the health of the brain. Avoid tobacco, eat a healthy diet, and stay physically active.

6.ARTHRITIS & JOINT PAIN:  Much of the joint pain that people over 60 experience is due to the breakdown of cartilage in the joints. When the cartilage breaks down, bones rub on bones and that causes swelling, pain, and stiffness called osteoarthritis. Maintaining a healthy weight decreases the stress on joints and physical actively like walking, yoga, swimming can keep joints flexible.

7. CAREGIVER STRESS: As partners take ill with chronic diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases, the spouse becomes the caretaker. Baby Boomers are also sometimes caring for their aging parents and can be susceptible to caregiver stress in that relationship. Being a caregiver will often redefine the roles in a marriage or long-time family relationship. Those suffering from chronic and incurable illnesses will see a significant change in quality of life that is recognized and often treated as part of the overall medical treatment plan for the illness; but the quality of life of caregivers also drastically changes and they are often isolated in their ability to talk about the changes. It is important for caretakers to care for themselves as well, seek treatment if depression develops, and seek a community of others dealing with the same caregiving issues.

8. EYE ISSUES:  In our 40s, many people recognize that they need a little help seeing the words on the page and they find their way to the readers in the pharmacy. But by the time you hit 65 or older, the eye problems can be much more severe. Cataracts (a clouding of the lens of the eye) affect nearly 20.5 million Americans age 40 and over and the likelihood of developing cataracts increases significantly over 60 years of age. By the age of 80, over half of all Americans are dealing with cataracts. The science and surgical techniques have improved the surgeries to make them more efficient (less time in surgery) with quicker recovery times. All of that equals more successful surgeries. Macular degeneration (a progressive disease of the eye) is the leading cause of blindness for people over 55. Annual eye exams help catch vision issues before they get too bad. With treatment, the progression of macular degeneration can be halted or slowed.

9. OBESITY: Americans in particular struggle with obesity. Diet, exercise, sleep, and healthy lifestyle choices (limiting alcohol, limiting the amount of screen time) can help people lose weight, but it takes commitment and educating oneself on risks and consequences of dietary and lifestyle choices. Doctors like to begin intervention in patients who are overweight, not yet obese. One is considered “overweight” with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9; intervention at this stage can help prevent the development of obesity and reduce risk factors for many chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart attack, stroke, sleep apnea, etc. A person with a BMI of 30 or greater is considered obese.

10. HEPATITIS C:  Baby boomers born between 1945 through 1965 are five times more likely than other adults to be infected with this virus. People infected with Hepatitis C may not even be aware they have it. Hep C can cause liver damage, cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even death. If you test positive for the virus, there are treatments that can cure you.

People who are at risk of getting or having hepatitis C and who should be tested include:

  • Those who currently share or have shared needles in the past.
  • Anyone who received a blood transfusion, blood product, or donor organ prior to the availability of screening in the United States in 1992.
  • People who are on kidney dialysis.
  • Anyone who received tattoos or body piercings with non-sterile instruments.
  • People infected with HIV.
  • Anyone who was ever in jail or prison.
  • Babies born to mothers infected with hepatitis C.
  • Anyone who received a blood product for clotting problems made before 1987.
  • Healthcare workers who have been accidentally stuck with a contaminated needle

 

Most of these illnesses require a number of expensive prescription medications and treatment. Simplefill is a full-service prescription assistance company dedicated to helping our members get their medicines at affordable prices. Call Simplefill today to speak with one of their friendly representatives who can discuss your situation in detail and guide you through all of your options.

 

Call Simplefill at 1.877.386.0206 or go to www.simplefill.com to start the application process online.

 

Lung Cancer Awareness

Lung Cancer Awareness

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We spoke with our friends at the Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center  to get a better understanding and learn about preventative measures; we will discuss these illnesses and their causes as follows:

As the leaves begin to change color and the temperatures cool down, we reflect on lung cancer and respiratory illness in the month of November. Every year, lung cancer accounts for the most deaths of any cancer, and is the leading cause of cancer death in men. While lung cancer affects hundreds of thousands of people every year, many other respiratory diseases and illnesses cause health concerns and deaths annually. Conditions such as asthma, COPD and mesothelioma can be found prevalently throughout the United States. To get a better understanding and learn about preventative measures we will discuss these illnesses and their causes as follows:

Lung Cancer

While smoking is the most notorious cause of lung cancer, many different environmental and lifestyle factors can affect the development of cancer cells in the lungs. The incidence of lung cancer is decreasing in America, partly due to anti-smoking campaigns, but the disease is still prevalent enough to account for 27% of all cancer deaths. Secondhand smoke also remains a very serious health risk, so it is imperative to be aware of your surroundings and never expose children to tobacco smoke. After smoking, radon exposure is the second largest cause of lung cancer, as the EPA estimates that the naturally-occurring gas causes 20,000 new diagnoses annually. The CDC urges smoking cessation and radon detection in the home as two effective means of combating lung cancer incidence. Treatment of lung cancer is an extensive, multi-faceted operation, usually including a regimen of chemotherapy and radiation, as well as surgical removal of affected areas.

COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, known as COPD, as an umbrella term used to define several different respiratory illnesses. The most common of these illnesses are emphysema and chronic bronchitic. Similar to lung cancer, smoking is a leading cause of COPD. However, poor air quality and environmental pollutants can also be factors in a COPD diagnosis. People who work with chemicals, who are exposed to fumes such as diesel exhaust, and those who work in construction generally have a higher risk of being at risk for developing COPD-causing particulate matter. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, COPD is characterized by the loss of elasticity in lung components, which makes breathing become more difficult. The disease starts slowly and is progressive, becoming a major disability as it worsens. There is no cure known for COPD, but bronchodilators and steroid therapies have shown some promise in treatment. Most people with COPD diagnoses are middle-aged.

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is rare, hyper-aggressive cancer caused by the exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral, which was used extensively in building and construction practices, up until the late-20th Century. However, those who worked closely with the substance began coming down with serious illness, which would develop decades after their initial exposure. This disease, mesothelioma, is caused when asbestos is disrupted – which causes the material to splinter and break into particulate matter. This particulate matter is then inhaled, and it becomes lodged in the lining of the organs; the most common area being the lining around the lungs. During the cancer’s latency period, cells will begin to grow uncontrollably, causing irritation and potentially tumors. Once mesothelioma is diagnosed, the patients generally have a bleak outlook; average mesothelioma life expectancy is only 12-21 months. There is no cure for mesothelioma, but treatment options can help with quality of life and life expectancy. Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgical removal are generally used in conjunction to treat the disease. However, immunotherapy has shown some promise of late – especially the drug Keytruda – in treating mesothelioma patients.

Asthma

Often overlooked due to its prognosis and commonality, asthma still remains a serious respiratory illness. Asthma is defined as a chronic lung disease in which the body’s airways are inflamed and become narrow, making breathing difficult. The National Institute of Health estimates that asthma affects for than 25 million people nationally, 7 million of which are children. The condition’s onset occurs most commonly during childhood, but many adults are also diagnosed. It is noteworthy that asthma has several forms, including work-induced (from irritants such as chemicals) and allergy-induced (usually caused by seasonal histamines, like pollen and ragweed). Asthma can be very severe when untreated, especially when an individual suffers an asthma attack; these attacks can prove fatal if not treated immediately. Asthma is generally treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids like Prednisone in severe cases, and bronchodilators such as Advair or Symbicort.

How to Promote Healthy Lungs

Respiratory health awareness is imperative for a healthy life. The most effective way to reduce one’s chances of lung illness is to stop smoking immediately. Safety in the workplace, particularly within the construction and manufacturing industries, including the usage of proper equipment, can help to stop your risk of exposure of toxins. Regular exercise and healthy habits can ensure your respiratory health and keep you well for years to come.