Tag Archives: supplements

Smart Caffeine Consumption

National Caffeine Month

It’s National Caffeine Month, and you should know how much is safe. How much is too much?

Up to 400 mg a day is safe for most healthy adults, which is roughly 4 cups of coffee, 10 cans of cola, or 2 energy shot drinks. But remember, there is more than just caffeine in those drinks.

Caffeine Overload

 

Caffeine’s not a good idea for kids. You should try to limit them to no more than 100 mg per day.

Kids and Energy Drinks

 

Drinking too much has side effects, like making you jittery, nervous, and irritable and upsetting your stomach.

Too much can also give you muscle tremors, including a fast heartbeat. Cutting back can also help with heart arrhythmia.

Your Heart and Caffeine

 

It might also be to blame if you always have problems falling asleep, and getting enough sleep is important.

Sleep Deprivation from Caffeine

 

Some medications and supplements may interact with caffeine, including some antibiotics, theophylline, and Echinacea.

Echinacea Supplements

 

Find ways to cut back, and you’ll also probably be cutting back on sugar.

Cutting Caffeine

Composing for Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

Long View: It’s Annual Enrollment Time

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period starts on October 15. It’s the time of year when you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage plan. Plans can change premiums, copays, and formularies every year, so it’s important to review your coverage and see if it still suits your needs.

Medicare.gov is a great resource, as is your local senior center. You can also call Health Alliance at 1-888-382-9771 or TTY 711 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily from October 1 to February 14 and weekdays the rest of the year) or go to HealthAllianceMedicare.org for insight. Because I know this subject can be a little dry, I turned it into a poem from our vantage point. I hope you enjoy!

The chaos starts in mid-October.
Medicare says, “Think it over.”
The plan choice that you made last year,
It may be time to change and steer.

You stay at home most all the year.
Your children want you safe and near.
You dislike the awful weather.
HMOs might suit you better.

Maybe you’d like a PPO.
The freedom helps the snowbirds go,
To warmer climes away from ice.
So bon voyage! (It must be nice!)

Supplements can come in handy.
If you’re mobile, they are dandy.
Great if you like to get away,
If you are active day by day.

We brace for those who wait ‘til later.
Here’s our next procrastinator,
Frantic, stricken, and full of fear.
(Showing up late year after year.)

My co-workers have lost their voices.
December 7 ends your choices.
(And why’d they pick Pearl Harbor day?
It’s odd, I know, I just can’t say.)

We’re done, all is signed and dated.
You now feel somewhat elated.
No need to worry and have no fear,
We will be back again next year.

 

Patrick Harness is a community liaison with a long history of experience in health insurance. If you ask him to pick a color, he always chooses orange, and he is known for his inability to parallel park.

 

Health Alliance Medicare is an HMO and PPO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Health Alliance Medicare depends on contract renewal.

Patient Safety Awareness

Patient Safety Awareness Week

It’s Patient Safety Awareness Week, so we have some tips from the National Patient Safety Foundation to help you protect yourself.

The key is communication with your doctors. This means making sure you understand everything your doctor is telling you, and sharing things that can help them. Tell them things like if you’ve been injured, if you’ve changed your diet or exercise habits, or if you haven’t been able to sleep.

Ask lots of questions! They want you to understand your disease and treatment, so make sure you understand your medicines, condition, and treatment plans.

Ask Questions

 

If you’ve been diagnosed with a condition, learn more about it. You can protect yourself by learning more with materials from your doctor, online resources, and even disease management info from us.

Learning About Your Condition

 

Make sure you carry an updated list of the medicines, vitamins, and supplements you’re taking to all your appointments with doctors, so you can make sure your whole care team is on the same page.

List of Medicines, Vitamins, and SupplementsList of Medicines, Vitamins, and Supplements

 

Speak up if you think you’re getting the wrong prescription, treatment, or you think you’re being made to leave the hospital too soon. Your doctor can help you make sure you’re getting the right care.

Speak Up About Your Treatment

 

If you have a test at the doctor’s office, follow up if you never get or hear your results. Never assume “no news is good news.”

Getting Your Lab Results

 

Have a list of contacts ready. Make sure you have the names and info to contact all of your doctors available, and that your doctor knows who to contact or who should act for you in an emergency.

Contact List
Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Healthy Weight Week 2015

Many people who diet the first week of January binge the second, and are ready for better choices by the third week of the month. That’s why this week is Healthy Weight Week!

Finding Your Healthy BMI

 

Stop restricting calories! Losing weight with low-calorie diets can screw up your system. Instead, eat balanced and filling meals.

Don't Count Calories

 

Cooking at home, where you can control what is in your food and how much you eat, can be better than using expensive dieting products.

Protein Shake Powder

 

Making healthy choices while remembering that not everyone can look the same can help you focus on a healthy weight.

Embracing Healthy Differences

 

Not getting enough sleep can make your hormones imbalanced, actually making you hungry! So don’t skimp and you’ll fight your hunger and up your energy.

Healthy Amounts of Sleep

 

Stay active and accountable. You are the only one who can keep yourself from going back to bad habits. Find things that motivate you like a cookbook that inspires you or a friend to workout with.

Finding Motivation to Be Healthy

 

Reward yourself when you reach milestones. Finally hit a new dress size? Buy that outfit you’ve been wanting. Did you go to all the workouts you committed to? Sign-up for the fun fitness class you’ve been eyeing!

Reward Yourself At Milestones
Bone and Joint Health

Bone and Joint Health National Awareness Week

This week was Bone and Joint Health National Awareness Week! That meant all week long on social media, we gave you some helpful facts and articles about keeping your bones and joints strong for life.

48% of the population over the age of 18 are affected by bone and joint conditions. Check out these quick tips for how you can protect your bones at any age.

Bone and joint conditions are the most common cause of severe long-term pain and physical disability worldwide, affecting millions of people. Look at some tips for protecting your joints long-term.

Treatment and lost wage costs associated with bone and joint conditions in the U.S. alone was an estimated $950 billion from 2004 to 2006, which is 7% of the GDP. Find out more about programs where you can learn more and help.

Keeping an eye on how much calcium and vitamin D you consume each day is crucial to your bone and joint health. Check out these easy tips and 5 foods to strengthen them.

Research funding for these conditions is less than 2% of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) annual budget. Find out more about programs where you can learn more and help.

Your diet has a huge impact on your bone and joint health. The right amount of protein and quality carbs, plus your calcium and vitamin D, can make a huge difference. And don’t forget to ditch the sodas! Read more.

Since 2011, when “Baby Boomers” began Medicare, the economic cost of bone and joint health has risen and is expected to continue for decades. Read this article about ways to improve your bone strength, including the foods and supplements that will help your body keep the most calcium.

Schedule Your Doctor's Appointment

Getting the Most Out of Your Doctor’s Appointment

Scheduling Your Doctor’s Appointment

Prevention is important to maintaining good health, so it is important to know what you need each year at your doctor’s appointment.

Blood Pressure

This should happen at every doctor’s appointment, even if you don’t currently have high blood pressure, to track your levels over time.

Flu Shot

This yearly shot protects you and those you care about from the flu.

Yearly Blood Tests

You should get these blood tests at your yearly physical doctor’s appointment:

Microalbumin

This yearly test can detect early signs of kidney damage.

Dental Exam

You should set up this kind of doctor’s appointment with your dentist every 6 months for a regular cleaning.

Dilated Eye Exam

This yearly doctor’s appointment is when your eye doctor puts eye drops into your pupil so they can get a better view of the back of your eye.

Pneumococcal Shot

This one-time shot prevents blood, brain, and lung infections, like pneumonia, caused by a certain bacteria.

HbA1c

Those with diabetes should have this test at doctor’s appointments 2 to 4 times a year to help track their blood sugar levels long-term.

Foot Exam

This should happen at every doctor’s appointment for those with diabetes.

At Your Doctor’s Appointment

Ask for Help

Never be afraid to ask your doctor for advice. They want to help you be your best!

  • Prepare – Organize your questions ahead of time, and feel free to write them down if you’re afraid of forgetting anything.
  • Be Specific – Detailed information can help your doctor make your treatment plan and make sure it is working for you.
  • Tell the Truth – Be honest and direct with your doctor. Sharing information about how you feel will help you stay healthy.

Ask Questions

Not sure what to ask at your doctor’s appointment? Here are some questions to get you started:

  • What’s my blood pressure, cholesterol, and health goals?
  • How frequently should I check my blood pressure?
  • What lifestyle changes can I make to lower my blood pressure and cholesterol? Should I start a healthy diet or exercise plan?
  • What are the common side effects of my meds? Will any of my other meds, supplements, or foods interact with any of my meds?

Stay Calm

Do you get nervous or anxious when you go to doctor’s appointments? You’re not alone, and it can actually cause your blood pressure to rise while you’re there. Research shows that about 20% of patients with mild cases of high blood pressure see their blood pressure rise at doctor’s appointments. This is sometimes called white-coat syndrome.

Track your blood pressure at home and compare readings with those taken in the office to see if this is happening to you. Take these readings with you to your next doctor’s appointment and talk to them about it to make sure they get an accurate account of your blood pressure.

And once they know, your doctor can also help calm your fears, like by explaining exactly what they’re doing as they go.