If you have let your health go for a long time and are now looking in the mirror ready to cry, read this. When we are young, we often think we are invincible. No need to worry about middle age, that’s never, never land. No need to concern ourselves with eating right, there will be plenty of time for that later. Well eventually ‘later’ catches up and now you have so much to worry about, what do you do now? If you are like most people, you decide it’s time to start eating right and get on an exercise routine and start taking supplements. You jump in with both feet and work like crazy to get into shape. By the end of the week you are exhausted and starving and decide to wait until next year. Whew, that was a bad week. Next year rolls around and you are in even worse shape and you start the cycle all over again. How about trying a different technique? It is obvious the former plan isn’t going to work no matter how determined you are. It’s time to try plan B. What is plan B? Make one decision and stick with it. Set one goal and work on only that goal. You can’t change your entire existence in one day so stop trying. Decide right now that you are going to pick one factor of your health and work to improve it. If you are over weight and out of breath and lacking energy, don’t try to start an exercise routine right now. You will fail! Plain and simple. First start to work on your eating habits. If your weight is OK but you are tired all the time, again, don’t try to start an exercise routine right now. First research vitamin deficiencies and start using supplements to improve your energy. Look at a good B Complex Vitamin. If your weight is OK and you have lots of energy, you are probably already getting exercise so take your routine to the next phase. Most of us are over weight and out of breath and lacking energy. So this is where we will want to start. Now, how do you start? Go on a diet? No, you already tried that last year and it didn’t work remember? Take diet pills? No, you tried that too and thought you were going to have a heart attack from all the jitters. Those pills are still in the medicine cabinet from last year too. Go on the cottage cheese and oatmeal diet? No, how long are you really going to be able to eat cottage cheese and oatmeal? What if I told you, you can eat all the foods you love and still lost weight? You would probably tell me I am crazy. That’s what you have been doing and look at what happened. Instead of trying to change what you eat, why not try changing how you eat. Change your bad eating habits and you will lose weight effortlessly. If you could change the way you eat and still eat all the foods you love, do you think you could stick with it long enough to lose that extra weight? Sure you could! Not wanting to give up pizza and cake is what’s kept you from sticking to a diet in the past, right? Sound too easy to be true? Well it’s not. The way you eat is what’s keeping you over weight. What you eat is much less important. Really!
There are several options available to you when it comes to selection of health insurance plans. Specifically there are the Indemnity plans which offer the most flexibility in choosing which physicians they prefer to use. Then there are managed health organizations such as PPO’s or Preferred Providers Organizations and HMO’s Health Maintenance Organizations these types of plans usually require for you to use physicians from their pool of select providers. The POS or Point of Service Plan is also a form of managed healthcare but it differs in that it requires all insured to first visit the chosen primary care physician to obtain a referral for any additional medical treatment. In recent years there has been an expanded interest in a new form of health Insurance called an HSA’s or Health Saving Accounts that allows for consumers to self managed health care cost. The idea is to provide low premium health insurance by utilizing a tax advantaged saving account that earns interest and combining it with a higher deductible insurance health plan that offers much lower premiums but requires the insured to cover some of the initial cost. As consumer health care cost continue to soar it is important to do your research and determine what types of coverage features are important to you and your family. As well some of the plans have commingled the different features to establish new plans that meet different consumer needs and premium tolerances. Here are a few simple guidelines to help you make an educated decision for a plan for yourself and or your family. Indemnity Plans Indemnity plans as mentioned before have expanded physician choices giving your more flexibility in selecting your services, this type of plan is also know as fee for service health insurance plans however the trade off is usually reflected in higher health insurance premiums since you are not choosing a physician from within the network. All plans are not exactly the same and what services covered or physicians you can use may still vary from plan to plan. Indemnity plans usually combine both a deductible and a co-insurance which is the factor that can affect your final out of pocket expense. The deductibles offered may vary from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. The coinsurance may also have options so if you chose a coinsurance of 20% you would be responsible for 20% of any procedure and the insurance would cover the other 80%. Most Indemnity plans have a cap or stop loss that once a certain percentage or dollar amount of the coinsurance is met the policy will cover 100% of all covered expenses up to whatever the Lifetime maximum is within your plan. Managed Health Plans or Network Plans Health Maintenance Organizations prearrange for reduced health care expense through a network of physicians who have agreed to work within the organization at discounted fees. The HMO usually requires you to select a primary care physician from within the network. The idea is to use the network to both reduce healthcare cost and better manage what treatments are sought out by the patient. The benefit carries on to the consumer with lower premium cost. A preferred provider organization (PPO) is another form of managed care, yet more closely similar to the indemnity type plans in that you have the option to select your own physician either from the network or outside of the network with the difference being that the cost of service is usually lower inside the network. Like the HMO a PPO negotiates price discounts for service with the physicians and care facilities, who become members of the PPO which passes on the savings to consumers in the form of premiums. Many consumers like the idea of having the ability to choose a specialist from the PPO network without having to see the primary care physician first for the referral. A Point of Service or POS is also a managed plan but differs in that you are required to allow your primary care physician to act as an initial starting point for all medical service. The primary care physician is chosen by the insured from within the network and referrals and usually that specialist from within the network. Self Managed Healthcare a New Breed of Plans Emerge The concept behind Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s) is that you choose a plan with a high deductible because plans with higher deductibles have much lower monthly premiums as low as ½ of the indemnity plans. The savings in premium for the high deductible plan is then placed into a Health Savings Account HSA owned by you. The contributions to the HSA are 100% tax deductible from your income up to the legal limits and the money accumulates tax deferred sort of like an IRA for healthcare. As long as the money is used for any qualified healthcare cost then it is also tax free. The best part is the contributions are yours to keep and they continue to accumulate interest. If you change jobs or become self employed the HSA account goes with you, and unlike Flexible Spending Accounts that have the “use it or lose it provision” these accounts do not forfeit your contributions. Currently the contribution maximums are $2900 annually for an individual and $5,800 per family. Most plans allow for one deductible per family per year. The risk is your out of pocket expense could be higher in the beginning until you accumulate enough funds. There are riders for these plans for any major medical needs to cover the deductible in the beginning while you are accumulating funds. The risks are not without reward though the premiums are much lower than traditional heath insurance plans and as mentioned previously the contributions are deducted from taxable income. If you choose this option it is important to make sure you study the plan carefully and make the monthly contributions or the plan will not be affective alternative to the higher premium plans.
This cancer originates in immature nerve cells and is the most common cancer among children and infants with an estimated 650 new cases annually in the United States only. This is a neuroendocrine tumor that arises from neural crest element of the SNS (sympathetic nervous system). Most often it occurs in one of the adrenal glands but can also develop in the nerve tissues of neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis.
Symptoms of neuroblastoma
This cancer has vague symptoms in its initial stage that makes the diagnosing task really difficult. At later stages it has these signs:
- Loss of appetite
- Joint pain
- Fatigue, weakness
- Swollen tummy and constipation due to the presence of a tumor, if it affects abdominal region
- Breathing problems due to tumor in chest nerves
- Tumor in bone around the eyes can cause noticeable swelling and bruising
- Pallor from anemia can be caused due to infiltration of the bone
- Inability to walk, stand or crawl because of the presence of tumor on spinal cord
- Pain in legs and hips or limping due to bone lesions in that area
Rare symptoms are:
- Ataxia (in 1.3 percent of the cases)
- Opsoclonus myoclonus syndrome (1.3 percent of cases)
- Treatment-resistant diarrhea (4 percent)
- Homer’s syndrome (2.4 percent)
- Hypertension(1.3 percent of the cases)
- Transverse myelopathy (tumor spinal cord compression) that occurs in 5 percent of the total neuroblastoma cases.
What are the causes of neuroblastoma?
It is really important to be well-informed about the major causes of this cancer of the nervous system. It is not clearly understood why it affects a person. It can be caused due to various factors such as:
- Genetic history
- Exposure to chemicals in some industries
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Drug and some medications taken by the mother during pregnancy
- Fertility drugs
- Hair dyes
How is neuroblastomy diagnosed?
Several techniques are used to detect this cancer. These are:
Neuroblastoma is diagnosed with the mIBG scan (meta-idobenzylguanidine) that is carried out in 90 to 95 percent of all neuroblastoma patients. mIBG is done on sympathetic neurons which reveals the presence of a tumor there.
There is an increased level of catecholamine or their metabolites in the blood or the urine in 90 percent of the patients affected by neuroblastomy. So it is a strong indication of the presence of this cancer. Dopamine, VMA (vanillylmandelic acid) and HVA (homovanillic acid) are included in catecholamine and their metabolites.
Healthy infants with no symptoms of neuroblastomy are given a screening test at three weeks, six months and one year in many developed and health conscious countries since 1980. But recently it was not practiced in some parts of the world due to zero reduction in the deaths caused by neuroblastoma. Among the infants, it made diagnosis that would have gone without treatment of any sort. But the children were operated on with surgery or chemotherapy unnecessarily.
How to treat neuroblastomy?
At beginning, when the tumor is not widely spread, this cancer is quire curable with long-term positive results and a high survival rate. These are the options to treat this disease:
- Radiation therapy
- Differentiation agent isotretinoin (also known as 13- cis-retinoic acid)
- Stem cell transplant
- Anti-GD2 monoclonal antibody therapy
The combination of all these is termed as multi model therapy. The cancer treatment depends upon the age of the child, the severity level of the cancer, genetic factors and microscopic appearance.