Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Patient Assistance Programs and Social Security Supplemental Security Income

Patient assistance programs, or prescription support programs, can make prescription drugs more affordable for consumers. Patient assistance programs are funded by pharmaceutical companies and government agencies to help qualified patients get prescription medicines for free or at a significantly reduced cost. Most patient assistance programs require that an individual be uninsured or under-insured and have a low income in order to qualify for free or discount medications.

Social Security Supplemental Security Income makes monthly payments to people who have low income and few resources and are:
Age 65 or older;
Blind; or
The basic Social Security Supplemental Security Income  amount is the same nationwide. However, many states add money to the basic benefit. You can call us to find out the amounts for your state. If you are applying for Social Security Supplemental Security Income, you can complete a large part of your application by visiting You also can call toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 to ask for an appointment with a Social Security representative.

For more information please click here

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Patient Assistance Programs: Saving Money on Your Diabetes Medicine

Patient assistance programs, or prescription support programs, can make prescription drugs more affordable for consumers. Patient assistance programs are funded by pharmaceutical companies and government agencies to help qualified patients get prescription medicines for free or at a significantly reduced cost. Most patient assistance programs require that an individual be uninsured or under-insured and have a low income in order to qualify for free or discount medications.

Diabetes Supplies: How to Get Help

Diabetes care is best provided by a multidisciplinary team of health professionals with expertise in diabetes, working in collaboration with the patient and family. Management includes the following:
· Appropriate goal setting
· Dietary and exercise modifications
· Medications
· Appropriate self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG)
· Regular monitoring for complications
· Laboratory assessment
Ideally, blood glucose should be maintained at near-normal levels (preprandial levels of 90-130 mg/dL and hemoglobin A1C [HbA1c] levels < 7%). However, focus on glucose alone does not provide adequate treatment for patients with diabetes mellitus. Treatment involves multiple goals (ie, glycemia, lipids, blood pressure).

Pregnant with Diabetes

What can be done to prevent health problems related to diabetes during pregnancy?

1. Plan your pregnancy. If you have diabetes, it is very important for you to get your body ready before you get pregnant. If you are already pregnant, see your doctor right away.

2. See your doctor. Your doctor needs to look at the effects that diabetes has had on your body already, talk with you about getting and keeping control of your blood sugar, change medications if needed, and plan for frequent follow up.

3. Monitor your blood sugar often. Pregnancy affects your blood sugar control. You will probably need to check your blood sugar more often than when you are not pregnant. Talk with your doctor about how often to check your blood sugar.

4. Take your medications on time. If medications are ordered by a doctor, take them as directed.

5. Control and treat low blood sugar quickly. Having tight blood sugar control can lead to a chance of low blood sugar at times. Keep a ready source of sugar, such as glucose tablets or gel or hard candy, on hand at all times. Talk with your doctor about how to treat low blood sugar.

6. Follow up with the doctor regularly. You will need to see your doctor more often than a pregnant woman without diabetes. Together, you can work with your doctor to prevent or catch problems early.

7. If you had gestational diabetes, talk with your doctor about getting your blood sugar checked after delivery and every 1 - 3 years. About half of all women who had gestational diabetes develop type 2 diabetes later.

For more information please click here

Diabetes: What About My Baby

If you have gestational diabetes, your baby may be at increased risk of:

1. Excessive birth weight. Extra glucose in your bloodstream crosses the placenta, which triggers your baby's pancreas to make extra insulin. This can cause your baby to grow too large (macrosomia). Very large babies are more likely to become wedged in the birth canal, sustain birth injuries or require a C-section birth.

2. Early (preterm) birth and respiratory distress syndrome. A mother's high blood sugar may increase her risk of going into labor early and delivering her baby before its due date. Or her doctor may recommend early delivery because the baby is growing so large. Babies born early may experience respiratory distress syndrome — a condition that makes breathing difficult. Babies with this syndrome may need help breathing until their lungs mature and become stronger. Babies of mothers with gestational diabetes may experience respiratory distress syndrome even if they're not born early.

3. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Sometimes babies of mothers with gestational diabetes develop low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) shortly after birth because their own insulin production is high. Severe episodes of hypoglycemia may provoke seizures in the baby. Prompt feedings and sometimes an intravenous glucose solution can return the baby's blood sugar level to normal.

4. Jaundice. This yellowish discoloration of the skin and the whites of the eyes may occur if a baby's liver isn't mature enough to break down a substance called bilirubin, which normally forms when the body recycles old or damaged red blood cells. Although jaundice usually isn't a cause for concern, careful monitoring is important.

5. Type 2 diabetes later in life. Babies of mothers who have gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life.
Untreated gestational diabetes can result in a baby's death either before or shortly after birth.

For more information please click here

Diabetes: When to Call the Doctor

Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you are:
- Unconscious or you suddenly become very sleepy or confused. You may have low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia.
- Sleepy, confused, breathing very fast, or your breath smells fruity. You may have a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.

Call a doctor right away if:
- Your blood sugar is 300 mg/dL or higher (or it is higher than the level your doctor has set for you).

Call a doctor if you:
- Are sick and having trouble controlling your blood sugar.
- Have had vomiting or diarrhea for more than 6 hours.
- Often have problems with high or low blood sugar levels.
- Have trouble knowing when your blood sugar is low (hypoglycemia unawareness).
- Have questions or want to know more about diabetes.

Webmd has great article on this issue. For more information please click here

Protect Your Kidneys

Keeping blood pressure under control helps to keep your kidneys healthy. Once you have kidney damage, you can slow it down or stop it from getting worse by controlling your blood glucose and blood pressure. Taking an ACE inhibitor or an ARB is important for both controlling your blood pressure and reducing kidney damage. However, if you are pregnant, you should not take an ACE inhibitor or ARB.
If you have diabetes, you should have your urine and blood tested regularly to see how well your kidneys are working. The test results should be given to you as your urine albumin and GFR results.

For more information please click here

Stop Diabetes Before It Starts

Losing Weight with Diabetes

Smoking with Diabetes

If you smoke and think you are otherwise in good health, think again. According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, smoking 16 to 25 cigarettes a day increases your risk for Type 2 diabetes to three times that of a non-smoker. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chances are of developing diabetes.

In addition, substantial evidence supports inclusion of the prevention and cessation of tobacco use as an important component of state-of-the-art clinical diabetes care. Smoking is a health hazard for anyone, but for people with diabetes or a high risk of developing the disease, lighting up can contribute to serious health complications. Research has shown when added to human blood samples, raised levels of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) by as much as 34%.

Diabetic journal has great article on this issue. For more information please click here has great article on diabetes-Smoking. For more information please click here

Sick Days with Diabetes

Tips to Control Cholesterol and Diabetes

Diabetes and Depression

Diabetes and Your Eyes

Diabetes and Your Teeth

Diabetes and Your Heart

Diabetes and Stress

Diabetes and Your Waist

Diabetes Risk in United States


Signs of Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes and Insulin Resistance

Diabetes and Support Groups

Blood Sugar Goals

Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar

Medicine for Diabetes

Blood Sugar and Ketone Tests

Complications of High Blood Sugar

What is Diabetes Page 3

What is Diabetes Page 2

What is Diabetes Page 1

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes means you have too much sugar in your blood. High blood sugar problems start when your body no longer makes enough of a chemical, or hormone, called insulin. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Printing Human Liver - Cirrhosis

The therapy of choice for end-stage liver disease is whole-organ liver transplantation, but this option is limited by a shortage of donor organs. Following recent advancements of stem cell research, the potential for organ regeneration using somatic stem cells as an ultimate therapy for organ failure has increased. However, anatomically complicated organs such as the liver have proven more refractory to stem cell-based regenerative techniques.

Cell-based therapies and hepatic tissue engineering have been considered as alternatives to liver transplantation, but neither has proven effective to date. A regenerative medicine approach for liver replacement has recently been described that includes the use of a three-dimensional organ scaffold prepared by decellularization of xenogeneic liver.

Research is underway to gain a better understanding of the healthy liver and how new cell therapies could work. Scientists are also developing more effective ways to grow large numbers of liver cells (hepatocytes) from embryonic stem cells or induced pluripotent stem cells in the lab. Such research is not only useful for potential new therapies. In the shorter term, lab-grown hepatocytes are likely to play an important role in the development of new drugs and artificial liver machines.

Regenerative medicine has been called the “next evolution of medical treatments,” by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. With its potential to heal, this new field of science is expected to revolutionize health care.

For more information please click here

Friday, November 9, 2012

Liver Failure & Cirrhosis

Few days ago, I admitted a middle aged male patient to medical ICU for elevated liver function tests. He had been previously diagnosed with a hepatic mass suggestive of hepatocellular carcinoma. On this admission, his liver function tests were over 5000 which showed he was in full liver failure.

Patients with liver failure have many comorbidites and require a dedicated physician to spend ti and meticulously manage their health and wellbeing.

Having received a diagnosis of cirrhosis, you may feel afraid and confused. Many people are not prepared to deal with their diagnosis and find it difficult to obtain information and support. It is important to remember that being diagnosed with cirrhosis is not the end of the world. People with cirrhosis can have completely normal liver function and remain well for many years. Progression from cirrhosis to more advanced liver disease or liver cancer
(hepatocellular carcinoma) does not happen in every case.

How will cirrhosis affect my health?

• A rise in blood pressure in the veins coming from the intestines to the liver.
Blood tries to get back to the heart by bypassing the liver through connecting veins, which are not normally open. These veins are found in the gullet (oesophagus), stomach and lower bowel. Increased pressure can lead to rupture and life-threatening bleeding.

• Increased fluid retention in your abdomen - a condition called ascites.
Ankle swelling can also occur. This results from increased blood pressure plus a reduction in blood protein levels normally produced by the liver.

• Easy bruising and bleeding because clotting factor levels in the liver platelets are also reduced.

• The liver may no longer be able to clear drugs from the bloodstream, causing some people to become more sensitive to the effects of pharmaceutical and illicit drugs.

• The liver may lose the ability to clear waste products from the blood. One of the effects of this can be confusion or coma when such wastes affect the brain. This is called encephalopathy. Jaundice is the name given to the yellow pigmentation of the skin and eyes, which occurs when the liver cannot clear bilirubin from the body.

• ‘Fatty liver’ or steatosis. This is where excess fat is deposited in the liver.

Don’t be afraid to ask your specialist or doctor for further information about your condition. If you don’t understand what they are saying, ask them to explain it until you do understand. Cirrhosis can be a serious condition and it is important that any concerns you have about your health are clarified and your questions are answered. People close to you are often in the best position to provide you with support because they care for you.

Hepatitis Councils in the states and territories can provide you with information and, in some cases, link you with other people with cirrhosis who are interested in sharing their experiences. This type of support can be beneficial – it can help you realize you are not alone and also provide you with a different perspective or suggestions about how to manage your health and lifestyle.

For more information please click here

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Effective Ways to Spend Your Money in Health Care

The Affordable Care Act that the Supreme Court recently upheld extends health care coverage to over 30 million uninsured Americans but actually does very little to make health care affordable. Since 1970, health care spending has grown 9.8% annually, more than twice the rate of inflation. Medical costs now consume 17.3% of our gross domestic product. That’s $8,086 for every American or about twice as much per capita as most developed countries spend.  Although we pay more for medical care than any other country, America currently ranks 19th in the world in preventable death, 26th in life expectancy, and 31st in infant mortality.

Here are few ways to be spend your money more effectively in medicine:

1. Make sure the medicines you are taking are needed and appropriate.

2. Don’t Assume Herbal Supplements Are Safe or Adequate

3. Use generic drugs when possible.

4. Consider using a mail-order pharmacy

5. Look Into Splitting Higher-Dose Pills

6. Ask your pharmacist or doctor about ways to lower your medications costs. Pharmacists, in particular, may have suggestions on how you can spend less money but still keep healthy.

7. Ask if you still need to take a medication. Sometimes people remain on a medicine long after it is needed or can lower their need for medicines through healthy lifestyle changes.

8. For medications you take long-term, get 90 days supplies!  Many insurance companies and pharmacy drug programs offer lower prices when you get 90 days supplies.

9. Ask your doctor for samples. This can be a good way to save money when you are first trying a new medicine.

10. Look for coupons on the internet.  Here are two websites to try:

11. There are many prescription assistance programs that provide free prescription medicines for people without prescription insurance. Checking these websites:

12. You may be eligible for low-cost medications under the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  Use this website to see if you are eligible  

13. Consider ordering online
One way to use the Internet to save money on prescription drugs is to go to the BidRx Web site. Free registration is required to use the Web site. BidRx is a secure Web site that links consumers with pharmacies, manufacturers, prescribers, and payers so all can make better decisions when purchasing prescription drugs. It is an Internet auction site for prescription drugs. BidRx provides the information consumers need and allows consumers to define pharmacies they want to compete for their prescription business. Click here for more information.

PBS has great article on this issue. For more informations please click here

Sunday, October 28, 2012

How to Buy Happiness

So I want to talk today about money and happiness, which are two things that a lot of us spend a lot of our time thinking about, either trying to earn them or trying to increase them.And a lot of us resonate with this phrase. So we see it in religions and self-help books, that money can't buy happiness. And I want to suggest today that, in fact, that's wrong.(Laughter) I'm at a business school, so that's what we do. So that's wrong, and, in fact, if you think that, you're actually just not spending it right. So that instead of spending it the way you usually spend it, maybe if you spent it differently, that might work a little bit better.And before I tell you the ways that you can spend it that will make you happier, let's think about the ways we usually spend it that don't, in fact, make us happier. We had a little natural experiment. So CNN, a little while ago, wrote this interesting article on what happens to people when they win the lottery. It turns out people think when they win the lottery their lives are going to be amazing. This article's about how their lives get ruined. So what happens when people win the lottery is, number one, they spend all the money and go into debt, and number two, all of their friends and everyone they've ever met find them and bug them for money. And it ruins their social relationships, in fact. So they have more debt and worse friendships than they had before they won the lottery. What was interesting about the article was people started commenting on the article, readers of the thing. And instead of talking about how it had made them realize that money doesn't lead to happiness, everyone instantly started saying, "You know what I would do if I won the lottery ... ?" and fantasizing about what they'd do. And here's just two of the ones we saw that are just really interesting to think about. One person wrote in, "When I win, I'm going to buy my own little mountain and have a little house on top." (Laughter) And another person wrote, "I would fill a big bathtub with money and get in the tub while smoking a big fat cigar and sipping a glass of champagne." This is even worse now: "Then I'd have a picture taken and dozens of glossies made. Anyone begging for money or trying to extort from me would receive a copy of the picture and nothing else." (Laughter) And so many of the comments were exactly of this type, where people got money and, in fact, it made them antisocial. So I told you that it ruins people's lives and that their friends bug them. It also, money often makes us feel very selfish and we do things only for ourselves. Well maybe the reason that money doesn't make us happy is that we're always spending it on the wrong things, and in particular, that we're always spending it on ourselves. And we thought, I wonder what would happen if we made people spend more of their money on other people. So instead of being antisocial with your money, what if you were a little more prosocial with your money? And we thought, let's make people do it and see what happens. So let's have some people do what they usually do and spend money on themselves, and let's make some people give money away, and measure their happiness and see if, in fact, they get happier. So the first way that we did this. On one Vancouver morning, we went out on the campus at University of British Columbia and we approached people and said, "Do you want to be in an experiment?" They said, "Yes." We asked them how happy they were, and then we gave them an envelope. And one of the envelopes had things in it that said, "By 5:00 pm today, spend this money on yourself." So we gave some examples of what you could spend it on.Other people, in the morning, got a slip of paper that said, "By 5:00 pm today, spend this money on somebody else." Also inside the envelope was money. And we manipulated how much money we gave them. So some people got this slip of paper and five dollars. Some people got this slip of paper and 20 dollars. We let them go about their day. They did whatever they wanted to do. We found out that they did in fact spend it in the way that we asked them to. We called them up at night and asked them, "What'd you spend it on, and how happy do you feel now?" What did they spend it on? Well these are college undergrads, so a lot of what they spent it on for themselves were things like earrings and makeup. One woman said she bought a stuffed animal for her niece. People gave money to homeless people. Huge effect here of Starbucks. (Laughter) So if you give undergraduates five dollars, it looks like coffee to them and they run over to Starbucks and spend it as fast as they can. But some people bought a coffee for themselves, the way they usually would,but other people said that they bought a coffee for somebody else. So the very same purchase, just targeted toward yourself or targeted toward somebody else. What did we find when we called them back at the end of the day? People who spent money on other people got happier. People who spent money on themselves, nothing happened. It didn't make them less happy, it just didn't do much for them. And the other thing we saw is the amount of money doesn't matter that much. So people thought that 20 dollars would be way better than five dollars. In fact, it doesn't matter how much money you spent. What really matters is that you spent it on somebody else rather than on yourself. We see this again and againwhen we give people money to spend on other people instead of on themselves. Of course, these are undergraduates in Canada -- not the world's most representative population.They're also fairly wealthy and affluent and all these other sorts of things. We wanted to see if this holds true everywhere in the world or just among wealthy countries. So we went, in fact, to Uganda and ran a very similar experiment. So imagine, instead of just people in Canada, we said, "Name the last time you spent money on yourself or other people.Describe it. How happy did it make you?" Or in Uganda, "Name the last time you spent money on yourself or other people and describe that." And then we asked them how happy they are again. And what we see is sort of amazing because there's human universals on what you do with your money and then real cultural differences on what you do as well. So for example, one guy from Uganda says this. He said, "I called a girl I wished to love."They basically went out on a date, and he says at the end that he didn't "achieve" her up till now. Here's a guy from Canada. Very similar thing. "I took my girlfriend out for dinner. We went to a movie, we left early, and then went back to her room for ... " only cake -- just a piece of cake. Human universal -- so you spend money on other people, you're being nice to them. Maybe you have something in mind, maybe not. But then we see extraordinary differences. So look at these two. This is a woman from Canada. We say, "Name a time you spent money on somebody else." She says, "I bought a present for my mom. I drove to the mall in my car, bought a present, gave it to my mom." Perfectly nice thing to do. It's good to get gifts for people that you know. Compare that to this woman from Uganda. "I was walking and met a long-time friend whose son was sick with malaria. They had no money, they went to a clinic and I gave her this money." This isn't $10,000, it's the local currency. So it's a very small amount of money, in fact. But enormously different motivations here. This is a real medical need, literally a life-saving donation. Above, it's just kind of, I bought a gift for my mother. What we see again though is that the specific way that you spend on other people isn't nearly as important as the fact that you spend on other people in order to make yourself happy, which is really quite important. So you don't have to do amazing things with your money to make yourself happy. You can do small, trivial things and yet still get these benefits from doing this. These are only two countries. We also wanted to go even broader and look at every country in the world if we could to see what the relationship is between money and happiness. We got data from the Gallup Organization, which you know from all the political polls that have been happening lately.They ask people, "Did you donate money to charity recently?" and they ask them, "How happy are you with your life in general?" And we can see what the relationship is between those two things. Are they positively correlated? Giving money makes you happy. Or are they negatively correlated? On this map, green will mean they're positively correlated and red means they're negatively correlated. And you can see, the world is crazily green. So in almost every country in the world where we have this data, people who give money to charity are happier people that people who don't give money to charity. I know you're all looking at that red country in the middle. I would be a jerk and not tell you what it is, but in fact, it's Central African Republic. You can make up stories. Maybe it's different there for some reason or another. Just below that to the right is Rwanda though, which is amazingly green. So almost everywhere we look we see that giving money away makes you happierthan keeping it for yourself. What about your work life, which is where we spend all the rest of our time when we're not with the people we know. We decided to infiltrate some companies and do a very similar thing. So these are sales teams in Belgium. They work in teams; they go out and sell to doctors and try to get them to buy drugs. So we can look and see how well they sell things as a function of being a member of a team. Some teams, we give people on the team some money for themselves and say, "Spend it however you want on yourself," just like we did with the undergrads in Canada. But other teams we say, "Here's 15 euro. Spend it on one of your teammates this week. Buy them something as a gift or a present and give it to them. And then we can see, well now we've got teams that spend on themselves and we've got these prosocial teams who we give money to make the team a little bit better. The reason I have a ridiculous pinata there is one of the teams pooled their money and bought a pinata, and they all got around and smashed the pinata and all the candy fell out and things like that. A very silly, trivial thing to do, but think of the difference on a team that didn't do that at all, that got 15 euro, put it in their pocket, maybe bought themselves a coffee, or teams that had this prosocial experience where they all bonded together to buy something and do a group activity. What we see is that, in fact, the teams that are prosocial sell more stuff than the teams that only got money for themselves.And one way to think about it is for every 15 euro you give people for themselves, they put it in their pocket, they don't do anything different than they did before. You don't get any money from that. You actually lose money because it doesn't motivate them to perform any better. But when you give them 15 euro to spend on their teammates, they do so much better on their teams that you actually get a huge win on investing this kind of money. And I realize that you're probably thinking to yourselves, this is all fine, but there's a context that's incredibly important for public policy and I can't imagine it would work there. And basically that if he doesn't show me that it works here, I don't believe anything he said. And I know what you're all thinking about are dodgeball teams. (Laughter) This was a huge criticism that we got to say, if you can't show it with dodgeball teams, this is all stupid. So we went out and found these dodgeball teams and infiltrated them. And we did the exact same thing as before. So some teams, we give people on the team money, they spend it on themselves. Other teams, we give them money to spend on their dodgeball teammates.The teams that spend money on themselves are just the same winning percentages as they were before. The teams that we give the money to spend on each other, they become different teams and, in fact, they dominate the league by the time they're done. Across all of these different contexts -- your personal life, you work life, even silly things like intramural sports -- we see spending on other people has a bigger return for you than spending on yourself. And so I'll just say, I think if you think money can't buy happinessyou're not spending it right. The implication is not you should buy this product instead of that product and that's the way to make yourself happier. It's in fact, that you should stop thinking about which product to buy for yourself and try giving some of it to other people instead. And we luckily have an opportunity for you. is a non-profit for mainly public school teachers in low-income schools. They post projects, so they say, "I want to teach Huckleberry Finn to my class and we don't have the books," or "I want a microscope to teach my students science and we don't have a microscope." You and I can go on and buy it for them. The teacher writes you a thank you note. The kids write you a thank you note. Sometimes they send you pictures of them using the microscope. It's an extraordinary thing. Go to the website and start yourself on the process of thinking, again, less about "How can I spend money on myself?" and more about "If I've got five dollars or 15 dollars, what can I do to benefit other people?" Because ultimately when you do that, you'll find that you'll benefit yourself much more. Thank you.