Health Matters

When you shop for a new car, you don’t just buy the first one you see, right? Of course not. You shop around, looking for the best deal you can get on a vehicle that fits your driving needs as well as your pocketbook.

Well, it’s the time of year when you should think about shopping for a Medicare health or drug plan. Medicare open enrollment period begins today, Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7.

If you have Original Medicare, meaning that you can choose any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare, you don’t need to think about open enrollment.

Fifty years ago, the landscape of health care in America changed forever when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the landmark amendment to the Social Security Act that gave life to the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

A debilitating disease such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease — takes a devastating toll on the people who suffer from it as they lose their ability to walk, dress, write, speak, swallow and breathe.

This disease wreaks havoc on their families. Caregivers crumble under the demands of providing long-term care. The sleepless nights and the stress can end up putting their health at risk as well.

Diabetes is a serious disease. It can lead to kidney problems, glaucoma and other eye disorders, foot ulcers, amputation of feet or legs, stroke, diabetic coma, and even death. If your doctor thinks you’re at risk of diabetes, Medicare covers screening tests for it. And, if you develop the disease, Medicare covers a wide variety of medications, home testing equipment, supplies and self-management training to help you cope with it.

Screening tests are used to detect diabetes early. Some of the conditions that may qualify you as being at risk for diabetes include:

We have all heard the saying, "You are what you eat," but it would be just as accurate to say, "You are what you think." One of the most common issues I encounter with patients is negative self-talk. A judgemental internal dialogue filled with negativity and pessimism is toxic to both mind and body.

A large part of Chinese medicine is diet and lifestyle recommendations, in addition to acupuncture and herbal therapies. This toxic internal dialogue falls squarely in the lifestyle section of Chinese medicine and is well understood.