Category Archives: Health

Understanding HIPAA and How to Protect Your Medical Records

Understanding HIPAA and How to Protect Your Medical Records

Medical records are essential resources that help you get the best and correct treatments when visiting a hospital. Your medical records are among the many pieces of information used by doctors and physicians to perform diagnostics and decide the right treatments to deliver based on your medical history. Today, medical records are stored electronically for easier access and management.

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Since Electronic Medical Records or EMRs contain a lot of sensitive information, it is essential that you know how to protect your EMRs properly. There is a security standard in place, along with best practices you can incorporate for maximum security. Here are the things you need to know about protecting your EMRs.

HIPAA and Information Security

The HIPAA Privacy Rules was the first nationwide standard put in place to protect your personal information. It is clear that EMRs and other personal details are sensitive information that must be handled with the utmost care, hence the strict security standards.

HIPAA compliance is the start. When deciding which storage solution to use for storing your EMRs in the cloud, for instance, opting for one that complies with the HIPAA Privacy Rules is the only way to go. The regulation also governs how health records can be released (only with your consent) and how sharing of information among doctors should be conducted.

The healthcare industry is taking this standard seriously. In an article titled “Why Modern Hospitals Need Encrypted Paging,” you can learn about how the healthcare industry is even encrypting short communications sent through pagers or smartphones for maximum protection. With these measures in place, you know your personal details are in good hands.

A Proactive Approach

Of course, you can’t simply rely on the system to better protect your EMRs. There are steps you need to take to ensure maximum security. You can start by using encryption to secure all digital medical records. 256-bit encryption is the standard, and there is plenty of software and apps that can help you encrypt your medical records on any device.

If you store your EMRs in the cloud, make sure you use a strong password and you handle access management properly. The usual “123456” or “password” password doesn’t cut it; over 50% of data theft happens because of weak passwords, so make sure you don’t make the same mistake.

Lastly, always keep backups in secure locations. Keeping an encrypted flash drive for safekeeping is a good start.

Get Informed

The last element of good security is knowing or getting informed. Don’t just do what you are told. Learn about how to handle EMRs and make informed decisions every time. You don’t, for example, always have to say yes when a doctor asks for access to your cloud EMR account. Make the decision only when you know it is the right thing to do.

The more you know about EMRs, HIPAA Privacy Rules, and how to properly protect your medical records and personal details, the better you will be at securing these sensitive details. Take the time to learn more about how the healthcare industry is implementing security measures – such as the encrypted pager we mentioned earlier – and be in control of your own medical records.

Caring for Yourself After Plastic Surgery

You may be so focused on the surgery and what you will look like afterwards that you may not actually think about post-operative care. Nonetheless, it is important to know how to take care of yourself during this period. Not only will this help you heal faster, it will also prevent any unnecessary complications. This is information for general procedures, you may be given specific instructions, depending on your case. Here is what you need to know:

Follow Your Doctor’s Orders

Hopefully, you have chosen the best plastic surgeon in Scottsdale or your hometown. As a result, you will have the advantage of receiving excellent post-operative care instructions. Make sure to write down everything your doctor says. Don’t assume that you will remember it later on – especially if you have just recovered from anesthesia or if you will be on pain medication. Once you have made a list of what you need to do, keep it close to you at all times. It is good if others have access to this information as well, just in case of emergency. Although you may not always feel like following these orders, it is vital that you do so. Especially as your case may be a unique one and your physician requires you to do certain things.

Lead a Healthy Lifestyle

As your body is recuperating, now is the time for you to provide it will all the nutrition it may require. This means nutritious and healthy foods, at least until you are healed. You should also drink more water. It is normal to experience constipation for a short period of time. To overcome this, you may want to introduce more natural fiber and plenty of fruits as well. You should definitely avoid drinking alcohol for about six weeks after the operation. This is for a couple of reasons. First, it will not mix well with your pain medication. Secondly, it will cause you to retain fluids. Smoking is definitely off the table as it can slow down the healing process considerably and may even cause complications.

Get a Little Bit of Exercise

Now the last thing you may want to do is to get out of bed, especially if you are experiencing discomfort. However, walking around is good for you. This is because a little bit of exercise can help promote healing. That being said, you shouldn’t do too much. You will certainly have to avoid the gym or partaking in sports for several weeks. For surgeries such as breast augmentation, you may be told not to use your arms too much, especially lift them over your head.

Staying Clean

Your doctor will usually tell you that it is fine to bathe about two days after your procedure. This should be limited to brief showers, however. You should not soak in bathtubs or swim in pools. Anything that can cause continuous dampness in your incisions could lead to infection. It is important to keep the incision sites clean and to make sure they are covered, if your physician says so.

This is what you need to remember about caring for yourself after surgery. It is probably a good idea to have someone around to look out for you during this time.

The best weight loss solutions

the-best-weight-loss-solutions

Thinking of the best way to lose weight is going to be extremely important. There are some ways to lose weight that are not going to be ideal and they could end up hurting your health more than they do any good. This is the reason why you need to be very careful when you make this decision and when you consider the kind of diet, exercise and the lifestyle changes that you are going to have to worry about.

The problem with diets is that they can be very expensive as most people know eating healthy every single day is much more expensive than eating fast foods or premade meals. Then you also have the option of a rigorous exercise regime that can also be very difficult to handle because of all the time that you need to spend working out and avoiding any injuries in the process too.

These are the kind of things that are going to take too much time and too much work with results that could take a very long time to make a difference and this is one of the main reason why so many people prefer not to do this. The good news is that there is a new option that is going to make things much easier for anyone who wants to lose weight. It involves the use of balloons that are places in the stomach for a period of time and then the results will be quite positive.

For specific details on the procedure please visit ReShapeReady.com and you will be able to find the most important information on this process and on how you can have it done as soon as possible. This is a great solution for millions of people all over the world are looking for a good alternative to lose weight and to avoid having to spend their lives being in pain and with health and self-esteem issues that are caused by weight problems.

The best weight solutions are often the ones that will cause the least amount of discomfort and the dual balloon process is very comfortable. Patients do not feel like there is something in their stomach, they are simply going to feel satisfied and without the need for more food after a smaller meal and that is the way that this marvelous procedure helps people lose significant weight.

 

Know More About Fatty Liver Disease

Thought fatty liver disease was only a concern for heavy drinkers? Think again. Here’s what you need to know about this frequently misunderstood health condition.

What causes Fatty Liver Disease?
We can no longer blame fatty liver disease on booze. Up to one-third of the population in developed countries is walking around with fat buildup in their livers, a health condition that occurred mainly in heavy drinkers until a few decades ago. But nowadays, cases linked to obesity and diabetes outnumber those related to alcohol. In fact, the risk of developing the condition increases with a waist circumference of more than 102 centimetres and men and 88 centimetres in women.

Symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease
A complication-free case of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is relatively harmless-if there are symptoms, you might mainly notice fatigue or stomach discomfort. However, somewhere between five and 20 per cent of the time, NAFLD develops into liver inflammation, also known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). With NASH comes a heightened risk of cirrhosis (severe scarring), liver cancer and other potentially fatal developments. If and when a fatty liver sparks a cascade of damage, “the progression to end-stage disease typically takes around 10 years,” says Dr. Andreas Geier, head of hepatology at the University Hospital of Würzburg in Germany.

Fatty Liver Disease: Diagnosis and Treatments
Suppose your doctor has diagnosed you with NAFLD after administering a blood test, imaging procedure or liver biopsy. Now what?
There are no reliable drugs for this condition, but shedding any extra weight will help slow-or halt-the disease’s progress. Aim for a moderate pace: losing more than a pound or two per week can actually aggravate a fatty liver, according to a patient primer from American Family Physician. If you’ve tried to slim down in the past but haven’t succeeded, consider asking a doctor or nutritionist for help.
Although alcohol isn’t the cause of NAFLD, it still puts extra stress on the liver and is best avoided by people with this condition. If you can’t realistically become a teetotaller, cut down as much as you can manage.

Living with Fatty Liver Disease
To keep tabs on how your liver is doing, Geier suggests visiting a GP every two years or so (unless you have NASH, in which case you should be going in every six months). Happily, the odds of keeping NAFLD under control are in your favour-especially if you maintain a healthy body weight. In a certain way, a fatty liver is a signal that a change of course could help you evade trouble down the road.

Let’s Learn About Medical Facts

The world of medicine is full of surprising developments. These four medical facts from around the world will blow your mind.

– Use Pill Organizers with Caution
People sometimes experience adverse results, such as falls or low blood sugar, when they first use a pill organizer, according to research from the University of East Anglia in England. The probable cause: when patients forget to take their pills, they don’t see the desired health results, and their doctors increase the amount prescribed. Once they start regularly consuming all of their medication, thanks to the pill organizer, the dosages may be too high, resulting in side effects.

Card Games Aid Stroke Recovery
Virtual reality and video games are often used to help stroke survivors regain strength and co-ordination. However, a clinical trial involving patients from rehabilitation centres in Canada, Argentina, Peru and Thailand has found that playing cards, bingo or dominoes is just as effective. Subjects who spent 10 hours using a Nintendo Wii and those who spent the same amount of time playing low-tech games both improved their motor skills by 40 per cent.

Caffeine No Good After Three Nights of Little Sleep
In a recent study published in a Sleep supplement, subjects limited their shut-eye to five hours a night for five nights. Two hundred milligrams of caffeine (equivalent to two cups of drip coffee) improved their alertness in the first two days, but made no difference in the final three. Since caffeine is relied upon to compensate for lost sleep, it’s worth knowing it works for only a short period of time.

Nearly Half of Heart Attacks Are “Silent”
Sometimes heart attacks are so subtle that the damage is only seen during an MRI or an electrocardiogram. A study in Circulation looked at 9,498 subjects who’d been monitored for nearly 30 years. Around 45 per cent of the attacks that hit participants during the first decade went unnoticed initially. Over the following two decades, these “silent” episodes tripled the risk of dying from heart disease. Once they’re detected, they should be aggressively treated by controlling blood pressure and making lifestyle changes.

Know More About How to Manage Your Asthma

Wheezing, coughing, chest tightness-asthma is breathtaking, and not in a good way. Though there is currently no cure for the condition, the majority of sufferers can live full lives with the help of medication and trigger management. Here are three ways you can manage your asthma.

How to Prevent Asthma Attacks: Aerobics
Regular aerobic exercise helps strengthen the lungs and control weight, which, in turn, minimizes symptoms. Asthma should not be getting in the way of an active lifestyle, but if it does, try using a reliever inhaler (which relaxes the airways quickly) about 15 minutes before working out and take time to thoroughly warm up.

“If exercise continues to trigger symptoms despite these steps, it’s a sign your asthma isn’t properly controlled,” says Dr. Guy Brusselle, the science council chair of the European Respiratory Society. Adjustments to your medication routine, made by a GP or a specialist, may be in order.

How to Prevent Asthma Attacks: Beware of Cold Days
When winter arrives, many people find that the cold air sets off their symptoms and can worsen existing complaints. If you’re among those sufferers, drape a scarf over your nose and mouth when you’re outdoors on sub-zero days. Ideally, asthma patients should also get the annual flu shot and the one-time pneumonia vaccine to help avoid illnesses known to bring on attacks.

How to Prevent Asthma Attacks: Visit Your Doctor Annually
What works one year might be less effective the next, as asthma tends to change over time. At least every 12 months, check in with a doctor who will track changes and administer a peak expiratory flow test to measure the amount of air you can move through your airways. You and the physician can then ensure your regimen is still appropriate for your asthma’s severity.

Whatever you do, don’t skip the annual visit, even if the coughing and wheezing have mostly subsided. You may be able to cut back on your controller medication (pills or inhalers designed to continually prevent inflammation), since you should be taking the lowest amount necessary. Still, sufferers should carry a reliever inhaler at all times. No matter how mild the asthma, being prepared is always the smartest plan.

How to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

hh3It’s that time of year again-cold and flu season is just around the corner. This year, be proactive by taking steps to prevent these illnesses before they start. Here are some strategies for staying healthy.
Get Your Flu Shot

A cold is a mild infection of the upper respiratory tract that causes a runny nose, cough and sore throat. The flu hits much harder: Symptoms usually include fever, headaches, muscle aches and, at times, nausea and vomiting.

You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: Get your flu shot! It’s the best way to prevent the illness, and it’s safe. Keep in mind that the vaccine’s effectiveness wears off, so it’s important to get inoculated every year.

Wash Your Hands

Both the common cold and the flu are contagious viral infections; you can catch a cold or flu if you come into contact with a contaminated person or object and then proceed to touch your face. Both viruses are airborne, and the influenza virus spreads particularly easily, so protect yourself, and those around you, by practicing good hygiene.

Wash your hands often-scrub with hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if water isn’t an option. Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands; use tissues or your sleeve. And always avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Keep it Clean

Virus droplets from a sick person’s sneeze or cough can land on all kinds of surfaces, so make sure to disinfect things like doorknobs, remotes and phones. This is especially important if someone in your home or office has a cold or flu. Don’t share drinking glasses, utensils or-yikes!-a toothbrush with anyone who’s sick.

Regularly clean kids’ toys. And when you hit the gym, remember to wipe down equipment before and after using it.

Boost Your Immune System

Speaking of the gym: Don’t neglect your workouts as the weather cools down. Exercising is key to preventing illness because it keeps your immune system strong and healthy.

Eating a balanced diet will help stave off illness, too. Make sure you’re consuming plenty of fruit and vegetables daily, and stay well-hydrated by drinking lots of water or herbal teas. Finally, make sure you’re getting enough zz’s: A restful night’s sleep is crucial to a healthy immune system.

And if You Do Get the Flu…

Keep Oscillococcinum® readily available. One of the most popular homeopathic medicines, Oscillococcinum (Oscillo for short) helps reduce the duration and severity of flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, body aches and headaches.

Listen to your body and give yourself the rest and recovery time you need. If your symptoms worsen-if you experience shortness of breath, chest pain, severe vomiting, or fever lasting more than 3 days-see your family doctor right away.

The Health Benefits of Coffee

More than just the booster jump-starting your day, that morning cup of coffee can provide a variety of important health benefits.
When was the last time you heard a doctor use the word miracle? Well, wake up and smell the coffee. “It’s amazing,” says liver specialist Sanjiv Chopra, MD, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Coffee is truly a lifesaving miracle drug.” Though he says it’s still a “scientific mystery” how a simple cup of coffee works its wonders in the body, large epidemiological studies repeatedly verify its astonishing benefits. Read on for some recent research highlights:
Coffee: Miracle Remedy

– More than three cups a day lowers women’s risk of developing the most common skin cancer by 20 percent.
– More than six cups a day cuts men’s risk of dying from prostate cancer by 60 percent.
– Drinking at least one cup of coffee a day lowers women’s risk of stroke by up to 25 percent.
– Consuming at least two cups daily reduces women’s chances of becoming depressed by up to 20 percent.

Drink it Black!

“Drink it black, or at most put a little skim milk in it” to minimize calories, Dr. Chopra recommends. The benefits from decaf may not be as prodigious, so stick with regular if you can tolerate the buzz. Dr. Chopra drinks at least four cups a day himself, though most people should limit themselves to two. And no, he jokes, “I’m not sponsored by Starbucks.”

More Information to Avoid Bugs

Want to avoid those itchy bug bites this summer? Insect repellent is your best defense. Look for one of these ingredients.

Deet

If you buy insect repellent, chances are it has DEET. According to a 2002 study, a product containing 23.8 per cent DEET provided five hours of protection from mosquito bites; 20 per cent DEET provided almost four hours.

DEET may be used on children who are older than 2 months, but adult supervision is required when applying the repellent to children. DEET shouldn’t be applied to young children’s hands, around the eyes or on the mouth. Don’t apply DEET at the same time as you apply sunscreen as well – it could result in a toxic buildup of Deet.

Picardin

The insect repellent ingredient Picardin is a newer one here, but has been used in Europe for years. Studies suggest it is as effective as DEET, with less risk of skin irritation. It’s an odourless repellent and is safe for infants and children as well.

Lemon eucalyptus oil

According to studies, this strong-smelling, natural repellent protects against mosquitoes, midges and ticks as effectively as repellents containing low concentrations of DEET. The downside is its effects last only about half as long, so you’ll need to reapply often.

Permethrin

Spray this product on your clothes, netting and bedding. Although it’s ineffective on skin, this plant-based repellent binds with fabric fibres to repel numerous insects, including ticks and mosquitoes. Using it together with a DEET repellent provides near 100 per cent protection against insect bites. One application lasts weeks.

Homemade Repellent

You can make your own repellent by mixing 15 to 20 drops of lemon eucalyptus, lemongrass and citronella essential oils, resulting in an ounce (25 millilitres) of carrier oil. Reapply often.
Want to avoid those itchy bug bites this summer? Insect repellent is your best defense. Look for one of these ingredients.

Deet

If you buy insect repellent, chances are it has DEET. According to a 2002 study, a product containing 23.8 per cent DEET provided five hours of protection from mosquito bites; 20 per cent DEET provided almost four hours.

DEET may be used on children who are older than 2 months, but adult supervision is required when applying the repellent to children. DEET shouldn’t be applied to young children’s hands, around the eyes or on the mouth. Don’t apply DEET at the same time as you apply sunscreen as well – it could result in a toxic buildup of Deet.

Picardin

The insect repellent ingredient Picardin is a newer one here, but has been used in Europe for years. Studies suggest it is as effective as DEET, with less risk of skin irritation. It’s an odourless repellent and is safe for infants and children as well.

Lemon eucalyptus oil

According to studies, this strong-smelling, natural repellent protects against mosquitoes, midges and ticks as effectively as repellents containing low concentrations of DEET. The downside is its effects last only about half as long, so you’ll need to reapply often.

Permethrin

Spray this product on your clothes, netting and bedding. Although it’s ineffective on skin, this plant-based repellent binds with fabric fibres to repel numerous insects, including ticks and mosquitoes. Using it together with a DEET repellent provides near 100 per cent protection against insect bites. One application lasts weeks.

Homemade Repellent

You can make your own repellent by mixing 15 to 20 drops of lemon eucalyptus, lemongrass and citronella essential oils, resulting in an ounce (25 millilitres) of carrier oil. Reapply often.

Know More About Coffe

Every other week, a new study is released that either demonizes or eulogizes coffee. Are there grounds for concern under the aromatic froth?

The Health Benefits of Coffee

Diabetes: A study of 14,000 people in Finland (the world’s greatest per-capita consumer of coffee) found that women who drank three to four cups a day cut their risk of developing diabetes by 29 per cent. For men, it was 27 per cent. Researchers aren’t sure why, but suspect that the antioxidants in coffee help deliver insulin to the body’s tissues.

Cancer: In Japan, a study of 90,000 people revealed those who drank coffee every day for ten years were half as likely to get liver cancer. Meanwhile, German scientists have identified an active compound in coffee called methylpyridinium that boosts enzymes thought to prevent colon cancer.

Parkinson’s Disease: Researchers in Hawaii monitored the health of more than 8,000 Japanese-American men for 30 years and discovered that those who drank a cup of coffee a day had less than half the incidence of Parkinson’s disease. A possible clue as to why: caffeine promotes the release of dopamine, a substance involved with movement and usually depleted in Parkinson’s sufferers.

Gallstones: A US study of 46,000 men who drank two to three cups of coffee a day over a ten-year period revealed they had a 40 percent lower risk of developing gallstones. Researchers believe it is because caffeine stimulates the gall bladder, flushing out substances that could turn into gallstones.

The Potentially Harmful Effects of Coffee

Heart Attack and Stroke: There’s hot debate on whether drinking coffee is a cardiac risk. A Greek study of more than 3,000 people found coffee drinkers had higher levels of inflammatory substances (which have been associated with increased rates of stroke and heart attack) in their blood than non-drinkers. But Harvard researchers looking at the health of coffee drinkers over 20 years could not pinpoint any extra coronary problems. Nevertheless, a study of 2028 Costa Ricans found those with a gene variant that processes caffeine four times slower than average, and who also drank two to three cups of coffee a day, upped their heart-attack risk by 36 per cent. As this group metabolises caffeine slower, it remains in the body for longer-possibly pushing up blood pressure.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Finnish study of 19,000 people revealed those who drank four or more cups of coffee a day were twice as likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers believe some as-yet-unidentified ingredient (particularly in unfiltered coffee) could trigger the disease.

Osteoporosis: A Californian study of 980 post-menopausal women found that those who drank two cups of coffee a day suffered a greater loss in bone density than those who didn’t. How come? Because caffeine acts as a diuretic, increasing the amount of calcium excreted in urine.

So… Is Coffee Healthy or Harmful?

For most of us, the humble cup of coffee is simply a harmless and enjoyable way to kick-start the day or give us an excuse for some time out. No more, no less. However, it is important to remember that different people exhibit different tolerance levels to caffeine-it is, after all, a drug.

So, while a mid-morning cappuccino will give one person a pleasant buzz, it could make another person edgy and irritable. To play it safe, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Whatever your choice-espresso or latte-keep a watch on your consumption for the sake of both your short-term and long-term health.