Alternative Medicine: Giving Your Treatment Options Another Look

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By Jessica Giles

didyouknow?Many people are giving alternative medicine another look. From potions to pills to acupuncture, and more. And, it’s not just for medical problems. They’re also looking into it for dental and oral hygiene. Here’s what it’s all about, and a few things you might want to try.

Pain Relief

Many people turn to alternative medicine because they’re unsatisfied with the way mainstream medicine handles their pain. In a study published in the American Journal Of Managed Care, researchers surveys about 6,000 people with chronic pain, and conditions which ranged in severity. Many were members of an HMO in Oregon and Washington. The researchers also got access to members’ electronic medical and health records.

They could find out what treatments these patients had used, and they wanted to see if any alternative approaches were recorded in their file. The researchers found 47% of people surveyed said they used chiropractic care for pain relief between 2009 and 2011. 32% said they used acupuncture, and 21% said they used both. A stunning 42% who went with just the chiropractor said they didn’t discuss the treatment with their medical doctor. And, 35% of people who went to an acupuncturist said they didn’t discuss it with a medical doctor.

On Pain Management

Researchers also found that the majority of patients with chronic illness and pain used acupuncture and chiropractic care. But, researchers didn’t look at whether people believed in the benefits of those treatments, compared to traditional pain control and management methods.

The most common reasons cited for not seeking chiropractic care of acupuncture was that they didn’t think the methods would help them. Some said that they hadn’t considered these pain-relief methods, and some didn’t know a reputable practitioner, or said the cost was too high.

Many of those surveyed said that they were in severe chronic pain, and lived in the U.S. on the west coast, where the use of alternative therapies are more popular than in other areas of the country.

HMOs’ coverage of these therapies is often better than in other insurance plans in other areas of the country, but the results are representative of overall usage of people who seek out alt therapies for chronic pain.

People who do have chronic pain often turn to complementary medicine because they tend to have more dialogue with alternative medicine practitioners than with doctors.

What’s The Difference?

Many people do not understand the difference between the two modalities or even between traditional or conventional medicine and alternative medicine. The first difference, is health. Conventional medicine sees health as an absence of disease. Alternative medicine often starts with the premise that balance of opposing forces is what keeps everything in check. And, that being “out of balance” causes illness.

When it comes to disease, conventional medicine sees disease as a specific thing, which is locally defined, and is classified as a deviation in organ or tissue function. Alternative medicine practitioners tend to look at the body holistically, and instead see disease as a body-wide problem.

Diagnosing Problems

Traditional medical practitioners stress morphological classification based on location and aetiology. Alt medicine, on the other hand, sees functional problems as diagnostically significant.

Therapies

Conventional medicine will often see its job as one of destruction — to destroy the sickening forces that ail the patient. Alternative medicine tries to strengthen the patient’s natural immune system so that it can fight the illness off.

How The Two Approaches See The Patient

Traditional medicine sees the patient as passive, and as a recipient of the treatment. There is little, or no, input from the patient. Medical processes are mechanical in nature. In alternative medicine, the patient is part of the treatment process. The patient’s compliance is often relied upon for success of the treatment, and patients are made aware that, if they do not comply, then success is basically impossible.

Conclusion

While both conventional and alternative medicine attempt to treat the patient, they both do it in fundamentally different ways. Conventional medicine relies heavily on pharmaceutical drugs, and mechanical interventions, for example.

Alternative medicine relies heavily on interventions where the body is asked to “step up” and heal itself. Often this involved strengthening the immune system in some way, without the use of chemicals or pharmaceutical drugs. Often, practitioners will recommend herbs and botanicals to help speed up the healing process.

– Jessica Giles is a fitness instructor. In hopes of helping others live long and healthy lives, she likes to post her insights on the web. You can find her posts on a variety of health and fitness topics which usually focus on natural and holistic health in some way. Visit Carefreedental.com to read more about alternative medicine and good dental health.

Life Insurance Options Available To The Obese

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By Lance Peterson

bellymeasurementsmallBeing obese can lead to many serious health problems, which in turn can make it difficult to find life insurance. Some patients don’t realize the seriousness of obesity and may not understand all the health concerns that are linked to the condition, so they may not understand why they need to look harder for life insurance or are being denied coverage by their insurance carrier. Consider why obesity involves such high risks and how you can find the right life insurance for you, regardless of any health concerns you might have.

Obesity can lead to increased risk of heart attacks and heart disease, because an obese person usually has stores of fat that collect around the internal systems, including the heart and arteries. The heart needs to work harder to push blood to all the extremities when a person is obese, and this puts a great strain on the circulatory system.

Being obese is also linked to severe asthma, which can be serious and even fatal. Those fat stores can collect around the lungs and the body’s own weight can push down on the respiratory system so the patient cannot breathe very easily. Many who are obese also suffer from sleep apnea, which is a cessation of breathing while sleeping. Usually the body wakes up long enough to start breathing again but in some cases, this too can prove fatal. Obesity is also linked to certain forms of cancer and many other serious health concerns.

Because of these risk factors, obese persons usually need to shop for high risk life insurance.

Because of these risk factors, obese persons usually need to shop for high risk life insurance. These are policies that are designed specifically for those who have special risk factors when it comes to their health and longevity. Many top life insurance companies will provide policies for the obese, but with certain terms and conditions. They may pay a bit more for a policy or may have fewer options available to them, but an obese person can still typically find the coverage they need for their final expenses and to care for their family at a price they can afford, if they shop around.

One way to find life insurance if you’re obese is to compare term life insurance quotes. Term insurance means that it must be redeemed within the term of the policy, typically at 20 years or 30 years. This is usually the best choice for those in high risk groups and comparing quotes will allow you to find the company that offers the coverage you want at a price you can afford. Term insurance differs from whole life insurance; a whole life insurance policy is good for as long as the premium is being paid, rather than being limited to a certain term.

Many of the top term life insurance companies will have policies that are specifically written for those with higher risk, such as those over 50, those with diabetes or hypertension, and those who are obese. Because the condition is becoming more and more common, companies are providing the life insurance needs to these patients even if they’re high risk.

If you prefer whole life insurance and are considered obese, your best solution may be to shop around to find the policy that suits you. There are companies that do offer any type of policy you need no matter your health and without a medical exam. You can find the insurance you need even if you are obese or have other medical conditions, so don’t let your health concerns keep you from shopping for the policy that’s right for you.

– My name is Lance Peterson; I am a graduate in Finance from UPenn. I am a banker, whose expertise stretches to areas like loans, investments, hedge funds, insurance and other related fields. I am also the Content Manager for Chooseterm.com. I like keeping myself updated about the global financial scene.

Early Retirement – What Are Your Healthcare Options?

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By Brenda Panin

seniorcoupleexercisesmallOne of the biggest concerns for retirees in today’s economy is healthcare. For those workers who are thinking of retirement prior to turning 65, health insurance can become a major consideration. Where these employees may have enjoyed the benefits of a group health insurance plan with their employers, they now find themselves faced with having to consider options on their own. Hopefully, the following ideas will help you in assessing what you can do if you are pondering an early retirement.

1. COBRA insurance- Acronym for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. This allows workers who have had group health insurance with their previous employer the opportunity to continue that same coverage at a group rate. However, the downside is that you pay the entire insurance premium which can be quite costly. You will pay your share of the cost as you may have done before, but, in addition, you now also pay the employer’s portion, an amount you may have never considered. Moreover, this coverage only lasts up to 18 months after your employment. While COBRA coverage is a relatively expensive option, it might be a short-term solution if you are within a few months of turning 65 and qualifying for Medicare.

2. Employer-offered retiree health insurance – Some employers may offer their own retiree insurance plans to long-term employees. Usually, a formula of combining your age and years of employment is used to determine eligibility. Keep in mind that this is not the same as COBRA coverage, but insurance plans that are specifically set up for retirees. Due to the, you may want to check with your employer early on if you are seriously considering early retirement.

3. Spouse insurance – If your spouse works and has individual coverage through his or her employment, consider having them check to see if their insurance can be converted to a family health plan. The additional premium may cost less than other options.

Unfortunately, many early retirees have to return to full-time work to obtain health care benefits.

4. Part-time employment insurance – Unfortunately, many early retirees have to return to full-time work to obtain health care benefits. However, there are companies that offer part-time employees full health benefits after a period of time. Similar to the COBRA insurance, if you are within a few months to a year of turning 65, this could be a temporary solution until getting Medicare.

5. Private insurance – This is perhaps the most costly option. While other options may involve employer group discounts, purchasing private insurance offers no such discount. Also, while pre-existing conditions may not be a factor when dealing with former employers or coverage through a spouse, starting fresh with a private insurance company may be different.

6. High-deductible catastrophic insurance – This option allows for a low premium, but carries a high deductible and only covers major medical or catastrophic occurrences. This option may not be preferable for younger retirees whose out-of-pocket costs for other medical needs would be quite high.

Undoubtedly, the recent health reform laws have an impact on the foregoing options. With a great number of workers now retiring between the ages of 55 to 64, recent health care reform laws have targeted businesses to offer more employer-sponsored health plans and in some cases are offered incentives to do so. As well, the new laws have prohibited private insurance companies from denying insurance based on pre-existing conditions.

Above all, whatever option or path you happen to pursue regarding early retirement healthcare, start your research early and investigate your options. Obviously, your choices will be different if your only just a few months away from 65 rather than a few years.

– Brenda Panin is a passionate blogger interested in health and fitness. In her free time she enjoys exercising, preparing healthy meals for her family and reading books and articles related to health insurance and new policies.