Heartburn Drugs Safe?

Heartburn drugs OK for short term, but risks remain

Mar 25, 2011 12:46 PM

The over-the-counter drugs Prilosec and Prevacid are safe when taken short term, according to an annoucement this week from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. But many people take the drugs long-term, increasing their risk of fractures.

The FDA said that OTC proton-pump inhibitors don't pose a fracture risk when they're taken for less than 14 days, three times a year. However, taking the drugs longer or more often does increase those risks, especially when taken for a year or longer.

That's why we say consumers should exercise caution when using the drugs to treat heartburn orgastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Over-the-counter doses of PPI medicines should be:


  • Omeprazole (found in Prilosec OTC and others) — 20 mg tablet (Once a day for no more than 14 days. The 14-day course may repeated every 4 months.)
  • Lansoprazole (Prevacid 24HR) — 15 mg tablet (Once a day for no more than 14 days. The 14-day course may repeated every 4 months.)

New COPD Drug

FDA Approves New Drug to Treat COPD

Daliresp Will Be Sold in Pill Form to Treat Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
By Bill Hendrick
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD


graphic of lung

March 1, 2011 — The FDA has approved a new treatment for people with worsening symptoms of severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung disorder that makes breathing difficult.

The drug, roflumilast — carrying the trade name Daliresp — will be sold in pill form, unlike some other medications for COPD, which are inhaled.

The FDA says roflumilast, a new drug class for COPD treatment, is an inhibitor of an enzyme called phosphodiesterase type 4 (PDE-4).

The pill is recommended for people with severe COPD to treat symptoms of cough and excess mucus linked to bronchitis. It is not intended to treat another form of COPD, which involves primary emphysema.

The FDA’s approval was announced even though the agency’s advisory panel voted 10-5 on April 7, 2010, not to recommend approval of the once-daily pill.  At the time the panel members decided the drug had too many adverse effects to offset what the FDA called a “modest” increase in lung function attributable to roflumilast.

The FDA approval of roflumilast requires a medication guide informing patients of the potential risks of mental health problems, including changes in mood, thinking, or behavior, as well as unexplained weight loss.


COPD Symptoms

Symptoms of COPD include breathlessness, chronic cough, and excessive phlegm.

An exacerbation can last up to several weeks and result in a decline in lung function and increased risk of death, and it may be associated with severe anxiety, the FDA says.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD.

“COPD is a serious disease that gets worse over time,” Curtis Rosebraugh, MD, MPH, of FDA, says in a news release.

“New treatment options that reduce frequency of flare-ups or exacerbations are important in helping patients with COPD associated with chronic bronchitis and a history of exacerbations in managing this debilitating disease,” says Rosebraugh, director of the office of drug evaluation in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Side Effects

The FDA says in a news release that the safety and effectiveness of roflumilast was demonstrated in two phase III clinical trials that included more than 1,500 patients 40 and older.

The federal agency says that those treated had a history of COPD associated with chronic bronchitis and had experienced an exacerbation of the disease during the 12 months prior to beginning treatment.

The FDA says roflumilast should not be used to treat sudden breathing problemsand is not recommended for people younger than 18.

The most common side effects include diarrhea, nausea, headacheinsomniaback pain, decreased appetite, and dizziness.

The medication is marketed by St. Louis-based Forest Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Forest Laboratories.



Docs Flee Medicare

Are Georgia doctor’s leaving Medicare? Quite a few will not accept ANY Medicare Advantage patients while others will only participate in one or maybe two plans. If you have original Medicare + Medigap your odds of having a doctor treat you improve dramatically.

As in years past, Congress is slow of foot to do anything about permanently fixing Medicare and will most likely follow the same path as before and patch the reimbursement system with what is referred to as the “doc fix”.

Unless lawmakers act before the end of the year, doctor reimbursements are scheduled to be reduced even as providers complain current reimbursement rates don’t cover the cost of care.

The result: Many doctors are declining to take on new Medicare patients and many are thinking about disenrolling in the system, reports the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, which has historically opposed Medicare.

The pay cut, unless Congress overrides it, will be roughly 30%.

“Disenrollment is a way to evict occupiers from doctors’ offices and the patient-physician relationship,” suggests Dr. Jane M. Orient, the association’s executive director. “Occupiers include bureaucrats, bounty-hunting auditors, federal prosecutors waiting for doctors to trip up on complex rules — and AMA [American Medical Association] officials and committees who make up complicated codes and dictate the ‘relative value’ of all covered services.”

Seems “occupiers” is the latest buzz word for vultures.

I like it.

since 1996, the system has been larded with new requirements that have increased bureaucratic hassles and imposed greater costs on providers for everything from enrolling in the system to billing procedures, the association said. Those doctors who wish not to participate in the program need to opt out every two years.

More government interference in the private sector. Another jobs killer except in this case it is a health care killer.

“Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress has no express authority to compel physicians to enroll in a government program in order to serve their patients, or to regulate the practice of medicine,” she said in an article published in the winter issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.

There’s that pesky Constitution getting in the way again.

“Formally opting out of Medicare has grown in popularity. But a tantalizing alternative approach is emerging: disenrolling from Medicare altogether,” Schlafly wrote. “We are unaware of a court case establishing or forbidding this option. Government may prefer not to test its authority over disenrolled physicians rather than risk a new precedent against its power.

“A consequence of the ‘Obamacare’ litigation may be to resolve this issue too. If ‘Obamacare’ is invalidated for going beyond the constitutional authority of the federal government, then that precedent may also limit federal authority over private contracts with disenrolled physicians.”

Things that make you go hmmmmmmmm . . .

Georgia Medicare Plans has affordable Medigap plans for Georgia seniors. Instant online Medigap quotes combined with personal service.

5 Food Choices That Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Many diabetics choose to take tablets starting from low dose and increasing gradually with no concern to diet choices and exercise. If thought well, it can be bad if right diet and exercise are given least consideration. Here, the main concern of this article is to lead you to the right channel to lower blood sugar levels with proper diet choices.

Foods high in fiber:

The first and foremost thing to keep in practice is eating fiber rich foods. Right choice is the right step to keep check on rising blood sugar in the bloodstream. Soluble fiber is the natural dietary fiber to help lower blood glucose levels in the food intake. Any such foods high in fiber help remove harmful fats and bile acids when the consumed food undergoes burning process. This is possible when you eat low-fat supplements with at least 8 gms of fiber sources as follows.

• Whole grain foods=> Whole grain is the best source of fiber ingredient for type 2 diabetes with no need for taking high dose medication. But it should be remembered that the fiber ingredient fails to lower blood sugar when the grains like wheat and maize are ground to flour form. So, you understand the salient feature of whole grains with fiber component.

• Brown rice=> Any food white in color is the first enemy to develop diabetes in adults. Once the brown layer of brown rice is peeled off in refinery process, the hidden 'white enemy' emerges out and smiles to embrace the diabetic and starts its work to increase blood sugar in the diabetic body. So, it is insisted to eat brown rice though less delicious than white varieties.

• Dried beans=> Bean varieties and peas are simple diabetic diet foods with fiber component to play an effective role of controlling blood glucose in the blood cells. Soaking the beans overnight and getting fresh for boiled cooking can be good to lower blood sugar.

• Fresh fruits=> It is usual to eat fruits low in sugar when you are prone to diabetes. You can enjoy the maximum benefits if you choose to eat fresh fruits with unpeeled skin. This is because fruit skins have more fiber. In this group you can eat oranges, red grapes, guava and pomegranates. Apples high in fiber and berries excellent in antioxidants help lower sugar levels as desired.

• Green vegetables=> It will be highly recommended that a diabetic adds one or two green leafy vegetables to sufficiently keep control of blood sugar.

Just try the least and get the most.

Are you ever born to develop diabetes complications with you? No, start controlling blood sugar which is really an art. If you want to be an expert and safe, you should keep up with good foods for diabetes AND diabetic foods to avoid.

Varadharajan R is the author of this article. This article can be used for reprint on your website provided all the links in the article should be complete active.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Varadharajan_R

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6030340
Diabetics on Medicare can find the lowest rates in Georgia for Medicare supplement plans. Georgia Medicare plans have supplemental Medigap plans from BCBSGA, Gerber, Mutual of Omaha and other fine carriers.

Are Scooters Sinking Medicare?

Medicare will spend almost $1 billion on scooters for Medicare beneficiaries but more than half those dollars are wasted on people who don’t need a motorized chair. According to a report by the OIG (Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services), many who got the scooters didn’t need one over 60% of the time Medicare paid too much.

What about eliminating waste, fraud and abuse?

According to the report, 61% of power wheelchairs purchased by Medicare in 2007 were either unnecessary or lacked sufficient documentation to justify claim . . . yet Medicare approved them any way!

In the first half of 2007 Medicare approved and spent $189 million on power wheelchairs. Of that, $95 million were either not considered medically necessary or lacked sufficient documentation to justify the claim.

A whopping 78% of claims submitted by Medicare DME (durable medical equipment) providers had records that did not match physician records for medical necessity.

In other words, records submitted by DME suppliers indicated the motorized wheelchair was medically necessary but the doctor records did not agree with that assessment.

In most of those cases physician notes had less documentation than what was provided by the medical supplier but in some cases the doctor records contradicted those provided with the Medicare claim.

Medicare covers over 650 types of powered scooters. Medicare requires medical providers to use one of 42 different codes when submitting the claim.

Prior to January of 2011 Medicare beneficiaries were allowed to rent or buy a chair. Almost all chose to buy rather than rent the chair.

Power wheelchairs are referred to as MAE (Mobility Assistive Equipment).

To qualify for MAE (mobility assistive equipment), also known as a scooter, you must meet the following.

Have a health condition where you need help with activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, getting in or out of the bed or chair, moving around, or using the bathroom

Be able to safely operate and get on and off the wheelchair or scooter

Have good vision

Be mentally able to safely use a scooter, or have someone with you who can make sure the device is used correctly and safely

The equipment also must be useful within the physical layout of your home (it must not be too big for your home or blocked by things in its path).

If you qualify for a scooter, it will be paid for under Medicare Part B. Your Medicare supplement insurance plan will pay the contractual balance after Medicare approves the claim and pays their portion.

You can read more in this article about motorized wheelchairs written and published by Georgia Medicare Plans.

Compare Georgia Medicare supplement rates and plans and view instant Medigap quotes.



Health Care Directive


  • Need a Real Sponsor here

Leaving All Your Big Medical Decisions to Your Family Isn’t Very Nice



The point of naming a medical surrogate is to have someone around to express your preferences about care when you can’t. But not providing surrogates with enough information ahead of time can cause them emotional distress that may last for years.

That, at least, is the finding of a review of existing literature on the impact on surrogates, most of them family members, of making treatment decisions. The 40 papers analyzed in the review,published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, aren’t perfect, the authors say right up front. Many of the study populations weren’t representative of the general population, for example, and there was sometimes a big time delay between when the decisions were made and when the study was conducted.

That said, the authors write they were able to identify several stressors that go along with being a surrogate, some which can be prevented or alleviated and others that are tougher to deal with. First on the list: being unsure of a patient’s preferences. Advance directives provide one possible solution, write the authors, who are from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Zurich.

While advance directives are often highlighted as a way to guide your own care, “we found that patients might also be encouraged to document their treatment preferences as a way of reducing the burden on their surrogates,” the authors write. Here are some questions helping you to organize your thoughts on this topic, from the nonprofit Engage With Grace, which we’ve written about before.

While those questions are tilted towards end-of-life decisions, a few of the papers in this new analysis covered surrogates making placement decisions, such as moving someone with Alzheimer’s to a special care unit.

Other stressors identified by the review authors were uncertain prognosis (a tough one to address), discomfort with the hospital environment, decision-making logistics, poor communication by clinicians, insufficient time, conflict with clinicians and family, a sense of sole responsibility and uncertainty or guilt over decisions.

At least a third of surrogates experienced a negative emotional burden due to making decisions, and those negative effects were “often substantial and typically lasted months, or in some cases, years,” the study authors write.

Image: iStockphoto




Denture Dementia

Does wearing dentures lead to dementia?dentures It is believed that overall poor health can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes but dementia?

The folks at Consumer Reports have this to say.

Could ill-fitting dentures lead to dementia?

Not likely—at least not on their own. But older people who have multiple signs of poorer overall health—like difficulty hearing, joint problems and ill-fitting dentures—may be more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia, researchers say.

Although several age-related health problems are linked todementia—such as heart disease, high blood pressure,stroke, and diabetes—these conditions only partly explain the increase in risk as we get older. And they can't reliably predict who will develop dementia and who will not.

Some research has suggested that a person's overall health may provide a clearer indication of their dementia risk. To explore this, a group of Canadian researchers put together a "frailty index" of 19 factors related to an older person's health, but not normally connected with dementia. This included problems affecting their eyesight, hearing, dental health, digestion, kidneys and bladder, ankles and feet, skin, joints, and bones, among other problems.

The researchers then tracked more than 7,000 people age 65 and older for 10 years to see if their score on the frailty index was linked to their risk of developing dementia. None of the participants had symptoms of dementia at the start of the study.

The findings? People with more signs of frailty—such as arthritis and ill-fitting dentures—had a higher risk of dementia than people with fewer signs.

For each additional problem, a person's risk of dementia increased by 3.2 percent. 
People's scores on the frailty index also more closely predicted their risk of dementia than several known risk factors, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

These are intriguing findings. But we can't yet be certain that the people were more likely to get dementia because of these health problems, as there could have been other things that increased their risk. For example, the researchers didn't look at whether the participants smoked, were obese or got little exercise. Studies have suggested that these factors (among others) may also raise the chance of dementia.

Bottom line: These findings provide an extra incentive to take good care of your body as you age, showing that your overall health may play a role in determining your risk of Alzheimer's and other types of dementia. If you are older and having health problems, be sure to see your doctor. Treatments for many age-related ailments, such as arthritis, can work well.

Dental Insurance for Georgia Seniors

Georgia seniors concerned about their dental health should consider a dental insurance plan designed just for them.

  • Freedom to use any dentist, including your own
  • 3 cleanings per year (instead of the usual 2 visit limit)
  • No enrollment fee
  • Annual maximum limit up to $2,000
  • 100% preventive care option
  • Initial 12 month rate guarantee
  • Hearing aid benefit at no additional charge

Review plans, compare and apply direct for senior dental insurance.

GERD – Acid Reflux Diet Cure

What Is The Best Diet For GERD Patient?

Author: Cindy Heller

When you are stressed with what to eat when you are experiencing GERD, you ought to be prepared to assume that there is no easy answer. Evidently, many people have GERD, and yet lots of them still living with it just fine. But the hardest part is that what to eat when you have GERD is not something that one person can answer for another, for the reason that the state is something that is so different from person to person.

The Gerd Diet Suggestions

A good GERD diet includes of foods that are not unusual to us and are incorporated in the nutritional chart as recommended for everybody. The GERD diet restrictions for those who have gastro esophageal reflux disease are not as bad as some people might think of. The foods for gerd diet consist of low fat meats, turkey and fish also along with almost all vegetables. The breads that may consume are only those made from non fat or low fat milk.

The straight answer of what to eat when you have GERD is actually to eat anything that doesn't set your GERD off. Many doctors and physicians claims that a person with GERD should avoid spicy and foods that have a lot of acidic qualities. Of course, this is almost certainly a good idea, but the bottom line is that lots of people who have GERD don't have symptoms when they eat spicy foods. They may have symptoms when they take certain kinds of fruits, or other types of things.

There are a few types of foods that are well considered as being GERD diet foods. This includes fresh vegetables and fruits, broccoli, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, green beans, peas, baked potatoes, ground beef, egg whites, fish, cheese, cream cheese, cookies, potato chips, and salad dressing. All of these are GERD diet foods because rather than infuriating your condition they in fact going to help relieve your symptoms.

Fresh vegetables are a part of archetypal GERD diet suggestions from doctors and dieticians. Fruits like bananas, peaches, pears, a variety of melons and berries and apples are highly recommended. Expert GERD diet suggestions also consist of low fat breads, grains, herbal teas, and juices except for citrus juices.

Suggestions for GERD diets take account of breakfast items such as apple juice, bananas, jam and whole grain cereals. Lunch suggestions contain lean beef, vegetable soup, fruit salad (no citrus fruit) or a green leafy salad with no tomatoes. For dinner you can choose to have a green leafy salad, skinless chicken breast, brown rice, whole grain bread, and a variety of vegetables. If you follow the GERD diet suggestions from doctors and dieticians in your meals you might be able to reduce your GERD symptoms in no time.

The matter of GERD diet foods is one of big significance. This is for the reason that people who suffer from GERD should be avoiding certain foods so that they do not worsen their condition. For example you want to avoid alcohol and spicy foods as well as anything that is greasy or oily. This is because all of these foods are going to make worse your condition and worsen your symptoms.

If you keep close to your doctor's suggestions for a GERD diet you will probably have to get rid of items from your diet such as fatty foods, items containing spearmint and peppermint, whole milk, chocolate, creamy soups and other foods that come in a cream substance.

Foods that should be removed or drastically reduced in your diet due to agitating the lower esophagus are citrus fruits, tomatoes, coffee, tea and all beverages that contain caffeine. Spicy foods can cause problems for some people who have GERD. Avoid eating that is high in fat like sausage, bacon and chicken skin. Keep away from breads that are made from high fat or are made with whole milk.

If your situation persists, then you may have to think of a more serious treatment than GERD diet foods. Lessening the size of your meals is one of the first things you should do here, and try eating meals at least a few hours before your bedtime may help to lessen reflux by allowing the acid in the stomach to reduce and the stomach to empty partially.

Through exercising on a regular basis is also going to have a great impact here. Even if it only a simple walk around the block. You should work in hand with a nutritionist to find out about your particular state and about what the best treatments is going to be. Maintaining your weight is going to be a crucial part of your treatment, because being overweight is in fact one of the strongest risk factors for GERD.

By lifting up the head of your bed although may looks like very simple but effective thing to do. An increase of about six to nine inches will help to keep the acid from refluxing up into your throat. This can be done by placing wooden or cement blocks under the foot of your bed, and if this is not achievable then you can always place in a foam wedge between your mattress and the box spring as this will help you make higher your body from the waist up.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/diseases-and-conditions-articles/what-is-the-best-diet-for-gerd-patient-439002.html

About the Author

Cindy Heller is a professional writer. Visit acid reflux gerd to learn more about nutrition for gastritis and gerd and other gerd diet suggestions.

Glucose Test Strip Recall

February 18, 2011

FDA upgrades recall of Abbott glucose test strips

This week the Food and Drug Administration upgraded theDecember recall on 359 lots of Abbott glucose test strips toClass I because of potentially false low glucose readings. Class I is the agency's most serious type of recall and an indication that the product will cause serious health problems or death. False glucose readings are potentially dangerous because they might cause people with diabetes to unnecessarily try to raise their blood glucose level or fail to lower elevated blood glucose.

The recall applies to the following brand names: Precision Xceed Pro; Precision Xtra; Medisense Optium; Optium; OptiumEZ; ReliOn Ultima. The test strips were manufactured between January and September 2010 and sold both in retail and online settings, and were also used in health-care facilities. The strips are used with Abbott's Precision Xtra, Precision Xceed Pro, MediSense Optium, Optium, Optium EZ and ReliOn Ultima blood glucose monitoring systems. The monitors themselves are not affected by the recall.

If you have diabetes and use Abbott glucose test strips, check the lot numbers affected by this recall. Get more information on the recall on Abbott’s website or by callingAbbott Diabetes Care customer service at 1-800-448-5234 (English) and 1-800-709-7010 (Spanish).

Ginger Skinner, web associate editor

Use an at-home glucose monitor? Make sure you’re using it correctly.


Compare Georgia Hospitals

How good are hospitals in Georgia? Is your heart attack treatment better at one hospital and cancer outcomes better at another? Are chances of survival better at some hospitals?

Medicare has a hospital compare tool that allows you compare how well hospitals care for patients with certain medical conditions or surgical procedures. Using surveys by patients and other data you can be in charge of your own care.

Hospital Compare is a consumer-oriented website that provides information on how well hospitals provide recommended care to their patients.

Detailed information on over 4,700 hospitals across the nation is provided. You can find all the ones near you for comparison by entering your zip code or city name. Choose up to three hospitals to compare at once against quality measures such as how soon surgery patients received antibiotics, hospital mortality rates (rates of patients dying within 30 days of being admitted to the hospital, compared to the national average), and patient satisfaction survey results. All of this data helps you see how well patients are treated and whether the hospitals follow recommended health care procedures.