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Breakthrough technology offers numerous benefits to people with hearing loss

(BPT) – The latest breakthrough in hearing aids is not what you’d expect.

In an industry dedicated to helping people hear better, some hearing aid manufacturers have developed technology that helps people live better, too. Lithium-ion batteries — a rechargeable technology that has been used for years in cell phones and laptops — is now available to the 48 million Americans who have some degree of hearing loss.

“Today’s hearing aid wearers want technology that keeps up with their active lifestyle,” says Elizabeth Thompson, AuD director of business development at Phonak, maker of the first lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aid. “They’re tired of purchasing and fumbling with tiny batteries every few days and then worrying about the last time they changed them.”

According to Thompson, benefits to lithium-ion technology include:

1. Confidence

Running out of battery juice at the wrong time is a nightmare scenario for traditional hearing aid wearers. Lithium-ion technology helps increase wearer confidence so they can focus on living life instead of worrying about the last time they changed batteries.

2. Predictability

Hearing aid wearers want the predictability in knowing their hearing aids will last all day on a single charge. According to a recent study, it takes only three hours to complete one full charge that lasts 24 hours. If the wearer is short on time and can only charge their hearing aids for one hour, the lithium-ion batteries will last 12 hours.

3. Increased durability

People can also enjoy life to the fullest because the hearing aids are now more durable. The rechargeable hearing aids have an IP-68 rating, meaning they are dust and water resistant. The sealed battery door makes the hearing aid more resistant to the elements because there is no opening for water and dust to seep in and get lodged inside the hearing aid. This allows hearing aid users to go about their daily lives without worrying that their hearing aids won’t withstand weather conditions, including humidity and rain.

4. Peace of mind

Lithium-ion technology is a remarkable advancement for the hearing industry because it allows hearing aid users to have their hearing aids correlate with their modern lifestyle, and the freedom to live without the worry of disposable batteries. Rechargeable hearing aids also allow connectivity to a user’s favorite electronic devices. They can stream cell phone calls, music and audio from the TV, giving users hearing aids that fit in with their lifestyle.

5. Convenience

In addition to providing predictability when it comes to battery length, rechargeable hearing aids are easy to handle and there are no hassles with disposable batteries. For those with dexterity problems, inserting a small battery into the hearing aid can be a challenging chore. Plugging a cord into the wall is an easier, more effective solution. Charging the hearing aids is as simple and convenient as charging a phone, laptop or any other device that is used daily.

6. Eco-friendly

According to Phonak evidence, a hearing aid user uses about 100 batteries per year. Rechargeable hearing aids reduce the number of disposable batteries harming the environment, eliminate the cost of having to buy batteries and erase the chance of a small child or pet accidentally eating a disposable battery. Not only do rechargeable hearing aids change the life of the user, but they also have an impact on the user’s surrounding environment.

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Maintaining healthy weight helps protect kidneys

(BPT) – There are countless reasons to maintain a healthy weight — and you can add protecting your kidneys to the list. If you have kidney disease or are at risk for it, maintaining a healthy weight is even more important.

“Being overweight significantly increases your risk for developing high blood pressure and diabetes, and both can damage your kidneys,” said Lauren Gleason, senior director of nutrition services for Fresenius Kidney Care, a long-standing leader in kidney care, with more than 2,200 dialysis clinics around the country caring for nearly 200,000 people with kidney disease. “There are a number of manageable things you can do to get healthier and decrease your risk.”

Eat right, exercise more — we all know the drill. The good news is that putting the drill into action doesn’t have to be difficult. Losing just 5 percent of your body weight — even if you’re still overweight — can reduce your blood pressure and thus your risk for diabetes and kidney disease. Fresenius Kidney Care has some easy, real-world suggestions for getting and staying healthy.

The skinny on weight loss: Here’s how to move in the right direction.

* Choose the best exercise — To lose weight, strength training is the way to go. More muscle will increase your metabolism and burn more calories even when you’re not exercising. Strength training includes lifting weights, using resistance bands and doing exercises that use your own body weight, such as lunges or leg lifts. Strength training combined with heart-healthy cardio makes for a great all-around workout.

Enjoying healthy food: Eating healthy can be satisfying and delicious.

* Focus on good fats — Fat tastes good and is an important part of your diet. The key is choosing healthy fats. Cook vegetables with olive and canola oil to bring out the flavor and make foods more satisfying. Rather than snacking on cookies, grab a handful of almonds. Cold-water fish, such as salmon, are high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

* Eat the right carbs, and in moderation — You don’t need to avoid carbohydrates. Eat them in moderation and focus on complex carbs. Choose brown rice over white rice. Opt for starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes instead of a dinner roll. Simple carbs, such as those in white bread, make your blood sugar spike and are more likely to turn into fat.

* Consult a dietitian — A registered dietitian can help you choose foods and plan meals that are satisfying, delicious and filling, as well as healthy.

* Pass on salt — If you have kidney disease, steer clear of foods that are hard for your kidneys to handle, including citrus fruits (and their juice) and bananas. Take a pass on the salt shaker as well. Fresenius Kidney Care offers some tips for tossing the salt.

Use a little psychology: Some simple psychological tricks can keep you on the right path.

* Plan your food placement — When you unload the groceries, be thoughtful about where you store them. Keep the fruit bowl stocked and store healthy foods at eye level in the pantry and fridge so you’re more likely to reach for them when you’re hungry. Hide less healthy food on lower or higher shelves in non-see-through containers so you won’t be tempted.

* Use smaller plates — Set the table with salad plates instead of dinner plates. Because smaller plates hold less food, you’ll likely eat less.

* Do shopping cart math — Head to the produce section first and fill at least half your shopping cart with fresh, unprocessed foods.

* Drink from a tall glass — If you have kidney disease, too much water is hard on your kidneys. Drink water from a tall, skinny glass and you’ll actually drink less than you think you’re drinking, and feel more satisfied.

Because you may have unique needs, be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. Learn more about kidney disease and healthy eating by visiting www.freseniuskidneycare.com.

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Preparing for surgery? These tips could save your life

(BPT) – If surgery is in your future, it’s never too early to prepare. Whether you’re having an outpatient procedure or a major operation involving a hospital stay, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) encourages you to take simple steps to be ready for the big day, starting with talking with your physician anesthesiologist, a vital member of your care team.

No one understands this more than 18-year-old Hunter Jones, who was diagnosed with a rare case of colon cancer and is grateful her physician anesthesiologist, Mary Herman, M.D., Ph.D., called off her initial cancer surgery. During the preoperative evaluation with Dr. Herman, Hunter mentioned a tingly feeling and numbness in her legs after her previous anesthesia experiences, including not being able to walk for a few days. Her symptoms sounded alarm bells for Dr. Herman, and she sent Hunter for additional tests, which revealed a brain tumor. If Hunter had proceeded with the anesthesia and colon cancer surgery, she might have been permanently paralyzed.

“Hunter’s experience illustrates just how important it is to talk to your physician anesthesiologist before a procedure to fully discuss your health, even something you might not think is relevant,” said Jeffrey Plagenhoef, M.D., ASA president. “This discussion is critical to patient safety and determining when patients are ready for a procedure.”

During Patient Safety Awareness Week, ASA offers the following steps to take before surgery to ensure the safest outcome:

Find out who will provide the anesthesia – Be sure your anesthesia care is led by a physician anesthesiologist. You may ask, “What does a physician anesthesiologist do?” A physician anesthesiologist is a medical doctor who specializes in anesthesia, pain and critical care medicine and works with your surgeon and other physicians to develop and administer your anesthesia care plan. Physician anesthesiologists have 12 to 14 years of medical education and 12,000 to 16,000 hours of clinical training to ensure safe, high-quality care.

Talk with your physician anesthesiologist – As Hunter can attest, open communication is vital to ensuring the safest care. Your physician anesthesiologist will create a care plan for you, but you must provide detailed information. When you talk with your physician anesthesiologist before the procedure, be sure to discuss:

* Your health and medications – Provide your physician anesthesiologist details about your health, including how active you are, if you snore, and whether you have chronic health issues such as heart or lung problems, liver or kidney disease, allergies or any other medical conditions. Bring your full list of medications to the meeting, and don’t forget to include your vitamins and supplements. You may need to stop taking some of them temporarily because they may react with the anesthesia.

* Your use of recreational or illicit drugs – The use of recreational or illicit drugs such as alcohol, marijuana, narcotics, and stimulants, among others, should be discussed with your physician anesthesiologist. These substances can have a significant impact on your reaction to medications used to provide anesthesia and can affect the amount of anesthetic and pain medications you may require, not to mention the negative effects of these substances on your body.

* Your experience with anesthesia – If you’ve had a bad reaction with anesthesia, pain medication or anesthesia side effects in the past (or a family member has), it’s important to tell your physician anesthesiologist.

* Your fears – Let your physician anesthesiologist know if you’re afraid of surgery or anesthesia. He or she can give you information to help you feel better.

* Your questions – Write down your questions and bring them with you when you meet your physician anesthesiologist to be sure everything you’d like to know is discussed.

* Your recovery – The physician anesthesiologist continues to care for you after surgery, so ask how any pain will be managed. Ask about any concerns you have regarding recovery, returning home and getting back to your normal routine.

Now attending college, Hunter runs Hope for Hunter, a fund she created that donates Chemo Cozy jackets to children and young adults undergoing cancer treatment. She is thankful she told her physician anesthesiologist about her previous anesthesia experiences.

“It’s very rare that I postpone a surgery, because our entire medical team works together with our patients to ensure we’ve carefully reviewed their history, physical exam and made sure they are optimized before surgery,” said Dr. Herman. “Hunter’s case was the best anesthetic I never gave.”

For more information, download ASA’s Preparing for Surgery: An Anesthesia Checklist. To learn more about the critical role physician anesthesiologists play before, during and after surgery, visit www.asahq.org/WhenSecondsCount.

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Obstructive sleep apnea and respiratory compromise: Know your risk

(BPT) – Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) — a potentially serious sleep disorder that can stop a person’s breathing during sleep — affects 25 million adults in the U.S. Individuals living with OSA may know they are at risk for high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, diabetes or headaches. What they may not know is that OSA is also a risk factor for respiratory compromise, a potentially fatal condition.

Respiratory compromise is the second leading avoidable patient safety issue and can occur during hospitalization when a patient is recovering from a surgery or during an outpatient procedure using anesthesia. Although relatively unknown, respiratory compromise can cause an individual’s breathing to weaken, potentially leading to respiratory failure and even death. OSA is just one of several conditions that increase a person’s risk for respiratory compromise; age, obesity and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are other risk factors.

Although respiratory compromise is a serious health issue, it is frequently preventable. By using appropriate therapies and patient monitoring technologies to evaluate a patient’s respiratory status, healthcare professionals can detect respiratory compromise and treat patients earlier.

“OSA sufferers must understand that their condition not only impacts their sleep and overall health. They need to be aware that it may increase their risk for respiratory compromise. Signs of respiratory compromise include apneas or stop-breathing episodes and changes in consciousness and alertness, among others,” said Dr. Peter C. Gay, a sleep medicine specialist. “If you have OSA and need to undergo a medical or surgical procedure, speak with your healthcare provider about respiratory compromise. It can be detected early with appropriate respiratory monitoring technologies.”

To learn more about respiratory compromise, visit www.respiratorycompromise.org/.

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Smart food swaps mean more nutrition and less ‘giving up’

(BPT) – Does it ever seem like a lot of healthy-eating advice is about “less,” “giving up” and “taking away?” Reducing fat and sodium intake, avoiding high-calorie foods and trimming portion size are commonly heard pieces of advice when you’re trying to lose weight or improve your diet. But health experts agree, good eating doesn’t just mean giving up bad habits, it’s also about adding foods with more nutritional value.

“Instead of focusing on what you shouldn’t eat, focus on making nutrition-packed swaps,” says registered dietician and nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner. “A few easy swaps I tell my clients about include replacing white bread with whole grain, higher-fat protein sources with leaner ones, and upgrading your ordinary products like eggs or cereal with higher-nutrition varieties.”

Here are five better-for-you food swaps from Blatner that will jam pack your diet with enhanced nutrition without making you feel like you’re giving anything up:

Instead of mayo

Try an avocado-based spread on your sandwiches and as a base for homemade dressings. A single tablespoon of mayonnaise has 90 calories, 10 grams of fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol and 90 milligrams of sodium, but zero potassium or fiber, according to the California Avocado Commission. In comparison, 2 tablespoons of fresh avocado have just 50 calories, 4.5 grams of (mostly good) fat, no cholesterol or sodium, and 150 milligrams of potassium and 2 grams of fiber.

Instead of any old egg

Try eggs with superior nutritional benefits. While all eggs are high in protein, Eggland’s Best eggs contain double the omega-3s and three times more vitamin B12 than ordinary eggs — both nutrients associated with heart health. Plus, they contain 25 percent less saturated fat, five times more vitamin D, and 10 times more vitamin E than ordinary eggs.

Instead of white rice

While carbohydrates are necessary to fuel your brain and muscles, many favorite sources are stripped of nutrition, such as white rice. Cauliflower can be an easy substitute for rice. This white veggie packs plenty of fiber, protein, potassium and vitamin C. To replace rice, simply pulse the cauliflower in a food processor for a few seconds until you achieve the desired consistency.

Instead of fried food

The crunch of fried food is alluring, but you can get that same crunch in a much healthier superfood way. Instead of coating chicken or fish with breading and plunging it into a bath of hot oil, use chopped nuts. Nuts contain healthy fat, protein, and fiber and when baked in a hot oven (about 400-425 degrees F), nut-coated protein is crunchy and delicious. Try nut-covered chicken fingers today!

Instead of ground beef

Americans love beef and eat about 25 billion pounds of it every year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But depending on the quality and cut you buy, beef can be high in fat and cholesterol. Lentils can be a high-nutrition protein source that can go virtually anywhere you use ground beef, including burgers, meatloaf and taco filling. Naturally low in calories and fat free, lentils provide fiber, protein and potassium.

Food swaps focused on increasing healthful nutrients, rather than decreasing what you don’t want, can be rewarding and delicious. Try this recipe from Eggland’s best to get started on your new “more-is-better” lifestyle.

Using Eggland’s Best in a recipe not only will give you superior nutrition, but could earn you $5,000. In celebration of its 25th anniversary, the brand is looking for your “egg-cellent” foodie photos in the EB Foodtography Contest. For Official Rules and to enter, visit www.egglandsbest.com/foodtography. And don’t forget to sign up at www.egglandsbest.com/newsletter to get the latest health and wellness news, exclusive promotions, and delicious recipes delivered to your email each month from Eggland’s Best.

Sweet Potato Bowl

Ingredients

1 large sweet potato

2 teaspoons olive oil, separated

salt and pepper

2 Eggland’ Best Eggs (large), poached

1 cup ground sausage

1/2 cup salsa

1 avocado, diced

Directions

Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a medium pan over medium/high heat and brown the ground sausage.

While the sausage cooks, fill a large pot with a few inches of water and place over medium/high heat until it just starts to simmer.

Crack eggs individually into a ramekin or cup and create a gentle whirlpool in the water.

Slowly pour the eggs one by one into the water and leave to cook for three minutes.

Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

While the eggs poach, spiralize the sweet potato using a spiralizer.

Heat the other teaspoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add in the sweet potato noodles and cook until they just begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the cooked sweet potato noodles into a large bowl.

Drain the ground sausage and add to the sweet potato noodles.

Toss with 1/2 cup of the salsa.

Divide the noodles and sausage between two bowls, top each with diced avocado and a poached egg!

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Get extra nutrition with these 5 food swaps

(BPT) – Does it ever seem like a lot of healthy-eating advice is about “less,” “giving up” and “taking away?” Reducing fat and sodium intake, avoiding high-calorie foods and trimming portion sizes are commonly heard pieces of advice when you’re trying to lose weight or improve your diet. But health experts agree, good eating doesn’t just mean giving up bad habits, it’s also about adding foods with more nutritional value.

“Instead of focusing on what you shouldn’t eat, focus on making nutrition-packed swaps,” says registered dietitian and nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner. “A few easy swaps I tell my clients about include replacing white bread with whole grain, higher-fat protein sources with leaner ones, and upgrading your ordinary products like eggs or cereal with higher-nutrition varieties.”

Here are five better-for-you food swaps from Blatner that will jam-pack your diet with enhanced nutrition without making you feel like you’re giving anything up:

Instead of mayo

Try an avocado-based spread on your sandwiches and as a base for homemade dressings. A single tablespoon of mayonnaise has 90 calories, 10 grams of fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol and 90 milligrams of sodium, but zero potassium or fiber, according to the California Avocado Commission. In comparison, 2 tablespoons of fresh avocado have just 50 calories, 4.5 grams of (mostly good) fat, no cholesterol or sodium, and 150 milligrams of potassium and 2 grams of fiber.

Instead of any old egg

Try eggs with superior nutritional benefits. While all eggs are high in protein, Eggland’s Best eggs contain double the omega-3s and three times more vitamin B12 than ordinary eggs — both nutrients associated with heart health. Plus, they contain 25 percent less saturated fat, five times more vitamin D, and 10 times more vitamin E than ordinary eggs.

Instead of white rice

While carbohydrates are necessary to fuel your brain and muscles, many favorite sources are stripped of nutrition, such as white rice. Cauliflower can be an easy substitute for rice. This white veggie packs plenty of fiber, protein, potassium and vitamin C. To replace rice, simply pulse the cauliflower in a food processor for a few seconds until you achieve the desired consistency.

Instead of fried food

The crunch of fried food is alluring, but you can get that same crunch in a much healthier superfood way. Instead of coating chicken or fish with breading and plunging it into a bath of hot oil, use chopped nuts. Nuts contain healthy fat, protein, and fiber and when baked in a hot oven (about 400-425 degrees F), nut-coated protein is crunchy and delicious. Try nut-covered chicken fingers today!

Instead of ground beef

Americans love beef and eat about 25 billion pounds of it every year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But depending on the quality and cut you buy, beef can be high in fat and cholesterol. Lentils can be a high-nutrition protein source that can go virtually anywhere you use ground beef, including burgers, meatloaf and taco filling. Naturally low in calories and fat free, lentils provide fiber, protein and potassium.

Food swaps focused on increasing healthful nutrients, rather than decreasing what you don’t want, can be rewarding and delicious. Try this recipe from Eggland’s best to get started on your new “more-is-better” lifestyle.

Sweet Potato Bowl

Ingredients

1 large sweet potato

2 teaspoons olive oil, separated

salt and pepper

2 Eggland’ Best Eggs (large), poached

1 cup ground sausage

1/2 cup salsa

1 avocado, diced

Directions

Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a medium pan over medium/high heat and brown the ground sausage.

While the sausage cooks, fill a large pot with a few inches of water and place over medium/high heat until it just starts to simmer.

Crack eggs individually into a ramekin or cup and create a gentle whirlpool in the water.

Slowly pour the eggs one by one into the water and leave to cook for three minutes.

Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

While the eggs poach, spiralize the sweet potato using a spiralizer.

Heat the other teaspoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add in the sweet potato noodles and cook until they just begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the cooked sweet potato noodles into a large bowl.

Drain the ground sausage and add to the sweet potato noodles.

Toss with 1/2 cup of the salsa.

Divide the noodles and sausage between two bowls, top each with diced avocado and a poached egg!

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Breathing Matters: The Importance of Understanding COPD

(BPT) – Breathe in. Breathe out. Just take a moment to inhale and exhale. We too often take breathing for granted, but what if taking a breath was a challenge?

If you’re someone living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), the third leading cause of death in the United States (US), or know someone living with this chronic respiratory disease, breathing challenges may impact how you live your life. As of 2010, there were more than 14 million people identified as having COPD in the US, and another estimated 12 million people who remain undiagnosed.

In an effort to celebrate life and the important role that breathing plays within it, AstraZeneca has partnered with New York City-based filmmaker Erlendur Sveinsson to produce Ode to Breathing. Ode to Breathing is a documentary-style short film that strings together brief vignettes, providing a moving look at people doing an ordinary yet profound thing: breathing. It can be found online at www.odetobreathing.com.

People living with COPD or their caregivers can consider the following tips when thinking about respiratory health.

1. Keep an eye on symptom changes. Early COPD detection can impact disease management, which makes it important to monitor for changes in your breathing and recognize symptoms such as shortness of breath while performing daily activities, chronic cough, fatigue and wheezing.

2. Remember, COPD in many cases is preventable. Risk factors to be aware of may include smoking tobacco (including second-hand or passive exposure); indoor air pollution (such as solid fuel used for cooking and heating); outdoor air pollution; occupational dusts and chemicals (vapors, irritants and fumes); and frequent lower respiratory infections during childhood.

3. Stay inspired and educated. Visit Ode to Breathing at www.odetobreathing.com and watch the inspirational video and access available helpful resources for COPD patients. One such resource is a free e-book that may help people with respiratory illnesses breathe easier with breathing exercises, tips for making day-to-day activities like chores easier, and ways to manage breathing challenges while at work or traveling.

4. Don’t be afraid to speak with your doctor. If you think you or a loved one may be experiencing COPD symptoms, speak to a healthcare provider to determine what options are available to help you breathe easier to help you enjoy life’s simple moments.

3295106 Last Updated 2/17

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Minimally invasive treatment reduces hunger hormone

(BPT) –

More than one in three Americans — roughly 100 million people — are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Like so many of these individuals, Cheryl Denby struggled for years with countless diets that left her hungry, frustrated, and deeply discouraged when they failed. That changed in late 2015 when she underwent a minimally invasive treatment to reduce blood flow to the part of the stomach that creates the body’s most powerful hunger signals.

“Before I went through with this treatment, I weighed nearly 300 pounds and felt uncomfortable when around other people. It really limited what I wanted to do,” said Denby. “Now, more than one year later, I weigh close to 225 pounds, feel more confident with friends and when shopping for clothes, and can once again travel comfortably on an airplane.”

Her life was changed by bariatric arterial embolization (BAE), a new and minimally invasive treatment that targets the spot in the stomach that produces most of the body’s strongest hunger hormone, called ghrelin.

Denby is one of 20 people enrolled in a clinical trial, known as BEAT Obesity, taking place at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. The results are promising. One month after treatment, those who followed up had an excess weight loss of about 9 percent. Those who followed up after one year had an average excess weight loss of 12.6 percent. Excess weight loss is the amount lost beyond a person’s ideal body weight.

“The promising results that we are seeing in Cheryl and the other trial participants tell us that BAE is well tolerated, appears to be effective in the long term, and has the potential to touch many lives,” said Clifford Weiss, M.D., FSIR, the study’s lead researcher and associate professor of radiology and radiological science at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Weiss is presenting findings from their research at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting, taking place in Washington D.C.

Denby attributes much her weight loss to the fact she doesn’t feel nearly as hungry as she did before the treatment. Researchers believe this is because BAE reduces the production of ghrelin. Specifically, they found that ghrelin levels decreased by almost 9 percent one month after treatment and by 17 percent three months after.

A major benefit of BAE is that it is much less invasive than other obesity treatments. BAE is performed exclusively by interventional radiologists, who use image guidance and catheters to access specific blood vessels leading to this portion of the stomach through a small nick in the skin at either the groin or wrist. The doctor injects microscopic embolic spheres (or beads) to decrease blood flow to that portion of the stomach, thereby suppressing some of the body’s hunger signals, leading to reduced appetite and weight loss. Because BAE does not require surgery, it has a short recovery period.

Trial participants were also enrolled in a weight management program that included visits with a registered dietitian and other health care professionals. Weiss believes that the combination of this program with BAE could be the key to weight loss and an improved quality of life. Weiss is also hopeful that, as the BEAT Obesity trial proceeds, it will continue to yield positive results that give new hope to countless people like Cheryl Denby.

To learn more about bariatric artery embolization and other minimally invasive treatments performed by interventional radiologists, visit www.sirweb.org.

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Tips to get the most out of your HSA dollars

(BPT) – Millions of Americans with high-deductible health insurance plans rely on health savings accounts to help them manage the costs of health care. If you’re among them, you know how important it is to maximize the value you get out of every HSA dollar.

If you don’t yet have an HSA, you may qualify for one if you receive health insurance through an employer-sponsored plan with a high deductible. Individuals may qualify if their deductible is at least $1,300, and families may qualify with a deductible of at least $2,600, according to the IRS. With an HSA, you can deposit pre-tax dollars into the account to pay for certain health and medical-related expenses — up to $3,400 for an individual and $6,750 for a family in 2017.

While there are approximately 17 million HSAs currently in use in the U.S., insurance industry watchers predict that number could rise significantly as the federal government again addresses health care reform, the Boston Globe reports.

You can maximize the value of your HSA in several ways, including:

* If you’re at risk for arterial or heart disease, you and your doctor may decide preventive screenings are in order. Screening proactively can help catch warning signs of trouble before a more serious problem develops. However, most insurers won’t pay for preventive screening for arterial health.

You can use your HSA dollars to schedule vascular health screening through Life Line Screening. You don’t need a doctor’s referral to schedule a simple, safe and painless ultrasound to detect possible plaque buildup in arteries — a leading factor in stroke and heart disease. Life Line Screening tells you the price of the screening up front and offers appointments in convenient locations throughout communities. Visit www.lifelinescreening.com to learn more and schedule an appointment.

* Keeping track of HSA-eligible expenses can be challenging, but budgeting software can help. Numerous free programs are available online. Most HSA providers also offer online access and digital tools to help you monitor your account, track saving and spending, and better understand the tax impact of your contributions.

* If your employer doesn’t provide vision insurance, you can use HSA funds to pay for eye exams, corrective lenses and even Lasik surgery. Studies show regular vision care is an essential component of overall health, and helps not only preserve your eyesight and eyes, but can also help detect other serious health problems.

* Only about half of American workers have dental insurance through their employers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For those who do have dental insurance, it typically does not cover all expenses. Yet dental health is intrinsic to overall health. You can use HSA money to pay for dental care, including exams, X-rays, braces, dentures, fillings and oral surgery.

* Smoking is one of the most damaging things you can do for your health, and your HSA dollars can help you kick the habit. Smoking cessation treatment is a qualified medical expense that can be paid for through health savings accounts. When you quit smoking, your body immediately begins to repair the damage caused by smoking, and you reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke and cancer, according to the American Lung Association.

“Smoking is associated with multiple chronic diseases, so quitting is one of the best things you can do for your overall health,” says Dr. Andrew Manganaro, chief medical officer at Life Line Screening. To help people understand their personal risk, Life Line Screening offers a program called “6 For Life” that outlines an individual’s risk for six chronic diseases and includes blood tests.

* Although controlling your weight is another important factor in overall health, few health plans will cover any kind of weight loss program. However, a doctor-prescribed weight loss program aimed at treating a specific disease such as obesity, high blood pressure or heart disease can be paid for with HSA money.

Your health savings account comes with many benefits and cost savings and tax breaks are just two of them. More importantly, when used wisely, your HSA can help you achieve better health.

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Avoid bad breath with these 5 tips

(BPT) – We all know the feeling. Starting off the day with fresh breath gives you the confidence to tackle your day. But that feeling starts to dissipate after our first meal, and the fresh feeling from brushing is slowly replaced with the fear of bad breath.

So, how can you maintain that deep clean feeling in your mouth throughout the day? We spoke with GSK Consumer Healthcare medical expert and dentist Dr. Jim DiMarino who shared a few handy tricks:

Get chewing

Bad breath is often caused by food particles and debris that get stuck in and around your teeth. “I recommend that my patients chew sugar-free gum after meals to promote saliva production and free bits of trapped food,” said DiMarino. Look for gum that contains xylitol, an ingredient that inhibits the growth of oral bacteria.

Tame your tummy

In some cases, bad breath can also arise from excess stomach acid. A good way to fight this is to start your morning off with an alkaline-rich green juice, made with ingredients like kale and spinach, which can ease a sour stomach. Follow up with a glass of water to balance the pH of your mouth to keep your teeth strong.

Floss on the go

“We all know about the importance of flossing,” said DiMarino. “When food and debris aren’t removed, they promote bacteria growth, causing the release of volatile sulfur compounds that lead to bad breath. Flossing doesn’t only have to happen at home; store single-use flossers at your desk at work or your car for use on the go.”

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

A dry mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria. Drinking water helps to prevent bad breath by assisting to clear out unwanted debris and bacteria. It is important to try to drink water with every meal to ensure you get at least 48 ounces a day.

Brush with Sensodyne Deep Clean

Choose a toothpaste that will give you a deep clean. “I remind my patients of the importance of using the right toothpaste, especially if you have sensitive teeth,” said DiMarino. “Get the multiple benefits of new Sensodyne Deep Clean toothpaste. Its formula provides advanced cleaning, lasting freshness and sensitivity relief.”

Learn more at https://us.sensodyne.com/.

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