Smoking Cigarettes has Been Linked to Blindness

Smoking is already known to kill by causing lung cancer – we are now finding it may also cause blindness.  Smoking has been directly related to increase risk of cataracts, which are directly linked to blindness.  Cigarettes have over 4000 chemicals, and over 200 toxic chemicals.  Many of these toxic chemicals are carcinogenic which cause free radicals.  These free radicals at first were only linked to lung cancer and other cancers, but they are now linked to cataracts.

The combination of free radicals, fat build-ups, and hypoxia result in a cataract.  It also may result in age-related macular degeneration, loss of night vision, as well as permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve.  Smoking increases your risk for many eye diseases because of the build up of free radicals.  Many of the eye problems it creates are irreversible, and cause blindness.

Second-hand smoke has recently been found to be very harmful for ones eyes.   Second-hand smoke can linger in a room for over two hours without any odor meaning your body is inhaling many of the chemicals from the tobacco even though you did not smoke it yourself.

Many states in the US have outlawed smoking in an in-closed space, and some have gone so far as to out law it in outdoors spaces as well.  This is a great beginning for the future of a smoke free environment.  For the moment, we are inhaling many chemicals that are causing faster degeneration of the body.   If you must smoke, or be around smoke, be sure to open windows and keep cleaner air flowing in.

Hydration: It Could Be Your Cure to Migraines

For any migraine sufferer, the summer is the worst.  Oppressive heat and temperature spikes have long been thought to cause worse attacks on any chronic headache victim.  But, new studies show that there is an easy step to prevent this, staying properly hydrated.

A migraine is a very common, but very severe headache.  It is normally accompanied with other symptoms such as nausea and sensitivity to light.  The headache can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours and can be fairly debilitating.  Most people have some sort of signal that the migraine will be coming and thus are able to hopefully prevent it.  Migraines are about three times more common in women than they are in men.

Dehydration causes blood volume to drop, which leads to less blood and oxygen flow to the brain.  Some experts believe that this large loss of electrolytes to the brain causes a pain trigger, thus creating a headache.  A migraine sufferer may simply be more prone to the effects of dehydration.

A study was done with two groups in which one took placebo pills and the other was asked to increase their water intake.  At the end of the study it was shown that those who increased their water intake had 21 hours less pain a week than those taking the placebo pill.

So, even though the summer may be over and the heat may go away it is still very important to hydrate!

Is our Health Insurance System Efficient?

Today health insurance paper work costs doctors on average $83K a year.  That is absurdly large, and seems rather unnecessary.  This cost represents the time and labor it takes for physician’s employees to communicate with insurance companies concerning plans, claims, billing and coverage.

A study published in the journal of Health Affairs was comparing US and Canadian doctors, as well as Canada’s single payer system to the US’s multi-insurance company system.  The problem with the US’s system is that not everyone is speaking the same language; each carrier has different coding, and deals and no one can keep up with them all.

With the new digital systems a common language is created because everyone needs to be able to be placed in the same system.  Today there are third-party entities that come into play showing that insurance claim may not even be at the insurance office. This very much complicates the process.

The published study found that Canadian doctors spend a quarter of the time completing the necessary paper work.  On average an American doctor will spend 21 hours a week dealing with paper work, while a Canadian doctor will only spend 2 hours a week.  One of the main places American’s spend our time is on obtaining authorizations and on billing.  With a single payer system doctors are only filling out one type of paper work.

How will this study affect American’s health insurance system?  Are we being efficient?

Headaches and Your Eyes

Headaches can be detrimental to one’s day, so it is important to find out what could be causing them.  If you are having migraines or constant headaches going to see a doctor is recommended.  Sometimes your eyes may cause your headaches.

Frontal headaches, ones that feel like they are on the front forehead and behind the eyes are normally vision elated.  Sometimes it can be caused by sinus pressure, but if you notice these headaches when doing very close work it most likely vision related.  Simple reading glasses can alleviate this problem.

Headaches that occur in the back of the head, or the occipital area, and neck can be caused by a few problems such as posture.  They can be eye related if they come mainly while seated at a desk and could have to do with the work you are doing.  If you work a lot a computer and notice these headaches, or if you work with small type these headaches are definitely vision related.

The temporal headaches that occur near your temples are normally caused by stress.  These come when one is under a lot of pressure because many people tend to clench their jaw and tense up.  If under a lot of stress try to be conscious of tensing your muscles and jaw.  Remember to relax!

The last type of headache, which is really terrible, is the migraine.  Migraine can be caused by many factors such as diet, caffeine, and exercise.  If you are having visual symptoms such as flashing lights you should see both an eye doctor and a physician.

If you are having constant headaches seeing both an eye doctor and a physician is recommended.

August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety month.  In September most children will be going back to school and everyone should have their eyes checked before.  Many learning problems come from problems with the eyes, and at a young age children may not know how to voice their discomfort.

Even though you may not think your child is having eye problems, it is always smart to take them to the eye doctor.  When your child is born their eyes are checked and this test can pick up on a range of eye problems that can hopefully be fixed immediately.  From ages zero – 2 your child’s wellness check up will include eye assessments mainly based on eye history.  From ages 3 – 10 vision exams are normally given to test acuity and ocular alignment.  Most Ophthalmologists will recommend that your child gets checked at 6 moths, 3 years and again at 5 years regardless of eye history and eye health.

During the school years a child should start having a yearly check up because eye problems can develop fast.  If a child cannot see properly they will not have the patience or attention span to sit through school.  This can develop many learning problems, as well as misdiagnosed learning problems, throughout the school years.

If you see your child doing any of the following signs you may want to take them to an eye doctor.

  • Frequent eye rubbing or blinking
  • Frequent headaches
  • Covering one eye
  • Short attention span
  • Avoiding reading assignments or holding reading materials close to the face
  • An eye turning in or out
  • Seeing double
  • Losing his or her place when reading
  • Difficulty with reading retention

Allergies can also show up in the eyes and you can ask your eye doctor about getting eye drops to relieve the itchiness, watery, and redness.

Children’s eyes are highly sensitive so remember to always wear sunglasses and eye protection.  Regular doctors visit could prevent your child from the stress of learning problems, get a check up today!