Since 2003, the last week of March has been LGBT Health Awareness Week.  We have gone over some of the barriers to healthcare for some of the transgender community in a previous blog post, but it remains important to bring awareness to the unique healthcare needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and the health disparities that continue to beleaguer the lives of so many Americans.

A report by the Institute of Medicine found that fear of discrimination causes many LGBT people to avoid seeking out medical care.  This compromises an entire community as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals who are at increased risk for several health threats when compared to heterosexual or cisgender peer groups: Gay men are at higher risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections; lesbians are less likely to get cancer screenings; transgender individuals are among the least likely to have health insurance.  Even as youths, LGBT people are at higher risk of violence, depression, substance abuse, homelessness, and other suicide-related behaviors.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has helped over

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Thirty years ago, March was designated Hemophilia Awareness Month.  This year, the scope has expanded to promote awareness for all bleeding disorders.  Bleeding disorders affect the way blood clots, which can result in heavy or prolonged bleeding.  Bleeding disorders can also cause abnormal bleeding from minor cuts and scrapes or internal bleeding from bruises which wouldn’t cause any problems in people with no bleeding disorder.  Different diagnoses include hemophilia, von Willebrand disease, and blood factor deficiencies; they are mostly considered hereditary or congenital conditions.

Hemophilia is likely the most known bleeding disorder, affecting one in 5,000 male births. The exact number of people living with hemophilia in the US is unknown, but the CDC estimates the number to be about 20,000.  Only found in males, hemophilia is usually diagnosed in the first 36 months of life. Two-thirds of cases are determined to be hereditary with a family history of the condition. However, one-third of babies born with hemophilia

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The National Sleep Foundation is celebrating its annual Sleep Awareness Week to raise awareness for the health benefits of sleep and tips for a better night’s rest.  In the US, Sleep Awareness Week ends with Daylight Savings Time—the night many associate with losing an hour of sleep.

Sleep disturbances and daytime sleepiness are telling signs of poor sleep hygiene.  If you are experiencing a problem sleeping, it is a good idea to evaluate your bedtime routine.  It may take time to notice any positive effects from changing your sleep habits.  If sleep has been a long-term problem, consulting your doctor or a sleep specialist may lead to a diagnosis of a sleep disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnea.  Any evaluation would likely improve the treatment suggested toward healthy sleep.

Up to 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder; however, more than 40 million don’t get properly diagnosed or treated.  People may be unaware of sleep interruptions, or may not think

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February marks American Heart Month in the US.  Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women, affecting Americans of all backgrounds. In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 43 seconds and someone dies from heart-disease related causes every minute.  During American Heart Month, everyone is encouraged to examine their heart health and take charge with heart-healthy behavior.

There are a number of risk factors for heart disease.  High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are major risk factors for one’s heart health. Almost half of Americans (49%) are affected by at least one of these risks.  A diagnosis of diabetes also comes with increased risk of heart disease, as well as excessive alcohol use.

There are different types of heart disease. Coronary heart disease is the most common diagnosis, resulting from plaque buildup inside of arteries.  Others are affected by arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeat; congenital heart defects; cardiomyopathy, or weak heart muscles; heart valve problems; heart infections; or cardiovascular disease.

The first step in being aware of your

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For Tobacco-Free Awareness Week, NeedyMeds is taking a look at the costs of a smoking habit.  Smoking certainly has a cost on public health, with nearly half a million deaths attributed to tobacco use every year.  Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as increases risk for tuberculosis, eye disease, and problems with your immune system.  Since the Surgeon General started reporting on smoking and its health impacts in 1964, 20 million people have died from smoking-related illnesses, including 2.5 million nonsmokers who were exposed to secondhand smoke.  There are also substantial financial costs. On top of the cost of cigarettes, Americans spend nearly $170 billion in health-care costs and more than $156 billion in lost productivity due to smoking-related illnesses or premature death each year.

For someone who smokes a pack a day, one could feasibly spend between $1,600 and $3,600 on cigarettes each year (depending on the state in which one lives/buys cigarettes).  

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