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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February is American Heart Month. With over 67 million Americans with high blood pressure, one’s awareness can save lives.  High blood pressure can present with no symptoms, making it important to check regularly and to set a goal with their doctor if they find their BP is too high. People with high blood pressure are four times more likely to die from a stroke and 3 times more likely to die from heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Americans.

In a previous blog post we discussed heart health in young men, but it is equally important for women. High blood pressure, smoking, and high LDL cholesterol are key factors of heart disease, but other conditions such as diabetes or obesity also put people at a higher risk. To decrease your risk, don’t smoke, make healthy food choices, limit alcohol intake, lower your stress level and find healthy ways to cope with stress. If prescribed, be sure to take blood pressure medicine as directed.

NeedyMeds’ Disease Information Page for Heart

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With the rise in popularity of smartphones developers have begun creating applications focused on health and medicine. There are now thousands of Apps out there, but which are worth downloading? In today’s blog post we are going to look at some free iPhone and Android apps we believe are worthwhile.  Know of a great healthcare app that we don’t have listed?  Let us know in the comments!

My Diabetes Home mySugars

My Diabetes Home has a great app for keeping track of your blood sugar. The mySugars app is simple, just post your blood glucose levels to the app each time you check them. This makes it easy to keep track of your blood sugar, and also to share the information with your doctor.  Available for iPhone and Android.

CDC Mobile App

The Center for Disease Control has released a number of Apps for iPhone, Android, and Windows phone. In addition to a triage app, Influenza app, and “Solve the Outbreak” app they have a great mobile app for finding health information. The CDC Mobile app

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According to a study by the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million Americans had diabetes in 2011. That’s roughly 8.3% of the population. There are two major types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. It occurs when the pancreas looses it’s ability to produce insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to use glucose. Type 2 diabetes is more common. It occurs when the body is not able to use the insulin it makes. Type 2 is also known as insulin resistance or adult-onset diabetes. There is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes, but type 2 diabetes can be prevented.  Here are some basic tips to prevent type 2 diabetes.

Eating Right

The first tip is to eat healthy foods, which everyone should be doing anyways. Your diet has a major impact on your overall health, and a bad diet can contribute greatly to type 2 diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association: “…eating well to maintain a healthy weight is one of the most important things

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According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans with 597,689 deaths attributed to it in 2010. Heart disease kills one in four men in the United States. For many older men this is not news, and young men are becoming more aware of the facts every day – yet very few act upon this information. More and more doctors are saying that heart disease can be prevented, but it is up to us to act before it is too late.

So what can we do to prevent heart disease? First off, stop smoking. A study from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) shows that smoking 10 cigarettes a day increases the likelihood of coronary artery disease by 50%. In patients under 40 years old, 80% of those who suffered a heart attack were smokers. So besides the fact that smoking in and of itself is a

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