Business of Health Care

Friday 4:32pm & 6:32pm

SEGMENT ON TEMPORARY HIATUS.

Every week, Business of Health Care segments update us on beneficial new services, innovative procedures and technologies, and also helps us navigate of the maze of regulations, terminology and codes that can make the health care system seem intimidating.

Business of Health care is hosted by Glenn Robinson, president of Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Hillcrest in Waco.

Business of Health Care is a production of KWBU and Baylor Scott & White Health.

For the first time in over a half century, more people in the United States are dying at home than in hospitals – a remarkable turnabout in Americans’ view of a so-called “good death.”

In 2017, 29.8 percent of deaths by natural causes occurred in hospitals, and 30.7 percent at home, according to research in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The gap may be small, but it has been narrowing for years, and researchers believe dying at home will continue to become more common.

Studies show that about 80 percent of Americans prefer to die at home – not in an institutional setting.


About half of middle-aged Americans believe they’re “somewhat” or “very likely” to develop dementia, a University of Michigan survey suggests.

And many try to beat the odds with supplements such as ginkgo biloba and vitamin E that are not proven to help.

A separate poll found that older patients fear dementia more than cancer. Despite this fear, only about 5 percent said they had discussed dementia prevention with their doctor.


Going by the numbers, most serious medical problems don’t occur until later in life.

So, while an annual check-up with your doctor is generally a good idea for everyone, it is especially important for seniors – many of whom may be on Medicare.

A Medicare Annual Wellness Visit is free of charge for people with Medicare Part B and is a great way for seniors to take a proactive approach to preventing serious illness and maintaining good health.


 

So much of the thinking in medicine has changed over the past 150 years. But there is one number that has remained constant – 98.6 degrees.

That number has represented normal body temperature since German physician Carl Wunderlich first compiled millions of temperature readings from about 25,000 patients in Leipzig in the mid-1800s.

At least until recently.


Few news stories this year have gotten as much coverage as the novel coronavirus outbreak in China.

According to public reports, more than 80,000 have been infected, over 2,000 have died, and patients have been reported in at least 27 different countries.

But what do we really know about the 2019 novel coronavirus, also known as Covid-19?


In January 2020, Illinois became the eleventh state to legalize recreational marijuana use.

For proponents, using marijuana to get high is often cast as a harmless recreational activity. And given the growing support for legalization across the nation, it seems that much of the voting public, whether they use marijuana or not –agrees.

A healthy diet not only means eating healthy foods and not overeating, it also means getting enough to eat.

Feeding America, an organization dedicated to alleviating hunger, found that 5 million older Americans lack the food to be healthy. As you might imagine, this can compound the healthcare challenges many of these individuals may be facing. An inadequate supply of healthy food can be especially problematic for patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes.

The belief that a pregnant woman is responsible for the well-being of her fetus is easy to understand. After all, a fetus is literally connected to its mother.

Many factors such as a mother’s physical and mental health, exposure to toxins, and whether she is well-nourished have long been recognized as determinants of newborn fitness. Yet the paternal role in producing a healthy baby is rarely considered. That’s unfortunate, because emerging science indicates that fathers play a more significant role in pregnancy outcomes than previously thought.

Most pregnant women are diligent about not drinking alcohol because medical recommendations have 

It’s hard to discuss the future of health and healthcare in America without talking about obesity.

Obesity-related illnesses alone are estimated to cost the US healthcare system more than 190 billion dollars each year. From heart disease to diabetes to some types of cancer to joint problems, the extra pounds we carry are taking their toll on our bodies and our healthcare system.

And the future isn’t looking any lighter according to a major study recently published in the New England

Flip on the news, and whatever is being reported is likely not a positive, uplifting, or inspiring story. There is no question there is plenty of bad news out, but in the arena of global health – all things considered –there’s much good news to report.

 

A lot of progress has been made in recent years.

To start with, global life expectancy has never been longer. According to data from the United Nations, someone born in 2017 can expect to live to be more than 72 years old. It’s even higher in developed nations like the United States.

Among the reasons behind this rise is that more expectant mothers and newborns are getting scientifically sound healthcare during pregnancy and after delivery. And on that note, another bit of good news. Global infant and global maternal mortality rates also have both dropped to the lowest on record and continue to trend downward.

Roughly one in 10 news websites analyzed by NewsGuard, a project launched by two respected longtime journalists, feature misinformation about health.

 

NewsGuard analyzed nearly 3,000 websites that account for 96 percent of online engagement among Americans, and found that 11 percent provided news with health misinformation. For instance, references to the debunked link between vaccines and autism.

Good news: A recent analysis of cholesterol levels in children and teens showed improvement. The bad news? Only half of kids had readings considered ideal. Overall, 7 percent of kids had high cholesterol from 2009 to 2016, down from 10 percent a decade earlier. In children, a high cholesterol level means a reading of 200 or above, while an ideal measure is below 170.


Whether its NFL players wearing pink cleats in October for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month or men going the month of November without shaving to raise awareness around men’s health issues, it seems like every month has some sort of health observance – official or unofficial – associated with it.


Genetic tests sold directly to consumers have been growing in popularity. And I’m not just referring to the tests that show your ethnic ancestry, but also those that claim to identify genetic-based health risks. Experts warn that these tests should not be used to inform health decisions without further scrutiny, as the results of these tests can easily be misinterpreted or unreliable.


A common myth about aging is that older adults are burdened by illness and feel lousy much of the time. In fact, the opposite is usually true. Most seniors report feeling distinctly positive about their health. When asked in a federal survey to rate their overall health, 82% of adults ages 65 to 74 described it as excellent, very good or good. By contrast, only 18% described their health as fair or poor. For many, good health means more than the lack of illness or disability.


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