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Archive for July, 2010

Yes, Some Preventive Screenings Offered Free; but Not All

July 20, 2010

The new health care reform law will allow many consumers to get certain preventive services with no out-of-pocket cost.

But many screenings you think would be covered, such as the vascular screenings Life Line Screening offers, will not be covered under this law, so it is important to know what services are allowed and what you will still need to obtain for yourself.

Screenings covered will vary depending on your gender, age and risk factors but will include:

  • Immunizations for children and adults, if those shots have been approved by the CDC
  • Colorectal cancer screening for adults over age 50
  • HIV screening
  • Depression screening
  • Bone density for women aged 65 and over
  • Hepatitis B and tobacco counseling for pregnant women
  • Childhood vision and hearing screenings
  • Blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests
  • Smoking cessation and obesity/weight loss counseling

Mammograms will also be covered. Last year, you may remember that there was a great deal of controversy around mammograms when a government task force changed the recommendations and said that women between 40 and 50 do not need regular mammograms. This caused an uproar among cancer groups, patient groups and doctors. Lawmakers got around this by inserting a provision into the new law that covers mammograms for women older than 40.

Not all health plans need to abide by these new rules. Only plans beginning after September 23rd are required to provide the no-cost screenings, or existing plans that have altered their structure considerably. Plans that do not change are “grandfathered” in and are not required to offer the free screenings.

Most health care reform changes will not be fully implemented for several years. In the meantime, talk to your doctor and family about what is what right for you, what is available for you under your plan, and consider that not all services will suddenly be available for free. Your best bet is still to evaluate what screenings you need based on your health and risk factors and make decisions that feel right for you.

And, of course, Life Line Screening will still be here for you, offering convenient, affordable preventive screenings that have helped millions of people take control of their health since 1993.


Win Free Health Screenings in July

July 8, 2010

Life Line Screening’s new 2 for 2 July Special is underway! Register yourself and a friend or family member and be automatically entered into a drawing where the two of you could get your screenings for free.

For those who register together from now through July 31st, Life Line Screening will give away 20 free screenings (valued at $139 each) to ten lucky pairs and one grand prize Superfoods Gift Basket (filled with yummy, healthful surprises, a cookbook, Eating Well magazine, and more).

Simply call 800-909-1041 or go online to schedule your appointment today.

Bringing a buddy can make the experience more fun and alleviate any anxiety you might have about getting screened. Take charge of your health and help a friend all at the same time.

Remember to schedule in July to qualify. Promotion runs July 8-31st. View full giveaway details.

If you are new to Life Line Screening, learn more by viewing our illustrated guide and health screening overview video.

Sunscreens Take a Hit

July 8, 2010

A group called the Environmental Working Group just released a new report on the effectiveness of sunscreens, and the findings are shocking… According to this report, most sunscreens do not do what they claim. For example, the SPF numbers above 50 are a fiction. Plus, some sunscreens actually have ingredients that can speed up the creation of free radicals, leaving you more at risk for skin cancer.

If you want to read our summary article and link to the full report, please visit our Sunscreen Update page.

As a mother, this report is incredibly frustrating. I slather sunscreen on my kids before camp. I send sunscreen with them in their backpacks and request that the counselors remind them (and help the younger one) reapply after swimming. Every morning I pull them out of bed and make them apply the stuff.

Besides the fact that we buy so much sunscreen that it has become an expense item on our family finance spreadsheet, the groans of annoyance and despair can probably be heard at your house, wherever you live.

The only benefit here is that I feel somewhat vindicated. Despite all of my sunscreen lathering, both of my girls suffered sunburns on their cheeks and noses. I blamed myself. Maybe I wasn’t applying correctly? Maybe they weren’t re-applying during the day?

Now I just know I was buying the wrong thing and making the mistake of believing the packaging. When a sunscreen claims to be broad spectrum and a higher SPF, I assumed that meant it actually was. Clearly, this is not so. Consider this statement by the EWG report,

“In August 1978 FDA began developing comprehensive regulations for sunscreen safety and effectiveness. Nearly 32 years have passed, yet the agency has yet to issue final regulations. As a result, sunscreen manufacturers in the U.S. are free to market products that do not offer the best available combination of safety and effectiveness. As well, manufacturers can make advertising claims unsupported by mandatory testing.”

So now we know. Buyer beware, and in the meantime, wear a hat and find the shade.

See tips from Life Line Screening on ways to have fun safely in the hot sun.

Food, Medications Can Interact

July 6, 2010

A while ago, our Life Line Screening e-newsletter included an article entitled “Herbs, Drugs, May Not Mix in People With Heart Problems.”

This article received a lot of attention, mostly positive but some negative. Some readers thought we were expressing anti-holistic views. I was a little surprised at the comments expressing dismay and accusing us of being against herbal supplements and remedies. Our article was simply about the danger of mixing herbal supplements and certain prescription medications. Herbals are active ingredients and there can be dangers in mixing. It is important to let your doctor know all the herbals and medicines you are taking so that you can avoid dangerous combinations.

But comments mean that people are interested, engaged and reading so I’d like to draw our readers’ attention to another article on this topic entitled “When Foods and Pills Clash” published in the Wall Street Journal on June 22nd.

This informative article, with a colorful illustration, discusses food and the ever-enlarging bad pairings that can arise from combining foods with prescriptions.

For example, a common concern is mixing cholesterol drugs with grapefruit juice. But did you know chocolate can enhance the effect of Ambien? Or that tea, often considered a health food, can also interact with various medications, possibly enhancing their effects in a way that is dangerous?

Bottom line, your diet and your medicines all go into the same system and they can interact. Make sure you talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking, any herbals you ingest and be careful not to consume a large amount of any one food or nutrient.


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