Why Health Insurance?

It is the beginning of yet another new year and everyone is busy making resolutions on the things they want to change or improve in their lives. Safeguarding your health and that of your family should be on top of your priority list since your health status and that of your loved ones determines how much you can perform and achieve. One way of ensuring that your health needs are catered for is by securing a health cover for yourself and your family. No one plans to get hurt or fall sick but the truth is most of us need medical care at some point in our lives. A health cover will thus come in handy in times of medical emergencies by taking care of part of your hospital bills.Image

What is health insurance?

Health insurance or cover is a benefit offered through government agency such as the NHIF, private business such as UAP insurance or non-profit organization. To establish cost, a health cover provider estimates the communal medical expenses of a populace, and then distributes that risk among the group of policy beneficiaries. Basically, insurance providers realize that one person may incur huge unpredicted expenses on medical care while another may incur none. The expense is then spread across a population making healthcare more affordable for the benefit of all.

What to consider when thinking about medical cover?

While taking a medical cover, one should consider a number of factors. For instance some employers including large corporate take health cover for their employees. If you are working for such a company, there is no need to worry about health care expenses. Also there are public health programs such as NHIF which are funded by the government and are run by state which ensures vulnerable groups such as the poor, the old and those with disability can afford health cover. For self-employed people or business persons, taking an individual cover for oneself and family is the deal.

The importance of having a health insurance in your life

First of all a health insurance is an agreement between you and you insurance provider (company).  You will need to buy a plan and then the provider agrees to pay part of the costs you incur during hospital visits when you or your loved one gets hurt or falls sick.

When you have a health cover you or your family member can be treated sooner when sick or have been diagnosed with serious conditions such as cancer and heart problems. This is so because your greatest worry will not be finances but rather accessing fast medical attention.

When a disease is treated early enough, the chances of healing are high and this prevents the health of a person from worsening. It is medically easier to treat and manage a health problem at an early stage than in later phases.

Most health plans will cover a number of preventive services thus allowing you to get screening tests that expose a health problem before the actual signs and symptoms appear. This mostly applies to lifestyle conditions such as Diabetes which can be easily prevented if they are detected early.

Some health conditions such as cerebral palsy requires long time care which can take a toll on a family’s finances, besides adding emotional stress. Having a health cover can greatly relieve the financial burden of health care expenses attached to such conditions. If one is not covered or is under insured, they may experience trouble trying to seek assistance from community groups or charitable organizations, which may jeopardize one’s health.

Before taking a health insurance policy, it is good to understand the cover. For instance age of a person, number of family members to be covered influences the type of cover and definitely affects the amount of premium to be paid to the company. Contrary to what many people believe, a pre-existing health condition should not bar one from taking a health cover.

Ultimately, health cover provides long-term protection and adds to the family’s emotional, physical as well as financial well-being. Taking a cover is therefore not a luxury, but rather a necessity that each person or a family require to have a healthy life. Thus, when thinking about important things for the New Year, consider taking a health cover for you and your family.

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How to beat Christmas–related weight.

Christmas festivity is arguably the most indulgent and the heaviest meal of the year. Surviving the Christmas season can be really trying for almost everyone with a lot of desserts, cookies and tasty food around us. This is the time of the year when most people are on holidays  and with so many relatives and friends visiting, food is available so a little indulgence can never hurt. A bite of chicken pie here and an extra serving of pudding there seem harmless at the time. However as the Christmas festivities continue, those extra helpings could be clinging to your tummy, thighs and by the end of December you will have gained between 1-2 kilos. Research indicates that weight gained over the holiday season occurs around the trunk (middle part of the body) and this is greatly associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and Diabetes. These extra kilos gained innocently during this period will strike you after the festivity and can take a depressing three or months to shed. So if you are concerned about that bulging waistband, here’s some ways to help you shake it off;Image

First it is good to know that a post-Christmas diet plan needs to be well-planned, sensible and above all balanced. Do not go for fad/crash diet or quick fixes because their effects do not last for long and this can leave you more frustrated. Remember that cutting calories below 1200 will be counterproductive since you still need strong muscles to exercise and energy to carry out your daily chores.

Never skip meals or starve yourself as this shuts down metabolism which is a key process to aid in weight loss. Starvation also makes you feel tired, woozy, and hungrier and this can easily make your weight plan unsustainable.

Distribute your meals throughout the day rather than eating few large portions. You may also want to deviate from traditional three meals a day and eat only when hungry. However try not to skip breakfast. It is the most crucial meal of the day since it keeps your metabolism going and helps prevents binge eating during the day which can tamper with your weight loss goal.

Maintain a steady intake of proteins i.e. 60 grams per day to aid muscle-building for exercising. This helps increase your metabolism hence promote you body’s ability to burn fats.

Eat whole carbohydrates such as whole bread/pasta, brown rice since they have low glycemic index (measure of how carbohydrate –containing food elevates blood glucose). Take meals 2-3 hours before you sleep since the unused carbohydrates will be converted into fats thus negating your goals.

Cut down on junk foods such as cakes, chocolates, ice cream and potato chips as they contain lots of sugar and ‘bad’ fats. Substitute your dessert and snacks with fruits and vegetables like water melon, apples and vegetable salad. 

Increase your intake of dietary fiber which is found in unprocessed foods and plenty in vegetables. Have two thirds of your plate filled with vegetables and distribute the remaining one third between proteins and carbohydrates. Dietary fiber is not a magic to weight loss but it is very effective since it makes you feel full by eating less and stays in the stomach for longer hence you are able to control your appetite.

Avoid any caffeine –containing foods or drinks when you are about to go to sleep so that you are sleepy and tired enough when you go to bed. Good rest and enough sleep of at least 7-8 hours at night boosts your metabolism.

While concentrating on reducing your portion sizes and cutting down calories, do not forget the importance of exercise. Cardio exercise such as biking for about 20-30 minutes per session gives the body time to exhaust its glycogen stores and switch to a fat burning environment. Your exercise should not last less than 20-30 minutes so that the body is able to burn more fats. Enroll in fitness class or gym if you can so that your instructor can monitor your exercise.

 Finally, a weight loss plan needs one to be patient and perseverance since it might take a few weeks before you notice any physical change. However after about a month you will be able to see the results and realize that your previously tight-fitting clothes are loose. Have someone to keep you focused, a friend or relative, who will encourage you when you feel like you are not achieving your goal.

Top Ten Annual Tests.

Routine annual tests are an important part of a woman’s health care. Just like you will have that car you love so much inspected annually so that you can keep driving it, so does your body need to be checked regularly to identify any healthy problems early enough. It is ironic how a woman will take care not to break her utensils or water the flowers in the house so as not to wither and often forget that her body needs such and more attention. Total health assurance gives you freedom to do things you love without any worry. So ladies as you make this year’s resolutions, put your health on top of your priority list. The list is endless for the tests you may need but here is key tests to get you started especially if you have the following warning signs;Image

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Constant digestive problems
  • Pain when having intercourse
  • Irregular menses and abnormal vaginal bleeding, discharge or spotting
  • Cramps or abdominal pains
  • Breast pain, lumps or discharge
  • Abdominal swelling, lumps or bloating
  • Fever


The power of pap smear test

By the age of 21 or at least three years after becoming sexually active, every woman needs an annual pap test which helps detect the presence of any abnormal cell changes that can cause cervical cancer. In this test, a small sample of cells from the surface of the cervix obtained and subjected to examination to check for any abnormalities or changes that could result to cancer of cervix.

How are my Sugar Levels?

Have your sugar levels regularly checked to avoid being diabetic. This is so especially if you posses risk factors such as family history of diabetes or you are overweight or pregnant.

Healthy heart

Know where the health of your heart stands by having your blood tested for total cholesterol levels. If there exists any queries such as extra heart beats, breath shortness or pain in the chest, then as a woman you should have a stress echocardiogram which determines if blood flow to your heart has reduced significantly.

Do I need a mammography?

Any woman aged 40 and above should consider having a breast x-ray (mammogram) every one or two years and then yearly after 50 years. If there is a history of breast cancer in the family, then you should have the x-ray earlier. A mammogram will help detect breast cancer early thus increase the chances of cure. If breast cancer is caught at stage 1, 97% of the cases will be cured. Therefore if a mammogram comes out clean, then you know you are reassured of good health for a whole year. Women of  ages 20’s and 30’s should have their breasts examined for any suspicious lumps every three years and ask your doctor for advice on breast self-exams.

Annual skin test

This is a head-toe skin exam that helps identify any unusual red or brown spots which can suggest skin cancers such as melanoma. Self exam yourself monthly on your scalp, fingernails, underarms and at the bottom of your feet and toes. If you feel anything suspicious, consult a doctor immediately.

Colonoscopy

Colon cancer affects women and men equally. Colonoscopy allows for the inspection of rectum and whole of colon to detect any signs of cancer, polyps and growths that can be cancerous. Colon cancer can be prevented and totally treated, so go for this check up early enough.

STI’s screening

As a woman you need to screen for sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia which can easily affect your fertility. Also get screened for herpes and HPV (human papilloma virus).  Hepatitis B, syphilis and HIV can be easily detected through a simple blood test.

Eye exam

A woman needs to screen for their vision yearly especially if you wear glasses or contacts. Women are at a high risk of developing dry-eye syndrome and autoimmune diseases thus are more vulnerable to eyesight problems.

Audiogram

This checks your hearing at a variety of pitches and levels of intensity. Women of 50 years and above should have this done yearly.

Periodontal exam

This is done once a year by your dentist to probe for the health of your gums. The x-ray checks for any gum inflammation which can lead to diabetes and heart disease.

Hypothyroidism screening

Hypothyroidism is a deficiency of thyroid gland that affects quite a number of women. So if you often feel tired, cold achy or are unnecessarily gaining weight consider having a thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) screening. This is normally done at age 50 and earlier if you experience symptoms stated above.

One may not be able to undergo all the above stated tests due to several reasons such as financial constrain or current health condition. Therefore it is advisable to consult your doctor for advice on what tests you really need depending on the risk factors you may possess.

What Matters Most In 2014?

The New Year is here and no doubt we all have been waiting with lots of anticipation the joys that a new year can bring. This is also the time that most of us are busy making resolutions about what we want to do in the coming year. New Year’s resolutions are a little like babies, they are fun to make but rather difficult to maintain to the end. Whereas a small percentage of people will try to make good use of their resolutions, a bigger percentage will stick to their goals for at most six months and then forget all about them.  Though New Year resolutions are difficult to keep up with, try the following worthy resolutions and make a difference with your health. Image

Cut Weight

Losing weight is one of the most popular resolution and most difficult to commit to. However you can succeed if you put your heart and efforts into it. Do not be desperate or expect an overnight success and above all avoid quickie cures. Visit a nutritionist who will advise on the right methods of losing weight and prepare for you a weight loss regimen that you can easily follow. It is important to have someone with you on a regular basis such as a relative or friend who can get you through when you feel like you are not achieving anything.

Reduce your alcohol intake

Though small amount of alcohol is known to have health benefits, too much of it can cause bigger problems especially binge drinking (consumption of five or more drinks in a row). Drinking alcohol in excess can affect your brain’s neurotransmitters and put you at risk of memory loss, seizures and depression. Chronic drinking increases chances of having heart and liver disease, mental deterioration, stroke, hypertension and cancers of the throat, mouth and breast.

Cut down your stress

A little stress here and there will not harm you and in fact, short bouts of stress will give you an energy boost. However, if stress becomes chronic it can increase the risk of developing depression, obesity, insomnia and heart disease and many more. Poor diet, little sleep, lack of exercise, long working hours coupled with lack of social life can greatly contribute to stress. As much as stress is inevitable in our lives, take time to relax, have enough sleep, socialize and take vacations whenever you can to promote your health.

Stop smoking

Smoking is a very addictive habit and quitting is not easy. Many of ex-smokers can confess their multiple attempts before overcoming the addiction so do not feel like a failure when you try two or three times without success. Begin the process by first pin-pointing the things that trigger you into smoking and figure out ways to stop them for example some smokers enjoy a cigarette after a nice meal. You can avoid this by leaving the table soon after the meal and busy yourself with something that will keep your mind off smoking e.g. taking a walk or wash dishes.

Eat healthy

Eating a balanced diet promotes your overall health and reduces chances of lifestyle related diseases and conditions such as Diabetes. Increase your intake of dietary fiber which is plenty in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Switch from bad ‘fats’ to healthy ‘oils’ e.g.  Sunflower and olive oils. Limit your intake of table sugar and if possible use sweeteners like aspartame instead.

 Exercise regularly

Exercising does not mean that you must enroll in a gym, for most people walking is the safest, cheapest and simplest form of exercise. Exercise your body at least three times a day and once a day if you can. Stationery exercises for abdomen, legs and arms in three sets of 8-12 repetitions done at least once a week are good for you. So this year, exercise often and improve your overall fitness.

Stay in touch

This year try to spend more time with your family and friends and make a difference in your life. Strong social ties increase longevity, reduces stress thus promoting our overall health. Lack of social can damage one’s health as much as smoking and alcohol. So ditch face book for a while and visit your loved ones in person.

Travel

A change of scenery is good for the body and soul and the effects leave us revitalized. So as you make resolutions for the New Year, plan a vacation and break the monotony of your normal daily routine. It is adventurous and rejuvenating, and gives you a new lease of life.

Check on you sleeping habits

Sleep and good rest are vital for health wellness. Try and establish a regular routine for sleeping to avoid exhaustion which can lead to problems like insomnia.

 See your doctor

Last but not least, resolve to visit your doctor for annual physical tests to evaluate your overall health. This will help identify any underlying diseases such as Diabetes hence seek treatment early. If the tests are negative, then you can live free knowing you have a clean bill of health.