When Your Doctor Joins a New Practice – Consumer Reports

For most people, including fellow military retirees, veterans and their families, healthcare is second only to our income, in importance. While this blog has offered insight into military retirement (pay) issues, there are questions a beneficiary or family member may have about healthcare. The Reserve or Guard member, and family may be covered by one plan, if still serving in the military, another once that member reaches “gray-area retiree” status, and a third option once the member reaches 60 years of age. And then, at full retirement (Social Security/ Medicare-eligible) age, yet another healthcare transition occurs. For many who are employed after military service, they likely have a private -or public (government) employer offering a subsidized healthcare option. Often the most straightforward approach is to visit a website, which may then require a call to the physician’s office, which may be directed to the health group switchboard, and then to a department versed in many questions a beneficiary might have. At times, that approach may not be satisfactorily answered, so second website visit (https://tricare.mil), which may then lead to a call to the Tricare manager, which for West Coast residents is https//www.tricare-west.com (Humana Federal services) .

With all the changes nationally to healthcare in the last dozen years, it is prudent to be aware of how your healthcare may change. What, if anything, may interrupt your health maintenance, prescriptions, treatments or attending physicians when your doctor joins a new practice? This is my first question of the year, as my “primary care manager” went from private practice, to a new group practice. Read here about questions you should have for your physician and insurer, and be prepared for any, or more likely inevitable, interruption in your care plan.

The information in the linked post, was published by Orly Avitzur, M.D., in the February 10, 2017 online Consumer Reports

super food

Extreme remedies are very appropriate for extreme diseases. Hippocrates

Today is a second in a series of posts about the health benefits of certain ingredients in natural “superfood” potions and health shakes.  Specialty stores dedicated to various natural remedies and organic meats and produce were around more than  years ago but they have become large concerns in the last fifteen years.

Research

One of the “superfood” products that contain the ingredients reviewed in this series of posts, is a protein powder marketed by BeachBody, the health and fitness business that distributes through independent “coaches” or agents.    Bilberry, Camu-camu, and Goji berry (also known as Lycium) are all ingredients in the Shakeology supplement.  The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that bilberry, Vaccinium myrtillus‘s,  high antioxidant content helps the liver process fats, lowers inflammation, and has cancer -fighting agents.  In studies, mostly in mammals, they indicate positive cellular results.  This is in addition to the other reported improvement in vision.  Camu-camuMyrciaria dubia, is a well-research anti-oxidant that counters systemic inflammatory diseases – such as Crohn’s disease, microbial infections, collagen-induced arthritis, and the inflammatory  component of Alzheimer’s Disease.   It (inflammation) is a factor in cardiovascular disease that Camu-camu antioxidants can reduce.   Goji or Chinese Wolfberry, has been used in traditional medicines and general consumption documented for more than two thousand years.  This berry has had positive effects on liver and kidney function as well as eye health.  While scientific research is on-going, Chinese authorities have conducted research for decades to augment the ancient studies.

 

What are other reasons “superfood” is the new go-to for health-conscious adults?   Poor diet of most in industrialized nations is one reason. The ingredients – including vegetables, fruits and grains, as well as livestock feed are less nutritious than decades ago.    Our food is less nutritious because soil was depleted of natural minerals and ingredients through more than a century of heavy use. Fertilizers and chemical additives were created to grow faster and increase yields per cultivated acre, but this has not substantially increased the nutrition value.    In an article in Scientific American magazine,  this is substantiated.

Anyone who has eaten a non-hybridized home-grown tomato in recent times can identify it over general retail produce by taste and texture.

Available in protein shakes and other retail products,  “superfood” additives are not well understood by the public.  With the pharmaceutical industry constantly advertising a drug for any particular health condition but with side-effects that often include “death” as one potential outcome, there is public interest in other remedies.  Which conditions  may be controlled by diet, exercise, and some natural remedies?

Case study: Self

After age fifty-five,  I became a regular shopper at a local organic market, first for better quality fruit and vegetables, and later for organic (additive and pesticide-free) produce, fresh fish and chemical -free chicken. Using some herbal ingredients and remedies for Men’s health-related complaints,  I would advocate readers and bloggers do research, as experience has taught me that Big Pharma and the agri-industry does not hold all the answers.   My own research began after suffering years of a periodic allergic reaction that caused angioedema in my intestine and soft tissues.  It frequently required hospitalization.  Yet the triggering cause was not found by medical professionals but was self-diagnosed.

In the year leading up to my diagnosis,  I had taken medication prescribed to mitigate the then-unknown cause by suppressing the inflammatory effects.  Daily use of this medication caused chronic acid reflux that persisted almost a year after ceasing use.    This turned me to studying food and making different choices.

Some pharmaceutical medications are based on ingredients used for very long time by rural populations around the globe.  One such remedy, glucosamine,  was generally known to farming and ranching folk in the 20th Century, to relieve early symptoms of arthritis, yet medical professionals were quick to dismiss it without seeing extensive research.   When glucosamine could be obtained in capsule form for pennies, many did not know about it.  And yet within twenty years it became a wonder ingredient on every over-the-counter  drugstore and grocer’s shelves.  At ten times the original price.

Many of these ingredients in superfood have documented research to show their health benefits.   And with the expense of medical care today, an extract of an herb, root, or berry might be an effective alternative or supplement to a Big Pharma product.