Archive for July, 2012

Mental Health Costs to Explode for American Seniors

Posted by on July 27th, 2012

Getting older does not just mean an increased risk for chronic conditions like heart disease, arthritis, and other ailments: A new study warns that as many as 1 in 5 American seniors have a mental health issue.

This burgeoning mental health crisis threatens to overwhelm the U.S medical system as the baby boomer population ages over the next two decades. Millions of seniors risk falling through the cracks, unable to access heath care and services for mental health problems because the United States lacks a healthcare infrastructure of trained professionals to handle mental health issues.

The cost of medication to treat depression, dementia and other of the common mental health disorders in seniors will also be a burden on seniors and their caregivers struggling to pay for these costly medications.

At least 5.6 million to 8 million Americans age 65 and older have a mental health condition or substance abuse disorder currently and the Institute of Medicine report believes that this number will double or triple by 2030. Meeting the growing needs of the elderly will require a coordinated effort among government agencies, professional societies, providers and even family caregivers, the IOM report said.

If elderly people are not treated promptly and properly for mental health problems and substance misuse, their health outcomes worsen and the overall economic burden is significantly greater. If an elderly patient with depression is not treated for his/her mental condition, they are more likely to forget to take medications for other conditions they may have, such as hypertension or heart disease, and diabetes, resulting in longer and more frequent, costly hospital stays.

Solutions to this mental health crisis involve expanded training of primary care givers that seniors first contact with the health system. Physicians, nurses, physicians’ assistants and social workers that see seniors should have basic mental health training to recognize signs of geriatric mental health problems and be able to put in place treatment solutions early.  Medicare and Medicaid also need to be changed to better reflect the treatment options for mental health conditions.

In terms of drug costs, online Canadian Pharmacies, like CanadaDrugs.com offer seniors and their caregivers that are taking drugs for depression or dementia a lower cost option.


Is There a New Drug “Doughnut Hole?”

Posted by on July 20th, 2012

Nearly 11.5 million uninsured U.S. residents with incomes below the federal poverty line could fall into a new coverage gap if every state decided to opt out of the federal health reform law’s Medicaid expansion that the Supreme Court held up late last month.

The people affected will face a similar coverage gap that many seniors deal with under the old Medicare Part-D where they would see a significant out-of-pocket cost for drugs after reaching a cap on their Medicaid coverage. The Affordable Care Act is phasing out the doughnut-hole for seniors, but individuals who would fall in the new coverage gap would not be eligible for Medicaid in their states under current requirements. They also would not qualify for subsidized private coverage in the state health insurance exchanges that will be launched in 2014 under health care reform.

Governors like Republican Rick Perry of Texas and Chris Christie of Texas have promised to opt out of what they call “Obamacare,” but would so at the expense of low to mid income people in their states who would face major drug coverage gaps.

If every state were to reject that Medicaid expansion – as the Supreme Court ruling now allows – some low-income people would still be picked up by other coverage provisions meant to help the middle class. Those who fall into the new gap would neither qualify for Medicaid in their states under current rules nor be eligible for subsidized private insurance in new state marketplaces that Obama’s law calls exchanges.

At CanadaDrugs.com we’ve been helping fill the Medicare doughnut hole for seniors facing coverage gaps by offering affordable alternative to high U.S drug costs. When faced with out-of-pocket drugs costs for medication not covered by government programs or other insurance plans, buying from a Canadian pharmacy is often the single best way to maximize savings.

If this Medicaid “doughnut hole” emerges in states that opt out of the plan, we’re confidant that like we have been doing for 10 years, that we will offer an essential service to those that are struggling to afford prescription medication because of a combination of too high U.S costs, and a lack of adequate insurance coverage.


High Temperatures Pose a Risk to Seniors

Posted by on July 13th, 2012

Temperatures all around the U.S are breaking records this week. Even up here in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where our Canadian Pharmacy head office is located, we’ve been sweltering with temperatures in the mid 90’s. A couple of months ago it was -37 in February, so it’s safe to say that we’re enjoying this heat wave and making the most of our always too short summer.

As great as a hot summer can be, it’s also dangerous, and especially for seniors who are more at risk for heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Seniors often don’t adjust as well to extreme temperatures; as well those with chronic medical conditions may see their bodies be more at risk to higher temperatures. Prescription medication can also majorly impair the body and how it regulates its temperature.

Common symptoms of heat exhaustion include feeling thirsty, feeling giddy, weak or uncoordinated. Some sufferers may feel nauseous, sweat profusely and / or experience a cold and clammy feeling on their skin. More serious than heat exhaustion is heat stroke. Heat stroke can be fatal, thousands of seniors every year around the U.S are killed by heat stroke every summer. A person experiencing heat stroke, may exhibit symptoms such as confusion, bizarre behavior, faintness, combativeness, a strong rapid pulse, lack of sweating and possibly even becoming comatose.

Some signs to watch for in either yourself, or an elderly family member to judge if the heat is getting to be too much:

• Heavy sweating
• Paleness
• Muscle Cramps
• Tiredness
• Weakness
• Dizziness
• Headache
• Nausea or vomiting
• Fainting
• Skin: may be cool and moist
• Pulse rate: fast and weak
• Breathing: fast and shallow

If you, or a loved one ever has any of the following symptoms of heat stroke it’s best to immediately contact a medical professional.

• An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
• Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
• Rapid, strong pulse
• Throbbing headache
• Dizziness
• Nausea

Follow these tips to lower your risk in high temperatures:

• Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages. (If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink when the weather is hot. Also, avoid extremely cold liquids because they can cause cramps.)
• Rest.
• Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.
• If possible, seek an air-conditioned environment. (If you don’t have air conditioning, consider visiting an air-conditioned shopping mall or public library to cool off.)
• Wear lightweight clothing.
• If possible, remain indoors in the heat of the day.
• Do not engage in strenuous activities.

Because many seniors live alone, it’s also best to check in on them during heat waves to make sure they are staying cool and out of danger. Enjoy the summer, but stay safe.


Have a Happy, Healthy and Safe Fourth of July

Posted by on July 4th, 2012

Have a Happy, Healthy and Safe Fourth of July!

We are wishing all of our American customers and neighbors a happy 4th of July. We celebrated Canada’s 145th birthday this past weekend with fireworks, BBQ’s and fun. Now it’s your turn to kick back and enjoy your country’s 236th birthday!

The American Red Cross issued a few great tips to make sure today is a safe and fun day! It’s not too surprising that any day built around the launching of colorful explosive devices in the air, combined with lots of outdoor activities and BBQ’s is actually one of the busiest for emergency rooms across the country.

Be Firework Safe:

The Red Cross suggests that the safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a professional fireworks display neat your home. When you let the pros do the honors, you keep your family safe and usually end up watching a much more exciting show than if you’d tried igniting fireworks at home yourself. If you are going to launch a few fireworks at your 4th of July celebration keep these tips in mind:

•    Never allow children to touch fireworks of any kind, including sparklers even after they have “gone off”. It can be hot, or even explosive and debris from fireworks can be extremely dangerous.
•    Older teens should only be allowed to use fireworks under close adult supervision.
•    Fireworks must never be used while drinking alcohol or using other drugs.
•    Obey all local laws.
•    If allowed in your area and you choose to do so, buy fireworks only from reliable sellers.
•    Store fireworks in a dry, cool place.
•    Only use fireworks outdoors and always have a good amount of water close by (a garden hose and a bucket), in case of emergency.
•    Read and follow label directions.
•    Light only one firework at a time.
•    Never hold any part of your body directly over the firework while lighting it.
•    Be sure all other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
•    Never throw or point fireworks at anyone.
•    Never light fireworks in a container, especially a metal or glass container.
•    Never light fireworks near a house or building, dry leaves or grass, or any other materials that can catch on fire.
•    Never re-light a “dud” firework. Instead, wait 15 to 20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water and throw it away.

Be BBQ Safe:

Besides fireworks the Red Cross and US Food Safety group want everyone to be aware of proper food handling behavior as well since today is one of the busiest BBQ days of the year and BBQ’s are a prime way to contract food poisoning if you’re not careful.

To BBQ safely you need to follow 4 simple to remember rules:

•    Clean: Make sure you clean all surfaces, utensils, and hands with soap and water.
•    Separate: When grilling, use separate plates and utensils for raw meat and cooked meat and ready-to-eat foods (like raw vegetables) to avoid cross-contamination.
•    Cook: Cook foods to the right temperature by using a food thermometer. That’s the only way to know it’s a safe temperature. Remember, burgers should be cooked to 160°F.
•    Chill: Chill raw and prepared foods promptly if not consuming after cooking. You shouldn’t leave food at room temperature for longer than two hours (or one hour if outdoor temperatures are above 90° F), so if you’re away from home, make sure you bring a cooler to store those leftovers.

Be Outdoor Safe:

Since today is a prime holiday for summer fun and sun, you also need to be smart outdoors. Everyone should limit the amount of direct sunlight they receive between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15 throughout the day. Drink plenty of water and avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. Wear sunglasses that will absorb UV sunlight to protect one’s eyes. And remember to protect one’s feet by wearing some kind of beach shoes. f swimming in the ocean is part of someone’s holiday plans, they should check the weather and water conditions beforehand and throughout the day, swim only at a lifeguard-protected beach within the designated swimming area and obey all safety rules. Avoid alcohol before and during any water activities and make sure to never swim alone.

Have a safe, and happy day today from your neighbors up here at Canada Drugs!