Select Page
Women: What’s your early breast cancer detection plan?

Women: What’s your early breast cancer detection plan?

October is breast cancer awareness month. Even though breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in the United States, millions of women are surviving the disease thanks to early detection and improvements in treatment. According to the American Cancer Society, when breast cancer is detected early, and is in the localized state, the 5-year relative survival rate is 100 percent. That’s why it is so important to have an early breast cancer detection plan, which includes a mammogram.

The American Cancer Society recommends women use the following guidelines when scheduling their mammograms:

  • Women age 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms if they wish to do so.
  • Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
  • Women age 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, or have the choice to continue yearly screening. Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.

A word about breast self exams

According to the American Cancer Society, research does not show a clear benefit to performing breast self-examination. However, women should be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel and report any changes to their healthcare provider right away.

Signs and symptoms to watch for

The most common sign of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. Other possible symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • Swelling of the breast
  • Breast or nipple pain
  • Nipple retraction (turning inward)
  • Redness, irritation, dimpling or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
  • Discharge from the nipple (other than breast milk)

Schedule your mammogram

If you haven’t had your mammogram this year, this month is a good time to schedule one. It’s also a good time to talk about breast health with your mother, daughter, sister, aunts and friends.

Another good idea for your health

You can make getting in to see the doctor or getting in for a mammogram easier by signing up for CarePlus. It’s a free concierge healthcare service that makes taking care of your health easier and more convenient. When you sign up for CarePlus, a concierge team is at your service ready to help you:

  • find the right doctor for you
  • quickly get the appointments you need
  • get faster access to your medical information—like lab results
  • obtain referrals to specialists and the pre-authorizations you may need
  • work with your insurer to answer your insurance questions

To learn more, or to sign up for CarePlus concierge service, please contact our CarePlus team 
at 201-884-5329.

Finding the Best Fitness Routine for You

Finding the Best Fitness Routine for You

Exercise is personal. One size definitely does not fit all. You may like to sweat—or not. You may like the gym or hate it. You may be a morning person or a night owl. You may not even know what you like when it comes to fitness. So how do you find a routine that fits your personality, lifestyle and fitness level—something you’ll fall in love with and make a habit?

Start by asking yourself these 7 questions.

  1. What are my goals?

Are they realistic? Unrealistic goals may force you into the wrong types of exercise. And when you don’t see any progress, you may be tempted to quit. Decide what’s important to you—for now and for your future—and then train for that.

  1. Is my routine sustainable?

Is the time commitment going to work with your busy schedule? Start with a time commitment that is doable and then add time as your schedule permits. A focused 20-minute workout in your living room may work better for you than an hour at the gym.

  1. What is my fitness level?

If you haven’t worked out in a while, take it slow. Add time and intensity as you become stronger and fitter. If you haven’t exercised in a long time, talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

  1. Am I a people person?

If so consider a running, walking or cycling club, a water aerobics class, or a yoga or Zumba class.

  1. Do I need outside motivation?

Think about hiring a personal trainer or teaming up with a friend or two to keep you motivated.

  1. Do I need variety?

Exercise doesn’t have to come in a traditional package of cardio and weights. The options are endless—cycling, swimming, running, roller skating, skiing, golf, tennis and on and on. Mix it up if you are easily bored with one activity, or if you want to have more fun.

  1. Do I have a good health routine?

Do you want to make taking care of your health easier? Think about signing up for CarePlus. It’s a free concierge healthcare service that makes everything about seeking good healthcare easier. When you sign up for CarePlus a concierge team will help you:

  • find the right doctor for you
  • get you the appointments you need quickly
  • get you faster access to your medical information—like lab results
  • obtain referrals to specialists and pre-authorizations
  • work with your insurer to help answer your insurance questions

To learn more, or to sign up for CarePlus concierge service, please contact our CarePlus team 
at 201-884-5329.

Wearable Health Tech: your doctor and your Fitbit

Wearable Health Tech: your doctor and your Fitbit

Do you wear a health-tracking device like a Fitbit, smartwatch, Jawbone or MisFit? Have you ever wondered if your doctor could use the information it gathers?

It turns out that your device records an astounding amount of information about you—unfortunately, most of the time, your doctor can’t use all of that data. Just analyzing it would take hundreds of hours. In addition, wearables aren’t accurate enough for medical assertions to be made. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate wearable devices that promote general wellness—like weight loss, physical fitness or stress management—and doesn’t intend to regulate them in the future. The only wearable devices that need FDA approval are those intended for use in the diagnosis or treatment of disease.

However, that doesn’t mean that physicians have abandoned using data from general wellness wearables. Instead, they are using the devices for more illness-specific purposes. The Wall Street Journal reports that David Cook, an anesthesiologist at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, and his colleagues, have used Fitbits to track activity levels of cardiac-surgery patients. Wearables are great for tracking blood pressure, weight, pulse rate and other factors after cardiac surgery or heart failure.

Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc. recently announced plans to build platforms that collect data from apps and wearables that medical providers will be able to use.

The challenge is for wearable fabricators to find ways your doctor can easily interpret the data your wearable collects on you. The value will be when your doctor can look at your fitness data and then prescribe a certain level of activity that can then be customized into your wearable to help you reach your goal.

Staying healthy beyond your wearable

At CarePlus, we encourage you to keep wearing whatever device you use to track your fitness. Keep moving, eating right and striving to be as healthy as possible.

We also encourage you to sign up for CarePlus. As your free healthcare concierge service we’re here to help make getting your healthcare needs met as easy as strapping on your Fitbit. When you sign up for CarePlus we’ll help you by providing:

  • appointments quickly
  • faster access to your medical information
  • referrals to specialists and pre-authorizations to assure you’re covered
  • assistance with your insurer and answers to your insurance questions

If you’re interested in learning more about CarePlus concierge service, please contact our CarePlus team at 201-884-5329.

Healthy Travels: vaccines, medicine and advice

Healthy Travels: vaccines, medicine and advice

Wherever you’re going, have a great time. Travel is good for the soul. To stay healthy and safe during your travels, follow the advice we’ve gathered here from travel experts on recommended vaccines, traveling with medication and strategies to protect yourself.

Recommended vaccines

International travel can pose various risks to your health. Serious health risks may arise in areas where accommodations are of poor quality, hygiene and sanitation are inadequate, medical services are not well developed and clean water is unavailable.

Before you depart, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends you research the risk of disease in the country or countries you plan to visit. A medical consultation, 4–6 weeks before your departure is recommended. At that time, your provider will review and update your routine immunizations in addition to providing you with travel immunizations indicated for your specific itinerary.

WHO offers a list of travel related vaccines, including required vaccines and routine vaccines.

Traveling with medication

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) provides the following tips for traveling with medication:

  • You can travel with your medication in both carry-on and checked baggage. It’s highly recommended you place your medications in your carry-on in the event that you need immediate access.
  • TSA does not require passengers to have medications in prescription bottles, but states have individual laws regarding the labeling of prescription medication with which passengers need to comply. (You may want to keep narcotic pain pills in their original container for international travel.)
  • Medication is usually screened by X-ray; however, if a passenger does not want a medication X-rayed, he or she may ask for an inspection instead. This request must be made before any items are sent through the X-ray tunnel.
  • You can bring your medication in pill or solid form in unlimited amounts as long as it is screened.
  • Medication in liquid form is allowed in carry-on bags in excess of 3.4 ounces in reasonable quantities for the flight. It is not necessary to place medically required liquids in a zip-top bag. However, you must tell the officer that you have medically necessary liquids at the start of the screening checkpoint process. Medically required liquids will be subjected to additional screening that could include being asked to open the container.

Strategies to protect yourself

A recent USA Today article included the following safety tips for travelers:

      • Leave an itinerary and emergency contact with a friend or family member and check in with them every day if possible.
      • Scan a copy of your passport, email it to yourself or take a photo of it with your cell phone.
      • You can’t call 911 everywhere. Research local emergency numbers and save them to your phone. Also research the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate and save those addresses and phone numbers as well.
      • More tips can be found here.

Get started coordinating your trip

If you need to coordinate any doctor visits before you depart on your trip, we encourage you to sign up for CarePlus. It’s a free concierge healthcare service that makes organizing your healthcare easier by providing you with:

      • appointments quickly
      • faster access to your medical information
      • referrals to specialists and pre-authorizations to assure you’re covered
      • assistance with your insurer and answers to your insurance questions
National Safety Month: stay safe at home and play

National Safety Month: stay safe at home and play

Observed annually in June, National Safety Month focuses on reducing the leading causes of injury and death at work, on our roads and in our homes and communities.

At CarePlus, we encourage you to be aware of hazards and to take precautions this month and throughout the year. As your free healthcare concierge service we’re here to help when you need us. Should a non-life-threatening injury or accident happen to you, we can help you get in to the ER as quickly as possible. We’re also here to help you with insurance questions, with referrals and pre-authorizations to assure you’re covered and to access your test results faster.

When you think about it, there are many things you can do to stay safe and prevent injuries. Following are some tips to keep in mind while you are at home and at play. You can find a comprehensive list of safety tips from the National Safety Council here.

At Home

Prevent falls:

  • Secure rugs to avoid slipping, and pooling of water on slick surfaces
  • Make sure showers and bathtubs have safety rails to assist in safely getting in and out
  • Make sure all staircases have solid handrails, adequate lighting, and safety gates if there are small children at home

Fire prevention:

  • Make sure fire alarms are installed on all levels—check and change batteries regularly
  • Never leave candles unattended
  • Make sure that all appliances are in good working order and that no wires are frayed
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets—in fact, it’s a good idea to unplug small appliances like toasters when not in use

Other safety measures include:

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector
  • Childproof your home when youngsters come to visit
  • Keep medications and cleaning materials safely away from young children

At Play

Playground safety

  • Children should always be supervised on the playground
  • Check for objects (like hardware, S-shaped hooks, bolts, and sharp or unfinished edges) that stick out on equipment and could cut a child or cause clothing to become entangled
  • All hardware on equipment should be secure, with no loose or broken parts
  • Plastic and wood should show no signs of weakening, and there should not be any splintered or rusted surfaces 

Physical activity

Part of playing is being physically active. To stay safe:

  • Use equipment properly
  • Take time to warm up, cool down, and stretch
  • Stop the activity if you feel pain
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Wear shoes that fit well and are right for your activity
Your Annual Check-up—5 Reasons It’s Important

Your Annual Check-up—5 Reasons It’s Important

Are you one of those people who believe you don’t need to see the doctor unless you’re sick? Do you think annual physicals are a waste of time, money and effort?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, regular health exams and tests can help find problems before they start or when they are most treatable—at the very beginning.

We invite you to take a few minutes to read five reasons why your yearly check-up is good for your health.

  1. Even if you feel great, things could be boiling under the surface. It’s important to know your cholesterol levels to prevent cardiovascular disease. Cancer screenings, such as mammograms, are vital. Knowing your hormone levels and thyroid function becomes important as you age. Besides, just confirming you feel great because you’re in good health helps you rest easier.
  1. If you have an unhealthy habit (smoking, not exercising, overeating) make sure you see a doctor at least once every year for cancer screenings, blood pressure checks, and other tests to make sure you stay in the best possible physical condition.
  1. If an immediate family member has suffered a heart attack, stroke, cancer or any other serious illnesses, you need to take control of your medical care by seeing a doctor you trust and who understands your family’s medical history—and your risks.
  1. If you know you have a chronic illness, your doctor needs to monitor your progress and chart any health changes. It may take some time and effort, but you may be able to keep your illness at bay and you will be much happier and healthier
  1. If you have insurance you have access to inexpensive, quality medical care—take advantage of it—see your doctor once a year.

Let a CarePlus team member make an appointment for you.

There is no reason to put off your annual physical when a CarePlus team member can help make you an appointment today. CarePlus is a free concierge healthcare service that helps you quickly get appointments, get faster access to your medical information, obtain referrals and pre-authorizations to assure you’re covered and works with your insurer to help answer your insurance questions.

To learn more, or to sign up for CarePlus concierge service, please contact our CarePlus team 
at 201-884-5329.