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Maximizing Your Health Insurance Benefits: Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Plan

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Health insurance is a critical component of maintaining good health and managing healthcare costs. However, many people do not fully understand their health insurance benefits or how to maximize them. To ensure that you are getting the most out of your plan, it is important to be proactive and informed. Here are some tips for maximizing your health insurance benefits:

1. Understand your coverage: The first step in maximizing your health insurance benefits is to thoroughly understand your coverage. Take the time to review your policy, including what services and treatments are covered, as well as any limitations or exclusions. Understanding your coverage will help you make informed decisions about your healthcare and avoid unexpected costs.

2. Use in-network providers: Most health insurance plans have a network of preferred providers that offer discounted rates for services. Using in-network providers can save you money on co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses. Before seeking medical care, it is important to check if the provider is in-network to ensure you are getting the full benefit of your insurance plan.

3. Take advantage of preventive care benefits: Many health insurance plans cover preventive care services at no cost to the insured. This can include routine check-ups, vaccinations, screenings, and counseling services. By taking advantage of these benefits, you can stay on top of your health and potentially catch any issues early, saving you money in the long run.

4. Utilize telehealth services: Telehealth services have become increasingly popular, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many health insurance plans cover telehealth visits, which allow you to consult with a healthcare provider from the comfort of your home. Utilizing telehealth services can save you time and money by avoiding unnecessary trips to a doctor’s office or urgent care.

5. Maximize your prescription drug coverage: If your health insurance plan includes prescription drug coverage, it is important to understand the details of this benefit. Look for generic alternatives to brand-name drugs, use mail-order pharmacies for long-term medications, and take advantage of any discounts or coupons offered by your plan or the pharmaceutical company.

6. Stay informed about changes to your plan: Health insurance plans may change from year to year, including coverage, premiums, and out-of-pocket costs. It is important to stay informed about any changes to your plan and take the time to review your options during open enrollment periods. Being proactive can help you make the most of your health insurance benefits and potentially save you money on healthcare costs.

Maximizing your health insurance benefits requires being proactive and informed about your coverage. By understanding your plan, using in-network providers, taking advantage of preventive care services, utilizing telehealth, maximizing prescription drug coverage, and staying informed about changes to your plan, you can ensure that you are getting the most out of your health insurance plan and effectively managing your healthcare costs.

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HEALTH

Stop Embarrassing Pee Leakage Virtually Overnight (Avoid These 3 Common Mistakes)

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Sometimes it happens through a forceful sneeze or cough. Or, maybe you’ve had a few drinks with friends and noticed the embarrassing occurrence?

Maybe you’ve begun to notice it more and more frequently, and you’re just trying to ignore the problem altogether. 

What am I referring to? The often embarrassing occurrence of urine leakage! 

If you’ve experienced or are continually experiencing urinary incontinence, you certainly aren’t alone. 

More than 25 million Americans suffer from urinary incontinence!

So, if it’s that common, what causes it? And, more importantly, how can you prevent it? 

We’ll discuss its causes and some ways to prevent it…and, you might even be surprised to find you’re actually making some common mistakes that are making matters worse! 

What Causes Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence, or urine leaking, is caused by a loss of control of your bladder. 

There are basically three causes of urinary incontinence, one involves muscles, another involves nerves, and the other cause is rooted in lifestyle. 

Muscles

While made in the kidneys, your bladder is basically the storage unit for urine. When you need to urinate, muscles within your bladder tighten. 

While those muscles tighten, sphincter muscles around your urethra relax to allow the urine to leave your body. 

If your bladder muscles tighten, but those sphincter muscles aren’t strong enough to keep the urethra closed, this causes an overly strong urge to pee that your body may not be able to control.

Nerves

Another cause of urine leakage involves nerves. 


If the nerves to the muscles in your bladder or the sphincter surrounding your urethra are damaged, those muscles are then unable to function properly. 

If the muscles there can’t tighten, you experience urine leakage, and if they can’t loosen, you become unable to release urine at that time. This then increases the likelihood of leakage at other times. 

Lifestyle

Some common everyday parts of your life may also cause urinary incontinence.

What you eat or drink (or medications) can work as a diuretic which increases the amount of urine you produce and can also stimulate your bladder. 

Spicy foods, alcohol, caffeine, drinks containing carbonation, chocolate, and some blood pressure medications can all cause urinary incontinence. 

Genetics, obesity, age, and smoking can all be contributing factors in urinary incontinence as well. 

And, believe it or not, loss of bladder control is actually a common problem. 

Though women experience it almost twice as often as men, both can struggle with this issue. 

Common causes of urinary incontinence include:

  • Pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause 
  • Diabetes
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Frequent UTIs, and urinary tract diseases
  • Tumors
  • Poor kidney function
  • Various medications
  • Various foods or drinks
  • High intake of fluids

You can experience urinary incontinence due to physical stress, urgency (sometimes referred to as overactive bladder), an inability to fully empty your bladder or a mixture of these things. 

Physical stress, like exercise, heavy lifting, or even coughing, sneezing, and laughing, can put pressure on your bladder to cause leakage.

An increase in urgency is oftentimes a result of a specific problem such as an infection or even a disease or more serious medical condition, though it can be rooted in less serious conditions as well. 

And, it probably goes without saying, but if you are unable to void your bladder when urinating, it’s then not uncommon for the leftover urine to later leak out.

So, how can you stop this embarrassing occurrence?

How To Stop Urinary Incontinence

There are some things that are within your control when it comes to preventing urine leakage. 

For instance, you can do pelvic floor exercises (Kegels), maintain a healthy body weight, eat more fiber, avoid alcohol and caffeine, and quit or don’t start smoking to aid in prevention. 

But, there may also be some common mistakes that you may be making that can exacerbate this embarrassing issue.

1- Ignoring Common Bladder Irritants

There are some classic bladder no-nos when it comes to the foods and drinks we consume. 

Unfortunately, a common mistake people make when it comes to urine leakage is to ignore what may be causing the issue in the first place. 

Know these common bladder irritants, and avoid them if you are experiencing urinary incontinence. 

  • Alcohol
  • Cigarettes
  • Caffeine 
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Foods and drinks containing corn syrup 
  • Chocolate
  • Tomatoes
  • Citrus fruits
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Spicy foods 

And, some lesser-known foods/drinks can also irritate your bladder and may cause embarrassing urine leakage:

  • Cranberry juice
  • Orange juice
  • Raw onions
  • Prunes
  • Some condiments (soy sauce, mayo, ketchup)
  • Creamy cheeses
  • Processed foods

There are a lot of issues or problems that we can experience concerning our bodies that are rooted in our diet, and urinary leakage is no different. 

Know the common (and less common) irritants and don’t ignore their possible role in the health of your bladder. 

2-  Mind Over Matter

When urinary leakage becomes common, this problem no longer only concerns your bladder but occupies your mind as well. 

And, you could actually be making the mistake of creating urgency or even “urge incontinence” in your efforts to combat the issue. 

If you experience urinary leakage, chances are you make the common mistake of heading to the bathroom “just in case” thinking it will help avoid such leakage. 

The problem here is that you are essentially training your brain to associate certain functions with needing to void your bladder. 

Ever feel like you have to pee just because you’ve left your house and sat down in your car? You then try to urinate and realize you don’t have to go. 

Chances are you’ve just trained your brain over the years through those frequent “maybe I should try” bathroom stops before leaving the house to think that doing that exact action means it’s time to pee. 

You could be training your bladder to actually hold less urine as well. 

Perhaps you’ve heard or even said, “I’ve just got a small bladder.” Actually, you’ve just trained your bladder to hold less urine. 

And, this creates unwanted problems with urgency. 

3- Fluid Intake Reduction

I get it. You’re embarrassed or frustrated by the leakage, so you begin to drink less in an effort to produce less urine and hopefully avoid the chance of urinary incontinence. 

The problem with that is you’ll inevitably become dehydrated. And, overall, the urine that is in your bladder becomes more highly concentrated. 

You can tell if your urine is concentrated by its color. If your pee is dark or orange in color, not only is this a tell-tale sign of dehydration, but this means your urine is highly concentrated. 

Concentrated urine causes irritation to your bladder. And, this not only causes pain and infection, but it will also counteract your efforts to stop urine leakage as it increases urgency as well. 

So, if you are experiencing embarrassing urine leakage:

  • Remember that you’re not alone!
  • You can help prevent incontinence by strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, losing weight, and quitting smoking.
  • You can help to avoid such occurrences by eliminating common bladder irritants from your diet. 
  • Avoid “training” your brain to increase unwanted urgency.
  • Don’t stop hydrating! 

Stretch THIS muscle to stop embarrassing “pee leaks”

My good friend Alex was devastated the day her mother nearly died.

But she never could have guessed that battling this traumatic experience would cause her mom to suffer from humiliating “pee leaks” for years.

Her mom felt like she wasn’t in control of her body anymore.

She was ashamed.

Frustrated.

And embarrassed to be a woman.

Alex’s strong confident mother was now struggling to even want to leave the house.

And Alex was heartbroken.

That’s when she decided something had to change…

And she dedicated her life to finding a solution.

But she never would have guessed her search to help her mom would lead her to discover the shocking secret that causes most women to suffer from involuntary leakage…

And a strange upper body stretch that would not only help her mom, but thousands of women around the world to stop peeing their pants.

==> CLICK HERE TO LEARN THE STRANGE UPPER BODY STRETCH THAT STOPS BLADDER LEAKAGE

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HEALTH

Regrow Knee Cartilage? Promising research

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As you get older, or especially if you’ve suffered a blow to the knee or taken a hard fall, you may notice certain exercises have become increasingly difficult due to knee pain. 

Perhaps you’ve even experienced stiffness or swelling in your knees? 

Even common everyday tasks can become difficult or painful when you have knee problems.


Things like stiffness, pain, and swelling in your knees can be the result of bone-on-bone friction due to injured or lost cartilage.  

And, while there are currently a few methods to encourage knee cartilage regrowth, recent research has surfaced that could both regrow knee cartilage and help your body maintain that regrowth, eliminating the painful, life-limiting effects of lost and injured knee cartilage.

How Is Knee Cartilage Lost?

Cartilage is a connective tissue that acts as a cushion between your joints to reduce friction and support your body weight as you move. It can also hold together bones and support other types of tissue.

You can lose cartilage by:

  • everyday wear and tear (obesity is known to exacerbate these effects) 
  • lack of movement (think of motion as lotion for your joints, they need regular movement to stay flexible and healthy)
  • the simple effects of aging (you begin losing collagen, a primary component of cartilage, from the age of 23 on)
  • injury (the most common injuries to cartilage come from falls, auto accidents, or a direct blow or heavy impact from a sport’s related injury)

And, due to the fact that cartilage lacks a blood supply, when you injure your cartilage, which is actually very common, healing time is greatly increased. 

Once you injure or lose cartilage, you can then incur further damage to your joints, leading to a common type of arthritis known as osteoarthritis. 

At this point, this loss of cushion leads to bone rubbing up against bone which is why you experience pain, stiffness, swelling, and a limited range of motion. 

Unfortunately, cartilage isn’t known to regularly heal on its own, and when it does, it often results in irregular or “bumpy” regrowth patterns which can also contribute to osteoarthritis pain.

Regrowing Knee Cartilage

Cartilage has long been known as being incapable of completely healing on its own. 

Because of this, regrowing knee cartilage primarily takes place through procedures in a lab or through other types of surgery, though some research for new methods is proving promising. 

Lab Methods

Currently, methods for regrowing knee cartilage involve actually removing stem cells or healthy cartilage cells from the knees of injured patients.

The healthy cells are then regrown in a lab (with the use of a range of substances to prompt this growth). 

The regenerated cartilage is then re-inserted back into the joint. 

Unfortunately, so far these methods have proven costly, and the results have been inconsistent. 

There is a new clinical trial, however, that builds on this method. 

This trial basically takes the above procedure one step further by regrowing the cartilage in a “three-dimensional collagen scaffold covered with a collagen membrane.” This “scaffold” is then able to be absorbed by the body. 

Cartilage Regeneration Techniques

Another method for regrowing knee cartilage involves a variety of surgical techniques. 

Each of these incorporates either a series of cuts, abrasions, or even drilling holes into the bone beneath the cartilage to cause bleeding. 

Since cartilage doesn’t have its own blood supply, the surrounding bleeding that occurs from the bone is thought to promote healing of the nearby cartilage.

The three procedures currently incorporated to cause such bleeding in hopes of stimulating cartilage healing are known as: knee microfracture, knee drilling, and knee abrasion arthroplasty. 

Promising Research

A few recent studies now show great promise both in cartilage healing and the subsequent improvement or alleviation of joint pain (sans bone bleeding). 

A research group at a university in London has developed two ways to heal cartilage damage and facilitate its regrowth in animals. 


And, so far this research has led to the same results in test tubes on human cartilage cells.

A molecule known as agrin, when implanted in bone and cartilage injuries, proved to activate stem cells that were formerly dormant in the injured joint. These stem cells then prompted the healing and repair of the injury. 

Basically, this drug “talks to” the stem cells, prompting them to do their job of effectively regrowing the damaged cartilage. 

Research conducted in both mice and sheep showed long-lasting regenerative effects using agrin.

As much of the research involving agrin has been limited to new injuries in young participants, findings are limited in knowing whether or not this treatment would be successful in older subjects or those with injuries sustained in years past. 

But, knowing that just one administration of agrin was enough to prompt self-maintaining regeneration in the affected joints, as well as evidence of symptomatic relief, shows great promise. 

Another study with equally promising results involves a molecule known as ROR2. 

This molecule is one that is not found in healthy knee cartilage, yet was shown to be produced after an injury was incurred. In fact, its presence contributed to the further breakdown of cartilage in osteoarthritis. 

These observations led researchers to test a hypothesis that revolved around actually blocking the ROR2 molecule to reduce the effects of osteoarthritis. 

And, using a technology called “small interfering RNA” researchers were able to do just that! 

By blocking ROR2, cartilage was protected and fast pain relief was documented. 

Like the studies conducted using the agrin molecule, studies with ROR2 also proved effective at improving the formation of cartilage when using human cells in test tubes. 

Both studies listed above claim to currently be a few years away from being able to do human clinical trials. But the findings thus far prove very promising. 

The goal?

Researchers hope this leads to a cure for osteoarthritis, even making it a preventable disease, thus avoiding lab-created cartilage or painful surgeries involving bone bleeding to facilitate knee cartilage regrowth. 

5 min Japanese “Miracle Knee Exercise” BETTER than Pain Meds?

Just about every week, I hear someone talk about getting either knee therapy or getting a knee replacement.

If you struggle with range of motion with squats, lunges, or even if it’s hard to get down on the floor to play with your kids or grandkids, that’s NOT a great way to live, right?

If you struggle with irritating knee pain or worry about the long-term side effects of pain meds, there’s no need to worry any longer.

Because you’re about to learn a 5-minute “miracle knee exercise” discovered by two Japanese medical doctors that reduce knee pain BETTER than the most powerful pain meds…

And the best part is, you can even do this simple routine from your bed tonight before falling asleep. Click below to learn this miracle exercise now:  

This “Miracle Knee Exercise” BETTER than Pain Meds <= 5 minute routine

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HEALTH

Increased Screen Time Sends More People To The Eye Doctor

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Corona, and our ongoing battle against it, is no longer just about the virus itself. At this point the ripple effects of Covid can be seen in every sector of our lives. 

From family, to work, to school, and on and on.

And, just those areas alone have each led us to one place…our computer screens (tablets or phones).

Want to see family from afar? Zoom or facetime…meaning screen time.

Working from home? From meetings to assignments…screen time.

Schools and colleges not holding in person classes? Pull out the tablets and computers for more…screen time. 

Can’t meet with family or friends or even go to the park anymore? Sure kids, go ahead and watch Frozen again for the 1,569th time since there’s nothing else to do. Or, maybe that’s extra Netflix binging for the adults, but either way…screen time. 

There doesn’t seem to be a way to escape screen time right now. But, what is this added screen time doing to your health, specifically the health of your eyes? 

More and more people are headed to their eye doctor due to all of the added time spent in front of a screen lately. 

So, let’s take a look at why, and some ways you can combat the negative effects of increased screen time. 

How Increased Screen Exposure Affects Your Eyes

The extra time we’ve been spending in front of screens lately has been taking a toll on our eyes. 

So, what is it about those screens that harms our eyes, and what signs should you be looking for that point to the fact that you may need to adjust your screen routine a bit? 

First, think of what you’ve learned in regards to light and how it can affect your eyes. 

Anyone remember being told as a child *not* to look directly into the sun. 

While screen light isn’t exactly as bright as the sun, its effects can certainly be negative. 

Screens typically produce light in short waves known as high energy blue light, which is the light from your screen that is mostly associated with eye strain and its subsequent effects (which we’ll look at momentarily). 

Combine the length of time you expose your eyes to a screen, the blue light itself, and your close proximity to the screen, and you’ve got a recipe for eye strain disaster. 

In fact, one doctor (Yos Priestley of the Duke Eye Center), explains it directly, “our eyes are not built for long periods of visually focused work.” 

When you spend long periods of time in front of a screen, your eyes have to work harder than they are “built for” to focus on screen movement. 

When staring at blue light from your screen, you also blink approximately 33% less than when not in front of a screen. In other words, staring at that screen is drying out your eyes.

So, what do those negative effects of too much screen time look like when it comes to your vision? 

Dry Eyes

Especially if you wear contact lenses, too much time spent in front of a screen can dry out your eyes. 

As we just noted, you blink less frequently (33% less) when in front of a screen.

The thing is, your eyes rely on blinking to rewet or replenish tears.  Those needed tears protect your eyes from infection. And, a lack of tears can lead to inflammation and even damage on the surface of your eye.

If your eyes are feeling dry, irritated, or even gritty or scratchy, this can all stem from too much screen time. 

Eye Strain

We recognize that overuse of other parts of our bodies can cause strain. 

For instance, we use our legs to walk each and every day, but when we spend extra amounts of time on our feet, we often lament such overuse the next day. 

Our eyes are no different. And, as we saw earlier, they aren’t even “built” for extended periods of time spent focusing. 

So, as we spend extended periods of time in front of a screen, frankly, our eyes get tired. 

You may experience blurred vision, double vision, dizziness, headaches, or difficulty concentrating all stemming from too much strain being placed on your eyes due to increased screen time. 

Retinal Damage

When speaking of damaging your retina, it sounds like we’re going to extremes here, but the fact of the matter is, the blue light emitted from digital screens can affect your retina, which lines the inside of the back of your eye. 

The cells inside of your retina are sensitive to blue light and research shows that this type of light can indeed damage those cells. 

The American Optometric Association states that this damage is most likely to occur in children as opposed to adults. 

Lessening The Negative Effects Of Increased Screen Time 

So, moving on from the gloom and doom of the damage too much screen time can cause to your vision, there are some things that you can do to minimize these negative effects. 

20/20/20

Seeing those numbers together closely resemble this year numerically, and that can almost be scary at this point, but these 20’s are here to help. 

Often referred to as the 20/20/20 rule, this simply refers to a practice that can help you avoid eye strain when using a screen for a prolonged period of time. 

For every 20 minutes that you spend in front of a screen, pause and look at something at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds. 

Especially for children, setting a timer to remind them to do this can be effective. 

This rule can also help you to remember to take needed breaks, taking time to stretch and walk away from your screen for a brief moment. 

Back Up

Especially when using a tablet or phone, you can end up in a position where your eyes are far too close to the screen.  

As a general rule of thumb, you should put at least a forearm’s length between you and your screen. 

And, make sure that your screen is at or a little below eye level.  

Blink

No, we’re not talking about late 90’s alternative rock here. 

When in front of your computer screen or tablet, you actually need to remember to blink. 

As we mentioned earlier, you blink considerably less when in front of a screen, and that action, blinking, is vital to the health of your eye. 

Be conscious of it as an adult, and be sure to remind your children, who are spending increased amounts of time in front of a screen, to blink. 

One doctor recommended pattern is to blink three times, pausing briefly on the last blink. For instance, “blink, blink, squeeze (or pause)” can replenish tears and prevent dry eyes. 

Patterns like this can be especially beneficial for children to help them remember to blink more while in front of a screen. 

Lighting

From the screen itself to overall room lighting, these settings matter when it comes to the health of your eyes. 

1- Seek to fill your work space with natural lighting. 

2- Lower the blue light level of the screen, if possible.

3- Try to match the level of light emitting from your screen with the light in the room. In other words, the light of your screen shouldn’t be the brightest light in the room. Especially avoid using screens in a dark room. Be sure to turn on another light in the room or adjust your screen’s lighting.

4- Adjust the angle of your screen if necessary to lessen glare, which can lead to eye strain. 

Glasses

There are actually a few types of glasses that can help with the negative effects of increased screen time. 

Anti-glare glasses or anti-reflective coating on glasses can lessen the amount of glare from the computer or tablet screen, keeping eye strain at a minimum. 

Blue light glasses can also reduce the negative effects (mentioned above) of excess screen time by blocking the blue light emitted from digital screens. 

Drops

Prescription or even over-the-counter drops known as artificial tears prove to be beneficial for some who experience the eye-drying effects of too much screen time. 

Such drops can mimic natural tears, preventing your eyes from overdrying and the subsequent damage this can cause. 

So, while you may find yourself in a position that demands increased screen time, you can minimize the negative effects of this by incorporating the above practices. 

It is important to note, however, if you (or your child) are experiencing continued problems with your vision, resulting from too much screen time or not, a visit to your eye doctor may be necessary. 

Try THIS “Windex Trick” for Sharper Eyesight (try it now)

At an age where most adults struggle to see clearly, Richard Herring is enjoying a healthy vision without glasses or contacts.

But his vision wasn’t always great.

Since 3rd grade, Richard was forced to wear glasses due to declining sight.

“Every time I went to the eye doctor, it was the same thing – I needed stronger glasses,” said Richard.

Yet now, at 60-years-old, Richard’s vision is better than ever.

“I have not worn my glasses in 2 days because I don’t need them anymore. I’m even able to drive without glasses!”

What’s his secret?

A little-known eyesight vitamin used by professional baseball players for decades.

Researchers at the University of Georgia recently discovered this unique nutrient can help aging adults protect and restore their vision.

And best of all, studies show it can “wipe away blurry vision” in as little as 15- minutes flat!

One doctor even said: “It’s like Windex for your eyes”.

Click here to see how anyone can sharpen their vision like Richard did.

>>> This Eyesight Vitamin Sharpens Vision in 15-Minutes

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