Posted - Oct 08 2010 : 10:26:12 AM
| Volume 10, Issue 44
October 8, 2010
COPD IS NOT JUST A DISEASE OF THE LUNGS
According to a recent study published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, people with COPD have inflammation of the aorta (it carries blood from the heart) at a level between the inflammation found in former smokers and the inflammation found in individuals with metabolic syndromes. The investigators conclude that this may explain the increased risk of cardiovascular disease in individuals with COPD. The abstract of the study can be viewed at:
Their finding underscores an earlier news report from the National Institute of Health that "Cardiovascular disease plays a major role in COPD, being responsible for the death of more than 30% of these patients." For more information see:
To make more sense of these findings, a 2007 article on the Science Daily website explains that COPD is not just a disease of the lungs. They cite research published in The Lancet, including the investigators' proposal to add "chronic systemic inflammatory syndrome" to the definition and understanding of COPD. Their reason for doing this is to provoke a new view of COPD. Be aware that the The Lancet is geared to medical professionals.
They point out that there are other medical conditions that often simultaneously exist along with COPD, even though they are considered independent of COPD (called "comorbid"). Those conditions include:
*skeletal muscle abnormalities
*high blood pressure
*coronary artery disease
They note that most COPD patients die of non-respiratory disorders. A few years ago, talk about some of the above conditions might have been considered "off topic" during some discussions about COPD. It now appears that enlarging our understanding of COPD, and perhaps viewing it as an inflammatory syndrome, might encourage us to deal as aggressively with other health issues as we do to lung health. In fairness, it should be noted that in spite of recent research, not all medical providers consider COPD an inflammatory disease. For the complete Science Daily article, please go to:
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE
- MORE OPTIONS FOR SENIORS WITH HIGH DRUG COSTS
- PREMIUMS FOR THE TOP 10 MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION PLANS WILL RISE BY AN AVERAGE OF 10%
- HUMANA-WALMART ANNOUNCE LOWEST PREMIUM DRUG PLAN FOR 2011
- DONUT HOLE CALCULATOR
- GRANT OF $18 MILLION TO STUDY HEART AND LUNG TREATMENTS WITH NANOTECHNOLOGY
- GARGLING WITH SALT WATER FOR RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS
- MEALS ON WHEELS: A HARD CALL TO MAKE
- EXPERTS SAY MEDICARE'S PLANNED BIDDING SYSTEM FOR MEDICAL EQUIPMENT WILL FAIL
- STUDY FINDS DOCTORS OVERPRESCRIBE ANTIBIOTICS
- STUDY OF LONG-TERM EFFECTIVENESS AND SIDE EFFECTS OF INHALED MEDICINES
OPTICAL ILLUSIONS AND BRAIN TEASERS
SAVE MONEY BEING POLITE
DID YOU FIND YOUR THRILL ON BLUEBERRY HILL?
SOURCES: News items summarized in The COPD-NEWS are taken from secondary sources believed to be reliable. However, the COPD Family of Services does not verify their accuracy.
MORE OPTIONS FOR SENIORS WITH HIGH DRUG COSTS
This Yahoo News article provides a good overview of the changes in the Medicare Part D drug program for 2011. These changes are believed to result in more options for Medicare beneficiaries with a Part D drug plan. Some of the highlights are:
* The number of plans that offer some coverage for drugs with brand names during the donut hole (gap) will go from 35 to 106
* Plans that cover some brand name drugs while in the donut hole will be available in all parts of the United States
* The donut hole will start after $2,840 is spent by the insurance company and the beneficiary (together)
* There will be 50 percent off brand name drugs while in the gap
* Coverage resumes after the insurance company and beneficiary together pay out $6,440, but because the full cost of the brand name drugs (not just the 50% the beneficiary pays) will contribute towards the $6,440, it could cost beneficiaries less during the gap than it did in 2010.
Although we won't know the details about the plans until they are announced, the following provides important background information:
PREMIUMS FOR THE TOP 10 MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION PLANS WILL RISE BY AN AVERAGE OF 10%
Avaler, a healthcare research company, reports that there will be an average increase of 10% in Medicare Part D prescription drug plan premiums. They claim that 7 of the top 10 plans will increase their costs from 3 to 43 percent, but 3 of the 10 plans will decrease in cost from between 2 and 11 percent. These cost adjustments, however, should be evaluated in light of the many changes in coverage noted, in part, in the above news item, as well as the previously announced limitations on the number of basic plans each insurer is allowed to offer. Remember that sometimes a higher priced plan will actually result in greater savings over the course of the year once the costs of drugs are factored in. For Avaler's analysis, see:
HUMANA-WALMART ANNOUNCE LOWEST PREMIUM DRUG PLAN FOR 2011
Not only are they one of the first to announce their drug plan, Humana announces the lowest premium stand-alone Medicare Part D drug plan to date for 2011! By teaming up with Walmart, they are offering their Humana Walmart Preferred Rx Plan for $14.80 a month. Generic prescriptions are available for as low as $2.00, and prescriptions can also be filled at Sam's Club and Neighborhood Market. For further savings, home delivery of generics can be had for zero, yes zero, dollars.
DONUT HOLE CALCULATOR
AARP has a great donut hole calculator, something many of us could have used earlier this year. Enter your zip code, name of your plan, your medications, and presto! This may be especially useful once we start planning for 2011, if they are able to update it. Check it out at:
COMMERCIAL FREE: We do not accept any paid advertising. Any corporations, products, medicines (prescription or over the counter) mentioned in this newsletter are for informational purposes only and not to be construed as an endorsement or condemnation of same.
GRANT OF $18 MILLION TO STUDY HEART AND LUNG TREATMENTS WITH NANOTECHNOLOGY
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (under the Department of Health and Human Services) has awarded Washington University of Medicine in St. Louis, and four collaborating institutions, $18 million to research diagnostic and therapeutic interventions using nanoparticles. Nanoparticles are between 1 and 100 billionths of a meter in size. It is believed nanoparticles can potentially deliver imaging agents, chemotherapies and even genetic material to specific targets in the body. The 1966 movie "The Fantastic Voyage" is often used to illustrate nanotechnology. To read more about this incredible technology, and the specifics of this research, please visit:
GARGLING WITH SALT WATER FOR RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS
Did you know that studies have shown that gargling with salt water three times a day can reduce your chance of a respiratory infection by 40 percent? This New York Times article says one-half teaspoon in a glass of water does the trick. A little honey and lemon can be added to make it more palatable. For the article, which is on the short side, see:
MEALS ON WHEELS: A HARD CALL TO MAKE
Hunger in the United States is not confined to those who are poor, according to Meals On Wheels Association of America. In fact, they point out that half of the "at-risk" seniors are above the poverty level. If you are not sure if you qualify, or if you want to see if there is a program in your area, or if you just want to learn more about how it works, you'll find what you need at:
MEDICAL DECISIONS. Your physician should be consulted on all medical decisions. New procedures or drugs should not be started or stopped without such consultation. While we believe that our accumulated experience has value, and a unique perspective, you must accept it for what it is...the work of COPD patients. We vigorously encourage individuals with COPD to take an active part in the management of their disease. They do this through education and by sharing information and thoughts with their primary physician and pulmonologist. However, medical decisions are based on complex medical principles and should be left to the medical practitioner who has been trained to diagnose and advise.
EXPERTS SAY MEDICARE'S PLANNED BIDDING SYSTEM FOR MEDICAL EQUIPMENT WILL FAIL
As previously reported, starting on January 1, 2011, Medicare plans to start their competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment, (which includes home oxygen), in nine large metropolitan areas (Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Kansas City, Miami, Orlando, Pittsburgh, and Riverside, California). Experts from within the industry, consumer advocacy groups as well as economic experts predict failure. To read more, please see this article on The Free Library's website at:
STUDY FINDS DOCTORS OVERPRESCRIBE ANTIBIOTICS
A recent study to be published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, which tracked patients in two Pennsylvania hospitals, found that doctors often prescribed antibiotics even though patients had viral infections. The following article on the PsysOrg website explains that antibiotics do not kill viruses and can lead to the development of resistant strains of bacteria. For more information, see:
STUDY OF LONG-TERM EFFECTIVENESS AND SIDE EFFECTS OF INHALED MEDICINES
The European Medicine Agency and the European Network of Centres for Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacovigilance (ENCePP) are supporting a study of the effects of "long-term outcomes and adverse events of therapy with inhaled corticosteroids, long-acting beta-2-agonists and anticholinergic drugs in hospitalized patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)". They will be pooling information gathered from their database of 40,000 patients. The final report is expected to be published in 2013. For more details, please see:
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OPTICAL ILLUSIONS AND BRAIN TEASERS
How about some fantastic optical illusions with a side of brain teasers! How much better can it get?
Even if you don't know what these are, it is all but guaranteed that you'll like them! Besides, you can have all you want, and they won't put on an ounce of weight! What are they, you ask? You'll have to click below to find out!
SAVE MONEY BEING POLITE
Some call it sweet talk, some call it manipulation, and still others simply call it politeness. Whatever you call it, being nice does have its monetary rewards according to this article on The Dollar Stretcher web site:
DID YOU FIND YOUR THRILL ON BLUEBERRY HILL?
There's a very good chance you remember all the words to this famous song, so go ahead and sing along to this background music! Don't fret, however; you can always calm your dog after you finished.
For comments and questions, or to contact Richard D. Martin, please send your email to: newsletter@COPD-Support.com
Proofreading provided by: Jennifer, B.C., Canada
Until next Friday,
Richard D. Martin, Editor
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