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Health & Spirit

Medicaid plans succeed in Obamacare as others struggle

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- Smaller insurers with experience in Medicaid, such as Centene Corp. and Molina Healthcare, are outperforming the broader insurance industry on the federal health exchanges. Their success is putting a spotlight on their business model as the Obama administration and other insurers seek to stabilize the fledgling individual market.

...Read more

As Republicans look to replace health care law, two GOP lawmakers make their own bid

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- As senior House Republicans work on a promised replacement for the Affordable Care Act, two GOP lawmakers plan to introduce an alternative Thursday that would dramatically reshape the nation's health care system.

The legislation -- co-sponsored by Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, and Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La. -- stands little chance of...Read more

HPV vaccination series can be started at age 9

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Dear Mayo Clinic: What is the best age for boys and girls to get the human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccine? There seems to be a range, but I have read recommendations where that range differs. Is it true that if they don't get the vaccine by a certain age, they are better off waiting until their 20s? Finally, what are the known side effects of ...Read more

How much vitamin D do I need?

Health / Health & Fitness /

Consumer surveys find that vitamin D now outsells all other supplements, including fish oil, probiotics and even multivitamins. That's rather surprising given that vitamin D is actually one of the few vitamins we can make on our own. All we need is to expose our skin to the sun, and our bodies take care of the rest. But the D boom isn't a scam, ...Read more

Zika virus should not stop Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, health official says

Health / Health & Fitness /

Despite increasing worries about the Zika outbreak, an international health official says the 2016 Summer Olympics should not be postponed, canceled or moved from Rio de Janeiro.

Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, addressed the issue at a Tuesday briefing in Geneva.

She advised against halting movement of people ...Read more

Hypertension, the silent killer

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Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is determined by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.

Mayo Clinic nephrology and hypertension expert Dr. Ivan Porter agrees that everyone age 18 or ...Read more

5 health issues presidential candidates aren't talking about, but should be

Health / Health & Fitness /

References to the Affordable Care Act -- sometimes called Obamacare -- have been a regular feature of the current presidential campaign season.

For months, Republican candidates have pledged to repeal it, while Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton wants to build on it and her opponent, Bernie Sanders, wants to replace it with a government-...Read more

Walk your way to better health

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We've heard it before: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Such a cliche, right?

But a single step will start you on the path toward better health, and you'll need to accrue significantly less than a thousand miles. In fact, you just need 10,000 steps.

That magic number may seem daunting but is much easier to reach than ...Read more

Lifestyle changes can often help prevent diabetes

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Dear Mayo Clinic: I am a 50-year-old woman who has always been relatively healthy. I'm not overweight and I try to eat well, but my doctor told me I am prediabetic. Would it be a good idea to ask about going on medication, or are there other things I can do to avoid getting diabetes?

A: When you have prediabetes, it means your blood sugar level...Read more

More children in lower-income families are covered by public health insurance

Health / Health & Fitness /

Bolstered by the federal health care law, the number of lower-income children getting health coverage continues to rise, a study found.

In 2014, the first full year of the law's implementation, 91 percent of children who were eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program were enrolled, according to the study by researchers at...Read more

Federal judge rules Obamacare is being funded unconstitutionally

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WASHINGTON -- A federal judge ruled for House Republicans on Thursday in their suit against President Barack Obama and declared his administration is unconstitutionally spending money to reimburse health insurers without obtaining an appropriation from Congress.

The judge's ruling, though a setback for the administration, was put on hold ...Read more

Tau protein a better predictor of dementia symptoms than amyloid beta, scientists show

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Scientists have shown that measures of the tau protein inside nerve cells better predict symptoms of dementia than the protein amyloid beta, where research has largely focused.

The study by Washington University School of Medicine was published Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine, a journal addressing international health ...Read more

Long-term antibiotic use for some with COPD

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Dear Mayo Clinic: I have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and my doctor is recommending an antibiotic drug long term. Why is this needed?

A: For certain people with COPD, long-term use of an antibiotic drug -- specifically azithromycin (Zithromax) -- is a fairly new option to reduce exacerbations. Exacerbations are episodes when ...Read more

Stroke happens regardless of age, race or gender

Health / Health & Fitness /

May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a stroke.

Often called a brain attack, a stroke occurs when a blockage stops the flow of blood to the brain or when a blood vessel in or around the brain bursts.

Although many people think of stroke...Read more

Medical provider, insurer appealing to millennials with quick services

Health / Health & Fitness /

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Lacee Badgley, the mother of a 7-year-old, works full time as an insurance adjuster. Like most working parents, making time for doctor's appointments is a challenge.

"I don't have the time or energy to drive around town and then wait," she said.

That's why Badgley, 36, switched from her previous doctors to Zoom+, a medical ...Read more

What does 'healthy' mean? FDA might change its definition

Health / Health & Fitness /

LOS ANGELES -- Think something is healthy just because it's chock full of fruit or labeled as a "salad"? Not necessarily so, according to the Food & Drug Administration.

The agency said Tuesday that it is re-evaluating regulations about what foods can be labeled "healthy," along with other nutrient content claims.

"Just because a food contains...Read more

Simple steps to help prevent skin cancer

Health / Health & Fitness /

With spring and summer arriving, the air becomes warmer, the sun gets brighter and outdoor activities are more frequent. Naturally, your skin's exposure to the sun increases during this time of year, which results in a greater risk of skin damage, including the development of skin cancer. The good news is most skin cancers can be preventable.

...Read more

Pinpointing a specific cause of lung cancer isn't possible

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Dear Mayo Clinic: My brother-in-law has never smoked, but was diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer at the age of 45. He was told there is no way to determine what caused it, even though he had a biopsy. What are some of the things that cause lung cancer?

A: It's true that pinpointing a specific cause of lung cancer based on biopsy results -- ...Read more

Sunscreen tied to a marked reduction in skin cancer, up to 80 percent

Health / Health & Fitness /

The rates of melanoma -- the deadliest form of skin cancer -- have doubled in the last 30 years, but finally there's some good news to report.

Researchers have discovered that using sunscreen may prevent skin cancer by 80 percent. While it has long been known that sunscreens are an effective guard against sunburns, their ability to protect ...Read more

Yes, I have herpes. No, I'm not a degenerate

Health / Health & Fitness /

I was sitting in my doctor's office crying, and I could barely choke it out.

"I think I have herpes," I said between sobs.

I can still feel the paper on the exam table. I recall the chilly breeze and how vulnerable I felt with my feet in stirrups. I can picture the ceiling I so acutely examined while waiting for my results, which confirmed my ...Read more