It’s National Psoriasis Awareness Month

The National Psoriasis Foundation has proclaimed August as Psoriasis Awareness Month, aimed at raising disease awareness, and providing research and care for people with psoriasis. The autoimmune disease affects 7.5 million people in the U.S.

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis causes the immune system to send faulty signals that result in painful red, scaly patches on the skin that bleed and itch. Psoriasis varies in severity and is not contagious.  The disease can be inherited, but there is no way of predicting or preventing its inheritance.

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What is it like living with Psoriasis?

Noelia Ferreyra, 28 had psoriasis since her early teens, and was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) at 25.

“When I was diagnosed with psoriasis and it started to spread, it stressed me out that I was going to have to deal with it for the rest of my life,” she said in an Everyday Health article.

The disease has affected Noelia’s life both medically and socially. She now realizes that if people don’t accept her for who she is, they’re not worth her time.  Noelia joined an online social network with others suffering from PsA.  Through the group, she has learned the importance of being her own advocate.

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“If something’s not working for you, you need to speak up,” she said. “Sometimes you have to say no, and it’s okay to say no.”

Read more here: Arthritis in Your Twenties: Noelia’s story.

Keep in mind that ClaimLinx can provide cost-savings prescription drug programs and solutions for people like Noelia with chronic conditions that require ongoing medication. Contact us for more information.

It’s Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month

In July, the Arthritis Foundation aims to increase awareness and educate people on the early signs and symptoms of juvenile arthritis. More than 300,000 children are affected by the disease.

What is JA?

This arthritis.org article says JA describes the many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in children ages 16 and younger. There is no known cause for juvenile arthritis. Some researchers believe it’s caused by genes triggered by outside factors.

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Who does JA affect?

Juvenile Arthritis affects more children than both juvenile diabetes and cystic fibrosis combined. The Arthritis Foundation educates and researches the disease, as well as provides resources for families affected by the disease.

Is there a cure for JA?

There is no cure, however, there are treatments that can relieve inflammation and control pain. Most treatments combine medication and lifestyle changes.

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What’s it  like to live with JA?

This Everyday Health article gives some insight into what it’s like to live with JA. At the age of 2, Jennifer Wescott was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. When she was 10, her rheumatoid arthritis started damaging her spirit. She grew up feeling inadequate because of the disease. “Kids make fun of you, and that reduces your self-esteem,” she said. By 22, Jennifer went to college. That’s when her life turned around. She had to do things for herself.  She became pregnant at 30 and had difficulty caring for her child. Wescott says she keeps her head up and works as a substitute teacher and a caregiver for her son, Logan. “I always said you have two choices – you can curl up in the corner and waste your life away or get out there and live the best life you can while you’re alive,” Wescott said.

Diabetes in U.S. Youth on the Rise

Despite research and intervention efforts, a new study finds that diabetes in young people is growing, according to an article in Modern Healthcare. Many believe the increase in Type 2 diabetes may be directly linked to childhood obesity.

The study, published in the May 7 issue of JAMA, analyzed the health of over 3 million children, and found Type 1 diabetes increased 30% in the 19-and-under age group. Type 2 diabetes increased 35% among children between the ages of 10-19 from 2001 and 2009.

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Dr. Dana Dabelea, a professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health co-authored the study.

“The increases that we report should draw the attention of the medical community and the public health community to the seriousness of the public health impact of pediatric diabetes. Our data informs the clinical practice community of the care that will be needed for the population of children and youth living with diabetes,” Dabelea told Modern Healthcare.

In 2001, there were 4,958 diagnosed cases of Type 1 diabetes among 3.3 million youth. By 2009, the number increased to 6,666 cases. Type 2 diabetes grew from 588 diagnosed cases out of 1.7 million children in 2001, to 819 cases in 2009. These increases were found in nearly all racial groups, except among American Indians.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 215,000 people in the U.S., younger than 20, had diabetes in 2010. The total estimated cost of diabetes in 2012 was $245 billion, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Read the entire article by Steven Ross Johnson here.

Top Hospital Tries Chinese Herb Treatment

The Cleveland Clinic, one of the nation’s top performing hospitals, has begun experimenting with Chinese herbs to help manage some patients’ chronic pain, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

The hospital opened a small herbal clinic in January, which sees patients once a week. With one herbalist on hand, it is part of the hospital’s Center for Integrative Medicine. In addition to herbal medicine, the center offers other non-traditional pain management services, including acupuncture, holistic psychotherapy and massage therapy, wrote WSJ reporter Sumathi Reddy.

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“Western medicine does acute care phenomenally…. But we’re still struggling a bit with our chronic-care patients, and this fills in that gap and can be used concurrently,”  Melissa Young, an integrative medicine physician at Cleveland Clinic, explained in the article.

The Cleveland hospital is one of just a few in the country using these methods, more closely associated with Asian care. Others include Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern University and NorthShore University HealthSystem, affiliated with the University of Chicago.

While these treatments are a signature of care abroad, their medical effectiveness remains somewhat controversial here, because there’s very little scientific research on using herbs as medicine in the U.S.

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However, traditional Chinese herbology relies on thousands of herbs that can be taken in pill, powder or drinkable form.

Hospital officials say the jury is still out on herbs’ role in Western medicine, but that it could prove to be a weapon in the arsenal in the fight to ease chronic pain.

CVS Pharmacy to Stop Selling Cigarettes

In an effort to become more of a health-care provider, CVS Pharmacy will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products nationwide, as early as October 2014.

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Although the move is bold and will be expensive for CVS, the drugstore chain is dedicated to moving in a direction that provides basic health services to the millions of newly insured Americans, amid a shortage of primary care doctors. CVS is certain that this strategy will give it an edge over competing pharmacies as they develop important relationships with hospitals, insurers and physician groups.

CVS believes its future lies in creating convenient in-store clinics as an alternative to long waits at primary care doctors’ offices.

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Not only is the news a blow to the struggling $100 billion tobacco industry, but it will also put major pressure on Walgreen, Rite Aid Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to consider following suit.

The unprecedented move by CVS has drawn positive attention from the White House and other government officials. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called the CVS move “an unprecedented step in the retail industry.”

Please read the article by Timothy W. Martin and Mike Esterl in its entirety here.