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4 vaccines for seniors that could save your life

4 vaccines that could save your life (seniors)

As we age, our immune systems tend to weaken. We tend to lose our ability to fight off certain bugs. One way to help increase our chances of preventing or decreasing the severity of those infections is to build up our immune system through vaccination.

Here are some facts about vaccination and immunization:

  1. About 70,000 adults die annually of only two of the vaccine-preventable diseases alone – Pneumococcus and Influenza.
  2. Most vaccines are safe to administer. Side effects are mostly minor in nature.
  3. The bigger problem with vaccination is the missed opportunity to vaccinate, based in part upon public misconceptions about the its safety. There are very few reasons why a particular individual should not receive a specific vaccine.

 

Here are 4 vaccines recommended for all older adults. At least discuss with your primary care provider. These can decrease your chances of getting the disease. If you do get the disease despite vaccination, it will decrease the chances severe illness and also decrease your chances of dying from it.

These are the 4:

  1. Tetanus Vaccine – Recommended every 10 years or single Td booster vaccine after age 50. The Tdap version of the vaccine is recommended in adults over age 65 who have never received that type, especially if they have contact with infants younger than 1 year (grandkids). Discuss your vaccination history and needs with your doctor.
    • Tetanus is caused by toxins released by a bug called Clostridium Tetani. The bug lives in the soil and typically gets into the body through wounds (cuts and punctures from objects that introduce the bacteria into the body – rusted nails, knives, tin cans, etc.)
    • Once in the body, the toxins attach the nervous system causing muscle spasms like ‘Lockjaw” and could affect the ability to breath and cause death.
    • Tetanus, though rare in the United States, occurs mostly in older adults who have not been properly vaccinated against it. Patients above age 60 account for about 60 percent of all cases of tetanus in the United States
  2. Influenza Vaccine (the Flu) – Recommended every year.
    • 9 out of 10 people killed by the Flu in the United States are 60 years or older. Seniors are also more likely to get very sick and end up in intensive care units (ICU) when they get the flu.
    • Studies have shown that the Flu shot may reduce the number of cases of the Flu, the number of people who require hospital stays from the Flu, as well as decrease the number of deaths from the Flu. One of the most recent studies suggests that the vaccine could cut older adult deaths from the Flu by half.
    • One variation of the vaccine, the high-dose Fluzone, seems to work better for seniors.
  3. Pneumonia vaccine (Pneumococcal Vaccine) – Recommended every 5 years. Discuss with your primary healthcare provider.
    • Pneumonia is swelling in the lungs usually caused by infection. Infectious pneumonia can be caused by many different types of bugs (bacteria, viruses, etc).
    • The most common cause of pneumonia in adults is a bug called Pneumococcus (Streptococcus Pneumoniae). Seniors who develop Pneumococcal pneumonia, have a very high chance of getting very sick requiring intensive care or dying. The Pneumonia vaccine aims to decrease the likelihood of this infection.
    • There are currently 2 types of vaccine that most seniors older than 65 years must receive – PCV13 and PPSV23. The timing of the vaccination varies according to prior history, so we recommend discussing with your primary care provider.
  4. Herpes Zoster Vaccine (Shingles)
    • Shingles (Herpes Zoster) is causes by the Varicella Zoster Virus. This virus remains in nerve endings usually after exposure to Chicken Pox (same virus causes Chicken Pox). It does not cause any symptoms for many years. Under certain conditions like a weakened immune system and stress, the virus may migrate to the skin and cause a rash.
    • One million people develop Shingles every year in the United States. About 32 percent of the population will develop Shingles over their lifetime.
    • The vaccine has been approved by the FDA for adults over the age of 50 who have normal immune systems

For more information about these and other recommended vaccines for all ages, visit the CDC’s vaccine recommendations website

Read about other health topics here

10 benefits of Exercise you should know and tell your friends about

10 benefits of Exercise you should know and tell your friends about

Lack of physical activity and exercise is a major health problem in this country. Many studies have clearly shown the health benefits of physical activity. Despite the facts, many of us remain fairly physically inactive. Although there may be some risks associated with exercise in certain individuals, the benefits of exercise far outweigh the risks in most people.

Exercise is great for your health. This has been widely studied and published in the medical literature. Here are some quick facts you should know about physical activity and exercise:

  1. Decreases risk of dying. Regardless of its effect on specific diseases, you will have a lower chance of dying from any cause if you exercise regularly. For example, a study that followed and tracked over 10,000 Harvard University students over a period of 12 years, revealed a 23 percent lower risk of death in men who engaged in moderate physical activity compared to those who were less active. In another study done in 2014, researchers found that elite athletes had an overall 67 percent lower risk of death when compared to the general population. Read about some secrets to a longer life on our other blog post by clicking here.
  2. Weight Loss. Exercise helps you burn calories. This, in turn, helps you lose weight as long as your food intake remains balanced and appropriate.
  3. Control Blood Sugars. Exercise has several effects on how your body handles sugar. It increases the rate at which your body breaks down sugar to make energy and also moves sugar out of your blood stream and into your exercising muscles. This could help control blood sugars if you have Diabetes or Pre-Diabetes. A 2010 analysis of multiple studies, confirmed the beneficial effects of exercise on blood sugars and Hemoglobin A1C levels in people with Diabetes.
  4. Lower Blood Pressure. Exercise helps lower your blood pressure, especially if you have High Blood Pressure or Hypertension.
  5. Protect Heart. Exercise lowers your chance of dying from heart disease.
  6. Strengthen Bones. Exercise strengthens your bones and decreases your risk of thinning brittle bones (Osteoporosis) and bone fractures. Studies have shown that there is a lower likelihood of hip fractures in people who exercise regularly.
  7. Prevent Stroke. Exercise could also decrease your chance of having a stroke.
  8. Prevent Cancer. Though the data is limited, studies suggest that exercise may have a modest effect on cancer prevention. This is true for different types of cancer including breast, intestinal, prostate and pancreatic cancers. One study found about a 25 percent lower likelihood in developing colon cancer when comparing the most versus the least active individuals.
  9. Lower Stress and Depression. Regular exercise has been shown to decrease stress, anxiety and depression. Exercise is sometimes recommended in the treatment of depression. A 2009 Louisiana State University study showed that exercise improved physical and psychological quality of life. This effect was seen regardless of whether participants lost weight or not.
  10. Keep Gallstone symptoms away. This may sound insignificant but exercise decreases the likelihood of developing gallstone-related symptoms. This was confirmed in a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital involving 45,000 men followed over a period of 8 years.

5 secretos para una vida larga y saludable

5 secretos para la vida larga y saludable

 

Envejecer es parte inevitable de la vida. Todos envejecemos. ¿Pero cómo podemos asegurarnos de un envejecimiento sano y agradable? ¿Cómo podemos vivir más tiempo de forma saludable? Aquí les brindamos algunos consejitos según estudios observacionales que se han hecho:

  1. ¡Muévase! Si, muévase. Muévase naturalmente. El ejercicio tiene muchos beneficios y le puede ayudar a vivir una vida larga y saludable. Cuando hablamos de ejercicio, muchas personas enseguida piensan en el levantamiento de pesas en el gimnasio, correr 5 kilómetros o correderas de maratones pero no es a lo que nos referimos. Dijimos ‘muévase naturalmente’ para cambiar su enfoque a los movimientos que realiza diariamente en sus quehaceres como actividades de la limpieza, jardinería, fregar platos o caminando por el barrio o en el parque. Usted debería crear una rutina de actividad física y verá los resultados. Actividades como el Tai Chi y el Yoga también ayudan. Existen programas de ejercicio para personas mayores de edad como las que ofrecen planes de salud como Humana a través del programa Silver Sneakers.
  2. Encuentre su salud en la comida. La mayoría de los estudios observacionales, incluyendo el trabajo que se ha hecho sobre las llamadas Blue Zones o Zonas Azules (zonas del mundo donde las personas viven más de 90 y 100 años), muestran una correlación directa entre la vida larga y ciertos hábitos dietéticos. Algunos de los hábitos incluyen:
  • Comer pequeñas porciones de comida
  • Dejar de comer cuando el estómago esté 80% lleno
  • Comer poco en la tarde (su comida más pequeña debe ser la cena/comida
  • Mantenerse activo físicamente después de la comida o cena. Do se acueste inmediatamente después de comer.
  • Comer muchas frutas, vegetales, leguminosas como los frijoles; cocinar con aceite de oliva; comer carne pero con menos frecuencia. Comer productos lácteos pero con menos frecuencia (la leche de cabra y queso de cabra pueden ser beneficiosos para la salud).
  • Vino. Tomar su vinito pero en cantidades pequeñas o moderadas. Por ejemplo, una copa de vino con la cena (algunas personas de las Zonas Azules tienen ese hábito diario pero no le podemos recomendar la misma frecuencia
  1. Socialice. Sí, reúnase socialmente con sus amigos, familia y gente de su comunidad. Salga de su casa e interactúe con otras personas en ambientes seguros. El hecho de hablar con otras personas, jugar juegos de mesa como el domino, cartas o bingo, cantar, bailar y otras actividades comunitarias, pueden mejorar su estado de salud general y prolongarle la vida.
  2. Hazle cosquillas a su cerebro. Ejercicios mentales:
  • Lea libros, periódicos o revistas, resuelva encrucijadas, sudoku o otras actividades que le provoque pensar. Esas actividades pueden enlentecer la decaída natural de su mente y función cognitiva.
  • Propósito. Si todavía usted no conoce su propósito en la vida, es hora de encontrarlo. Dicho de otra forma, usted tiene que identificar qué es lo que le estimula y le da vida y ganas de vivir cuando se despierta en la mañana. ¿Acaso es su familia, los nietos, un negocio, novio o novia? ¿Alguna actividad voluntaria? ¿Un pasatiempo? ¿Encuentros con su grupo de canto o baile? ¿Algo le estimula? Encuentre ese algo y acepte su importancia para su bienestar mental y físico. Si no tiene uno, busque uno.
  • ¿Trabajo a medio tiempo o voluntario? Solo una sugerencia
  1. Hábitos promotoras de la Salud. Este último es el de Palmas Clinic – Creemos que las personas que tienen estos hábitos promotoras de salud, tienden a vivir vidas más largas y saludables:
  • Chequeos médicos regulares. Visite a su médico primario de cabecera para sus chequeos de salud para que se le realice todas las pruebas recomendadas para personas de su edad. Esto permite que los problemas de salud se identifiquen en estadios tempranos y así se puede evitar empeoramiento y complicaciones. Ejemplos de estos chequeos incluyen Colonoscopia para prevenir el cáncer de colon o detectar cambios que pueden conllevar al cáncer de colon, Mamografía para el cáncer de seno en la mujer y pruebas de los ojos para lis diabéticos. Su médico también se asegurara que usted haya recibidos todas las vacunas recomendadas según su edad y su historia médica. Por ejemplo, las vacunas contra la gripa y la neumonía.
  • ¡No fume tabaco! También evite lugares donde las personas estén fumando. Si tiene familiares o amigos que fuman, no deje que fumen alrededor suyo, si no tienen ganas de dejar de fumar. Respirar el humo de cigarro ajeno es dañino y puede causar el cáncer también.
  • Poco o nada de alcohol. Mucho alcohol puede causar múltiples problemas de salud y puede conllevar a la cirrosis hepática, la insuficiencia cardiaca y la muerte. Una copita de vino de vez en cuando o con la cena, puede ayudar con su salud
  • Maneje su estrés. Tiene que buscar una forma de manejar su estrés. Algunas técnicas probadas incluyen socializar con amigo y familia, salir, hablar y desahogarse con amigos confiable o su cura o pastor de la iglesia, tomar siestas durante el día, meditar, yoga, ejercicio físico como caminar en el parque, correr, entre muchas otras cosas. Haga lo que a usted le parezca que le ayudaría mejor.

En conclusión:

  • ¡Muévase!
  • Encuentre su salud en la comida
  • ¡Socialice!
  • Hazle cosquillas a su cerebro
  • Hábitos promotoras de la Salud

 

Ahora que ha leído estos consejitos, es hora de aplicarlos. Feliz vida saludable le deseamos. Puede leer otros artículos de Palmas Clinic acá. Visite nuestra pagina de Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/palmasclinic

 

5 secrets to a longer, healthier life

5 secrets to a longer, healthier life

Aging is a fact of life. We all age. How can we improve our chances of successful aging? How can we live longer and healthier? Here are some tips to longer, healthier lives based on several observational studies:

  1. Move your body. Yes, move. Move naturally. Exercise has many benefits and could help you live a longer, healthier life. When we talk about exercise, most people think about lifting weights in the gym or running 5Ks and marathons, but that is not what we are talking about here. We say ‘move naturally’ to shift your focus to movements that occur during your usual activities around the house, like sweeping, gardening, doing the dishes or just taking a stroll in the neighborhood. Make this a habit and it will pay dividends. Activities like Tai Chi and Yoga are also fine. There are exercise programs for seniors like Silver Sneakers that you can also try.
  2. Eat your way to health. Most observational studies, including the work done about Blue Zones (5 areas where people live well into their 90s and 100s), show a direct correlation between certain dietary habits and long life. Some of the common observations are:
    1. Eat smaller portions, less calories. Stop eating when your stomach is 80% full.
    2. Eat your smallest meal of the day in the evening
    3. Be physically active for a while after your last meal. Do not go to bed right after your last meal.
    4. Eat a lot of vegetables, fruit, beans; cook with olive oil; eat meat but with less frequency. Eat dairy but with less frequency as well (goat cheese and milk may be good for you).
    5. Wine. Drink little to moderate amounts. For example, one glass of wine with dinner (in some Blue Zone areas, they do this every day but we cannot recommend the same frequency).
  3. Socialize. Yes, engage socially with friends, family and others in your community. Get out of your home and interact with others out there in a safe environment. Talking to others, playing board games, singing, dancing and other community activities may very well enhance your health and longevity.
  4. Tickle your mind. Exercise your brain:
    1. Read, solve puzzles, do crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or any other activity that makes you think. This may very well help slow any natural progression in cognitive decline.
    2. Purpose. If you do not know yours, find your purpose in life. In other words, what gets you going when you wake up in the morning? Is it your family? Grandkids? A business interest? Volunteering at a local charity? A hobby? A dance or singing group you meet with regularly? Anything? Find that one thing that drives you and acknowledge it. If you do not have any, find one.
    3. Part-time work/volunteering. Just a thought.
  5. This one is the Palmas Clinic tip – Health Enhancing Habits. We believe that people who engage in certain health enhancing habits, live healthier, longer lives:
    1. Regular preventative medical care. Get your check-ups with your primary care provider so you can have all your age-appropriate screenings done. This will help detect and address potential problems early and prevent major health issues from developing. Examples include Colon Cancer Screening, Breast Cancer Screening, and eye exams for Diabetics, etc. Your provider will also make sure you have all recommended vaccines based on your medical history. For example, Flu vaccines, Pneumonia vaccine, etc.
    2. Do not smoke tobacco – avoid frequenting areas where people smoke. If you have a friend or family member who smokes around you, make them stop or go elsewhere to smoke. Second-hand smoke is also dangerous
    3. Low to Moderate alcohol intake. Heavy drinking can cause a lot of health problems and may ultimately lead to Cirrhosis of the liver or heart disease. A glass of red wine occasionally with one meal may be beneficial.
    4. Manage stress. Figure out a way to manage stressful situations or stress in general. Some useful techniques include socializing with friends and family, talking to a confidant like your religious leader, napping, meditation, yoga, exercise, praying, etc. Whatever works for you is what you should use.
  • Move your body!
  • Eat your way to health!
  • Socialize!
  • Tickle your mind. Exercise your brain!
  • Health Enhancing Habits!

Now that you have read these tips, it is time to apply them! Happy healthy living! You can also read our other blog posts here.

Que es Medicare Advantage? – 5 cosas que deberías saber

Que es Medicare Advantage? – 5 cosas que deberías saber

813 626-0066

En nuestra clínica, Palmas Clinic, nuestro objetivo es ayudar a nuestros pacientes alcanzar su mejor estado de salud. Nos interesa mucho la salud de las personas mayores y nuestra clínica se dedica principalmente a esa población – que generalmente tienen a Medicare como su seguro de salud. Algunos tienen Medicare tradicional del gobierno, mientras otros se inscriben en diferentes planes privados como los planes de Medicare Advantage.

Nuestra clínica colabora mucho con ciertos planes de Medicare Advantage porque creemos que le dan a las personas mayores tremendo valor en beneficios y costos reducidos. Generalmente, tienden a ayudarnos a enfocarnos en la CALIDAD de los servicios que le proveemos a sus miembros y no tanto a la CANTIDAD de personas que atendemos por día. Nos recompensan según la calidad de nuestros servicios y por mantener saludables a las personas mayores.

La palabra Advantage quiere decir VENTAJA.

Hemos aquí algunas cosas que usted debería saber si tiene seguro de Medicare ahora o si lo tendrá en un futuro cercano:

  1. 20% de todo lo que cuesta su visita al médico o al hospital es su responsabilidad si tiene Medicare del gobierno. Puede ser muchísimo dinero. Los planes de Medicare Advantage no le cobra ese 20%. Cubren todos los gastos del hospital o médico. Usted será responsable de solo unos pagos pequeños comparados con lo que pagaría si tuviera el plan del gobierno. Ademas, hay un tope anual en la cantidad de dinero que usted pagara de sus bolsillos. Esto último varia por compañía y por año y es determinando por el gobierno y las compañías de seguro.
  2. ¡MEDICINAS!!! El Medicare tradicional del gobierno no cubre medicinas. Usted tendría que comprarse un plan de medicinas aparte para que tenga cobertura de drogas si tiene Medicare del gobierno. Los planes de Medicare Advantage generalmente cubren las medicinas también (hay muy pocas excepciones donde un plan de Medicare Advantage no cubre Medicinas y estos son planes generalmente para personas que consiguen sus medicinas a través de otros programas como los Veteranos.
  3. Poco gasto médico personal. Los planes de Medicare Advantage generalmente requieren muy poco gasto personal. Cubren la mayoría de los gastos y proveen tranquilidad financiera.
  4. Colaboración con su médico. Los planes de Medicare Advantage crean valor al colaborar con los médicos y así se enfocan en mejorar la calidad y no la cantidad de servicios. También juntos nos enfocamos en mantener saludables a los pacientes y evitamos problemas de salud graves. Recompensan a los médicos según la calidad de sus servicios y la salud de sus pacientes con ningún enfoque en la cantidad de pacientes o cantidad de pruebas o servicios que realizan.
  5. Beneficios adicionales que no existen con Medicare del gobierno. Muchos planes de Medicare Advantage ofrecen beneficios que Medicare del gobierno no ofrece incluyendo beneficios dentales, de visión (ojos), aparatos auditivos (oídos), ejercicios (Silver Sneakers), drogas sin receta (over-the-counter), transporte a los servicios de salud, entre otras cosas.

 

Llámenos al 813 626-0066 si quiere saber más.

En Palmas Clinic, colaboramos con compañías como Humana para mejorar la salud de nuestra población.

Lea más sobre las 5 cosas que debe hacer durante su primer año con Medicare

 

Medicare Advantage Plans – 5 Things you should know

Medicare Advantage Plans – 5 Things you should know and more…

 

At Palmas Clinic, our goal is to partner with our patients as they strive to achieve or maintain their best health. We care deeply about seniors and their healthcare and see ourselves as a practice that primarily cares for seniors – Medicare members – whether they are on Traditional (Original) Medicare with or without supplements or Medicare Advantage Plans.

We work very closely with some Medicare Advantage Plans due to the immense value we believe they bring to seniors. We see their value in quality of care, cost-effectiveness and love the focus on outcomes rather than the traditional fee-for-service arrangements that incentivize doctors to see many patients but with no checks and balances nor incentives to ensure that seniors are getting the best care and health outcomes.

Here are some things to consider whether you are an existing Medicare member or new to the Medicare program:

  1. Traditional Medicare requires you to pay 20% of the bill if and when you are treated at a hospital. Medicare Advantage plans eliminate the 20% financial burden and instead have relatively small daily co-pays for a set number of days in the hospital, after which they take care of the full bill. They also have a limit on how much money comes out of your pocket each year for hospital bills (these limits are regulated by the government but each plan may quote different numbers within the range permitted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – CMS)
  2. Drugs! Traditional Medicare DOES NOT cover drugs. You have to purchase a Part D drug plan separately if you are on original/traditional Medicare alone. Medicare Advantage Plans typically offer plans that include prescription drug coverage, with very few exceptions (there are a few plans that do not cover prescription drugs).
  3. Most Medicare Advantage plans have minimal out-of-pocket costs
  4. Medicare Advantage Plans partner with primary care physicians to deliver the best quality care and outcomes. Your doctors are rewarded if they make you healthier, not by how many patients they see.
  5. Added benefits! Most Medicare Advantage Plans offer benefits that are not available through traditional Medicare. Benefits like Dental Care, Vision, Hearing Aids, Exercise/Gym Programs (like Silver Sneakers), Over-the-counter drug benefits, Transportation, and the list goes on.

Call us at (813) 626-0066 if you want to learn more. We can help you enroll in a class that teaches you more about Medicare Advantage (when offered).

At Palmas Clinic, we partner with companies like Humana Health Plan to deliver the best quality of care to seniors in Tampa Bay. Learn more about Humana’s Bold Goal here.

Here are a few other things you should know about the Medicare Advantage program courtesy the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ website. If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan:

  1. You’re still in the Medicare Program.
  2. You still have Medicare rights and protections.
  3. You still get complete Part A and Part B coverage through the plan.
  4. You can only join a plan at certain times during the year. In most cases, you’re enrolled in a plan for a year.
  5. You can join a Medicare Advantage Plan even if you have a pre-existing condition, except for End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).
  6. You can check with the plan before you get a service to find out if it’s covered and what your costs may be.
  7. You must follow plan rules, like getting a referral to see a specialist to avoid higher costs if your plan requires it. The specialist you’re referred to must also be in the plan’s network. Check with the plan.
  8. If you go to a doctor, other health care provider, facility, or supplier that doesn’t belong to the plan’s network, your services may not be covered, or your costs could be higher. In most cases, this applies to Medicare Advantage HMOs and PPOs.
  9. Providers can join or leave a plan’s provider network anytime during the year. Your plan can also change the providers in the network anytime during the year. If this happens, you may need to choose a new provider.
  10. If you join a clinical research study, some costs may be covered by your plan. Call your plan for more information.Get your plan’s contact information from a Personalized Search (under General Search), or search by plan name.
  11. Medicare Advantage Plans can’t charge more than Original Medicare for certain services like chemotherapy, dialysis, and skilled nursing facility care.
  12. Medicare Advantage Plans have a yearly limit on your out-of-pocket costs for medical services. Once you reach this limit, you’ll pay nothing for covered services. This limit may be different between Medicare Advantage Plans and can change each year. You should consider this when choosing a plan.
  13. If the plan decides to stop participating in Medicare, you’ll have to join another Medicare health plan or return to Original Medicare

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