Skim Health: 5.26.17 May 26, 2017

Top health articles of interest circulating in the media this week, 5.26.17

As this Politico article highlights, your zip code can be one of the largest factors affecting your health. Dr. Prabhjot Singh, a physician in East Harlem, NY, notes that residents in the area die an average of 10 years earlier than those who live just a few blocks away in Manhattan. The strong connection between “safe and affordable housing and improved health” is the focus of recent studies, indicating a need for better living conditions alongside healthcare improvements.

According to this Well piece in The New York Times, sometimes all it takes is a small amount of weight loss to prevent diabetes. Dr. Rhonda Bentley-Lewis notes, “I stress to my patients that we’re not talking about a huge amount of weight, just 5 to 7 percent of one’s body weight,” — the equivalent of 10 to 14 pounds for a person weighing 200 lbs. While doctors often prescribe medication to prevent diabetes in overweight patients, a reasonable weight loss plan can offer preventive measures in pre-diabetic patients.

In this poignant NPR essay from a young woman who struggles with a seizure disorder, she comes to the realization that young people who often opt out of health insurance are hindering the ability of others to acquire affordable care. While many young people wish to see the country benefit from affordable care, she states, “I want my peers to realize that what keeps health care affordable for people like me is for those with fewer medical needs to sign up for insurance. Health insurance functions kind of like splitting a cab ride — the more people in the pool, the less it costs any one person.”

As discussions continue to swirl around the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, This Wired piece makes the case that “Denying Healthcare to Diabetics Makes Just About Zero Sense”. A condition affecting over 30 million Americans, types 1 & 2 diabetes can be the result of both genetic and environmental factors: not a ‘disease of choice’, as White House budget director, Mick Mulvaney, indicated last week to widespread criticism. Author Megan Molteni states for pointed reflection, “Would denying any of those patients access to affordable health insurance actually save the government money? The financial burden of diabetes comes primarily from its complications: heart disease, nerve damage, kidney failure.”

In The Washington Post’s staggering portrait, “The Painful Truth About Teeth,” the growing divide between wealthy Americans and those struggling for basic needs such as dental care can be seen in Salsbury, MD, during a two-day free dental clinic. The article paints a grim reality for many who fall below the poverty level in America: “Millions…rely on charity clinics and hospital emergency rooms to treat painful and neglected teeth. Unable to afford expensive root canals and crowns, many simply have them pulled. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans older than 65 do not have a single real tooth left.”

Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic provides medical care to eligible patients, just like any family practitioner or internist – but it is free. We serve uninsured adults living at or below 200 % of the Federal poverty level who live or work on Johns, Wadmalaw or James Islands. You can follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and YouTube.

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