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  • Improve your eyesight without surgery

    5 Ways to Improve Your Eyesight Naturally

    Forget surgery—these tips could help you improve your eyesight naturally

    Some of us are lucky enough to be born with near-perfect vision. These individuals will go through life never needing to wear glasses. Others aren’t so lucky and must shell out hundreds, if not thousands of dollars every year for contact lenses, reading glasses, bifocals, designer frames—you name it.

    When you’re tired of poking yourself in the eye while trying to put in your contacts while half-asleep, consider these five tips that may help you improve your eyesight naturally—or, at the very least, help protect your peepers from deteriorating any further.

    Eye exercises

    Since exercising your muscles makes you stronger, it makes sense that exercising your eyes will help them remain in tip-top shape. When your eyes begin to feel fatigued, perform these exercises to help wake them up and regain your focus:

    • Rolling: Look up, and then circle your eyes slowly 10 times in each direction.
    • Focusing: Grab a pen, hold it at arm’s length and focus on it. Slowly bring it towards you until it’s about six inches away, then slowly move it back to arm’s length. Repeat this 10 times.
    • Warming: Create heat by rubbing your palms together, then place them over your eyes for five seconds. Do this three times to help replenish your eyesight.

    Nutrition

    In much the same way that eating healthy foods will help you maintain a healthy weight, eating a balanced and nutritious diet can help preserve your eyesight for longer. Eyes need certain nutrients in order to work at their peak performance. Garlic, onions, shallots, and capers all contain sulfur, lecithin, and cysteine—all of which help your eyes to function properly. Other nutrients needed for healthy eyes include vitamins A, C, and E; minerals like copper and zinc; antioxidants like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin; and DHA fatty acids found in coldwater fish. Eat a good variety of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains for optimal eye health.

    Supplements

    Sometimes, it’s just not practical to get your fill of fruits and veggies throughout the day. And even if you do eat a relatively healthy diet, supplements can help provide you with those vitamins and minerals you might be lacking. For good eyesight, make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc, selenium, calcium, folic acid, lutein, thiamin, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids, alpha lipoic acid, and N-acetyl cysteine. Most health food stores should carry a vitamin containing all of these nutrients and more.

    Massage

    A massage feels incredible on tired, sore muscles—and it feels just as good on tired, sore eyes. Starting at your temples, massage slowly in small circles 20 times in each direction. Moving onto the mid-point of your eyebrows and then underneath your eyes on either side of the bridge of your nose, repeat the motion. Not only will this feel good after a particularly long day, but it’ll help sharpen your eyesight enough to get you through the day until bedtime.

    Sleep and rest

    Just like food and drink, our bodies can’t function properly without enough sleep. After a series of all-nighters, your eyesight is bound to suffer. Make sleeping seven to eight hours per night a priority. On those days where that’s just not going to happen, take a 20-minute catnap when you can. If you feel your eyes starting to strain during the workday, take a break to help your eyes recover. A good rule of thumb is 10 minutes of eye rest for every 50 minutes spent in front of a computer screen or reading.

     


  • CVS Caremark Charitable Trust Invests Millions of Dollars in Access to Health Care for Underserved Populations

    CVS Caremark Charitable Trust logo.  (PRNewsFoto/CVS Caremark Charitable Trust)The CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, a private foundation created by CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS), today announced the recipients of nearly 70 grants awarded to free and charitable clinics, school-based health centers (SBHCs) and community health centers as part of a $5 million commitment to increase access to health care in communities nationwide through partnerships with the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC), the School-Based Health Alliance and the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). The grant recipients will help increase access to health care and coordinated care to improve health outcomes for people of all ages across the country.

    CVS Caremark also commits to data sharing and providing insight into community health by launching a Community Health Barometer that will unveil the state of health care for underserved populations nationwide. The barometer will survey grant recipients and their patients on a quarterly basis to identify challenges in patient care, to monitor progress and the impact of health care services, uncover best practices in smoking cessation, to discover key trends in health care access and to develop an understanding of the evolving health care needs in local communities.

    “As the delivery of health care services evolves with an emphasis on better health outcomes, reducing chronic disease and controlling costs, it’s essential that we work closely with our community health partners, including free and charitable clinics, school-based health centers and community health centers, to help ensure that thousands of adults and children have access to health services right in their local communities,” said Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., M.P.H, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for CVS Caremark. “As a pharmacy innovation company that is committed to helping people on their path to better health, we are reinforcing our commitment to understand the state of community health and to identify where support is needed most and share insights on community health innovations that are creating positive health outcomes.”

    In alignment with CVS Caremark’s commitment to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy locations by October 1 as part of an effort to support the health and well-being of its patients and customers, the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust is supporting organizations that are providing cessation and anti-tobacco programs, including the following:

    • Centre Volunteers in Medicine (State College, PA)
    • Cherry Street Health Services (Grand Rapids, MI)
    • Faith Family Clinic (San Antonio, TX)
    • Project Vida Health Center (El Paso, TX)
    • Queens Care Health Centers (Los Angeles, CA)
    • St. Thomas Clinic (Franklin, IN)

    “Now more than ever, pharmacies are on the front lines of health care, becoming more involved in chronic disease management. All of these conditions are made worse by smoking which is the leading cause of illness and death in the United States with more than 480,000 deaths annually,” said Eileen Howard Boone, Senior Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy for CVS Caremark and President of the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust. “We are proud to be the first national pharmacy chain to take this step in support of the health and well-being of our patients and customers and are committed to working with the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics, the School-Based Health Alliance and the National Association of Community Health Centers that all share our commitment to help people who smoke to stop, and those who don’t to never start.”

    The funding from the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust in partnership with NAFC will enhance coordinated care models at free and charitable clinics to help improve the quality of care and health outcomes.

    The funding to school-based health centers will help ensure that kindergarteners through high school students can receive routine medical care, such as a flu shot, annual physical, eye exams, dental screenings, or speak to a mental health counselor.

    The second year of the “Innovations in Community Health” grant program in partnership with NACHC will support the development of innovative, community-based programs and initiatives that focus on the treatment and management of chronic illnesses, specifically heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and asthma as well as programs that are helping patients who have a co-morbidity of depression.

    National Association of Free & Charitable Clinic Grantees
    Free and charitable clinics receiving grants through the partnership with the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics include:

    • Arlington Free Clinic (Arlington, VA), in support of a program focused on measurement of health outcomes and patient compliance
    • The Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry’s Doctors’ Medical Clinic (Asheville, NC), in support of a program focused on a student teaching model and expanded patient care
    • Cape Fear Clinic (Wilmington, NC), in support of a program focused on expanded mental health services
    • Centre for Volunteers in Medicine (State College, PA), in support of a program focused on chronic disease management and medication compliance
    • Charlotte Community Health Clinic (Charlotte, NC), in support of a program focused on care coordination
    • Clinic by the Bay (San Francisco, CA), in support of a program focused on chronic disease management
    • CommunityHealth Chicago (Chicago, IL), in support of a program focused on diabetes management
    • Community Health Services of Union County (Monroe, NC), in support of a program focused on electronic medical record services and improved patient communication
    • Community Volunteers in Medicine (West Chester, PA), in support of a program focused on chronic disease management
    • Faith Family Clinic (San Antonio, TX), in support of a program focused on chronic disease management and education
    • Family Health Partnership Clinic (Crystal Lake, IL), in support of a program focused on chronic disease management
    • Fan Free Clinic (Richmond, VA), in support of a program focused on diabetes management and wellness
    • Free Medical Clinic of DuBois (DuBois, PA), in support of a program focused on expanded patient care
    • Gloucester-Matthews Free Clinic (Hayes, VA), in support of a program focused on chronic disease management
    • Good Samaritan Clinic (Morganton, NC), in support of a program focused on chronic disease management
    • Grace Medical Home (Orlando, FL), in support of a program focused on care coordination
    • Greenville Free Medical Clinic (Greenville, SC), in support of a program focused on comprehensive health care
    • Harrisonburg Rockingham Free Clinic (Harrisonburg, VA) in support of a program focused on expanded patient care
    • Healing Hands Ministries (Dallas, TX), in support of a program focused on care coordination
    • Health and Hope Clinics (Pensacola, FL), in support of a program focused on care coordination
    • Health Care Clinic at Eva’s Village (Paterson, NJ), in support of a program focused on expanded patient care
    • Health Intervention Services (Grand Rapids, MI), in support of a program focused on expanded bilingual patient services
    • Helping Hands Health and Wellness Center (Columbus, OH), in support of a program focused on expanded electronic health record services
    • Lackey Free Clinic (Yorktown, VA), in support of a program focused on diabetes management and education
    • Lake County Free Clinic (Painesville, OH), in support of a program focused on expanded patient care
    • Mercy Community Services Outreach Center (Rochester, NY), in support of a program focused on care coordination
    • Metro West Free Medical Program (Sudbury, MA), in support of a program focused on expanded patient care
    • North Coast Health Ministry (Lakewood, OH), in support of a program focused on chronic disease management
    • PediPlace (Lewisville, TX), in support of a program focused on access to health care for children
    • Reach Out Montgomery (Dayton, OH), in support of a program focused on care coordination
    • San Jose Clinic (Houston, TX), in support of a program focused on weight management and wellness
    • St. Petersburg Free Clinic (St. Petersburg, FL), in support of a program focused on diabetes management and education
    • St. Thomas Clinic (Franklin, IN), in support of a program focused on diabetes, tobacco-use and asthma care coordination
    • St. Vincent Clinic/St. Vincent De Paul Community Pharmacy (Cincinnati, OH), in support of a program focused on expanded pharmacy services
    • Volunteers in Medicine in Pennsylvania (Wilkes-Barre, PA), in support of a program focused on care coordination
    • Volunteers in Medicine in Southern Nevada (Las Vegas, NV), in support of a program focused on innovative pulmonary health services
    • Volunteers in Medicine San Diego (El Cajon, CA), in support of a program focused on obesity management

    School-Based Health Alliance Grantees
    School-based health centers receiving grants through the New Directions for School-Based Health Care partnership with the School-Based Health Alliance include:

    • Erie Family Health Center (Chicago, IL), in support of a program focused on care coordination and patient-centered medical home recognition
    • Family Health Centers of San Diego (San Diego, CA), in support of a program focused on  youth and adult health education
    • Health Choice Network of Florida, Inc. (Miami, FL), in support of a program focused on shared data strategies regarding serving at-risk children
    • Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing in partnership with a health facility Loyola University Health System (LUHS)-Trinity CHE (Chicago, IL), in support of a mental health outreach and intervention program
    • New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Center for Community Health and Education (New York, NY), in support of a program focused on care coordination and patient-centered medical home
    • Project Vida Health Center (El Paso, TX), in support of smoking cessation programs for youth and adults
    • Sisters of Charity Hospital (Buffalo, NY), in support of a program focused on school-based health center financial analysis
    • Thundermist Health Center (Woonsocket, RI), in support of a program focused on absenteeism,  high-risk and disciplinary action
    • Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation School Health Initiative of the University of Miami (Miami, FL), in support of a program focused on financial analysis and coordinated care

    National Association of Community Health Centers Grantees
    Community health centers receiving grants through the partnership with the National Association of Community Health Centers include:

    • Adelante Healthcare (Phoenix, AZ), in support of a program focused on diabetes care coordination
    • The Dimock Center (Roxbury, MA), in support of a program focused on hypertension management and care coordination
    • Beaufort Jasper Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, Inc. (Ridgeland, SC), in support of a program focused on diabetes and hypertension management and education
    • Berks Community Health Center (Reading, PA), in support of a program focused on hypertension and diabetes management and medication adherence
    • Brockton Neighborhood Health Center (Brockton, MA), in support of a program focused on diabetes management
    • Cherry Street Health Services (Grand Rapids, MI), in support of a program focused on electronic health records services and care coordination
    • Community Health Centers of Greater Dayton (Dayton, OH), in support of a program focused on the use of technology in the treatment of chronic disease management
    • East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (East Boston, MA), in support of a program focused on hypertension management
    • Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center (Worcester, MA), in support of a program focused on diabetes management
    • Family Care Health Center (St. Louis, MO), in support of a program focused on hypertension, diabetes and depression management
    • Lana’i Community Health Center (Lanai City, HI), in support of a program focused on telemedicine
    • Legacy Community Health Centers, Inc. (Houston, TX), in support of a program focused on diabetes and depression care coordination
    • Lifelong Medical Center (Berkeley, CA), in support of a program focused on diabetes management
    • Near North Health Service Corporation (Chicago, IL), in support of a program focused on diabetes, depression, tobacco-use and HIV/AIDS care coordination
    • Neighborhood Healthcare (Escondido, CA), in support of a program focused on diabetes management
    • North County Health Project, Inc. (San Marcos, CA), in support of a program focused on diabetes management communication
    • ODA Primary Health Care Network (Brooklyn, NY), in support of a program focused on diabetes management
    • Open Door Family Medical Centers (Ossining, NY), in support of a program focused on behavioral health services for asthma, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease management
    • QueensCare Health Care (Los Angeles, CA), in support of a program focused on pediatric asthma management
    • St. James Santee Family Health Center, Inc. (McClellanville, SC), in support of a program focused on hypertension management
    • Su Clinica (Harlingen, TX), in support of a program focused on diabetes medication therapy management
    • Sunset Community Health Center, Inc. (Yuma, AZ), in support of a program focused on diabetes management
    • West County Health Centers (Guerneville, CA), in support of a program focused on a social networking platform for obesity and diabetes management and education

    For more information, please visit www.cvscaremark.com/healthinaction.

    About CVS Caremark
    CVS Caremark is dedicated to helping people on their path to better health as the largest integrated pharmacy company in the United States. Through the company’s more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores; its leading pharmacy benefit manager serving more than 60 million plan members; and its retail health clinic system, the largest in the nation with more than 800 MinuteClinic locations, it is a market leader in mail order, retail and specialty pharmacy, retail clinics, and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans. As a pharmacy innovation company with an unmatched breadth of capabilities, CVS Caremark continually strives to improve health and lower costs by developing new approaches such as its unique Pharmacy Advisor program that helps people with chronic diseases such as diabetes obtain and stay on their medications. Find more information about how CVS Caremark is reinventing pharmacy for better health at http://info.cvscaremark.com/.

    About the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics
    The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC) is the only nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is solely focused on the issues and needs of more than 1,200 Free and Charitable Clinics and the people they serve in the United States.  Founded in 2001 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., the NAFC is an effective advocate for the issues and concerns of Free and Charitable Clinics, their volunteer workforce of doctors, dentists, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, technicians and other health care professionals, as well as the patients served by Free and Charitable Clinics in communities throughout the nation. For more information, go to www.nafcclinics.org.

    About the School-Based Health Alliance
    The School-Based Health Alliance was founded in 1995 and is the national voice for school-based health centers (SBHCs). Built from the grassroots up by individuals from state and federal government agencies, national and regional foundations, child health and education organizations, and SBHCs, we are a true reflection of the field we support. The School-Based Health Alliance advocates for national policies, programs, and funding to expand and strengthen SBHCs, while also supporting the movement with training and technical assistance. For more information, please visit www.sbh4all.org.

    About the National Association of Community Health Centers
    Founded in 1970, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance and expand access to quality, community-responsive health care for America’s medically underserved and uninsured.  NACHC represents the nation’s network of over 1,200 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) which serve over 22 million people through over 9,000 sites located in all of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. For more information on the National Association of Community Health Centers, please visit http://www.nachc.com/.


  • Elder Care Facilities: The Difference Between a Retirement Home and a Nursing Home 24/7

    If you are faced with the challenge of choosing elderly care accommodation, either for your own care needs, or for an aged parent or relative, then you may need some help to differentiate between the types of elder care facilities available to you. There are some important differences between types of residential care for seniors.

    Nursing Home

    A nursing home, otherwise referred to as a skilled nursing facility (SNF), offers specialist medical healthcare and full-time nursing care by licensed nurses as well as general personal care. A nursing home has qualified nurses on the premises at all times to ensure adequate medical care can be administered. A registered nursing home will also have a licensed medical physician on staff, who will oversee patient treatment.

    Nursing homes are often a required step for senior care following a hospital stay, where 24-7 nursing treatment, is still necessary. A place in a skilled nursing facility may also be the best option if your elderly parent has a degenerative medical condition that is going to require progressive treatment.

    Retirement Home

    A retirement home, or assisted living community, will not offer the same level of medical healthcare as a nursing home. These types of facilities more often cater to providing general personal and custodial care. Care assistants will help residents with things like dressing, bathing, toileting and moving around. A retirement home is a very social environment, where many activities are available to help keep an old person stimulated. Companionship can play a major role in a retirement home, where elders who have been living alone, have the opportunity to have company. The retirement home will not provide 24-7 medical healthcare treatment, but often will oversee the administration of routine medications, and will have licensed physician to call upon should the need arise.

     

     

     


  • Don’t Let a Headache Keep You Down

      Millions of people visit their doctor for relief from common headaches. In fact, this is possibly the most prevalent reason for people to see their doctors. Headaches come in a variety of types, intensity, and duration. Some are hormonally driven for women in relationship to their monthly cycles. Other types of headache pain may stem from sinus problems, medication use, or even food allergies. Stress, caffeine, and alcohol consumption may trigger head pain. Your head may ache on one or both sides, at the crown, or even around the neck and shoulder areas. There is no single source of headache pain, and they may even occur in clusters and form migraine patterns, including blurred vision, odd scents, and dizziness.

    So what can a person do for a bad headache? The best thing is to prevent one, if possible. Start by keeping a small diary of when your headaches come, the circumstances surrounding them, and how long they last. Take note also of the things that make them seem better or worse, along with any treatment you use that is successful. Some headaches are illness-borne and thus cannot be avoided, but many are due to lifestyle issues that can be successfully managed.

    For example, if your diary suggests that you often get a headache after eating Chinese food, you might be sensitive to MSG, a common ingredient found in Chinese dishes that sometimes causes headaches or other disturbances in certain individuals. Or, if you experience a headache upon arising certain times of the year, especially when sleeping with the windows open, you may have a sinus-related condition that will benefit from closed windows or medication.

    If stress is causing headaches, learn what your triggers are and take steps to avoid them. It may be that dealing with an argumentative coworker often brings on one of your spells. Take steps to avoid that person or play down the conflict. When the opportunity comes up, ask for a transfer to another department. Take similar steps to offset stressful situations in your life that can be downplayed in ways like this.

    Your doctor may be able to recommend lifestyle changes that may reduce the frequency or intensity of your discomfort. For example, daily exercise may improve circulation and reduce stress, thereby helping to prevent headache pain. Eating healthier foods that contain few preservatives is another common recommendation that seems to help a lot of people. Keeping a journal and writing about negative events several times a week keeps you from bottling them up where they can play havoc with your nerve impulses and possibly contribute to the development of headaches.

    When you take a proactive stance in identifying headache sources and learning how to head them off, you will soon feel better and experience fewer symptoms. Ask your doctor for more information on preventing or reducing headache pain.