ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Using a Balloon to Repair a Broken Back
Bone Density Predicts Chances of Breast Cancer
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
CANCER
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
What Moms Learned May Be Passed to Offspring
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
DIABETES
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
DIET, NUTRITION
For Fitness, Cutting Calories May Not Be Enough
The High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Debate
Marinades Help Keep Grilled Meat Safe
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Air Pollution May Cause Appendicitis: Study Reveals
Arsenic in Drinking Water Raises Diabetes Risk
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
EYE CARE, VISION
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
FITNESS
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Almost Two-Thirds of Americans Meet Exercise Guidelines
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Irregular Heartbeat Tied to Alzheimer's Disease
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk
Quick Orthopedic Repair Can Save Young Shoulders
Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Brain Scans Show How Humans 'Hear' Emotion
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
SENIORS
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
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Be Healthy, Spend Less

MONDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) -- Most people are cutting back in these tough economic times, trying to save more and make do with less. But can you cut back when it comes to your health?

As it turns out, experts say you can -- if you're smart about it. There are ways to save money, they say, while still eating healthily, staying physically fit and receiving needed medical care.

Health Care

It's possible to save on health care, but skipping regular checkups and screenings to avoid an insurance co-pay isn't one of them, said Dr. Thomas J. Weida, professor in the Penn State College of Medicine's Department of Family and Community Medicine.

Those checkups and screenings are meant to look for health problems that, if nipped in the bud, will cost a lot less to treat than if they're allowed to get worse. "It's almost like a leak in a pipe," Weida said. "It usually doesn't go away by itself, and it can only get bigger. It's a lot easier to treat things earlier than later."

Strategies that Weida suggests for cutting health-care costs include:

* Discuss switching to cheaper medications. "If they're on chronic medicines, they should have a talk with their doctor about switching to cheaper alternatives or cutting back on dosage or number of pills," he said. "I'll often try to work with patients to see what I can get for them on these $4 prescription lists that some chains offer."
* Stay out of the emergency department. "That chews up a lot of money," Weida said. "Having an established family doc is critical to doing that. If you go into the emergency room with a cough, bringing up yellow mucus, you're almost always going to get a chest X-ray. I may treat you but say, 'Hey, if you're not getting better in a few days, give me a call and maybe we need an X-ray.' That's because I have the benefit of follow-up."
* Treat colds and flu at home. "A lot of what we see are colds and viruses and flu and things like that," Weida said. "If that is following its usual course with you, then you probably don't need to see the doc on that. Come see your doc if you are experiencing worse symptoms or different symptoms."
* Call for advice. "Sometimes just a phone call asking the doc handles the question," Weida said. "We do a lot of advice over the phone."

Diet

Cutbacks can be made in the food arena, too. "You can eat healthy and still stay on a budget," said Bethany Thayer, a registered dietician and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "It just takes a little bit of extra planning and a little bit of extra thought."

Thayer's advice includes:

* Prepare more of your own food. "Make as much as you can from scratch because the prepackaged foods are often the most expensive," she said.
* Have a plan at the supermarket. "Don't go to the grocery story hungry, and go with a list," she said. "These things can help you stay on track."
* Take advantage of seasonal produce. "Produce that's in-season is going to be a little bit cheaper than off-season produce," Thayer said. "Also, when buying perishables, make sure you're only buying what you're going to consume. If it's on special but you buy more than you'll consume, you haven't really saved any money."
* Stockpile non-perishables. Thayer suggests stocking up on canned foods when they're on sale. "Fruits and vegetables can sometimes be cheaper because they'll last longer than the fresh," she said. "Buying food in bulk is good if it doesn't spoil before you use it."
* Buy inexpensive sources of needed nutrients. "Beans are a very inexpensive source of protein and fiber, and very versatile," Thayer said. "There are many varieties of beans, and you can do many things with them." Popcorn and oatmeal are inexpensive grain options, and nonfat dry milk is a cheap source of dairy and "a great thing to have on hand," Thayer said. "It's inexpensive, and it's got shelf life. You just mix it up when you need it."

Exercise

You don't need a pricey gym membership to keep fit, said Michael Esco, an exercise physiology instructor at Auburn University Montgomery in Alabama.

"The thing people need to realize is for general health, physical activity is what's recommended," Esco said. "That's any bodily movement that results in energy expenditure. For health, we don't really have to go to the gym."

To keep physically fit on the cheap, Esco recommends that people:

* Buy a pedometer. A simple device, which can be bought for less than $20, can spur more activity. "Studies find that just by wearing the pedometer, people walk an extra mile to two miles a day," Esco said.
* Get a jump-rope. "It's a less-expensive device that can really get your heart rate up," he said. "You can achieve a comparable workout to what a gym would give you."
* Buy a bicycle trainer. The equipment turns a regular bike into a stationary bike and can be tucked away when not in use. "For $100 or less, you can have a stationary bike with a bike you've just got laying around," Esco said.
* Use your own body weight, or cheap alternatives, as resistance. "People can go a long way doing push-ups, sit-ups and body weight squats," Esco said. Heavy cans of vegetables, bottles filled with water or sand and inexpensive elastic bands also can provide weight resistance.
* Purchase a physioball. "You can do all sorts of exercises with these balls: push-ups, crunches, squats," Esco said. "Those are also cheap, less than $40."

SOURCES: Thomas J. Weida, M.D., professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Penn State College of Medicine, and medical director, University Physicians Group, Hershey, Pa.; Bethany Thayer, R.D., Huntington Woods, Mich.; Michael Esco, instructor, Department of Physical Education and Exercise Science, Auburn University Montgomery, Montgomery, Ala.