ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
CANCER
More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
HPV Vaccine Has Higher Allergic Reaction Rate
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
CAREGIVING
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
Caregivers Face Multiple Strains Tending Older Parents
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
DIABETES
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
DIET, NUTRITION
Red Meat No No No But Oily Fish Yes Yes Yes
Purple Tomato Extended Lives of Cancer-Prone Mice
Vitamin B12 Key to Aging Brain
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Cleaning House May Be Risky for Women With Asthma
Common Pesticide Tied to Development Delays in Kids
Exposure to 9/11 Fumes Tied to Chronic Headaches
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
FITNESS
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
Higher Fitness Levels Tied to Lower Heart, Death Risks
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Afternoon Nap Might Make You Smarter
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
Swine Flu Fatality Rate a 'Little Bit' Higher Than That of Seasonal Flu
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Small Cuts in Salt Intake Spur Big Drops in Heart Trouble
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
SENIORS
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Add your Article

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.