Health Insurance Plans For Central Florida Residents

Finding a knowledgeable local agent is the first step in getting the best deals on your health insurance. He or she, can show you how your present coverage compares to what is presently available to you based on your medical history and your budget. Did you know that insurance companies actually penalize you for staying with them for more then a couple of years? That’s correct, the rate you are paying now is probably higher then what someone new would be paying for the same coverage with your present insurer. That’s why it’s important to shop for better coverage every couple of yeats and to stay as healthy as you can.

The first thing you need to do is to work together to find what you are looking for. Then you need to get a list of realistic quotes based on your medical history and budget. Whether it’s a health insurance plan for a Central Florida resident, life insurance or even disability, the final premium decision is left to the Underwriter. This is where the experience of an Independent Agent is extremely helpful. You need to be aware from the beginning of what to expect in terms of your final premium so you can make an informed decision of which plan to choose.

No one company has the “best” health insurance plan available

Health insurance in Florida is a highly competitive market. Each insurer survives by capturing market share where others have failed. Let’s take a quick look at an example of how this works. Take the XYZ health insurance company. They have an “A” rating from A.M Best and they are a national, Fortune 500 company with great earnings and a long track record. As are several other health insurers in Florida to be sure. But a savvy agent realizes that each insurer has a price advantage in certain situations. In this case, the XYZ Company has great rates if you have a family with three or more children. The reason they do is because they have a flat rate for families. This gives them an advantage because other companies charge you per child.

What about preexisting conditions? Did you know some carriers only have a six (6) month “look-back” provision while others employ a 12 month look-back for preexisting conditions. Height and weight issues? Or how about child only coverage? These are all areas where the services of an experienced local health insurance agent that is a Central Florida resident as well.

This is the type of information that is valuable to someone shopping for health insurance that the ordinary person shopping on his own does not pick up on.

Maybe it’s time to take the guess work out choosing your next Florida health insurance plan.

If you are looking into health insurance plans for Central Florida residents, then it’s a good idea to get started checking rates online from a Central Florida website. Remember though, checking rates from the top insurers is only the starting point. Good Florida health insurance agents are not easy to come by, especially one right here in your back yard.

Review of Top Health Insurance Plans For Central Florida Residents

When you are looking for health insurance coverage, being able to access a review of top health insurance plans for Central Florida residents is a great advantage. Any good review of the top health insurance plans for Central FL residents will include information such as ranking of plans by an independent source and information on the financial strength of each company. Put knowledge and research to work for you in your search for health care insurance by checking out this review of top health insurance companies for Central Florida residents.

Aetna

A.M. Best, one of the leading independent insurance ratings companies gives Aetna Health – Florida an A rating in financial strength.

According to the USA News and World Report’s 2007 list of best health plan, the HMO and POS plans of Aetna Health – Florida come in at #133 nationwide, with a score of 82.5 out of 100.

CIGNA

A.M. Best ranks CIGNA Healthcare of Florida an A-, which is considered to be a stable rating in terms of financial strength.

CIGNA Healthcare of Florida’s HMO and POS plans ranked #121 in the USA News report and its score was 82.9 out of 100.

Humana One

According to A.M. Best, Humana has an A- insurance rating, indicating that it is financially stable.

Humana Medical Plan of Florida (HMO and POS) came in # 194 on the USA News listing, with a score of 80.3.

Health Options Inc.

Health Options Inc. has a stable A financial rating with A.M. Best.

According to USA News, Health Options Inc., the Florida HMO, came in at #140 in the list of best health plans with a score of 82.4.

United Healthcare

A.M. Best also gives United Healthcare of Florida an A rating in financial stability.

United Health Care of Florida’s HMO and POS plans were #138 on USA News’ list and its score was also 82.4.

Go Online To Compare The Best Central Florida Health Insurance Plans

When you have read through this review of the top health insurance plans for Central Florida, you are ready to start shopping. Use an online quote tool to get started now and in no time, you will be comparing prices for these great plans and more.

Be sure and compare quotes from at least 3 different companies in order to find the best plan. Get started finding and comparing health insurance companies today!

Where You Live Makes a Difference When Buying Individual Health Insurance in Pennsylvania

Aetna (southeastern PA including Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley) is one of the largest health insurance companies in the country. They have over 150 years experience in the insurance industry. That is why 40 million members access health insurance through Aetna nationwide.

Aetna offers a wide array of health insurance options to individuals and families in Eastern Pennsylvania. Aetna offers affordable insurance plans in every U.S. state. Here are some of Aetna’s plans:

o PPO (Preferred Provider Organizations). PPOs give you the flexibility and freedom to get care from any physician or hospital – you’ll have insurance coverage with all health care providers. But if you choose doctors in the Aetna’s nationwide network, you’ll save money on your health care costs.

o Preventative and Hospital Care. These plans provide coverage for routine physicals, hospital admission, and outpatient surgeries – with flexible deductibles.

o HSA Compatible. Many of Aetna’s health plans are compatible with Health Savings Accounts – where you can save money tax-free for your health care expenses.

Capital Blue Cross (Harrisburg, Lancaster, Central PA and the Lehigh Valley) offers health insurance plans in Central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. They have an extensive network of Physicians and Hospitals. For great value and access in Harrisburg, Lancaster, Allentown, Bethlehem or Easton you should consider Capital Blues.

First Priority Health, (Northeastern PA, the Wyoming Valley) administered by Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The name Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is synonymous with quality health care coverage. For more than 70 years, residents in 13 counties of northeastern and north central Pennsylvania have enjoyed the security and peace of mind that comes from enrolling in a First Priority Healthplan.

Geisinger Health Plan (Northeastern PA, Poconos, Lehigh Valley and Central PA) a not-for-profit health maintenance organization (HMO) serves the health-care needs of members in 42 counties throughout central and northeastern Pennsylvania. Begun in 1985, the Health Plan has steadily evolved into one of the nation’s largest rural HMOs by providing high quality, affordable health-care benefits.
If you’re looking for comprehensive health insurance coverage at a competitive cost, the smart choice is Geisinger Health Plan. They offer coverage for businesses of all sizes and individuals & families.

Golden Rule, a United Healthcare Company, (Southeastern PA including Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley and Erie) is providing quality, affordable health plans with a host of different coverage types. Individuals and Families of all backgrounds have an opportunity to get quality health insurance at a rate they can afford. The UnitedHealthOne health insurance plans are popular because many of the plans offer the same or similar coverage as United HealthCare’s group plans. Golden Rule health insurance provides excellent value to individuals and families. More and more people in Philadelphia, Allentown, Erie and throughout the Lehigh and Delaware Valley are turning to UnitedHealthOne administered by Golden Rule for affordable health care coverage.

Health America One (Central and Western PA including Pittsburgh) is committed to maintaining excellence, respect, and integrity in all aspects of their operations and their professional and business conduct. They strive to reflect the highest ethical standards in their relationships with members, providers, and shareholders.

HealthAmerica plans are a smart choice for individual and family insurance coverage. This carrier offers a range of deductibles and coinsurances. Health America One offers members clear, affordable coverage, easy to understand plans that are designed by your needs and lifestyle, low co-pays and deductibles, and wellness and preventive programs.

Independence Blue Cross (Southeastern PA including Philadelphia) provides HMO, POS and PPO plans for individuals and families living in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Knowledge Management in Health Care Using Semantic Web Technology

Introduction:At present time various types of databases are available in medical science. These databases are heterogeneous and distributed, due to which utilization of available knowledge which is present in form of data, is not achieved properly. By integrating these data, its utilization can be increased effectively. For drugs related information which is quite distributed and heterogeneous, such type of integration can be used to develop an effective knowledge base. Currently, to retrieve information like originality of a drug, ingredient details etc are tedious work and are complex. Due to lack of proper information or knowledge, it is very difficult to restrict counterfeiting of drugs. In recent survey FDA found that counterfeit medicines are estimated as more than 10% of the global medicines market. In some developing countries it is thought to be as high as 50%. This practice causes several deaths world wide.

It also diminishes public confidence in both health care providers and the medicine supply chain. Currently, there are several techniques used to check originality of drugs. RFID technique is one among several techniques to identify the counterfeited medicines. In this technique, an electronic chip is used that emits radio frequency waves encoding a specific code or ID. This information is captured by a specialized chip reader at several node of supply chain. The major problem with RFID technology is its cost and readability. Another technique for drug identification is ePedigree (Electronic Pedigree). This technique is still under development and not implemented till now. In this technique some pedigree standards are used, which keep track of the drug supply chain. As the product moves down the supply chain, each company is required to carry forward all previous epedigree information. In this way, the final point of sale has the complete lineage of every unit. Proposed system is similar to epedigree but basic difference is use of semantic webstandards. Proposed system uses semantic web techniques to keep track of entire supply chain. Along with providing information about originality of medicine, it also provides all related information to a particular drug.

Design of the framework: The entire framework is based on semantic web concept. The framework has various modules like drug search engine, drug verification, drug transaction at various level of supply chain, etc. Drug verification module enables user to perform drug verification. By entering batch number (or any unique identifier of the salable unit) and medicine name user will be able to verify whether a drug is original or not. Similarly using drug search engine one can get every detail associated with particular drug. Drugs transaction module will be present at various level of drug supply chain. Every node of the supply chain will have its one transaction page. All portals will be associated with a centralized system. This centralized system interacts with portals and databases. Centralized system interacts with databases directly. But whenever data is requested by centralized system, it will be first transformed into RDF format; afterwards it will be given to the system. So, the framework is totally independent of format of the data. Data can be in the form of PDF, WebPages, Spreadsheets, but finally it will be given to system in homogeneous format i.e. RDF format.

How semantic web is used to design the framework: Before coming on this point let’s first discuss about semantic web and its components. Semantic Web is in development since 1990s when commercial Internet applications were still unimaginable by many business people. In its essence it is an extension of the technologies that brought the World Wide Web (WWW) to life. The Semantic Web was thought up by Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the WWW, URIs, a way that’s easy for humans to understand. Even though they are central to creating and maintaining the Web, the computers themselves really can’t make sense of all this information. They can’t read, see relationships or make decisions like humans can. The Semantic Web proposes to help computers “read” and use the Web. The big idea is pretty simple metadata added to Web pages can make the existing World Wide Web machine readable.It will give machines tools to find exchange and interpret the information. The semantic web will bring structure to the web and make it a much more useful and user-friendly resource. At its heart, it’s just a way to describe things in a way that a computer can understand. Now, coming on the component of the semantic web, the core components of semantic web technology are:

1. XML as generic serialization syntax with mature tool support,
2. RDF as a data model for the representation of Semantic Networks in a distributed fashion,
3. Ontology languages like RDF-S, OWL, for the representation of a domain of discourse.

Resource Description Framework (RDF): It is a language for representing information about resources that reside in and can be HTTP, and HTML. Today, a great deal of human interpretation is required to understand much of the information conveyed as hypertext on Web pages. The sites that are visited every day use natural language, images and page layout to present information in accessed via the internet infrastructure. RDF gives a way to make statements that are machine- processable. An RDF statement is like a simple sentence, except that almost all the words are URIs. Each RDF statement has three parts: a subject, a property and an object. Let’s make a sentence readable to a computer:

“Bextra is manufactured by Pfizer”. Here the statement “Bextra is manufactured by Pfizer.” can be divided into triplets. “Bextra” is a subject, “Pfizer” is object and “manufactured by” is a property.

How to restrict counterfeiting of drug in supply chain:
Counterfeited medicine can be intruded at any level of the supply chain. To keep track of a particular medicine, it is needed to make all transaction through a centralized system. Since all nodes of supply chain will be related to each other in class, subclass hierarchy, so every single node will be aware its predecessor and successor nodes.The centralized system keeps track of total number of particular type of drugs supplied to or from one node to another node. So, centralized system closely monitors that how many drugs are sold from previous node to a node and how many drugs are sold from that node to next node. Whenever number or quantity of drug at a node crosses particular limit automatically further transaction at that node will be restricted.When drug’s quantity reaches at particular limit (here it is 0) at pharmacy, automatically system restricts it from further transaction. When pharmacy requests for supply of drugs to city distributor then, city distributor grants permission to pharmacy and drugs are supplied. Now, the restriction imposed at pharmacy level is invoked and transactions restart. So, by this fashion intrusion of counterfeited drugs can be restricted at various level of supply chain.

Result and Discussion: Medical data like drug information which is quite scattered and distributed can be brought together to generate an effective knowledgebase. This knowledge base can be used to perform variety of task like drug search, restriction of counterfeited drug etc. The developed framework brings data from various sources and it provides a common platform to perform various operations like drug verification, drug search, content wise search of drugs, and transaction of medicine at different level of supply chain. It also enables user (administrator) to store information about medicines in RDF format. Since all details about medicine are in standard RDF format so, precise search result can be generated easily.

The developed framework is quite effective than other existing methodologies in preventing counterfeiting of medicines. The major advantage of the developed system is its availability. It is easily available to a common man. It does not need laboratory or complex instruments. Also, it will be cost effective for all its stake holders. It needs first time investment, otherwise it will available to user at very nominal price. Since entire application will be available on World Wide Web so, it is accessible form every place. In fact end user can use hand held device like mobile phones to access it. Another factor which provides edge to the developed system over other methodology is reliability. Since entire application will be monitored by centralized system so, there is very less chance for error.

There are some issues like security, transaction control, and traffic management, exist which are major concerns for the developed system. But these issues can be sort out by little research and work.

Conclusion: Technologies like semantic web can be used to provide enhanced and reliable health care service since it associates meaning to the data so, it is effective in generation of knowledge base to manage various aspect of the health care system. Restriction of counterfeited medicine is an important aspect of health care system and it can be effectively achieved using this technology. By restricting intrusion of counterfeited medicine in supply chain, it is possible to save several lives.At the same time from the commercial point of view; it would be very helpful for the drug industry in restricting the loss of possible revenues due to counterfeiting. Also it helps to build confidence of people in healthcare system.

Valley Fever In the Central Valley

Valley fever is considered, by most people in the health industry, a silent epidemic because the spread of the disease is not clearly detected. Most people who might have the disease show no symptoms or display symptoms that are identical to other diseases like the flu, pneumonia, and sometimes even as cancer. Valley fever has become an increasing problem in the US, but namely in the Central Valley. The main behaviors contributing to the rising valley fever problem in the Central Valley include not enough groups raising awareness in the community about the disease and misdiagnosis from health care professionals.

So what is valley fever? Valley fever is a fungal disease caused by the soil-dwelling fungus called Coccidioides immitis. The fungus prefers to reside within hot, dry, and dusty regions and is therefore prominent in the Central Valley. It is saprobic in soil, meaning that it will eat dead matter, and it becomes parasitic once it enters the body. The fungus tends to be located in rodent burrows. It is not known why exactly but it is theorized that this is because desert rodents are resistant carriers of the pathogen and are able to spread the spores of the fungus throughout the burrows and the fungus is able to live off the rodents’ excrements. When the rodents die, the fungus can then colonize in their body, use it as food, and also utilize the body as a source for the spreading of spores. Normally, these fungal spores can be inhaled through dust when soil is disturbed and will settle within the lungs where they then transform into larger, multicellular structures called spherules. Spherules leech off the nutrients in the lungs and grow until they burst, releasing more spores. These spores repeat the process, causing the fungus to vastly multiply within the lungs. This multiplication may lead to spreading of the spores outside of the lungs and throughout the skin, bones and the membranes surrounding the brain, causing meningitis. When the fungus spreads outside of the lungs, it is known as disseminated valley fever.

There are certain groups of people in the Central Valley who are more severely afflicted by valley fever. This includes individuals 23 to 55 years of age, people who work outside in the fields or at construction sites and definitely field workers who speak little English. Hispanic farm workers are greatly affected due to lack of awareness and resources. This is a grand problem because the Central Valley has a vast population of field workers who are Hispanic with limited English capability. This dilemma causes structural violence because the poor immigrant field workers lack awareness of the disease and their employers do not provide them with the proper protective gear and information, putting the field workers in high risk conditions. Employers themselves may not know or are simply trying to save money. However, the groups of people most likely to develop disseminated valley fever are African Americans and Asian/Pacific Islanders. Studies on lab mice has shown that overexpression of the cytokine IL-10, a cytokine responsible in suppressing hyperactive immune responses in the body, led to mice who got injected the disease to acquire disseminated valley fever. Humans also express IL-10 so it is speculated that African Americans and Asian/Pacific Islanders may produce a lot of IL-10, allowing the fungus to proliferate in their bodies while remaining undetected by the immune system.

Research evidence shows 111,717 reported cases in the US between 1998 – 2011. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates about 150,000 cases of valley fever go unreported each year due to lack of awareness. California Department of Public Health reported 4,094 valley fever cases in California in 2012. Over 75% of valley fever cases from California come from the people who live in the Central Valley. Just recently, 3,000 prisoners in San Joaquin Valley had to be transferred due to risk of valley fever after some other inmates contracted the disease, indicating the possibility of the fungus harboring close to the jail.

There are certain current behaviors in the Central Valley that have led to the valley fever becoming such a big problem. At the individual level, workers find it easy and a convenience to not use proper masks when working outside in areas with coccidioidomycosis (scientific name of valley fever) spores. At the organizational level, organizations like the United Farm Workers have not been able to fight hard enough to come to agreement with farmers to provide proper protection for their workers. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District also does not have enough restrictions established on how much farmers are allowed to disrupt soil, which does not set a limit to the amount of coccidioidomycosis spores released. Regulating this would help prevent and lower cases of Valley Fever. A major behavioral problem is that healthcare providers are not knowledgeable about the disease thus leading to many misdiagnoses.

Consequences that can be used to ensure that workers use protection when working outside is to have a system put in place where they can be fired or punished by their employer if they are caught not wearing a mask. In order to get organizations like United Farm Workers to petition for more change on protection against coccidioidomycosis spores is to have all the workers in the union stop funding them if they do not represent their worries of valley fever. The consequence that could be given to The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District would be to cut their funding by a certain percentage if they do not reduce valley fever in the Central Valley. Healthcare providers will be given a positive consequence like a bonus for correct diagnosis or a subtraction from their pay if they misdiagnose.

A solution to dealing with valley fever would be to modify clinician behavior to make mandatory blood tests for patients who display one or more valley fever symptoms. Diagnosis of valley fever is difficult based on symptoms alone due to vague characteristics. Symptoms of valley fever include fever, cough, chest pain, chills, night sweats, headache, fatigue, joint aches, and red-spotty rashes. This often leads to valley fever being mistaken for the flu due to the flu-like symptoms associated with it. In light of this dilemma, valley fever should be diagnosed through mandatory blood tests to check if the patients has valley ever by looking for antibodies present in their blood that fight against the fungus. The goal of this solution is to perform a proper and timely diagnosis that will get rid of the faulty behavior of valley fever misdiagnosis. This will allow for collaboration between patients, health care providers, and insurance companies. The consequence will result in an annual bonus incentive program for clinics where compliance will be reported through attestation from the patient. This will include a 10% bonus to health care providers for proper procedures and a 1% penalty for improper procedures. The funding source will be provided by insurance companies.

This solution will be effective and observable because doctors will get the incentive to properly diagnose valley fever every year. No other incentive program for valley fever has been tried before. The incentive program would be rather inexpensive because the money for the incentive will be reciprocated from the money saved by insurance company. It will also be decentralized since the program can definitely be applied to smaller scales communities such as those in Central Valley where insurance companies usually pay for all the medical bills. The program is flexible because incentives can be adjusted according to area it is being implemented in. The solution will remain sustainable because the funding comes from the money saved from all the misdiagnosis on a yearly basis. The solution is simple to implement since insurance companies already have all the records of all the procedures done on the patients and it is definitely compatible with the value of the target users because doctors value their reputation in giving the correct diagnosis and the incentive programs will give them the push they need.

Other possible solutions are to have people in endemic areas to wear powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. These masks reduce the average spore concentration to 1/1000 of the ambient air concentration, reducing risk of valley fever infection to around 0.17% due to a battery-powered blower that pulls air in through filters to clean it before delivering it to the wearer’s breathing zone. People living in the central valley can also limit outdoor activity in dusty areas and water down construction sites before disrupting the soil in order to avoid the spreading of spore-containing dust. Dusty clothing should also be removed prior to entering home environment. Research has shown that the drug nikkomycin Z inhibits the enzyme responsible for the formation of chitin, the building block of the fungal cell wall. So far this drug has tested successful in mice inoculated with valley fever in which the disease was halted and mice survived. These results have made nikkomycin Z a favorable candidate for battling the valley fever epidemic in the Central Valley.

Health Benefits of Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob was first domesticated somewhere between 9000 and 8000 BC in Mexico and Central America. It was important to the Mayans and Olmecs, who revered it and incorporated it into their daily rituals, religious ceremonies and used it as a motif in their art. Certainly by 2000 BC it was a staple in the diets of the peoples of Mesoamerica. Native Americans also held it in esteem and it was one of their staple foods, but one which the early colonists seemed to disdain. Times have changed, however and summer wouldn’t be the same without freshly picked corn on the cob dripping with olive oil which is a healthier alternative to butter.

Is corn on the cob good for your health? The simple answer is yes, but the reasons for this answer are a little more complicated.

Corn contains vitamins A, C and some of the B-complex vitamins, namely thiamin (B1), niacin (B2) and riboflavin (B3) along with pantothenic acid (B5) and vitamin B6. It also contains beta-carotene, folate, fibre and the minerals selenium, potassium, traces of copper, calcium, sodium and zinc. It also contains 18 amino acids including the 8 essential ones, along with phytonutrients, making it a truly health-giving snack.

Yellow corn (there are blue, black and purple types too) provides the body with ammunition to fight the scavenging free radicals which can damage cells and cause cancer and other illnesses, as the vitamins and minerals combine to make potent antioxidants.

We need small amounts of selenium in our diets as it can help the thyroid gland function healthily as well as boosting the immune system, helping the body combat illness.

The B-complex vitamins are good for healthy skin, hair and eyes, and help the central nervous system function normally. They can help lower cholesterol levels in the blood and help prevent the risks of strokes and heart disease. Niacin in particular may help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and is good for the digestive and central nervous system; it is also good for the brain and our memory. It may also improve symptoms of arthritis and give improved joint mobility and give relief from pain. Niacin is also vital for sexual health as it produces sex and stress related hormones, so combined with the potassium in corn on the cob, it can help improve sexual health.

Thiamin (B1), is required for normal growth so is necessary in a child’s diet. It also may help reduce the incidence of cataracts and can improve a woman’s fertility. Apart from these things, it might also help raise people out of depression.

Potassium is a vital mineral as it plays a role in bone and muscle health as well as being heart-protective and lowering the risks of strokes.

All in all, corn on the cob which has been grilled, or barbecued with the husk still on it or steamed is a very healthy snack. It provides you with a lot of the fibre you need to keep your colon active and healthy and is low in calories. Eat it with olive oil instead of butter for a heart-protective snack.

Health Issues In Men

There are many reasons today why men’s health is the focus of attention. Recent statistics have shown an increase in the illness and morbidity rates among men. Men’s health is poor according to a wide range of measures. Some of the most significant are:

-Men tend to take more risks than women when it comes to their health. They are more likely to drink more than the normal alcohol limits, to smoke, to be overweight or to use illegal drugs.
-The average male life expectancy at birth is approximately 74 years while for women it is approximately 79 years.
-Men are more susceptible to die from HIV infection, cancer, accidents, heart disease and suicide.
-Men are more than twice as likely as women to have a major or minor accident.

Some of the factors that affect men’s health are listed below. These factors are major concerns that have to be dealt with to reduce the fatality rate in men.

1. Alcoholism

Alcoholism is the consumption of alcoholic beverages to a point that this behavior impedes with the alcoholic’s normal life. The chronic alcohol consumption caused by alcoholism can result in psychological and physiological disorders.

Drinking alcohol is not always detrimental to health and in fact drinking in moderation can be good for you. Try to drink sensibly. Drinking 3 to 4 units (or less) a day for men is just fine. You should see to it that these daily limits shouldn’t exceed even if you only drink occasionally. A few days in a month without any alcohol can prove to be quite beneficial to your overall health, too. Binge drinking and intoxication through alcohol should be completely avoided.

Alcoholism can Affect Your Health in Various Ways:

Alcohol can damage many of the body’s organs leading to liver disease, some cancers and high blood pressure. High blood pressure often leads to coronary heart disease and many kinds of stroke. Excess alcohol can also make you overweight or obese which further result in other complications.

Apart from causing physical damage, alcoholism also affects your psychological behaviour. It increases the chances of violent and aggressive behaviour by men. Alcoholism has been the root cause for many incidents of domestic violence and child abuse. Men who are heavy drinkers develop psychological and emotional problems such as depression. Alcohol dependence is like nicotine or other drug addictions and can be very difficult to overcome.

3. Tobacco Smoking

Tobacco smoking or simply “smoking” is the act of burning the dried or cured leaves of the tobacco plant and inhaling the smoke for various reasons. It could be for pleasure or ritualistic purposes, or out of habit and to satisfy addiction. Tobacco smoke contains an addictive stimulant called nicotine that briefly improves alertness, memory and mood. But nicotine also forms a strong physical and psychological chemical dependence or addiction. Medical studies have shown that main health risks in tobacco pertain to diseases of the cardiovascular system, in particular smoking being a major risk factor for cancer, particularly lung cancer and cancers of the larynx and tongue, myocardial infarction (heart attack), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and emphysema.

It is estimated that about 1 in 3 people smoke in the UK. In Britain, every day around 320 smokers die due to tobacco smoking. The health consequences of tobacco smoking are linked to direct tobacco smoking, passive smoking, breathing of environmental or secondhand tobacco smoke. A recent study showed that nonsmokers lived about 10 more years than the smokers. Heavy smokers were about 25 times more likely to die of lung cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than the nonsmokers. Lung cancer rates are linked to the number of people who smoke. More men than women smoke. As a result more men than women die of lung cancer.

Active smoking is extremely hazardous to your health but passive smoking also plays a major role in the number of fatalities per year. Passive smoking is estimated to cause at least 49 deaths a year among those working in the hospitality industry, twice as many as die in this group from exposure to smoke in the home. According to the Canadian Lung Association, tobacco kills between 40,000-45,000 Canadians per year, more than the total number of deaths from AIDS, traffic accidents, suicide, murder, fires and accidental poisoning.

Some Facts that Act as a Reality Check for those Who Smoke:

-Smoking kills 120000 people each year in the UK, compared to 5000 caused by road accidents.

-Smoking is the greatest solitary reason for ill health and premature death in the UK.

-Smoking augments the risk of impotence by around 50% for men in their 30s.

-Smoking causes:

1 in 4 deaths from heart disease

One-third of all cancer deaths

4 out of 5 lung cancer deaths

4 out of 5 deaths from bronchitis and emphysema

-Smoking affects virtually all parts of the body. 2000 arms and legs are amputated every year in the UK as a direct result of smoking.

4. Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a disease wherein the cancer forms in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Cancer occurs when cells of the prostate mutate and begin to multiply out of control. Prostate cancer may cause pain, difficulty in urinating, erectile dysfunction and other symptoms.

Mostly Men over the age of 50 suffer from prostate cancer. This cancer only occurs in men, as the organ is exclusively of the male reproductive tract. Prostate cancer is 2nd most common cancer (after lung cancer) responsible for male fatalities in the US. Many factors such as genetics and diet have been implicated in the development of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the 9th most common cancer in the world, but is the number one non-skin cancer in United States men. 18% of American men were affected and 3% of men died due to this cancer in 2005. Prostate cancer rates are higher and prognosis poorer in Western societies than the rest of the world. Longer life expectancy and diets high in animal fats are some of the risk factors for prostate cancer that make it more prevalent in the Western world.

5. HIV Infection Or AIDS

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a collection of symptoms and infections resulting from the specific damage to the immune system caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Individuals are prone to opportunistic infections and tumors during the late stages of this infection. While treatments for AIDS and HIV are present to slow down the virus’s progression, there is no definite & known cure.

HIV spreads through direct contact of a mucous membrane or the bloodstream with a bodily fluid containing HIV, such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid, pre-seminal fluid and breast milk. Mostly, this transmission comes in the form of anal, vaginal or oral sex, blood transfusion, contaminated hypodermic needles, exchange between mother and baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding, or other exposure to one of the above bodily fluids.

HIV affects nearly every organ system. Individuals affected with AIDS have a greater risk of developing various cancers such as Kaposi’s sarcoma, cervical cancer and cancers of the immune system known as lymphomas.

As of January 2006 according to studies & research conducted by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO), AIDS has taken more than 25 million lives since it was first established on June 5, 1981. This makes it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. In 2005 itself, AIDS killed an estimated 2.4 to 3.3 million people.

Globally, between 33.4 and 46 million people currently live with HIV. In 2005, between 3.4 and 6.2 million people were newly infected. Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the worst affected region, with an estimated 21.6 to 27.4 million people currently living with HIV. South & South East Asia are second worst affected with 15%. In the United States, the number of persons with AIDS increased from about 35,000 in 1988 to over 220,000 in 1996.

6. Obesity

Obesity is a physical condition that results from surplus storage of fat in the body. In men this fat mostly gets collected around the abdomen and is often termed as a beer belly. Obesity has been defined as a weight more than 20% above what is considered normal according to the body mass index. BMI is calculated by assessing an individual’s age, height and weight. The chief reason for concern is that obesity multiplies a person’s risk of contracting a wide range of life-threatening diseases.

In the UK at present, over half the adults are overweight and 1 in 5 is obese. Current estimates place more than 35% of Americans in the obese category. Obesity has turned out to be our biggest health crisis and as per recent statistics, 78% of men will be overweight or obese in another 10 to 15 years. The proportion of men in England classified as overweight was 47% and the proportion of obese men was 21%. Being overweight or obese can cause grave threats to men’s health. Central obesity, especially, can increase your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and osteoarthritis. Men may also suffer from low self esteem and social isolation.

7. Impotence

Impotence or Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a sexual dysfunction characterized by the inability to develop or maintain an erection of the penis for satisfactory sexual intercourse regardless of the capability of ejaculation. The causes of erectile dysfunction may be physiological or psychological.
Normal erections during sleep and in the early morning suggest a psychogenic cause, while loss of these erections may signify underlying disease, often cardiovascular in origin. Other factors leading to impotence are diabetes mellitus or hypogonadism.

The inability to achieve erection sufficient for penetration and sex, (impotence), increases with age. Of men aged 50 to 80 years, 30% are impotent. In the age group of 70 to 80 years, nearly 50% are unable to achieve erection sufficient for sex without treatment. 15 to 30 million American men suffer from impotence at present. According to the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS), for every 1,000 men in the United States, 7.7 physician office visits were made for ED in 1985. By 1999, that rate had nearly tripled to 22.3.

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction or Impotence
Damage to nerves, arteries, smooth muscles, and fibrous tissues, often as a result of disease, is the most common cause of impotence. Diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, chronic alcoholism, multiple sclerosis, atherosclerosis, vascular disease, and neurologic disease account for about 70% of ED cases. Between 35% to 50% of men with diabetes suffer from impotence.

Different lifestyles that contribute to heart disease and vascular problems raise the risk of impotence. Smoking, obesity and lack of proper exercise are possible causes of ED. Also, surgery (radical prostate and bladder surgery for cancer) can injure nerves and arteries near the penis, leading to impotence. Injury to the penis, spinal cord, prostate, bladder and pelvis often results in impotence by harming nerves, smooth muscles, arteries and fibrous tissues of the corpora cavernosa. Many medications like blood pressure drugs, antihistamines, antidepressants, tranquilizers, appetite suppressants and cimetidine (an ulcer drug) can cause impotence.

Also psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, guilt, depression, low self-esteem and fear of sexual failure cause 10% to 20% of impotence cases. Other possible causes include hormonal abnormalities, such as inadequate testosterone levels.