health

A total of 16.4 million non-elderly adults have gained health insurance coverage since the Affordable Care Act became law five years ago this month. It's a reduction in the ranks of the uninsured the the Department of Health and Human Services called historic.

California has been dealing with a big measles outbreak since December, when cases emerged among visitors to Disneyland in Orange County.

Measles spread quickly afterward. As of Friday, the state had confirmed 133 measles cases among residents since December.

Of the people who got sick and for whom the state could determine vaccination status, 57 people hadn't been vaccinated against measles and 20 people had had at least one shot of the vaccine.

Trying to get more information on the health impact of oil and gas drilling is a topic that lawmakers will soon be taking up at the statehouse. It comes after the Governor's Oil and Gas Task Force finished their work and issued several health related recommendations.

"I get a little bit concerned and annoyed when people try to use health as the basis of what they don't like about oil and gas," said Dr. Larry Wolk the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment.

He said he understands the concern, but worries the state doesn't have enough hard data.

Lillie Robinson came to Rowan Medical Center for surgery on her left foot. She expected to be in and out in a day, returning weeks later to the Salisbury, N.C., hospital for her surgeon to operate on the other foot.

But that's not how things turned out. "When I got here I found out he was doing both," she said. "We didn't realize that until they started medicating me for the procedure." Robinson signed a consent form and the operation went fine, but she was in the hospital far longer than she'd expected to be.

"I wasn't prepared for that," she said.

There are many reasons women need cesareans. Sometimes the situation is truly life-threatening. But often the problem is that labor simply isn't progressing. That was the case for Valerie Echo Duckett, 35, who lives in Columbus, Ohio. After receiving an epidural for pain, Duckett's contractions stopped. By late evening she was told she'd need a C-section to deliver her son, Avery. Duckett says she has vague memories of being wheeled into the operating room, strapped down and shaking from cold.

In the "American Sniper" murder trial, prosecutors successfully countered Eddie Ray Routh's plea of not guilty by reason of insanity by saying that he just seemed psychotic because he was high. But scientists continue to argue over whether marijuana-induced psychosis is always short-lived or if there's a deeper connection at play.

Technology entrepreneur Jonathan Bush says he was recently watching a patient move from a hospital to a nursing home. The patient's information was in an electronic medical record, or EMR. And getting the patient's records from the hospital to the nursing home, Bush says, wasn't exactly drag and drop.

"These two guys then type — I kid you not — the printout from the brand new EMR into their EMR, so that their fax server can fax it to the bloody nursing home," Bush says.

A popular contraception program in Colorado is receiving criticism from conservative lawmakers who say that the program's use of intrauterine devices, or IUDs, qualify as abortions.

More than 30,000 women in Colorado have gotten a device because of the state program, the Colorado Family Planning Initiative. An IUD normally costs between $500 and several thousand dollars. Through the program women could receive one for free.

Many people will see the snow that's currently blanketing much of the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. as a nuisance coating sidewalks and roads. Others are celebrating it as an excuse to spend the day swooshing down a hill.

As for me, I like to think of snow as food.

Faiza Ayesh giggles with delight as she describes her brand-new two-bedroom apartment in Oakland, Calif. She shares her home with her husband and three little girls, ages 3, 2 and 5 months. Ayesh, 30, says she just loves being a stay-at-home mom. "It's the best job in the world."

Some people — who are they? — have no problem fitting regular aerobic exercise into their lives. The rest of us want to know how much we have to exercise to see health benefits. Now we have some answers: You may want to go just a tad longer and harder than you'd thought.

prescription, pill bottles, medication
flickr/macwagen

This week Governor John Hickenlooper announced a new campaign seeking to reduce prescription drug abuse and misuse in Colorado.

In partnership with the University of Colorado the state has launched its “Take Meds Seriously” campaign.

Robert Valuck, a professor of pharmacy at CU, is part of a statewide consortium created by the governor to address prescription drug abuse in Colorado.  

"We say safe use, safe storage [and] safe disposal," Valuck says ."And that’s what our public awareness campaign is all about." 

Buying health care in America is like shopping blindfolded at Macy's and getting the bill months after you leave the store, Princeton economist Uwe Reinhardt likes to say.

But an online tool that went live Wednesday is supposed to help change that, giving patients in most parts of the country a small peek at the prices of medical tests and procedures before they open their wallets.

Got a sore knee? Having a baby? Need a primary-care doctor? Shopping for an MRI scan?

Colorado Division of Insurance, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Colorado Division of Insurance

Hinsdale County and Mineral County are pretty similar.  They’re right next to each other, have comparable populations, and if their county commissioners work things out, might have the same public health district.

Susan Thompson is the chair of the Hinsdale Board of County Commissioners. 

Attaching fake eyelashes might make give you a few extra millimeters to bat at your date, but they could also be channeling dust into your eyes. That's because the ideal eyelash length is about one third the width of an eye. And that goes for 22 different animals, not just humans.

A bill attempting to reduce teen pregnancies and provide state funding for intrauterine devices has passed its first test at the capitol. House Bill 1194 would provide $5 million for clinics across the state that offer long-term reversible contraceptives to low-income women and teenagers. Colorado has been running the program with a private grant, which will run out at the end of June 2015.

"Our teen birth rate has dropped 40 percent over the last four years and 34 percent drop in abortions," said Larry Wolk, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment.

My biggest concern while flying is whether my legs will fall victim to deep vein thrombosis from being crammed in the sardine can we call an airplane seat. But on the bright side, at least I'm not increasing my risk of lung cancer, emphysema and bronchitis because of secondhand smoke.

Anne Roberson walks a quarter-mile down the road each day to her mailbox in the farming town of Exeter, deep in California's Central Valley. Her daily walk and housekeeping chores are her only exercise, and her weight has remained stubbornly over 200 pounds for some time now. Roberson is 68 years old, and she says it gets harder to lose weight as you get older: "You get to a certain point in your life and you say, 'What's the use?' "

heart
flickr/proudlove

It's common to see candy and paper hearts in February, but medical professionals also want you to think about your own heart this month. KVNF's Laura Palmisano speaks to Mark Leach the director of cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation at Delta County Memorial Hospital. In recognition of National Heart Month, they discuss heart disease, the number one killer of men and women in the United States. 

Shortly after toking up, a lot of marijuana users find that there's one burning question on their minds: "Why am I so hungry?" Researchers have been probing different parts of the brain looking for the root cause of the marijuana munchies for years. Now, a team of neuroscientists report that they have stumbled onto a major clue buried in a cluster of neurons they thought was responsible for making you feel full.

BPA-free isn't good enough anymore if you're trying to sell plastic sippy cups, water bottles and food containers.

The new standard may be "EA-free," which means free of not only BPA, short for bisphenol A, but also free of other chemicals that mimic the hormone estrogen.

marijuana, pot
flickr.com/prensa420

The Center for Mental Health in Montrose has received a grant through marijuana tax dollars to help prevent youth pot use and abuse. 

The $422,000 grant, awarded by the state of Colorado, was announced this week. 

The center will share the funds with 16 other organizations across the Western Slope that work with young people. 

The Delta County School District will receive the most funding with a $100,000 grant.

When Wendy Sue Swanson started out as a pediatrician eight years ago, it never crossed her mind to bring up the option of intrauterine devices — an insertable form of long-acting contraception — when she had her regular birth-control discussions with teenage patients who were sexually active.

"The patch had been the thing," she said, referring to a small, Band-Aid-like plastic patch that transmits hormones through the skin to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

At 48, Jenny Singleton got breast cancer. At 66, her mother did, too.

"When my breast cancer was diagnosed, I immediately thought we must have a gene for it," Jenny Singleton said. "So I was tested and I didn't have the BRCA gene. And so that's often left me wondering, well, then why is it that my mom and I both got breast cancer?"

Pregnant With Cancer: One Woman's Journey

Feb 10, 2015

After years of debating whether to have a second child, my husband, Mark, and I decided to give it a try. Two weeks later, we found a lump. I was 35.

Kids, Children
Flickr.com/dis_patch

A report that grades Colorado on the health of its citizens gave the state high marks for adult health, but mediocre scores for child health.

The 2015 Colorado Health Report Card uses indicators like obesity, poverty and access to medical care as ways to measure the overall health of people in the state. The Colorado Health Foundation puts out the report. 

With the recent outbreak of measles originating from Disneyland, there's been no shortage of speculation, accusation and recrimination concerning why some people won't vaccinate their children.

flu shot, vaccine
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District

The national measles outbreak has state and local health officials concerned. 

Last month 102 people from 14 states were reported to have measles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One of those cases was reported in Colorado and a majority of them are part of an outbreak linked to a California amusement park.  

That’s why state and local health officials are urging adults to get vaccinated and parents to inoculate their kids against the disease.

Most of the 92 cases of measles confirmed in California are among adults — more than 62 percent. Maybe they or their parents chose not to vaccinate, or maybe those people are allergic to one of the ingredients in the measles vaccine.

But it's also possible that a few of those adults happened to slip through the cracks when the measles vaccine first came to the public.

St. Vincent Hospital
St. Vincent Hospital

It seems Lake County’s only hospital won’t be closing. A new partnership has saved St. Vincent General in Leadville.

Last November, St. Vincent Hospital announced it was planning to close in March due to financial issues. A property-tax increase that would have helped the hospital pay for much-needed repairs was turned down by voters. 

Now, things are looking better for St. Vincent General. This week the hospital’s board entered a verbal agreement with Centura Health, a Colorado-based company.

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