Education

Roundup: Some Dietary Supplements Could Pose Health Risks; Baptist Health Offers Online Doctor Visits

There are more than 90,000 dietary supplements on the market in the U.S., and some of them have potentially harmful ingredients, according to a study by Consumer Reports that included independent physicians and researchers.

The potentially harmful 15 ingredients present risks that include organ damage, cancer and cardiac arrest, the study found. Moreover, Consumer Reports’ experts said that none of the 15 supplement ingredients provide sufficient health benefits to justify the risk.

Supplement products do not need to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before they’re sold. What’s more, the facilities in which they are made are not overseen as well as those of pharmaceutical companies.

“The dietary supplement marketplace lacks the oversight it needs to keep consumers safe,” said Ellen Kunes, Consumer Reports Health Content Team Leader. “Supplement manufacturers should register their products to enable them to be identified and tracked for safety recalls and to show they are safe before being sold in retail stores, doctors’ offices and hospitals.”

The severity of the potential health risks of these supplements depends on such factors as pre-existing medical conditions. Other factors include the quantity of the ingredient taken and the length of time a person has been exposed to the substance.

Many of these ingredients also have the potential to interact with prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, such as cholesterol-lowering statins and blood-thinning drugs including aspirin and warfarin, Consumer Reports said.

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–John Fernandez

 

Lack of Exercise Costs Billions

Thinking about skipping out on your regular exercise routine? Stay active, says a new research study. Being inactive carries a heavy price tag of about $67 billion globally, according to the study published in the July 27 issue of Lancet, a medical journal.

“In addition to morbidity and premature mortality, physical inactivity is responsible for a substantial economic burden,” the study says. The economic price tag of physical inactivity is linked to higher healthcare costs, missed workplace productivity and other quality-of-life expenses linked to disabilities.

Failure to exercise can increase your risk of developing a number of chronic and potentially life-threatening diseases, including type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke and colon cancer, the study reports. The authors tracked healthcare costs and fitness levels in 142 countries.

“This paper provides further justification to prioritize promotion of regular physical activity worldwide as part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce non-communicable diseases,” the study says.

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Baptist Health Offers Online Doctor Visits

Consider it the modern version of a house call, only faster and more convenient. Baptist Health South Florida is offering immediate online access to a Board-certified physician 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through its new Care On Demand service.

Beginning Monday, Aug. 1, you can have a virtual consultation using secure, high-quality streaming video and audio chat from the convenience of your smart phone, tablet or computer. Treatment is available for conditions such as a cold or cough, sinus infection, flu, headache, sore throat, earache, pink eye, fever, rash, simple sprains and urinary tract infections.

The cost for a Care On Demand visit is $59 and is self-pay. However, the first visit is free through Oct. 31 with the use of the code BETTERNOW.

The “carevenience” service also means no appointments are necessary; prescriptions can be sent directly to your pharmacy of choice, and the doctor can offer recommendations for over-the-counter medications.

Care On Demand is available for adults and children, ages 2 and older. In addition to seeing and talking online with the doctor, patients can send secure messages and photos through the app.

To start using Care On Demand, download the app through the App Store or Google Play, or visit BaptistHealth.net/CareOnDemand.

–Tanya Racoobian Walton

Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 13 hospitals, more than 23,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.