Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Splurging over the holiday season

Holiday parties and temptations are everywhere you look and it’s only a matter of time before the opportunity stares you in the face. You know it’s going to happen, so the best defense is a great offense. Be prepared and take action to continue to support your body and health through the holidays.

Here a ways to help your body stay on track:

Stay hydrated. Always drink a glass of water with each glass of alcohol and limit alcohol intake. Alcohol dehydrates the body and kills liver cells. Eat healthy foods. Focus on eating lighter and healthier the day of a holiday party. Be discriminating with your splurges – lean into homemade treats to avoid preservatives, chemicals and other additives that don't offer any benefits. Yet keep in mind the amount of butter or shortening that went in to making that visually appealing dessert.

You know the splurge is coming, embrace it rather than worrying about it, just go and enjoy (within in reason of course) – ’tis the season. Remember, after your through eating your body continues to break down all that
mish-mosh of food. Your liver, gall bladder, pancreas and kidneys will be suffering for a much longer time than it took for you to eat the food!

Increasing water intake will help move the sodium out of your system. To de-toxify the body: try my personal favorite recipe: 1 cucumber, 5 celery stalks and a handful of kale, spinach, ice cubes, lemon and parsley. If you don’t have a juicer, use a blender.  This concoction will cleanse the body. It is loaded with nutrients and will help to maintain overall ph. 

After the holiday season, focus on eating lighter such as salads, veggies, soups. Dandelion and mustard greens will de-toxify the body. Lastly, get moving. Do something physical get your heart pumping and lose some of those extra fat calories your body stored.

Balance is the key to a healthy body.

Trisha M. Pacenti RN, BSN

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter weather and your health

Why is it important to dress accordingly? Simply wearing a hat on your head will keep you warm as most of your body heat escapes through the top of your head. Cold air is an irritant to mucous linings. When cold air irritates the mucous lining there is an increase of mucus secretion. Runny nose and phlegm are the result of an irritated mucous lining. This compromise within the mucous lining places you at risk for lower and upper respiratory illness.

Cold air also constricts the blood vessels. When blood vessels constrict, the heart will beat harder and faster to maintain blood flow throughout the body. As a result blood pressure increases, a blood clot may form and the risk for stroke increases. This can be devastating to individuals who have a cardiac history, such as high blood pressure or cardiac stents. Diabetics are also vulnerable to cold air crisis'. Blood vessels in diabetes are damaged due to the break down of the interior lining of the blood vessel wall. People with asthma are at risk. The bronchial tree in asthma is irritated and inflamed with increased fluid production. The sudden swallow of cold air could trigger a respiratory constriction.

Going from a warm home to the cold outside is just enough to create a health problem. The sudden extreme flip-flop in temperature is a shock to the human body. Take caution and dress to prevent cold air health crisis.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Friday, December 9, 2011

How are Diabetes and Stroke Related?

Undiagnosed, untreated and/or poorly controlled diabetes causes damage to both large and small blood vessels. This damage then increases your risk for having a stroke, a poor prognosis, a longer recovery period and sets you up for additional complications.

Excess sugars circulating in the blood stream that occur in diabetes adhere to red blood cells and travel everywhere blood is circulated. From your feet to the top of your head and everything in between. This excess sugar irritates blood vessel linings causing scarring. This scarring acts as a road block and narrows the passage of free flowing blood. The narrowed blood vessel can now be blocked by a blood clot. This reaction also will create high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force exerted by the heart within your vascular system. And, having high cholesterol just aggravates the situation more. These 3 conditions, diabetes, high b/p, and high lipids are common in diabetes and all 3 contribute to blood vessel damage.

The risk of diabetes and stroke can be lowered by adopting  healthy eating habits, avoid smoking, exercising and regular visits to your doctor. If diagnosed with high b/p, diabetes or high cholesterol, treating these conditions early and aggressively will greatly reduce your risk of suffering from a stroke. If you have a family history of these conditions, you are already at risk. Be pro-active and choose a healthy lifestyle.

Good Health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Why is maintaining gum health important?

First and foremost, gum disease can lead to higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Common, chronic bacterial infections including gum disease, urinary tract and lung infections may increase the risk of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a build of fatty plaque in the arteries. This build up of fat in the carotid arteries; which are located in the neck, increases the risk of stroke by reducing blood flow to the brain, as well as by promoting formation of a blood clots that lead to a stroke.

Periodontal disease is caused by a chronic. low grade infection which can lead to inflammation and it is believed that inflammation plays an important role in stokes and heart disease. You can best reduce your risk by simply flossing, brushing your teeth at least twice a day, using a fluoride rinse and follow scheduled visits with your dentist. Be pro-active and take of yourself.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Breast health: When yearly mammograms aren't enough

Most women know that by the time they reach 40, it is time to start getting an annual mammogram. But how would you know if you fall into the high-risk population and are 1 of the women who should get a breast MRI? As medical technology advances, it is ALWAYS good practice to ask questions and discuss new options with your physician. You may not recognize subtle changes in your health. Be pro-active in your health and bring a list of questions with you when you go for your annual exam.

Mammography is still the most widely used screening tool for breast cancer. However, breast MRI is an excellent tool that enable physicians to view tumors that may be difficult to see with mammography, The first breast MRI product received FDA clearance in the early 1990's as an adjunct to mammography. The American Cancer Society recommends that women who are at high risk to augment their annual mammos with an annual breast MRI. Women greater than a 20-25% risk bracket and women with a strong family history of breast and/or ovarian CA should augment with a breast MRI.

In addition to those risk patients listed above, women who fall into any of the following categories should check with their physicians about breast MRI:
1. known genetic mutation. BRCA1 and BRCA2
2. those who haven't been tested but whose mother, daughter or sister have a known mutation
3. those who received chest irradiation between the ages of 10 and 30.

To learn more about breast cancer risks and diagnostic tools please visit the National Cancer Institutes website:

Good Health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Staying Active to Stay Healthy

Regular physical activity is one of the most important and inexpensive things you can do to improve your overall health. By simply going for a brisk walk every day will help:
1. weight control
2. reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
3. reduce your risk for Type 2 diabetes
4. reduce risk of osteoporosis by increasing your muscle strength and bones
5. improve physical maneuverability
6. overall help you feel better with increased energy

Does 150 minutes sound a lot to you? Remember:
1. you don't have to exercise all at once
2. spread activity out during the week
3. break it up in to smaller chunks of time during the day for at least 10 minutes at a time
4. if you can walk to do a chore rather than drive your car, than walk

Give it a try:
Go on a 10 minute brisk walk 3 times a day 5 days a week. This will give you a total of 150 minutes. If it sounds easy its because it is easy. If you can only go once a day, than walk for 30 minutes. If you make this a daily routine and make conscious effort to do so, you will soon see and feel an improvement in your overall physical and mental health.

Each day you wake up is another opportunity to live a healthier life.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Flu Season

Cold and flu season has arrived. The most efficient way to minimize your risk of "catching" a cold or the flu is to prevent the spread of germs. Do this by washing your hands after touching a public surface such as a door knob or using a public restroom. Public surfaces are covered with a variety of germs. The surface may look clean to the naked eye but microscopically it is contaminated. Cover your mouth with a tissue or the bend of your arm when sneezing or coughing. Bacteria and viruses can spread by airborne mucous droplets. It is easy for an individual in the proximity of the droplets to inhale them. Typically, the germ inhaled will settle in the lower or upper respiratory tract.

Those who are immunocompromised, age 65 or older, in frequent contact with public areas, parents who have young children at home should be vaccinated. Minimize contact with people you know are sick. The influenza vaccine prescribed this year will provide protection against 3 influenza viruses:  A H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and the H1N1 virus that emerged in 2009 which caused a pandemic.

Know the symptoms that accompany a cold vs flu. A cold lasts 2-7 days with a runny nose, cough, sore throat. Flu symptoms are headache, muscle aches in legs and back, fever, chills, congestion lasting longer than 7 days.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Funerals: one of the most expensive purchases to be made

Buying a home, automobile and funerals are the most expensive purchases people ever make. Many funerals run well over $6000 in upwards of $10,000. This can be a great cost burden on many families which is why it makes sense to have final expense insurance in place. It is possible to pay for your funeral with funds which would otherwise go toward the cost of retirement, living expenses and/or nursing home care. Failing to have proper planning in place, your funeral can unnecessarily shift a major expense to your family. If you have dependents, timing of the purchase can be critical. The earlier the better. Funeral insurance policies are becoming more and more common.

There are definite advantages to having a policy that include: 
•you are spending dollars for a specific need 
•most funeral and burial purchases are made when buyers are vulnerable emotionally and lack the time and information to negotiate prices effectively. Having a policy in force greatly reduces this problem.
•preplanning ensures that all of your final wishes will be fulfilled. Death is a difficult subject to discuss, often times your true wishes may not be known or fully understood by your family. 
•preplanning provides you and your family with the peace-of-mind in knowing that everything has been taken care of  in the manner you specified. 

You might think, "well, I can just set aside money for my funeral and burial." However, this type of preplanning does not offer the advantages listed above. There are too many questions left behind for the survivors, funeral director, and of course, the cost of the funeral and cemetery expenses. 

Owning a final expense policy to pay for your funeral and burial plans gives you complete control of handling the funds. A preneed package primarily sold by funeral directors will pay for your funeral only with nothing left over for your survivors. The more expensive the funeral, the more money the funeral home makes. 

Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Funeral Planning with Burial Insurance

Burial insurance, also known as final expense insurance is life insurance with a specific need: to cover funeral expenses. Policy face amounts typically start at $6,000.00 and can be written up to $25,000.00. Face amounts are customized to your needs. At the time of application, you can decide what is best for you and the face amount may be adjusted accordingly. Your policy will cover the extra incidental expenses associated with funerals. Typically, those incidental expenses are not considered until it is too late.

Final expense insurance is not just-in-case insurance as with health insurance, auto insurance, flood insurance, etc. Death is the final chapter in life. We don't know when it will call upon us. The likelihood of death happening is 100%. Preplanning alleviates loved ones of having to make difficult decisions or to face financial concerns during a very emotional time.

If you just don't want to think about death and have not come to terms about your own mortality, here is something to consider. Throughout your life you earn a modest wage to provide food, clothing, shelter and medicine for yourself and family. The cost of living has increased, you want to cut corners and consider not buying any more insurance.  You might think it is burdensome. You might think it is worthless to you. Some day when your life ceases to exist,  your policy will come alive and get to work. Through your policy, your final expenses will be paid. Your policy will take away financial concerns. Your preplanned policy will give you peace of mind.

Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What is a stroke?

Stroke is a cardiovascular event. Stroke happens when blood pressure is chronically high. Provided your not in the hospital and suddenly develope high blood pressure. High blood pressure causes a whole cascade of chemical events within the cardiovascular system, which over time causes cardiovascular disease. Irregular heart beats: arythmias alter blood flow which can form clots. These clots will form on the inside of the vein or artery and impede blood flow. The restriction of blood flow will increase the force of blood within the vascular system leading to clot dislodgement. This clot will then travel to the brain. At which time, stroke occurs. Brain cells will begin to die.

Historically, individuals who experienced a stroke had no idea of what was about to happen to them. With that being said, the best action you can take is to be pro-active. Prevent a stroke by living a healthy lifestyle. A few check points to help you get on track:

1. We know high blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke. Know your numbers. Go for your annual physical exam. Your goal is to have a low systolic with a lower diastolic within normal range. Discuss the range with your doctor.
2. Learn if you have a regular heart rhythm and rate. You can find out by having an EKG. Discuss this with your doctor.
3. Do you have diabetes? Diabetes has damaging effects on blood vessels leading to atherosclerosis: hardening of the arteries. This hardening causes restriction of blood flow.
4. Blood tests: lipid panels. This will tell you the amount of fats traveling through your blood system. If your cholesterol level is high, work to lower it. Again, fats will cause a clot.
5. Smoker? Smoke constricts the blood vessels thereby increasing blood pressure and damaging the inner wall of blood vessels, the heart, lungs, etc. Remember, once the pollutants from cigarette smoke enter your blood stream, those pollutants are carried throughout your body..not just the lungs. Simply put, quit. There are plenty of resources out there to help. You can start by visiting http://www.cancer.org/.
6. Maintain a healthy weight. Eat foods that are nutritionally sound. A balanced diet incorporated with daily exercise will decrease your chances of stroke. Your doctor is the best resource for you to learn about sound diets and exercise. Discuss this with him/her.

Stroke symptoms include sudden weakness, one-sided face droop, slurred speech, difficulty in speaking, visual changes, headache, dizziness, unstable gait.

While genetics, race and age cannot be controlled, you still can reduce your chances of stroke by making a few simple lifestyle changes you can control. 

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pancreatic Cancer

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. With that in mind, pancreatic cancer is the most deadly form of cancer. It occurs most commonly among black males. Prognosis is poor with most patients dying within 1 year diagnosis. Scientific evidence suggests that pancreatic cancer is linked to inhalation or absorption of carcinogens that are then excreted by the pancreas. Examples are:  cigarette smoke, high fat and high protein intake, food additives and preservatives, industrial chemicals. Other predisposing factors include chronic pancreatitis, diabetes, and excessive alcohol intake.

Pancreatic tumors are almost always adenocarcinomas (epithelial cells found in glandular tissue). Signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer may include:  dull, intermittent epigastric pain in the early stage leading to continuous pain that radiates to the right upper quadrant, nausea and vomiting, rapid, profound weight loss.

Treatment consists of total removal of the pancreas, combination of medicines, radiation and or chemotherapy. To learn more in depth about pancreatic cancer visit http://www.cancer.gov/ . Be pro-active. You can do your part by changing the factors you have control of. Every day you wake up presents another opportunity for you to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Monday, August 29, 2011

Measles Exposure in Northampton County, PA

Please read the following article issued by the PA Department of Health regarding the possible risk of recent measles exposure at a department store in Easton, PA.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Final Expense Insurance

Final expense insurance is funeral insurance. You decide on how much insurance you will need for your funeral costs to determine the amount of insurance you want to buy. Policy face amounts can be written up to $25,000. The average funeral costs today are $6,000.

Life insurance is one of the lowest priced insurances. Car, house, health, etc. have a higher rate of premium. If you own any of these types of insurances, it would be a wise decision to add final expense insurance to your portfolio. Once you pass, your family will be able to continue to maintain their lifestyle without having the burden of paying for high funeral expenses from an already tight budget. Even the least expensive funeral package is enough to make the average family struggle to pay.

Most people are living paycheck to paycheck and have a looming threat of losing their jobs. If you become a victim of downsizing and lose your job, look at the heavy financial burden left on your loved ones should an unexpected accident occur. For those left behind, life and bills do not stop after your deceased. Leftover debt and current expenses must be paid.

Preparing for end of life issues can be difficult to discuss and it is not an easy thing to do. However, it is a part of our lives and it is the final chapter. We are mortal. Coming to terms with death and facing the inevitable, will enable a conversation on end of life issues and funeral preparation much more forgiving.


Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Stroke: acute ischemia

Stroke or brain attack is a sudden impairment of cerebral circulation. A stroke is a cardiovascular event. It diminishes oxygen rich blood supply to the brain causing serious damage and necrosis of the tissue. Biological death occurs after 4 minutes when oxygen rich blood is not reaching tissue. Factors that increase your risk of stroke include history of TIA; transient ischemic attacks, atherosclerosis, HTN, kidney disease, arrhythmia, diabetes, high triglyceride levels, obesity, lack of exercise, use of hormonal medicine, and cigarette smoking.

A TIA is a neurologic deficit that last seconds to hours. It is usually a warning sign of an impending larger stroke. The most distinctive characteristics are transient in nature with complete return of function. Double vision, unilateral blindness, staggering, numbness and speech deficits are typically the result of a TIA. Early treatment is the key to preventing the stroke from further causing damage. Aspirin and anti-coagulants are administered after and between attacks and given for preventative measures.

Factors you can change to lower your risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event:  start an exercise regime, choose healthy foods, decrease intake of fat, salt, high carbohydrate foods, quite smoking and decrease amount of alcohol intake. Be proactive in choosing a healthier lifestyle. Factors you cannot change: genetics, family history.

Cardiovascular disease is the number 1 killer in the USA. Do your part and be heart healthy. Change the factors you have control over. There are plenty of resources out there to help you get started. See your physician first as he will guide you in the best direction for your individual situation.

Good health,

Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Monday, July 25, 2011

Supplemental Insurance

Supplemental insurance policies are designed to help soften the financial blow should an unexpected accident occur. The money you receive from indemnity policies may be put towards paying co-pays, prescription medication or to use any way you see fit. Additionally, you are not required to report to any money received from an indemnity policy to the IRS as this is medically related. Indemnity policies pay you not the doctor. Major medical pays the doctor. You can assign monetary benefits to the doctor is you so choose.

Personal indemnity policies pay a pre-determined financial benefit for a specified injury. They are broken down into categories such as emergency visits, ambulance use, broken bones, twisted ankles, hospital confinement, etc. Some policies carry an accidental death and dismemberment benefit.

Supplemental DOES NOT compete with your MM insurance. Supplemental insurance marrys well your major medical insurance. Having both ensures you are completely covered. Having the peace of mind knowing your MM insurance will pay your doctor and hospital and your supplemental policy will pay you for your time lost.

Accidents happen. Unintentional injuries are the fifth leading cause of death overall and first among people in age group 1-44. On average, there are 13 unintentional-injury deaths and 2700 disabling injuries every hour during the year. Over a third of all hospital emergency department visits are injury related.  No one wakes up in the morning and says, "today I plan on being involved in an accident." Everyone is at risk of injury.

American Family Life Assurance Company i.e AFLAC, offers a Personal Accident Indemnity Plan that adequately covers a variety of accidents both on and off the job. If you are injured on the job, AFLAC does not interfere with workers compensation. This is YOUR insurance not your employers'. Hence, the Personal in the Personal Accident Indemnity Plan. The plan follows you everywhere you go.

To learn more about supplemental insurance policies, you may call or e-mail me or simply go to http://www.aflac.com/ to view the many available policies.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What is HIPAA?

HIPAA~ Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. This act establishes privacy and security standards to protect a patient's health care information. HIPAA was passed by Congress in 1996. The act includes rules covering administrative simplification by making health care delivery more efficient. Portability of medical coverage for preexisting conditions was a key provision of the act as was defining the underwriting process for group medical coverage. Another key area was standardizing the electronic transmission of billing and claims information.

HIPAA privacy regulations require that access to patient information be limited to only those authorized and that only information necessary for a task be available to them. Personal health information must be protected and kept confidential. HIPAA provides for uniformity of rules and regulations on consumer control over health information, ensuring patients understand their privacy rights, ensuring patient's rights to access their medical records and request amendments in response to information they perceive as inaccurate. Failure to comply with HIPAA can result in civil and criminal penalties.

HIPAA now provides for universal access by a patient to review and copy his/her own medical record. So, the next time you go to your physician's office and your given several papers to fill out and sign, one of the papers is the HIPAA form. If your like the many, many people who have never fully read through the HIPAA form and only signed, now you know and have been fully informed.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Disease of the kidney

Polycystic renal disease is an inherited disorder characterized by multiple grape like clusters of fluid filled cysts that enlarge the kidneys and impair normal functioning of the kidney. Progression may be slow showing no symptoms until later in life. PRD is genetically transmitted. The incidence in 2 distinct age groups and different inheritance patterns are unrelated disorders. The adult form usually becomes obvious between ages 30 and 50. While the adult form is a more gradual effect, the infantile form is usually apparent in blood and urine testing. When uremic symptoms develop, PRD is usually fatal with in 4 years. Uremic means there is toxin build-up in the bloodstream. The kidneys become so impaired they are unable to remove wastes from the blood stream and excrete waste products as urine. Thus, the accumulation of toxic build-up.

There is no cure for PRD. The treatment is to preserve renal tissue. Urine cultures and a creatinine clearance test should be every 6 months. Oral antibiotics may be prescribed and surgical drainage of cysts may be done. In the case of renal failure, dialysis. Should you become diagnosed with PRD, please discuss with your doctor what the prognosis is, treatment plans and options and dietary changes.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Monday, June 6, 2011

Asthma: Respiratory Inflammation

Asthma is a reversible lung disease characterized by narrowing of the airways which are inflamed and hyper responsive to a variety of environmental stimuli. Asthma symptoms may resolve on its own or with treatment. The symptoms range from mild wheezing and difficulty breathing to life threatening. There are physiological changes that occur in the bronchus of a person suffering from asthma. The bronchus which house the alveoli become thick with mucous, inflamed, enlarged and the membrane surrounding the bronchus thickens.

These changes cause chest tightness, coughing, difficulty breathing and wheezing. Seasonal changes such as increased pollen in the air, dust, pollutants and changes in temperature and humidity may trigger an asthmatic attack. People who are diagnosed with asthma must carry a rescue inhaler. Steroids decrease the amount of inflammation in the bronchus thus decreasing the amount of mucous build-up. The rescue inhaler helps to open the airway spasm by relaxing the smooth muscle around the bronchus. If you suspect you have asthma, seek medical attention.

Good health,
Trisha M Pacenti RN,BSN

Monday, May 16, 2011

Prostate Health

BPH: benign prostatic hypertrophy. The prostate gland enlarges, compresses the urethra and causes urinary obstruction. As the prostate enlarges, it may extend into the bladder and obstruct urine outflow. As men age, hormones decrease causing an imbalance in androgen and estrogen levels and levels of dihydrotestosterone increase. DHT is the main prostatic androgen.

Clinical signs and symptoms are proportional to the extent of prostatic enlargement and glandular lobes affected. Below are some s/s to look out for.
decreased urine stream
weak urine stream
urinary hesitancy
difficulty in starting urination
frequency, nocturia, dribbling

If you experience any of these symptoms, discuss them with your doctor. Annual PSA screenings should begin at the age of 40. PSA: prostatic specific antigen is a simple blood test that helps your doctor in determining if you have BPH or prostate cancer. Your chance of getting prostate cancer increases substantially after the age of 50.  Many prostate cancers are found in men in  their 60's. Your doctor may do a digital rectal exam to access for an enlarged prostate. Be aware, if you go for a PSA blood test after your rectal exam, you may have an elevated PSA level.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Monday, May 2, 2011

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Universal Life Insurance

Before purchasing a Universal Life insurance policy, be sure you know exactly what you are buying into. Here  is a brief description. Universal Life allows you to select a face amount based on your individual circumstances. Adjustments to the face amount may be requested by you to reflect changes in need. This approach is a measure of actual future earnings and services of a person to provide proper amount of coverage as determined by the value of the individual.  Example, if you make $24,000 per year you cannot take out a $500,000 policy.

Universal Life has divided  the 2 elements of a Whole Life policy, cash value and life insurance. Whole life is a permanent need for protection and builds cash while the face amount decreases. The cash value portion of Universal Life earns interest at the current  rate and the death benefit is in the form of a 1 year renewable term policy. Universal Life offers a flexible premium payment schedule vs Whole Life products.
Premium received by you is placed in the cash value account and interest is credited. Interest is a guaranteed minimum rate. But the cash value is never guaranteed. Reason, you may borrow from the cash value. Additionally, the cash value portion may never be disproportionately larger than the term insurance portion.

Universal Life is usually purchased to provide flexibility not found with Whole Life policies. It adjusts to interest rate changes and allows the owner to make contributions that will increase the cash value. You have a choice of death benefit options. You can choose a higher death benefit by paying the face amount plus the cash value or choose a level death benefit allowing cash value to build. Lastly, you will receive an annual detailed financial statement.

There are many choices of life insurance policies. Don't hesitate to ask questions to determine which policy type will best suit your needs. Make sure the premium schedule is pocket friendly to you. The idea is to have protection for the remainder of your life and to buy while young and  healthy. This will help keep premium affordable.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It causes deterioration of the joint cartilage and formation of reactive new bone at the margins of the joint. This chronic degeneration of cartilage breakdown mostly affects fingers, knees and hips. Herberden and Bouchard's nodes are typically seen in the distal and proximal finger joints. Initially, the nodes may be red, swollen and painful. Eventually, they become painless but are associated with limited joint mobility. The earliest symptoms occurs in middle age and progresses with advancing age. Depending on the site and severity of joint involvement, disability can range from minor limitation to near immobility.

Signs and Symptoms:
>Contractures: loss of muscle function at the joint
>Deep, aching joint pain
>Gait abnormalities: when hips or knees are affected
>Joint instability, swelling, tender and warm
>Limited and painful joint movement
>Predisposing event such as traumatic injury
>Joint stiffness

What you can do to treat and slow progression of osteoarthritis.
You must perform as much self-care as your limitations will allow. Not moving the joints around will quickly lead to contractures. This is irreversible. Unless you have surgery. You must identify techniques which allow you to perform as much activities as you can in addition to promoting adequate rest. Bathe the affected hand in a warm to hot soak. This will stimulate increased blood flow to the hand. Massages and exercise are a great way to reduce muscle spasms and atrophy to the joints.

If you suffer from knee or hip arthritis and are overweight, weight reduction needs to be at the top of your list. Your knees and hips take all the pounding of walking. Additionally, your knees and hips take the full force applied while standing. Simply put, if you don't lose the weight, any treatment plan your on will not be successful and your discomfort levels will continue. Take prescribed medication as directed by your physician. Usual medicinal treatment are anti-inflammatories. O-T-C  medication such as Cosamin DS will aid in decreasing joint pain and inflammation. As always, please discuss with your physician before adding any O-T-C medication to your daily regimen.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tension Headaches

9 out of 10 people suffer from headaches. Some occasional, frequent, dull, throbbing and some debilitating with nausea. What can be done?
Research shows that spinal manipulation may be an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck. Migraines will be discussed separately.
According to researches at a  Duke University practice based in North Carolina, found that spinal manipulation resulted in immediate improvement for tension headaches and had significantly fewer side effects and longer lasting relief verses the common prescribed medication.

The majority of primary headaches are associated with muscle tension in the neck. Americans engage in more sedentary activities and more hours are spent in once fixed position or posture. This can increase joint irritation and muscle tension in the neck, shoulders and back causing a headache. Hence, tension headache.
If you do spend alot of time sitting down or fixed in position for long periods of time, take a break and stretch those muscles. The stretches should take your head and neck through a complete range of motion while increasing blood supply to those areas. Remember to deep breath and slowly exhale while exercising.

Increase fluid intake. Just plain 'ole water will do and is the best for you. Sugary drinks may lead to headaches, decreased blood flow to muscle tensed areas and may lead to an overall sluggish feeling. Low impact exercise and or isometric exercise will aid in muscle relief and increased blood flow. Decreasing the amount of stress in your life will lead to more relaxed muscles.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Reasons to have Life Insurance

Why have life insurance?

Life is ever changing and anything can happen at any given moment. The importance of preparing will provide peace of mind knowing there is a plan in place. Life insurance will cover the unpredictable and exorbitant expenses associated with end of life issues.

Of course it is a personal choice. The world is nothing without free will. Everything must be carefully considered when financial stability is brought into question. It is whether you are willing to take those risks and use your individual situation to your own advantage. We all have heard the tragic stories happening to people who experienced a sudden loss of a loved one and no life insurance was in force. The survivors are left with a major financial burden and many unanswered questions.

It is so important to do your research and decide which type of life insurance and how much to have that best fits your needs. Each of us has our own situation that is different from our neighbors and friends. Only you know what goes on in your household. Keep in mind, what may be best for someone else does not necessarily mean that is the best thing for you. Which is why YOUR needs must considered when purchasing a policy.

So, why have life insurance? 
Reason #1
To pay bills. Most important, mortgage. This alone is a pertinent reason to have life insurance. This major bill will be paid off and not left to your survivors to deal with.

Reason #2
Young, fit and healthy? Then this is the best time to get life insurance. Your premium will be affordable and if you take out a policy that allows you to keep the same premium until the age of 65, you will have considerable savings... the earlier you start, the better. And then if you develop any health issues throughout your life, it doesn't matter, because you already have the policy in force. Forward thinking!

Reason #3
Are you married? Do you have a domestic partner? Should you parish and leave no money behind to help cover bills, you now just placed a heavy financial burden on your loved ones. Do you want to put them through added financial stress on top of the emotional turmoil caused by your death?

Reason #4
Peace of mind. If you develop a terminal illness, your life insurance will pay out a lump sum upon confirmation of a terminal diagnosis from your treating physician. You will have the money to help get your affairs in order.

Having life insurance in force, ensures there is a financial plan in place for those left behind. The premiums of life insurance are small and affordable to anyone's budget. Remember, it is important you discuss options with your agent and decide on a type/policy:  universal or term that fits your individual needs.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Monday, March 14, 2011

Freedom of Choice

Safety in Motorcycle Riding

The state of Florida has a no helmet law for motorcycle riders. Translation, the rider has an option to ride with or without a helmet. Florida also provides an opt out for motorcycle insurance. Translation, no insurance required. Another option is to have motorcycle insurance with a minimum liability of $10,000.00. I don’t understand the logic or lack there of.

Regardless of the explanation, this one very important reason should transcend any political or legislative word dance…personal responsibility. Yes the freedom of the open road and wind blowing across your face feels good. Yes this feel good feeling provides a sense of security...false security. Yes you save money on an annual basis by foregoing motorcycle insurance. You need to ask yourself is this feeling of security…false security outweigh the potential catastrophic mess that could follow?

If you do survive a motorcycle accident, the medical costs you will incur are astronomical. Beginning from the ambulance ride, throughout your hospital stay, follow-up visits, any rehab time and loss of work time, the money you saved in annual premium by choosing not to have motorcycle insurance will not be enough to cover medically related expenses. Question, did you invest saved premium or use it as extra spending money? Even the $80.00 DOT approved motorcycle helmet you chose not to wear won’t be enough to cover your electric bill. Ask yourself, are you one of the over 1 million Floridians without health insurance? If you answered yes, you just added insult to injury and dug yourself deeper in to financial crisis.

If you’re a victim of a multi-vehicle accident and plan to sue, it could take years before you see any money provided there is money to collect. So what do you do in the mean time to recover lost monies? Do you have at least 6 months of disposable income available? Suffering through post-accident injuries is frightening enough. You can choose to avoid the additional stress of worrying about bills by having insurance in place. You can increase your chances of survival by wearing protective clothing and a DOT approved helmet.

Failing to see beyond the box will put you in a box.

Sound choices,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Invest in your health part II

The best way to start a new health plan is to get a complete physical examination from your family physician.
Just like a car needs routine maintenance, so does your body. What is your most valuable asset? I hope you answered your health. Things and money comes and goes. You only have one chance to go around. Your body needs routine preventative care. Parents take their children in for routine check ups, but often neglect their own healthcare needs. Here is an overview of some major preventative health screening tests for adults:

Gender specific.  Women should get a routine Pap smear to rule out cervical cancer. Mammograms beginning at age 40 to rule out breast cancer. If there is breast cancer in the family, then start at age 30. For men age 50 and over get your annual PSA along with a digital rectal exam to rule out prostate cancer. If there is family history of prostate cancer then start at 40.

Immunizations.  Tetanus/pertussis booster every 10 years. Gardisal for HPV is a series of 3 vaccinations up to the age of 26.  Annual Influenza if your high risk. Shingles vaccine over age 60.  And Pneumonia vaccine over age 65.

Tobacco cessation.  Thousands of ways and scientifically documented reasons to quit. What else can be said? You either want to quit or not. You either want to be healthy or unhealthy. Your choice.

Hypertension.  Also known as the silent killer. Why? No symptoms other than a BP reading. BP machines at your local pharmacy are not a substitute for going to your Doctor. For accuracy, go for your annual examination. 

Colorectal cancer screening.  Valuable screening for those over age 50. How?  Flexible sigmoidoscopy, fecal occult blood test, barium enema, and colonoscopy.

Obesity.  This screening is done at every office visit. How? Simple. By standing on the scale. Your body mass index and metabolic rate may also be read at the same time. 

Dyslipidemia.  A cholesterol panel is a valuable screening test for high cholesterol, another silent killer and a major cause of heart disease and stroke.

These tests will give you knowledge of what you need to look out for. Every thing I mentioned is a foundation for most of the acute, chronic and life threatening illnesses that are commonly treated. The more you take a pro-active approach to your most valuable asset, your health, the better quality of life you will live and longevity will be yours.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN, BSN

Monday, February 28, 2011

Health Insurance in Florida

Healthcare reform helps the consumers in Florida to buy health insurance. Below is some important information about health insurance in Florida and how consumers can be benefited through these changes:

1. Healthcare reforms make sure that small businesses in Florida will be offered tax credits for offering health insurance to their employees. With this, it is expected that around 290,000 small businesses in Florida will be benefited

2. Consumers in Florida will not be imposed with lifetime limits on the coverage they are offered by health insurance companies. This is huge benefit for the consumers.

3. Insurance companies in Florida will not be allowed to drop consumers from coverage because they got sick. This is one of most useful change that the healthcare reforms bring to the consumers in Florida.

4. The children in Florida will not be excluded from coverage based on pre-existing medical conditions.

5. Children in Florida will be able to stay in their family health insurance as dependents until the age of 26. There is no need to buy a separate health insurance plan.

6. Florida's community health centers will be strengthened by increased funding, thereby providing better healthcare services to the patients. Consumers will have access to low cost health insurance options.

Before purchasing a health insurance policy, consider the following tips:

Use a plan with a higher deductible - The chance that you will meet your deductible is slim. If you can save $800 a year on health insurance by increasing your deductible by $1,000, you have made a wise decision. After 15 months on the plan, you have already made back the $1,000. Always ask how much the next highest deductible is and do the math.

Physician co-pays sound great. But they cost you a lot of money each month to have them and don't save you as much as you think. If you stay within the PPO network, you are entitled to the discounted rate for office visits. A physician visit might be $50 to $60. Eliminating the office co-pay feature could save you $500 to $800 a year. You would need to have 20 to 30 office visits a year to make the co-pay feature worthwhile. It sounds better than it is. You will soon realize that paying for the privilege of seeing the doctor for $35 is no big deal.

Use a plan with a prescription deductible - Florida health insurance carriers are going to really soak you for brand name prescription coverage. Most generics are fairly inexpensive and by having a deductible for brand name or non-generic prescriptions, you will save a lot of money on premiums. Most plans have a co-pay for generics and impose a calendar year deductible for brand name drugs. Additionally, several pharmacies and box stores with pharmacies offer a discount card. If you rarely use prescription medication, perhaps this is the better choice for you.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Friday, February 18, 2011


What on Earth is earthing? I recently read a publication written by a metabolic cardiologist,  Dr. Stephen Sinatra, MD on earthing. Here is a brief synopsis.

Try to remember back when you were a kid how energizing it felt playing outside on the grass barefoot. Well, know we know there is a scientific reason for that feeling. When you are barefoot, your body actually becomes infused with negatively charged free electrons that are normally present on the earth's surface. Simply put, these free electrons help provide the body with energy. Think of Earth as being a battery that is constantly being charged by lighting, solar radiation and heat from its molten core. It is from this battery that our bodies derive it's energy, if were grounded.

If you cannot ground yourself by sleeping on the grass or walk around barefoot, get yourself an earthing mat.
The positive effects seen by earthing were it's ability to reverse the inflammatory process. As we know, inflammation is the major underlying cause of heart disease, asthma, diabetes, cancer and neurological diseases.

The improvements seen in heart patients were:  increase in ATP production:  the powerhouse of our cells, decrease in cardiac arrhythmias and a decrease in blood pressure. Other benefits were improvement in sleep patterns, better socialization skills and stabilization of moods.

As alternative medicine has become an accepted practice, more and more people are finding new ways to help alleviate and cure illness. Those people who have applied the concept of earthing in their lives, feel better, get a restful night sleep and have less pain. Give it a try. Get connected with Mother Earth!

For more information on Earthing, visit earthinginstitute.net.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Money well spent: Invest in your health part I

The Florida Hospital offers a well designed health screening package that is affordable and easily accessible. All you have to do is pick up the phone, inquire where the mobile site will be next and make an appointment. There is a blood test involved so you will have to fast.

They have  mobile health fair screening sites throughout Central Florida which affords accessibility for you. Remember, all these tests are screenings only. Should anything come back questionable, you make an appointment with your doctor so he/she may review the results and possibly order additional testing for diagnostic purposes. Either way, send the results to your doctor so they may be added to your file.

The cardiovascular screenings include;  echocardiogram, electro cardiogram, arteriosclerosis screening, carotid artery, peripheral artery and abdominal aortic screening. The blood test is a complete metabolic and lipid panel screening.

These screenings are an ideal way to learn about the overall health of your heart, vasculature system, kidneys and liver. Please take the time and make an appointment. You never know. You my discover an issue that requires immediate medical attention. Afterall, heart disease is called the "Silent Killer".

For more information visit:  http://www.healthy100screening.com/

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Health By The Numbers

Here are a few health factoids.

Estimated 1.5 newly diagnosed cancer cases in America in 2010.

1 of the 3 largest organs in the human body weighs just 3 lbs. Your brain.  

Most people wash their hands regularly, but not everyone washes them long enough. It takes 15-20 seconds to kill the germs on your hands. Just about as long as singing "Happy Birthday"... twice.

Gym memberships spike after the holidays leading to $19 billion in annual membership fees. A bit ironic since America has the widest waist line.

Americans consume on average 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day. Well over the recommended 6-9 teaspoons. In teenagers, the number climbs to 34 teaspoons. Soda, candy and vending machine items contribute to the sugar overdose.

ONE fat cell lives for 3,652 days or 10 years.

The average human heart will beat approximately 100,000 times in a 24 hour period.

Those who have systolic/diastolic values of 130–139/80–89 mmHg BP range are at twice the risk to develop hypertension as those with lower values.

For the gentlemen:  normal PSA levels are <4 nanograms. Higher values may indicate anything from temporary inflammation from the digital exam to cancer. 

Good Health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Friday, January 21, 2011

Health Insurance: Security for Your Financial Health

When trying to decide between an HMO, PPO, or Indemnity plan, take the time to know what each plan provides. Take into consideration what is most important for you. You certainly don’t want to pay for pregnancy benefits if you’re a single man. Or, will you be losing your PCP? Additionally, it’s important to analyze the cost-benefit details in the plan you go with. For example, you may decide that you want a $20 co payment for a doctor visit rather than a $40 one. But how much does this add to your annual premium? If it adds just $200, you would have to go to the doctor more than 10 times in a year (10 x $20 difference) to make that up. Once you decide which type of coverage will benefit you the most, the next step will be to complete an application and answer a few medical questions.

The state of Florida aims to make health insurance a good investment for its residents. By prohibiting "lowball" practices, the state prevents insurers from giving you a low premium and then scheduling rate increases as you get older. Association based insurance policies will not single you out for rate increases. If you see a rate increase, the whole class receives a rate increase. Just know, for an individual policy you are paying a rate based on your health status. State and federal government agencies also guarantee that your individual policy is renewable.

All too often insurance agents hear, “I’m young, only 25 why do I need insurance?” First and foremost, your alive. Your at risk for disease, car accidents, falls, etc. Despite your age and your daily activities, sickness can strike. You'll save yourself a ton of money by circumventing doctor bills as long as you have health insurance in force. The number one reason for personal bankruptcy is caused by astronomical medical bills. It just takes one catastrophic illness or accident to set the ball in motion to personal bankruptcy. Ask yourself, “where am I going to get the money to pay expenses?” Passing YOUR financial burden on family, friends, and the community is just plane irresponsible.

Don’t procrastinate. Secure your place in an affordable, quality health plan today.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Florida's High Risk Insurance Pool

Risk pools are state-sponsored programs to help people with a history of medical problems in their family to purchase coverage. These pools are for people who can afford to buy health insurance, but are not able to get underwritten in the private market because of a pre-existing health condition. These programs can vary significantly from state to state in price, benefits and number of people served. Often insurance companies doing business in the state are required to contribute to the pool to keep it in the black. In the best cases, they allow people to be able to switch jobs or become self-employed without the fear of losing their health insurance coverage

Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan:

Eligible residents of Florida can apply for coverage through the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan program run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

To qualify for coverage:

You must be a citizen or national of the United States or lawfully present in the United States. You must have been uninsured for at least the last six months before you apply. You must have a pre-existing condition or have been denied coverage because of your health condition.

PCIP covers a broad range of health benefits, including primary and specialty care, hospital care, and prescription drugs. All covered benefits are available for you, even if it’s to treat a pre-existing condition.

Below are the monthly PCIP premium rates for Florida by the age of an enrollee.

Age Standard Option Extended Option HSA Option

0 to 18:     $196 $263 $203

19 to 34:   $294 $395 $305

35 to 44:   $352 $474 $366

45 to 54:  $450 $605 $467

55+:        $626 $842 $650

In addition to your monthly premium, you will pay other costs. In 2011, you will pay a $1,000 to $3,000 deductible, which varies by your plan option. A plan option may have a separate drug deductible. After you pay the deductible, you will pay a $25 copayment for doctor visits, $4 to $40 for most prescription drugs, and 20% of the costs of any other covered benefits you get. Your out-of-pocket costs cannot be more than $5,950 per year. These costs may be higher, if you go outside the plan’s network. Today, many insurance companies spend a substantial portion of consumers’ premium dollars on administrative costs and profits, including executive salaries, overhead, and marketing. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act consumers will receive more value for their premium dollar because insurance companies will be required to spend 80 to 85 percent of premium dollars on medical care and health care quality improvement, rather than on administrative costs, starting in 2011. If they don’t, the insurance companies will be required to provide a rebate to their customers starting in 2012.

On November 22, 2010, the Obama Administration issued a regulation implementing this policy, known as the “medical loss ratio” provision of the Affordable Care Act. This regulation will make the insurance marketplace more transparent and make it easier for consumers to purchase plans that provide better value for their money. Additionally, this regulation will help consumers get a good value for their health insurance premium.

How These New Rules Will Help You – Ensuring Value for Consumers

The new medical loss ratio rules will hold insurance companies accountable and increase value for consumers by:  Establishing Transparency and accountability. Beginning in 2011, the law requires that insurance companies publicly report how they spend premium dollars. This information will provide consumers with meaningful information on how their premium dollars are spent, clearly accounting for how much money goes toward actual medical care and activities to improve health care quality versus how much money is spent on administrative expenses like marketing, advertising, underwriting, executive salaries and bonuses.

Insurance companies that are not meeting the medical loss ratio standard will be required to provide rebates to their consumers. Insurers will be required to make the first round of rebates to consumers in 2012. Rebates must be paid by August 1st each year. Enrollees owed a rebate will see a reduction in their premiums, receive a rebate check, or, if the enrollee paid by credit card or debit card, a lump-sum reimbursement to the same account that the enrollee used to pay the premium. In some cases, the rebate may go to the employer that paid the premium on the enrollee’s behalf. Regardless of whether the rebate is provided to enrollees directly or indirectly through their employer, each enrollee must receive a rebate that is proportional to the premium amount paid by that enrollee.

Good Health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Source: Government Health Care

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

One of the most popular and most readily broken resolutions among adults is to lose weight, get in better shape and live a healthy lifestyle. For 2011 and beyond, improve your chances for success by making it a resolution for your whole family. Remember the old adage, if you can't do it for yourself do if for someone else? Having support and a little household accountability will lead to success and make staying fit fun for the entire family. Try some of these suggestions for a healthier you:

Go for a family walk or bike ride each day. Make it a daily routine. Not only will this get you in the groove of exercising but this will be a nice time to bond with family. Keep things interesting by picking a new activity each week. My favorite: going to a park. Take a nature walk. Listen to the birds, smell the flowers and simply take in the aw of nature. Allow your senses to guide you. You can also go on a guided nature walk by checking with your local recreational center. Guided walks are a lot of fun because you will learn about what you are seeing and hearing. Lastly but not limited to, eat right! No doubt about it. Eating plenty of nutritious foods provide energy, maintain normal chemical levels and overall  make you feel better. This "feeling better" will get you on track and encourage you to keep on keeping on. 

Most all of us skip this very important meal of the day, breakfast. I know, I skip it. Breakfast jump starts your metabolism allowing you to burn more calories. Which means, burn more fats. By skipping this meal, you are slowing your metabolism and your body is holding on to more fats. Your BODY is sluggish and begins to "think" it better slow it's metabolism because it doesn't know when nutrients will be feeding it next. What WE "think" I can eat a large meal because I skipped breakfast and this is OK. On the contrary,  this is a NO NO. Our body will burn the carbs and use for immediate energy. The leftover carbs, will turn to fat. The fats in your meal will store as fat instead of breaking it down into energy.

Simply put, eat a well-balanced breakfast that includes proportioned protein, carbs and fats.

Healthy You 2011,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN