Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Smokers beware

Don't worry, this is not another why smoking is bad lecture. Smoking is a choice. You can smoke until your blood vessels and respiratory system sclerose.

This article is about a recent smoking cessation ad I saw claiming laser treatments will help you stop smoking. The laser used is Cold Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT for short). The claim is utilizing laser light beams instead of needles in an acupuncture-like treatment to stimulate cellular activity and block messages i.e. smoke cravings.

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese therapy using fine needles inserted through the skin at specific points in the body. Acupuncture is used with the aim of reducing the withdrawal symptoms people experience when they try to quit smoking.

Unfortunately, the existing evidence does not support the effectiveness of either of these treatments.
There is no consistent, science based evidence that acupuncture, acupressure, laser therapy or electrostimulation are effective for smoking cessation.

St George’s Hospital Medical School in London, UK, conducted a  mini-evaluation of a local laser therapy clinic claiming to help people quit smoking. The above techniques including laser treatments were proven ineffective for long term benefits. The short term benefit was a decrease in cravings but no smoking cessation. The desire to smoke remained.

What was learned at the end of the study was those wanting to quite smoking should re-direct their finances on more useful resources that demonstrated proven tract records of long term success such as counseling by a trained clinician and or FDA regulated smoking cessation products.

The internet is flooded with LLLT for smoking cessation. This does not mean the short descriptions your reading of LLLT for smoking cessation is science based truth. Do due diligence and don't allow yourself to get caught up in costly alternative ways to quit smoking.

LLLT may be effective in conjunction with, in addition to, along with other smoking cessation therapies.

There is no hard evidence, no FDA approved smoking cessation laser, no FDA scientific study to back up laser treatments alone help people quit smoking. Lack of evidence and methodological problems means no firm conclusions may be drawn. These interventions alone are likely to be less effective than proven evidence-based interventions.

If you decide to try LLLT for smoking cessation, here a few starter questions to keep in mind:

How many people has the individual treated for smoking cessation? Average cost, how many treatments, length of treatments? Cost of follow-up treatments? What other treatment modalities are used in conjunction with LLLT?  What is your long term success rate - more than 1 year smoking cessation success rate? Short term success rate?

Good health,

Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Why life insurance is a must have

Some information is worth repeating.

So, why have life insurance? 

Reason #1
To pay bills. Most importantly, 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. Have no mortgage? A life policy is still a solid investment to pass on to your survivors tax free. The proceeds may be used how ever the situation calls for.

Reason #2
Young, fit and healthy? This is the best time to buy 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. When you develop health issues later on in 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? If you parish and leave no/not enough money behind to help cover bills and death related expenses, the potential of personal bankruptcy looms over the survivors. Do you want to put those financially dependent on you though 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 for you to discuss options with your agent and decide on a type of policy:  universal or term that fits your individual needs.

Be pro-active and discuss your wishes with the beneficiary(s). He/she needs to know what your last wishes are and where your life policies are kept. This is not a taboo subject nor is it a subject to be ignored or taken lightly.

Think ahead because the inevitable will be here if your ready or not.

Good health,

Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN