PAGE 8 SECTION C FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2013 THE ENTERPRISE-BULLETIN
Your health care isn?t as good as you think it is
Health care in Canada isn?t as good as you think it is.
(NC) That?s the message of a new report, Better health, better care, better value for all,from the Health Council of Canada. The Health Council looked at national and international data and concluded that although Canada is one of the top spenders on health care, our results are not that impressive. Compared to other hig h income countries like Switzerland, the United King dom and the United States, Canada falls in the middle when we look at measures of our health status, such as how long Canadians can expect to live or what percentag e of Canadians have multiple chronic conditions (e.g ., arthritis, cancer, heart disease). Our ranking on health care services is even worse?near the bottom? when it comes to how long Canadians have to wait for elective surg ery or how easy it is to get primary health care outside office hours. More alarming is that there are inequities in health care across the country. It turns out that where you live matters. For example: In 2009, 8.1% of Newfoundland and Labrador residents had diabetes, almost double the rate (4 .2 % ) of Yukon residents. In 2012, 62% of doctors in British Columbia reported that their patients can get an appointment the same day or the next day. In Quebec, that percentage was 22% . In 2012, 84% of patients in Ontario waiting for knee replacement surgery received treatment within 26 weeks (the standard across Canada), compared to just 35% of patients in Prince Edward Island. And while all of us pay taxes so that our health care is there when we need it, the cost of prescription drugs can be an extra burden. One in 10 Canadians reports not filling a prescription or skipping doses because of cost. Not all Canadians have the same drug coverag e thoug h g overnments have promised this in the past. So what is the solution? It isn?t to ask governments to spend more money on health care. In fact, Canada has invested a lot of new money in health care over the last 10 years. But the larg est percentag e of funds are still spent on hospital care, drug s and physicians, even thoug h there is g rowing demand in areas such as manag ing chronic conditions and home care services to meet the needs of our aging society. The Health Council proposes that we do things differently if we want a hig her-performing health system. First, the federal, provincial, and territorial g overnments must ag ree on shared g oals, specifically: better health, better care, and better value for all Canadians. There must also be strong leadership and sustained support in areas such as measurement and reporting , so that g overnments and health care organizations can be held accountable. Finally, g overnments across Canada must collaborate more effectively, and the federal government needs to be an active player. The bottom line? Canadians deserve better health care. We must, and we can, do better with what we have. Visit the Health Council of Canada website to read the full report (healthc o u n c i l c a n a - da.ca/refocusing healthcare) and to read blogs from health industry leade r s (http://healthcouncilcanada.blogspot. ca/). www.newscanada.com
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(NC) Osteoporosis is a disease that affects the bones, weakening them, and making them more likely to break. Osteoporosis is often called the ?silent thief? because bone loss can occur without you even knowing it or feeling anything. This bone loss does not occur overnight but over the course of several years. Sometimes the first sign anything is wrong is a broken bone. These breaks
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can have serious side effects, including loss of mobility and independence, as well as shortened life spans. Women over the age of 55 are at an increased risk for osteoporosis, and so are advised to incorporate healthy lifestyle choices to build bone strength. These include daily weight-bearing ex ercise, such as brisk walking or dancing , and consuming at least 1 ,2 0 0 mg of calcium and 8 0 0 to 2 ,0 0 0 IU of vitamin D per day. Calcium can be found in milk products as well as kale, sesame seeds, tofu, and almonds. Fish, eggs, orange juice, and sunshine
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are ex cellent sources of Vitamin D. However, sometimes this is not enoug h to w ard off the bone-weakening effects of osteoporosis. ?For some women with osteoporosis, particularly those at higher risk of breaking a bone, prescription medication is needed to build bones and keep them strong ,? said Dr. David Kendler, director of the Prohealth Clinical Research Centre and the Osteoporosis Prog ram at Providence Health Care in Vancouver. In order for medications to be effective, they must be taken as prescribed. In a recent survey of women over the age of 55, 80 per cent knew it was important to take the medication as prescribed by their doctor. Nearly all of the respondents ? 90 per cent ? said that they always took their medication at the recommended time and dose, and only 17 per cent thoug ht it was okay to occasionally miss a dose because their bones would still be protected from breaking. Despite this, studies show that half of people taking oral bisphosphonate treatment are estimated to discontinue within a year, putting their bones at risk of breaking. ?Other treatment options with different dosing options, such as a twiceyearly injection, are available for women aged over 55 who are at high risk of breaking a bone,? said Dr. Kendler. ?Treatments taken less frequently may be a better option for some patients.? Your doctor can help you decide what treatment option is rig ht for you. More information about osteoporosis is available online at www.healthandbone.ca. www.newscanada.com
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