Chronic Kidney Patients’ Urine Can Predict Their Risk of Death


A new study suggests that marker in urine can reveal a lot about the health of patients with chronic kidney disease. A team of experts from the University of Utah has found that low ammonium excretion in the urine of such patients may put them at higher risk of disease progression and even.

The experts studied 1,044 individuals with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in the African American Study of Kidney Diseases and Hypertension. It was found that low urine ammonium excretion predicted kidney failure or death in such patients irrespective of serum bicarbonate concentration. Patients with the the lowest levels had a 46 per cent higher risk of dying or needing dialysis when compared to compared to the participants with the highest levels of daily ammonium excretion. Patients with intermediate levels had a 14 per cent higher risk.Chronic Kidney Patients' Urine Can Predict Their Risk of Death

“These results suggest that low urine ammonium excretion identifies individuals at high risk of CKD progression or death irrespective of the serum bicarbonate concentration,” said Kalani Raphael, University of Utah.

For patients suffering from liver ailments, it becomes important to monitor the body’s pH level and keep it in balance. Doctors commonly assess whether a patient’s body fluids contain too much acid, a condition called acidosis, by measuring bicarbonate levels in the blood.


This can indicate whether the body is having trouble maintaining its acid-base balance, but it may reveal only part of the picture because the kidneys are important for eliminating acid in the urine. Kalani Raphael from University of Utah in the US and colleagues looked to see if urine levels of ammonium may be a better indicator of acid accumulation in the body.

“Overall, acid levels in the urine provide important information about kidney health above and beyond acid measurements obtained from the blood,” Raphael said. The study also suggests that CKD patients with low urine ammonium excretion might benefit from alkali before overt acidosis develops. The findings appear in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).


23-Year Old Man Loses His Life After Getting His Injured Leg Massaged

23-Year Old Man Loses His Life After Getting His Injured Leg Massaged

A recent case, reported in the Medico-Legal Journal, brings to light a tragic incident where a 23-year old man with a hairline ankle fracture lost his life after his mother gave him a leg massage. It raises a big question – can a massage really be dangerous? Not in all cases, but this unfortunate incident stresses on the need to take all precautions and know about the affects of oil massages for treating muscle pain or an injury which may not be the best cure. Oil massages are generally considered to be good for your fitness and well-being but sometimes they may go terribly wrong especially in case of a sprain, fracture or an injury. A gentle massage which may be considered as an alternative form of treatment may not be safe in all cases. It can cause new injuries, aggravate the existing injury, affect the nervous system and even be fatal.

According to the report, the man injured himself while playing badminton last year in September. He was detected with a hairline fracture of the ankle and was asked to wear a cast to heal it. This led to the formation of a blood clot in the veins of his leg and therefore, he experienced pain and swelling even after the plaster is removed. Blood clots can form easily in inflamed or blocked blood vessels. Medically, this condition is known as deep vein thrombosis which is a common side effect of using plasters. It occurs when your legs are immobilized for a long time or because of dilated weak blood vessels. The most common symptoms include redness, swelling, pain and tenderness. Being unaware of the same, his mother gave him an oil massage to relive the pain which proved to be fatal.

The post mortem report of the young adult confirms that on massaging the leg, the blood clot got dislodged from the leg veins and traveled to the pulmonary artery that supplies blood to the lungs causing a blockage and instant death which is known as Pulmonary Thromboembolism. The report also indicates that the innocent mother was not informed about the complications of massaging an injured or the risk of developing pulmonary thromboembolism by the doctors who were treating the young boy.

Experts who corroborated the study have warned people not to apply pressure on areas that have been recently injured till they are completely healed and to consult an orthopaedic doctor if you experience any kind of pain or swelling after removing a plaster.

5 Herbal Remedies for Depression: Know What Could Help

5 Herbal Remedies for Depression: Know What Could Help

We are not oblivious to the fact how depression is fast becoming a common lifestyle problem with many of us suffering from symptoms like anxiety, stress and insomnia. These may seem like mere day to day problems, but they can turn into a matter of concern in the long run. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. More than 300 million people are living with depression with an increase of more than 18 percent between 2005 and 2015. The depression rate in India in 2016-17 was 36 percent. The fear of stigma and lack of support for people with mental disorders have known to be the biggest reasons for not being able to get the right treatment. There may not be a sure shot cure for depression, but there is a possibility to slow it down and calm your perturbed self.

Ayurvedic herbs can help in healing your body in more ways than one. According to Dr. Ashutosh Gautam, Clinical Operations and Coordination Manager, Baidyanath, “During depression, your feel good hormones are not competent anymore to handle many situations, hence, putting you in different moods. Some ayurvedic herbs and spices have proved to help reduce the symptoms of depression.”
He suggests the following herbal remedies for depression.
1. Ashwangandha

Ashwangnadha is believed to relieve stress and anxiety due to the presence of active compounds like steroidal lactones, saponins, alkaloids and withanolides that provide antidepressant, anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. These properties help in reducing stress caused by emotional and physical fatigue. It also balances out the constant mood swings and increases mental alertness, focus and concentration. It helps restore the normal physiological functioning. Ashwangandha can be consumed in its powdered form or as a liquid extract.

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Ashwangandha helps restore normal physiological functioning

2. Brahmi

Brahmi is a small perennial creeping herb that has an age old reputation of curing stress. Brahmi acts as an adaptogen, which simply means that it helps the body adapt to new or stressful situations. When consumed, it is believed to increase the serotonin levels in the brain that help the mind keep calm and give relief from anxiety and nervousness.


Brahmi helps in adapting new or stress situations

3. Jatamansi (Spikenard)

Jatamansi is a perennial herb that helps curing insomnia and other sleeping disorders. It is also known for its anti-depressant, anti-stress and anti-fatigue properties. The roots of jatamansi are used for the medicinal purposes in Ayurveda which are known to give a therapeutic effect to mood swings and stress disorders. Jatamansi can erase negative thoughts by channelizing the energies of the mind in the right direction.
4. Pudina (Peppermint)

Pudina or peppermint has been used for centuries to cure nervous system disorders due to the presence of menthol as it helps calm the frazzled nerves and has a cooling effect. It is loaded with vitamin A and C, minerals including magnesium, manganese, calcium, iron, folate, copper and potassium. Menthol helps cure insomnia by keeping your mind calm and lets you sleep in peace.

peppermint oil

Pudina has menthol that keeps your mind calm

5. Maca (Peruvian Ginseng)

Maca also known as Peruvian ginseng is a herb that is power packed with nutrients. It is a rich source of vitamins, amino acids, various minerals and phytonutrients that increase stamina and decrease excessive anxiety. A Peruvian plant that belongs to the radish family, maca has proved to be a natural healer that helps with hormone and neurotransmitter production due to the presence of adaptogen. Additionally, maca is a natural energizer and helps people overcome lethargy.


Maca is a natural energizer and helps overcome lethargy

It is imperative to refer to a doctor before you switch to herbal remedies as the result majorly depends on the dosage and the form in which they are consumed.


Crucial House vote to be held on Obamacare repeal bill


The US House of Representatives will hold a vote on Thursday on a revised healthcare bill that Republicans hope will replace Obamacare.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the leadership in the party is confident it has secured enough votes for the bill to pass.

It would then go to the Senate where it could face a more tricky passage.

President Donald Trump made the repeal of his predecessor’s signature law a central campaign promise.

He has played a personal role this week in persuading wavering Republicans to come on board.

Their first attempt at getting a healthcare bill collapsed in disarray in March, despite the party controlling both legislative chambers and the White House.

But several key Republicans this week reversed course, partly due to an amendment by Congressman Fred Upton to provide $8bn (£6.2bn) over five years towards coverage for sick people.

But Democrats said the amount was woefully inadequate.

  • Why is Obamacare suddenly so popular?
  • Trump health bill: Winners and losers
  • Patients tell their Obamacare stories

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said: “The Upton amendment is like administering cough medicine to someone with stage four cancer.”

Members of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of ultraconservative lawmakers, indicated the Upton amendment would not be a deal-breaker for them.

In March, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said 24 million people would lose health insurance under the bill, which is called the American Health Care Act.


The bill has been amended several times as Republicans have tried to balance demands from opposing wings of their party.

Conservatives want to see a complete rollback of Obamacare, while moderates are concerned about losing voters who like the existing law.

President Barack Obama’s overhaul of healthcare extended insurance coverage to millions of Americans, but some have experienced rising premiums in recent years.

Protesters in New YorkImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionProtests have been held against Obamacare repeal

One of its popular elements is that it bans insurers from denying coverage to patients who are ill with “pre-existing conditions”.

President Trump has insisted the revised bill will keep that, although it is thought that states will be able to opt out of making that an absolute provision.

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel made a heartfelt plea that pre-existing conditions be protected, and spoke about his newborn son who has a congenital heart defect.


7 Amazing Home Remedies for Indigestion


We all know how it feels when our stomach isn’t doing great. Indigestion is a common problem, and it makes us feel full even when we haven’t eaten anything. Needless to say that it takes a toll on our body. Indigestion is caused when the acid in your stomach flows back to your esophagus. It is also caused when your stomach is inflamed and causes irritation. It can cause great discomfort like fullness, pain, heaviness and even nausea if not treated well. You cannot completely depend on medications as they may not be very helpful in the long run. Therefore, we list down the causes and natural home remedies to calm your tummy without any side effects.

Causes of Indigestion

Being one of the most common problems, indigestion has numerous causes including over-eating, stomach infections, ulcers, acidity, smoking, alcohol, thyroid, irritable bowel syndrome, excess intake of fatty or spicy foods and stress among others. It is imperative to understand the condition and choose a natural remedy for the same.

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Indigestion is one of the most common problems 

Natural Home Remedies for Indigestion

1. Baking Soda

The cause of indigestion can be the presence of excess acid levels. Certain foods like beans, cabbage, milk products and onions among others result in indigestion. Baking soda has sodium bicarbonate that acts as an antacid helping to neutralise stomach acid. Sodium bicarbonates react with the excess formation of hydrochloric acid to break down the effect of the acid in your stomach. It also detoxifies the digestive system relieving you from heartburn and indigestion. You can take baking soda with water or with honey and even lemon, whichever suits you best.

baking soda

The cause of indigestion is the presence of excess acid levels in the stomach

2. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is one of the most effective cures for indigestion. It is an excellent source of magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and other minerals that help in digestion. Vinegar is acidic in nature that breaks down fats, preventing acid reflux. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar helps cure indigestion by virtue of its alkaline-based digestive attributes. You can consume apple cider vinegar with water or honey. Try buying raw, organic and unfiltered form to make it more effective.

apple cider vinegar

Vinegar is acidic in nature and breaks down the fats, preventing acid reflux

3. Ginger (Adrak)

Ginger has long been associated with curing indigestion and is a popular ingredient in Indian households. It contains antioxidants including gingerols that are known for relieving indigestion and nausea. Its phenolic compounds are believed to reduce gastric contractions and relieve gastrointestinal irritation. It is also known to reduce inflammation.

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Ginger has long been associated with curing acidity and indigestion

4. Fennel Seeds (Saunf)

Fennel seeds or saunf consist certain oil compounds including fenchone and estragole that are responsible for preventing or removing the gas from the intestinal tract. These volatile oils also help boost the production of gastric juices, initiating a smooth digestive process. It also has antispasmodic properties that help to relax muscle cells that line the respiratory system, stomach and intestines. You can drink fennel tea or even consume the seeds with water.

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Ginger has certain oil compounds that help remove gas from the intestinal tracts

5. Carom Seeds (Ajwain)

Carom seed or ajwain is known to cure various digestive disorders including indigestion, acidity, flatulence, et al. The active enzymes in ajwain help in boosting the digestive system by facilitating gastric juices. Take ajwain with water for about a week and you can see the difference. You can also consume ajwain powder with water that is generally done to relieve from gastric problems.


The active enzymes in ajwain help stimulate the digestive system

6. Coriander Seeds (Dhaniya)

Coriander seeds or dhaniya seeds are known for their antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties that relieve you from an upset stomach or indigestion, further stimulating your digestive process. Coriander consists of an essential oil called urandrol that detoxifies the liver and increases appetite, curing indigestion. Take coriander seeds infused water for about a week to see the difference.

coriander seeds

Coriander seeds are known for their antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties

7. Indian Gooseberry (Amla)

Indian gooseberry or amla has various aphrodisiac, diuretic, laxative, carminative, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. These properties help stimulate your digestive process, further curing indigestion, heartburn or acidity. Amle ka murabba is said to be one of the most effective ingredients for curing indigestion.


Amla is said to have anti-inflammatory and aphrodisiac properties

You can easily try these home-based natural remedies and cure the discomfort caused by indigestion and stimulate your digestive system. While these can prove to be great for your digestive process, we would suggest that you consult a doctor before completely relying on these, in case of chronic issues.


9 Effective Ways to Get Rid of Cellulite


Cellulite, the unsightly fat around your thighs and hips which has made you reject a major chunk of your wardrobe, is the result of an internal dermatological fat accumulation. This fat protrudes into the dermis, which is the layer just below the outermost layer of the skin – the epidermis. In case of cellulite, the connective tissue within this layer gets weakened, thus paving way for the fat to protrude through, thereby giving you cellulite. The cause for developing cellulite can range from excess body fat to the uneven distribution of fat, or it could be simply genetic.

Cellulite is more common a problem among women because men tend to have thicker skin, therefore for the fat to push through the dermis and make way to the outermost layer is rare.

Cellulite grows more prominent in women as they grow older because the collagen store keeps declining. However, there is not a cause to worry. A considerable chunk of women globally are suffering from the condition, and cellulite can be brought down to a great extent by simple changes in your diet and lifestyle. A healthy diet aiming against build-up of fat and regular exercise, as well as some massaging can reduce cellulite effectively.

Here are some ways by which you can bring down cellulite and an even looking skin.

1. Healthy Diet

A healthy and mindful diet can keep a check on cellulite. Shedding a few pounds can help your fat cells move away from the dermis, thereby lending you a more even-looking skin. Cut down on foods high in salt; sodium causes your fat cells to swell. Eat plenty of fibers, whole grain, proteins, low fat and non fat dairy, fruits and vegetables, as it helps remove waste and toxins from the intestinal tract.

Also Read: (Low Fat Food: What to Eat and What to Avoid for Weight Loss)

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2.  Regular Exercise

Cellulite is basically fat that manages to bulge out through the epidermis, so cut down on extra pounds. Regular exercises like walking, jogging, swimming and yoga should help reduce the fat dimples. Experts suggest 40-minute exercise sessions (half cardio and half strength) three times a week for effective outcomes.


3. Seaweed

Seaweed is a natural exfoliating agent, which promotes smoother blood circulation (which in turn reduces fat accumulation). It also boosts metabolism. The book Healing Foods by DK Publishing House notes, “Its high iodine content helps support healthy thyroid function, which in turn helps regulate the metabolism of cells and assists weight management.” Seaweed also enhances the texture of the skin and rids the body of toxins. When the body is flushed of toxins, the cellulite is brought down considerably. The book also hails seaweed of umpteen detox benefits, ‘A source of detoxifying chlorophyll and mucilaginous (gumlike) fibre hat helps maintain bowel regularity and removes toxins and fats from the body.”

Grab a bowl, mix three to four tablespoons of ground seaweed with 50 ml of sea salt and extra-virgin olive oil or any essential oil. Massage the mixture on the affected area for 10 minutes before taking a shower. Massage the affected area daily for effective results.

seaweed wakame

4. Kick the Butt

Yes, smoking can contribute significantly to cellulite so kick those butts immediately. According to a report published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, intake of cigarette smoke can weaken the formation of collagen, making cellulite more prominent.


5. Dry Brushing

One of the most commonly used and the easiest ways to get rid of cellulite is dry brushing. It is said to improve your blood circulation and lymphatic draining, and eliminates toxic build up in your body which significantly promotes cellulite. The improved blood flow further revitalises the skin, and makes it look plump and radiant. Take a dry brush and gently brush the affected area and the rest of your body too. Make sure your skin and the brush both are dry. Brush for about five minutes, from left to right and then take a shower to wash away the dead skin cells and impurities. Do this daily for about a month to see immediate results and improved skin texture.


6. Cayenne Pepper

For its fat burning qualities, cayenne pepper could prove to be one of your best aides in getting rid of cellulite. Cayenne pepper has the ability to heat up your body, increase blood circulation, thereby boosting metabolism and curbing fat. Add to that, cayenne pepper also helps eliminate bad skin cells and substitute them with healthy cells and flush out toxins from the body. Take a glass of warm water, add about two teaspoons of cayenne pepper powder, a teaspoon of grated ginger and squeeze one whole lemon into it and mix well. Drink the concoction daily for effective results.

cayenne pepper

7. Apple Cider Vinegar

Massaging the affected areas with apple cider vinegar can also work wonders to reduce cellulite around the thighs and hips. Apple cider vinegar is loaded with minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. These minerals not only help flush out the excess toxins but also regulate water retention around thighs and hips. Apple cider vinegar is also used traditionally for weight loss. Remember, lesser the fat, lesser the cellulite.

To effectively bring down cellulite, mix 50 ml of apple cider vinegar with about 100 ml of water. You can also add a bit of honey to the mixture if you are not allergic to it. Massage the affected area with the mixture and leave it on for 30 minutes. Rinse it off with water. Following the regime daily would provide desired results. You can also mix two to three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with one teaspoon of honey, and consume the potion two times a day daily.

apple cider vinegar

Also Read: (10 Proven Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar For Skin, Hair and Weight Loss)

8. Juniper Oil

In the book by DK publishing house, Juniper has been recognised as a traditional “digestive aid, and an antiseptic for treating urinary infections and water retention.” Juniper oil reduces fluid retention and is said to have detoxifying properties, which reduces cellulite to a great extent. Just mix about 20 drops of juniper oil 50 ml of olive oil. Dab the mixture on the affected area and massage for about 15 minutes. Doing this thrice a week should help you get rid of cellulite.

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9. Take Plenty of Water

Your cellulite tends to look the ugliest when dehydrated. For a plump skin, drink plenty of water.

drinking water


As some Republicans rush to defend House health bill, Senate GOP warily pauses


Several Republican leaders have formed a political barricade around the health-care bill that narrowly passed the House last week, defending how the legislation would change insurance coverage for people with preexisting illness or injury.

But while House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Trump administration officials on Sunday rallied around the House legislation after intense criticism from Democrats, who say the bill would strip protections, moderate Senate Republicans were outright dismissive.

“The House bill is not going to come before us,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said on ABC’s “This Week,” adding that the Senate would be “starting from scratch.”

The Republican split screen on health care revealed the frothing debate within the party about how to gut aspects of the Affordable Care Act, which became law in 2010 and whose demise has been promised by the Republican Party to its conservative base.

A growing number of Senate Republicans are recasting President Trump’s Rose Garden celebration after the House vote as a mere starting point due to anxiety over how the House bill would affect Medicaid recipients in their states, insurance costs for people with conditions such as diabetes or cancer, or the breadth of health benefits in states that would be able to jettison current federal insurance requirements.

Yet Trump and many of his allies continue to doggedly talk up the House bill, resisting the suggestion that the Senate could discard major items in the proposed legislation, which was crafted with input from the hard-line House Freedom Caucus.

And many of them remain defiant amid the barrage of attacks from Democrats, who have insisted that the House bill would make acquiring coverage more difficult for people with serious ailments and disrupt insurance markets — and see in the Republicans’ efforts a chance to reclaim the House majority next year.

The seemingly divergent political positioning on display Sunday underscored the fragility of the Republican Party on an issue that has galvanized it for years. Senate Republicans, generally more centrist in their politics, do not feel compelled to herald the House bill. But House Republicans and White House advisers, who are more skittish about fraying the relationships they have cultivated with House conservatives and activists, do not want to shelve or play down the bill that just passed.

Ryan offered a spirited defense of the House bill on ABC’s “This Week” as he was peppered with questions about the possibility of sharp premium increases for people with preexisting conditions.

“We will want to make sure people who have bad health-care status, who have a preexisting condition, get affordable coverage,” Ryan said. “That’s not happening in Obamacare. You got to remember, if you can’t even get a health insurance plan, what good is it? You don’t have health insurance.”

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus acknowledged that GOP House members could face criticism but predicted that they would ultimately be “rewarded” by voters.

“Sometimes in life you have to do what’s right, not what’s politically expedient,” Priebus said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”

How the GOP ultimately moves forward this spring and the internecine wrangling over the scope of the final congressional product will have sweeping consequences for the health-care system. With Republicans controlling Congress and the White House, the lingering question for them is not whether to repeal some provisions of the law but whether the Senate or House will hold sway on the details.

“We’re going to go through that process,” White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said on CBS’s “Face the Nation. “Is it ugly? Maybe. Is it slow? Yes, but it’s the right way to do it, and it’s how we’re going to handle this bill.”

For now, Senate Republicans are signaling that they are in control after weeks of tumult within the House. Collins, along with Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), have in recent days spoken out forcefully against parts of the House bill, with Graham saying it “needs to be viewed with suspicion” and Portman asserting that “it does not meet the test of stability” for people who rely on the “safety net” of Medicaid.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo) said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he and his colleagues would “come up with what the Senate thinks the Senate can do.”

Blunt, who is close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said the Senate GOP will wait to review a score of the legislation’s cost from the Congressional Budget Office before moving ahead with any vote. The House GOP did not have the final version of their bill scored last week, but it was reviewed in prior forms, with the CBO concluding that 24 million more Americans would lack health insurance by 2026 if that bill becomes law.

“The Senate is going to complete the job of saying just how much more money,” Ryan said on ABC. “This is one stage in a multistage legislative process.” You know how this works. They pass a bill through the House. Then they pass a bill through the Senate and then you go to conference and iron out the differences.”

Priebus argued that any concerns about people with preexisting conditions are overblown, stressing that nothing would change for people with coverage through their employer, Medicare and Medicaid. Even people in states where governors seek waivers will be affected only if they don’t have continuous coverage, he said, and there is money in the bill to help them.

“We’ve put billions. . . into high-risk pools to buy down any premiums.” Priebus said, referencing a change to the House bill late last week that would provide $8 billion over five years to help people with preexisting conditions — including cancer, high blood pressure, asthma and even pregnancy sometimes — afford coverage. “If you have a preexisting condition, this president is not going to let you down.”

Priebus said he talked Saturday with six Republicans who are part of the working group on the Senate version of the bill, called them “mature” and said he is confident in the changes they may make.

The talks at the moment mostly involve only Republicans. Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), who has been friendly with Trump, said Sunday that he was distressed that no Democrats have been asked to work on the bill in the Senate. A working group of 13 GOP senators from different parts of the ideological spectrum is meeting twice a week to talk about how to move ahead.

“I’m the most centrist Democrat willing to work and fix things,” Manchin said on “Face the Nation.” He said people in his rural, working-class state would be “completely slammed” by the House bill.

Leading health policy experts have raised questions about GOP claims and how they would work in practice. Among the most significant: How many states would back away from the federal protections for people with medical conditions? How many would cut back on a set of “essential benefits” that current law requires to be included in all health plans sold to individuals or small business? And how many people would lose their coverage because of other changes in the House plan?

There is no one single meaning of “preexisting conditions,” but the term generally refers to acute or chronic ailments that a person has or had in the past and that might return. Such ailments often require more medical care than healthy people tend to use. Before the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the law that Trump and congressional Republicans are eager to dismantle, Americans with such medical challenges often could not get or afford insurance.

An estimated 50 million to 129 million Americans have some preexisting health problem, according to an analysis by federal health officials during the Obama administration.

As House Republicans fanned out across the country for a one-week recess, Mulvaney, a former House member from South Carolina, said lawmakers should be “ecstatic” about the chance to talk to their constituents about the legislation.

“Absolutely, without reservation,” Mulvaney said. “That’s what I would do.”


Gusto Matches Small Businesses with Health Plans


Wouldn’t it be nice to have cost-effective small business health plans and coverage you can offer your employees?

Whether you have two employees or 20, employer-sponsored health insurance is one of the benefits workers value the most. Small business health benefits not only help secure the health of your employees, but also their families.

However, over 70 percent of small businesses today do not offer health benefits to their workers, according to a nationwide survey of more than 500 small business owners conducted by payroll startup Gusto, formerly known as ZenPayroll. That constitutes millions of businesses whose workers are left on their own when it comes to health insurance.

Small Business Health Plans

One of the reasons small businesses cite for not offering health benefits to employees is because owners feel overwhelmed by the arduous process of setting up and managing their benefits, says Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll). in its report. In fact, adds Gusto, two out of three owners feel unprepared to navigate the health insurance process, and the vast majority of them wish their brokers could make it easier to pick the best plan for their budget.

That’s why the San Francisco-based startup, which says its mission is to bring life to work, recently announced it was launching an easy and customized way for small business owners and their employees to select, enroll in, and manage their health benefits. The company says it felt it could use technology and design to help solve such an important problem for millions of people.

Solving Small Business Health Insurance Issues with Gusto

Gusto, already processing payrolls for over 30,000 small businesses annually, revealed in the press release announcing its small business health benefits plan that it is using technology to create an integrated payroll and benefits platform in order to bring simplicity and efficiency to an industry that’s currently mired in paperwork, manual data entry and errors.

“Employers and employees rely on health insurance to protect themselves and their families. It doesn’t make sense that choosing and managing such important benefits is so complicated, overwhelming and manual. I was shocked to learn that 60% of customers who transfer their existing health insurance coverage to Gusto arrive with legacy broker errors,” said Joshua Reeves, CEO and co­founder of Gusto.

But, thanks to the new small business health benefits service from Gusto, human resource managers and benefit administrators can now select tailored insurance plans and coverage to offer employees. Your employees can get health plans that are easy for them to enroll, add family members and secure the health cover that they actually need, wrote the company in a blog post.

“Our benefits are entirely online and paperless. We combine the expertise of our brokers with proprietary software to automatically recommend the best plans for an employer’s budget. It’s like Kayak for health insurance,” assures Reeves in the press release.

Gusto’s Small Business Health Benefits Offering

Gusto is perhaps the only benefits solution on the market right now that leverages data and technology to match businesses and their employees with health plans, although its health insurance offering directly pits it against crisis-plagued business rival Zenefits that already offers a similar service.

By pulling key data from its 30,000 strong small business customer base, including company location, number of employees and average employee salary, Gusto is able to match businesses and their employees with health plans that are just right for their needs and budget.

Another advantage Gusto’s small business health benefits service has over other small business payroll services and traditional insurance brokers that come to your office with printout is that its service is optimized for the mobile web and desktop, making it paperless. Moreover, its service seamlessly integrates with Gusto’s payroll service, allowing an automated and error-free process that eliminates the manual process that was once plagued by data entry mistakes.

Gusto said its new health benefits service will first be available in California. However, companies in seven other states can transfer their existing insurance policies to Gusto’s software in the meantime, including California, New York, Florida, Illinois, Colorado, New Jersey, Ohio and Texas.


Read “Lifestyle Entrepreneurship” to Determine If Your Idea is Profitable


Money in the bank does not necessarily mean that all is well with your business, or that you are on the way to financial freedom. “Lifestyle Entrepreneurship” explains how to plan and build a business, and how through the use of a variety of accounting processes and metrics, you can make the correct financial decisions to attain your dream of financial freedom.

No one goes into business with the intention of making a loss. However, as the statistics have shown, many would-be entrepreneurs have set out with what they believed to be a great idea, but were ultimately unsuccessful. Often, this is simply due to a lack of research and a failure to do the math.

“Lifestyle Entrepreneurship: A CPA’s perspective” intends to teach you how to create and sustain a lifestyle business by understanding the finances of your business. It outlines the financial considerations and calculations to perform when looking to take your idea from inception to your desired outcome.

What is “Lifestyle Entrepreneurship” About?

Being a lifestyle entrepreneur is about more than simply running your own business to provide an income that frees you from having  to work for someone else. The goal of a true lifestyle entrepreneur is to create a business with enough assets so that at some point it can continue to provide an income and the desired lifestyle without the need for the entrepreneur to work within the business any longer.

The main purpose of “Lifestyle Entrepreneurship” is to show how it is necessary to keep track of the state of your business at all times by using a variety of metrics. These metrics provide you with the ability to make informed decisions with regard to how and where to spend your time and money.

In “Lifestyle Entrepreneurship” the author takes an idea for a business and sets the rules and the goals that her fictitious lifestyle entrepreneur wants to attain within a given number of years.

Having selected a business and the services that will be provided by the business, various calculations and predictions are used to determine the budget needed to set up and start running the business. Revenue generation, cost structuring and cash management are each discussed in detail, and made more understandable by relating them to the proposed business and the desired outcomes specified.

Through use of this information, projections are then made possible, and goals set for the lifestyle entrepreneur to be able to achieve a predetermined exit from the business while still having financial freedom.

About the Author

Based in Springfield, Illinois, author Evelyn Ivy (@LifestyleCPA) is herself a lifestyle entrepreneur. She is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Valuation Analyst and the Founder of LifestyleCPA  specializing in helping entrepreneurs to achieve financial freedom.

What Was Best About This Book

There are many types of businesses and ways to generate an income stream. While the basic accounting principals apply to all businesses, such a diversity of income streams means that there are many different ways to determine whether your business is achieving the level of success required to attain financial independence.

The business portrayed in “Lifestyle Entrepreneurship” and used to illustrate the various metrics which can be used to measure financial progress has three different sources of income. This is particularly helpful as it has allowed the author to cover a variety of different metrics which can be used depending on the type of business applicable to the reader.

Each of these metrics is explained in full, making the explanations provided together with the numbers easy to comprehend. Therefore, whether you have studied accounting or not, you should be able to apply these metrics to your own business.

What Could Have Been Done Differently

“Lifestyle Entrepreneurship” covers the majority of the accounting practices and metrics that can be used when running a business. However, it specifically focuses on the initial setup and first month of operation of the business. I believe that had the data for the business covered a lengthier period of time, the examples showing the progress for the business would have appeared more realistic and meaningful.

Why Read “Lifestyle Entrepreneurship”

This is an ideal book for entrepreneurs who want to calculate the viability of a business in terms of cost and potential earnings before startup. It is also useful for small business owners who want to maintain and understand their own financial records rather than using the services of a book keeper or an accountant.

A failure to truly understand the financial state of your business is often a precursor to running into financial trouble. “Lifestyle Entrepreneurship” provides the methods and metrics to ensure that you are in control of your finances, and can view the financial state of your business at anytime.


Infertility Cases on the Rise: Artificially Sweetened, Aerated Drinks May Be the Culprit


Talk about health problems and we immediately divert our attention to diseases like cancer and diabetes, but there are several other ailments that are alarmingly on the rise in the recent times mainly due to our unhealthy lifestyle habits. Yes, our sedentary lifestyle is the reason behind various health issues that we get to hear about today, affecting millions everyday. One such health concern from the lot is infertility. A large number of people, both men and women, are facing this issue today. While there are various causes that lead to infertility, one major culprit is aerated drinks, according to a new report.

Aerated drinks have almost become a constant in most Indian households. It is a convenient refreshment when the urge for a thirst quencher strikes. But what most people fail to see that hidden under the sweet taste are oodles of artificial sweeteners that are immensely harmful for health. Doctors say that consumption of artificially sweetened sodas and aerated drinks are leading to infertility in humans because of the presence of an artificial sweetener, aspartame, which can disrupt the endocrine system leading to hormonal imbalance and infertility issues in women.

“Almost all of the soft drinks and sodas contain aspartame which is linked to many health problems including infertility, malformations and miscarriages,” said Arvind Vaid, an IVF expert at city-based Indira IVF. “Excess consumption leads to hormonal imbalance and fluctuation that causes ovulatory disorders and even worsens PMS (Premenstrual symptoms),” he added.

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The Dark Side of Aspartame

Aspartame contains two amino acids called phenylalanine and aspartic acids, which are considered to be harmless when eaten in combination with other amino acids. However, experts say when they are taken unaccompanied, it stimulates the generation of free radicals which leads to cell death.

“Sperm and ovum, being cells, have 90 per cent chances of dying when aspartame is consumed in excess. It is advised by many doctors and experts to avoid anything that helps in the formation of free radicals in the body for the significance of reproductive health,” said Vaid.

Rachna Jaiswar, associated with Gynaecology Department of Safdarjung Hospital, said consumption of sugary aerated drinks restrains the immune system causing weight gain and hormonal imbalance, which strongly contributes to fertility issues. “Soda is a highly acidic beverage, which alters the pH level of the body with excess consumption,” said Jaiswar.

Talking about the high consumption of aerated drinks and sodas by men, Jaishwar said due to lack of nutrients in a high pH atmosphere, sperm cells either get harmed leading to its abnormal shape and poor quality or eventually die.

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“Moreover Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical that reduces the male semen quality, is found in the lining of plastic bottles and most canned goods. Men who consume soft drinks more often are at 4 times the risk of lowering their sperm count, motility and concentration,” said Jaiswar.

Doctors also said most of the soft drinks are caffeinated and contain fructose, which are associated with a higher risk of ovulatory disorders and infertility among women.

“Caffeine is known to be a vasoconstrictor that reduces uterine blood flow thereby reducing menstrual bleeding and shortening the duration of menses. Combination of caffeine, aspartame and fructose affects the sex hormones and