Know Your Options for Long-Term Care Planning and Costs

We spend time and money planning for many big events in life: college tuition, weddings, retirement, travel — the list could go on, but one big expense that many people overlook is the possibility of needing long-term care. These costs can really add up, so it’s important to start planning as early as possible to avoid being caught off guard later on.

What Kind of Care Will You Need?

Whether you’re planning for yourself or a loved one, there are a few risk factors to consider, starting with your family. Do you have a family history of illnesses or conditions that would require assistance or medical care? According to Forbes, having a family history of dementia and other neurological problems increases the odds that you will need long-term care.

Besides these genetic factors, it’s also important to look at your lifestyle and changes you could make to reduce the risk of injury or illness. In some instances, applying a more holistic approach can make a huge improvement and lessen your risk of problems down the road.

  • Diet – Are you eating a healthy, balanced diet? What you eat can affect your chances of developing heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Make sure to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Avoid too much dairy as well as processed foods, and be sure to drink plenty of water. Remember, you are what you eat!
  • Exercise – Are you keeping your heart and lungs healthy with exercise? Exercise can also strengthen your bones and increase flexibility, reducing your risk of injury. Low-impact exercise can help you make serious strides in your health. Look to activities like walking, yoga and hiking.
  • Meditation – Stress can be a huge contributor to poor health. By finding ways to cope with and curb stress, you can make serious inroads in your physical and mental health. If meditation is new to you, look to guided apps to help you get started.
  • Unhealthy habits – Unhealthy habits like smoking and excessive drinking can lead to serious illnesses. Make a point to look into smoking cessation, and limit your alcohol intake. As mentioned above, it’s also a good idea to cut out processed foods. By cutting back on sodas, fast food and convenience meals you’re adding to your longevity.

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Castor Oil Speeds Up Healing & Improves Your Immunity

Castor oil - Dr. Axe
Folk healers worldwide have used castor oil to treat a wide variety of health conditions for thousands of years. The use of castor oil goes as far back as the ancient Egyptians, who used it to treat eye irritations and as a powerful natural skin care remedy. In India, castor oil has been prized for its skin-healing, digestive-soothing, antibacterial properties and is commonly used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine practices.

Not sure about castor oil benefits? Find Out Here.

For centuries, at the first sign of illness, many mothers and grandparents would immediately turn to giving their children castor oil either topically or internally to naturally boost immune function and speed up healing. Derived from the seeds of the castor bean plant (Ricinus communis), records show that many years ago the plant was referred to as the “Palma Christe” because the shape of the plant’s leaves were said to resemble the palm of Christ.


What Is Castor Oil?

Throughout history, castor oil’s most popular use has been for treating skin infections, lowering constipation and boosting the appearance of hair health, but research has shown that castor oil has even more important applications for supporting the immune system. Castor oil is capable of increasing white blood cells and the count of T-11 cells (a type of special white blood cells that act like antibodies) produced within the body’s lymphocytes that help kill viruses, fungi, bacteria and cancer cells.

Many of castor oil’s benefits come down to its chemical composition. It’s classified as a type of triglyceride fatty acid, and almost 90 percent of its fatty acid content is a specific and rare compound called ricinoleic acid. Castor oil is considered to be pretty unique because ricinoleic acid is not found in many other substances, and it’s such a dense, concentrated source. It is produced by cold-pressing the seeds and subsequent clarification of the oil by heat.

Aside from its primary constituent, ricinoleic acid, castor oil also contains certain beneficial salts and esters that function primarily as skin-conditioning agents. At the same time, they help stabilize the texture and consistency of products, which is why castor oil is used in so many cosmetics, hair and skin-care treatments.

According to the International Journal of Toxicology, castor oil and hydrogenated castor oil reportedly were used in 769 and 202 cosmetic products, respectively, during the time of an analysis in 2002! Ricinus communis (castor) seed oil is the name given to the type of castor oil used in cosmetics, which you might find listed on the ingredient label, especially in lipsticks.


Castor Oil Benefits

As an unsaturated fatty acid, ricinoleic acid found in castor oil has many healing abilities, including:

  • supporting the lymphatic system
  • increasing circulation
  • preventing the growth of viruses, bacteria, yeasts and molds
  • fighting skin disorders and infections
  • helping to kill ringworm, keratoses, skin inflammation, abrasions and fungal infections
  • healing acne
  • helping hair grow
  • reducing itching and swelling on the skin
  • fighting toenail fungus
  • easing constipation
  • hydrating chapped lips
  • reducing painful sunburns
  • helping with pregnancy and inducing labor
  • and many more

One of the major reasons castor oil has strong immune-enhancing effects is because it supports the body’s lymphatic system. The most significant role of the lymphatic system, which is spread throughout the whole body in small tubular structures, is that it absorbs and removes excess fluids, proteins and waste materials from our cells.

Lymph nodes located within these tubes act like the body’s natural filters for toxins, and they also pump out antibodies when we’re sick to keep foreign proteins or bacteria at bay. If you’ve ever had an enlarged lymph node in your neck or near your genitals, for example, this is a sign that a high level of antibodies are being released in order to fight an infection near that area.

When the lymphatic system isn’t working properly, this can eventually lead to the failure of many healthy cells and possibly degeneration and destruction of organs. For example, poor lymphatic drainage of the heart is linked to tissue damage, which can add to or worsen coronary heart diseaseconditions.

Aside from capturing leaking fluid from our tissues that contain waste, increasing function of the circulation system and helping create defensive antibodies for the immune system, the lymphatic system also helps absorb lingering fat molecules within the small intestine. In fact, a large percentage of all the fat absorbed from the gut requires the help of the lymphatic system. Some fat molecules remain unabsorbed because they’re essentially too large to move from the small to large intestine. This means they can be released into the lymphatic system and then into the bloodstream, where they can be carried throughout the body to be used for fuel.


10 Castor Oil Uses

1. Improves Immune Function

Castor oil is believed to improve lymphatic drainage, blood flow, thymus gland health and other immune system functions. Research has shown that patients who use abdominal castor oil packs have significant increases in the production of lymphocytes compared with patients using placebo packs. Lymphocytes are the immune system’s natural “disease-fighters” that attack outside invaders such as toxins, bacteria and other perceived threats.

Castor oil helps with the production of proper levels of lymphocytes, which are released and stored within the lymphatic tissue from the thymus gland, spleen, lymph nodes and tissue that lines the small intestine. The lymphatic system also impacts the circulatory and digestive systems, which is why castor oil has benefits for helping you detox, supporting heart health and healing digestive issues like constipation, too.

Castor oil is hydrolyzed in the small intestine by pancreatic enzymes, leading to the release of glycerol and ricinoleic acid, along with other beneficial metabolites.

2. Boosts Circulation

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(CNN)Experts have proposed using medical marijuana to help Americans struggling with opioid addiction. Now, two studies suggest that there is merit to that strategy.

The studies, published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, compared opioid prescription patterns in states that have enacted medical cannabis laws with those that have not. One of the studies looked at opioid prescriptions covered by Medicare Part D between 2010 and 2015, while the other looked at opioid prescriptions covered by Medicaid between 2011 and 2016.
The researchers found that states that allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes had 2.21 million fewer daily doses of opioids prescribed per year under Medicare Part D, compared with those states without medical cannabis laws. Opioid prescriptions under Medicaid also dropped by 5.88% in states with medical cannabis laws compared with states without such laws, according to the studies.
“This study adds one more brick in the wall in the argument that cannabis clearly has medical applications,” said David Bradford, professor of public administration and policy at the University of Georgia and a lead author of the Medicare study.
“And for pain patients in particular, our work adds to the argument that cannabis can be effective.”
Medicare Part D, the optional prescription drug benefit plan for those enrolled in Medicare, covers more than 42 million Americans, including those 65 or older. Medicaid provides health coverage to more than 73 million low-income individuals in the US, according to the program’s website.
“Medicare and Medicaid publishes this data, and we’re free to use it, and anyone who’s interested can download the data,” Bradford said. “But that means that we don’t know what’s going on with the privately insured and the uninsured population, and for that, I’m afraid the data sets are proprietary and expensive.”

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“As somebody who treats patients with opioid use disorders, this crisis is

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