High blood pressure complicates almost 10% of all pregnancies, and the incidence of this condition is even higher in women who have never given birth or are carrying multiple fetuses. This condition is dangerous during pregnancy because it can lead to preeclampsia, which is a leading cause of maternal and infant illness and death. Preeclampsia can affect both the mother and baby – and when it comes to the baby’s health, preeclampsia can have long-lasting effects.
What Is Preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-related hypertensive disorder that is marked by the elevation of the mother’s blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy. If it is not monitored or treated, it can progress to severe preeclampsia quickly. Most women who deal with preeclampsia will deliver healthy babies and fully recover, but others will experience complications.
Preeclampsia Risk Factors
The cause of preeclampsia is unknown, but research suggests that women who are obese or have diabetes and chronic hypertension are more likely to develop it. It can happen to any woman during pregnancy, occurring in 5-8% of all pregnancies in women with no known risk factors. Incidences of it are on the rise: the rate of preeclampsia has increased 25% in the last two decades.
The most common risk factors include:
Previous history of preeclampsia
History of chronic high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, or organ transplant
Never having been pregnant before
Obesity, particularly with a BMI of 30 or greater
Being over 35 or under 20 years of age
Family history of preeclampsia
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Lupus or other autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, and multiple sclerosis
Sickle cell disease
Obstructive sleep apnea
How Preeclampsia Affects the Mother
Preeclampsia can develop at any time during pregnancy, delivery, or up to six weeks postpartum, though it most frequently occurs in the final trimester of pregnancy. It usually resolves within 48 hours of delivery. Symptoms include:
Vision loss or blurred vision.
Preeclampsia can have long-term effects, especially if it begins early in pregnancy, including damage to vital organs, such as the kidneys, livers, and brain. It can even cause seizures and stroke.
How Preeclampsia Affects the Baby
Preeclampsia is also risky for the fetus and can have long-lasting effects after birth. It depends on how severe the condition is, and how long the mother has had it. Some possible issues include:
Lack of oxygen and nutrients that can impair fetal growth
Premature birth– The baby’s growth can be restricted in the womb, causing early delivery
Stillbirth if placental abruption (separation of the placenta from the uterine wall) leads to heavy bleeding in the mother
Infant death- In the U.S., approximately 10,500 babies, and an estimated half-million worldwide, die from preeclampsia each year. If the baby is not growing how they should be, or scores poorly on a stress test, they might not survive in the womb.
Ongoing life challenges- This condition can lead to learning disorders, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, blindness, and deafness.
There is no cure for preeclampsia. The mother and baby will need to be carefully monitored throughout the pregnancy if it is diagnosed. If you develop preeclampsia, your OB/GYN will monitor your blood pressure and assess your lab tests to make sure your organs are functioning properly, and that the baby is growing in the womb as they should be. You will be prescribed antihypertensive drugs if your blood pressure rises to dangerously high levels of 160/110 or higher.
If you need a health insurance plan that covers pregnancy, childbirth, and everything after, EZ can help you find a plan that covers all of your medical needs. We offer a wide range of health insurance plans from top-rated insurance companies in every state. And because we work with so many companies and can offer all of the plans available in your area, we can find you a plan that saves you a lot of money, even hundreds of dollars, even if you don’t qualify for a subsidy. There is no obligation, or hassle, just free quotes on all available plans in your area. To get free instant quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to a local agent, call 888-350-1890.
What time did you go to bed last night? Wow, that’s late! And what were you doing up so late? If you’re like a lot of people, you might struggle to answer that question, or your answer might be, “not much,” or at least not anything you needed to be doing at 2 am. Maybe you were scrolling through social media, reading, binge watching your favorite show, or any number of things that are more enjoyable than the work, chores, and childcare you were engaged in all day.
Now, don’t get us wrong, we’re all for “me time,” but if it comes at the expense of your much-needed sleep, it can actually start to seriously affect your mental and physical health.
So if you know it’s not good for you, and that you should be all tucked into bed at a reasonable hour instead of firing up the online shopping apps at 1 am, the question becomes not what were you doing last night, but why were you doing it? You might be engaging in what’s become known as “revenge bedtime procrastination,” and you’re not alone.
Revenge Is a Dish Best Served…Sleepy?
So what can revenge and sleep possibly have to do with each other? Who or what are you taking revenge on with your bedtime? Well, ultimately, you’re only hurting yourself, but the term itself refers to taking “revenge” on the hectic daytime schedule that keeps you from doing the things you’d rather be doing.
The “procrastination” part of the phrase is nothing new to those who study sleep (“bedtime procrastination” first came up in a journal article in 2014), but the addition of the “revenge” concept is. This idea reportedly comes from China, where some workers’ notorious “996” schedule of working from 9 am – 9 pm, 6 days a week prompted people on social media to begin using the Chinese expression, “bàofùxìng áoyè,” which roughly translates to “retaliatory staying up late,” or, as we have begun to call it, revenge sleep procrastination. Journalist Daphne K. Lee popularized the term, when she described it on Twitter as when “people who don’t have much control over their daytime life refuse to sleep early in order to regain some sense of freedom during late-night hours.”
In other words, as Lee Chambers, M.Sc. M.B.Ps.S., an environmental psychologist and well-being consultant, puts it: “One of the significant causes of revenge sleep procrastination is where our current working culture intersects with our personal and leisure time expectations in our p.m. bookend. The desire to gain a level of personal freedom drives a desire to stay awake beyond a time that will provide an optimal level of sleep.”
So what’s causing people to engage in this behavior is not just simple lack of time during the day (I mean, we would all need at least 27 hours a day to get everything done, right?), it’s also the stress of not having a moment to ourselves, and the difficulty of finding time to detach from our work or parenting. For example, if you’re coming home from work at 8, eating, showering, and then getting ready to start the cycle all over again, or if you’re looking after another human all day, and are almost never “off duty” until late into the evening, you’re not getting any time to do anything for you – or any mental space. As Ciara Kelly, a lecturer in work psychology at Sheffield University’s Management School, explains, we all need time to mentally distance ourselves from our days: “People are stuck in a Catch-22. When they don’t have time to detach from their work before they go to sleep, it is likely to negatively affect their sleep.”
When Is It Revenge Sleep Procrastination?
Just staying up late sometimes doesn’t necessarily mean you’re engaging in revenge sleep procrastination. While this is a very new field of study, researchers who are looking at it suggest that the following three criteria need to be met for it to be more than just a few late nights:
The delay in going to sleep means you’re sleeping less overall (in other words, you’re going to bed much later, but still need to get up at the same time in the morning)
There is no “valid” reason for going to bed so late, like an illness or an external event
You know that delaying your bedtime will lead to negative consequences, but you do it anyway
The thing is, research suggests that those who engage in this behavior actually want to get more sleep, they are just failing to do so, otherwise known as an intention-behavior gap; they also know that it’s bad for them, but they can’t help it. So who’s doing it? And are you at risk, or already engaging in this behavior?
Who Is Most Likely to Do It?
Anyone can pick up this habit, but the small amount of research that’s been done on revenge bedtime procrastination does give us some insight into who’s most likely to do it. For example:
Research suggests that women and students are most likely to engage in revenge bedtime procrastination; in fact, a Polish study indicates that “the chance of severe bedtime procrastination is more than twice as high for females than for males.” This might be because other studies have shown that women experience more stress than men, but if you’re a busy mom with a mountain of extra unpaid labor on your plate, you probably have a very good idea of why women are more likely to try to reclaim time for themselves late at night, no matter how unhealthy it might be!
A study from the Netherlands found that the more a person had to “resist desires” during the rest of their day, the more likely they were to be a bedtime procrastinator.
Millennials and Gen-Zers, especially those with high-pressure jobs, or big ambitions, are also very likely to put off sleep.
People who tend to procrastinate in general may be more likely to engage in revenge bedtime procrastination.
Those who identify as “night owls,” or evening chronotypes, might have difficulty shutting themselves off at a reasonable hour, even if they have to get up early in the morning.
The Effects of Sleep Deprivation
While it can be hard to give up that feeling of control over your time and freedom that sleep procrastination gives you, it’s important to recognize how bad it actually is for you. Lack of sleep night after night will lead to sleep deprivation, which in the short-term can cause issues like:
All of the above should hopefully convince you to hit the hay at a more reasonable hour; if you’re feeling skeptical that you’ll be able to change your ways, there are some strategies you can try to get you started on a healthier path.
What You Can Do
First of all, if you’re feeling sleep deprived, don’t stress about it – as we’ve seen, stress is one of the number one enemies of sleep! According to therapist Karl Rollinson, “the number one thing is to accept it and not fight it. Acknowledge that it won’t last forever and try not to stress about it. Like any problem in life, it needs to be managed. This means factoring in more time to complete tasks, appointments, and engagements.”
So what can you do? In the short-term, if you’ve had a late night and are feeling rough around the edges, get your body moving throughout the day – taking a walk in the fresh air can work wonders. In the longer-term, though, you’ll have to work on finding ways to carve out mental space for yourself, so try strategies like these to handle daily responsibilities without losing yourself in the process:
Pencil in down time – It might sound silly to schedule in rest, but think of self-care like any other important appointment, and put it on your calendar so it actually gets done!
Start small – If you’re worried about falling behind on your daily tasks, give yourself small 10-15 minute chunks throughout the day to decompress, which will make you more productive in the long run.
Include things that are important to you – When you take breaks, use them to do things that really feel good to you, or lift you up, like contacting a loved one or getting out in nature.
Write it out – If you’re having trouble settling to go to sleep, try journaling: A study from 2017 found that jotting down the thoughts, feelings, and experiences that stood out throughout the day can effectively reduce both mental and physical symptoms of anxiety. As Karl Rollinson suggests, “If you still can’t get to sleep because of an active mind, then get up and write down all your worries and anxieties. I call this downloading. You are effectively giving your thoughts physical form and organizing them — tidying up the mess in the attic, so to speak.”
And don’t forget, while you’re practicing some self-care, to also practice good sleep hygiene:
Remove all screens from the bedroom, and stop screen time at least an hour before bed
Keep the place where you sleep cool and airy
Stick to a regular bedtime and wake-up time
Avoid caffeinated beverages after the morning
Skip big late-night meals
Have a relaxing bedtime routine, including a warm bath or shower
Ultimately, we all need some distance from our daily responsibilities and space to mentally detach, as well as to have time to do things that are meaningful to us- but the best time to fit that in is not after midnight! If you are engaging in revenge bedtime procrastination, and you’re not getting the sleep you need, you’ll only end up in a vicious cycle of exhaustion, stress, and lack of productivity. So set boundaries with work and daily responsibilities, carve out meaningful time for yourself – and get yourself to bed!
Nearly 70% of people aged 65 and older have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. High blood pressure is a major health risk that can lead to multiple problems, including heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and even death. Monitoring your blood pressure is important for preventing serious conditions from occurring or getting worse. Medicare will cover blood pressure checks done at your doctor’s office, but does it cover home monitors?
High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of blood as it flows through the arteries. As you age, blood pressure rises due to the narrowing and stiffening of your arteries. You can also develop high blood pressure because of your lifestyle or from taking certain medications. There are lifestyle modifications that can help lower your blood pressure, including:
There are 2 different types of blood pressure monitors that you can use at home:
Blood pressure cuffs– these are what you typically see in the doctor’s office. The pressure cuff goes around your upper arm and fills with air to squeeze your arm and stop blood flow through the artery. You then have to listen to the blood flow with a stethoscope (just like a nurse or doctor does).
Ambulatory blood pressure monitors (ABPMs) – This device is a cuff you wear on your arm continuously for 24-48 hours.
What Medicare Covers
Medicare generally does not cover home blood pressure monitors; it covers blood pressure monitoring done by a healthcare professional, with a few exceptions. Medicare Part A covers blood pressure monitoring during an inpatient hospital stay. Medicare Part B covers blood pressure checks at your doctor’s office, and might pay for a home blood pressure monitor if it is deemed medically necessary in the following situations:
Your doctor has recommended you use an ambulatory blood pressure monitor (ABPM) because they suspect you have received an inaccurate reading in their office. Many people experience “white coat syndrome, ” meaning that they get nervous in a doctors office and their blood pressure rises. Others might experience “masked hypertension,” meaning their blood pressure is lower in the doctor’s office than it normally is. The ABPM will allow you to track your blood pressure readings in 24-hour cycles in the comfort of your own home.
You are on kidney dialysis in your home. Taking blood pressure readings during dialysis is important: high blood pressure causes chronic kidney disease, and can decrease the kidney’s ability to flush toxins from the body.
If it is deemed medically necessary, Medicare Part B will pay for 80% of blood pressure cuffs, and 80% of the rental cost for ambulatory blood pressure monitors. You will be responsible for the remaining 20% out of pocket. Make sure the monitor is from a Medicare-certified medical equipment supplier; other suppliers will charge more than the Medicare-approved amount, leaving you to pay the difference.
If you are unable to pay the 20% of medical expenses that Medicare does not cover, a Medicare Supplement Plan can help. Medicare Supplement Plans will cover out-of-pocket expenses such as copays, coinsurance and more, so that you can save on healthcare costs. If you are in need of extra coverage for services that Medicare only partially pays for, a Medicare Supplement Plan might be right for you. There are 10 different plans to choose from that offer different levels of coverage at different price points.
An EZ agent can compare plans in minutes and find you one that is affordable and that meets your needs, both medically and financially.To get free quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak with one of our licensed agents, call 888-753-7207. No hassle, and no obligation. Just free guidance to help you save money.
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that sometimes the unexpected happens. Unfortunately, has also taught many families that they are financially underprepared for a crisis. In 2019, research by the Federal Reserve revealed that 22% of Americans regularly expect to forgo or make late payments on some of their bills. In fact, 40% of Americans can’t afford a $400 emergency. Many of us are that close to financial danger. That’s one veterinarian’s bill, two flat tires, or a few days of missed work.
Financial insecurity means more than overdue bills and missed payments. Debt causes stress that can have pretty drastic physical and psychological repercussions. If you are worried about your financial future, or if you feel like you’re in dire straits right now, know that it’s not too late to turn things around. We’ve compiled some financial tips and tricks from the experts to get you on the road to rebuilding your savings account and starting an emergency fund.
The Physical Side of Stress
If financial issues have you feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone: 62% of adults report often feeling stressed about money. That stress can wreak havoc on our bodies. Considering that American debt has increased by a whopping 300% since the 1980s, is it a coincidence that we are also experiencing higher rates of chronic diseases? Experts have mixed opinions, but there is some speculation that the amount of stress Americans are under is the culprit, along with other systemic, environmental, and psychological factors. For example, high levels of stress are associated with:
High blood pressure. Often linked to heart attacks, strokes, and a myriad of other health issues, high blood pressure can be triggered by stress. This could be due to the body’s overproduction of stress hormones like cortisol, or due to poor coping mechanisms like binging on snacks.
Diabetes. Evidence suggests that chronic stress can increase the risk of diabetes in adults. To make matters worse, financial uncertainty can limit a person’s access to healthy foods and time or ability to exercise, which can further add to the problem. Evidence also suggests a link between a family’s financial struggles and the incidence of type 1 diabetes in children.
Digestive issues. There is a well documented connection between stress and gastrointestinal issues. When under heavy financial stress, many don’t follow regular eating habits. Healthy food may not even be accessible or affordable for those in financial trouble. In addition, 27% of people with high debt stress reported having ulcers or other digestive tract problems, compared to just 8% who did not report high levels of financial-related stress.
Of course, it doesn’t help that people who are under financial stress often avoid seeing the doctor out of fear of medical bills. In fact, 1 in 5 people say they have skipped or have considered skipping a routine or sick visit to the doctor’s office. This is understandable, considering that 56 million Americans have difficulties paying their medical bills – just one of the many reasons to work on building an emergency fund!
Turn It Around Today!
It’s not too late to take steps towards lightening your financial load. The best way to start is by saving for an emergency fund. Having money put aside can grant you some peace of mind: you’ll know that your expenses would be covered for a while should you lose your job or become unable to work, or that you would be able to cover a surprise expense, like a large medical bill or automotive repairs. Some financial experts suggest squirreling away three to six months of expenses in an emergency fund that you can access if you need it – so, not in an IRA or 401k account. For some people, three to six months worth of expenses is an unimaginable amount of money, so start with these five small, but meaningful steps:
Learn about the cycles and struggles of debt. Understanding how debt compounds and impacts your psychological and physical wellbeing is the first step to breaking out of that cycle.
Re-evaluate your budget.Nothing in life is constant, so it is important to evaluate your budget regularly. Turning to auto-payments is a great place to start, and reduces the risk of late fees.
Pay yourself first. Treat your savings account like a bill, and pay it. Some people deposit a percentage or a flat amount of each paycheck, others deposit monthly. Whatever schedule works for you, stick with it!
Turn your savings into profit.Make sure you’ve got your savings funds in an account that accrues interest. It might not add up to much – the average return for most bank accounts right now is between around 0.3% and 0.8% – but every bit counts!
Turn your debt into savings. After you pay off a debt, continue budgeting for it – but, instead of funneling money into that debt, use it to overpay on another balance owed; otherwise, put it right into your savings account.
You’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed by the stress of debt and the fear of unexpected financial crises. Digging yourself out of debt is hard, but with some simple changes you can get back on track. And doing so, even with baby steps, will help to ease your mind and support your good health.
In the past, when a person had hemophilia, it meant they had a very short life expectancy, around 20-30 years. Thanks to research, over the past 7 decades, the life expectancy has increased almost 10-fold. Unfortunately, as hemophiliacs get older, other health issues are more likely to arise such as hypertension, obesity, and diabetes. In light of March being Hemophilia Awareness Month, it is important to discuss how the elderly can manage this condition to avoid further issues.
What Is Hemophilia?
Hemophilia is a rare medical condition in which the ability to blood clot and coagulate is reduced. A person with this condition will bleed out severely if they are injured. Normally, a person who does not have this condition, the blood will begin to coagulate (thick and clot) in order to reduce blood from leaving the body when injured.
It is hereditary, and caused by a mutation in the gene for factor VIII. The blood lacks sufficient blood-clotting proteins. Symptoms vary depending on the level of clotting factors. They include:
Blood in urine or stool
Nosebleeds without a known cause
Large or deep bruises
Pain or swelling in joints
Excessive bleeding from cuts or injuries
Other Health Issues Associated With Hemophilia
Hemophilia can be very dangerous as you age, especially if you get an injury on your head. This rare condition can be associated with pregnancy, autoimmune conditions, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. Other conditions associated with the condition are:
Viral infections like HIV & Hepatitis– the antiviral drugs for these conditions can affect the person’s kidneys and liver.
Liver disease– The leading cause of liver disease in people with hemophilia are those infected with Hepatitis C. The risk of cirrhosis increases over time.
High Blood Pressure– People with hemophilia are twice as likely to have abnormally high blood pressure.
Cardiovascular disease– risk factors such as hypertension, high blood pressure, and being overweight can all lead to heart disease.
Musculoskeletal issues– loss of joint and muscle function is common in people with hemophilia. This puts them at a high risk for osteoporosis.
Kidney disease– this causes hypertension which could increase brain hemmorage.
Tips To Manage Hemophilia
In order to stay on top of hemophilia as you get older, it is important to stay as healthy as possible. You should:
Check your blood pressure regularly to keep it on point
Take calcium and vitamin D supplements to prevent osteoporosis
Do not take daily aspirin to prevent heart issues, because aspirin thins out your blood more.
Lower your cholesterol
Check blood sugar levels in order to prevent diabetes, or keep it under control.
Keep a healthy weight and diet to improve your quality of life and prevent heart disease, diabetes, and other health issues.
Hemophilia, if extreme, can cause death. As you age, the more you are at risk for serious complications, especially if you have other health conditions such as hypertension. Seek emergency care, or your doctor if you have an injury that won’t stop bleeding, or have joints that are hot to the tough and painful to bend. Practice the tips provided in order to help manage hemophilia, so you can live a longer, healthier life.
Heart disease is the number one killer in America. It affects African Americans more than members of any other race or ethnic background. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), 44% of African American men and 48% of African American women have some form of cardiovascular disease, putting them at a far greater risk for heart disease and stroke than Caucasians. In fact, in African Americans under the age of 50, the heart failure rate is 20 times higher than that of any other race. There are multiple factors that contribute to heart disease, with
high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) being the largest factor. Weight, dietary practices and smoking can also contribute. However, there are ways to combat these factors, and lower your risk of developing heart disease, or beat it if you are already struggling with this silent killer.
High Blood Pressure
According to a 2009 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, African Americans are more likely to have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, than members of any other race. The risk is especially high in African American women. The American Heart Association theorizes that high blood pressure develops early in life for African Americans due to their genetic makeup, and salt sensitivity. This raises the chance of having a stroke. Because high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death, it is important to learn ways to lower your blood pressure and keep it under control. Whether high blood pressure runs in your family or not, find out what your numbers are and check them often. The more regularly you check your blood pressure, the greater your chance of learning how to control it. Report your numbers to your doctor so they can be aware of the changes as well.
Obesity & High Cholesterol
Another risk factor for developing heart disease is obesity, and African-American women are 80% more likely to be overweight or obese, than any other groups in the U.S. Being overweight increases your chances of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease; the more weight you carry, the more oxygen your body needs to move around the excess tissue, which means your heart needs to work harder and will be put under stress. Some strategies for controlling your weight include drinking plenty of water to feel more full, and opting for lean meats such as chicken instead of beef. Vegetables and fruits should be added to every meal as well. Exercise plays a key role in burning calories and strengthening your heart, so it is important to make moving your body a daily habit. Start slowly with gentle activities such as walking for half an hour everyday.
African Americans are also 77% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes, a disease which can play a significant role in developing heart disease. High levels of glucose (or hyperglycemia, a defining characteristics of diabetes) narrow and harden the arteries, thus making it harder for blood to flow to and from your heart and, again, causing stress to your heart. Diabetes is, however, treatable and preventable as long as you are aware of the causes and work at managing it if you do develop it. Staying away from sugar and high-carb foods will help keep your insulin
The CDC has found that 1 in 5 African American adults smoke cigarettes, a practice which increases the chance of developing heart disease. It is no secret that smoking is not good for you, and it can be hard to quit once you begin, but it is never too late to stop smoking. Seek help from your doctor, as well as family or friends to help you quit. Quitting will significantly lower your risk of heart disease
While your racial or ethnic background may mean a greater chances of developing heart disease, lifestyle choices play a bigger role. In order to reduce your risk, it is important to take care of yourself and stay healthy. Stay on top of your blood pressure numbers, and take the necessary medications to keep it regulated. A healthy diet is key to keeping your heart healthy, so make sure you eat foods low in sodium, and limit sugary snacks or foods. Avoiding heart disease is possible as long as you take care of yourself, as healthier lifestyle changes can go a long way in reducing your risk.