St Paul, MN APWU

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Added Sugar in Diet Tied to Death Risk From Heart Trouble
Sugar can be 'hidden' in savory foods as well as desserts and soda, experts note

MONDAY, Feb. 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors have long thought extra sugar in a person's diet is harmful to heart health because it promotes chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes.

But the added sugar Americans consume as part of their daily diet can -- on its own, regardless of other health problems -- more than double the risk of death from heart disease, a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found. The average American diet contains enough added sugar to increase the risk of heart-related death by nearly 20 percent, the researchers said.

And the risk of death from heart disease is more than doubled for the 10 percent of Americans who receive a quarter of their daily calories from sugar that's been added to food, said CDC researcher and study lead author Quanhe Yang.
The findings were published online Feb. 3 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. "They're seeing that people who are moderately heavy consumers of added sugar have a heightened risk of dying of [heart] disease, and the heaviest users have the highest risk of dying of [heart] disease," said Laura Schmidt, who wrote an accompanying journal commentary. "When you start seeing a dose-response reaction like they found, that is powerful evidence that consuming added sugar puts people at risk of death from cardiovascular disease." Food manufacturers add sugar to many different products to improve flavor, appearance or texture. People who eat those varied products might not be aware that they have increased their total sugar intake, because the sugar is hidden inside the food, the researchers said.

About 37 percent of the added sugar in Americans' diets comes from sugar-sweetened beverages, the authors said. One 12-ounce can of regular soda contains 9 teaspoons of sugar (about 140 calories), Yang said -- enough to put the person into a higher-risk category if they drink soda daily. "I could be eating a 2,000-calorie diet, not overeating, not overweight. But if I just drink a can of soda a day, I increase my risk of dying from [heart] disease by one-third," said Schmidt, a professor of health policy at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine. "I think people would assume one can of soda a day would not have that kind of impact over the course of their lives." Other major sources of added sugar include cakes, pies, fruit drinks, candy, and ice cream and other dairy desserts, the researchers said. Added sugar can even be found in foods most people would consider savory, such as salad dressing, bread and ketchup, Schmidt said. Another major offender is yogurt, which often comes with as much sugar as you'd find in candy.

Previous research has focused exclusively on the health effects of sugary beverages, Yang said. For the new study, the research team decided to look at how the total amount of added sugar in the American diet can affect the risk of heart-related death. Recommendations for added sugar consumption vary, and there is no universally accepted threshold for unhealthy levels. The Institute of Medicine recommends that added sugar make up less than 25 percent of total calories, the World Health Organization recommends less than 10 percent and the American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to less than 100 calories daily for women and 150 calories daily for men, according to background information included in the study. The researchers used national health survey data to review consumption of added sugar. They found that added sugar made up an average of 14.9 percent of daily calories in the American diet from 2005 to 2010, down from 15.7 percent from 1988 to 1994 and 16.8 percent from 1999 to 2004.

Nearly three of four adults consumed 10 percent or more of their daily calories from added sugar, while about 10 percent of adults consumed a quarter or more of their calories from added sugar in the latest study years. The researchers then compared data on sugar consumption with data on death from heart disease. The risk of heart-related death increases 18 percent with the average American diet that receives about 15 percent of daily calories from added sugar, compared to diets containing little to no added sugar, the study authors found. The risk is 38 percent higher for people who receive 17 percent to 21 percent of their calories from added sugar, and more than double for people who get more than 21 percent of their daily diet from added sugar, Yang said. Although the study found that eating more food with added sugar was tied to a higher risk of heart-related death, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

The Corn Refiners Association, which represents the manufacturers of onepopular form of added sugar, fructose, said it had no comment on the study. Commentary author Schmidt said added sugar could be increasing heart attack risk by disrupting a person's hormone system, throwing their metabolism out of whack. By comparison, foods that are naturally rich in sugar -- such as fruit -- also contain lots of fiber and other nutrients, which reduces the impact the sugar has on the body, said Rachel Johnson, a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont and chairwoman of the American Heart Association's Nutrition Committee. To avoid added sugar, read Nutrition Facts and ingredients labels carefully, Johnson said. Look out for ingredients that end in -ose, such as fructose or sucrose, as well as any type of syrup, she said. "Brown rice syrup sounds really healthy, but it's actually a sugar," Johnson said.

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The APWU Health Plan is committed to low-cost, robust benefits and personalized service. 

Benefit enhancements for 2014 include: 

100% in-network coverage for maternity 
100% coverage for lab tests performed by Lab- Corp or Quest Diagnostics (High Option Only) 
Out-of-network radiologists and pathologists will be covered as “in-network” when services are performed at an in-network hospital 
Just in: A separate catastrophic limit for prescription drugs (High Option limits - $4,000/self, $6,500/self and family;
CDO limits - $3,000/self and $4,500/self and family)

 Personalized Service: The APWU Health Plan has maintained a 97% retention rate for over 7 years, demonstrating the high-quality of service provided. Payment of claims and accuracy ratings exceed industry levels. 

To compare your options, check out www.plansmartchoice.com. 
You can also use opm.gov.

  
 How to Enroll: To enroll or make changes to benefits, call PostalEASE at 877-477-3273, Option 5, or visit https://liteblue.usps.gov. You must have your Employee Identification Number and USPS PIN. For more info, call 1 (800) PIC APWU or visit www.apwuhp.com.

 High Option Features

APWU Member, Career Employee rates:  self – 39.31, self and family 96.57  

100% In-Network Coverage:
      Preventive care and screening
     
Diabetes Management Program
    
 Hypertension Management Program
    
Weight Management Program
    
Tobacco Cessation Program 
Cancer Centers of Excellence paid at 95% 
Routine dental coverage
Hearing aid benefit
No referrals needed;
 Choice of doctors
No denials for pre-existing conditions

 Consumer Driven Features
APWU member, Career employee rates- Self 8.99, Self and Family 20.23 
100% In-Network Coverage:          
         
Preventive care and screenings
          
        
Diabetes Management Program
          
         
Tobacco Cessation Program
 

Personal Care Account (PCA) provides 100% coverage for the first $1,200 of annual healthcare expenses for self-only coverage or $2,400 for self-and- family.
No co-pays or upfront deductibles until the PCA is exhausted
Healthy Back Program
Healthy Pregnancy Program
no referrals needed;
Choice of doctors

No denials for pre-existing conditions

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PSE  Health Insurance

After an initial appointment of 360 day term and upon reappointment to another 360 day term, any eligible non-career PSE who wants to participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program on a pretax basis will be required to make an election to do so in accordance with procedures.  The total cost of health insurance is the responsibility of the PSE, except as provided below.  The Postal Service will make a contribution in the amount of 75% of the total premium for any eligible PSE who selects the APWU consumer driven plan.  So, if you are a PSE in this situation and elect to choose health insurance, please call the Union Office and get instructions on how to properly do this at 651-778-1637.

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Hypertension:

The Silent Killer

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a complication, which if not monitored and controlled, can cause permanent damage to the body. Blood pressure is the amount of force exerted on the vessel walls. There is a limit, which the body can handle and anything over that causes the vessels to narrow and harden making the heart work harder than it should. This can lead to heart damage, which can lead to damage of other vital organs. There are no apparent symptoms to hypertension giving it the nickname "The silent killer".

Blood pressure is expressed as two numbers. These numbers represent the pressure against the walls of your blood vessels as the blood moves through them. Systolic pressure is when pressure is highest in the arteries and occurs when the heart contracts. Diastolic pressure is the moment of minimum pressure in the arteries and occurs when the heart relaxes. Normal blood pressure is less than 120 (systolic) over 80 (diastolic), typically written as 120/80 mm Hg (read 120 over 80 millimeters of mercury).

Hypertension can be the result of a variety of factors. Family history, poor diet and exercise habits, stress and other prescription medications can all lead to hypertension. The best course of action, if you have an issue with blood pressure, is to consult your doctor and make modifications to your lifestyle to reduce your blood pressure back to normal. This could include medication, a fitness program, or dietary changes.

Here are a few steps you can take to reduce your blood pressure:

Refrain from overeating

Exercise at regular intervals

Reduce salt in the diet

Limit alcohol intake

Take high blood pressure medication as prescribed by your physician

33% of people with hypertension don’t know they have it so remember to get screened often. Early recognition can help to reduce long-term damage to vital organs.

For more articles on your health visit: apwuhp.com/hpr.html

Open season is coming, stay tuned for more about APWU Health Plan’s new and exciting changes.

This information is not intended to take the place of medical advice from your physician. Please consult your provider if symptoms persist. For an in-depth explanation of what APWU Health Plan offers please refer to the Plan’s Brochure (RI 71- 004). APWU Health Plan is dedicated to helping you Live Life Well

Did you pick the APWU? 
 
    Open Season is now closed and your new insurance is in effect.  If you selected the APWU Health Plan, you should have received your new membership card.   The card has contact information on it for the Plan itself, as well as the various vendors, such as ValueOptions (Mental Health, Substance Abuse, etc) and Medco (pharmacy benefits)
 
  If you didn't receive a card, or if you have any questions about the Health Plan, call the Plan at 1-800-222-2798.

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The Importance of Mental Health

Living a healthy life is more than just staying physically healthy it also encompasses the head, more specifically your mental health. Life has it’s up and downs, when things are going well an individual is beaming with confidence and their state of being is great, but as life has a habit of doing, things can turn for the worst. Generally, over time individuals tend to get better. But every once in awhile a little help is necessary to get your mental health on track.

Mental health is just as important as your physical well-being, In the United States it is estimated that about one in four adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. In addition, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada for ages 15-44. Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time. Nearly half (45 percent) of those with any mental disorder meet criteria for 2 or more disorders, with severity strongly related to comorbidity.

As a member of the APWU Health Plan, both Consumer Driven and High Option, you are entitled to coverage for mental health and substance abuse issues through our partnership with ValueOptions. If you feel that you may want to talk to someone about an issue, or you just feel like the walls are closing in on you, give them a call. ValueOptions will help you locate a provider in your area and help you through the process. Seeing a provider for mental health or substance abuse issues is like seeing a medical doctor, with comparable co-pays and coverage.

For more information please visit our website at www.apwuhp.com/links.php and click on the ValueOptions link.

You may have noticed that the APWU Health Plan website has undergone a massive overhaul. In our ongoing effort to serve our members we have redesigned the website to be easier to navigate as well as bring you up-to-date information on all topics related to the Health Plan and your health. Visit www.apwuhp.com and see the difference.

Live Life Well

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Diabetes: The silent epidemic.

 

Americans across the nation are dealing with a deadly epidemic, diabetes. This epidemic is silently affecting millions of adults and children throughout the US regardless of race or social class.   Long-term effects of diabetes include, kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, and nerve damage. If controlled the effects of diabetes can be managed and individuals can live long healthy lives.

 

Diabetes is when the body has issues producing or using insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.   Diabetes has two major categories.

 

Type 1 diabetes is a result of the body’s inability to produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes, the most common form, is when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or doesn’t recognize the insulin being produced by the body and as a result the blood glucose level will be abnormally high. Both types of diabetes can lead to hypoglycemia, low blood sugar, and hyperglycemia, high blood sugar.

 

Complications

        Heart Disease and Stroke

        Kidney Disease

        Eye Complications

        Oral Health and Hygiene

        Neuropathy and nerve damage

        Foot Complications

        Skin Complications

        Gastroparesis and Diabetes

        Depression

 

Controlling Diabetes

 

Although diabetes is a serious threat to an individual’s livelihood, simple lifestyle changes can drastically reduce the long-term effects of the disease.  Simple blood monitoring, consistent physical activity, and a focused diet will all help to manage blood sugar levels allowing for a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle.  Always consult a physician when striving to control diabetes. 

 

Know the Symptoms:

Lack Of Energy

Excessive Thirst

Weight Loss

Frequent Urination

 

This information is not intended to take the place of medical advice from your physician.  Please consult your provider if symptoms persist.  For an in-depth explanation of what APWU Health Plan offers please refer to the Plan’s Brochure (RI 71-004).  APWU Health Plan is dedicated to helping you Live Life Well.

 
 
The APWU Health Plan has MOVED!!  Their new address is:

APWU Health Plan

PO Box 1358

Glen Burnie, MD 21060

Phone #: 1-800-222-2798

For More Health Plan  Info:

www.apwuhp.com

Or you may call Jane at the union office, 651-778-1637