Category: Living Well Written by News One
Do you weigh more than you did ten years ago, or even five years ago? The extra pounds snuck up on you, accumulated gradually before you even realized it, and now you’re looking at some serious extra poundage. But that’s to be expected as you get older, right?
Putting on excess weight is very common for a number of reasons, but it’s not necessarily an inevitable part of the aging process — as it could put your health at risk. If you understand why you tend to gain weight more easily as you get older, you can do something about it before it becomes a problem for your health.
You can blame a lot of your weight gain on your metabolism. Beginning as early as your mid-twenties, body fat begins to increase while muscle mass decreases. And less muscle mass translates into a slower metabolic rate. Muscle mass decreases from about 45 percent of your total body weight in your youth to about 27 percent by the time you reach...
Last Updated on Monday, 02 December 2013 09:04
Category: Living Well Written by By Martina Stewart, CNN
Washington (CNN) -- There is a "night and day" difference between HealthCare.gov on Oct. 1 and the same site on Dec. 1, Jeff Zients, the top administration official responsible for improving the problem-plagued Obamacare enrollment site, said Sunday on a conference call with reporters. Zients and Julie Bataille, spokeswoman for the federal agency charged with developing and operating HealthCare.gov, said the website now works "smoothly for the vast majority of users." The administration said the site can now handle 50,000 concurrent users and 800,000 consumer visits a day -- two capacity goals for the portal that date back to its launch two months ago. And Bataille said the site was now allowing "in the zone of 80 percent" of users to successfully complete a health care enrollment. In short, after a concerted effort to improve HealthCare.gov, the administration said Sunday that the online Obamacare enrollment portal now essentially meets all of the previously stated goals for the website.
A day after the administration's self-imposed deadline for improving the website, Zients detailed the turnaround efforts he's been leading. Work has fallen into three broad categories: creating a new management structure for the site to improve decision-making and accountability; putting in place hardware upgrades to increase the system's "redundancy, reliability, and scale"; and compiling a prioritized "punch list" of bugs and software improvements -- 400 of which had been completed by Sunday. Prior to the turnaround effort, Zients said, management of the enrollment site had been plagued by slow decision-making and a lack of accountability.
These issues were addressed by creating a new management structure led by general contractor QSSI, which was tapped to oversee the site's operations, and the creation of a 24-hour, rapid response team that constantly monitors the site and the experience users are having on it. These management changes were intended, Zients said, to give the government-run website "the velocity and discipline of a high-performance private sector company." On the hardware front, Zients said improvements have been made to the registration database, which plays a part in the front-end experience consumers have using the site; new servers and upgraded memory have been added; additional "application environments" are now online; and the system's firewall has been upgraded. These changes have made "the underlying infrastructure of HealthCare.gov much stronger today," Zients said, adding that some of the critical upgrades were completed as late as Friday evening, when the site was down for 11 hours for maintenance as this weekend's deadline approached.
Zients likened the effect of the hardware upgrades to widening a highway's on-ramp, effectively taking the site from two lanes to four. On the software front, Zients said 50 of the bug fixes completed during the turnaround effort had been done "just last night" during another period of maintenance. Going forward, Zients anticipates there will still be other bugs and software fixes for the rapid response to handle. All these changes have made a noticeable difference in HealthCare.gov's operating metrics, Zients said. The site's average response time -- the average time it takes for the system to respond to an action by a user -- is down from eight seconds to under one second in the past three weeks, said Zients. The site's average error rate is also down, according to Zients, with the system hitting a rate of 0.75% on Friday. And the system's "uptime," a measure of system stability, is consistently surpassing 90%. Zients said the creation of the rapid response team means necessary fixes can now usually be made within an hour instead of the hours it used to take. "We've doubled the system's capacity and the site can now handle its intended capacity," explained Zients, summing up the net effect of the turnaround effort he has led.
This means that two months after it originally launched, HealthCare.gov can now handle 50,000 concurrent users and 800,000 consumer visits a day. If more than 50,000 people attempt to use the site at any one time, the site now has a queueing feature that will e-mail users with tips about when to return to the site at a less congested time and a link that will take them to the front of the line. "Nothing like this (was) in place" in October, Zients said Sunday. With all the recent improvements, administration officials conceded Sunday that there is still work to be done. "As with any website, the team will continue to address bugs and glitches," Zients said. In addition, work on the back end of the site, which is of critical importance to insurance companies issuing policies to consumers, still needs to be completed. The administration is still working with insurers on the "834" transaction forms generated by the system, said Bataille. "We're working with issuers on a daily basis and will continue those conversations," she said, adding that the site's management team would have more information about this issue with the data generated by the system on upcoming weekdays.
"There are still a number of problems with the back-end systems," Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for health insurance industry trade association group America's Health Insurance Plans, said in a statement to CNN. "Insurers are still getting enrollment files that are duplicative and have missing or inaccurate information. In some cases they are not getting the enrollments at all." As the administration's self-imposed deadline for improving the troubled site has come and gone over the weekend, Republicans on Capitol Hill have been unusually quiet, after months of frequent criticism of HealthCare.gov and of broader changes to the health insurance market taking effect because of Obamacare. GOP Obamacare playbook: Spread negative perception Top House Republicans took issue Sunday primarily with Obamacare's changes to the insurance market rather than with the enrollment site's troubled history.
"This isn't just about a broken website, it's about a fundamentally-flawed law," Michael Steele, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, said in a statement. "Whether or not Americans can logon to Healthcare.gov, they are losing the health plans they like, the doctors they've always relied on, and -- to add insult to injury -- facing higher costs as well." A spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor had a similar message. "Millions of Americans being informed that the health care plans they liked are being canceled -- despite the President's repeated assurances otherwise -- and being forced to pay higher premiums, deductibles, or both, are a much greater priority than a broken website," Cantor Deputy Chief of Staff Doug Heye told CNN. "Besides," added Heye, "based on past performance, it would be prudent to wait before determining that the website truly is fixed." Comments from Steele and Heye echoed those of Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, just a day earlier. Thune, who chairs the Senate Republican Conference, argued Saturday that Americans will continue to face problems with Obamacare's reforms "(r)egardless of whether the website is fixed by the administration's revised deadline." "These are problems that no IT specialist working through the Thanksgiving holiday can fix," he added.
Last Updated on Sunday, 01 December 2013 14:11
Category: Living Well Written by Real Times Media
What is HIV?
HIV stands for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a virus which attacks the body’s immune system – the body’s defense against diseases. When someone is described as living with HIV, they have the HIV virus in their body.
Last Updated on Saturday, 30 November 2013 10:11
Category: Living Well Written by New Pittsburgh Courier
(CNN) — For one, it was a health scare. For another, the words of a friend hit him in an instant. And for another, it was the loss of a dear relative.
Many ex-smokers can remember their last cigarette, and the moment when they decided to quit the habit for good.
On the occasion of Thursday’s Great American Smokeout, an annual event sponsored by the A...
Last Updated on Friday, 22 November 2013 06:22
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