Study: Hot flashes contribute to rise in healthcare costs with decline in HRT
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The steep decline in the use of hormone therapy has spawned a prevalent but preventable side effect: Millions of women suffering in silence with hot flashes, according to a study by a Yale School of Medicine researcher and colleagues.
In the study published in the Aug. 27 online issue of the journal Menopause, the team found that moderate to severe hot flashes — also called vasomotor symptoms — are not treated in most women. Women with VMS experience more than feeling hot; other frequently occurring symptoms include fatigue, sleep disturbance, depression, anxiety and impaired short-term memory.
"Not treating these common symptoms causes many women to drop out of the labor force at a time when their careers are on the upswing," said Philip Sarrel, emeritus professor in the departments of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences and psychiatry. "This also places demands on health care and drives up insurance costs."
Sarrel and colleagues used data on health insurance claims to compare more than 500,000 women, half with and half without hot flashes. The team calculated the costs of health care and work loss over a 12-month period. Participants were all insured by Fortune 500 companies.
The team found that women who experienced hot flashes had 1.5 million more healthcare visits than women without hot flashes. Costs for the additional health care was $339.6 million. The cost of work lost was another $27.7 million during the 12-month study period.
Hot flashes are the result of loss of ovarian hormones in the years just before and after natural menopause. For women who have a hysterectomy, symptoms may occur almost immediately following surgery and are usually more severe and long lasting. More than 70% of all menopausal women and more than 90% of those with hysterectomies experience VMS that affect daily function.
In the past, hot flashes were readily treated with either hormone therapy or alternative approaches. However, following the 2002 publication of the findings in the Women's Health Initiative Study, there has been a sharp drop in the use of hormone therapy due to fears of cancer risks, according to Sarrel.
"Women are not mentioning it to their healthcare providers, and providers aren't bringing it up," Sarrel said. "The symptoms can be easily treated in a variety of ways, such as with low-dose hormone patches, non-hormonal medications, and simple environmental adjustments such as cooling the workplace."
Menasha Packaging to expand Lakeville facility
NEENAH, Wis. — Menasha Packaging on Wednesday announced that construction is underway on a more than 126,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing and office space expansion at Menasha Packaging’s Lakeville, Minn., facility. The expansion will increase the facility by 50% and create Menasha Packaging’s first location with design, production and fulfillment all under one roof.
The expansion consists of an additional 121,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing space and 4,780 sq. ft. of office space. The manufacturing area addition will be used for kitting and fulfillment, and will include a rail dock. Upon completion, material flow will be simpler and require much less handling. The office space addition will house a new design center and customer collaboration area.
“The manufacturing and office space expansion to Menasha Packaging’s Lakeville plant will help the facility deliver faster service and better quality for our customers,” said Greg Theis, west region VP Menasha Packaging. “The Lakeville expansion also positions Menasha Packaging for continued growth, while providing the Lakeville team long-term flexibility to respond to customers’ changing needs in packaging and merchandising solutions.”
The Lakeville facility manufactures corrugated boxes, as well as designs and produces displays for consumer packaged goods companies.
Construction on the two additions is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Walgreens announces Tdap vaccination voucher program in collaboration with Alaska health department
DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Wednesday announced a tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap) vaccination voucher program, in collaboration with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, to help protect against pertussis (whooping cough).
Vouchers are available to Alaskans ages 10 years and older, can be redeemed at any of Walgreens' six Anchorage area locations and are being offered as reported cases of whooping cough in Alaska are higher than in past years.
“We’re proud to partner with the Department of Health and Social Services on this important initiative to help protect more people, and an important segment of our population, from whooping cough,” said Justin Coyle, Alaska market pharmacy director for Walgreens.
Walgreens pharmacists in Alaska can administer immunizations to anyone age 10 years and older.
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