Women Face Higher Depression Rates

Depressed WomanAlthough there is a better understanding of depression in this day and age, things are being discovered about depression every year. For example, a new study revealed that depression rates are much higher amongst women than they are among men.

Depression Rates Among Americans

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, American depression rates have not grown worse over the past ten years, there appear to be large disparities in those who do suffer from depression. In total, roughly eight percent of all Americans are reportedly depressed during any given two-week period. According to studies performed over a three-year period between 2013 and 2016, it was found that roughly 5.5 percent of American men experienced symptoms of depression. However, this number was almost twice as large for American women at 10.4 percent.

It was also found that depression rates differed widely depending on the ethnicity and income level of a person. For example:

  • 3.1 percent of Non-Hispanic Asian adults experienced depression
  • 8.2 percent of Hispanic adults experienced depression
  • 7.9 percent of non-Hispanic white adults experienced depression
  • 9.2 percent of non-Hispanic black adults experienced depression

According to the study, people with lower incomes were also more likely to experience symptoms of depression. Around 16 percent of those who live below the federal poverty level reported signs of depression, while only 3.5 percent of people living at 400 percent of the federal poverty level reported symptoms. The demographic least likely to experience depression was revealed to be men earning high incomes. Only 2.3 percent of this group experienced feelings of depression during the study period.

There are many symptoms of depression, including sadness, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, irritability, feelings of guilt, feelings of worthlessness, decreased energy, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite and more.

Depression affects all walks of life, but it affects some groups more than others, especially when comparing the depression rate of women to men. For more health tips concerning depression or for help finding a health insurance plan that will benefit you and your family most, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store.

5 Signs You Need a Break From Your Smartphone

Smartphone UseAt this point in time, almost every American owns a smartphone. While it’s been hugely beneficial in allowing people to communicate and access information within seconds, it’s not without drawbacks. For example, you could argue that people have become over-reliant on their phones. People are afraid to miss their notification alerts, to the point where their phones are always on them and never far from their minds. If this is the case for you, then you may want to consider taking a break. Here are five signs that you might need to take a break from your smartphone.

  1. You’re going to bed later than you should because you keep checking and using your smartphone, which is cutting down on your sleep.
  2. You’re having trouble finishing your work or homework on time as a result of smartphone use.
  3. Your smartphone use is affecting your manners. For example, you’re in the middle of a conversation with someone you are physically with and you feel the need to check your phone, whether you hear a notification alert or not.
  4. You find yourself spending more time on your smartphone and less time with friends and family.
  5. You’re feeling less creative than usual. Smartphone use can deprive you of your normal flow of creative thought.

If you notice any of these signs, then it’s time to take a break from your smartphone.

Detoxing From Smartphone Use

Take a day off of smartphone use every week; simply make the decision to power down for 24 hours. You’ll no longer be anticipating notifications or have a fear of missing out on any messages or information. It’s like a smartphone cleanse and it can have a very healthy impact on your life.

In this day and age, it’s difficult not to rely heavily on your smartphone. However, it can be a good idea to take a regular break from your smartphone so that you don’t become too attached to it. Stay up to date with the latest health news by visiting us at The Benefits Store today!

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Alcohol

Alcohol AwarenessProblems with alcohol are not uncommon. It’s extremely unfortunate because problems with alcohol can be extremely devastating, leading to serious relationship problems, health problems, and legal difficulties. Because of this, April is Alcohol Awareness Month. April is dedicated to helping spread awareness about prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery of alcohol-related issues.

Facts About Alcohol

As part of Alcohol Awareness Month, the following are just a few facts that everyone should know about alcohol:

  1. Almost 88,000 people die in the U.S. every year from causes related to alcohol.
  2. Alcohol is the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the country.
  3. Thirty-one percent of all driving fatalities in 2014 were alcohol-impaired driving fatalities.
  4. Roughly 45 percent of all liver disease deaths in 2013 involved alcohol.
  5. In 2009, almost one-third of all liver transplants in the U.S. were a result of alcohol-related liver diseases.
  6. Around 47 percent of all cirrhosis deaths in 2013 involved alcohol.
  7. Consuming alcohol will increase the risk of developing cancer, including mouth cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, esophagus cancer, larynx cancer and pharynx cancer.
  8. According to a study performed in 2012, around ten percent of all children in the U.S. are living with a parent that has alcohol problems.
  9. Alcohol misuse in 2010 as a whole cost the U.S. roughly $249 billion.
  10. Almost 75 percent of the country’s total cost of alcohol misuse can be attributed to binge drinking.

Alcohol misuse is responsible for all kinds of problems, which means it’s important to be able to identify whether it’s a problem you have or a problem a friend or family member has. This is because people with alcohol problems can be treated before they cause serious damage to their health, their finances or to the relationships in their life.

It’s important that you have good health insurance in case you develop an illness or injury as a result of your or someone else’s alcohol problems. Visit us at The Benefits Store today for help finding the right health plan that will fit your specific needs.

Minimizing Distracted Driving: Why and How

Minimizing Distracted DrivingDistracted driving is more dangerous than you might think; in fact, it’s become even more of a problem now that everyone has a smartphone. It’s estimated that over 37,000 people die in car crashes every year in the U.S. alone. Every day, 1,161 people are injured in crashes that involve a distracted driver. Because of how serious the problem is, April has been named as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in an attempt to minimize distracted driving.

The Types of Distracted Driving

There are three main types of distracted driving. All of them increase the risk of getting into an accident. They include the following:

  • Manual distractions – When you move your hands away from the wheel to grab a soda from your drink carrier.
  • Visual distractions – When you take your eyes off the road.
  • Cognitive distractions – When your mind wanders from the task of driving.

How Dangerous is Distracted Driving?

Texting involves all three types of distracted driving. Yet many drivers will still try to type texts on their phones as they are driving. Texting isn’t the only thing that distracts drivers either – messing with the radio, looking at the GPS, trying to charge your smartphone; these all are activities that can distract you from the road. The following reveals just how serious a problem distracted driving is:

  • There are more than 330,000 accidents a year that are caused by texting and driving. This means that 25 percent of all car accidents in the U.S. are a result of texting and driving.
  • Texting while driving is actually more dangerous than drinking while driving. In fact, you are six times more likely to get into an accident if you are texting while driving than if you are drinking while driving.

As you can see, distracted driving is one of the biggest dangers on the road, which is why April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Make sure you’re properly insured in case you’re in a car accident. To find the right health plan for you, be sure to contact us at The Benefits Store.

How Your First Flu Shapes Your Immune Response

Getting the fluPeople tend to react to different strains of the flu in different ways. It’s why some people may be hospitalized while others get over the same strain within a week or so. The reason behind this goes back to the very first strain of flu to which a person is exposed. The first flu virus a person hosts determines how their immune response to the flu is shaped.

How Imprinting Affects Getting the Flu

Generally speaking, adults between the age of 50 and 64 have the same hospitalization rate as children under the age of four. This year, Baby Boomers have had a higher hospitalization rate than younger children, and this can be traced back to the phenomenon of imprinting.

Imprinting refers to how the immune system reacts to the first flu virus to which it’s exposed. If it’s exposed to a weaker strain, then it may have trouble later in the individual’s life when they come into contact with stronger strains. The flu virus has a protein called hemagglutinin on the surface. When the hemagglutinin on newer strains is similar to the first virus the immune system encountered, the immune system will have an easier time producing antibodies and will be able to do so more quickly once it detects the resemblance of the proteins.

One of the reasons that Baby Boomers are getting sicker this year is because of the strain of flu that many of them first encountered. In 1968, there was a flu pandemic in which the virus had a very specific type of protein called H3 on the surface. Anyone born before that year was not imprinted with this strain. This year, the most prevalent strain is H3N2. Those who were imprinted with an H3 strain can more easily fight off the virus than those who weren’t, which is why so many Baby Boomers have been negatively affected.

The first strain of flu you encounter can affect how you deal with new strains every year. Find out more about fighting the flu by visiting us at The Benefits Store today.