Catheter Connection

Using Medicare to Pay for Your Ostomy Supplies

by Jessica April 22, 2015 12:39
We all know that ostomy supplies aren't always cheap when you’re paying for supplies out of your own pocket. Whether you've had a colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy, it’s a must to have access to quality ostomy supplies that you can trust. You will need to have a supply of your ostomy equipment at all times, and you’ll want products and brands that you feel are most comfortable, most reliable, and easiest to use. You may have concern about what type of products or how many you can get when you are buying supplies out of your own pocket. But if you have Medicare, did you know that they cover ostomy supplies and that you may not have to pay as much out of pocket?  

ostomy 180 medicalMedicare is relied upon by millions of people for their essential medical supplies, including ostomy supplies. Medicare covers a portion of the cost of your supplies (typically 80%), so there is usually an out-of-pocket cost after they pay their portion, unless you also have a supplemental insurance plan. This is far less costly than paying cash for the supplies outright though. You may have to consider the supply limits within a 30 or 90-day range that must be followed in order to have Medicare pay their portion. Here are some tips for finding the right ostomy supply company  for your needs:    

  1. Choose a company that specializes in ostomy supplies. – There a lot of advantages to having a supplier that really knows its industry inside and out. Unlike companies that provide a wide range of supplies of all kinds, medical supply providers like 180 Medical have specialists that are rigorously trained to understand ostomy procedures, products, and the latest technology. They will also have the ability to keep inventory well-stocked in a central location for shipping. They will also have a wider selection of quality products, compared to limited inventory of local pharmacies.
  2. Seek out a provider that is accredited with Medicare. – When you get your supplies from a company that has adheres to the strict qualifications required in order to be accredited with Medicare, you can be assured that they are committed to offering the best quality care in the industry. 180 Medical is proud to be an accredited and contracted with Medicare, as well as ACHC-accredited. We are not only contracted with Medicare, but also with most state Medicaid plans and a variety of private insurance plans.
  3. Find a supplier that will handle billing your insurance for you. – You don’t want to have to deal with the hassle of turning in claims on your products for repayment. Quality ostomy suppliers like 180 Medical will take the time to interface with your physician and your insurer to make sure you are getting the products you need covered.  
With these tips, you may be on the way to getting quality ostomy supplies that could be covered by your Medicare plan.

To find out if your supplies could be covered by Medicare or for other questions, call us at 180 Medical today at 877-688-2729.

7th Annual GODSA Wheelchair Basketball Tournament

by Jessica April 15, 2015 16:06
180 Medical recently had the privilege of getting to once again participate and sponsor the annual GODSA (Greater Oklahoma Disabled Sports Association) wheelchair basketball fundraiser. This event, which was held at the Oklahoma City University's Freede Wellness Center on April 9th, 2015, helps to raise funds to support disabled athletes.180 medical GODSA event 2015 pic 1

This is the 5th consecutive year that we've joined forces with OU Physicians to support this great tournament. We had a great group of 180 Medical employees and some of their families show up to cheer the teams on. We had a team of our own at play again as well.

180 medical GODSA event 2015 pic 2
Each year that we participate, we have such a fun time, and we are all honored to get the opportunity to be a part of such a worthy cause.

About GODSA: The Greater Oklahoma Disabled Sports Association is an organization that supports recreational and athletic activities for adults and children with disabilities. Recreational and competitive events include basketball, track and field, swimming, road racing, table tennis, weight-lifting, and water sports. It promotes health and fitness and teaches life-long skills such as team effort, sportsmanship, setting goals, commitment and responsibility. Learn more at their official website or connect with their youth wheelchair basketball team, the Oklahoma Blaze, at their Facebook page.


About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for over 5 years and currently holds the title of Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company! She loves writing, music, art, and & spending time with her dogs, friends & family.
 

Interstitial Cystitis and Your Diet

by Trish March 23, 2015 11:54
living with interstitial cystitis blog header

If you have been following my Living With Interstitial Cystitis blog series, you know that last year, I was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis, IC, and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. You can read my last blog post here.

When I began having symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis, I was in major denial about the condition. I thought there was no way the food I ate could affect my bladder, until I also started having flank pain. I was asked by my doctor to just try the IC diet to see if it helped alleviate my pain. Before some testing I had to undergo for my kidneys, I was told to follow the diet strictly.

When I began this diet, it not only had affected my bladder pain but also had a direct effect on the degree of flank pain I had on a daily basis. I noticed that as I cut out more and more of the troublesome foods and drinks, the better I felt for longer periods of time.

Before I started, I drank a full pot of coffee every morning, three diet sodas (containing both aspartame and saccharin) per day, frozen and processed foods, chocolate, and pretty much anything else I wanted. With the old standard diet, I had continuous symptoms. I had to come to a point where I finally decided that there is just no food out there that tastes good enough to keep me in pain and discomfort. I have cut out almost all of those problem foods now (with the exception of coffee, which I still have in moderation).

I am fairly new to my diagnosis with Interstitial Cystitis; however, I did have symptoms for a while before I actually sought medical treatment. Like many others with this condition, I have other medical conditions. From what I have researched, IC tends to cluster with other diseases and pain conditions. I completely understand how frustrating it must be for some who have long suffered from this extremely painful condition to take advice from someone who has not had suffered the symptoms long enough to give tips. While I understand how specialized and extreme the condition can be, I also must convey that this is not my only chronic condition. I see multiple doctors, including a rheumatologist, a nephrologist, a urologist, an orthopedic doctor (I had one hip replaced at age 36, and other joints are affected as well), and a general practitioner. I follow the IC diet strictly, which is one of the biggest reasons my symptoms remain as under control as they can be. They are never completely gone. I always have some degree of burning sensation or urgency, but with the diet it is tolerable.

You can learn more at ichelp.org, which gives full details about the diet, but the main foods to avoid are:
  • Alcohol 
  • Artificial sweeteners (aspartame and saccharin) 
  • Carbonated beverages (soda) 
  • Coffee  
  • Citrus 
  • Hot peppers and spicy food 
  • Yogurt or sour cream 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Soy 
  • Vinegar (including vinaigrette salad dressings ) 
  • Processed food 
  • Cured meats 
  • Chocolate (a really bad trigger for kidney stones as well, which I also have) 
  • Canned foods 
  • Grapes 
  • Sharp cheeses 
  • Tea 
  • Black and red pepper 
  • Horseradish 
  • Cinnamon (this is on the "try it" list, but is one that I personally have to avoid) 
  • Pecans   
There are entirely too many foods to list them all, and many are on the "try it" list. Pork is something, for instance, that always bothers me. It's definitely a food item I have to avoid. 

IC is such a personalized condition. Sometimes I can eat something one day, and it will not bother me, but the next time I eat it, it will. It can also depend on what else you had that day (food combinations), and if you are a female, it can even sometimes depend on where you are at in your menstrual cycle.

Since I started on the IC diet, I have cut out processed food. At my home, we make almost everything from scratch, cutting out boxed dinners and mixes. I no longer eat fast food or frozen dinners, which can be challenging on the nights when my daughters have school functions, but we have adjusted. I whole-heartedly suggest trying this diet to anyone who suffers from IC.

The elimination diet is easy to use, and it can help you to rule out foods, if you are unsure of which ones are irritating your bladder. It takes all of the willpower you can muster, but I promise it’s worth it to feel better! Cut all of the major triggers out, then slowly add food in one at a time.

As an added bonus, since starting this diet, I have lost about 30 pounds. I feel healthier than I have in years! My skin looks great, and I have more energy. The key is to make sure you get enough protein, fruit, and vegetables!

I still have some degree of symptoms even with the diet. This isn't a miracle cure, but it does help to ease the symptoms if followed. Although, for some, it can completely trish interstitial cystitis ic diet fruit smoothiealleviate most or all of the symptoms. It just depends on the person and the severity of their condition.

I thought it might be nice to include a recipe for a fruit smoothie that I drink for breakfast and lunch each day. My recipe includes bananas, although this is an item on the caution list. If you find that bananas bother you, you could try another type of fruit. You will need:
  • ½-1 whole banana (or substitute another fruit) 
  • 1 cup blueberries 
  • ½ cup raspberries 
  • 1 cup skim milk 
  • 1/2 tablespoon agave nectar 
As a personal preference, I use frozen berries, but if you use fresh, you might add an ice cube or two, depending on the consistency you prefer. Blend in a blender or magic bullet until smooth. Drink promptly.

Do you have any tasty recipes from the Interstitial Cystitis Diet that you'd like to share with us?

If you are experiencing symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis, just know you are not alone in your personal journey. Stay tuned to our blog for more posts, including my own experience and input on Interstitial Cystitis.

trish
About the Author: 

Trish has worked for 180 Medical for four years as the Nebraska Office Coordinator. She lives in Nebraska with her husband and daughters.




  

180 Medical Employee Spotlight: Product Specialist

by Jessica March 19, 2015 13:32
180 Medical is a national leader in the intermittent catheter industry, as well as a top supplier of ostomy supplies. We have been named one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma yet again in 2014. We are currently hiring, and we're looking for positive, hard-working individuals who want to enjoy going to work and helping others. We offer a competitive benefits package, extensive training, and many fun extras. Check out our 180 Medical Careers page to learn more!

This month, we're happy to present Haley. She has been a part of the 180 Medical family for over three years now.

haley product specialist career employee spotlight 180 medical

Describe an average day in the life of a Product Specialist. What do you do in your job position?

As a Product Specialist, my goal is to match our customers with the right catheter that will meet their needs and give them the best comfort and result during the cathing process. Everyone is an individual with different needs, so catheters are not a one-size-fits-all type of product. For instance, we may talk to someone who wants to be able to self-cath in a public restroom without feeling like everyone knows what she/he is doing in the stall. Or we may help a mother find the right product for her newborn son and help her on how best to catheterize him. The relationships we make with our customers ultimately help guide them to the specific product that will fulfill a need for them. A typical day for me is spent speaking to our customers about their lives, products, and how their insurance works to cover the catheters. 

What do you love most about your job position?

The best part about my job is helping our customers. There is nothing more rewarding than making someone’s quality of life better by helping serve their needs in different products. It’s incredible to know that I am instrumental to helping people become more confident and independent with their supplies. I love it most when a customer tells me that they were able to leave their house for the first time in weeks or that they’ve been infection free for a significant amount of time because of the products we have sent!  

What’s unique about 180 Medical that makes it a neat place to work?

180 Medical is all about 'framily.'  We've got a special group of people here. Co-workers become friends that genuinely care about your work life and even outside of work. 180 Medical is all about team efforts to reach goals and giving support and service. We are encouraged to spend as much time as needed on the phone with our customers. We also get to spend time with customers and our community at various charity events like the annual MS Walk, wheelchair basketball fund-raisers, the annual Corporate Challenge, and more. I'd say that, in many cases, we are able to go far beyond what other companies would do to help with their needs.

Anything you’d say to someone thinking about applying for a job here?

Be ready to grow! I started at 180 Medical a little over 3 years ago and have transitioned into 3 different roles. I have learned so much from insurance processes and procedures to how to teach someone to use a new product and so much more along the way. This is a place of opportunity!  

What's one of your favorite stories of how you helped or interacted with a customer?

When I first started working here at 180 Medical, I had a customer that I will never forget!  She was a sweet woman that had been cathing the majority of her life with a glass catheter, which had left her bed-ridden with infections for years! I made it my mission to find something we could do to help her. I was able to pair this sweet woman with an advanced catheter that was more in line with her specific needs and taught her every step of the way on how to use it. I’ll never forget when she called later on and told me that, after a few weeks of using the new catheters, she was able to visit a school function for her grandchildren. Tears of joy all around on this call! I’ll never forget her and so many others that have experienced similar situations.

Tell us just little bit about yourself outside of work.

I enjoy working out, cooking, and watching remodeling shows! My husband, dogs, and I are an active bunch. We love strolling through the neighborhood, talking about the future and smelling every mailbox on the way home. Cooking while watching remodeling shows is ideal; however I enjoy both equally on their own as well.

What's a favorite quote that keeps you inspired?

"Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness , humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:12

A big thank you to Haley and to each one of our hard-working, compassionate Product Specialists. You do so much for others, and the work you put in every day is so important to 180 Medical.

Interested in applying for a job at 180 Medical? We're hiring! Check out our available positions at our Careers page and apply today.

180 medical is hiring


About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for over 5 years and currently holds the title of Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company! She loves writing, music, art, and & spending time with her dogs, friends & family.
 

3 Types of Male Catheters and Their Uses

by Jessica March 9, 2015 09:37
Getting older is a great blessing; we have the opportunity to experience things that give life meaning. Depending on our goals in life, we may start families, own homes, travel and see the world, and more. In each of our personal journeys over time and through experience, we develop the wisdom that a long, productive life can bring. However, with the gifts of age sometimes comes with a need for healthcare. Our bodies start to need more attention, and in some cases, assistance. That’s just part of the natural effects of aging.

In this post,man holding cane let’s look at the particular challenges of dealing with urological issues in men. A specially-designed male length intermittent catheter can assist in dealing with age- or illness-related conditions such as urethral strictures, complications from enlarged prostates, incontinence, and bladder retention, amongst others.  

Perhaps you’re researching catheters, because your doctor has determined  that a catheter is necessary for you at this time. What kinds of catheters are there for men? Here are a few of the main types that may be chosen for you.  

Intermittent Catheter

An intermittent catheter is a thin tube that is manually inserted into the urethra to drain the bladder in an easy process that people of all ages can do for themselves every day. An intermittent catheter is considered a single-use device, and it is disposable, so that you do not have to deal with washing and re-using it and risking infection. You’ll want to follow your doctor’s instructions for how often you will need to drain your bladder.  

Indwelling (Foley) Catheter

This catheter remains in place indefinitely. It is kept in place by an inflated balloon that is filled with sterile water. These kinds of catheters can only be inserted by a doctor for the purpose of long-term use.  

External (Texas) Catheter

This male catheter fits over the penis and is held in place by adhesive. Rather than being inserted into the urethra, this type of catheter collects urine that dribbles throughout the day and are usually not kept on for more than a day or two at a time. 


What catheter is chosen for you will ultimately depend on your doctor's assessment of your condition and personal needs.  

180 Medical can provide you with the supplies you need to stay on top of your health. They have a wide variety of the top brands and types available today, and their staff works with you and your doctor to find the catheter that will work best for you. 


The History of Catheters

by Jessica March 2, 2015 13:05
history of catheters blog header

You might think catheters are a relatively new invention. While it’s true that catheter technology is constantly advancing, the idea of a tube to drain the bladder has been around for centuries now.

In fact, it’s been documented that catheters were used around 3,000 BC. Of course, back in those days, they didn’t have the technology to be able to manufacture catheters in flexible, sterile materials, so they had to use what was available to them. Ancient Syrians used hollow vegetation such as reeds to relieve built-up urine in the bladder.

Later on, catheters were made in brass, copper, gold, lead, and silver. Silver is still used in certain medical fields due to its antiseptic functions. Benjamin Franklin, the famous inventor as well as one of the forefathers of the United States, had a hand in the creation of a silver catheter, which was originally was for use by his brother, John. He wanted to make the process of catheterization less painful for John, and so he worked with a local smithy on a new design for a more flexible catheter of silver.

New materials continued to be discovered and used, as the quest to find a more comfortable gentlecath red rubber catheterand flexible catheter went on. The first catheters made of rubber were developed in the 1700s was more flexible, certainly, but natural rubber weakens easily when warm and becomes brittle when cold. Rubber catheters during this period of time would sometimes disintegrate or weaken at body temperature, leaving debris behind in the urethra and bladder. In the 1800s, Charles Goodyear formulated the concept of vulcanization of rubber, which was later patented in 1844 by Thomas Hancock. This advent, which improved the overall quality of rubber, revolutionized its production, and soon the majority of catheters were made of vulcanized rubber, and later in the 20th century, latex rubber became the most popular material of choice.

Overall, catheterization was a safe procedure, but there were still cases of infections. After World War II, there were many disabled veterans, many of whom had spinal cord injuries and other ailments that required them to use catheters after the war. Infections were the last thing they needed to deal with on top of their other ailments. This is when the concept of sterile catheterization was introduced by SirLudwig Guttman, a British neurologist at the time who is now considered to be one of the founding fathers of organized physical activities for people with disabilities (including the Paralympic Games in England). It was noted that this practice helped to reduce the occurrence of infections.

In time, other materials began to be utilized as technology continued to advance, including PVC (poly-vinyl-chloride) and silicone. Today, advancements in catheter technology are leaps and bounds ahead of where we were even 20 years ago. Intermittent catheters exist in many materials, sizes, brands, and types – including hydrophilic catheters, pre-lubricated, closed systems, pediatric sizes, catheters in lengths for both men and women, and more.

180 Medical has been around for over twelve years now, and we certainly know our specialty well. Contact us today to find the right catheter for your needs, so you can experience the 180 Medical difference.
catheter showcase 180 medical

Other References: 

Carr, H. A. (2000). "A short history of the Foley catheter: from handmade instrument to infection-prevention device." 
Lapides, J., A. C. Diokno, A.C., et al. (1972). "Clean, intermittent self-catheterization in the treatment of urinary tract disease." J Urology 107(3): 458-461. 
J Endourol 7(2): 89-92. Mattelaer, J. J. and I. Billiet. (1995). "Catheters and sounds: the history of bladder catheterisation."
Paraplegia 33(8): 429-433.  Nacey, J. and B. Delahunt. (1993). "The evolution and development of the urinary catheter." Aust N Z J Surg 63(10): 815-819.



About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for over 5 years and currently holds the title of Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company! She loves writing, music, art, and & spending time with her dogs, friends & family.
 

Time to Apply for 180 Medical's 2015 College Scholarship Program

by Jessica January 28, 2015 13:24
Are you seeking financial assistance to help pay for your full-time college hours in the Fall of 2015?  Up until June 1st of this year, eligible applicants can apply for one of seven awards. Learn more:


  

What's Next After Your Ostomy Surgery?

by Jessica January 27, 2015 10:47
There's no question that getting an ostomy is a major procedure that can affect certain aspects of your daily life. Once the surgery is complete, and you've gone over everything with your doctor, it'll be time to go home. Some people who have had this procedure may be unsure of what the next step is after that.

It’s natural to want to know how easy it will be to adapt to your new situation and become comfortable with everyday life. There are several factors to consider from the United Ostomy Associations of America, including these frequently asked questions about life after ostomy surgery.

How Much Will My Diet Change?

This really depends entirely upon what type of surgery you have – ileostomy, colostomy, or urostomy. Consult your doctor for information on what you should avoid or begin to include in your diet, if anything.

Will I Still Be Able to Take a Shower?

Yes. It depends on your personal preference on whether you keep your ostomy pouch on or take it off, but many people with ostomies have found that it’s nice to give their skin a break and expose the stoma to air. Be cautious about getting too much soap or water on or around the stoma to avoid irritation. Just be aware that, depending on which type of ostomy you have, your body may continue to eliminate waste while you are showering. Doctors do recommend that colostomy and ileostomy patients choose a time when they know that their bowel is less active to avoid extra mess or complications. ostomy couple hugging

Will People Be Able to Notice that I Have an Ostomy?

According to the United Ostomy Associations of America, approximately 750,000 people have had an ostomy. You most likely have come across someone who has had the procedure before, and you never even knew it. The pouch system is flattened against your stomach and is created with odor-resistant materials. Unless you tell someone you have it, he or she will most likely have no clue.

Are There Support Groups Out There?

It’s normal to feel like you are all alone in this, especially at first. But, as said before, there are hundreds of thousands of others who are going through very similar situations. There are support groups across the country and online where those with ostomies can help one another adapt to this new way of life. Click here to find the one in your area.

One such online support community you can visit is Ostomy Support Groups by Inspire at www.ostomy.inspire.com. There are many different forums where you can discuss health and lifestyle issues, gain emotional support, inspire and motivate others and see additional ostomy information and resources.

As an ostomy supply company, 180 Medical is dedicated to providing our customers with the best in medical supplies and top-notch service. Our dedicated specialists have worked with many ostomy patients to help them get the best supplies for their needs and offer them a listening ear.  Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.   

ostomy catalog 180 medical

My Personal Experience with Interstitial Cystitis

by Trish January 15, 2015 15:05
living with interstitial cystitis blog header

My name is Trish, and I have worked for 180 Medical for 4 years. I was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction within the last year. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what this is, Interstitial Cystitis is a chronic painful condition of the bladder. Learn more details about it here.

Many of the customers at 180 Medical also share this same diagnosis with me. While I am not yet at a stage in my condition that requires me to self-cath, I thought I could share some of my own experiences and tips. 

Interstitial Cystitis (IC), also known as painful bladder syndrome (PBS), can often have similar symptoms to a bladder infection. When I initially began to have symptoms, I thought I had a urinary tract infection (UTI) for several weeks in a row. One of my family members has Interstitial Cystitis, so I was already familiar with some of the symptoms. After the second negative urinalysis that showed I did not have a UTI, it became clear that I was possibly dealing with IC.

According to ICAwareness.org, roughly 4 million Americans suffer from IC. interstitial cystitis ic who is affected

Some common symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis are:

  • Pain and pressure in the bladder and pelvic area. Sometimes this is so bad for me personally, I have to sit in a hot bath or hold a heating pad on my pelvis until it calms down.
  • Urgency and frequency of urination, as often as every 10 minutes for some. My IC does get that bad sometimes.
  • Lack of infection/negative cultures, despite exhibiting symptoms of a UTI. I do tend to get kidney infections at times.
  • Spasms and burning
  • Nocturia (urge to urinate at night). Sometimes, during a bad flare-up, I have to go to the bathroom up to 5 times in the middle of the night.
  • Painful sexual intercourse (which can, at times, make the IC worse)
Interstitial Cystitis is a specialized condition, and while it will cause some common symptoms shared by many, the experience can be different between person to person. It's difficult to tell someone else exactly how it feels, because one person may have symptoms that the other doesn't (and vice versa). One person may have mild urgency with no pain, while someone else could have extreme pelvic pain, spasms, burning, and increased frequency of urination. 

Some tips that help me, personally, during an IC flare-up:

  • Soak in a Sitz Bath or warm Epsom Salt bath. 
  • Place a heating pad onto your pelvic area to alleviate pelvic pain.
  • Mix a quarter teaspoon of baking soda into a ½ cup of water, stir, and drink promptly. This calms the bladder. Make sure and check with your doctor if you take other medication.  
  • Eat squash and sweet potatoes during a flare-up. They both help sooth my bladder, as do white potatoes and white rice. Make sure you leave out the black pepper. If you miss lemon flavor, try adding a bit of tarragon, which adds a distinct citrus flavor without the bladder irritation.
  • Drink as much water as possible. Water is the best thing for your body, especially those of us with IC. The spasms and other symptoms will eventually calm down after you flush your bladder.  
  • Drink chamomile or peppermint hot teas. They both have soothing effects on the bladder. 
  • Yoga can also be very relaxing and strengthening for some of the Interstitial Cystitis and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD) symptoms.  
  • When nothing alleviates your symptoms, see your doctor. Do not ever feel like you are an imposition on your doctor or their staff. That is what they are here for.
  • The staff at 180 Medical is always available as well to answer any questions we can.
If you are experiencing symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis, just know you are not alone in your personal journey.

Stay tuned to our blog for more posts, including my own experience and input on Interstitial Cystitis.

trish

About the Author: 
Trish has worked for 180 Medical for four years as the Nebraska Office Coordinator. She lives in Nebraska with her husband and daughters.



  

What Should You Know About National Birth Defects Prevention Month?

by Jessica January 8, 2015 11:39
The beginning of the New Year also marks the start of National Birth Defects Prevention Month, which takes place every January and was created to raise greater awareness among individuals about the prevalence of birth defects in this country. So what should you know about birth defects? Here are some frequently asked questions.

How Common Are Birth Defects?

Although we have made significant progress in healthcare and research 180 medical national birth defects monthto ensure the safety of the baby, birth defects still occur. In fact, a baby is born with a birth defect every four and a half minutes. One in 33 babies is born with a birth defect. The total hospital costs in the US of babies with birth defects are more than $2.6 billion.

Are Birth Defects Genetic?

They can be, depending upon the specific condition, but researchers are quick to point out that many causes of birth defects are unknown. A healthy woman with no history of birth defects can give birth to a baby with birth defects just as easily as a woman with a family history of birth defects.

Can Anything Be Done to Prevent Birth Defects?

Yes, luckily there are a number of things that women can do to lower their risk of having a child with birth defects. First and foremost, they should increase their intake of folic acid. A lack of folic acid intake for pregnant women has been linked to major birth defects of the brain and spine, such as spina bifida. To help prevent this, expectant mothers can increase their intake of folic acid by 400 mcg. Besides this, pregnant women should avoid alcohol, cigarettes, or other drugs, as they can all affect the health of the baby and mother. In addition, they should have regular medical checkups and avoid exposure to chemicals and people who are sick.

180 Medical provides catheter and ostomy supplies to individuals across the country – many of whom require them due to birth defects like spina bifida. We encourage our readers to pass the information along, so everyone is aware of the causes of birth defects and how they can safeguard against them as much as possible.