Balancing Life — Taking Care of You

Spring is the perfect time of year to focus on finding balance in your daily life. Cleaning out the clutter and focusing on you helps you better care for those around you.

Work/life balance for caregivers

Many caregivers are juggling careers and children as well as taking care of a parent or spouse. Maintaining a healthy work/life balance is important for the health and wellbeing of the caregiver and those around them.

Organization is half the battle

It may seem daunting at first but creating an organizational system and having a plan in place for everyday situations as well as emergency situations will help keep life running smoothly and give peace of mind when it doesn’t.1

Know your options

There are tools available to help navigate the balance between having a career and being a caregiver. Asking Human Resources if your employer offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a start. An EAP can offer counseling, legal and financial referrals, or connect employees with non-profits that can provide aid. Knowing the options and tools available can ease the stress of being a caregiver.2

Do what’s right for you

Making the decision to either continue working or transition to caring for a loved one full time can be extremely stressful. No two caregiver situations are alike, and there are many factors that determine the best solution. Making the decision that is right for your individual situation is important for your health and the health of your loved ones.3

April is Stress Awareness Month

Stress is a part of everyday life, and how we handle it can impact our health both physically and mentally. Identifying stressors and finding positive ways to tackle stress is the key to a healthy, balanced life.

Paying with our health

A survey by the American Psychological Association revealed that money was the top source of stress, followed by employment, family responsibilities and health concerns. Those experiencing extreme money-related stress were more likely to manage their stress through sedentary or unhealthy behaviors. One in five Americans said they have no emotional support, and 21% of those who feel they have no emotional support made no lifestyle changes because they are too stressed.4

Tips to manage stress

It’s important to find healthy ways to process stressful situations. Try a few of these strategies to help you cope when you’re feeling stressed:5

  • Take a time-out. Removing yourself from the situation for a few minutes helps you to focus on the situation more objectively.
  • Eat well-balanced meals. Healthy eating helps fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to function well.
  • Get enough sleep. Additional sleep and rest can help lessen the effects of stress on the body.
  • Talk to someone. Tell your friends and family about your feelings of being stressed and overwhelmed; tell them what you need them to do to help.

How to Stay Flu-Free All Season Long

The flu (influenza) season is soon upon us. Are you and your family ready? Here are a few simple tips to help you stay healthy and keep others from falling ill as well. If you have questions about the flu or need to get your shot this season, speak with a Health Mart pharmacist near you.

Flu facts: Who knew?

Chances are that you’ve had the flu, but now it’s time to test your knowledge about this pesky flu bug that shows up every year.

  • Most flu activity occurs during January.
    False. According to the Center for Disease Control records over 32 years, the peak month of flu activity is February, followed by December and then January and March. The “seasonal flu season” can start in October and can last as long as May.1
  • The flu shot only protects against one type of flu.
    False. Traditional flu vaccines or shots are made to protect against three different flu viruses (called “trivalent” vaccines) are available, and flu vaccines are available that are made to protect against four different flu viruses (called “quadrivalent” vaccines). Depending on your age, your healthcare professional will help you determine which vaccine is best to help you.2
  • The flu vaccine takes a few weeks before it works.
    True. It takes your body about two weeks after the flu shot to develop antibodies that protect against the virus from infecting you. Therefore, it’s really important to have your flu shot before the flu season starts. 3

Visit your Health Mart store for more information.

Flu Season: Who’s at risk?

The flu can be a relatively minor occurrence, taking several days in most healthy people. Others however may develop complications from the flu (e.g. pneumonia) that can be life threatening.5 That’s why it is important to practice good hygiene to help prevent the spread of germs to those at greater risk.4

  1. Children and infants
  2. Pregnant women
  3. Seniors
  4. People with disabilities
  5. People with health conditions
  6. Travelers and people living abroad

3 Tips to Outsmart the Flu

  1. Get your flu vaccine
    Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine as soon as the current season’s vaccines are available.
  2. Help stop the spread of germs
    It’s simple. Wash your hands with soap and water. Cover your mouth when you sneeze. And, avoid close contact with sick people.
  3. Follow your doctor’s orders
    If you get sick and your doctor prescribes flu antiviral drugs, take them and be sure to follow the full course of medication. 

Are YOU a travel bug?
You need to travel and you don’t feel well. Should you get on that plane? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says no.6

  • To help cut down on the spread of germs, you should be fever free for 24-hours before traveling
  • If you are not ill, the CDC recommends a flu shot to help reduce the risk of contracting an illness while you are traveling to your destination
  • Because flu seasons vary, it’s important to stay current on your flu vaccination

Diabetes: Ignorance Isn’t Bliss …

Here are some frightening facts: A quarter of adults with diabetes don’t know they have it, and only about 1 in 10 know they have prediabetes.1 Could you be at risk and not even know it?

Know the warning signs

Diabetes is known as a silent killer for a reason — there may be no symptoms at all or they may be so vague, patients do not recognize the signs. Here are a few common warning signs:

  • Increased thirst or hunger
  • Frequent peeing or urinary infections
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight loss you can’t explain
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches2

Do you recognize any of the above warning signs in yourself? If the answer is yes, talk to your doctor about your risk of developing diabetes. Your doctor may request a special blood test to determine if you have diabetes or prediabetes.

Are you at risk?

Even a few extra pounds can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, and the risk increases 30% for every 11 pounds gained. Weight gains of 44 pounds or more make you 10 times more likely to develop the disease.3 Family health history also plays a role in your risk for developing type 2 diabetes — did you know that most people with type 2 diabetes have a family member with the disease?

It’s up to you

If you have prediabetes, you can cut your risk of developing diabetes in half with exercise and a healthy diet.1 A few lifestyle changes can go a long way toward preventing or controlling diabetes:

  • Eat your vegetables (fruits, whole grains, lean meats, and nonfat dairy, too!)
  • Limit foods high in fat and sugar
  • Aim for 30 minutes of activity most days of the week
  • Lower your stress level
  • Stop smoking
  • Go easy on the alcohol

We can help

You don’t have to manage your diabetes alone. Partner with your doctor and Health Mart® pharmacist — whether you have questions about your risks, need tips about lifestyle changes or want guidance about diabetes medications, we’re here to help.

Ladies: Don’t Ignore Subtle Heart Attack Signs

While sharp chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack, women may experience less obvious symptoms, leading many to dismiss them as signs of less serious ailments.

Know the signs

Heart attack symptoms may occur during normal daily activities or times of stress and may include:

  • Sharp, severe chest pain
  • Chest pain that lasts longer than 10 minutes

However, in women, some signs may be subtler:

  • Chest or upper back pressure, squeezing or pain that lasts for a few minutes or comes and goes
  • Pain in your jaw, arm, neck, stomach or back
  • Sudden or unexplained shortness of breath — this may happen without any chest discomfort
  • Sleep problems, unusual fatigue and lack of energy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness or light-headedness1, 2, 3, 4

Don’t wait — call 911

Because the symptoms may often be mistaken for something less serious, women experiencing them frequently dismiss the symptoms as belonging to common ailments like acid reflux, the flu or normal aging,3 delaying calling for help. If you have any of the symptoms listed above, do not wait, and do not drive yourself to the hospital — call 911 right away.

Why symptoms may be different in women

Research is ongoing as to why men and women experience heart attacks differently, but it could stem from heart disease; in men, heart disease usually occurs from blockages in coronary arteries while in women, heart disease or damage may develop in the tiny arteries that branch out from the coronary arteries. Angina symptoms may be due to spasms within these small blood vessels. Called microvascular disease (MVD), this may occur more often in younger women.2, 3

See your doctor

Heart disease often develops when fatty substances (“plaque”) build up in the coronary arteries. These narrowed arteries slow or cut off blood flow, temporarily limiting oxygen to the heart muscle.1 Your doctor may diagnose heart disease based on a combination of your medical history, physical exam and test results.

Standard tests, which are designed to assess blockages in the heart’s larger vessels, often won’t spot MVD or broken heart syndrome,5 another heart condition that mainly affects women, however. More research is needed to find the best ways to diagnose heart disease in women.1, 6

Protect your heart

Taking care of your heart can help reduce your risks of a heart attack. Avoiding smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and increasing your activity level all can help.

Talk to your doctor about steps you can take to reduce risks such as high blood pressure or cholesterol.7 If you need any high blood pressure or cholesterol medications, your doctor and Health Mart® pharmacist can work together to make sure you reap the most benefits with the fewest side effects.

High Blood Pressure, Redefined

If you were just under the threshold for high blood pressure at your last check up, you may now be over–even if your numbers haven’t changed a bit. That’s because last fall, new guidelines redefined high blood pressure, previously been set at 140 over 90, as 130 over 80.1

What is hypertension – and why you should know your numbers

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, doubles your risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, among others.1,2 The American Heath Association estimates that nearly half of all adults in the U.S. have hypertension.

You don’t need to wait for your annual physical to know your numbers–you can check your numbers for free at places such as your local Health Mart pharmacy or purchase an inexpensive monitor to check at home.

Don’t wait — call 911

Because the symptoms may often be mistaken for something less serious, women experiencing them frequently dismiss the symptoms as belonging to common ailments like acid reflux, the flu or normal aging,3 delaying calling for help. If you have any of the symptoms listed above, do not wait, and do not drive yourself to the hospital — call 911 right away.

A silent killer

High blood pressure doesn’t always cause obvious symptoms. Signs to watch for include mild, long-lasting headaches or “brain fog.” A hypertensive crisis can cause a crushing headache–if you have one, go to the emergency room right away. Other less common symptoms include bloating, decreased urination, sudden vision loss, dizziness, or trouble keeping your balance. If you have concerns, play it safe and schedule an appointment to see your physician.2

Lower your risk

Like many illnesses and diseases, you can inherit a higher risk for hypertension. If a close relative has it–your parents, siblings or grandparents–you may be at higher risk. If any of them had a heart attack at a young age, be sure to let your doctor know so that you can be closely monitored for warning signs.2

 While you can’t change your genes, you can reduce your risk and/or lower your blood pressure readings. Diet and exercise are a great place to start – 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week is a good first step.

Just a DASH

Eating well and limiting your salt intact can also have a beneficial impact. The U.S. News and World Report rated the DASH diet the best “overall” diet among nearly 40 it reviewed.1 Focused on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins, when combined with a diet low in salt, DASH can be very effective at managing blood pressure. Within just two weeks, it can lower blood pressure a few points—with a drop of eight to 14 points over time. DASH can also lower blood cholesterol.3

Talk to your pharmacist

Your doctor may prescribe medications to help lower your blood pressure, especially if you have other risk factors. If you have questions about the medications you have been prescribed or concerns about side effects, be sure to talk to your Health Mart pharmacist who can work with your physician to find the medication that works for you. 

Chronic Illness Can Be an Emotional Rollercoaster

Have you recently been diagnosed with a chronic illness? Whether it is diabetes, cancer, arthritis or another chronic disease, the diagnosis likely set off a whole range of unexpected emotions. Don’t worry – it’s completely normal to feel as you do.

You’re not alone

When you first receive a diagnosis, it can feel like there is no one who can really understand how you feel, but you truly are not in it alone – more than half of all adults in the U.S. are living with a chronic condition. By 2020, about 157 million Americans will have a chronic condition, and half will be diagnosed with more than one!1 

It’s not easy, and the rollercoaster of emotions your diagnosis has triggered is completely normal, but one thing is for certain, there are more people who can relate than you realize.

Learning to cope

A chronic condition can really take a toll on your emotional health as well as your physical wellbeing, even causing you to change how you see yourself.2 Your first reaction may, in fact, be to deny the diagnosis. But you can’t lie in bed with the covers over your head and just pretend it hasn’t happened.

 A study of women diagnosed with breast cancer showed that women who confronted their diagnosis were more psychologically well-adjusted three years later. A second study showed that those who sought support and developed an action plan reported more peace and satisfaction with life two years later when compared to women who avoided their diagnosis.3 Know that it will take time to adjust to your new diagnosis and the lifestyle changes that come with it, but you can live life to the fullest even after being diagnosed with a chronic illness.

Take control

It feels like your life is out of your control, right? Managing the parts of your life that are in your control can help you take control of your illness. How? You can choose to eat healthfully, work to control your stress and find the support – medical and emotional – that you need.

 Ask questions and educate yourself about your disease and treatment – it is your health and diagnosis, and knowledge is power. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about recommended steps you can take to manage your disease or your pharmacist about the medications you have been prescribed or alternatives that might be available.

Feeling depressed?

Are you feeling sad? Angry? Fearful? These feelings are normal when you are first diagnosed with a chronic illness. Feeling concerned about your health, lifestyle changes you need to make, your future or that of your family is to be expected.

Build a strong support network that you can rely on and ask for help when you need it. Temporary sadness is normal, but if your symptoms last more than a couple of weeks or become overwhelming, please seek professional help.

Signs of depression include:

  • Feeling worthless, hopeless, guilty, or empty
  • Not enjoying activities you did in the past
  • Having trouble focusing, remembering details, or making decisions
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping more than usual
  • Thoughts of death or suicide4

Finding help

You are not in this alone, and there are resources that can help:

  • Find health care providers who are knowledgeable about your condition and empathetic
  • See a therapist, especially if you may be depressed. Research suggests that depression combined with a chronic illness can magnify the symptoms of both illnesses making treatment even more important.4 
  • Find support online or in your community. Check with your local library, social networks, national organizations, and local hospitals – you may be able to connect with others online who have the same condition. This may be especially helpful when you feel too ill to go out.2

We are here for you

Following your diagnosis, your physician likely prescribed prescriptions that are new to you. Your Health Mart pharmacist is always available to talk about the medications you are taking and will be happy to address any questions or concerns you may have your medications. You are not in this alone.

Knowing Your ABCDEs Could Protect You from Skin Cancer

One in five people will get diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime. Regardless of your age, skin tone or whether you sunburn or easily tan. If you are exposed to the sun, you need to protect yourself.1

Protecting your skin

When you were a teenager, you probably laid out in the sun all day—maybe you even used a little baby oil or coconut oil to speed the process. All in pursuit of the perfect golden tan. We now know that “healthy” tan was anything but!

While it is true that a tan provides a modicum of protection from sunburn, the sun produces ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B light, rays that can increase your chances of skin cancer.

Sunscreen provides the barrier needed to block these rays from doing damage. Look for one with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply often. Your skin will thank you.

Know what to look for

Because it can spread quickly, melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer.2 Knowing what to look for could save your life.

Look for the ABCDEs:

  • Asymmetry. One-half the mole is different from the other half.
  • Border. The edges are poorly defined, irregular or scalloped.
  • Color. The color varies from one area to another. It might be white, red or blue or have shades of tan, brown or black.
  • Diameter. When first diagnosed, melanoma is often larger than the size of a pencil eraser.
  • Evolving. Moles or skin lesions often look different from other moles or they may be changing in size, shape, or color.2

Do you have a slow-growing patch of thick skin that looks like a scar? Or a bleeding, painful, or itchy spot? Or you might have a band of dark skin around a toe or finger nail or a dark streak under a nail. These could be signs of skin cancer as well and require immediate attention.

Know your body

Performing regular self-examinations is the best way to notice changes early – before there are serious consequences. The American Academy of Dermatology even provides a Body Mole Map that can be an effective tool to help!

  • Check all areas of your body. Use a mirror to check your front, back and sides. Don’t miss the soles and spaces between your toes and use a hand mirror to check areas like your scalp, the back of your neck and your buttocks.
  • Check each other. A recent study showed how effective it can be to have your spouse or partner get trained in spotting skin cancer.3 Are you at high risk, with many moles or a previous history or family history of melanoma? 4This training is especially important for you.
  • Get it checked. A dermatologist is best trained to spot skin cancer.2 Get regular screenings and see your doctor immediately if you have any signs of melanoma or other skin cancers.

1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed in their lifetime

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer. It’s a scary statistic for sure, but if you catch it early, skin cancer—even melanoma—is very treatable.

Losing Sleep? It Could Affect Your Health

The average adult needs 7-8 hours of sleep each night, especially as we age. Changes in sleep patterns as we get older can result in insomnia which can in turn affect our health.

Sleep changes as we age

Changes in our sleep patterns as we age can include:

  • Feeling tired in the evening
  • Waking up early
  • Waking in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep
  • Insomnia1

So why does our sleep-wake cycle change? A lot of factors can be at play – age, lifestyle, health conditions, medications.

Recent studies tying lack of sleep to Alzheimer’s disease and memory issues as we age make getting a restful sleep even more important.2

Losing sleep could have consequences

A recent NIH study indicated that lack of sleep might be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. The study showed that sleep might play a role in increasing levels of beta-amyloid, a protein in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease.2

While research is still ongoing, what is already known is that sleep strengthens memories. When you were a student cramming for an exam your mother probably told you the best thing you could do before an exam was get a good night’s sleep. She was right.

Sleep before an exam can help prepare your brain to absorb information, while sleep after studying helps strengthen the memories you formed throughout the day. In fact, lack of sleep can drop your ability to learn by 40% - a great argument against pulling an all-nighter!3

The answer? Sleep well!

So, the answer to improving memory in aging adults and helping students ace exams is more sleep – easy, right? While it may seem like no matter what you do, you just can’t turn your brain off at night, there are things you can do to help ensure a restful night:

  • Eat a healthful diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Reduce stress – yoga, meditation, deep breathing
  • Nap – but no more than 20 minutes4,1
  • Avoid caffeine late in the day
  • Avoid eating large meals late in the day
  • Turn off your electronic devices at least a half-hour before bedtime
  • Avoid alcohol before bedtime
  • To prevent wakeful trips to the bathroom, drink fewer fluids right before you head off to bed
  • Keep a “worry journal” – write down what’s on your mind5
  • Make your bedroom a relaxing sanctuary6
  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule4
  • Get out of bed if you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes4

We’re here to help

If sleep problems persist, see your doctor – it could be a medical issue or sleep disorder. Be sure to ask your doctor or Health Mart pharmacist about any medications, herbs, or supplements that could be affecting your sleep5 or if you require a prescription or over-the-counter sleep aid.

Health Mart. Caring for you and about you. 

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

Sources: 

  1. MedlinePlus: “Changing your sleep habits.” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000757.htm Accessed 6-1-18
  2. American Academy of Sleep Medicine: “Healthy Sleep Habits.” Available at: http://www.sleepeducation.org/essentials-in-sleep/healthy-sleep-habits Accessed 6-1-18.
  3. National Institutes of Health: “Sleep On It.” Available at: https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2013/04/sleep-it Accessed 6-1-18.
  4. Familydoctor.org: “Sleep Changes in Older Adults.” Available at: https://familydoctor.org/sleep-changes-in-older-adults/?adfree=true Accessed 6-1-18.
  5. Mayo Clinic: “Adult health.” Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379?p=1 Accessed 6-1-18.

Posted on Sun, July 1, 2018 by Health Mart

Seasonal Allergies: Trying to Nip Them in the Bud

Itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, fatigue…. These are just a few of the signs of seasonal allergies—also known as hay fever.1 And get ready: It looks like we may have a real doozy of an allergy season this year.2 Milder winter temperatures in places can cause plants to pollinate early. And a rainier spring leads to quick plant growth, as well as an increase in mold. 1

Allergic reactions mostly occur when your body responds to a “false alarm.” And, as you well know, there isn’t a cure for seasonal allergies. But there’s no reason to let this time of year take all the spring out of your step! Arm yourself with information.

Monitor climate factors. When checking the weather and planning your day, keep these things in mind:

·      Heat and high humidity promote the growth of molds.

·      Cool nights and warm days allow tree, grass, and ragweed pollens to thrive.

·      In spring and summer, tree and grass pollen levels tend to peak in the evening.

·      In late summer and early fall, ragweed pollen levels tend to peak in the morning.

·      Windy and warm days often result in surging pollen counts.

·      After a rainfall, pollen counts may go up, even though the rain temporarily washes pollen away.1

Avoid your triggers. If allergies are making you miserable, you may want to see an allergist. Specializing in allergies, this person can help you figure out what triggers your symptoms. Then you can find ways to cut off those triggers at the pass. During allergy season:

·      Keep windows and doors shut in your car and home.

·      Monitor pollen and mold counts daily. Weather reporters often provide this information.

·      After working or playing outdoors, take a shower, wash your hair, and change your clothes. 1

·      When doing chores outside, wear a NIOSH-rated filter mask. Better yet? Delegate!

·      Be on the lookout for mold, which can build up in moist months. A deep spring cleaning will help get rid of mold and other allergens. Cleanliness may not be close to godliness. But it sure may help you feel better.

·      Clear the air with a HEPA room air cleaner rated with a Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR). If you have central air, use air filters with a MERV rating of 11 or 12. Change air filters every three months.3

Relieve your symptoms. Corticosteroid nasal sprays, decongestants, antihistamines. These are examples of over-the-counter drugs that can help relieve your symptoms. Come talk to me to make sure you’re using them the right way. If side effects are a problem, we can work together to come up with a solution. For example, a few possible side effects of antihistamines are sleepiness, dry mouth, constipation, and light-headedness.4

For some people, allergies can lead to or coexist with other health problems such as asthma or sinusitis. Asthma narrows or blocks the airways. Sinusitis is caused by inflammation or infection of cavities behind the nose.5 Just one more reason why working with your doctor and me is a good idea.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

 

Sources:

1.     ACAAI: “Seasonal Allergies.” Available at: http://acaai.org/allergies/seasonal-allergies Accessed 3-3-17.

2.     ABC30.com: “Seasonal allergy sufferers feeling the change in weather.” Available at: http://abc30.com/health/seasonal-allergy-sufferers-feeling-the-change-in-weather/1780067/ Accessed 3-3-17.

3.     ACAAI: “5 things to Do to Fell Better During Spring Allergy Season.” Available at: http://acaai.org/news/5-things-do-feel-better-during-spring-allergy-season Accessed: 2-23-17.

4.     Merck Manual: “Seasonal Allergies.” Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/immune-disorders/allergic-reactions-and-other-hypersensitivity-disorders/seasonal-allergies Accessed 3-3-17.

5.     NIHMedlinePlus: “How to Control Your Seasonal Allergies.” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/magazine/issues/spring13/articles/spring13pg22-23.html Accessed 3-3-17.


 

Managing Diabetes Medications

It’s not the kind of club you really want to belong to. Today, nearly half of all American adults have type 2 diabetes or are at risk of getting it.1

If you count yourself among them, you know that managing your diabetes medications is something you can’t afford to ignore. If not well managed, diabetes can lead to serious complications. They include cardiovascular disease; nerve, kidney, eye, and foot damage; and hearing problems.2

Recent research. A study of 350,000 people with type 2 diabetes found that people with poorly managed diabetes were also 50 percent more likely to have dementia.3 Other recent studies have found that diabetes appears to take a particular toll on women’s hearts. Looking at nearly 11 million people, one study found the risk was almost 40 percent higher in women than in men.4

Whether woman or man, however, staying on top of medication management clearly needs to be top of mind.

Types of medications. As you likely know, managing blood sugar (glucose) is at the heart of diabetes control. If you can’t get the job done with diet and exercise alone, medications are essential. The drugs you take will depend upon the type of diabetes you have, along with other factors.5

Insulin moves glucose from your blood into your cells. This helps keep glucose in the right range. If your body doesn’t make enough insulin, you will need to take it by injection, pen, pump, jet injector, or infuser.5

There are also many types of diabetes pills, which work in different ways. For example, they may:

·      Decrease the glucose released from your liver

·      Stimulate the pancreas to release more insulin

·      Make your body more sensitive to the effects of insulin

·      Slow absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream after eating6

Some people take more than one pill, a combination pill, or a combination of pills and insulin. There are also new types of injected medicines available to keep blood sugar from going too high after eating.5

Medication review.  Be sure to follow your treatment plan, but let your doctor know if you experience any side effects. If you’re a senior, this is more important than ever. Your body responds differently to drugs as you age. This means you’re at greater risk of overtreatment, which can cause blood sugar levels to go too low. And this can cause problems such as confusion or falls. 7

You may need to cut back or change medications. Just because a drug worked well for you in the past doesn’t mean it will continue to do so. If you have questions about this, I can go over your list of medications and see how they are working for you. Also, be sure to check in at least once a year with your doctor about your diabetes medications. Never stop or change your medications without first talking it over with your doctor.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

 

It’s not the kind of club you really want to belong to. Today, nearly half of all American adults have type 2 diabetes or are at risk of getting it.1

If you count yourself among them, you know that managing your diabetes medications is something you can’t afford to ignore. If not well managed, diabetes can lead to serious complications. They include cardiovascular disease; nerve, kidney, eye, and foot damage; and hearing problems.2

Recent research. A study of 350,000 people with type 2 diabetes found that people with poorly managed diabetes were also 50 percent more likely to have dementia.3 Other recent studies have found that diabetes appears to take a particular toll on women’s hearts. Looking at nearly 11 million people, one study found the risk was almost 40 percent higher in women than in men.4

Whether woman or man, however, staying on top of medication management clearly needs to be top of mind.

Types of medications. As you likely know, managing blood sugar (glucose) is at the heart of diabetes control. If you can’t get the job done with diet and exercise alone, medications are essential. The drugs you take will depend upon the type of diabetes you have, along with other factors.5

Insulin moves glucose from your blood into your cells. This helps keep glucose in the right range. If your body doesn’t make enough insulin, you will need to take it by injection, pen, pump, jet injector, or infuser.5

There are also many types of diabetes pills, which work in different ways. For example, they may:

·      Decrease the glucose released from your liver

·      Stimulate the pancreas to release more insulin

·      Make your body more sensitive to the effects of insulin

·      Slow absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream after eating6

Some people take more than one pill, a combination pill, or a combination of pills and insulin. There are also new types of injected medicines available to keep blood sugar from going too high after eating.5

Medication review.  Be sure to follow your treatment plan, but let your doctor know if you experience any side effects. If you’re a senior, this is more important than ever. Your body responds differently to drugs as you age. This means you’re at greater risk of overtreatment, which can cause blood sugar levels to go too low. And this can cause problems such as confusion or falls. 7

You may need to cut back or change medications. Just because a drug worked well for you in the past doesn’t mean it will continue to do so. If you have questions about this, I can go over your list of medications and see how they are working for you. Also, be sure to check in at least once a year with your doctor about your diabetes medications. Never stop or change your medications without first talking it over with your doctor.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

 

Sources:

1.     HealthDay: Half of U.S. Adults Have Diabetes or High Risk of Getting It: Report. Available at: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_154517.html Accessed 11-3-15.

2.     Mayo Clinic: “Complications.” Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/basics/complications/con-20033091. Accessed 11-5-15.
3.     HealthDay: Tight Control of Type 2 Diabetes May Help Prevent Dementia. Available at: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_154639.html Accessed 11-3-15.
4.     HealthDay: Diabetes Takes a Toll on Women’s Hearts. Available at: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_154609.html Accessed 11-3-15.
5.     NIDDK: “What I need to know about Diabetes Medicines.” Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Diabetes/diabetes-medicines/Pages/index.aspx#what Accessed 11-5-15.
6.     Joslin Diabetes Center: “Oral Diabetes Medications Summary Chart.” Available at: http://www.joslin.org/info/oral_diabetes_medications_summary_chart.html Accessed 11-5-15.
7.     HealthDay: Too Many Seniors With Diabetes Are Overtreated, Study Suggests. Available at https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_155428.html   Accessed 11-3-15.
 
 
 

 

5 End-of Year Tips from Your Pharmacist

As the days keep getting shorter, does it feel as though there are fewer than 24 hours in a day? With the holidays right on the horizon, there¹s so much to think about and so much to do. Here are a few end-of-year reminders to make sure your health‹and your pocketbook ‹doesn't get the short end of the stick.

1. Get your flu shot. If you're like many people, getting a flu vaccination can easily slip your mind. But a flu shot is too important to get bumped to the bottom of your priority list. Every flu season is different, and every person responds to the flu in a different way. The flu can lead to hospitalizations and even death. The flu season often begins in October, so there's no better time than the present.

2. Plan for Medicare open enrollment. Every year, the open enrollment for Medicare is October 15 through December 7. This is when you can change your health plan and prescription drug coverage. You can get more information here: Call 1-800-MEDICARE or go to www.medicare.gov. You'll find a wealth of resources to help you compare hospitals, doctors, drug plans, and other health care services. But if you need more help making comparisons and choices, we can help. Just ask.

3. Switch to generics. Generic medications are identical to brand-name drugs in dosage, form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality, performance traits, and intended use. Here¹s how they¹re different: They¹re usually much less expensive than brand-name drugs. Not all medications have a generic equivalent for a brand-name drug. One way to find out is to go to Drugs.com. Or, we can also talk this over.

Switching to a generic medication might put a few (maybe more than a few) extra dollars back in your pocket. Wouldn't it be nice to have a little extra money for the holidays‹or to use however you choose?

4. Use or lose it. Do you have a flexible spending account (FSA)? This is a special account you put money into to pay certain out-of-pocket health costs. That might include copayments, deductibles, drugs, and other health care costs. Limited to $2,550 each year, this money is not taxable.4

If you have an FSA, now is the time to use up your health benefit dollars‹or you¹ll lose them! Schedule eye or medical checkups before the end of the year. Some employers make allowances, though. So check to see if you have a grace period for using up the money or if you can carry over a limited amount of funds to the next year.

5. Schedule a "tune-up."  Why not schedule a meeting with me to see if your medications are working as well as they can for you? We can help you come up with ways to remember to take your drugs and to order refills‹before you run out. Not happy with your drug¹s side effects? Both your doctor and I can work with you to adjust your dose or to find a substitute. There¹s no need for you to suffer in silence.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

 

 

 

More Options for Cholesterol Control

There’s more than one way to tackle the risk of high cholesterol. That’s a type of fat that can clog up your arteries and block blood flow.1

Check it out. Without being tested, though, you can’t be certain about your risk. Yes, you might be in good company being in the dark: For example, nearly half of Hispanics in the U.S. who have high blood pressure are unaware of it.2 But, no, ignorance is not bliss.

If you haven’t had a recent cholesterol test, why not schedule one now? You can do it in honor of National Cholesterol Education Month. In the meantime, check out a few new findings about cholesterol control.

Fitness pays off. You probably already know that eating too much saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol can raise your cholesterol. Likewise, being overweight can lower your levels of “good” (HDL) cholesterol. But did you know that being inactive could literally be the “kiss of death?”1

            Exercise can lower risks of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and stress. Now, a long-term fitness study shows that fitness may delay normal age-related increases in cholesterol levels by up to 15 years!3 The study ran from 1970 to 2006 and included just over 11,400 men, aged 20 to 90. Although the study included only men, the researchers believe results would be similar for women.

Drugs tough on LDL. There’s another new kid on the cholesterol-control block. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just approved alirocumab (Praluent)—the first in a new class of injected cholesterol-lowering drugs.4

The FDA approved Praluent for patients with heart disease and a history of heart attack or stroke and patients who have inherited a family condition causing high levels of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. By the time you read this, the FDA may have approved another in this class— evolocumab (Repatha).4

            These drugs work by blocking a protein in the liver that helps regulate LDL. They can cut levels of LDL by nearly 50 percent. Early short-term research shows they may also cut the risk of heart attack or death from heart disease in half.4 Longer clinical studies are needed to confirm the results of these early studies.

Another big wild card? Cost. This class of drugs is expensive to make. It could cost each patient as much as $12,000 a year.4 Still, it’s encouraging to have options for people who don’t get the results they need with statins.

If you already take cholesterol-lowering medications, be sure to take them exactly as your doctor directs. As you well know, I can be your go-to person for any questions you may have.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

 

Sources
WebMD: Available at: . http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/tc/high-cholesterol-overview Accessed Accessed 8-4-15.

HealthDay: “Half of U.S. Hispanics With High Cholesterol Unaware They Have It: Study.” Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_153245.html Accessed 8-4-15.

HealthDay: “Staying Fit May Delay Onset of High Cholesterol, Study Finds.” Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_152470.html Accessed 8-4-15.

HealthDay: “FDA Oks First of New Class of Cholesterol Drugs.” Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_153763.html Accessed 8-4-15.

When Drugs Deplete Nutrients

Medications can be life saving. But take heed: They can also rob your body of nutrients you need.
 Nutrient loss can happen in many ways. For example, a medication may:
·      Depress your appetite, which means you may not eat enough to stay nourished.
·      Increase your desire for less healthy foods, such as lots of sugar, bread, or pasta.
·      Reduce absorption of certain nutrients in the “gut,” especially in seniors.
·      Block a nutrient’s effects at the level of the cell.
·      Increase loss of nutrients through your urinary system.1
Symptoms of nutrient loss may come on gradually and look a lot like symptoms of aging, disease, or changes in mood—so it’s easy to get caught off guard. For example, pain, numbness, or tingling in legs may be a vitamin B12 deficiency. Or a magnesium deficiency may cause muscle pain and stiffness. Over time, this deficiency may even contribute to bone disease (osteoporosis).2
Which drugs are the most common culprits? Here’s a brief summary for you.
Acid blockers. If you have heartburn, reflux, or peptic ulcers, your doctor may prescribe an antacid, H2 blocker, or proton-pump inhibitor (PPI). Studies show these drugs may cause many nutrient deficiencies. They can interfere with the breakdown of food or absorption of nutrients. You may lack B12, calcium, vitamin D, folic acid, chromium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus.
Antibiotics. These drugs are big robbers of a wide range of nutrients. They also kill “good” bacteria in your digestive system. For these reasons, it may be a good idea to take a B vitamin complex or a multivitamin that contains B vitamins—as well as magnesium, calcium, and potassium. You might also consider probiotics and vitamin K—normally made by those “friendly” bacteria.
Anti-convulsants. Seizure medication can cause low levels of vitamin D.
Anti-hypertensives. Diuretics are great at helping to prevent heart attacks in high-risk people. But they may deplete magnesium, sodium, potassium, zinc, pyridoxine, thiamine, and ascorbic acid.
Beta blockers also are great at lowering blood pressure. However, they can deplete CoQ10. This can be very dangerous. The heart needs a rich supply of this nutrient for the energy “factories” of its cells.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs. When it comes to high cholesterol, statins are practically a household name. That’s because doctors widely prescribe them. But statins also deplete CoQ10—which is serious.
Hypoglycemics (oral). Drugs like metformin help make insulin work better in people with diabetes. But they can reduce levels of B12 by half. They also can deplete folic acid and CoQ10.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Used for menopausal symptoms, HRT may deplete vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, and magnesium—critical for not only heart health but also mood. Still moody on HRT? A supplement might make more sense than an antidepressant.
Nearly 50 percent of Americans regularly takes a prescription drug. And medication-related loss of nutrients is more common than many realize. Just to be safe, let’s look over your list of medications and make sure you’re not coming up short.
Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition

Sources:
1.     Nutrition Review: A Practical Guide to Avoiding Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion. Available at: http://nutritionreview.org/2013/04/practical-guide-avoiding-drug-induced-nutrient-depletion/ Accessed June 4, 2015.
2.     American Chiropractic Association: Pay Attention to Medications, Nutrition When Treating Elderly. Available at: https://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=1357 Accessed June 5, 2015.

3.     Chiro.org: Recognizing Drug Induced Nutrient Depletion in Chiropractic Practice. Available at http://www.chiro.org/nutrition/FULL/Recognizing_Drug_Induced_Nutrient_Depletion.shtml Accessed June 5, 2015. Av

Why Childhood Vaccines Are Essential

Have you decided not to vaccinate your child? Are you concerned about vaccine safety? Do you think diseases like measles and whooping cough are problems of the past? Please think again.
When you don’t vaccinate, it may affect both your child and the whole community. Here’s one example: As of May 29, 173 people in 21 states and Washington DC became sick with measles. The infection was traced back to Disneyland in California.More than 80 percent of these people had not had vaccines or had no proof of vaccination.2
Here’s another: In 2012, nearly 50,000 cases of whooping cough were reported. That’s the biggest number in more than 50 years.3
Herd immunity. Vaccines contain weak or dead versions of foreign substances. They make the immune system create antibodies to fight disease.4 This not only protects your child. It also provides “herd immunity.” It protects other children and adults from serious infections—especially those too young or too sick to be vaccinated.1
In the last 20 years, vaccines:
·       Saved more than 732,000 American lives.
·       Prevented 322 million illnesses.
·       Prevented 21 million hospital visits.
·       Saved $295 billion.3
Most U.S. kids are up to date with their vaccines. These are for diseases such as polio, measles, mumps, whooping cough, and chickenpox. But coverage varies from state to state. In 2013, for example, fewer than 90 percent of 1.5- to 3-year-olds in 17 states had received their first dose of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. And nationally, the numbers being vaccinated may also be dipping slightly.1
            Safety first. One reason for this is that parents worry about the safety of vaccines. For example, some believe that the MMR vaccine increases the risk of autism. But study after study has found no link between the two. In 2004, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded firmly that a vaccine preservative does notcause autism.3
Researchers have also shown that vaccine schedules are generally safe and effective.5 They work in 85 to 99 percent of cases if you vaccinate before your child becomes sick.3
It is true that vaccines can cause temporary side effects such as:
·       Redness and swelling at the injection site
·       Fever
·       Soreness where the shot was given3
But, the risk of serious problems for most people is extremely small. Let the doctor know, though, if your child has a serious reaction—or a history of one—or has a history of allergies to food or medication. You can discuss whether or not to go ahead with more shots.3,4
            Vaccine schedules. Do you have questions about your child’s vaccine schedule? Or do you need to get caught up? I can point you in the right direction. For example, you can get a copy of current vaccine schedules from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition

Got more questions? Ask Dr. Laura at laura-cudd@asburypharmacy.com



Sources:
1.     Health Day: Doctors Worry About Return of Vaccine-Preventable Ills in Kids. Available at:http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_153051.html. Accessed July 3, 2015.
2.     Health Day: Infectious-Disease Expert Debunks Common Vaccine Myths. Available at:http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_152498.html. Accessed July 3, 2015.
3.     Nemours Foundation: Frequently Asked Questions About Immunizations. Available at:http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/body/fact_myth_immunizations.html. Accessed July 3, 2015.
4.     FamilyDoctor.org: Childhood Vaccines: What They Are and Why Your Child Needs Them. Available at:http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/kids/vaccines/childhood-vaccines-what-they-are-and-why-your-child-needs-them.printerview.all.htmlAccessed July 3, 2015.
5.     Health Day: Another Study Finds No Vaccine-Autism Link. Available at:http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_152129.html. Accessed July 3, 2015.