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Six PTSD Myth Busters

Six PTSD Myth Busters

Six PTSD Myth Busters

Let’s talk about post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, as it’s better known. Like other mental health illnesses, PTSD has gained some myths since it was first discovered. We’re here to bust those myths wide open so you can understand the truth about PTSD. Check out our six PTSD myth busters.

PTSD Myth #1: PTSD only affects veterans.

Formerly referred to as “shell shock”, doctors initially associated PTSD with soldiers returning from war. However, the term changed when “post-traumatic stress disorder” first appeared in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association in 1980. This change reflected a new understanding of PTSD. As mental health studies progressed, experts recognized common symptoms of shell shock in civilian patients who had experienced other types of physical and psychological trauma in their lifetime. PTSD better represented the broader circle of patients suffering from the same disorder. 

PTSD Myth #2: PTSD develops immediately after trauma.

The truth is, PTSD can take weeks, months, or even years for symptoms to appear. Researchers have determined this is due to how the mind processes trauma and develops responses to fear. The typical time it takes for PTSD to manifest is three months but it’s not unusual for symptoms to appear years later. 

PTSD Myth #3: PTSD only affects certain types of trauma victims.

People often associate PTSD with war veterans and those who have experienced traumatic events like abuse, serious accidents, or have been witnesses or victims of crime. However, trauma of any kind, including trauma from an illness, can cause PTSD. People who have been traumatized by an illness or injury may have anxiety related to healthcare because they associate doctor’s visits and hospitals with their ailment. 

PTSD Myth #4: PTSD is not related to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Although the two conditions are not the same–Traumatic Brain Injury is an actual physical injury to the brain, commonly known as a concussion–they are, in some cases, related. Post-traumatic stress disorder can develop from TBI and symptoms of these conditions often overlap. When a possible TBI is involved in a PTSD case, diagnosis can prove difficult because evidence of physical trauma isn’t always apparent in diagnostic tests. 

PTSD Myth #5: PTSD affects everyone who experiences trauma.

Actually, PTSD affects a relatively small group of trauma victims. PTSD rates are higher in women and other factors can make certain people more vulnerable to mental disorders. Risk factors include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Low social support
  • Multiple traumatic events 
  • More negative life events than usual

PTSD Myth #5: PTSD is for the weak.

The responses and behaviors of PTSD are of no fault of the person experiencing it, nor is the development of PTSD. PTSD is the brain’s way of trying to protect the person from more trauma. Hence, why responses like flight or fight are common. However, nothing about PTSD indicates the person is somehow “weaker” than others.

PTSD Myth #6: Symptoms of PTSD are the same in everyone.

PTSD can manifest in a number of ways. Some people experience intrusive thoughts about their trauma. Others may actively avoid thoughts, people, and places that remind them of their experiences. Arousal symptoms, such as difficulty sleeping or concentrating and being easily startled, are also common. Negative thoughts and moods are also other symptoms. 

Are you concerned that you or someone you love is experiencing PTSD? Our behavioral health specialists can help. Contact Mantachie Rural Healthcare at 662-282-4226.

How does Testosterone Affect Your Health?

How Testosterone Affect Your Health

Testosterone is a hormone found in both males and females. The production of testosterone speeds up during puberty and slows down around age thirty. Most people understand that men have more testosterone than women, but have little understanding of how testosterone affects their health. We’re going to shed a little light on this important hormone and how testosterone affects your health.

How Testosterone is Produced in Men and Women

Testosterone develops in the testicles in men and in the ovaries in women. However, women produce a much smaller level of testosterone than men. This is why it’s often referred to as the male hormone. Testosterone is typically associated with sex drive and sperm production in men. It can also affect bone and muscle mass and red blood cell production. 

How Testosterone Affects Men’s Health

We just mentioned a few ways testosterone affects men’s health, such as red blood cell production and bone and muscle mass. It also affects the way fat is stored in a man’s body and his mood. Low testosterone levels in men may result in:

  • Weight gain
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Less body hair
  • Low self-esteem
  • Thinner bones
  • Less energy
  • Lower mood and feelings of depression
  • Lower energy levels

Although testosterone levels naturally taper off as men age, other factors can lower it more. Injury to the testicles as well as testicular cancer can result in lower testosterone. Chronic health conditions such as AIDS, liver disease, kidney disease, and alcoholism also decrease testosterone. Stress can also be a factor.

How Testosterone Affects Women’s Health

Like men, women see testosterone levels decrease as they age. Lower testosterone levels in women may result in low libido, reduced bone strength, poor concentration, and depression. Low testosterone in women can be caused by the removal of the ovaries and diseases of the pituitary, hypothalamus, and adrenal glands. Therapy is available, but its effects on sexual and cognitive function is unclear in post-menopausal women. 

Testosterone Facts

Testosterone in men is often a sign of a problem with the pituitary gland. However, in teenage boys, low testosterone is a sign of delayed puberty. On the other hand, boys with high testosterone levels will develop puberty early. Women with high testosterone may develop masculine features. Abnormally high levels of testosterone could be a sign of an adrenal gland problem or cancer of the testes. 

The takeaway: Your testosterone levels are a tell-tale sign of your health. If you are experiencing testosterone-related issues, it’s time for a visit with your primary care provider. Schedule a visit with your Mantachie Rural Healthcare provider at 662-282-4226.

Diabetes Mythbuster: Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Cured?

Diabetes Mythbuster: Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Cured?

Can type 2 diabetes be cured? Type 2 diabetes is a common illness, but it’s also commonly misunderstood. One of the most popular myths about diabetes is that type 2 diabetes can be cured. Is this a myth or fact? Let’s find out.

Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Cured?

The short answer is no, doctors have yet to discover a cure for type 2 diabetes. You can, however, manage type 2 diabetes, and many patients lead a relatively normal life with the right diet, exercise plan, and medicinal treatment. 

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is an impairment in the way the body produces sugar for energy. It is a metabolic disorder that leads to high levels of sugar in the bloodstream. If left uncontrolled, type 2 diabetes can lead to problems in the nervous, circulatory, and immune systems. 

People can have type 2 diabetes for years before a diagnosis, because symptoms such as fatigue, unexplained weight loss, increased urination, and increased thirst and hunger may not be apparent at first. This is why yearly checkups with your healthcare provider are essential. Your provider performs screenings at these important visits that help them detect signs of diabetes. An earlier diagnosis and treatment lead to better outcomes.

How Can I Have a Healthy Life with Diabetes?

In a ray of positive news, most patients who follow their treatment plan and lifestyle guidelines manage type 2 diabetes without many problems. This includes eating a diabetes-friendly diet and getting at least 20-30 minutes of physical activity or exercise a day, as well as taking medication as prescribed and checking sugar levels regularly. 

Some patients falsely believe that they have cured their type 2 diabetes when their treatment plan works, and their sugar levels return to normal for a while. They may even stop their medication and visits with their diabetes care provider. This is dangerous to anyone with type 2 diabetes because, again, there is no cure, even when your treatment plan is working well. Deviating from your treatment plan will lead to higher sugar levels and a return of symptoms. 

Is it time for a yearly visit with your healthcare provider? Schedule a checkup with your Mantachie Rural Healthcare provider today here.

How Men Are Affected by Type 2 Diabetes

How Men Are Affected by Type 2 Diabetes

Alright, men, the focus is on you this month! Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common health conditions among men in the United States. In fact, type 2 diabetes is slightly more prevalent in men than women. The CDC reported in 2020 that 15.5% of men in the US have type 2 diabetes compared to 13.2% of women. Many of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes are similar in men and women, but a few symptoms affect only men. Have a look at how men are affected by type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes in Men

In addition to the common symptoms and complications caused by type 2 diabetes, such as neuropathy and vision problems, type 2 can also cause problems for men’s sexual and urological health. These problems include low testosterone, erectile dysfunction, an overactive bladder, or urinary tract infections. 

These issues are more common in men for a few reasons. Diabetes doubles the risk of low testosterone, which can lead to erectile dysfunction. Diabetes also damages the nerves that control the bladder leading to an overactive bladder and UTIs. Urine retention can also occur in men and lead to kidney problems as well as urological issues. Additionally, men with diabetes are at an increased risk for urologic, prostate, and kidney cancers. 

What Men Can Do to Lower Their Risk of Diabetes Complications

Although there is no cure for diabetes, including type 2 diabetes, it can be well-controlled in most patients. Men can reduce their chances of developing complications from diabetes by:

  • Following the treatment plan prescribed by their diabetes care provider
  • Eating a diabetes-friendly diet
  • Getting daily exercise
  • Quitting or avoiding smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Visiting their provider for regular checkups even when they feel fine

Guys, now is a great time to schedule a yearly health checkup with your Mantachie Rural Healthcare provider. If you have type 2 diabetes, we can also help you manage your treatment. For an appointment or more information, call 662-282-4226

Women’s Health Through All the Stages of Life

We often think about women’s health in terms of reproductive health and mammograms, but women’s health encompasses so much more. Your health journey begins as a teen and extends through your senior years. Think about the impact we can make on our daughters and granddaughters if we teach them to care for their health before they are responsible for the health of other people like children, parents, and spouses.

Women often prioritize caring for the health of others over themselves. During Women’s Health Month it’s time to focus on your wellbeing. Afterall, if your health fails you won’t be able to care for the ones you love as you wish.

A woman’s body and health concerns change with every stage of life. So, where do you start with maintaining a healthy lifestyle? You begin way back in the teen years, but don’t worry if you’re long past that stage in life. Starting now is always the best time to start.

The Office on Women’s Health provides a handy checklist for various stages of women’s health from ages 18-100. We’re including a shortened version of that list here.

Ages 13-18

Healthy lifestyles start early. By taking your teen for a women’s health visit early, you’re teaching her to care for her body. You’re also providing her with access to a trusted medical provider to whom she can ask all those questions she may be too embarrassed to ask you. At this age, your daughter’s visit will mimic a wellness visit. You can expect the doctor or nurse practitioner to check:

  • Blood pressure
  • A1C for Type1 Diabetes
  • Body Mass Index

They will likely also screen for

  • Depression
  • Alcohol use
  • Tobacco use

These visits are the perfect time to take care of immunizations such as flu and meningococcal. For sexually active teens, providers can discuss birth control and test for STDs.

Ages 19-39

Women of childbearing age add a few screenings and tests to their usual well-women checkups. If you fall into this category, be prepared for these screenings:

  • PAP test every 3 years from age 21-30 and every 5 years after age 30
  • Chlamydia and gonorrhea for women who are sexually active
  • Syphilis if you’re at increased risk
  • Clinical breast exam starting at age 21
  • HIV screening with follow up as needed

Sounds like a lot, but your doctor or nurse practitioner can cover all these screenings in one short exam. Plus insurance generally covers your yearly women’s health exam which makes checking off your health exam an easy fix.

Ages 40-49

It’s time to schedule your yearly mammogram! Once you hit age 40, you’ll add this screening to your yearly appointment. Luckily, the list of additional screenings isn’t very long after 40. Your doctor will continue to monitor your blood pressure and blood glucose if you’re at risk for high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes.

Ages 50-64

Although it doesn’t sound like a “women’s health” issue, you’ll add a colorectal screening to your list at age 50. Most women only have a colonoscopy every 10 years so it’s not a routine part of your yearly wellness check. You’re also eligible for the Shingles vaccine at age 50. If you do not have a cervix at this age, you will no longer need a PAP test. Your doctor will likely recommend a lung cancer screening if you smoke. And you’ll want to talk to your doctor about a bone mineral density test.

Ages 65+

Depending on your risk factors your doctor may check your blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol every two years, every year, or more regularly. You may also be able to stop PAP tests for cancer now. 

Talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner about whether or not you still need these tests after age 75:

  • Colorectal screening tests
  • Mammogram

All these tests and screenings help you and your doctor stay ahead of any problems that may crop up in your health, but your health depends on your daily activities to stay strong. Regardless of your age it’s important to talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner or licensed therapist about any mental health struggles you have. Depression, anxiety, and addiction don’t strike based on your age. It’s important to learn how to manage stress in healthy ways through every stage of your life.

Other important factors for women’s health include:

  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Exercising 2-3 times per week
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

Mantachie Rural Health Care offers nurse practitioners and licensed therapists to help with all your healthcare needs. Contact our office at (662) 282-4226 for an appointment.

Healthy Ways to Lose Weight and Reduce BMI

Losing weight sounds easier than it really is. Diet plans often include expensive supplements. Nutrition labels contain confusing information. Daily schedules prevent us from cooking healthy meals. Yet our doctor (and our scales) keep reminding us how important it is to maintain a healthy weight. In today’s blog, we’re breaking down weight loss truths to help you stay healthy.

Truth: It’s not about your weight

Instead of focusing on the number on the scales take a look at your Body Mass Index. Your BMI offers a rough look at how much fat mass you’re likely to have. You can find an online calculator, but it’s best to let your doctor work out that number for you. Left to our own devices, most of us will knock a few pounds off our weight or add an inch or two to our height which can skew results. If you’re super athletic you’re likely to have a higher BMI due to muscle weight. At a glance, it might make you think you need to lose weight when you really don’t. Your doctor can help you figure out what your BMI means to you.

Truth: Your BMI determines your health risks

A BMI of 30+ indicates obesity which increases your risks of getting sick and dying from a whole host of chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep apnea, and high cholesterol. Lowering your BMI improves your overall health and can lead to a longer life with higher quality.

Truth: Small starts count

Maybe you’re not ready to change your entire lifestyle and lose a hundred pounds. We understand that. Big changes are scary and uncomfortable. So let’s start small. Instead of aiming at a big weight loss goal, perhaps your goal is not to gain any more weight. Or maybe you want to start by losing 5% of your body weight. A small percentage of weight loss can add up to big benefits in the health department. It’s not about wearing certain size clothes but choosing a healthier lifestyle.

Truth: Recording your meals works

Whether you prefer pen and paper or an online app, studies show when we record our meals we lose more weight. Why? Because most of us don’t really know how much we eat. For one week write down everything you eat. You’ll likely be surprised by when and how much you eat. You’re not alone. Once you know where and when you’re consuming empty calories you can create a plan to reduce those triggers. 

Truth: Exercise + Healthy Eating = Weight Loss

Let’s define exercise here. You don’t have to spend an hour on a spin bike every other day or run a 5K three times a week. Start small. Create a schedule. Make it easy. Choose an activity you enjoy and commit to doing that activity 2-3 times a week. Maybe it’s taking a 20-minute walk after dinner on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Track your movement. If you’re moving more this week than you moved last week, you’re headed in the right direction.

Truth: Nutrition and meal planning matters

Not all foods are created equal. Some foods contain more nutrients than others. We reduce our calorie intake when we swap out empty calories for foods with a higher nutritional value. We also stay full longer. At the beginning of this article, we mentioned the confusing information on nutritional labels. We have a secret weapon for figuring out how to create a nutrient-rich eating plan. Her name is Erica Witcher. She’s a registered dietitian who works with our patients to create meal plans that support their goals.

If your BMI is keeping you from living a healthy lifestyle and you’re adding more medication to manage more chronic illnesses, we can help. Call our clinic at (662) 282-4226 to make an appointment with Erica or ask for a consultation with her during your next appointment at our clinic.

Connections Between Mental Illness and Substance Abuse in Women

When we talk about women’s health, we often think about PAP tests and mammograms. While these provide important preventive health measures for women, women’s health concerns go further. Mental health concerns make up an important but little-discussed aspect of women’s health.

Statistics show that 1 in 5 women has a mental health diagnosis, and women are twice as likely to experience depression as men. In addition, almost 3% of all women in the United States have both a substance use disorder and a mental illness.

Common Mental Illnesses Among Women

Women struggle with specific mental illnesses in greater numbers than men. Although women do experience other mental illnesses below are the ones most commonly diagnosed in women at greater rates than men.

Depression — twice as many women experience depression compared to men

Anxiety — women are twice as likely to experience anxiety compared to men

Trauma — 20% of women will experience a rape or attempted rape at some point in their lifetime

Eating Disorders — the majority of individuals who struggle with anorexia and bulimia are women

Suicide — women are likely to attempt suicide although men are likely to die by suicide

Mental illnesses don’t happen in a vacuum. They affect a woman’s family, work, and friend groups. 

Most Commonly Abused Substances Among Women

Substance abuse in women is often connected to mental illness and trauma. In addition, women, especially mothers or pregnant women, face the stigma of seeking help for both their addiction and mental health illnesses and barriers related to childcare while they seek treatment. Women tend to lean toward specific substances more than others.

Alcohol — the most commonly used substance among women. In fact, an entire culture has evolved around the “wine mom” who drinks to unwind every night. Research shows alcohol use disorder among women is on the rise.

Prescription drugswomen are more likely to misuse prescription opioids to treat pain and to self-treat other problems like anxiety or tension.

Sedatives and antidepressants — women are more likely than men to die from an overdose of sleep aids or anxiety medications. These drugs also send more women to the ER than men.

Seeking Help

Unaddressed substance abuse and mental health illnesses affect a woman’s physical health. At Mantachie Rural Health Care, we offer both primary care and mental health treatment. Our providers can help you find the right treatment options and work with you to break down barriers to getting that treatment. No judgment here. We’re working hard to remove the stigma of seeking help for both substance abuse disorders and mental health illnesses. That starts with treating the whole patient.

Call our clinic at (662) 282-4226 to request your appointment. Start with one of our nurse practitioners or with our mental health nurse practitioner. Your whole health matters.

Bruce Willis and Aphasia: Explanation, Diagnosis, and Treatments

Last month Bruce Willis’ family announced his decision to step away from his acting career due to aphasia. Most of us have never heard of the disorder until Willis’ announcement, but we have likely encountered someone who has struggled with aphasia since 1 in 250 people will be diagnosed with it. 

Aphasia affects a person’s ability to speak, understand language, read, and write. The disorder varies in severity and treatment plans are customized to the patient.

A Disorder Not a Disease

Aphasia most often occurs after a stroke but can also be caused by a traumatic brain injury or Alzheimer’s. It’s a symptom or result of another disorder. Patients with aphasia struggle to process language whether spoken or written because the disorder results from damage to the parts of the brain that process language.

In Bruce Willis’ case, actors and filmmakers report requests to shorten his scripts in his last few movies. Willis also struggled to remember lines and at times to know why he was on the set. Willis’ family has not released the cause of his aphasia. 

Types of Aphasia

Doctors separate the disorder into three types.

Receptive aphasia happens when a person experiences damage to the temporal lobe. They retain their ability to speak, but their sentences don’t make sense. They also struggle with comprehension. 

Expressive aphasia occurs after damage to the frontal lobe of the brain. Patients with this type of aphasia struggle to communicate but still understand what’s being said or written. 

Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) often happens more gradually than the other two types and is caused by degeneration of the brain. This is not the same as dementia. The first symptom of PPA is not being able to find the right word in a conversation. Eventually, the patient begins to struggle with memory and cognitive skills.

Whether or not the aphasia gets worse depends on the type of aphasia. Patients with PPA will see a worsening of symptoms, but aphasia caused by stroke or TBI does not generally get worse.

Treatment Options

Aphasia treatments depend on the type and cause of the aphasia. First, doctors determine the cause of the aphasia, then patients are referred to a speech therapist. These therapists work with patients to create an individualized treatment plan based on the type and severity of aphasia. Some patients will find that their communication improves over time and they may return to activities they previously enjoyed. 

If you or a loved one is experiencing communications problems, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. If the signs of a stroke are present, go to the emergency room or call 9-1-1. For non-emergency concerns about declining communication functions, call our clinic at (662) 282-4226 to request an appointment.

Ozempic® can help you get back in your
type 2 diabetes zone

Ozempic is not prescribed for weight loss, it is intended for Type 2 Diabetes.

If you’re not reaching your blood sugar goals, once-weekly, non-insulin Ozempic®may help.

Ozempic® is for adults with type 2 diabetes used along with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar and lower A1C. It also lowers the risk of major cardiovascular (CV) events such as heart attack, stroke, or death in adults also with known heart disease.

Ozempic is not prescribed for weight loss, it is intended for Type 2 Diabetes. When used correctly along with exercise and a healthy diet, it has been proven to lower A1C levels.

If you or a family member are interested in losing weight, Mantachie Rural Health Care, Inc. offers one
on one appointments with our registered dietitian Erica Witcher, RD, CDE. (662-282-4226)

How Stress Affects Diabetes

How Stress Affects Diabetes

No one is immune to stress, and constant stress wreaks havoc on anyone’s body. But chronic conditions like diabetes put some people at a higher risk of experiencing complications caused by stress. Take a look at how stress affects diabetes. 

How the Body’s Natural Response to Stress Affects Diabetes

Anything can bring stress in your life, from financial problems to traumatic events. Even a diagnosis of a chronic illness, like type 2 diabetes, can add stress. Symptoms of stress include nervousness, a rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, upset stomach, and depression. 

When your body experiences stress it goes into a fight-or-flight response. This natural response elevates hormone levels and causes nerve cells to fire. In turn, the body releases adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream causing respiratory rates to increase. Because you have diabetes, your body might not be able to process the glucose released by firing nerve cells. If your body can’t convert glucose into energy, your blood glucose levels will rise. 

Other Ways Stress Affects Diabetes

In addition to your body’s natural response, stress can affect diabetes in other ways. Stress can disrupt your daily routine including healthy habits like exercise and eating a healthy diet. When we are stressed, we often find ourselves prone to eating more junk food and getting less exercise. These changes affect your diabetes almost immediately. High blood glucose levels can cause you to feel down while low glucose levels can leave you feeling nervous.

How You Can Reduce Stress 

Stress is a natural part of life–you can’t always avoid it, but you can take steps to reduce how stress affects you. One of the first steps you can take is to be intentional about keeping up your daily routine. Don’t give in to temptations to eat your feelings with junk food or to lay around all day. Make yourself eat healthy even when you don’t want to and don’t skip the gym. 

The same goes for your medication. Don’t skip a dose, no matter what. Since stress can make us a bit forgetful it’s probably a good idea to set a reminder on your phone to take your medicine and check your glucose levels. Keeping up your health routines will not only help your blood glucose levels stay in check but can also reduce your body’s response to stress. 

Another way to reduce your stress is to talk with someone about how you are feeling. You’ll find talking it out to be surprisingly therapeutic and sharing your burdens often makes them feel less heavy. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a friend or relative, consider scheduling a counseling session with a mental health professional. 

Mantachie Rural Health Care offers medical and mental health care for diabetes patients, as well as dietary treatment. If you are experiencing additional stress in your life that is increasing anxiety, depression, and even your blood glucose levels, you may benefit from a counseling session with one of our mental health professionals. To schedule a visit, click here. (link to contact page)


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