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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)

Signs You May Have a Drinking Problem

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), in 2019, more than 25 percent of adults aged 18 and older admitted to binge drinking in the last month before being surveyed. That’s a frightening statistic, and what’s equally alarming is the 6.3 percent of adults over 18 who admitted to heavy alcohol use in the past month. Today, we’re looking at signs you may have a drinking problem.

What is “alcohol culture”?

Although these numbers are high, they’re not exactly surprising. Today, “alcohol culture” is a buzz term that most adults don’t take seriously. Alcohol culture refers to the set of traditions and social behaviors that surround the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol use is more accepted now than ever before. 

Social drinking–casual drinking in a social setting without the intention of getting drunk–has contributed to the rise of alcohol culture in America. With contributing factors like happy hours at popular bars, many people are socially drinking every day. This daily use of alcohol can quickly spiral out of control and soon a social drink turns into stopping by the liquor or beer store after work for drinks to take home. Next thing you know, you’re skipping happy hour altogether to go home and drink alone, or your happy hour turns into a full night at the bar with the bartender taking your last drink away so you’ll go home. 

Signs You May Have a Drinking Problem

The following questions are used by medical providers to determine if you have alcohol use disorder. You could have a problem even if you only identify with one or two symptoms. Alcohol use disorder ranges from mild (two to three drinks per day) to severe (more than six drinks daily). Dysphoria, malaise, and feeling low are all possible symptoms of alcohol use disorder. In addition to these symptoms, you may have alcohol use disorder if you say yes to one or more of these questions. Have you:

  • Experienced times when you drank more or longer than you intended?
  • Tried to cut down on drinking more than once but were unsuccessful?
  • Spent a lot of time being sick or hungover from drinking?
  • Wanted a drink so badly that you couldn’t think of anything else?
  • Found that drinking often interferes with your home or family life, or even work or school obligations?
  • Continued drinking even though it is affecting your mental and/or physical health?
  • Experienced withdrawal symptoms after the alcohol have worn off, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, nausea, a racing heart, or hallucinations? 

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to talk with your healthcare provider about getting help. You should know that people who have been drinking alcohol heavily for a long period of time are at risk of experiencing severe and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. This is why you should seek medical help to aid in a safe recovery. Your provider can prescribe medication that will ease severe withdrawal symptoms, and they can monitor your recovery. 

The takeaway: Alcohol culture encourages people to drink. But if you have trouble staying within the limits of social drinking or can’t say no to a drink, you could be at risk for alcohol use disorder. Mantachie Rural Health Care has professionals that can help you recover from alcohol use disorder. Contact us for help today at 662-282-4226 or visit www.mantachieclinic.org/contact-us.

Why Your Child’s Pediatrician is the First Step in Getting an Autism Diagnosis

Why Your Child's Pediatrician is the First Step in Getting an Autism Diagnosis

The idea of an autism diagnosis for your child frightens many parents. However, that diagnosis provides the first step in your child’s journey to grow and learn to function in a world full of neurotypical people. Receiving a diagnosis and information on the next steps can actually relieve a parent’s anxiety over autism. Your child’s pediatrician is the first step in getting an autism diagnosis.

Why Your Child’s Pediatrician is the First Step in Getting an Autism Diagnosis

Today, we have more information about autism than ever before. Children can receive a diagnosis at a very young age–between 18 and 24 months. But, where do you begin seeking answers if you suspect your child could have autism? The first step is visiting your child’s pediatrician. Pediatricians can perform an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) screening. A screening is not a diagnosis. It’s simply a way for medical providers to determine if a child shows certain signs of autism and should be examined further by an autism specialist. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for autism between the ages of 18 months and 24 months, regardless if they show signs of ASD. The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers Revised with Follow-up or M-CHAT-RF is a 23-point questionnaire filled out by the parents. It is the most common screening tool used by pediatricians. Most families find the questionnaire relatively easy. 

If your child’s pediatrician determines they need further testing, they will refer you to a specialist near your area. They may refer you to a developmental pediatrician, a pediatric specialist in ASD, or they may refer you to a mental health professional who also specializes in autism spectrum disorder. Both specialists are highly experienced in diagnosing and treating autism spectrum disorder. 

If your child is a patient of Mantachie Rural Health Care, we can help you take the first steps in getting a diagnosis. Call 662-282-4226 or click here to schedule their visit today. 

How Rural Healthcare Clinics are Combatting Social Disparities

How Rural Healthcare Clinics are Combatting Social Disparities

Around forty percent of people living in the United States identify as a minority. Unfortunately, minorities still experience disadvantages when it comes to healthcare. Most of the 11.4 percent of Americans who reported living in poverty in the 2020 Census were minorities. People living in poverty have poor access to healthcare as well as healthy foods and places to exercise or perform physical activity. Rural healthcare clinics are combatting social disparities in a number of ways. 

Rural Healthcare Clinics Make Visits Affordable Even for Patients Without Insurance

Clinics like Mantachie Rural Health Care offer a sliding scale fee based on income to encourage patients who are struggling economically to come in for a visit. This allows patients who do not have insurance to still be able to afford a visit with their medical provider. 

Rural Healthcare Clinics Combatting Social Disparities Help Patients Get to Their Appointment

Many minorities and others with low incomes often don’t have reliable transportation to get them to and from appointments. That’s where groups like North Mississippi Community Services, Inc partner with Mantachie Rural Health Care to give affordable rides to patients who cannot drive or do not have a reliable vehicle. 

Rural Healthcare Clinics Give Patients More Access to Healthcare

Rural healthcare clinics typically offer a variety of health services that are not limited to general primary care. In addition to our general care providers, we have a dietitian and mental health providers to provide nutrition care and mental healthcare. We also have staff that specializes in diabetes to provide diabetic care to patients who can’t get to an endocrinologist. Additionally, we have a dental clinic located near our medical clinic and a school-based clinic to give access to students and school staff members. We even have a program to assist patients with the cost of their prescriptions.

Rural Healthcare Clinics Provide Resources

We’re more than healthcare providers, we are an information hub and resource center. We can provide patients with information on Medicare, Medicaid, and other patient assistance programs. We can also help them complete the necessary paperwork. Our Community Educator provides much-need healthcare education to patients. Our dietitian also offers a program to help patients lose excess weight and learn to eat healthily.

We still have a ways to go before social disparities are no longer a barrier to better health. But, rural healthcare clinics are taking big steps to combat social disparities in our communities. If you live in the Mantachie area and have been avoiding a medical visit due to financial or transportation issues, we can help. Call 662-282-4226 or click here to request an appointment. Let our receptionist know if you need a ride so we can help you make arrangements. 

Covid-19 and the Opioid Crisis

For the last two years, it seems like all we hear about in medical news is covid, covid, covid. Rightfully so. The pandemic has changed everything, and it’s shown no signs of going away, although we are in a slowdown for now. Today, we’re taking a look at covid-19 and the opioid crisis.

With the covid-19 pandemic being a worldwide crisis, other medical epidemics have taken a backseat in the public interest. But covid-19 hasn’t made other health crises go away, it’s simply overshadowed it. The opioid crisis is one crisis that has not only continued but increased significantly since the pandemic started. 

How Covid-19 has Fueled the Opioid Epidemic

The year 2019 saw 70,630 opioid overdose deaths in the United States. As if that number isn’t frightening enough, the number of opioid overdose deaths after the pandemic hit US shores will send chills down your spine. An estimated 104,288 people died from opioid overdose by September 2021. That’s more than a 25 percent increase in just over a year and a half. Mississippi was predicted to suffer around 682 opioid deaths in 2021.

So what’s the reason behind the worsening opioid crisis? Unfortunately, we can’t point to just one cause for the crisis, which is considered an epidemic. Lost jobs and livelihood along with restricted access to mental healthcare during the pandemic are major factors for many people turning to opioids to cope. As depression and anxiety caused by the pandemic continue to increase, many patients are choosing to self-medicate instead of seeking professional help.

The battle between law enforcement agencies and drug cartels has also been impacted. The pandemic gave an unexpected edge to transnational criminal organizations, also known as cartels. These organizations have adapted to the pandemic faster than law enforcement agencies making access to illegal drugs easier.

What We Can Do to Fight the Opioid Crisis

The first step is to accept that addiction is a disease. The good news is, classifying addiction as a disease gives medical experts the ability to study the disease and develop a successful treatment. However, providers have experienced significant challenges in treating addiction patients in the midst of a pandemic.

Due to a high risk of covid-19 transmission between patients at in-patient facilities, providers have turned to outpatient treatment to help addicts. Telehealth and other resources are being used to keep in line with social distancing guidelines. But some patients are so severe that in-patient treatment is necessary. Unfortunately, labor shortages have also lowered the availability of in-patient services. 

Despite these challenges, addiction patients still have hope. Outpatient treatment can work if patients follow the treatment plan and advice given by their provider. Addiction treatment specialists are working harder than ever to help patients achieve sobriety. 

Mantachie Rural Health Care offers mental health and addiction services through our mental health specialists. If you or someone you know is battling addiction, reach out to us now to make an appointment. Request a visit at www.mantachieclinic.org/contact-us/ or call 662-282-4226. 

Childhood Nutrition Needs at Every Stage

According to healthychildren.org, one in three children in the United States are obese. In addition to a preference for screen time over physical activity, children’s diets are playing a major role in childhood obesity. Today, we’re taking a look at childhood nutrition needs at every stage. 

Filling your child’s tummy and preventing hunger isn’t the goal for your child’s diet. Their diet should also provide proper nutrition and healthy ingredients to help your child reach their milestones.

Infants and Toddlers

Got milk? Breastmilk or formula provides just about every nutrient an infant needs during their first year of life. However, breastmilk may not provide enough iron and zinc in infants ages six to nine months. At six months, infants are ready to start adding solid foods to their diet. Fortified cereals and meat can provide the iron and zine infants are missing from breastmilk. 

A key thing to know about toddlers and eating is that their appetites come and go in spurts, just as toddlers are growing in spurts at this age. It’s completely normal for a toddler to want to eat everything in sight one day and to eat like a bird the next day. It’s important to make each meal and snack count nutritionally at this stage. Two nutrients to provide are calcium and fiber. 

Preschool and Lower Elementary 

Calcium and fiber are two key nutrients your child needs at the preschool stage. At this age, kids become more defiant about what they will and won’t eat. They turn to foods like chicken nuggets and mac n cheese as their favorites while fruits and vegetables become less preferred. Despite this, feeding your preschoolers enough fruits and vegetables is vital to their health and developmental growth. Add a serving of fruits or veggies to each of your child’s meals and choose at least one healthy snack a day. Go for easy to eat, colorful veggies like carrots and fibrous, nutrient-dense fruits like apples and berries. 

Your healthy eating efforts with your children may stall when they become elementary school students. Cakes, candy and other less nutritious options are often available with school lunches and you won’t be there to swap their chocolate cake with a serving of mixed berries. One way to combat the school lunch is to pack your child’s lunch from home. This way, you still have control over what they are eating and can ensure they are getting a nutritious, healthy, well-rounded meal. If its necessary for your child to eat school lunches, be sure they are getting the nutrients they need in the meals you serve at home. 

As children interact with others, they’ll develop their own ideas of what a healthy diet looks like. Some of these ideas may last a day, others may last a lifetime. For instance, your child may go through a vegetarian phase when they learn the sad side of how we get meat. Protein is a key nutrient at all stages of life, and you may have concerns that a vegetarian diet won’t give your child everything they need. However, foods like lentils and peanut butter are full of protein! If your child wants to try a new diet, learn everything you can about it so you can help your child make good choices about their food. 

Preteens and Teens

Ah, the puberty stages. Also known as the stages every parent secretly fears. Our children’s bodies undergo major changes, and they need more calories during puberty to keep up. However, many preteens and teens, particularly girls, will start worrying about their weight and take steps to restrict their caloric intake. Boys often have the opposite thoughts and want to take in more calories to gain weight. Unfortunately, both boys and girls make unhealthy eating choices at these stages. 

One way to encourage your teens and preteens to eat healthily is to teach them facts about diets such as why their caloric intake is so important and how they can get those calories in a healthy way. Your teens and preteens may be tempted to fill up empty stomachs with junk food but you can discourage this by limiting the amount of junk food in your kitchen and increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables and other healthier options like nuts.

Caloric intake isn’t the only important thing to consider with your preteen or teen’s diet. Other nutrients like calcium become even more vital at this stage because their bodies and bones are growing so quickly. Replacing certain nutrients also depends on your child’s gender. Girls, for instance, will need to replace the iron they lose during menstrual cycles to avoid becoming anemic. Boys need a bit more protein than girls to help them stay at a healthy weight and increase muscle mass. Keep these things in mind as you teach your kids about healthy eating. 

Are you concerned about your child’s diet? If they are struggling to meet physical milestones and always seem to be a bit underweight, it’s time to get help from a nutrition specialist. Our dietitian, Erica Witcher, RDN, CDCES can assess your child and help you develop a plan to get them on the right nutritional track. Click here to request an appointment.


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