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Suicide Prevention and Opioid Recovery

Suicide Prevention and Opioid Recovery

Statistics paint a bleak picture when it comes to suicide and addiction. A Psychology Today article cites drug and alcohol abuse as the second most common risk factor for suicide. One in three people who take their own life are under the influence of drugs. Poisoning composes the third-leading method of suicide and three-fourths of those deaths by poisoning use drugs. The article points to drug or alcohol abuse as the leading indicator of suicide risk over depression or mental illness. For true suicide prevention, we must support opioid and addiction recovery.

Links between suicide attempts and addiction include depression resulting from an inability to fight an addiction, the loss of relationships due to addiction and the use of drugs and alcohol to mask mental illness. Persons who abuse drugs may also have lowered inhibitions and show a readiness to take more risks. 

Addiction Recovery Key to Suicide Prevention

Treatment for opioid addiction addresses not only the known addiction but also the mental illnesses and mental trauma triggering the addiction or depression caused by the addiction. Opioid and addiction recovery are key to suicide prevention, but it’s important for addicts and family members to expect a holistic approach to drug treatment. Managing both underlying mental illnesses and addiction improves an addicts chances at recovery and reduces the risk for suicide. 

When an addict seeks treatment, family, friends and their medical team should ask the hard questions “have you considered or attempted suicide or are you considering suicide?”. Asking the hard question does not give your loved one ideas about suicide, but rather opens a conversation about an otherwise stigmatized subject. 

Signs to Know

Not every person considering suicide shows signs of depression. Often family and friends piece together signs of a loved one’s suicide plan after the fact. Because of the increased risk of suicide related to drug addiction, it’s imperative for the addict to seek treatment and for friends and family to ask the hard questions. 

Signs a person is considering suicide include:

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Increasing drug or alcohol use
  • Talking about feeling trapped
  • Displaying increased anger or rage
  • Talking about not wanting to be a burden to others
  • Behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping less or more
  • Isolating themselves

If someone you know is talking about suicide, whether they have an addition or not:

  • Ask them if they plan to commit suicide.
  • Listen without judgement.
  • Remove objects that could be used for suicide
  • Stay with the person or leave them in the care of someone else while you get help.
  • Call the suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Call 9-1-1 if self-harm is imminent.

Parents, spouses, children and friends of addicts worry about overdoses and violence involving their loved one. Suicide adds another line to the worry. Treatment isn’t just about the addiction but about healing behavioral and mental health issues contributing to or caused by the addiction.

If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid or addiction recovery and suicide prevention, call our behavioral health clinic at 662-282-4359 for an appointment or in case of a medical emergency call 9-1-1.

The Surprising Signs of PCOS

suprising signs of PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine and metabolic disorder affecting 1 in 10 women of child-bearing age. PCOS is a common condition among women and girls who have reached puberty, however, at least 7 in 10 women with the disorder are undiagnosed. 

Because of its name, many assume ovarian cysts and irregular or missed periods characterize PCOS. These are indeed indicators of PCOS but other more unusual signs of the disorder may also be present. 

Before you continue reading about these symptoms, it’s important to know that no two PCOS cases are exactly the same. You may or may not share any of these symptoms with another PCOS patient. For instance, infertility is a symptom of PCOS, however many women are able to naturally conceive with no problems while others are able to conceive with fertility treatments. Some PCOS symptoms are a bit more common and while others aren’t as well known.

Unusual PCOS Signs

  • Weight gain or obesity that is difficult to manage.
  • Unwanted hair growth, known as hirsutism, on areas where men normally grow hair such as the face, arms, back, chest, thumbs, toes, and abdomen. Hirsutism is the result of hormonal changes in androgens.
  • Hair thinning or loss
  • Acne
  • Mood changes such as mood swings, depression, and anxiety.
  • Pelvic pain and heavy bleeding may occur during menstruation. Pain in the pelvic area can also occur when women are not bleeding. 
  • Headaches
  • Sleep problems. PCOS is one of several conditions linked to sleep apnea disorder.

PCOS is currently incurable but treatable, although many women never find complete relief from symptoms. Hormonal birth control is the most common treatment of PCOS. Other, non-FDA approved treatments include anti-androgen drugs and Metformin. Anti-androgen drugs block the effect of androgens which reduces body and facial hair growth, acne, and scalp hair loss. Metformin, a medicine commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes, may help restore ovulation and aid in lowering body mass and improving cholesterol levels in women with PCOS. However, these medicines also carry certain risks and still need more studies before they are approved by the FDA. 

If any of the mentioned symptoms sound a little too familiar, you may have PCOS. We can discuss your symptoms and give a diagnosis with a women’s health exam, one of the many services offered at Mantachie Rural Health Care. If you receive a positive PCOS diagnosis, we’ll talk about the best treatment options and walk with you each step of the way to getting control of your symptoms. Click here to request a women’s health appointment now. 

A New Blood Test to Diagnose Alzheimer’s is Being Studied with Promising Results

A New Blood Test to Diagnose Alzheimer's is Being Studied with Promising Results

Experts have long believed that earlier treatment of Alzheimer’s disease is the key to slowing or stopping the disease. Now, a new blood test for Alzheimer’s is being studied. It demonstrates promising results that could lead to early diagnosis and treatment. 

A study presented virtually at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2020 and in the JAMA medical journal revealed promising results for those fighting to cure dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The new blood test–which still likely won’t be available for several years–detects different types of tau protein, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. 

How the New Blood Test for Alzheimer’s Works

The new test works by focusing on the specific subtypes of tau protein. This key protein becomes abnormal as Alzheimer’s disease changes the brain. Initial results found Alzheimer’s patients exhibit more of a particular subtype, a modified tau protein called p-tau217, than healthy patients who participated in the study. 

Studies of the blood test have shown its results to be as accurate as a spinal tap or PET scan. The blood test can also distinguish Alzheimer’s disease from Parkinson’s disease and other types of dementia with 89% to 98% accuracy. What’s more, the test could differentiate between the different types of cognitive dementia and flag early signs of Alzheimer’s. 

Experts say earlier detection of dementia could lead to testing current treatments for these diseases at a much earlier stage. Earlier treatment could result in slowing or completely stopping the progression of dementia. 

Just how early can this new blood test detect Alzheimer’s? Possibly up to 20 years before the first symptoms occur by measuring p-tau217 levels. 

As you can read, exciting moves are being made in the quest to cure Alzheimer’s and dementia. Though we may still be several years away from seeing these new tests become available for patients, we’re confident the treatments for these terrible diseases are going to improve greatly and change the lives of patients and their families. Learn more about the new blood test study here.

The Benefits of an Annual Wellness Visit

The Benefits of an Annual Wellness Visit

Visiting your medical provider when you’re sick is an easy choice. Coming in when you’re feeling fine for an annual wellness visit, however, seems to be a more difficult decision. We get it. Life is hectic and visiting your provider when you’re not sick probably doesn’t cross one’s mind. But annual wellness exams are so essential to your health that most insurances cover the full cost of these visits. That list of insurance includes Medicare and Medicaid. A free visit with your provider is just one of several important reasons to schedule your annual wellness exam. If that’s not enough, here are a few more. 

Wellness exams help you fight illnesses and live longer. 

Important screenings that detect underlying health conditions and diseases help catch these illnesses early. Early detection increases your survivability and expands your lifespan. Your primary care provider will determine which screenings you need based on your personal and family health history, your age, and other factors like a problem detected during the physical exam portion of your appointment. Please note insurance companies do not cover all screenings. So be sure to ask before agreeing to extended testing. 

Wellness visits improve provider-patient relationships.

Ever visited a provider for the first time during acute illness and felt a little out of place or uncertain? Annual wellness visits are the opportunity to have open, honest, and candid conversations with your provider about your health and lifestyle before you’re sick. It’s as much of a chance for you to get to know your provider as it is for them to learn more about you and your health. When you visit the same provider for all of your medical needs, you establish a relationship. Good relationships between patients and providers are beneficial for the patient’s health. Providers are more likely to notice a concerning change in behavior or physical health when they see the patient on a routine basis. 

Wellness appointments help you take control of your health and healthcare.

Remember that candid conversation with your provider that we mentioned? That’s you taking control of your health. This is your chance to address concerns you have that may not be detected through a physical exam or review of your health history, like a mental health struggle. Wellness visits are an excellent time to start getting help with a problem like anxiety or depression. Primary care providers can refer you to a mental health professional for further diagnosis and can work with that professional to provide treatment. 

This is also your opportunity to discuss changes in your health like recurring headaches, increased heartburn, changes in your skin, and other symptoms that could be a cause for concern. You can then request additional testing and a referral to a specialist if needed.

Are you ready to take control of your healthcare and increase your life expectancy? Request your annual wellness appointment with one of our primary care providers here.

How Pets Improve Mental Health

How Pets Improve Mental Health

We all know someone or may even be that someone who seems to constantly be rescuing and nursing a stray pet back to health and happiness. Pet lovers and rescuers never seem to get enough of loving on their furry friends. As it happens, studies have shown there’s an actual reason we find pets so appealing–pets improve mental health and literally bring more joy to our lives. Here’s how.

Pets decrease stress, anxiety, and depression.

Pets of all sorts ease stress and cure loneliness. Simply watching fish dance around an aquarium or stroking a furry pet can instantly ease tension and anxiety. Your pet’s companionship itself helps you feel less lonely and they can also help you meet new people. Dog parks are great places to meet people that share at least one common interest (pups!) and pet lover groups of all different types of pets exist on social media and often meet together in person. If rescuing strays gives you an even bigger thrill, joining one of the many rescue groups in our regions is another great way to meet new friends. 

Pets that can be walked like dogs and even cats (we’ve seen it happen!) provide another avenue for easing depression and stress–daily walks! Just make sure you research the type of dog breed you are interested in before adopting. Most dog breeds enjoy a good walk every day but working breeds need much more exercise than a walk down the road. You’ll also want to consider your household when adopting a dog. You want a dog that is friendly with everyone in the family including children and other pets. The last thing you want is to return a pet because they didn’t get along with everyone else. 

Pets add routine and structure to your day.

Believe it or not, having some sort of routine or structure to your day helps keep depression and anxiety in check. But if you’re retired, disabled, or don’t work outside the home it’s especially easy to lose daily structure. Having a pet to care for returns structure to your day and cures boredom. 

Pets build self-confidence.

Few things make us feel better about ourselves than the joyful greeting our pets give us when we come home for the day. Training pets and volunteering with shelters or rescues are other ways we can increase our self-confidence.

Are you struggling with anxiety or depression? Getting a pet is a great way to start feeling better. A proper diagnosis and treatment is another way. Mantachie Rural Healthcare provides both primary care and behavioral healthcare for your convenience. Click here to request your appointment now.

Six Foods You Thought Were Healthy But Aren’t

Six Foods You Thought Were Healthy But Aren't

Eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise are two lifestyle choices we heavily promote here at Mantachie Rural Health Care. Learning to eat healthy is challenging–especially in today’s world that offers an overwhelming amount of food options. Many of today’s foods, particularly pre-packaged, store-bought foods, are promoted as “healthy” choices but are actually worse than those obviously unhealthy options like soda and candy. If you’re trying to cut out unnecessary sugar, carbs, or calories from your diet, you’ll want to avoid the following six foods you thought were healthy.

Orange juice and other fruit juices.

The problem with orange juice and other fruit juices is that most of them are made from concentrate–meaning all the “good stuff” in the fruits that make these juices are stripped away and replaced with processed sugar. In fact, juices have as much sugar in each serving as a can of soda. 

Think making your own orange juice will make it healthier? Think again. The juicing fruits of orange are naturally sweet and contain very little fiber resulting in a spike in your blood sugar. The healthiest option is to switch to fruit-infused water. You can easily make your own by adding any of your favorite fruits to a pitcher of water and then refrigerating the water for several hours or overnight to allow the fruits to infuse.

Baked potato

A plain baked potato is high in calories and carbs. Start adding butter, sour cream, and other toppings and you’re adding even more junk to the mix. Opt for a sweet potato instead. 

Store-bought smoothies

Turns out saving yourself time with store-bought smoothies doesn’t actually save your diet. Even the “green” smoothies are high in sugar and low in the actual good stuff that comes from fruits and veggies that supposedly make up these smoothies. Your best bet is to eat your daily servings of fruits and vegetables and make sure you include a serving of greens with each meal. If you must have a smoothie, make your own. Your veggie portions should outweigh your fruit 3:1 and we advise adding flaxseed, chia seeds, or nuts for fiber. 

Flavored yogurt

There’s a reason healthy diets specify plain Greek yogurt instead of suggesting any yogurt on the dairy shelf. None, and we mean none, of the flavored yogurts you find at the grocery store are actually healthy. Like so many other foods that are advertised as healthy when they’re not, flavored yogurts are high in sugar. Satisfy your taste for yogurt by topping a serving of plain Greek yogurt with your choice of fresh fruit. 

Whole wheat

A few decades ago, whole wheat bread was touted as a healthy alternative to white bread. Health experts quickly found out that wasn’t quite the case, however. Actually, whole wheat contains so much sugar it raises your glucose levels faster than most candy bars. 

Dried Fruits

Much like other foods on our list, dried fruits are made unhealthy thanks to too much sugar made from the drying process. Always choose fresh fruit when you’re craving a fruity snack. 

Confused about what’s really nutritious and what’s not? You’re not alone. Our clinic has a registered dietician on staff. Contact us to make an appointment Erica Witcher, RD, CDE.

How to Stay Safe at the Clinic during Non-Coronavirus Health Visits

How to Stay Safe at the Clinic during Non-Coronavirus Health Visit

As we write this, the entire state of Mississippi is experiencing an upswing in confirmed coronavirus diagnosis. It’s more important now than ever to practice CDC guidelines to stay safe and help slow the spread of COVID-19. Staying home and avoiding unnecessary trips to public places including health facilities are among the steps we should take to slow the spread of the virus. But when you become sick with a non-coronavirus related illness or need a prescription refilled, a health visit is unavoidable. Here’s what you can do to stay safe at the clinic.

Find out your clinic’s safety requirements before your visit. 

Most clinics are taking extreme precautions and measures to protect their patients and staff. Find out your clinic’s policies on masks and social distancing, as well as their cleaning and sanitizing protocols. Most clinics will have restrictions in place regarding how many people are allowed inside and how many visitors can accompany a patient even for a non-coronavirus health visit. Expect temperature checks and symptom screenings at every clinic entrance. 

Ask about their protocol for possible coronavirus patients.

Knowing what your clinic is doing to protect you and others from exposure to coronavirus is one way to ease any anxiety you have about your visit. Every clinic should have a protocol in place that keeps patients with coronavirus-related symptoms totally isolated.

Take your own protective measures.

Do your part to protect yourself and help slow the spread of coronavirus. Wear a mask to the clinic and other public places. Sanitize or wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after touching public surfaces. Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth and stay 6 feet away from others. 

Mantachie Rural Health Care is committed to protecting you and all of our patients and staff. If you are sick or have an urgent health matter, don’t put off visiting your provider because of coronavirus fears. A known illness or emergency can be more dangerous to your health than the possibility of a virus. We are taking every measure possible to keep our clinic safe. Request an appointment with us at 662-282-4226.

Read next: 4 Dangers to Skipping Your Child’s Wellness Check-up

Study Finds Childhood Picky Eating Is About More Than Food

Good news, parents! A study recently published by the Journal of American Academy of Pediatrics says children who are persistent picky eaters aren’t usually underweight, nor do they have higher BMIs than their peers. And, picky eating is likely a personality trait of your child, not something you caused.

Now that we’ve covered the positive news, let’s look at some unexpected findings. The study divided children into three camps of picky eaters: low, moderate, and high. Children who were moderately or highly selective eaters were more likely to have trouble controlling their emotions. Picky eating may not stand alone but may signal a behavioral health problem you need to discuss with your child’s doctor.

While you may not have caused your child’s pickiness, you can make some changes to help your child expand their palate.

Let go of the demands. Children whose parents restrict certain foods or demand they eat certain foods are more likely to be picky. Around the age of four, where this study began following participants, children are moving into independence. If high anxiety is common among picky eaters, as the study suggests, those children are more likely to avoid new foods and a parent’s insistence won’t help.

Make mealtime fun. Put down the screens. Tell a joke. Talk about your day. Ask your child questions. Make mealtime more about the social interaction of your family than about the food. You’ll relieve the pressure on yourself and your kids.

Set a good example. When your children see you eating new foods or healthy foods, they are more likely to want to try those foods themselves. Start your children on the same diet the rest of your family eats early, before they are two if possible. 

Involve your children in food selection and preparation. You don’t always have time to let your kids help in the kitchen, we get that. Make some time once or twice a week to let your children help select or cook the food you’ll eat. When they have a hand in the preparation, they are more likely to want to try what you’ve cooked.

If you’re concerned about your child’s nutrition or if their picky eating habits might be signs of behavioral health problems like anxiety, ADHD, or depression, we can help. Not only do we have health professionals like nurses and nurse practitioners on our staff, we also employ a registered dietitian and licensed counselors. 

You can read more about the study and its findings through these articles:

‘Picky Eating’ Can Start Early: What Parents Should and Shouldn’t Do About It

Study gives insight — and advice — on picky eating in children

Extreme Picky Eating and Anxiety: A New Study Finds a Surprising Link

For Many Kids, Picky Eating Isn’t Just a Phase, Study Finds

Your Right to Request a Referral to a Specialist

Our doctor and nurse practitioners are family care providers. That means they have experience and are highly educated in a wide range of medical conditions. Most of our patients find that experience and knowledge to be exactly what they need in a time of illness. For some patients with chronic illness or advanced illness, we need to refer them to a specialist. But your health isn’t just in our hands. You can (and should) take an active role in your health. If you think it’s time to see a specialist, ask us for a referral.

When to Ask for a Referral

Some illnesses are easy to diagnose on the first visit. A very sore throat with a fever can be diagnosed and treated as strep throat with a quick test. Other illnesses aren’t that clear. Many diseases and chronic illnesses have similar symptoms. Our providers listen to your symptoms, ask questions, and order tests in an effort to single out the cause of your illness. That means some problems may take more than one visit to get a diagnosis. 

If you’ve visited with your provider more than three times for the same issue and still don’t feel like you’re getting any closer to finding answers, it’s time to talk to your doctor about a specialist referral. Your primary care provider is a partner in your health. We want to see you feel better. Sometimes a doctor with specialised care in a specific area can provide new insight.

What to do Before Requesting a Referral

Before you ask your doctor for a referral, check with your insurance. Most insurance companies have a list of specialists they prefer. You’ll also want to know if seeing that specialist requires a referral. You can check out the potential providers and have an idea of who you’d like to request before your visit.

How to Request a Referral

It can feel awkward asking your doctor to refer you to someone else. Don’t let that stand in the way of better health for you. Your provider wants the best for your health. As a primary care provider they will continue to be involved in your health decisions even if you seek care from a specialist. 

During your visit with your provider, ask if they think it’s time for you to see a specialist or let your doctor know you’re ready to see a specialist. Ask for your doctor’s recommendation of who to see and why that’s their preferred referral. They may have insight into your health history and the specialist’s knowledge that an internet search or your Aunt Clara’s recommendation doesn’t have. If you do not want to see the specialist your doctor recommends, let them know who is covered by your insurance and who you would like to see.

Sometimes a physician to physician referral can result in a faster appointment time. This is not always the case, but it can be a benefit of having your doctor put in the call. Also, if your provider makes the referral, they will know the protocol to ensure your medical records are shared with the specialist. 

Before Your Specialist Appointment

Double-check with your primary care provider’s office to ensure they sent your medical records to the specialist’s office. Also, make sure the new doctor is still covered by your insurance. Make sure you have a list of medications to take with you to the new appointment and check online to fill out any forms ahead of time.

After Your Specialist Appointment

Your primary care provider is still available for all your health needs, even if you’re seeing a specialist for a specific issue. Your doctor should have records of your visits with the specialist so they can make notes in your chart. If you’re seeing a gastroenterologist for a stomach problem, your primary care physician will still be your go-to for acute care illnesses like sinus infections or other chronic diseases like high blood pressure.

Remember, we’re a partner in your health journey, but your true responsibility for your health remains with you. Being open and honest with your provider not only about your health, but about your desire to see a specialist may save time and help you find a diagnosis faster.

Chronic Lyme Disease Highlight Reasons to Prevent Tick Bites

Chronic Lyme Disease Highlight Reasons to Prevent Tick Bites

We’re all happy to see some sunshine and spend some time outside. As we’re recovering from quarantine and continue to practice social distancing, outdoor activities have become even more important this summer. A lot of focus continues to remain on the coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean other diseases have taken a backseat. Now it’s time for your yearly reminder to beware of tick bites which can cause Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Deer ticks, particularly prevalent in our neck of the woods, are the culprit for Lyme disease. Lyme can be easily treated if caught early, but some patients may suffer long-term consequences of the illness especially if it’s not caught early.

Initial Symptoms

After removing a tick, many people will notice a small, red bump similar to a mosquito bite. This skin irritation is normal and nothing to be concerned about. Complications from that tick bite develop anytime from 3 to 30 after the bite. The most common sign of Lyme disease is a bulls-eye rash at the site of the bite. It expands over the course of several days and may reach 12” in diameter. The rash isn’t painful or itchy. 

Not every case of Lyme disease includes this tell-tale rash. If you do not have the rash, but have the following symptoms it’s time to see your doctor:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue 
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Neck stiffness
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Although many of these symptoms are similar to the Coronavirus, one noticeable difference is Lyme disease does not cause respiratory problems while COVID-19 does.

Antibiotics are the recommended treatment for Lyme disease. Most patients who receive treatment recover with no additional complications.

Chronic Lyme Disease

Even if you have symptoms that disappear without a doctor’s visit, you need to visit your provider if you’ve had a tick bite or been in wooded or grassy areas where ticks like to gather. You may have had a tick bite that you weren’t aware of. Untreated Lyme disease can spread throughout your body and cause long-term health problems. Medical professionals estimate 10-20% of people who receive adequate treatment for Lyme disease continue to have symptoms for weeks, months, and sometimes years after the infection.

Chronic Lyme Disease symptoms include:

  • fatigue
  • restless sleep
  • pain
  • aching joints or muscles
  • pain or swelling in the knees, shoulders, elbows, and other large joints
  • decreased short-term memory or ability to concentrate
  • speech problems

Because these symptoms overlap with many other illnesses, people with chronic Lyme disease are often misdiagnosed. That’s why it’s important to tell your doctor if you’ve experienced a tick bite, even if you don’t have the bulls-eye rash afterward.

Some doctors believe Lyme disease triggers an autoimmune response in some patients which causes additional damage to their body and allows the symptoms to linger.

We currently do not have a specific test or treatment for chronic Lyme disease. That’s the bad news. In good news, your doctor can work with you to get a diagnosis and treat your symptoms. Your doctor may do antibody tests and prescribe medications to treat your symptoms. 

Prevention

The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid deer ticks’ natural habitats like wooded areas and tall grassy areas. But let’s be real. We live in Mississippi. We know camping, fishing, and hunting are our favorite pastimes. With the closure of many indoor activities this summer, the great outdoors will be even more enticing. You can take steps to protect yourself while you enjoy nature.

  • Cover up with long pants and long sleeves when you’re in wooded, grassy areas.
  • Stick to trails and avoid tall grassy areas.
  • Keep your dog on a leash.
  • Apply insect repellent with 20% or higher DEET concentration.
  • Tick proof your yard by mowing regularly and stacking wood in dry, sunny areas.
  • Check your clothing, yourself, your kids, and your pets for ticks after being outside, especially if you’ve been camping, fishing, hiking, or hunting.
  • Remove any tick as soon as you find it. A tick must be attached for 36-48 hours in order to transmit Lyme disease. 
  • Don’t assume you are immuned because you had Lyme disease once. You can be re-infected.

If you’ve experienced a tick bite or have any symptoms of Lyme disease, please contact our office for an appointment with one of our providers. 


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