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Bruce Willis and Aphasia: Explanation, Diagnosis, and Treatments

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.

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. 

Diabetes and Heart Health

Diabetes and Heart Health

People with diabetes are twice as likely to experience a heart attack or stroke compared to people without the condition. Today we’re reviewing the facts about diabetes and heart health.

Heart disease is the number one killer of people with diabetes–it’s responsible for two-thirds of deaths in people with type 2 diabetes. Luckily, you can lower your risk of heart disease with proper diet, exercise, and diabetes management with these steps.

Symptoms of Heart Disease

Also known as cardiovascular disease, or CVD, heart disease can lead to a heart attack or even heart failure. Knowing the symptoms of these conditions can save your life. Symptoms of heart disease include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in your:
    • Chest
    • Throat
    • Back
    • Legs
    • Neck
    • Jaw
    • Upper abdomen
    • Arms

Symptoms of a heart attack are:

  • Pain, discomfort, tightness, or pressure in the chest
  • A fullness that may feel like indigestion or heartburn
  • Discomfort in one or both of your arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper abdomen.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Indigestion, nausea, vomiting
  • Tiredness, fatigue, or lightheadedness

Symptoms of heart failure include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Quick or irregular heartbeat
  • Coughing with pink-tinged mucus
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of feet and ankles

What you can do to improve your diabetes and heart health

The best way to stay on top of your heart health is to manage your diabetes well. Keep your blood sugar in range as often as possible. Practice a good diet and exercise, take your insulin and medication as prescribed, and attend all doctor’s visits. Seek support from your medical professionals, family, and loved ones and frequently check your A1C, LDL, and blood pressure.

What you and your medical provider do and discuss during your appointments matters. At every visit, be sure that your blood pressure is checked and discuss your blood sugar meter readings. Check your weight and talk about your diet as well as changes in your lifestyle work, or emotions, and be honest about your physical activity levels. Discuss all medications and have your feet checked. If you smoke, ask for help quitting and ask if you should begin an aspirin regimen to lower your risk of a heart attack. 

In addition to these steps at every visit, you should also have your A1C checked every three to six months. Once a year, get a dilated eye exam, a flu shot, and a complete foot exam. Have your cholesterol levels checked at least every five years or more often if your levels are not on target. 

For more information about heart disease and diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association here.

Billy Graham’s Granddaughter Among Rising Cases of Broken Heart Syndrome

In January 2022, Anne Graham Lotz announced that her daughter, Rachel-Ruth, had suffered two back-to-back heart attacks. Billy Graham’s granddaughter is among rising cases of broken heart syndrome.

Billy Graham’s Granddaughter Among Rising Cases of Broken Heart Syndrome

True to her faith, Lotz called on her followers to join her in prayer and quoted encouraging scriptures that are helping her cope with her daughter’s condition. Later, doctors would find that Rachel-Ruth was actually suffering from another serious heart condition known as spontaneous coronary artery dissection. After a week of treatment, Rachel-Ruth was released from the hospital mid-January. 

Although Rachel-Ruth’s condition turned out to be another heart problem, there is a good reason why her physicians initially believed she was suffering from Broken Heart Syndrome. Physicians everywhere have seen a rise in cases of broken heart syndrome in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic.

What is Broken Heart Syndrome?

Broken heart syndrome is a temporary heart condition that is brought on by stressful situations and extreme emotions. It can also be triggered by serious illness or surgery. Broken heart syndrome symptoms can mimic that of a heart attack and include symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and even fainting. If left untreated, broken heart syndrome can not only mimic a heart attack but lead to one. That’s why you should seek emergency help if you begin suffering from any of the mentioned symptoms. 

Physicians aren’t sure if the rise in cases of broken heart syndrome is due to the psychological stresses brought on by the pandemic or because the virus itself has receptors on the heart muscle that can increase. Possibly, the culprit is a little bit of both. 

The pandemic isn’t the first situation to cause an unusual rise in cases of broken heart syndrome, which is considered a rare condition except in instances like the pandemic or the aftermath of a major catastrophic event. Case in point, the residents of Christchurch, New Zealand experienced an uptick in broken heart cases in women following the devastating 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

Years after the earthquakes in Christchurch, medical researchers from the same area began searching for the reasons why some people are more susceptible to broken heart syndrome than others. One culprit they found appears to be in DNA. Copy number variations, or CNVs, are changes in DNA that can lead to the development of certain conditions. About 40 percent of study subjects had CNVs in their DNA, though none were the same. Still, it’s thought that CNVs cause the disorder, but other factors must trigger it. 

What you can do to prevent Broken Heart Syndrome

It’s impossible to stop stressful and extremely emotional events from arising. But you can take steps to take care of your heart to help lower the risk of suffering this condition. Following a heart-healthy diet and exercise plan and making regular checkups with your provider are the best ways to take care of your heart. 

Need to catch up with your Mantachie Rural Healthcare provider and ask how your heart’s doing? Click here to request an appointment.

Healthy Boundaries in Recovery

Boundaries are important in any relationship, but they become especially important when you are in recovery from addiction or other mental health conditions. Today, we’re taking a look at the importance of healthy boundaries in recovery and how to set and enforce them. 

What are Healthy Boundaries?

Boundaries are physical, mental, and emotional limits set to protect yourself and others in a relationship. They help us define who we are while allowing others to be who they are. Boundaries also keep you from being taken advantage of or manipulated. 

Boundaries, like anything else, can be unhealthy. Unhealthy boundaries may include abandoning your personal beliefs or values for acceptance, establishing new relationships without considering how they will affect your recovery, and trusting no one or everyone. Knowing the difference between healthy boundaries and unhealthy boundaries is essential to maintaining your recovery. 

Healthy boundaries basically look like the opposite of unhealthy boundaries. Healthy boundaries include:

  • Carefully evaluating the benefits and drawbacks of each relationship
  • Maintaining your personal beliefs and values regardless of other’s opinions
  • Saying no to gifts, favors, and actions that do not support your recovery
  • Clearly and respectfully expressing what you need or want
  • Developing appropriate trust with others
  • Treating yourself with respect and kindness

Now that you know what healthy boundaries look like it’s time to set the boundaries you need and implement them. Key emphasis on the implementation of these boundaries. Boundaries do no good if you don’t enforce them. Setting and enforcing boundaries looks like this:

  • Establishing a self “bill of rights” such as a right to your own thoughts, emotions, values, and beliefs and right to express how you want to be treated
  • Identifying sobriety risk factors including obvious ones like avoiding a bar if you are an alcoholic and less obvious triggers like watching a football game with friends
  • Setting the boundaries based of your bill of rights and recovery risk factors
  • Enforcing the boundaries and remaining accountable
  • Respecting other people’s boundaries

Need more support in  your addiction recovery? We can help. Call 662-282-4226 to schedule a visit. 

Ditch the New Year’s Resolutions and Choose Healthy Habits Instead

Ditch the New Year's Resolutions and Choose Healthy Habits Instead

Happy New Year and hello, 2022! Can you believe a new year is here again? While we’re still processing 2020 and 2021, another year has rolled upon us, and with it more plans for this to finally be the year you stick to your new year’s resolutions. Great news! We’re here to help you do just that in today’s blog.

Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions…by Ditching Them!

The reason most of us can’t stick to our new year’s resolutions is that we set the bar too high when we make them. For instance, setting a resolution of losing fifty pounds isn’t unrealistic but it is overwhelming without realistic goals set to get there. Instead of setting resolutions we recommend focusing on setting healthy habits that will ultimately help you reach those lofty resolutions.

Healthy Habits and How to Make Them Routine

According to Healthline, it takes anywhere from eighteen to 254 days to create a new habit and around 66 days for the habit to become automatic. So don’t give up if it takes you longer than two and a half weeks to make your habit stick. The best way to do this is to set small habit goals you can actually keep. 

The very first step you should take to reach your goals is to get out a notebook and pen and write your goals down. Multiple studies have shown that writing down your goals brings more success in reaching them. We recommend keeping a journal so you can track your changes and results. Next, add your goals to your daily schedule. All smartphones come with a calendar option that you can use to set reminders and even schedule your goals for your day. Much like simply writing down your goals, adding them into your daily schedule makes it more likely you’ll stick to them.

We’ll stick to weight loss goals for example. First, you don’t want to just set a goal to lose x amount of pounds. There are plenty of ways to lose weight including unhealthy ways like fad diets and dangerous weight loss drugs. While not all weight loss drugs are “bad” even some of those prescribed by a healthcare provider have some not so enjoyable side effects. People who use fad diets and weight loss medicine to lose weight tend to gain that weight back as soon as they stop the diet or drug. 

The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to change your diet and lifestyle. That seems like another one of those lofty resolutions that are impossible to achieve but the truth is, you can change your lifestyle and diet by making small attainable changes that add up in a big way. If part of your weight problem is that you are inactive, set a small goal to start walking or performing another physical activity for 30 minutes a day, two to three times per week. Once your new physical activity becomes routine for you, you can increase your activity goals. 

If you need to make changes to an unhealthy diet, start with one change at a time like cutting out refined sugar and replacing it with healthy options like honey. Cutting out processed sugar will result in weight loss which will encourage you to stick to your new healthy habit and keep going with new goals like adding one more serving of vegetables to your weekly diet. 

One healthy habit we recommend for all of our patients is the habit of visiting your healthcare provider for checkups even when you are not sick. Wellness visits keep you healthy with important screenings and exams that inform your provider about the current state of your health. Screenings performed during these visits provide early detection of serious conditions and diseases.

Can’t remember the last time you visited your Mantachie Rural Healthcare provider for a checkup? There is no better time than right now to schedule your next visit. Click here to schedule your appointment!

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