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Make Managing Your Child’s Diabetes at School Easier

Make Managing Your Child’s Diabetes at School Easier

Make Managing Your Child's Diabetes at School Easier

Unmanaged diabetes at school may impair a child’s ability to learn by disrupting their attention, memory, processing speed, and perceptual abilities. A kid with diabetes needs help at school to succeed academically and live a healthy lifestyle. Mom & Dad need to be a team with their child’s teachers to ensure a successful school year.

Teaching a Child with Diabetes

Many diabetic children will miss more school than their peers. These absences require understanding on the part of their teachers and schools. Parents can help by making the school aware of their kid’s diabetes as promptly as possible. Make an appointment to talk to the school about its procedures for working with diabetic students.

In addition to instructing their classroom, teachers of students with diabetes are entrusted with paying attention to their student’s health and supplying make-up assignments for absences due to medical reasons. It’s a lot to ask of your child’s teacher, but by working together with a solid plan you can all ensure a successful school year.

Challenges Children With Diabetes Face at School

Knowing your child’s expected challenges and creating a plan to address those will make for an easier year for you, your child, and the school. Here are a few things to watch out for.

Simple school tasks may become complicated. Blood sugar spikes or drops might affect a child’s learning, memory, attention, and behavior. Stress, social activities, and hormones can complicate diabetes management. Parents should discuss their child’s diabetes care with their child and teachers before school events like field trips that might alter blood sugar levels. Also, work with your child to find effective ways to manage stress. Focus on goals like not waiting until the last minute to complete homework assignments or getting enough sleep.

Create a solid plan with your child’s school. Determine who should check your child’s glucose and inject insulin early in the school year. Discuss options for treating low-blood sugar with your child’s doctor, their teacher, and the school nurse. For instance, can your child treat it in class, or should they visit the nurse? Children may do several non-emergency diabetes self-care chores. Situations like age, developmental level, experience, and self-care adherence determine how much your child needs school staff to identify and manage high or low blood sugar. The diabetic health care team, including the certified diabetes educator, can enable self-care for children and families with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Important teaching themes include diabetes, variables that increase and reduce blood sugar, and techniques to address alterations.

Request exceptions to rules when needed. Many schools have rules around eating in the classroom and going to the bathroom for good reason. Multiple trips out of the classroom or constant snacking create distractions and interrupt everyone’s learning. Also, food can create a mess and invite pests, two things most teachers don’t have extra time to manage. Your child with diabetes, however, may need additional trips to the restroom. When their sugar is low, they may also need a snack outside the normal times. Discuss these additional needs with your child’s teacher. Make a plan to ensure your child’s health needs are met without as little disruption as possible.

Few schools have enough resources. No matter how caring your school staff is, they often have finite resources and may not have had a diabetic student in their classroom before. Staff members may have concerns and questions about providing safe and effective diabetes treatment, just like you do. Be patient with them and provide them all the tools and resources possible to help your child stay safe and healthy while in their classroom.

Learning to avoid temptation. While you are with your child, you can enforce limits on sugar and carbs, but while they are at school you’ll have less control. Schools are legally required to provide meal options that fit your child’s medical needs. Review the school lunch menu each day to discuss what options are best for your child to choose or send their lunch. Talk to your child’s doctor or a nutritionist about substitutes for sweets or when your child might be able to enjoy a sweet treat on a limited basis.

Adherence to Treatment. Adolescents present unique challenges for treatment adherence. When teens perceive their insulin pumps as a fashion blunder, it’s challenging to encourage them to comply with their recommended treatment regimen. Make sure your child’s school and teachers know he/she is wearing a insulin pump so it isn’t confused with other electronic devices. Also work with your doctor or nutritionist to help your child understand the importance of their insulin pump. Look for clothes that make disguising the pump easier.

Sickness and Cold Weather. The common cold is a part of growing up. However, a type 1 diabetic’s blood sugar levels may be severely disrupted by even mild illnesses. 

General diabetes challenges for parents

Learning to live with your kid’s illness.  A diabetes diagnosis for a young child is overwhelming for both children and parents. It sometimes comes as a tremendous shock, and parents often feel inadequate in managing their emotions and giving their children essential assistance. So, take a deep breath. And remember to take it one day at a time. Your mindset and emotions set the tone for your kids. Talk to parents of other children who have diabetes. Learn about the illness. You know your child. Use that insight to your advantage. 

Providing support for the kid while they deal with their feelings. Diabetes is a lifelong disease that requires constant attention. Growing up with diabetes presents unique emotional problems for children because of the complexity of the disease, its possible consequences, and the daily grind of managing the disease. Reach out to counselors or therapists to provide additional mental health support for you and your child. Encourage your child to talk about their feelings on the good days and the bad days.

School presents its own challenges for your child with diabetes as if the disease itself wasn’t hard enough. Together with your child’s teacher, doctor, and school nurse you can create a plan that keeps your child healthy and learning which are both key to a successful school year.

4 Sure-Fire Ways to Support Your Teachers’ Mental Health

4 sure fire ways to support your teachers' mental health

Teachers return from summer break with mixed feelings. Excitement over a new school year and eagerness to meet your students mix with apprehension and stress about testing and expectations placed on you. All those emotions plus the extra work affects teachers’ mental health. We hope all of you have spent some time resting and being refreshed this summer. 

The start of a new school year is both an exciting and stressful time. It’s more important than ever that you take care of yourself during the exhausting first weeks of school. We encourage parents, friends, and family of teachers to support your teachers’ mental health during back to school as well. We’ve put together a few ideas about how we can all support teachers’ mental health during back to school.

Ways Parents May Support Teachers‘ Mental Health

Parents, you are an integral part of your child’s education and often provide the most help to teachers, especially during these first few weeks of school. Here are a few ways you can support your child’s teacher both during back-to-school and the rest of the school year.

  1. Prepare Your Child to Learn. Helping your kid be prepared to learn aids their teacher more than you realize. Ensure your kid enjoys a good night’s sleep, a nutritious meal, and weather-appropriate attire. Well-rested, well-fed, and comfortable students are better learners, listeners, and participants.
  2. Help your child with homework. Homework is typically assigned to reinforce classroom skills or assess a child’s comprehension. Homework teaches responsibility. Help your student establish a working and learning environment by setting aside time for homework. Never do your child’s schoolwork for them; provide support and check for comprehension. If your child is struggling with a concept, leave a note for the teacher on the homework or send them a message to share you concern.
  3. Classroom Volunteer. Classroom involvement may take various forms. Parents may escort field trips, interact with small groups, run an activity station, or help with special projects. Some parents may share a skill, collection, or cultural activity. Whether you can volunteer once or twice during the school year or every week, all participation is valuable. Most teachers welcome additional classroom help. 
  4. Volunteer to organize book orders, cut letters or shapes for projects, prepare art materials, staple, or assemble books. Most teachers do many things on their own time and are more than happy to welcome volunteers—this is critical behind-the-scenes assistance. It’s a perfect activity for parents who prefer not to interact with other children or who aren’t available during school hours.

How Teachers Can Take Care Of Themselves

Self-care is vital in times of severe stress. Teachers should practice self-care, especially during the first weeks of school. Try these ideas.

  • Turning off work. We know it’s hard to step away when you have so much work to finish in the few hours you are away from your students. Setting boundaries, however, protects your mental health and gives you valuable time with your family. Set aside a specific time for grading papers and responding to communications from parents. Be clear with parents about your availability outside of school hours. Give them a window of time throughout the day during which they may expect an email response from you.
  • Taking a break from social media. If you’re excessively affected by the news and social media, take a break, especially if the topic concerns your school, district’s administration, or coworkers.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself. Teachers wish they could improve the world by eradicating all of their students’ problems. Rest assured, you are improving the world one student at a time. You are people too; don’t forget that. Kindness to yourself means setting realistic goals. Consider both your ideal and realistic outcomes.
  • Ask for help. Every teacher has that one child or parent that you just can’t figure out. Talk to your co-workers or other teacher friends and brainstorm solutions. On the flip side, not all the issues teachers face directly relate to their students. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a  mental health expert when depression, anxiety, or stress become chronic and impair daily functioning.
  • Plan some physical activity into your schedule. Teachers spend hours on their feet, but maintaining physical and mental health may be done via activities such as walking, biking, running, and yoga. Physical activity improves your brain health too. A fifteen-minute walk may help you clear your mind or find innovative solutions for classroom or personal problems. It’s impossible to complete everything and self-care is essential. Be honest with yourself about what you can accomplish in a day, especially during the first few weeks of a new school year. Make physical activity a priority.
  • Check-in with co-workers. You’re probably already doing this whether it’s conscious or not. Daily or weekly check-inswith your coworkers provide an excellent opportunity for mutual support and to discuss solutions to problems you’re all facing, such as adjusting lesson plans or dealing with worried parents. Sharing your frustrations as well as funny moments with a trustworthy coworker can also provide a sense of stress-relief. 
  • Schedule your meals. This one you can do before school ever starts. Plan meals for the week beforehand so you can focus on schoolwork. Making and freezing meals before school makes the first week back less hectic.
  • Don’t schedule any significant events for the first weekend back to school. Put in some much-needed relaxation time or get caught up on some educational tasks over the weekend. Don’t plan on dinner out that first Friday night. Instead, order in and allow yourself time to decompress.

We love supporting our teachers! Our school-based clinic provides medical care for both students and faculty at Mantachie schools. And our mental health counselors are available for appointments Monday-Friday

4 Ways to Support Your Child’s Mental Health This Summer

Support Your Child's Mental Health This Summer

Many kids breathe a sigh of relief when the last bell rings on the final day of school. But for those who struggle with mental health disorders, that bell could signal a wave of new anxiety and depression. Many of these children thrive on the routine of the school year. The more relaxed days of summer throw them for a loop. Even children who don’t typically struggle with mental health may experience the summer blues from being separated from their friends. Thankfully, parents can help. Here’s a look at how to support your child’s mental health during this summer break. 

Keep a Daily Routine

Sure, you can adjust their school sleep routine to fit summer activities, but set a bedtime and wake-up time and stick to it. All children thrive on routine, but it’s especially important for kids struggling with their mental health. Have them follow their usual morning routine of getting dressed for the day, showering or scrubbing faces, and brushing teeth. They might even perhaps knock out a morning chore or two after breakfast. One idea for a daily morning chore is to straighten up their room if they don’t do it before bedtime at night. They could also clean up the kitchen after breakfast or load the dishwasher. 

Another way to support your child’s mental health this summer is to add exercise or activity to their daily routine. It doesn’t have to be something difficult or boring. It can be a walk with the dogs around the neighborhood, a few laps around the pool, a fun online family yoga video, or a round of Just Dance together on the Nintendo Switch. Getting your kids moving each morning helps them establish an exercise routine and it will help their day go better. Exercise is proven to improve mental health in people of all ages.

Find Fun Activities/Camps

You don’t have to send your child off to sleepover camp if that’s not their thing. Most communities offer fun day camps focused on various interests. From nature camps to art camps to sports camps, you’ll discover something that fits your children’s interests. 

The entire calendar doesn’t need to be filled with camps in order for you to support your child’s mental health this summer. You can plan plenty of fun, and often free, activities at home or around your town. Pinterest is filled with fun and easy art and craft projects, as well as other great educational yet entertaining activities. Some of our favorites include kid-friendly cooking ideas and summer reading lists for all age groups, including you! Your kids will be encouraged to read more when they see you reading. Make weekly or biweekly trips to the library a must during the summer and continue this routine throughout the school year. Watch how it makes a positive difference in your children’s reading!

Other fun free or inexpensive activities include trips to the local parks with splash pads! Make an afternoon of it by packing a picnic and maybe your summer reading book along with sunscreen, sunglasses, and a towel so you feel free to stay awhile. Most parks provide shaded seating areas near the splash pads for parents to keep a close eye on their kiddos. You can also buy an inexpensive backyard sprinkler, fire up the grill, and enjoy a fun family cookout.  If you have older kids or teens, consider going kayaking for a day on the old Tombigbee River in Amory or at Bear Creek near Tishomingo State Park. Speaking of Tishomingo State Park, this state park is one of the most beautiful in Mississippi and offers gorgeous hiking and camping opportunities. 

Don’t forget to plan for the rainy days and nights when everyone just wants to stay in. Family game nights and movie nights are the perfect way to bond with your kids and get to know their interests. 

Let There Be Balance

Kids with anxiety and depression need plenty of routines and things to keep them busy. But many of them also find relief in the quiet. Downtime is just as important as regular activities. It’s okay if your preteen or teen needs to take a breather in their room alone after a day or week of activities. Don’t overwhelm their schedule and don’t get upset when they tell you they want to skip family movie night to hang out in their room and watch TikTok. Check on them to be sure they aren’t in a depressive or anxious state, but give them their space otherwise. That’s their way of letting you know they just need some time to themselves to rest and recharge. 

Pay Attention to Changes in Behavior, Routine, and Friend Groups

The summer is a great time for kids to make new friends. But kids who are at risk for mental health struggles sometimes seek out the wrong new crowd. This often comes simply in looking for acceptance among peers and finding it with a group of kids that may not have the same values as you have taught your children. Keep up with what your preteens and teens are doing when they are out with friends or at a summer activity. Be sure to meet their new acquaintances. Let them know you are involved in your child’s social life (in a friendly way.) If you’re unsure about your child’s new friends, invite them to out for pizza or another activity so you can get to know them. 

We mentioned giving your child breathing room for breaks and not to be alarmed if they occasionally want to retreat to their room over spending time with the family. This is normal. But if your child suddenly wants to spend all of their time in their room alone, it’s time to look further into what’s happening. This could be especially concerning if your child never appears to talk to or hang out with friends. It’s one sign that your child could be struggling with their mental health. 

Does your child struggle with anxiety or depression and you think they could benefit from behavioral health counseling? You can get them the help they need right here at Mantachie Rural Health Care. Click here to request an appointment now.

Can Coffee Make You Live Longer?

Can Coffee Make You Live Longer?

You already know that first cup of coffee is like a little burst of sunshine to start your day. As it turns out, a cup of coffee with a splash of cream and sugar, not only brightens your morning, it could give you more mornings to enjoy. 

How Your Morning Cup of Coffee Could Prolong Your Life

We’ve seen lots of studies in recent years that indicate how beneficial a cup of unsweetened coffee is to your health. But a new study revealed that those health benefits persist even when a dash of sugar is added. The British study of more than 171,000 participants found that those who drank 1.5 to 3.5 cups of sweetened coffee per day were still 29% to 31% less likely to die in the next seven years than those who did not drink coffee.

Hold Off on Ordering That Triple Mocha

Noticed that we said cups of coffee with a dash of sugar. Most participants in the study had only a moderate amount of sugar in their cup. Experts recommend no more than one teaspoon of sugar per cup. So while those specialty coffees are delicious…they’re not exactly a cup of health. 

Researchers from the study say the “sweet spot” in the number of cups to drink per day is between 2.5 and 3.5 cups. Anything over four cups increases your risk of early death.

In addition to increasing the lifespan of healthy adults, the study found that coffee lowered the early death risk associated with specific illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.

Why Coffee Has Health Benefits

Coffee is filled with thousands of compounds, most of which have not been studied. We know it contains nutrients like B vitamins, potassium, riboflavin, and various anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce our risk of cancer. Additionally, coffee contains chlorogenic acids, which have an anti-clotting effect on blood thus lowering the risk of blood clots.

Coffee also improves our mental sharpness and alertness, which helps us be more aware and make fewer mistakes. As you can see, coffee is beneficial for our bodies and our minds!

Your morning cup isn’t the only way to prolong your life and lower your health risks. An annual health check-up with your primary care provider can also save your life with early detection of life-threatening diseases through routine screenings. Click here to schedule an appointment with your Mantachie Rural Health Care provider.

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.


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