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Everything You Need to Know About a Plant-Based Diet

Everything You Need to Know About a Plant-Based Diet

Everything You Need to Know About a Plant-Based Diet

The plant-based diet is a buzzphrase heard more and more in healthcare clinics and even in everyday conversations among friends. But what exactly is the eating strategy behind the buzzphrase? And why do more experts than ever insist that a plant-based diet is the way to go for optimum health?

The Truth About Plant-Based Diets

Despite some beliefs, the term plant-based diet is not another term for a vegetarian or vegan diet. Rather, plant-based diets are focused on eating more foods from plants than other food sources such as meat and poultry. Plant-based diets also avoid processed foods and refined sugars. People who follow this plan might be flexitarian, or semi-vegetarian, in which they mostly consume food from plants, as well as eggs, dairy, and the occasional meat, poultry, fish, or seafood. Pescatarian diets are similar to flexitarian without the consumption of meat or poultry. Vegetarians include egg and dairy products in their diet while vegans consume no animal products at all. 

Another myth about plant-based diets is that people on these diets are often tired and don’t get enough fats and proteins. A well-rounded plant-based diet includes plenty of healthy fats and proteins through certain plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, legumes, and beans. 

Why Plant-Based Diets Are Good for Your Health

Plant-based diets have been rising in popularity over the last several decades for a number of reasons. The long-standing and still highly recommended Mediterranean diet is a plant-based flexitarian diet. It also includes fish, eggs, yogurt, and cheese a few times per week with meat and poultry less often. This diet has been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndromes, and depression. It’s also been known to reduce the risk of certain cancers including breast, colon, and prostate cancers. Older adults who follow the Mediterranean diet also enjoy a lower risk of frailty and better mental and physical health. 

You don’t have to follow the Mediterranean diet to get health benefits. Any diet that focuses on whole foods from plants and other natural food sources is better for your overall health and wellness than a diet based on processed and refined foods. Plant-based diets have also been linked to needed weight loss. This also lowers the risk of certain conditions like diabetes and heart disease. 

How to Start Following a Plant-Based Diet

Beginning a plant-based diet is actually easier than it sounds. The first step is to add more fruits and veggies to your shopping list and incorporate servings into each meal or snack of the day. You’ll also want to include other plant-based foods like good fats such as olive oil, olives, nuts, nut butter, seeds, and avocados. The next step is to increase the number of fruits and veggies on your plate while reducing the amount of meat to a garnish rather than the main course. Make sure you’re including at least one good portion of greens on your plate each day. Try to mix it up among different greens like spinach, kale, or collards. Keep your diet fresh by changing up how you cook your veggies for each meal. 

Experts also recommend consuming at least one all-vegetarian meal per week that includes whole grains, beans, and veggies. You should also build at least one meal a week around a salad and consume whole grains for breakfast each day. Yummy whole-grain breakfast options include oatmeal, quinoa, buckwheat, and barley, which can be paired with fruit, cinnamon, and other plant-based flavors. 

Although a plant-based diet is considered to be good for just about everyone, it’s always best to discuss any new diet changes with your healthcare provider or dietitian first. We can discuss your diet concerns and proposed changes at your next wellness appointment with Mantachie Rural Healthcare. Call 662-282-4226 or click here to request your wellness visit now. 

Who Will Be the First to Receive the Covid-19 Vaccine?

Who Will Be the First to Receive the Covid-19 Vaccine?

As this is being written, the first round of British citizens has received a new COVID-19 vaccine by the Pfizer company. If approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the same vaccine could be shipped to the U.S. by mid-December 2020. Another vaccine by the Moderna company is also in line for approval. If all works out, both vaccines will be in use by January. The question is, who gets the first round of vaccines in the United States?

Two elderly people were the first to receive the vaccine in the UK (Britain). The US, however, plans to take a slightly different path with the first rollout of immunizations. Instead, US healthcare workers, who are considered at the highest risk for contracting covid-19, will receive the first round of vaccines along with residents of nursing homes and long-term healthcare facilities. Residents of these facilities have so far accounted for 39% of deaths caused by Covid-19 in the US. 

What We Know About the COVID-19 Vaccines So Far

At this time, both Pfizer and Moderna have vaccines at the ready to be distributed upon authorization by the FDA. When approved, the first doses will be shipped out within 24 hours. Both vaccines will require a second dosage. Pfizer’s vaccine requires a boost three weeks after the first dose. Similarly those who receive the Moderna vaccine will need a second dose after four weeks. 

Who will Decide Who Gets the COVID-19 Vaccine First?

Choosing which healthcare workers will be the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is a decision that will be left up to each state. Right now, each state has a designated group of experts deciding who is at the highest risk. Some states may elect to vaccinate critical care nurses and physicians along with respiratory therapists and other workers who risk the most exposure to the virus. Others could decide to vaccinate their oldest healthcare workers first along with those working the frontlines. At this time, Mississippi plans to issue the first round of vaccines to frontline healthcare workers. 

After frontline workers and long-term care residents have been vaccinated, essential workers will be the next to receive the vaccine. Essential workers include but are not limited to employees in law enforcement, emergency response, food and agriculture, transportation, manufacturing, and education. Some states may prioritize certain industries that have been more affected. Arkansas, for example, intends to prioritize poultry workers, who have taken a hard hit during the pandemic. Each state will make these decisions based on its individual needs and demands. 

Adults with medical conditions that place them at a higher risk for serious illness as well as adults over 65 will be the next group to get immunized. Some states may elect to prioritize vaccinating elderly over 75 first. After that, the vaccine will be open to all healthy adults in the US by May or June if all goes accordingly. 

What You Can Do Now to Protect Yourself

By publication of this article, the first rollout of vaccines should be available in the US. However, it will still be months before all of those at risk of the virus can receive the vaccine. That means we must continue to wear masks and socially distance from one another until the vaccine is readily available to all. Continue to avoid large gatherings and be smart when you must go out in public. If you develop symptoms, quarantine yourself from others immediately, and contact your healthcare provider to schedule a testing appointment. 

Mantachie Rural Healthcare is available Monday through Friday. If you are sick and need an appointment with us, dial 662-282-4226. 

What Happens When You Quit Smoking: A Timeline

What Happens When You Quit Smoking: A Timeline

Following through on your decision to quit smoking is hard. Especially in the beginning. But, if you can tough it out through those crucial first few days and weeks, your body and health will reward you later. You don’t have to wait long to start noticing (good) changes in your body. In fact, your health begins improving just 20 minutes after your last cigarette. Here’s what you can expect.

20 Minutes

Your blood pressure and pulse rates return to normal a mere 20 minutes after your last puff. Your hands and feet warm to normal temperature, too. 

8 – 12 Hours

Your blood now contains half the nicotine and carbon monoxide it had after your last smoke. Unfortunately, you’ll be able to feel this change through cravings and doubts about quitting. Push through it. These cravings typically only last about 5-10 minutes. Four short hours later, your heart is rejoicing because it no longer has to pump as hard. Your carbon monoxide levels are also now completely normal.

24-48 Hours

Your risk of a heart attack has lowered after just one day. After 48 hours, your sense of smell and taste have sharpened as the nerve endings in your nose and tongue heal. Your lungs are also expelling nasty mucus and gunk. You may feel tired, hungry, anxious, or dizzy. These are normal withdrawal symptoms. Warning: These symptoms will worsen before they get better. Keep going. After a couple of weeks, you’ll notice great improvement. If you have asthma, you may experience worsened symptoms in the first 48 hours. This is also normal and symptoms typically improve around day 3.

72 Hours

By day three your lungs are stronger and clearer. The fatigue you felt the day before is gone and you’ll have notably more energy.

Two Weeks to Three Months

The worst withdrawal symptoms should be over and your risk of a heart attack continues to decrease. Your blood flow has already improved and if you exercise you’ll notice you are less winded. 

Three to Nine Months

Your breathing is deeper and clearer. Your coughs are now helpful and you’ll likely have fewer colds and other respiratory illnesses. 

One Year

Congratulations! You’ve hit a major milestone. Your body rewards you with a better heart. Your risk of heart disease is cut in half. Celebrate your achievement!

Five Years

In half a decade, your risk of a stroke and cervical cancer are equivalent to that of a person who has never smoked. Your risk of mouth, throat, esophageal, and bladder cancer has also decreased by half. 

10 Years

You are now half as likely to die of lung cancer as a smoker. Your risk of developing laryngeal or pancreatic cancer has dropped significantly. 

15 Years

Your chances of heart disease are now the same as a person who has never smoked. Time to celebrate again!

What You Need to Know About Antibiotics

What You Need to Know About Antibiotics

Antibiotics are one of the most misunderstood types of medicine in the world. Many people misuse them simply because they don’t know any better. However, misusing these medications can result in serious consequences which is why the information in today’s blog is so important. Take a look at what you need to know about antibiotics.

What are antibiotics?

These medications stop bacterial infections. First discovered about a century ago during the 1920s, they advanced modern medicine forever. Surgeries became safer and doctors now cured bacterial infections many of which they considered deadly before the discovery.

Doctors prescribe two main types of antibiotics, broad-spectrum and narrow-spectrum. As the name suggests, broad-spectrum treats a wide range of infections while narrow-spectrum treats specific types of infection. The varying types of antibiotics are important reasons why you should never give someone else one of these medications which were prescribed for you.

Types of infections treated with antibiotics include:

  • Strep throat
  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Dental infections
  • Skin infections
  • Whooping cough
  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • Bladder or kidney infections

You’ll notice that illnesses like stomach viruses and colds are not listed because these medications cannot treat viruses. In most cases, your provider will tell you to wait out the virus or prescribe an anti-viral drug if one is available for your particular infection.

These drugs can pose a number of side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite. In rarer instances, antibiotics can result in hives, coughing, wheezing, or trouble breathing. These symptoms are signs of an allergy to the specific medication you are taking or they could also be a sign that you are allergic to more than one or all antibiotics. People with known allergies are especially at risk when given an antibiotic prescribed to someone else and they should never, ever take these medications except under the strict prescription and observation of their healthcare provider. 

Other Crucial Information

If you’re a woman on birth control, your healthcare provider should warn you to use other methods of contraception while taking an antibiotic. They can disrupt the effectiveness of your birth control medication. They can also cause vaginal yeast infections in some women.

Overuse of these medications is one of the most common ways people misuse these powerful medicines. Unfortunately, overuse can result in a sometimes deadly resistance to antibiotics. How does this happen? Over time, bacteria adapt and become “super bacteria” that are untreatable with medication. The best way to avoid overuse is to only take medications as your provider prescribes them. If your provider tells you you don’t need this type of medication, listen to them. 

Patient education is important to us and your health often depends on understanding basic health information like today’s details on antibiotics. One way you can increase your understanding of health information is to visit your healthcare provider each year for a primary care checkup. During this appointment, you will have the opportunity to ask any questions you have about your health or general health information. To schedule your primary care appointment with us, click here.

The Benefits of Choosing a Nurse Practitioner for Your Primary Care

The Benefits of Choosing a Nurse Practitioner for Your Primary Care

Nurse practitioners are the heartbeat of our clinic and provide most of the primary and urgent care services we offer at Mantachie Rural Health Care. In recent years, nurse practitioners have proven more important to the healthcare industry than ever before, especially related to primary care. In fact, you might say nurse practitioners have set a new standard for primary care and here’s why. 

Nurse Practitioners Offer a Higher Quality of Care

According to Columbia Doctors/Nurse Practitioners Group, more than 80 percent of nurse practitioners train in primary care. At least half of all NP’s have hospital privileges. These privileges allow NP’s to admit and order services for their patients. 

Nurse practitioners also focus on providing counseling and patient education as part of their patients’ primary care. They consider factors like the patient’s lifestyle and both their physical and mental well-being when it comes to determining the type of care the patient needs. Nurse practitioners provide care for the whole person rather than focusing on one or two health concerns. 

What Can a Nurse Practitioner Do?

To put it simply, nurse practitioners can do just about anything doctors can do, except performing surgical procedures on their own. NP’s can determine diagnoses and provide treatment for acute and chronic illnesses. They can also order diagnostic tests like x-rays and blood tests, and become board-certified in specialties like family care and women’s health. 

Why Should I Choose a Nurse Practitioner for My Primary Care?

If the reasons above aren’t enough, perhaps you’ll be convinced by knowing that nurse practitioners are more accessible than doctors. This means no waiting weeks or even months to get an appointment. 

You’ll also appreciate the shorter wait times and the diverse services offered. Nurse practitioners seek to meet all of the needs of their local community regardless of how different each one might be. Our NPs allow us to offer a wide range of services from diabetes care to women’s health care. Our NPs also provide primary and urgent care services for the whole family. This includes childhood immunizations and yearly checkups for the whole family. 

The experienced nurse practitioners at Mantachie Rural Health Care want to help manage you and your family’s health care. Get started with us today by requesting a primary care checkup here.

What Caregivers Need to Know About Caring for Their Diabetes Patient

Caregivers serve a crucial role in the successful treatment of diabetes.

Caregivers serve a crucial role in the successful treatment of diabetes. Diabetic patients have many daily responsibilities required to keep diabetes under control. They often need support from a dedicated caregiver to accomplish each task. A caregiver of diabetes patients share in the daily responsibilities of their diabetic loved one and also provide emotional support. 

Six Things New Caregivers of Diabetes Patients Should Know

If you are a new caregiver for a diabetes patient, you may feel overwhelmed. The first step you should take is to create a support team for both you and your loved one. Your support team consists of your loved one’s healthcare providers and other family members or close friends who can provide additional support or act as a substitute for you when you need a break or have other responsibilities. A support team helps curve your burden as a primary caregiver. It also helps the patient with their own needs concerning their new diagnosis. 

The next step you should take as a caregiver of a diabetes patient is to educate yourself as much as possible. We offer a number of articles right here on our website about diabetes education. You can also find excellent information on trusted health websites like Mayo Clinic and the American Diabetes Association. Each month we hold monthly diabetes education classes. We recently started sharing a series of live videos on our Facebook page.

Caregiving for diabetes patients requires patience, especially in the beginning following a new diagnosis. Your loved one will need your patience as they try to understand their condition and adjust to their new lifestyle and routines. Daily diabetes care like reading labels, foot care, monitoring blood glucose levels, and administering insulin take time and can be points of frustration. Keeping calm and collected not only helps the caregiver but the patient as well. Stress can increase blood glucose levels. Your loved one may feel stressed if they sense that you are impatient or unhappy. 

Caregivers should be willing to “walk the walk” when it comes to living a healthier lifestyle. Diabetes patients are encouraged to follow their new healthy diets and exercise routines when they see their support doing the same. Let your loved one see you eat healthily and exercise with them for motivation.

What Caregivers Can Expect Each Day

Caregivers should expect to help their loved one with all of their daily diabetes responsibilities. Some of those include keeping blood sugar levels regulated and checking their skin for signs of diabetes-related issues. Your loved one may need help monitoring their blood sugar levels, following a set eating schedule, exercising, and creating healthy meals based on their healthcare provider’s recommendations. You will need to make sure they receive plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Caregivers should also monitor how their loved one feels throughout each day and help them learn to manage stress. 

Daily grooming is extremely important. Diabetics often suffer mouth and dental problems. Following good oral health habits like brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily are crucial for maintaining mouth health. Foot care is just as important. Diabetes patients are more likely to have an infection from ingrown toenails. Which means their feet and toes should be checked daily. Toes should be trimmed regularly to prevent ingrown toenails and the nails should never be rounded at the corners when trimmed. Diabetics need to wear shoes all day even at home. New shoes should be worn for the first few days at home for 1-2 hours before checking for new blisters. 

Diabetics are also more susceptible to skin infections and non-healing wounds than people without diabetes. Patients will need to be checked each day from head to toe for signs of red spots, sores, calluses, and blisters. 
Mantachie Rural Health Care offers support for diabetic patients and their caregivers in a number of ways including diabetes education classes. Follow us on Facebook for updates on our next class.

Why Health Literacy Matters

Why Health Literacy Matters

Health literacy refers to our ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information. Health experts consider this skill so important they dedicated an entire month (October) to bringing awareness to health literacy. But if we have medical experts to tell us what we need why is it important to understand the information behind their recommendations?

Let’s Start with Antibiotics

Have you ever taken antibiotics leftover from another infection to treat a cold? Did it work? We didn’t think so. Doctors never prescribe antibiotics to treat a cold or flu because antibiotics are designed to treat bacterial infections. Colds and the flu are caused by viruses, which don’t respond to antibiotics.

Understanding basic health information like knowing the difference between a viral and a bacterial infection, as well as the proper treatment, isn’t just important to your medical providers. Health literacy can save lives. 

Doctors and nurse practitioners prescribe antibiotics for a specific length of time to treat the full infection. This means you shouldn’t have any leftover. Taking less than the full dose leads your body open to a resurgence of the initial infection.

Another reason to understand antibiotics is that no two antibiotics are exactly the same and most treat different ailments. Only a medical provider or pharmacist can determine which type of antibiotic is best suited for each circumstance.

How you can improve your own health literacy

The best way to improve your health literacy is to visit your provider for regularly-scheduled wellness checkup and ask them questions about your health. When you visit your provider because you’re sick ask questions then, too. Ask them to explain what is causing your illness and why they are prescribing the treatment they’ve chosen. 

Reputable online medical resources such as Mayo Clinic and Healthline are excellent sources of basic health information.  Remember, however, when you review information online to discuss your findings with your provider to confirm that the information’s accuracy. Our own blog, which you are reading now, offers an excellent, viable source of information fact-checked by our own medical team.

Are you looking for a medical provider who wants to help you understand your health and the conditions that are affecting it? Mantachie Rural Health Care strives to educate our patients in hopes that it will inspire them to better help. Become a patient with us now by scheduling an annual wellness exam with one of our providers. 

Depression Myths and the Truths Behind Them

Depression Myths and the Truths Behind Them

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. However, we encounter many misconceptions about depression and what it is and is not. Today we are taking a look at the most common myths surrounding depression and revealing the truth behind them.

Myth #1:  Depression isn’t a real disease.

Depression is a very real, complex illness impacted by psychology, sociology, and biology.  Anyone can get depression regardless of your family history. Contrary to popular belief, depression doesn’t just affect your emotional health but it can also negatively impact your physical health as well.

Myth #2: Antidepressants are a cure-all for depression.

Although antidepressants are a very powerful and effective treatment for depression in most instances, they aren’t always enough.  Psychotherapy or talk therapy often successfully treats depression.

Myth #3: You can snap out of your depression on your own.

Depression is not the same as sadness. Just like any other medical condition, depression requires proper diagnosis and professionally prescribed treatment. People who are depressed cannot talk themselves out of it one day. If you have battled depression for months or even years, it’s time to talk to your provider about treatment.

Myth: 4 Depression is caused by trauma.

Unhappiness or sadness are completely normal emotions following a sad or traumatic event but this is not the same as depression. Depression causes feelings of sadness, emptiness, or loneliness at any time even if things are going relatively well. These feelings typically last for long periods and often have no cause.

Myth #5: If you have a family history of depression, you will get it, too.

Depression is more common in people who have a family history of the condition. However, family history does not guarantee that you will be affected by the illness, too. 

Myth #6: Only women get depressed.

This simply is not true. Men experience depression, too, but they may not be as likely to talk about it as women. In fact, the number of men in the US who die by suicide each year is four times that of women. Another reason we urge men to reach out more about their emotional health. Your provider’s office is a safe place to find help.

Myth #7: Once you’re on antidepressants, you’re on them for life.

Some people will need prescribed medication for depression for the rest of their lives. However, not every depression patient fits that description. Each case of depression is different which is why there isn’t one perfect cure-all for the disease. Many patients are able to successfully wean off of medication with their doctor’s help after a certain period of successful treatment. 

Are you struggling with depression or have depression symptoms? Don’t suffer alone. Mantachie Rural Health Care offers behavioral and medical help for depression. Click here to request your appointment now. 

When Should I Get My First Mammogram?

When Should I Get My First Mammogram?

Breast cancer ranks as the second most common cancer among women. Each October we wear pink to remind women of the importance of getting a mammogram. The question is, what age should women have their first mammogram? Here’s what we know. 

Ten of every 100,000 women between the ages of 20-24 receive a breast cancer diagnosis. That number increases as women age into their late 20’s and early 30’s. We notice significant jumps around the ages of 40-50. Women in their 70’s have the highest rate of breast cancer diagnoses. So if most women are not affected by breast cancer until their 70’s, why do experts recommend screenings for women who are much younger?

Multiple trials demonstrate that screening mammograms decreased the risk of death from breast cancer by 15% to 29%. Lowering your risk of death offers reason enough to have a mammogram at the earliest recommended age.

What is the earliest recommended age for your first mammogram?

All medical experts agree that early screening saves lives. The exact age of that first screening remains a widely debated topic. The American Cancer Society recommends women receive their first mammogram by age 45. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Forces say women can wait until age 50 for their first screening. However, the Mayo Clinic “supports screening beginning at age 40 because screening mammograms can detect breast abnormalities early in women in their 40’s.” 

Though some experts agree that younger is better no mammogram comes without its own risks. Women in their 40’s and 50’s are more likely to receive a false positive which is why further testing with another mammogram, ultrasound imaging, or biopsies is necessary if an abnormality is detected.

Because of the varying recommendations from medical associations and the simple fact that every woman is different, we believe the best thing you can do is talk with your doctor about the best age for you to start screening. Factors that are significant only to you such as your family history of the disease (women with a close family history are advised to get screened sooner than women with no family history) are key to determining when you should get your first mammogram. If you are over the age of 30 with a close family history of breast cancer, we recommend talking with your provider now about when you should start screening. Women with average risks should talk to their providers about a mammogram at least by age 40. 

The best time to talk to your provider about getting a mammogram is during your annual wellness visit. Click here to request your visit.

How to Keep Your Lungs Healthy

How to Keep Your Lungs Healthy

Lung disease ranks as one of the top killers of both men and women in the United States. Luckily you can take several steps throughout your lifetime to reduce or prevent your risk of lung disease.  Keeping your lungs healthy prevents more than illnesses like lung cancer and chronic lung disease such as COPD,  it also gives you a better chance of surviving covid-19. Start doing these seven things today to keep your lungs healthy for life.

Get plenty of exercise.

If you haven’t figured out by now, exercise is one of those things that everyone, young and old, needs regularly. The reason why is simple. Exercises provide natural prevention for just about every physical ailment out there including lung diseases. Even a brisk 20 to 30 minute walk a few times each week can improve your lung health.

Practice deep breathing exercises.

Turns out meditative breathing and yoga aren’t just good for your mind they’re good for the body, too. A study published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology found that its participants had a significant increase in vital lung capacity after performing 2 to 5 minutes of deep breathing exercises. 

Prevent infection.

Those same CDC guidelines in place to protect you from coronavirus also prevent other infections. Fight infections by remembering to:

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds as often as needed, especially after touching public surfaces.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Practice good oral hygiene including brushing twice daily, flossing once a day, and visiting your dentist for regular checkups.
  • Get a flu vaccine every year and talk with your provider about if you would also benefit from the pneumonia vaccine. 

Get regular check-ups.

Visit your provider at least once a year for a wellness checkup. Even if you feel healthy, your provider can detect underlying issues through screenings and a physical exam.

Avoid exposure to indoor and outdoor pollutants.

Indoor pollutants such as secondhand smoke, cleaning chemicals, and radon can wreak havoc on your lungs. Outdoor pollutants like smog and factory smoke can also cause significant damage.

Don’t smoke, or if you do, quit.

Following the previous steps are useless if you’re going to puff away on cigarettes. If you’re not a smoker, stay that way. If you do smoke, it’s time to quit. We offer many resources to help you quit smoking successfully. Schedule an appointment with us today to get help kicking the habit. 


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