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Overdose Not Only Risk Factor in Opioid Crisis

Overdose Not Only Risk Factor in Opioid Crisis

Overdose Not Only Risk Factor in Opioid Crisis

Every day 130 people in the United States die from an opioid-related overdose. While the numbers of new opioid prescriptions have declined in the last two years, we’re still experiencing fall out from years of unchecked opioid prescriptions. A recent study in JAMA Psychiatry reveals the far-reaching effects of the opioid crisis on the health of an abuser.

Researched pulled data from 124 previously published studies and compared that data with the general population of the same age and sex. The study revealed in addition to increased death from overdose, opioid addicts also have increased deaths due to non-communicable diseases, infectious diseases, suicide, and unintentional injuries. The most common non-communicable diseases include cancer and cardiovascular disease.  

AIDS/HIV

While deaths due to HIV/AIDS have declined due to more effective treatment in the overall population, AIDS deaths among opioid abusers have remained steady. Research shows 10-20% of those who misuse prescription opioids move on to inject opioids or heroin. Shared needles between drug users increase the chances of blood-borne infections such as HIV and hepatitis C. For the first time in two decades, HIV infections from injected drug use increased in 2015 for the first time in two decades due to the opioid crisis.

Opioid abuse affects a person’s entire life, from their overall health to risky behavior. Overdose continues to be a major concern for opioid abusers, but it’s not the only concern. Their behavior and health problems don’t just affect them, it affects their entire family.

Available Resources

If you’re struggling with an opioid addiction take action now. Don’t wait for the drugs to ruin your health. Seeking treatment is an act of strength not weakness. 

At Mantachie Rural Health Care, we treat all aspects of drug addiction from the addiction itself to underlying mental and behavioral health issues. We’ll help you find the right treatment program, and we provide therapy for families as well.

Overdose, while a major concern for drug abusers, isn’t the only increased threat of opioid abuse. You only have one body. Take care of it. We can help. Contact our mental health facilty to learn more at 662-282-4359.   

Benefits and Dangers of Celebrity Endorsed Intermittent Fasting

Benefits and Dangers of Celebrity Endorsed Intermittent Fasting

Every year with the “New Year New You” announcements come new fad diets. One of the most popular new celebrity-touted trends is intermittent fasting. Most notably a 16:8 fast. Fasting has been around for centuries, but it’s not right for everyone.

What is fasting? 

Before you consider fasting as part of your diet and exercise plan, educate yourself on the different types of fasting. Religious fasts often include not eating for many days or even weeks at a time. This type of fasting can be particularly dangerous for people with diabetes. 

Intermittent fasts are broken down by when you restrict food intake. A 5:2 fast allows you to eat your regular diet five days a week and restricts calories to 600 calories a day for men and 500 calories for women on the two fasting days. The popular 16:8 fast means you fast for 16 hours a day and eat all your daily calories in the remaining 8 hours. 

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Some dieters find the freedom of eating regular meals five days a week makes up for two days of strict fasting, or that they aren’t really all that hungry when they eat three meals in eight hours instead of stretching out their meals and snacking over the entire day. The diet plan is easy to follow because it doesn’t include any measuring of food or counting of calories.

A few very limited studies have shown intermittent fasting to lower A1C levels and increase weight loss. 

Dangers of Intermittent Fasting

Every diet has pros and cons. Intermittent fasting may help prevent type 2 diabetes, but it’s not a good option for those who already have the disease. Fasting may cause lower blood sugar levels, which can have dangerous side effects.

Because intermittent fasting does not involve measuring serving sizes or counting calories, many people will gorge on the foods they love or eat unhealthy foods during their non-fasting days. 

Fasting may also be dangerous for people with a history of eating disorders or mental health disorders.

Good Eating Habits Haven’t Changed

Regardless of whether you try eating all your meals in one eight hour stint or not, what you put in your mouth matters. Filling your plate with fruits and vegetables, adding lean protein, substituting complex carbs in place of sugary carbs, and including a few healthy fats helps you lose weight and manage diabetes and other medical conditions. The limited studies show no greater weight loss in groups who fasted than from groups who ate regular, healthy meals.

Before You Try Any Diet

Always consult your medical provider before you start any new diet or exercise routine. Your personal health conditions and medications influence how exercise and diet affect your body. We have a nutritionist on staff who can help you find the best way to manage your diet so it has the most positive effect on your health. She hosts Witcher’s Weightloss Warriors every Monday evening. It’s a free program that teaches participants how to lose weight in healthy ways. Call our clinic to learn how you can join.

Behavioral Health Conditions Headline Top Health Problems for Millennials

Behavioral Health Conditions Headline Top Health Problems for Millennials

Growing up with 24-hour news access and an increase in technology is taking its toll on millennials. A new report released by Blue Cross Blue Shield polled millennials who were 34-36 in 2017 about their health. The majority consider themselves healthy although as a generation they saw a double-digit increase in diagnoses of 8 of the top 10 diseases.

What were these top 10 health conditions? Drum roll please . . .

  1. Major depression
  2. Substance use disorder
  3. Alcohol use disorder
  4. Hypertension
  5. Hyperactivity
  6. Psychotic conditions
  7. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
  8. High cholesterol
  9. Tobacco use disorder
  10. Type 2 diabetes

Notice anything about the list? The top six are behavioral health issues.

Help is a call away

In addition to being less healthy than previous generations, millennials access healthcare differently. They expect easy access to healthcare, including telemedicine options. And they are less likely to take advantage of preventative care and develop a relationship with their provider. Instead, they only visit a medical provider when they are sick.

The first step to taking control of your health is to seek out help before it’s needed. We change the oil in our car and replace the tires before we have a problem. In a similar fashion, millennials need to visit with their provider at least yearly for preventative care. And providers should screen millennials early and often for undiagnosed behavioral health and substance abuse problems.

Partner with your health provider, and encourage your millennial children and grandchildren to make their medical provider a partner in their health.

Think you know why millennials are struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues more than other generations? Read this article on the study and possible causes to see if you’re right.

Could your dry winter skin be eczema or psoriasis?

Could your dry winter skin be eczema or psoriasis?

Between cold winter weather and the dryness of indoor heat, our skin takes a beating during the winter season. Dry, itchy skin can be a symptom of nothing more than the weather, or it may need your doctor’s attention. If you, or your child, have red, itchy patches particularly behind the knees or elbows or in the folds of their skin, you’ll need more than a little dab of lotion to cut the itch.

This time of year eczema and psoriasis tend to show up in force. Knowing which type of skin irritation you’re dealing with determines how best to treat it at home or with a doctor’s care.

Eczema

Most eczema cases show up in children as red, very itchy patches of skin on the elbows, knees, hands, feet, lower back, scalp, or face. Sometimes the itching will lead a child to scratch until they bleed. Eczema may show up for the first time in adulthood, but it’s less often seen for the first time in those ages.

First, let us share the good news. Eczema may lessen or disappear as a child moves into adulthood, and some children will experience long periods with no flare-ups. Now for the bad news. No cure for eczema exists, so you’ll have to manage the illness by treating the symptoms.

If possible, start by isolating what may have caused the flare-up. Children with allergies and asthma are more likely to experience eczema especially when they come in contact with something they are allergic to. Removing known allergens is always your first step to treating at home. Detergents and soaps, especially those with perfumes and dyes, may also cause a flare-up.

Not everything that causes eczema can be controlled. Some children who haven’t experienced a flare-up in years will break out as they enter puberty. Those changing hormones cause skin changes as well. Stress, infections, heat, and humidity may also trigger a flare.

Treatment

Start by looking for a moisturizer with an oil or cream base instead of a water base. Also read the ingredient list for alcohol. Not only will lotions with alcohol dry out your skin more, they also burn when applied to raw, irritated skin. Moderate to severe eczema often requires a prescription corticosteroid cream or other prescription treatment. If over-the-counter lotions don’t help in a few days make an appointment to see your doctor.

Psoriasis

The first case of psoriasis often appears between the ages of 15 and 30. Psoriasis often looks similar to eczema with dry, red patches of skin, but the itchiness is considerably less than with eczema. 

Cold weather, stress, and infection may trigger psoriasis just like they do eczema. Psoriasis’s other triggers, however, are less environmental. Vaccinations, sunburns, scratches, and certain medications also trigger psoriasis. And it’s often linked to more serious illnesses such as diabetes, depression, and heart disease.

Treatment

Your treatment depends on the severity of your symptoms and the cause of the flare-up. Because of the seriousness of illnesses linked to psoriasis, it’s extremely important for patients to visit with their doctor to discuss treatment.

While eczema and psoriasis initially appear similar, their treatments depend on which one you have. If you’ve noticed red, patchy, itchy skin that doesn’t go away on its own make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your options. You shouldn’t have to suffer through an itchy winter.

Rural, Uninsured Women at Higher Risk for Cervical Cancer

Rural, Uninsured Women at Higher Risk for Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer isn’t the cancer of old women, just ask celebrities like Erin Andrews, Liz Lange, or Judy Blume. It’s most commonly diagnosed in women under age 50, which increases the importance of screening in these women.

Most patients don’t experience any symptoms during the earliest stages of cervical cancer when treatment is most effective. Screenings, however, can detect cancer and pre-cancerous cells early. 

Screenings

Pap tests look for changes in cells that could turn into cancer later. In the past, doctors encouraged women to have a pap smear every year. In the last decade, however, recommendations have changed to every three years for women ages 21 to 65. 

Women over age 30 may elect to have an HPV screening which tests for human papillomavirus, the virus which can cause cervical cancer. If you test positive for this virus, your doctor may recommend more frequent screenings.

Vaccinations

In 2006, the HPV vaccine was released in an effort to significantly reduce the occurrence of the virus which can lead to cervical cancer. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. Since introducing the vaccine, rates of HPV infection have dramatically decreased. Doctors encourage both females and males ages 9-26 to receive the vaccine. 

Challenges

Reducing the number of women with the HPV virus and catching cervical cancer early sounds easy enough, right? Unfortunately, the cost of testing and vaccines often means women in rural areas without insurance may slip between the cracks. These women receive the most cervical cancer diagnoses. 

Mantachie Rural Health Care offers $15 pap tests and provides the HPV vaccines for low or no cost for uninsured or underinsured patients. Staying on top of your health shouldn’t be hard or expensive. Schedule your pap test and yearly check-up today. Your health is worth the time.

Sweet or Unsweet: Common Diabetes Medications

common diabetes medications

Lifestyle changes will most likely be the first suggestion your doctor makes after your type 2 diabetes diagnosis. The thought of changing your eating habits, adding exercise into an already full schedule, and monitoring your blood sugar can be overwhelming. Depending on how high your A1C is, your doctor may prescribe one of these common diabetes medications. 

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics take different types of medication because the types respond differently to insulin. Most Type 2 diabetes patients control their diabetes through oral medication.

Not all diabetes medication is right for every patient. Your doctor prescribes the type of medication based on your symptoms and how well your diabetes is controlled. Every addition of medication to your routine comes with questions you should ask your provider if they don’t supply the answer to these questions when they suggest the medication. Your pharmacy provided printouts contain most of this information, but talking to your doctor about these questions should still be the first step.

  • When and how often should you take the medication?
  • What should you do if you miss a dose?
  • What are the common side effects of this medication?
  • Why did your provider prescribe this particular medication?
  • Will Medicare, Medicaid, or your private insurance cover this medication?
  • Will this medication react with any other medications I’m taking?

Below are several of the most common Type 2 diabetes medications. We included a little information about each one. You can find more about these medications rxlist.com.

Metformin

Many providers prescribe metformin as the first medication for treating Type 2 diabetes. These medications help your body become more sensitive to insulin. They also decrease the amount of sugar your intestines absorb. It comes with side effects such as weight gain and possibly low blood sugar. Metformin is in a family of drugs called biguanides and may be combined with other medications also used to treat Type 2 diabetes.

Sulfonylureas

These medications stimulate the pancreas to make more insulin. Like Metformin, the side effects may include weight gain and low blood sugar.

Meglitinides

Like Sulfonylureas, these medications stimulate your pancreas to make more insulin, but they are faster acting and the effect lasts for a shorter length of time. These medications may lower your blood sugar too much.

Thiazolidinediones

These medications work a lot like Metformin in that they make your body more sensitive to glucose. Unfortunately, they come with more serious side-effects such as an increased risk of heart failure, heart disease, and anemia. Your provider will monitor your heart function closely if you take one of these medications. The increased risk of serious side effects means it probably won’t the first medication your provider prescribes.

DPP-4 inhibitors

These medications have less of a tendency to cause low blood sugar while helping the body make more insulin. They may cause joint pain and increase your risk of pancreatitis.

GLP-1 receptor agonists

This family of drugs slows digestion and helps lower blood sugar levels. They are injectable medications versus oral medications most often used. Patients with certain heart disease or chronic kidney disease are more likely to receive these medications as they may reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. The medications often cause weight loss and may also have side effects like nausea and an increased risk of pancreatitis.

SGLT2 inhibitors

Unlike other diabetes medications, these drugs prevent the kidney from holding on to the glucose. Instead, your body excretes the sugar through your urine. These medications may also reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Possible side effects include vaginal yeast infections, urinary tract infections, low blood pressure, and a higher risk of diabetic ketoacidosis. 

Insulin

Insulin was once the last resort for treating type 2 diabetes, but today it’s prescribed earlier due to its benefits. This medication must be injected. Your provider has a variety of types of insulin available, and they may prescribe a mixture of insulin types for use at different times of the day or night. 

Cost of Medications

The cost of insulin and other diabetes medication continues to rise, and Medicare, Medicaid or your insurance may not cover all these medications. Patients at Mantachie Rural Health Care may request a 340B card at the time of their appointment for discounts on prescriptions. Discounts vary, but Fulton Walmart, Mantachie Pharmacy, and Saltillo Pharmacy and Solutions accept the cards.

My HealthCare Provider Isn’t Listening

My HealthCare Provider Isn't Listening

Improving your health relies on your partnership with your medical provider, especially when you suffer from a chronic illness such as diabetes, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis among others. Your provider may be an advanced practice nurse practitioner, a family doctor or a specialist with all the initials after their names, but you know your body. When something isn’t right, it’s important for you to feel comfortable explaining all your symptoms to your provider. And it’s equally important to have a provider who listens.

Patient-doctor relationships rely on both parties to fully participate in the appointment. If you’re concerned your provider isn’t listening, try these steps to get your relationship back on track.

Write Down the Details

Many health problems have similar symptoms. Write down the dates and situations when your symptoms started, improved or worsened. Bring a list of medications you take regularly. Be willing to discuss the hard truths including any illicit drug use, the amount of alcohol you regularly consume, your mental health status, and sexual symptoms. Your provider needs the full picture to make an accurate diagnosis. If you’ve written down the details, you won’t have to rely on your own memory when you may feel rushed during an appointment.

Bring Someone with You

Illness, medication, and pain can cloud our thoughts and make it hard to remember what we wanted to say or what the doctor recommended. A trusted friend or family member can help you remember what the doctor said and ask questions you may not think to ask. They can also back you up if you don’t think the doctor is listening. It’s easier to advocate for someone else than ourselves.

Make Notes

You wrote down your symptoms and information prior to your appointment. Use that same notebook to write down what the doctor says. Most offices provide a print out of instructions, tests run and diagnoses after the appointment. It’s a great reference sheet. Make your own notes about what the doctor is saying to review later. They may help you create a list of questions for your next appointment.

Ask Questions

Sometimes medical providers use big words and acronyms that don’t make sense to the rest of us. If your provider suggests a specific test, discusses your test results or prescribes a new medication, ask for details. You may also ask how to spell any words you don’t understand. Even if the provider doesn’t explain what it means well you can do your own research after the appointment.

Do Your Research

Providers do get tired of patients who self diagnose with Dr. Google. If anyone searches through the symptom checker long enough they’ll find a chronic illness or cancer diagnosis waiting to happen. In truth, most of us don’t have these rare diseases and your search on Google can cause more alarm than is needed. Once you’ve been diagnosed though, arm yourself with information especially if you have a chronic condition. Stick to websites with varified information such as Mayo Clinic, CDC, or medical research schools. National organizations focused on your health condition may also provide up-to-date research information. You can also ask your provider where you can find more information on your condition.

Complete the Patient Survey

Most medical facilities, including ours, requests patients complete a satisfaction survey. If you’re uncomfortable confronting a provider whose bedside manner isn’t what you’d hoped it would be, you can ensure clinic management knows about the problem by completing the survey. (Another note, if your provider does an excellent job tell us about that too!)

Find An Alternative Provider

We offer this as a last resort. If your medical provider repeatedly brushes off your concerns or treats your symptoms without searching for a root cause, it might be time to search for another provider. We encourage our patients to develop a relationship with their provider, especially if they have chronic conditions. This ensures you work with a provider who understands your history. Changing providers isn’t something we take lightly, but it is an option you might want to explore if your provider isn’t giving the care you expect.

Everyone has a bad day. Sometimes a provider’s less than attentive visit has more to do with an emergency situation they may have recently managed than a lack of concern for your health. If you’ve had one bad experience with any provider, we encourage you to give them another chance before looking for care elsewhere. If you feel your current provider isn’t listening, we invite you to make an appointment with one of our providers. We strive to be your patient-centered medical home.

Poor Nutrition Leads to Blindness in Teen

Poor Nutrition Leads to Blindness in Teen

The story headlined WedMD, FoxNews, and CNN this week. A British teen who ate only potato chips, French fries, cold cuts, and white bread for years went blind due to his poor nutrition.

Although the boy’s food choices consisted of high-calorie carb-heavy foods, his BMI and weight stayed in the normal range. 

“But the lack of essential vitamins and minerals took its toll. Anemia set in, his bone mineral density plummeted, and his levels of vitamin B-12, vitamin D, copper and selenium all cratered,” reported WebMD.com.

His lack of nutrition first led to tiredness. Hearing and vision problems then developed before he was diagnosed with “nutritional optic neuropathy.”

The boy’s diagnosis is a rare and extreme case. It highlights the importance of a varied diet for the sake of health, not just weight. Diets limited to a few foods, especially highly-processed foods, reduce the consumption of vitamins and nutrients our bodies need to function well.

Vitamin supplements can replace some vitamins we don’t receive from our diet. However, they’re meant to be a supplement, not our sole source of vitamins. The best way to receive vitamins and nutrients is through the foods we eat. A diet of unprocessed foods, vegetables, and fruits provides benefits beyond better-controlled weight and blood glucose levels.

Picky Eaters

For parents of picky eaters, it’s tempting to give in to their preferred foods. Nutritionists encourage parents to continue offering a variety of foods and then encourage their children to try new menu items. Some children and adults experience a heightened sensitivity to certain foods and food textures. They may benefit from a visiting a nutritionist and primary care provider as a great first step to improving the variations of foods they consume.

For most children, picky eating is a phase. Others may require a combination of physician care and mental health therapy to move past their extreme picky eating. 

If you’re looking for ways to increase the variety of nutrient-dense foods in your diet, try our Witcher’s Weight Loss Warriors. This group meets every Monday and provides information on menu planning and food education. Or if you believe your or your child’s picky eating has stretched on for years and you need additional help, contact us for an appointment with one of our providers or our registered dietician. 

Differences in Emotional Vs. Mental Health

sky; emotional vs mental health

Do you know the difference in emotional health and mental health? We often hear the terms used interchangeably, but they refer to two different areas of a person’s health. While emotional and mental health work together, it’s possible to be strong in one area and weaker in another.

Mental Health

The way our brain processes and understands information refers to our mental health. It includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Our mental health affects our relationships, how we manage stress, and how we exercise reason.

Symptoms of mental health problems affect us physically through mood changes, lack of energy, over- or under-eating, abusing drugs or alcohol, having suicidal thoughts, sleeping too much or not enough, feeling helpless, or having an inability to perform daily tasks.

Mental health disorders include bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia among others.

Emotional Health

Our emotional health dictates how we react to situations and circumstances based on how our mental health interprets that information. Expressing emotion in an age-appropriate way indicates good emotional health. It requires us to manage our emotions and determine the correct response to situations.

Better Together

While mental health and emotional health refer to two different areas of our health, they work together to help us manage everyday stress. When we can process information from a situation correctly, we’re more likely to respond in an emotionally correct way. This allows us to manage difficult and even traumatic events to find solutions, develop resiliency, and learn coping skills.

Difficulties with your mental or emotional health are not cause for shame. Statistics show 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness this year. Instability in mental or emotional health can lead to problems at work and in relationships and can lead to abuse of drugs and alcohol. 

Don’t struggle alone. Reach out for help now. Our counselors are ready to help you face your mental or emotional health struggles so you can lead a stronger, healthier life. To make an appointment call us at 662-282-4359.  

Combating Deviations in Morning Blood Sugar

woman waking up; combating deviations in your morning blood sugar

No matter how well you control your diabetes everyone has problems from time to time. One of the most common diabetes complicates is deviations in morning blood sugar. These highs or lows can cause problems throughout the day and can be caused by medications, changes in diet, exercise, or hormone levels.

Low Morning Blood Sugar

The main cause of low morning blood sugar levels (also known as hypoglycemia) in diabetic patients is an excess of background or long-acting insulin. Blood sugar levels are considered low if they dip below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Readings that reach 54 mg/dL and lower are cause for concern and immediate medical treatment.

Symptoms of low morning blood sugar include:

  • headache
  • sweating
  • dry mouth
  • nausea
  • lightheadedness
  • dizziness
  • shaking
  • hunger
  • anxiety
  • blurred vision
  • pounding heartbeat

Consistently low morning blood sugar can lead to tiredness and headaches that last throughout the day. It may also reduce your awareness of low blood sugar levels which can be dangerous if those levels drop into the severe range.

If you’re experiencing low morning blood sugar levels, your first step is to visit with your medical provider. Your provider may want to adjust your insulin dosage or timing before bed. Other causes of low blood sugar may include drinking alcohol before bed, forgetting your regular bedtime snack or changing what you eat, or exercising too late in the day.

Other ways to combat low morning blood sugar include eating a bedtime snack of carbs and protein, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, and exercising earlier in the day.

Dawn Phenomenon

On the flip side of low blood sugar levels, some diabetic patients find they wake with high blood sugar levels. Our bodies are designed to release hormones that increase blood sugar levels in the morning. This blood sugar ensures we have the energy we need to wake up and get started on our day. Bodies without diabetes release insulin to manage the excess blood sugar. Diabetic patients don’t respond to insulin the say way so you may wake up with high blood sugar.

Dawn Phenomenon may not be the only reason you’re experiencing high blood sugar levels. Other causes may include not taking enough insulin the night before, other medications, or a change in your bedtime snack. 

If your blood sugar levels are high for several mornings in a row check it during the night between 2-3 a.m. and take those numbers to your medical provider. They can help you determine if the Dawn Phenomenon is the problem and how to treat it.

Somogyi effect

The other cause of high morning is the Somogyi effect. This usually has more to do with diabetes management rather than naturally occurring hormone changes like in the Dawn Phenomenon. The Somogyi effect is caused by taking too much or too little insulin before bed or skipping your bedtime snack. If your blood sugar levels drop too low at night, your body may produce more glucose in an effort to prevent dangerously low blood sugars. The effect leaves you with high morning blood sugars, also called rebound hyperglycemia.

Before making changes to your diet, insulin doses, or other routines consult with your medical provider. They can help pinpoint the cause of your low or high blood sugar and work with you to formulate a solution. If you don’t have a provider who regularly helps you manage your diabetes, our providers are ready to assist you with management for a healthier, happier lifestyle.


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