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Minority Health and Diabetes

Minority Health and Diabetes

minorities and type 2 Diabetes

Two 2018 reports from the Office of Minority Health outlined the higher rates of type 2 diabetes among minorities than non-Hispanic white Americans. Specifically, non-Hispanic African-Americans were 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than non-Hispanic white Americans. Non-Hispanic black Americans were also twice as likely to die from diabetes as non-Hispanic Caucasian Americans. In the same year, Hispanics in the U.S. were 70 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than white Americans and they were also 1.3 times as likely to die from the same disease as non-Hispanic whites. 

Why are minorities in America more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than white Americans? 

Social disparities among minorities are the most common culprits. The inability to afford or access healthy foods as well as poor access to healthcare providers and gyms are just a few reasons why minorities struggle to maintain their health. These struggles are especially evident in rural areas where public transportation and access to local medical providers are few and far between. 

What is the healthcare community doing to help minorities have better health?

The CDC has implemented several programs to address social health disparities among minorities. They have partnered with private and public organizations to develop the National Diabetes Prevention Program. However, enrollment among minorities into this program has been low so the CDC has also funded 10 national organizations to start new in-person and online programs in underserved areas. Participants of the program work with a trained lifestyle coach to learn how to eat healthily, exercise properly, and make good lifestyle choices.  

While national organizations like the CDC are doing what they can to bring better health to minorities across the US, Mantachie Rural Healthcare is doing our part to provide diabetes care and education to all people groups in our rural community, including minorities. We offer an income-based sliding scale for healthcare, free monthly diabetes education courses, and access to a dietitian and other health professionals to help our patients learn how to become healthy. To schedule your first visit with us, dial 662-282-4226 or click here to request an appointment. 

Delicious Foods to Protect Your Health Over 50

Aging isn’t for the faint of heart. Between sagging skin and higher risks of chronic health conditions, our bodies are fighting more than time once we click past the half-century mark. But you still have a lot of life to live and adventures to take, so buckle up for a drive through some delicious food territory that will tickle your taste buds and keep your mind and body active for decades to come.

Fish

Let’s start with something versatile and delicious: fish! Particularly fatty fish like salmon, albacore tuna, herring and farmed trout. Try to eat fish at least twice a week. These main dishes are filled with DHA, which is good for your brain. If you aren’t a fish fan, other great sources of DHA include walnuts, flaxseed, and chia seed. 

Protein

Keeping on the theme of main dishes, protein helps you fight muscle and bone loss, but don’t rely on processed meats or too many protein powders. Eggs, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, and poultry provide your body with superior nutrition without the extra salt and additives that could increase your risk of heart disease and cancer. Varying your protein options keeps you from getting bored with your food choices and reduces the chances you’ll slip back those processed easy foods.

Calcium

Sure milk and cheese are yummy ways to reach your goal of 1200 milligrams of calcium per day, but why limit yourself? Yogurt, rice, soy drinks, fortified orange juice, tofu, and broccoli can help you reach your goal too. Did you know cooked broccoli releases even more health benefits for your body? Roast some in the oven, cook it in a sauce, or throw it on the grill for a different take on this green veggie.

Fruit

What goes better with yogurt, cubed cheese, or a smoothie than your favorite fruits. Every fruit offers unique benefits to your health. Red fruits like watermelon and strawberries are rich in lycopene which could lower your risk of cancer and may protect you against strokes. Blueberries hit everyone’s “must eat” list because they are rich in vitamins A and C as well as antioxidants like anthocyanin and compounds that lower inflammation. Citrus fruits have anti-inflammatory properties and may help protect you against some cancers. You’ll receive the most benefit from eating all these fruits fresh instead of cooked into pastries.

Cabbage and Cruciferous Vegetables

Our immune health has taken a front seat in recent months, and nothing could be better for bolstering your immune system than foods in the cabbage family. Don’t like cabbage itself? No problem. This family includes a wide variety of vegetables such as kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and radishes as well as maybe less known choices such as arugula, bok choy, horseradish, rutabaga, turnips, watercress, and wasabi. Many of these also fall into the “dark leafy green” category which means they do double duty to protect your eyes, memory, and thinking. Look for creative ways to cook any of these vegetables including roasting them, eating them in salads, or mixing them into other dishes.

Fiber and Whole Grains

So far we’ve built a pretty tasty plate with fish, fruit, cheese, and some roasted veggies, but you still need to add fiber and whole grains to your diet. Many of the foods we’ve already mentioned include much of the fiber you need, but as you age you need more fiber than before. Men over 50 should aim for 30 grams of fiber a day, and women should aim for 21 grams. Fiber not only helps keep your digestive system regular, but it lowers cholesterol, helps manage your blood sugar, and keeps your weight healthy. Whole grains provide another great source of fiber plus they add B-6 and folate to keep your brain healthy. You’re not limited to whole wheat bread, though. Quinoa, wheat berries, and whole-wheat couscous can add variety to your diet.

Spice It Up

Spices not only add delicious flavor to your foods, but they provide benefits all on their own. As you age, your sense of taste and smell change. You’re more likely to lose sensitivity to salty and bitter foods first, which may drive you to oversalt foods or lean toward sweets instead. You can up the flavor of your foods with non-salt spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, rosemary, and garlic. 

Water

As you age, you won’t notice your thirst as often as you once did. This leads senior adults to be more vulnerable to dehydration. Aim to drink eight 8-ounce cups of water a day. Add fruit juice, tea, soup, and those fruits and vegetables with high water content to help you reach your goal if needed. 

Finding the right mix of nutritious, yummy foods to meet your unique dietary needs can be a challenge, especially if you have high blood pressure or diabetes. We have a registered dietcian, Erica Witcher, on our staff. When you meet with our doctor or nurse practitioners, her services are included with your visit at no additional charge. Request your appointment with both our nurse practitioner and dietitian by calling (662) 282-4226.

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. 

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.

The Benefits of an Annual Wellness Visit

The Benefits of an Annual Wellness Visit

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

Wellness exams help you fight illnesses and live longer. 

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

Wellness visits improve provider-patient relationships.

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

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

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

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

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

Six Foods You Thought Were Healthy But Aren’t

Six Foods You Thought Were Healthy But Aren't

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

Orange juice and other fruit juices.

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

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

Baked potato

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

Store-bought smoothies

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

Flavored yogurt

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

Whole wheat

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

Dried Fruits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ask about their protocol for possible coronavirus patients.

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

Take your own protective measures.

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

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

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

340B Care Makes Medication More Affordable

340B Care Makes Medication More Affordable

We hear a lot from our patients and on the news about how expensive medication is. Some of our patients must make a choice each month of whether to purchase groceries or medication. It’s a no-win situation that leaves us and you feeling frustrated. We offer all our patients the 340B card as a way to help manage the costs of medications. 

The 340B card has been around for almost thirty years. Congress enacted the card in 1992 as part of the Public Health Service Act to assist covered entities by “stretching scarce federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services.”

When you can afford your medications, we know you’re more likely to be compliant with your health management plan. That means, you’re less likely to need emergency care or hospital admissions. 

Other prescription assistance options

The 340B card makes a big difference for a lot of our patients, but what and how much it covers varies based on whether you have insurance and what it covers. Other patients rely on pharmaceutical company’s direct patient assistance programs to help pay out of pocket costs for medications.

Not every drug company offers a patient assistance program, and how much those programs cover varies. Some programs help patients cover large co-pays while others may cover the entire cost of the drug for uninsured patients.

Here’s the bottom line. If you’re struggling to pay for expensive medications, you are not alone. Medications for chronic illnesses can be expensive. Don’t let the expense keep you from taking care of your health. The longer you put off diagnosis and treatment of problems, the harder it will be to get your health under control. And the more long term damage your body will suffer. 

We can help you find ways to afford the medications you need. Whether it’s through the 340B program our clinic offers or assisting you with finding a patient assistance program to help cover the costs. If you are one of our patients, be honest with your provider about the hardship of paying for your medication. If you aren’t one of our patients, it’s easy to fix that. Call us at 662-282-4226 for your first appointment. 

Herb Garden Yields Multiple Health Benefits

Herb Garden Yields Multiple Health Benefits

In the South, everyone knows someone who has a garden, even if they don’t have one themselves. Getting started with a vegetable garden can be a daunting task, especially if you have a small yard or pets who like to dig. If you’re looking for an easy way to start gardening with optimal results consider starting with an herb garden.

Health Benefits

Herbs themselves offer health benefits. Sage may improve memory. Peppermint is known to relieve IBS symptoms. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory. And basil can improve your immunity. 

In addition to the direct benefits of herbs, gardening provides its own benefits. The physical work of gardening counts toward your exercise quota for the day. It also improves mental well-being and relieves stress.

Saves Money

Have you bought herbs at the grocery store lately? Whether you purchase herbs dried or fresh, they can cost a pretty penny. Having fresh herbs right outside your door allows you the benefit without the cost. Herbs may be grown easily through seeds, which are generally inexpensive. Many herbs grow in plentiful amounts which allows you to share with neighbors and friends.

Easy to grow in small spaces

Herbs look as pretty as some shrubs and greenery. You can plant them in front or side flower beds even if you don’t have room for a garden in the back. Apartment dwellers can plant in pretty pots, which take up much less space than a truck patch garden.

Learn something

Growing plants from seeds teaches us all something. We can learn about different varieties of plants and how they grow best. Some herbs like well-drained soil while others prefer to keep it wet. Researching different varieties of herbs and how they grow best is a great exercise for the entire family.

You can also learn new recipes and which herbs go best with certain dishes. Being able to grow your own food gives you some independence regardless of how the shelves at the grocery store look. 

A starting point

The most common and easiest herbs to grow in pots include:

  • Mint
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Chives
  • Bay
  • Parsley

Don’t stop here. Research different varieties of herbs or which herbs go best with your favorite dishes. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try growing something different. You might find a new favorite.

Managing Diabetes Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Managing Diabetes Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

As if our patients with Type 2 Diabetes didn’t have enough to worry about, they’re now listed in the category at the highest risk of complications from the current Coronavirus pandemic. Following the CDC guidelines to wash your hands frequently, maintain a six-foot distance from people when you must go out, and staying home as much as possible is even more important for these patients. We’re working with our diabetes patients to ensure they maintain a great quality of care while protecting their health during these difficult days.

Resources

The American Diabetes Association put together some great resources on preparing to stay home long-term during the Coronavirus pandemic. They also offer guidance on how to take action if you do become sick. You can access that information here.

Reassurances

One of the ADA’s recommendations is to have extra refills on your insulin and to always have enough insulin on hand for the week ahead. These instructions can cause financial hardship. Some people also worry it will cause a shortage of insulin supplies. Three of the largest insulin providers in the US made statements earlier this month that their supply is stable. If for some reason your pharmacy doesn’t have enough of your insulin on hand, ask them to check with other area pharmacies if you can’t wait.

Refills

Eli Lilly announced earlier this month that they would cap costs for most monthly insulin refills for commercially insured or uninsured patients at $35. We aren’t sure at this time if other insulin companies will follow suit. Buying insulin and other diabetic supplies and medication isn’t cheap. Patients of Mantachie Rural Health Care can request a 340B pharmacy card from our office at the time of their next appointment. If you’re an established patient, you can call our office to learn more. This card reduces prescription costs for thousands of medications. How much your cost is reduced depends on your insurance coverage and the medication.

We want to keep all our patients healthy and thriving during these uncertain times. We’re passing along as much information as possible to keep you updated. If you have questions about your diabetes treatment or management of other chronic illnesses, call our office for an appointment.


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