Tag Archives: conditions

National Depression Education & Awareness Month

National Depression Education & Awareness Month

It’s National Depression Education & Awareness Month, and depression affects over 19 million people in the U.S.

There are several types of depression, but the most common one is major depression. Symptoms of major depression stop you from enjoying your daily life for at least 2 weeks straight.

Major Depression

 

Postpartum depression affects mothers after giving birth and can make it difficult to bond with or even care for their new babies.

Postpartum Depression

 

Seasonal affective disorder is a common kind of depression where your mood is affected by the changes in the seasons, and the colder months of the year drain you of energy.

Fighting SAD

 

Depression can be caused by genetics, trauma, stress, brain structure, brain chemistry, substance abuse, and even other conditions like sleep issues, ADHD, and chronic pain.

Reasons for Depression

 

While symptoms can vary, adults suffering from depression usually feel overwhelmed with sadness. Children and teens are more likely to be irritable. Women also tend to note anxiety, while men report aggression.

The Differences in Depression Symptom

 

80 to 90% of those who seek depression treatment will get the help they need. Antidepressants are a powerful treatment, and there are more treatment options than ever, from therapy to meditation and yoga.

How Treatment Can Help Depression

 

Depression is tied to a higher risk of suicidal behavior. If you or someone you love is struggling with suicidal thoughts, it’s important to talk to a doctor.

If you need to talk to someone immediately, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Getting Help for Suicidal Thoughts

Better Hearing and Speech Month

Better Hearing and Speech Month

May is also Better Hearing and Speech Month, and we had education for you all week.

Your balance and risk of falling are tied to your inner ear, so ear infections, inner ear disorders, and objects in your ear can actually make you fall. Audiologists can help.

Your Ears and Falls

 

As a parent, do you know the early warning signs of speech, language, and hearing disorders? 

The Signs of Communication Disorders

 

Make sure you know how to recognize the signs of a communication disorder.

 

If your child is falling behind, you may want to have their hearing checked.

Hearing Loss & Academic Achievement

 

Hearing loss affects sentence structure and speech development.

Hearing Loss and Sentence Structure

 

If your child doesn’t use these sounds or letters, talk to their doctor about a hearing test.

Hearing Loss and Speech

 

Hearing loss makes learning vocab even harder for children.

Hearing Loss and Vocabulary

National Arthritis Awareness Month

National Arthritis Awareness Month

May is National Arthritis Awareness Month, and arthritis is America’s number one cause of disability. There are also nearly 1 million hospitalizations each year because of arthritis.

Coping with Arthritis

 

Nearly 53 million adults and almost 300,000 babies, kids, and teens have arthritis or a rheumatic condition. Learn more about arthritis.

People with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis miss 172 million days of work per year. Learn about the different kinds of arthritis and be prepared.

Fighting Back Against Arthritis

 

Many people with arthritis also have other serious conditions. 57% of adults with heart disease, 52% of those with diabetes, and 44% of those with high blood pressure, have arthritis. Learn more about arthritis research.

Struggling with Arthritis and Health Conditions

 

1/3 of adults with arthritis who would normally be working have limitations in their ability to work, and overall, they’re less likely to be employed than those without arthritis. If you have arthritis, learn more about managing your pain.

Arthritis & Work-Life Limitations

 

Arthritis and its related conditions account for over $156 billion in yearly lost wages and medical expenses. If you have arthritis though, you have treatment options.

The Cost of Arthritis

 

If you need support emotionally or the tools and resources to make healthy changes like exercise and diet that can improve your arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation can help.

The Arthritis Support You Need

Your Personal Health Coach

Vantage Point: A Helping Health Hand

Not every coach is as well known as Pete Carrol of the Seattle Seahawks, but Susan DeLong, our nurse case manager and health coach in our Wenatchee office, is key to our team.

She’s smart, caring, a good listener, and a compassionate advocate. You will probably never see her on TV, but in our members’ eyes, her work is just as important and meaningful as any superstar’s.

Managing a health condition can be hard, and a health coach is someone with extensive experience who can be a consistent source of support. There’s so much information that it can be hard to know what’s key. One of the benefits of a Medicare Advantage plan like ours is the free education and support a health coach can provide.

At Health Alliance, a health coach like Susan can give our members:

  • Answers to questions about their conditions
  • Tools and lifestyle skills to minimize the risk of problems
  • Information about self-care skills
  • Free educational materials and resources about managing conditions
  • Support on the phone at their convenience
  • Help keeping them, their provider, and their caregivers connected
  • Help making the most of their healthcare benefits

Health coaches do not replace medical care from a doctor, but instead work with their primary care physician as part of a team to make sure their management plan is working.

Compassionate nurses like Susan also help identify warning signs for possible health problems, and they make sure members have a plan, day or night, to handle those issues if they become serious.

Susan also works hard to troubleshoot these issues before they become serious health problems. For example, she helps members understand the importance of refilling prescriptions and outlines what they should do if their drugs run out too soon.

Susan even partners with community resource agencies, like Meals on Wheels and the Confluence Health Patient Service Department, to help our members overcome barriers to their care. She knows when a member has a hospital stay or ER visit, and she tracks follow-up appointments and makes sure any meds they’re sent home with will work well with their current prescriptions.

But just like famous coaches, a big part of the job is to motivate. Susan empowers our members to take an active part in their health by setting attainable goals, and we value the important role she plays in our team and in lending a helping hand to our members.

Shannon Sims is a Medicare community liaison for Health Alliance, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan counties in Washington. She has four sons and two grandsons. During her time off, she performs as part of a rodeo drill team on her horse, Skeeter.      

National Epilepsy Month

National Epilepsy Month

November was also National Epilepsy Month.

Epilepsy is a chronic disorder where you have regular seizures, sometimes more than one kind. While seizures may affect the whole body, the electrical events that cause them start in the brain. Where it starts, how it spreads, and how much of the brain is affected can all have long term effects.

Sometimes, people with epilepsy have similar EEG tests, clinical history, and family history, and their conditions are usually a specific epilepsy syndrome. Besides the physical effects on your body and brain, epilepsy can also affect your physical safety, your ability to drive and work, and even your relationships.

Seizures are more common than you might realize.

2

Connect with people who have epilepsy and great resources on Living Well with Epilepsy.

Do you know what to do if someone is having a seizure? Learn more.

3

Save

Bone and Joint Health National Awareness Week

2015 Bone and Joint Health National Awareness Week

This week is Bone and Joint Health National Awareness Week. 54% of Americans over 18 have these conditions.

1

 

1 in 3 people over 18 needed medical care for bone and joint conditions in the last decade, 19% more than the last decade.

2

 

Bone and joint conditions are the most common cause of long-term pain and disability worldwide.

3

 

Since Baby Boomers started on Medicare, the cost of bone and joint health has risen, and is expected to continue for decades.

4

 

October 16th was World Arthritis Day. Find an event and resources or get involved.

5

 

October 17th was World Spine Day. Learn more about protecting your back and spine at work.

October 18th was World Trauma Day. Around the world, people are still learning to protect a life in critical situations. Learn more.

7

Save

Washington Wildfire Season

Vantage Point: Service in Times of Crisis

As I stopped for gas in Cle Elum on my way to Seattle, the store clerk asked me, “How’s the smoke outside?”

“I’m from Wenatchee,” I said.

“So sorry,” she genuinely replied.

The word “sorry,” I have expressed it too many times during this summer’s devastating wildfire season. Everyone at Health Alliance has felt helpless, halfheartedly going about their day-to-day duties, distracted by worry for our friends and neighbors suffering to the north.

One person who’s not feeling helpless is Cindy Marshall, a registered nurse and Health Alliance’s utilization review coordinator. She took the time to become a Red Cross disaster nurse volunteer to help in these kinds of emergencies.

She told me the recent fire crisis has been extremely unique and challenging because the volatile, unpredictable winds keep shifting the fire danger, affecting many towns and causing new evacuation orders.

And it can be hard to help in these conditions. The Greater Inland Northwest Chapter of the American Red Cross has 11 stations spread over a large area right now, and many times they have set up a station, only to have to tear it down to move it to safety when the winds change.

Red Cross stations serve as a hub of activity during an emergency, but Cindy described entering a station to volunteer as anything but chaos. She knows exactly where to check in and which duties are most important. The station lead does a tremendous job of organizing priorities and reporting changes, and the team is experienced in troubleshooting solutions to issues as they arise.

Cindy is perfect for this role, as it’s much the same as what she does for Health Alliance. When one of our members has a healthcare emergency, Cindy is also there for them.

But the thing that makes Cindy truly exceptional, what keeps her volunteering weekends and evenings for the Red Cross and successful in her role at Health Alliance, is her caring and humble heart.

“So many people are doing so much more than me,” she said, crediting the firefighters who are putting their lives on the line and breathing in the heavy smoke.

To our members, community partners, and providers affected, please know that the word isn’t enough. We are more than sorry. We empathize with you through this crisis, and we will be here to support you in recovery.

Cindy expressed it best. “My number one priority is taking care of a person’s immediate safety and health care, but afterwards, sometimes the only thing you can do is hug them and let them cry.”

Shannon Sims is a Medicare community liaison for Health Alliance, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties in Washington. She has four adult sons and two grandsons. During her time off, she performs as part of a rodeo drill team on her horse, Skeeter.