Tag Archives: treatment

Coping with Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders Awareness Week

This week was Eating Disorders Awareness Week, so we gave you facts about the mental illness each day and advice on how to build a healthy relationship with food.

Eating disorders are mental illnesses that cause unhealthy relationships with food, and approximately 24 million people in the U.S. struggle with one. Find help.

Eating Disorders

 

50% of people with eating disorders also suffer from depression, and only 10% of people with them get treatment. Find help.

Depression and Eating Disorders

 

91% of women said they controlled their weight through dieting, and 22% said they dieted “often” or “always.” Find help.

Unhealthy Dieting

 

Men make up 10-15% of those with anorexia and bulimia, but are the least likely to get help. Find help.

Men and Eating Disorders

 

69% of girls ages 10-18 say that models and celebrities in magazines inspired their ideal body shape, and more than 50% of teen girls will smoke, skip meals, fast, or vomit to control their weight. Find help.

Setting Unhealthy Expectations

 

An estimated 25% of college-age girls binge and purge to manage their weight, and 58% say they felt social pressure to maintain a certain size. Find help.

Food Binging

 

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. For women ages 15-24, the mortality rate of anorexia is 12 times higher than any other cause of death. Find help.

Death by Eating Disorder

 

First up for building a healthy relationship with food was some advice from Lori Lieberman, a dietitian who works with people suffering from eating disorders. She recommends planning in advance. Even if you don’t prepare food ahead, having a mental plan of what you’re going to eat it can make mealtime easier.

Making a Plan

 

Lieberman also recommends mixing in foods you enjoy but think of as forbidden to avoid overeating and make eating enjoyable. See more of her advice for those rebuilding their relationships with food after eating disorders.

Indulge in "Bad" Foods

 

Focus on healthy fats, like avocado, salmon, and olive oil, which fill you up and are good for you.

Healthy Fats

 

Make sure you and your family eat breakfast! It’s good for you, and improves focus during the morning at school and work. See more tips for helping your kids build a healthy relationship with food.

Healthy Breakfast

 

Drink plenty of water instead of soda, even diet. You could eat a filling snack instead for the number of calories in a can of pop!

Drink More Water

 

Take time to chew your food. Studies show that eating slowly actually makes you feel full sooner. Get more tips.

Chew Your Food!

 

Remember that no food is actually bad. Building a healthy relationship with food, one that lets you have anything in moderation, lets you make healthy choices in any situation. Learn more.

Good Foods Vs. Bad Foods
Battling Winter and SAD

Long View: You Can Kick the Winter Blues

The holidays are over, and I seem to have survived. But I still have a long way to go to get through winter. I head out for work when the sun is coming up and get home well after dark. It surprises me every year, but I should probably expect it at this stage of the game. The biggest impact to me is the large increase in my power bill, but I guess that’s the price of living in central Illinois.

Unfortunately, the decrease in sunlight hours affects some people in a more serious way. They lack energy and lose interest in their work and social activities. They usually feel energetic during the rest of the year, but the winter saps their enthusiasm for everything.

If you feel like this, you might have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). But you can feel better. Dr. John Beck, Health Alliance Vice President and Senior Medical Director, has lots of advice.

“Start with your primary care physician to make sure there aren’t any underlying medical issues,” Beck says. “Your primary care physician can treat you for SAD or refer you to a specialist. It’s important to pay attention to the symptoms and what you are experiencing. Unfortunately, some of our older patients are less likely to complain about feeling depressed, even though there are lots of treatment options available. People who don’t report their symptoms will continue to experience them every year unless they address the root problem.”

People shouldn’t have to feel depressed all winter. If you have SAD, go to your primary care doctor. He or she can point you in the right direction. If you think a loved one has SAD, talk to him or her about getting the care he or she needs.

We can’t make this season any less dark or cold, but we can help you get the support and treatment you need to feel better this winter.

 

Patrick Harness is a community liaison with a long history of experience in health insurance. If you ask him to pick a color, he always chooses orange, and he is known for his inability to parallel park.

Feeling Sick with the Flu

Flu Week

This week was National Influenza Vaccination Week, so we gave you handy tips and facts about the flu each day.

The most important thing to remember for flu season is to get your shot! The sooner you and your family are protected, the better. Everyone 6 months and older should get the flu shot, especially kids, pregnant women, and the elderly.

You should be getting your yearly flu shots as soon as they become available, ideally by October. Getting vaccinated later though is still better than not at all and can decrease your risk.

You probably have the flu if you have these symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting.

If you get sick, and it’s not an emergency, stay home and avoid contact. You can infect others 1 day before symptoms and up to 5 to 7 days after you get sick.

Stay At Home

 

If you have difficulty breathing, fever with a rash, dehydration, pain in the chest, severe vomiting, or sudden dizziness, you should go to the doctor.

Flu Symptoms

 

Young kids, the pregnant, people 65 or older, and those with medical conditions are at a high risk of flu complications. Make sure you go to your doctor in these cases.

Taking Care

 

When treating it at home, rest, drink plenty of water, and take over-the-counter meds for your fever and cough.

Taking Flu Meds

 

You can also find tips for when you’re sick and healthy soup recipes on our Pinterest!

Save

Treatment Cost Calculator Savings

Take Control of your Healthcare Costs with our Treatment Cost Calculator

Today’s technology means that from airline tickets to driving routes, the power to choose is at our fingertips more than ever before. With Health Alliance’s new Treatment Cost Calculator, we extend that power to making healthcare choices, too.

This innovative tool lets you explore a wide range of options and decide for yourself where to go for care.

With the Treatment Cost Calculator you can easily:

• Review a helpful estimate of costs for specific treatments (based on your plan’s coverage)
• Compare costs for in-network and out-of-network providers
• Search by medical treatment, service, or condition
• Find doctors, hospitals, and clinics in your area

It’s a new era of patient power in health care. Try the Treatment Cost Calculator today, and feel better knowing you made an informed decision that works for you.

Log in at YourHealthAlliance.org to use the tool and learn more.

Essential Health Benefits: Get More for Your Money

Upgrading to the Meal

That glorious moment when the server at a restaurant clarifies that your meal comes with a drink … not for an extra cost, but with. Wow, what a moment. As of January 1, 2014, your health insurance plan comes with Essential Health Benefits.

If you’ve been a Health Alliance member before, we’ve covered many of these benefits for years, so you won’t see or feel much change. But if you’re new to us, welcome and enjoy!

Essential Health Benefits stretch across 10 categories. By law, no matter your age, gender, or medical history, you’re covered in these 10 areas.

Essential Health Benefits

Details

Ambulatory Patient ServicesCare you get at a doctor’s office, clinic, or outpatient surgery center, including home health services and hospice care.
Emergency ServicesCare provided in an emergency situation where you believe your health is in serious danger, like chest pain, a broken bone, or unconsciousness.
HospitalizationCare from doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, room and board, surgeries, and transplants you receive during your hospital stay, or care in a skilled nursing facility.
Laboratory ServicesTesting to help a doctor diagnose an injury, illness, or condition, or monitor how well a treatment is working.
Maternity and Newborn CarePrenatal care through newborn care.
Mental Health Services and Addiction TreatmentInpatient and outpatient care to treat a mental health condition or substance abuse.
Rehab Services and DevicesServices and devices to help you regain mental and physical skills lost because of injury, disability, or a chronic condition.
Pediatric ServicesWellness visits and recommended vaccines and immunizations for infants and children, as well as dental and vision care for children under 19 years old.
Prescription DrugsAntibiotics and medicines to treat an ongoing condition, like high cholesterol.
Preventive and Wellness Services and Chronic Disease TreatmentPhysicals, immunizations, preventive screenings, and care for chronic conditions, like asthma and diabetes.

*Some services do have limits.

Remembering with Alzheimer’s

Vantage Point: Sometimes Behavior is not a Problem, it is a Message

My grandmother died of Alzheimer’s over 15 years ago. I still remember my family’s denial. We couldn’t agree on her course of care, and it cut like a knife when she no longer recognized us.

Alzheimer’s is the third-leading cause of death in Washington. Yet current resources are treating less than five percent of those suffering. Recently, I attended an excellent presentation by Bob LeRoy of the Inland Northwest Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Bob provided some staggering data which showed in comparison to diseases like diabetes, cancer, and HIV, Alzheimer’s receives the least funding for research. Yet it has grown the most drastically.

Nationally, more than five million people live with Alzheimer’s. With 10,000 people turning 65 every day, that number will grow quickly. Alzheimer’s has become the most expensive disease to treat in America and yet still lacks resources for support. Most caregivers of those diagnosed are unpaid family members.

Sadly, since my grandma’s time there have not been major strides in awareness, education or advocacy. But there are those trailblazing a path of hope. The Inland Northwest Alzheimer’s Association has a vision of a world without Alzheimer’s, where through research they can provide and enhance care to support all affected and reduce the risk of dementia through promoting brain health. Current resources include:

• Online workshops – Know the Ten Warning Signs
• Alzheimer’s Navigator – Help creating custom plans
• Community Resource Finder
• ALZ Connect – Networking with others who care for people with dementia
• Care Team Calendar – For coordination of responsibilities among family and friends
• Safety Center – Information and resources for safety in and out of the home

Find these resources at ALZ.org, or you may call 800-272-3900 for a 24/7 helpline.

Want to get involved? ALZ.org can help you find information on a 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer’s event in your area. In Douglas County, it’s a good idea to register your loved one on the Vulnerable Persons Register to help emergency responders assist and better meet their special needs. Find more.

Health Alliance Medicare encourages its members to take advantage of their comprehensive wellness benefits and in doing so hopes any signs of dementia can be identified early.  Until there is a cure taking action can help ease the pain of Alzheimer’s, both those for those who cope with the disease and those who care for them.

 

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.

Know Your Heart Meds

Your Meds and Your Heart

Know Your Heart Meds

You don’t need to be an expert on your drugs, that’s what your doctor’s for, but you should ask questions and know the basics about your heart meds.

Whether it’s a pill for high cholesterol or your blood pressure medicine, make sure you know the answers to these questions:

  • What’s the name of my medicine?
  • What does it do?
  • What are its side effects?
  • What can I do to reduce those side effects?
  • How does this drug work with other drugs, dietary supplements, foods, or drinks?
  • How much is a one dose?
  • When’s the best time to take this medicine, like when you wake up, with breakfast, or before bed?
  • How long will I take this medicine?
  • What should I do if I miss a pill?

Helpful Terms for Understanding Your Blood Pressure Heart Meds

Blood vessels move blood through your body. These are the types of blood vessels:

  • Arteries – These carry blood away from your heart
  • Capillaries – These connect your arteries to your veins and help move water and chemicals between your blood and tissues.
  • Veins – These carry blood from your capillaries back to your heart

Did you know? If you laid all the blood vessels of an average adult in a line, it would stretch over 100,000 miles.

Kinds of Blood Pressure Heart Meds

Blood pressure meds fall into 11 different classes, but they all have the same goals, to lower and control your blood pressure.

Classes

How It Works

Possible Side Effects

DiureticsHelp your body flush extra salt and water through your urine.
  • More trips to the
    bathroom
  • Low potassium
Beta-BlockersReduce your heart rate and how much blood it pumps to lower your blood pressure.
  • Drowsiness
  • Low heart rate
  • Decreased sexual
    ability
ACE Inhibitors (Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme)Narrow your arteries and make you produce less angiotensin, so that your blood vessels can open up to lower your blood pressure.
  • Dry cough
  • High potassium levels
Angiotensin II Receptor BlockersBlock your blood vessels from angiotension, so that your blood vessels can open up to lower your blood pressure.
  • High potassium levels
Calcium
Channel Blocker
Prevents calcium from entering the muscle cells of your heart and arteries, which makes your heart’s job easier, and helps your blood vessels open up to lower your blood pressure.
  • Low heart rate
  • Uneven or rapid heartbeat
  • Constipation
  • Ankle swelling
Alpha-BlockersReduce nerve impulses to your blood vessels to let blood pass more easily.
  • Headache
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Weight gain
  • Small decreases in bad cholesterol
Central
Agonists
Decrease your blood vessels’ ability to narrow, which also helps to lower blood pressure.
  • Anemia
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased sexual
    ability
  • Fever

Source: The American Heart Association.

Kinds of Cholesterol Heart Meds

Depending on the type, cholesterol meds help:

  • Lower your bad cholesterol.
  • Lower your triglycerides, a fat in your blood that raises your risk of heart disease.
  • Increase your good cholesterol, which guards against heart disease.

Types of Cholesterol Meds

How It works

Possible Side Effects

Statins
Altoprev (lovastatin)
Crestor (rosuvastatin)
Lescol (fluvastatin)
Lipitor (atorvastatin)
Mevacor (lovastatin)
Pravachol (pravastatin)
Zocor (simvastatin)
Lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides and cause small increases in good cholesterol.
  • Constipation
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Cramps
  • Muscle soreness
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Interaction with grapefruit juice
Bile Acid Binding Resins
Colestid (colestipol)
Questran (cholestyramine/ sucrose)
Welchol (colesevelam)
Lower bad cholesterol.
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Upset stomach
  • Gas
  • May increase triglycerides
Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitor
Zetia (ezetimibe)Lowers bad cholesterol, and causes small decrease in triglycerides and small increase in good cholesterol.
  • Stomach pain
  • Exhaustion
  • Muscle soreness
Combination Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitor and Statin
Vytorin (ezetimibe-simvastatin)Lowers bad cholesterol and triglycerides and increases good cholesterol.
  • Stomach pain
  • Exhaustion
  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Cramps
  • Muscle soreness
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Interaction with grapefruit juice
Fibrates
Lofibra (fenofibrate)
Lopid (gemfibrozil)
TriCor (fenofibrate)
Lower triglycerides and increases good choleterol.
  • Upset stomach
  • Stomach pain
  • Gallstones
Niacin
Niaspan (prescription niacin)Lowers bad cholesterol and triglycerides and increases good cholesterol.
  • Flushed face and neck
  • Upset stomach
  • Throwing up
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint pain
  • High blood sugar
  • Peptic ulcers
Combination Statin and Niacin
Advicor (niacin-lovastatin)Lowers bad cholesterol and triglycerides and increases good cholesterol.
  • Flushed face and neck
  • Dizziness
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Interaction with grapefruit juice
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Lovaza (prescription omega-3 fatty acid supplement)
Vascepa (Icosapent ethyl)
Lowers triglycerides.
  • Burping
  • Fishy taste
  • Increased infection risk

Source: The Mayo Clinic

When Should I Take My Heart Meds?

Your body’s inner clock can affect how well some medications work. Since, you can’t read your body’s clock though, researchers have studied how well heart meds work when they’re taken at different times of the day.

According to a clinical trial from Medscape, blood pressure meds are most effective when taken at night. The random trial tested the effect of taking blood pressure meds at bedtime versus in the morning.

It found that treatment at bedtime was the most cost-effective and simplest strategy to reach the right blood pressure when sleeping and of getting a normal 24-hour blood pressure pattern.”

It also estimated that each 5-mm-Hg decrease in overnight blood pressure reduced the risk of heart events by 14%.

Of course, you should always talk to your doctor before you make a change to your meds or their schedule. You can also learn more about the importance of taking your heart meds regularly and on-time in our Health section.