If dealing with multiple medications is a daily challenge for you or a loved one, you’re not alone. Nearly 40 percent of older adults take five or more prescription drugs. These strategies can make managing multiple medications easier, and safer.
Fill your prescriptions at one pharmacy.
This makes getting prescription refills simpler – so you’re more likely to take medications as directed. It also helps your pharmacist protect you from drug interactions. Jessica Merrey, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Certified Geriatric Pharmacist explains: “The risk for side effects and drug interactions rises with each additional medication you take. Using one pharmacy keeps your medication records in one place, so the pharmacist can evaluate your risk and work with your doctor to avoid potential problems.”
Use a pill dispenser or other reminder system.
“A pill box with compartments for each day of the week – and for morning, noon and night if you take medications several times a day – lets you know at a glance whether you’ve taken your medicines yet,” Merrey says. “Your pharmacist may be able to fill your pill dispenser for you.”
You can also keep a medication schedule to remind you what to take, and when. (Post it on your refrigerator or inside a kitchen cabinet door.) “Make taking your medications part of your daily routine. Try setting a timer on your phone, watch or alarm clock,” suggests Merrey. “You might always take them after you brush your teeth in the morning, for example.”
Get prescriptions refilled early.
Running out could allow health conditions to worsen. Check expiration dates frequently and discard any medicines that are out of date. Your pharmacist may even be able to help you get multiple medications on the same refill schedule so that you can make fewer trips to the drugstore.
Make a list—and update it regularly.
Keep a list of the medications you take – with the name of the drug, the dose, how often you take it and why. Put a copy in your medical files at home, carry one in your wallet to show your doctor, and give a copy to a loved one or friend in case you have a medical emergency. “Don’t assume all of your health care providers know about all of your medications,” Merrey says. “A list is essential. It can also help your doctor look for the sources of any side effects or interactions you may be having.”
Get a yearly “brown bag” review.
Toss everything you take (prescriptions, over-the-counter remedies and supplements) into a bag and take it to your annual check-up for a review. “With age, the body absorbs and breaks down medications differently. Your doctor may change the dose of something you’ve used for a long time,” she says.
If you have any other questions or concerns about your medication, speak to your physician, or stop by one of our three locations and speak to one of our Pharmacists. Remember: we are here to help you!
You’ll be amazed at the benefits from this quick and easy routine.
From helping you lose weight and de-stress to lowering your blood pressure and reducing your risk of many chronic diseases—going for regular walks is one of the best and easiest things you can do for your health, says Melina B. Jampolis, MD, author of the new book The Doctor on Demand Diet. “Walking is the number one exercise I recommend to most of my patients because it is very easy to do, requires nothing but a pair of tennis shoes, and has tremendous mental and physical benefits,” she says.
Here’s what you can expect when you start walking for just 30 minutes every day, most days of the week.
1. Your mood will improve.
You know how sometimes it takes a glass of wine or a square (or three) of dark chocolate to blunt the edge of a rough day? Well, going for a walk is a zero-calorie strategy with the same benefits, says Jampolis. “Research shows that regular walking actually modifies your nervous system so much that you’ll experience a decrease in anger and hostility,” she says. What’s more, when you make your walks social—you stride with, say, your partner, a neighbour, or a good friend—that interaction helps you feel connected, says Jampolis, which boosts mood.
2. Your creative juices will start flowing.
Whether you’re feeling stuck at work or you’ve been searching for a solution to a tricky problem, research shows it’s a good idea to get moving: According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition, going for a walk can spark creativity. “Researchers administered creative-thinking tests to subjects while seated and while walking and found that the walkers thought more creatively than the sitters,” says Jampolis.
3. Your jeans will get a little looser.
This one may seem obvious, but it’s certainly a happy benefit for those who start walking regularly, says Jampolis. “As you continue to walk, you may notice your pants begin to fit more loosely around your midsection, even if the number on the scale isn’t moving much,” she says. “That’s because regular walking can help improve your body’s response to insulin, which can help reduce belly fat.” Ariel Iasevoli, a personal trainer at Crunch gyms in New York City, adds that walking every day is one of the most effective low-impact ways to mobilize fat and positively alter body composition. “Daily walking increases metabolism by burning extra calories and by preventing muscle loss, which is particularly important as we get older,” says Iasevoli.
4. You’ll slash your risk of chronic disease.
The statistics are impressive: The American Diabetes Association says walking lowers your blood sugar levels and your overall risk for diabetes. Researchers at the University of Boulder Colorado and the University of Tennessee found that regular walking lowered blood pressure by as much as 11 points and may reduce the risk of stroke by 20% to 40%. One of the most cited studies on walking and health, published in the New England Journal of Medicinein 2002, found that those who walked enough to meet physical activity guidelines (30 or more minutes of moderate activity on 5 or more days per week) had a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, compared with those who did not walk regularly.
5. You’ll keep your legs looking great.
As we age, our risk of unsightly varicose veins increases—it’s just not fair. However, walking is a proven way to prevent those unsightly lines from developing, says Luis Navarro, MD, founder, and director of The Vein Treatment Center in New York City. “The venous system includes a circulatory section known as ‘the second heart,’ which is formed by muscles, veins, and valves located in our calf and foot,” he explains. “This system works to push blood back up to the heart and lungs—and walking strengthens this secondary circulatory system by strengthening and preserving leg muscle, which boosts healthy blood flow.” If you already suffer from varicose veins, daily walking can help ease related swelling and restlessness in your legs, says Navarro. “Also, if you are genetically predisposed to have varicose and/or spider veins, walking daily can help delay the onset.”
6. You’ll start to get more “regular.”
If you currently praise coffee for keeping your digestive system going strong, get ready to start thanking your morning walk instead. That’s because a regular walking routine can greatly improve gastric mobility, says Tara Alaichamy, DPT, a physical therapist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. “One of the very first things an abdominal surgery patient is required to do is to walk because it utilizes core and abdominal muscles, encouraging movement in our GI system,” she says.
7. Your other goals will start to seem more reachable.
When you become a regular walker, you will have established a regular routine—and when you have a routine, you are more likely to continue with the activity and take on new healthy behaviours. “I firmly believe that walking regularly can help you to accomplish other goals you set your mind to,” says Kim Evans, a personal trainer, and daily walker.
It’s important for each of us to take the time to take care of ourselves – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Walking 30 minutes a day is a great way to take care of yourself. It doesn’t have to be a gruelling experience – here are some tips to enjoy your daily walks:
- Don’t Cling To the Gym: You don’t like the gym…no problem! Walk around your neighbourhood, walk to work, walk to the store, just walk!
- Walking Partner: Take a friend or family member with you – chances are, you will enjoy spending time together, and forget that you’re exercising.
- Listen to some Music: Listen to some music while you walk, something that motivates you if you’re walking in the morning, or something that helps you to de-stress if you’re walking in the evening. Music helps make any ‘chore’ more enjoyable.
- Audio Books: Don’t like listening to music while walking? Well, how about a great audio book? Catch up on all that ‘reading’ and self-improvement that you’ve been putting off – all while walking.
- Change It Up: Do you get bored easily… then change it up! Don’t cling to your treadmill – go walking in different areas. Go for a drive and find another location to walk each evening. Walk at the beach, go for a hike, walk at the track, then go walk at another beach, and another, and another! Take advantage of our amazing beaches in Cayman.
- Enjoy the Scenery: Finish up your evening beach walk by watching the sun set.
Summer is here, the time where everyone wants to hit the beach, have fun swimming, play volleyball, party, and hang out with friends and family. It’s the time where most people want to stay fit and keep or achieve a “summer body”.
Nevertheless, there’s just too much sugary and junky temptations so what does it really take to stay healthy as summer is coming up? Here are a few tips to help you stay fit for the upcoming summer.
Drinking water is very important because your body depends on water to carry out a lot of things including helping your cells and tissues to work properly, lubricate your joints, regulate your body temperature, and keep your skin hydrated. Its no doubt that you’ll at some point be in the sun and keeping your skin well-hydrated makes it more resistant to sun burns. You can have fun, stay fit and stay hydrated!
Hit the gym, play some sports, or go for a jog. There’s so many ways that you can stay active don’t just sit at home doing nothing, get up and go out, get active. Being active will continuously push your body to be better and can have present and long-term benefits, just staying active can improve the quality of not only your summer but your life. Exercising will boost your energy and makes your body work more efficiently so that you can tackle summer head on!
Eating healthy is essential to developing and keeping your body in good shape, by mixing eating healthy and being active you can maintain a healthy weight and fit body for the summer. By eating healthy stuff like fruits and vegetables your body maintains its strength so that you can have fun in the summer!
Sleeping is very important to staying healthy and fit, sleep is the time where your body gets to repair itself including repairing tissues and blood vessels, in addition to growing muscle. Lack of sleep can affect how you function during the day, your appetite and immune system so overall make sure to get that rest.
Protect yourself from the sun
Make sure to wear sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen to prevent sunburns, which are not just painful but also bad for your health.
You have been working hard and it’s time for you to slow the pace a little and enjoy the season and allow your body to rest.
Above all, it is the time to give yourself the opportunity to relish in the season all while maintaining your health and fitness.
A few months ago we discussed the importance of drinking water, if you missed it you can read it here. Following up on the importance of water and staying hydrated it is equally as important to not overhydrate. Yes – it’s possible to drink too much water.
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Earth Day serves as an important reminder of our responsibility to our planet, but the occasion also presents health care providers with the opportunity to better understand how environmental issues can impact patient health. As Earth Day approaches it’s a great time to rethink how you can reduce, reuse and recycle at the pharmacy and in your everyday lives. Here are a few quick switches to consider for not just earth day but every day:
- E-prescriptions: Order your prescription online and we’ll have it ready for pick up. You can ask your doctor to email them to us as well – cutting down on the use of paper.
- Avoid plastic bags: Bring in a reusable bag to carry your items.
- Walk or Ride: If you live nearby then walk on over or ride a bike and save the environment from some fuel emissions.
- Recycle what you buy: many of the products you buy can be stripped down to recyclable parts such as plastic, paper, aluminum or cardboard. Divide them and put them in the recycling bins found around our island such as the Camana Bay Recycling Centre and all supermarkets. A full list of recycling locations can be found here.
- Reusable mugs and bottles: Check out the gift section for some great travel mugs and tumblers and use them when you go to buy coffee – or even better – when you up that water intake!
- Supporting local companies that use local products such as Couxcoux Cayman, found on our pharmacy shelves, that uses locally sourced coconuts for their products. Buying from local vendors for food and handmade products reduces the impact of shipping from the packaging as well as fuel emissions.
St. Patricks’ Day is known for green beer, leprechauns and pots of gold but why not take an even more green approach to celebrating. There are many options that don’t involve processed foods and alcoholic beverages that my raise your blood pressure. Try one of these healthier substitutes for the traditional St. Patrick’s Day festivities. read more →
Designer bottles are everywhere. They have catchy sayings, are ecofriendly and have cool features to keep your water cold for longer. But are you drinking enough? Everyone has heard the ‘8 glasses a day’ rule. There is more to it than just the number of glasses you drink because mom says so. read more →
The holiday season can be a really tough time to stay on top of your exercise routine. It’s cold out, and there are fun places to go and friends to see. Plus, managing your already-busy schedule can get tricky as you try to fit in holiday shopping, parties and family visits.
But considering the amount of rich and sugary food that are so common around this time of year — cookies, candies, eggnog, you name it — it’s especially important to keep moving. Here are some things I recommend this time of year to keep you going, even when all you want to do is curl up with more hot chocolate:
- Look for every opportunity to squeeze exercise in
You may feel like you don’t have time to manage your normal workout routine in between travel, shopping, family visits and friends’ parties. But you don’t necessarily need to carve out a full 30 minutes every day. Instead, take any spare moment as a chance to squeeze in a few crunches or planks. Take an extra lap around the mall on your next shopping trip, or walk home from a party with your friends instead of taking a cab. Even if you can only get a 10 minute brisk walk in twice a day, that’s better than nothing!
- Fire yourself up
This is something that I do to get me excited and motivated for the day ahead. It’s really simple — I make a checklist in the morning of the 10 things I want to accomplish that day. It’s amazing how gratifying it is to check tasks off that list as you get things done. Make your workout part of that list and don’t let yourself end the day without marking off that box.
- Follow through
Recruit others to help you stay accountable. Talk with a friend or your partner about your holiday fitness goals, and have them help you stay on track. Maybe you’ll get a workout buddy in the process, or just someone to text you reminders and motivation. Knowing that there’s someone else out there keeping tabs on your progress may spur you to keep up!
Some of my patients with diabetes ask me what’s the big deal if their blood sugar levels go up a little or they gain a few pounds over the holidays. They say they can always lose the weight afterward and get their sugar levels under control.
To an extent, that could be true. If you’re in good overall health, doing well with your diabetes control and manufacturing reasonable amounts of insulin, a day or two of indulging a bit more than usual in holiday food shouldn’t be a problem.
How long that overindulgence goes on, and how many times, though, are important factors. The holidays can easily extend well past New Year’s. If you slip into bad eating habits, you can do long-term damage, raise your blood sugars and gain weight.
You can keep your weight and blood sugar levels under control during the holidays using these tips.
- Maintain your schedule
If you overeat, trying to catch up by skipping a meal afterward may cause you to overeat when you have your next meal or if a snack is available. Even on your holiday and days away from work, try to get up, eat, exercise and take your diabetes and any other medications about the same time as you usually do.
- Check your blood sugar frequently
If you are taking insulin or medications that lower your blood sugar, check your blood sugar more frequently during the holidays, especially before driving a car or adjusting your insulin doses. Make allowances for the changes in your work and exercise schedules as well as your eating opportunities.
- Budget your sweets and treats
To keep your blood sugars from skyrocketing, include sweets and treats as part of your carbohydrate budget — not in addition to it. Choose the meat and side vegetables and salad at dinner. Your carbohydrate for dinner could be Aunt Emily’s nut roll that she only makes during the holidays.
- Watch your alcohol intake
Moderate alcohol intake can have a blood sugar-lowering effect, so don’t drink on an empty stomach. The amounts of calories and sugars vary significantly among drinks so it can be useful to search nutrition information about your favorite drinks. Recommendations for alcohol for those with diabetes are no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two per day for men. (One drink equals 4 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, 1 ounce of distilled spirits.
- Download mobile tools
You can download mobile apps to your phone, including apps that help you count carbohydrates of certain dishes, and let you know how much insulin you need to take (if you use it before meals).
- Order smart in restaurants
You’d be pleasantly surprised how many restaurants offer healthy options not mentioned on the menu. Ask for options with less saturated fat, fried food and sugars. Substitute olive oil with fresh pepper for butter. You can also substitute sides. Ask for a baked or boiled potato (skin on) or fresh, steamed or stir-fried veggies instead of mashed potatoes.
- Cook light, healthy dishes to take with you to parties.
If you’re going to a holiday dinner, ask if you can bring a dish — one lower in calories and fat — such as a vegetable tray or vegetable-based appetizer. There are many delicious, diabetes-friendly recipes, like low-sugar pumpkin mousse parfait, that you can bring to holiday parties. You can find low-sugar recipes from the American Diabetes Association.
- Be ‘party smart’
At the party, enjoy some of the vegetable-based appetizers first, then the meat or cheese appetizers. Place your appetizers on your napkin instead of a plate and you’ll be less likely to overfill it. Another tip: don’t stand near the buffet table or food when talking at a party. It’s also important to stay hydrated. Drink water or club soda with a lime or lemon twist. Keep a calorie-free drink in your hand to keep your hands busy.
- Stay active
If you can’t stick to your usual exercise program during this busy time, do some fun activity with family or friends. If 40 minutes a day at one time isn’t possible, break your exercise up into 10- to 15-minute segments, two or three times a day.
- Remember the reason for the season
Put the focus on family and friends and not on food. Enjoy what you do eat. Savor each bite! Most important, remember to include time for exercise, meals and relaxation. The holidays will only be great if you’re in good health to enjoy them.
Bring out the fruits and vegetables
Focus on pumpkin, carrots, sweet potatoes or other orange vitamin-packed vegetables. Greens such as broccoli, spinach and collard greens all pack vitamin power too. Serve colorful raw veggies with low-fat dip as an appetizer.
Make smart substitutions
Use fat-free, low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth to moisten dressing. Use olive oil in place of butter or margarine. Mash potatoes with nonfat sour cream and low-fat milk. Use fat-free non-dairy creamers or evaporated skim milk instead of cream when you bake.
Don’t starve yourself until dinner
Have a healthy breakfast so you don’t load up at the big meal. When you sit down to eat, try just a little bit of everything and go easy on second helpings and dessert.
The benefits of exercise
Take a walk after dinner, or exercise sometime during the day to offset meal calories. Several studies have shown that moderate exercise after a fatty meal helps prevent fat from affecting your arteries. Take a 45-minute walk two hours after a high-fat meal, or three 10-minute walks over a three-hour period. But always check with your doctor before you increase your activity level, especially if you have medical problems or have been inactive. So, enjoy your meal, but prepare it with less fat and walk it off afterwards. Your arteries and your waistline will thank you.