Health & Wellness Updates

Medication Management Tips That May Save Your Life

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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 Check expiration dates frequently and discard any medicines that are out of date.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!

Edited from this article on hopkinsmedicine.org

Tips to stay healthy for summer

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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.

Stay hydrated

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!

Stay active

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!

Eat healthy

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!

Get sleep

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.

Relax

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.

Overhydrated? It’s a Thing

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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.
read more →

8 reasons why you should take multivitamins every day

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Fruits and Vegetables provide the essential nutrients we need for everyday functions. The daily recommended fruit and vegetable servings for an adult is on average between 1.5 – 2 cups of fruit and 2 -3 cups of vegetables per day. This can be hard to meet when you are in and out of meetings, being the boss and balancing a hectic lifestyle – or in between naps. Smoothies and fresh juices can help increase the vitamin intake but are you getting all the vitamins you need or too much of one and not enough of another? A daily multivitamin can help guarantee that you get all the vitamins and minerals you need, and what you don’t need your body will get rid of – yay healthy liver function.

Here are 8 reasons why a multivitamin should be a part of your everyday routine:

  1. Having sufficient vitamins and minerals daily today will help your body in the future. As you age your body needs more minerals and vitamins so starting the habit now will help you, in the long run, to ensure you get the nutrients you need.
  2. Many vitamins and minerals come from a variety of plant and animal sources but it’s difficult to get them all in one day without constantly eating everything in sight – a multivitamin ensures you get all the nutrients needed for the day.
  3. Having sufficient vitamins and minerals helps your body protect itself from heart diseases, cancer and other health conditions making your immune system stronger.
  4. Sufficient vitamins and minerals help your hair, skin, and nails to thrive. Consistent vitamin and mineral intake also allows your brain to function at its optimal level. Be on top of your P’s and W’s and look great doing it.
  5. Vitamin deficiency can sometimes make you feel lethargic or tired – a multivitamin can keep you energized without the caffeine or the crash.
  6. Daily vitamin intake can help your body naturally flush toxins out of your system and help to keep the liver healthy.
  7. Multivitamins rich in anti-oxidants can improve muscle strength – so if you are working out, keep those vitamins coming to keep your hard-earned strength up.
  8. Multivitamins provide the right dosage of B-complex to help reduce stress and manage anxiety – something everyone could always use a little help with.

Stop by and speak to one of our pharmacists about which multivitamin is right for you and make a small change to better your health.

Why do we drink water?

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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 →

Fruits and Fruit Juices Affecting Medications

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It is well known that even 1/2 a grapefruit or one glass of juice can reduce an enzyme called cytochrome P450 (CYP 450) by 50% for up to 24 hours. This is important because some medications such as atorvastatin, amlodipine, carbamazepine and one of our newest medications for rheumatoid arthritis, tofacitinib (Xeljanz) need this enzyme to be eliminated from the body. read more →

3 Ways to Make Sure You Exercise During the Holidays

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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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

Source: Time.com

10 Holiday Survival Tips If You Have Diabetes

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Source: Cleveland Clinic

How to keep your heart healthy (and your waistline trim) at holiday meals

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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.

 

Source: LinkedIn Pulse

Wed 1st Nov, 2017 is Stress Awareness Day

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Stress serves a solid purpose in human biology, but our modern lives have brought about a surplus of causes that haunt us from day to day. When we are faced with a challenge, or a threat to our well-being, the body experiences stress. Whether you’re dealing with a job that puts you under tremendous pressure, or face struggles in your life or relationship that leave you in a state of constant worry, stress can be a real killer. Stress Awareness Day was set aside as a time to be aware of the tension in our lives and how it affects us.

History of Stress Awareness Day
Stress Awareness Day was established by the International Stress Management Association (ISMA) to help provide information on stress, and strategies on how to address it for both companies and individuals. The organization is focused on helping employers and employees help each other by providing comprehensive guides to establishing a program within their organization, and individuals by looking after their health and well-being on a day to day basis.

Stress Awareness Day is your opportunity to start looking after yourself and your life and break down the individual stressors in your life. Failure to deal with the strain in your life effectively can lead to serious health problems, including increased blood pressure, susceptibility to heart disease, and a decline in your immune system. Once you start experiencing these symptoms they can landslide into each other, resulting in growing sickness, and by extension, more stress. It’s truly a self-feeding problem and a cycle that is necessary to control to enjoy our lives.

How to Celebrate Stress Awareness Day
The best way to celebrate Stress Awareness Day is to take the opportunity to remove the stress from your life for the day. Take the time to examine your life and find out where all the stressors lie and start looking into taking steps to remove them or find ways to mitigate them. Removing stress from your life can start off as a taxing experience, so it can help to get the assistance from organizations like ISMA to look into strategies and support in how to manage those things in your life that cause tension.

Whatever you choose to do, take the time to take a day off and let yourself have a day of freedom. If it’s sickness, do something to help you focus on something other than that sickness. Stress can be a killer, don’t let it take one more day off your life, act now and start living a stress-free life!