What Causes High Cholesterol?

Medical form with words cholesterol
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In 2011–2012, 78 million U.S. adults (nearly 37%) had low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels that fall in the range where experts recommend cholesterol medicine or had other health conditions putting them at high risk for heart disease and stroke.1 Cholesterol is a waxy substance your body needs to build cells. So, while cholesterol alone isn’t necessarily a bad thing, having too much in your system increases the chances that cholesterol will start to slowly build up in the inner walls of arteries that feed the heart and brain.

Main Causes of High Cholesterol2

  • Unhealthy diet
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Excess weight

In addition, some people inherit genes that can cause them to have too much cholesterol.

Good vs. Bad Cholesterol

  • LDL (Bad) Cholesterol: Contributes to fatty buildups in arteries. Plaque buildup narrow arteries and raise the risk for heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease
  • HDL (Good) Cholesterol: Carries LDL cholesterol away from arteries back to the liver, where its then broken down and passed from the body. HDL can help decrease the risk of heart disease.

Symptoms of High Cholesterol

Unfortunately, high cholesterol usually has no symptoms. It’s important as an adult (age 20+) to get tested once every 4 to 6 years.

Treatment of High Cholesterol

Working with your health care provider can lower your cholesterol, which will reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Lifestyle changes such as eating a heart-healthy diet, regular exercise, avoiding tobacco and losing weight (if overweight or obese) are all things that can lower your cholesterol.  However, these lifestyle changes may not work for everyone, in which case, there are many medications available. Statins are recommended for most patients, but your doctor may consider other options as well.

 

If you have any additional questions regarding your medications,

reach out to the Tria Health Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

 

Sources:

  1. Mercado C, DeSimone AK, Odom E, Gillespie C, Ayala C, Loustalot F. Prevalence of cholesterol treatment eligibility and medication use among adults—United States, 2005–2012. MMWR. 2015;64(47):1305–11.
  2. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/CausesofHighCholesterol/Causes-of-High-Cholesterol_UCM_001213_Article.jsp#.WyAVQvZFyHt

Why Did the Screening Age for Colon Cancer Change?

Person sitting in doctors office while doctor is taking notes
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The American Cancer Society has recently lowered its guidelines regarding colon cancer screening. It is now recommended that people should start getting screened at age 45 instead of at 50. Research has showed that people are getting colon cancer at younger and younger ages within the U.S. While there is no direct cause associated with this increase, the trend is clear enough to warrant a shift in the age guidelines.

1 Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the U.S. There are an estimated 97,220 new cases of colon cancer in 2018. Overall, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is: about 1 in 22 (4.49%) for men and 1 in 24 (4.15%) for women.

Lower your risk of colon cancer

Unfortunately, you cannot prevent colon cancer. You can, however, take steps to lower your risk.

Here are a few tips to help lower your risk:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Have a diet high in vegetables, fruits and wholegrains
  • Avoid excess alcohol
  • Stop smoking
  • Most importantly, get tested if you’re age 45+

What are symptoms of colon cancer?

  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Blood in the stool
  • Abdominal cramping
  • A change in the shape of the stool, diarrhea, constipation
  • A change in bowel habits, or the feeling you need to make a bowl movement but there is none

If you notice any symptoms, go to your doctor for a checkup.

 

If you have any additional questions regarding your medications,

reach out to the Tria Health Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

 

Source: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/about/key-statistics.html

Can Your Medications Increase Your Sensitivity to The Sun?

Woman at the beach covering her face with a hat
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We’re all aware that most medications can have a variety of side effects, but did you know that one of them can be an increased sensitivity to the sun? There are a multitude of medications that can increase your risk of sunburn or even cause photosensitivity. Summer is almost here, so be sure you’re prepared to stay safe in the sun!

How Can a Medication Increase My Sun Sensitivity?1

Photosensitivity is a reaction set off by the sun’s ultraviolet rays and can result in two different reactions.

  1. Phototoxic Reaction: Occurs when UV radiation reacts with a drug to form compounds that damage the skin.
    • Results: Sunburn-like symptoms
  1. Photoallergic Reaction: This is less common, but usually happens when UV light changes a substance applied to the skin, causing an immune response.
    • Results: Bumps, hives, blisters, or red blotches

How to Prevent Sun Sensitivity2

  1. Check Your Meds: Check prescription medications to see if sun sensitivity is listed as a side effect.
  2. Hydrate: Drink plenty of water!
  3. Cover Up: Use sunscreen, wear protective clothing or try to stay in the shade as much as you can!

 

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/beware-of-sunburn-boosters#1
  2. https://www.consumerreports.org/drugs/can-your-meds-make-you-more-sensitive-to-sun-and-heat/

Protecting your Heart in the Summer Heat

Heart outline in the sand near the ocean
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It’s that time of year again! Time to pack away your winter sweaters and break out your summer shorts. While we’re all looking forward to a little warmer weather it’s important to be aware of how heat can impact your health, especially if you have a history of heart disease. Certain heart medications like beta blockers, ace receptor blockers, ace inhibitors, calcium channel blockers and diuretics (which deplete the body of sodium) can exaggerate the body’s response to heat.1

We’re here to help you with a few tips so you can stay safe and have fun this summer!

Everyday Tips (Three D’s)

  • Dress Right: Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing in breathable fabrics such as cotton, or a synthetic fabric that repels sweat. Add a hat, sunglasses and well-ventilated shoes.
  • Drink: Stay hydrated! Drink water before, during and after you exercise. Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
  • Do-Nothing: Every once and awhile, stop and find a cool place to relax and hydrate for a few minutes.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion:

  • Headaches
  • Cool, moist skin
  • Dizziness and light-headedness
  • Weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dark urine

Symptoms of Heat Stroke:

  • Fever (temperature above 104 °F)
  • Irrational behavior
  • Extreme confusion
  • Dry, hot, and red skin
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

 

If you have any additional questions regarding your medications,

reach out to the Tria Health Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

 

Source: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MyHeartandStrokeNews/Protect-Your-Heart-in-the-Heat_UCM_423817_Article.jsp#.WwRlt0gvyHu

Tips for Traveling with Medications

Airplane
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Memorial Day is approaching and many of you are most likely preparing for weekend travels to see family or friends. We all know the worst part about any vacation is packing. What makes packing even more complicated is packing for air travel. There are a multitude of regulations to keep track of and if you have a chronic condition, the idea of managing your medications can seem overwhelming.

To help you get ready for vacation season, here are a few tips and tricks to keeping your medications safe and organized!

The Medication Screening Process

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requires that medications in pill or other solid form must undergo security screening. You can also bring any medically necessary liquids or creams, but they must be screened separately from the rest of your belongings.

To make things easy, the TSA recommends you:

  • Store medications in clearly labeled containers
    • Check with state laws regarding prescription medication labels
  • If you’ve already thrown away your prescription containers, get a letter from your doctor explaining what the medication is and why you need it.
  • Declare any accessories associated with your liquid medication

Dosage Schedule

If you happen to travel to somewhere in a different time zone, you may need to discuss the time you take your medications with your doctor. If you must take your prescriptions at a certain time, we recommend setting alarms on your phone or watch to help remind you when to take your medications.

 

Have Any Questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk:

1.888.799.8742