February is American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month, sponsored by the American Heart Association. This month is designed to raise awareness about heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. One in three deaths in the US is caused by heart disease and stroke.

Your friends at Tria Health want you to understand your personal risks, and what you can do to prevent heart disease in yourselves and your loved ones.

Know Your Personal Risk Factors

Knowing your numbers could potentially save your life! We encourage you to talk to our clinicians or another healthcare provider about your personal risk factors for heart disease.

  • Blood Pressure Below 120/80
  • Cholesterol
  • Blood Sugar fasting blood sugar of less than 100
  • Body Mass Index less than 25

You Have the Power to Control Some of Your Risk Factors

There are many risk factors for heart disease, some within your control and others outside your control. The risks you CAN control include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Lack of regular activity
  • Obesity or overweight
  • Diabetes

The risks outside your control are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Family History
  • Race
  • Previous heart attack or stroke

How to Live Healthy

The American Heart Association recommends that to live a healthy lifestyle, you must:

  • Eat Smart: Make healthy, delicious choices wherever and whenever you eat.
  • Add Color: Make life more colorful with fruits and vegetables.
  • Move More: Infuse more movement into your life for optimal health.
  • Be Well: Create balance, vitality and wellbeing through self-care.

If you would like more tips from the American Heart Association, visit: https://healthyforgood.heart.org/

This month, and always, we hope that you better understand your risks of heart disease, and what you can do to take better care of your heart.

Tria Health: February Ask a Pharmacist Edition

Pharmacist surrounded by pills with text that reads Ask a Pharmacist
Image Source: iStock.com/macrovector

Tria Health would like to thank our followers for such positive feedback from our last “Ask a Pharmacist Edition.” Since then, we have seen even more questions coming through to our Help Desk. To better serve our audience, clients and patients, we will continue answering some of our most Frequently Asked Questions.

Because it’s cold and flu season, this month we’re going to focus on the questions that will help you get through these next few months.

Question: What basic items should be stored in a well-stocked medicine cabinet?

Answer: Here are a few essentials to stock your medicine cabinet to treat common problems.

  • Pain relievers
    • Tylenol, Advil, or Aleve.  Remember the generic versions work just as well and will save you money.   If you have children in the home be sure to have children’s formulations as well, ask your pharmacist if you need help calculating the right dose for the little ones.
  • Over the counter medications for minor stomach ailments
    • Products like Pepto-Bismol can treat a variety of minor stomach symptoms. Medications like Tums or Rolaids can help with periodic heartburn symptoms. Mild laxatives, such as Colace or Senna, can help with constipation.
  • Cold, Flu and Allergy Relief
    • Antihistamines and cough suppressants are good to have on hand for common cold and flu symptoms. To make sure that you are targeting the right symptom with the right medication consult your pharmacist. Some common brands we recommend include Claritin, Zyrtec or Allegra.
  • First Aid Kit
    • It’s always important to be able to treat household injuries, be sure to have Band-Aids and Neosporin available for cuts and abrasions.

Please don’t forget the importance of checking expiration dates on over-the-counter medications. Expired medications can lose their effectiveness. Additionally, remember the importance of properly disposing any expired medications.

Question: Why don’t I need antibiotics when I have a cold?

Answer: The common cold is almost always caused by viruses, not bacteria. Viruses do not respond to antibiotics and they typically run their course after a few days. Your best course of action is symptom management, pushing fluids, and rest—these are key to combating a virus. Additionally, over-use of antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistance which makes true bacterial infections harder to treat.

Question: Is it true that you can alternate Tylenol and Ibuprofen for fevers?

Answer: That is true. If you are combatting a high fever, alternating doses of Tylenol and ibuprofen every 2-3 hours is an effective way to keep the fever down. Always talk with a healthcare professional to ensure you are using the proper doses at the proper interval.

Question: Why do I have to take all my antibiotics if I feel better after a few days?

Answer: The symptoms associated with a bacterial infection will almost always resolve even before the bacteria is completely out of your system. While you may feel significantly better after only a few doses of an antibiotic, it is crucial to complete the full course of treatment. If the bacteria is not completely eliminated it can return and develop resistance to antibiotics which will make it harder to treat the second time around.

Do YOU have a question for our pharmacists?

 If so, please comment below or call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742, and we’ll gladly answer in next month’s “Ask A Pharmacist Edition.” 

New Year, New You?

It’s the time of year for New Year’s resolutions—or, more accurately, the time that most people have given up on those resolutions. You know the kind of resolutions we mean: “I’ll exercise more”, “I’ll start eating better and watch my portion sizes”, “I’ll quit smoking”. To ditch the resolutions by mid-January is par for the course. We understand, change is hard. However, your friends at Tria Health want to help you take back control of your resolutions and your health—and deliver the why behind it.

These lifestyle changes like losing weight, eating well-balanced nutritional meals and exercising can prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. In fact, these lifestyle changes are part of the recommendations our pharmacists are making to our patients through our Pharmacy Advocate Program.

Tria Health’s Pharmacy Advocate program helps people with Chronic Conditions

In addition to lifestyle changes, most chronic conditions require medication to effectively treat and manage. Tria Health’s pharmacists make sure patients are receiving the best benefits from their medications. They work with patients and their physicians to identify, prevent and resolve drug therapy problem’s related to a patient’s medications.

Tria Health’s pharmacists provide one-on-one telephonic counseling for members to discuss how lifestyle and medication impact chronic conditions. They provide valuable, clinically based information on how to improve your health. And, they will coordinate any recommendations with the members’ physician and/or pharmacy.

You Have the Power to Prevent Chronic Disease  

The CDC reports that, “chronic diseases and conditions—such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis—are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems.” This year, and always, we encourage you to resolve to live a healthy lifestyle. These lifestyle changes will help you feel better today—and for many tomorrow’s:

  • Get to and stay at a healthy weight.
  • Eat a nutritious diet of whole foods.
  • Watch your portion sizes.
  • Be active.
  • Quit smoking (and other tobacco products).
  • Limit your alcohol use.

Change IS hard, but if you consider the possibility of preventing chronic disease, it’s an easy decision to attempt to make these lifestyle changes. Your friends at Tria Health hope you will resolve to commit to living a healthy lifestyle to prevent chronic conditions.

 

For more information on CCM, please visit our website at www.triahealth.com or call our help desk at 1.888.799.8742

 

 

Keep Yourself and Your Medications Safe This Winter

In extreme winter weather conditions, your friends at Tria Health want to provide you with some tips to keep yourselves and your medications safe this winter.

Medication Storage Is Important for Safety

Most medications should be stored at room temperature (between 68 and 77 degrees Farenheit). However, some medications have specific storage instructions and most perscription and over-the-counter medications come with inserts that detail safety and storage guidelines.

There are commonly perscribed medications that require specific storage requirements. Some examples include:

  • Injectable drugs
  • Inhaled medications
  • Eye Drops
  • Nasal Sprays
  • Gels and Creams

For information on storage requirements for these, and many other medications, you may visit the National Institue of Health drug information website.

When Medications Aren’t Stored Properly They Can Lose Effectiveness

Prescriptions that are subjected to extreme cold (or hot) temperatures can lose their effectiveness before their expiration date. For this reason, you should always take necessary precautions to avoid storing medications in the car, on a windowsill or in a garage. You should also be aware that many medications can also be affected by exposure to direct sunlight.

There are Signs to Determine if Medications Have Been Exposed to Extreme Temperatures

In some cases, you will be able to recognize when your medications have been exposed to extreme temperatures. However, a medication may or may not show outward signs of temparture damage. Should you notice any of these signs, you should contact your Pharmacist:

  • Strange odor
  • Discoloration
  • Harder or softer to the touch
  • Pills that are cracked, chipped or stuck together
  • Creams that appear seperated
  • Insulin (or other injectables) with visible “crystals”

Pharmacists Will Almost Always Have the Right Answer!

The best response if you feel your medications may have been comprimised is to talk to your Pharmacist—or a Tria Health Pharmacist, if you’re one of our members. A pharmacist will be able to tell you wheter the medication efficacy has been comprimised—and should even be able to help you order a replacement prescription.

January is National Blood Donor Month

 In January, every year since 1970, the American Red Cross celebrates National Blood Donor Month to recognize the lifesaving contribution of blood and platelet donors. The month of January was selected to attempt to increase blood and platelet donations during winter months.

Winter is one of the most challenging times to collect blood donations to meet ongoing patient needs. During winter months, inclement weather can lead to cancelled or postponed blood drives, and seasonal illnesses, like the flu, can cause donors to be temporarily unavailable to donate.

This month, and throughout the year, your friends at Tria Health encourage you to roll up a sleeve and give back to those in need.

The Benefits of Donating Blood

The American Red Cross outlines the benefits of donating blood:

  • It feels great to donate!
  • You get free juice and delicious cookies.
  • It’s something you can spare – most people have blood to spare… yet, there is still not enough to go around.
  • You will help ensure blood is on the shelf when needed – most people don’t think they’ll ever need blood, but many do.
  • You will be someone’s hero – in fact, you could help save more than one life with just one donation.

 How to Donate Blood

Blood donation appointments can be made by downloading the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting www.redcrossblood.org, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or to receive more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients.

All blood types are accepted for donation—in fact, all blood types are needed, appreciated and could save multiple lives!