National Nutrition Month

Bowls of fruit and oatmeal
Image Source: Melissa Belanger/Unsplash

National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

How can you get involved?1

  • Choose foods and drinks that are good for your health.
  • Include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis.
  • Select healthier options when eating away from home.
  • Be mindful of portion sizes. Eat and drink the amount that’s right for you.
  • Keep it simple. Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated.
  • Make food safety part of your everyday routine.
  • Help to reduce food waste by considering the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store.
  • Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.

Looking for healthy recipes?

In honor of National Nutrition Month, Tria Health has assembled some of our favorite nutritional recipes:

Chronic Conditions and Nutrition

If you have a chronic condition, a carefully planned diet can make a difference. With certain diseases, what you eat may reduce symptoms. In other cases, diet can improve health. Although your diet might differ depending on your condition and lifestyle, there are three keys to a healthy eating plan that will work for diabetes, heart health, cancer prevention and weight management:

  • Eat meals and snacks regularly (at planned times).
  • Eat about the same amount of food at each meal or snack.
  • Choose healthful foods to support a healthy weight and heart.

Have any questions? Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742.

Source:

  1. https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month/national-nutrition-month-celebration-toolkit

National Sleep Awareness Week

Sleeping cat
Image Source: Sabri Tuzcu/Unsplash

National Sleep Awareness Week is from March 10 to 16, 2019. The goal of this week-long campaign is to promote the benefits of optimal sleep and how sleep affects health, well-being and safety. Sleep can be especially important when it comes to the development and management of several chronic diseases and conditions.

How Does Sleep Impact Chronic Disease?1

Insufficient sleep has been linked to multiple chronic diseases:

  • Diabetes: Research has found that insufficient sleep is linked to an increased risk for the development of type 2 diabetes. Specifically, sleep duration and quality have emerged as predictors of levels of Hemoglobin A1c, an important marker of blood sugar control.
  • Cardiovascular Disease: Persons with sleep apnea have been found to be at increased risk for a number of cardiovascular diseases. Notably, hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease and irregular heartbeats (cardiac arrhythmias) have been found to be more common among those with disordered sleep than their peers without sleep abnormalities.
  • Obesity: Laboratory research has found that short sleep duration results in metabolic changes that may be linked to obesity. Epidemiologic studies conducted in the community have also revealed an association between short sleep duration and excess body weight.

Benefits of Getting More Sleep2

  • Improved Mood: Every night while you’re asleep, your brain is working to process your emotions. Your mind needs this time in order to recognize and react the right way. When you cut that short, you tend to have more negative emotional reactions and fewer positive ones.
  • Healthier Heart: Sleep helps to lower your blood pressure and help in preventing heart disease.
  • More Energy: A good nights sleep can make a world of difference for your energy levels. It can also help improve your motivation and allow time for your muscles to repair.
  • Improved Brain Function: Sleep plays a big part in both learning and memory. Without enough sleep, it’s tough to focus and take in new information.
  • Strong Immune System: Ongoing lack of sleep changes the way your immune cells work. They may not attack as quickly, and you could get sick more often.

Click here if you’re interested in seeing the steps you can take to improve your sleep.

Tria Health’s Pharmacy Advocate Program

Tria Health offers Chronic Condition Management through our Pharmacy Advocate Program. Clinical Pharmacists provide one-on-one telephonic counseling for members and are their personal advocate to help them navigate through the health care system. Through reviewing a member’s medications and lifestyle, including their sleep habits, Tria Pharmacists can make recommendations that will help control their chronic conditions and help them feel better!

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/chronic_disease.html
  2. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/benefits-sleep-more#2

Medication Compliance – What’s the Problem?

Pills in plastic case
Image Source: Simon van der Koelen/Unsplash

Medication non-compliance is the failure to take a medication according to the prescribed directions. Although medications are effective in combating disease, approximately 50% of patients do not take their medications as prescribed. Poor adherence to medication leads to increased morbidity and death and is estimated to incur costs of approximately $100 billion per year.1 While following instructions for your medications may seem simple, there are a lot of different factors that lead to medication compliance.

What Causes Non-Compliance?

Non-compliance factors can be broken down into three categories: Patient-related, physician-related and health system/team building-related.

Patient-Related Factors:

While there are several patient-related factors, the main contributor to medication non-compliance is inadequate health literacy. In the United States alone, an estimated 90 million adults have inadequate health literacy.1 Inadequate health literacy can lead to a lack of understanding their condition or medication instructions. In order to improve compliance, understanding the ‘why’ behind why patients don’t take medications correctly and providing the appropriate education is an absolute necessity. These reasons are very individualized and the more a patient understands their condition and how to control it, the more likely they are to feel impowered and motivated to manage their disease and adhere to their medications.

Physician-Related Factors:

Physicians can often unintentionally lead to medication nonadherence by prescribing complex drug regimens, prescribing medications that may be unaffordable to the patient, or inadequately explaining possible side-effects a patient may experience. A solution to this is incorporating a pharmacist into the care team to provide medication education and spending more time with the patient when developing their care plan.

Health System/Team Building-Related Factors:

Unfortunately, due to fragmented health systems, physicians do not have easy access to information from a patient’s numerous care providers. This can cause issues when developing an effect care strategy and communicating with a patient. Another factor in health systems that lead to non-compliance are drug costs, which can greatly limit a patient’s access to care. Increased implementation of electronic medical records and electronic prescribing has the potential to increase adherence by identifying patients at risk of nonadherence and targeting them for intervention. Another solution can be the incorporation of a medication therapy management service, which can help identify instances of nonadherence and possible substitutions for costly medications.

How Does Tria Health Help Prevent Non-Compliance?

Tria Health is offered through your benefits plan. With Tria, you have the option of receiving a one-on-one private consultation with one of Tria Health’s pharmacists over the phone. During your consultation, your pharmacist will review all your current medications, including vitamins, supplements and lifestyle habits. Your pharmacist will be able to identify any medication interactions, affordable substitutions and answer any other medication-related questions you may have. At the end of your consultation, you’ll receive a customized care plan that Tria will assist in coordinating with any of your physicians.

Source:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3068890/

Pharmacists and Optimized Drug Therapy

Close up of assorted pills and prescriptions
Image Source: iStock.com/klenova

It seems the older you get the more medications accumulate. About 30 percent of older adults in the United States and Canada filled a prescription in the last few years for one of many medications that the American Geriatrics Society recommends they avoid. In addition, 66 percent of older adults are taking five drugs or more per day – some of them are no longer necessary and may even be causing harm.1 While there’s been a lot of focus placed on physicians to help curb this problem there may be another solution: Pharmacists.

The Benefit of Pharmacists

Pharmacists do so much more than just dispense prescriptions. They have a wealth of knowledge to assist patients with safe medication use, potential drug interactions as well as preventative services and over the counter medications. Pharmacists are often available when other health care providers are not, and most often do not require you to schedule an appointment to ask questions about your healthcare needs.

Pharmacists are an Ideal Partner for Physicians

There have been a multitude of studies conducted over the years measuring patient improvement when a pharmacist is included as part of the care team working with the physician. In a recent study, published in JAMA, patients were randomly assigned to two groups. With one group, pharmacists gave both patients and their physicians educational materials on the specific drug that might have been inappropriately prescribed. The control group got the usual care, with no educational materials. Within six months, 43 percent of the patients in the intervention group had stopped taking one of the selected medicines. The corresponding figure was 12 percent in the control group.

Tria Health’s Pharmacists

Tria Health was founded on the belief that pharmacists play a vital role in the management of high-risk patients that drive the majority of health care spend. If Tria Health is currently a part of your healthcare plan, call the Tria Health Help desk today for any of your medication-related questions.

Tria Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/28/upshot/pharmacists-drugs-health-unsung-role.html is

National Wear Red Day

Image Source: https://www.goredforwomen.org

National Wear Red Day is February 1st. Go Red for Women is the American Heart Association’s national movement that advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health. The movement also challenges people to know their risk for heart disease and act to reduce their personal risk. Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.  Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action.

What are the Signs and Symptoms?1

While there are many similarities in the symptoms of heart disease in men and women, there are even more differences. Listed below are the signs and symptoms, specific to women, that are important to watch out for:

Heart Attack Symptoms:

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

Stroke Symptoms:

  1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  3. Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  5. Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Take Steps to Reduce Your Risk2

Not only can you wear red to raise awareness but you can also take steps to reduce your own risk. The American Heart Association has developed an online tool called My Life Check. My Life Check allows you to find out your heart score and see if you’re at risk based on Life’s Simple 7:

  1. Managing your blood pressure
  2. Control your cholesterol
  3. Reduce your blood sugar
  4. Get active
  5. Eat better
  6. Lose weight
  7. Stop smoking

Find out Your Heart Score

Tria Health Helps Control Heart Disease

Tria Health offers Chronic Condition Management through our Pharmacy Advocate Program. Heart Disease and stroke are two of the many chronic conditions that Tria Health targets. Clinical Pharmacists provide one-on-one telephonic counseling for members and act as their personal advocate to help them navigate through the health care system. Through reviewing a member’s medications and lifestyle habits, Tria Pharmacists can make recommendations that will help control their chronic conditions and help them feel better!

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://www.goredforwomen.org/en/about-heart-disease-in-women/signs-and-symptoms-in-women
  2. https://www.goredforwomen.org/en/know-your-risk/risk-factors