Do Risk Reduction Programs Work?

Image Source: iStock.com

For self-insured employers, heart disease and diabetes are considered significant hindrances in the effort to improve employee health while reducing overall healthcare costs. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women and about 9.4% of Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. In order to control cost and help employees, employers typically look to disease state management programs. While many of these programs seem beneficial, the durability and long-term effects have limited evaluation.

What is a disease management program?

Disease management programs (DMPs) are structured treatment plans that aim to help people better manage their chronic disease and to maintain and improve quality of life. DMPs are also run with the general goal of improving medical treatment in the long term. Disease management programs also aim to improve cooperation between the various specialists and institutions that provide care for a patient, such as family and specialist doctors, hospitals and rehabilitation centers.1

What are the long-term outcomes of a DMP?2

A recent study published in the NCBI had the main objective of assessing the 5-year health, economic, and quality-of-life patient outcomes of an employer-sponsored disease state management program. The program included one-on-one appointments with a pharmacist that included medication therapy management, implementation and adherence to 7 personalized lifestyle medicine programs (ie, physical activity, healthy eating, stress management, restorative sleep, moderate alcohol consumption, tobacco abstinence/cessation, and weight control), and chronic disease care coordination practices.

The results of the study identified:

  • Decreased low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels: 96.71 mg/dL vs 84.83 mg/dL, respectively
  • Increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels: 39.32 mg/dL vs 46.12 mg/dL
  • Decreased systolic blood pressure: 132.04 mm Hg vs 123.63 mm Hg
  • Average exercise time increased: 50 minutes weekly vs 156.04 minutes weekly
  • The combined healthcare and productivity return on investment for the program at 5 years was $9.64 for every $1 invested.

What is the difference between a Disease Management program and the Chronic Condition Management Program offered by Tria Health?

Tria Health started as a disease management program and has its foundation there, but many disease management programs are focused one particular disease state versus the program offered by Tria Health which is patient-centered. Most patients have more than one chronic condition, so taking a ‘patient-centered’ approach improves overall care and costs.

Interested in improving your employee’s health?

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.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279412/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6207306/

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

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

Exercise Can Improve Your Chronic Condition Health

Man running on a dirt road
Image Source: Jenny Hill/Unsplash

While exercising can be beneficial for anyone, people with chronic conditions can significantly improve their health and manage their symptoms. If you’re concerned about how often you can exercise or which exercises are safe, talk to your doctor before starting your routine. Find out what you need to know about chronic conditions and exercise!

How Can Exercise Improve Your Symptoms?

There are four main types of exercise that can help you manage your symptoms and improve your health; Aerobic, High-intensity, Strength training and flexibility exercises (You can find descriptions of each, here). By practicing one or more of these exercise methods, you’ll be able to directly impact your chronic conditions symptoms.

For example1:

  • Heart disease. Regular exercise can help improve your heart health. Recent studies have shown that interval training is often tolerated well in people with heart disease, and it can produce significant benefits.
  • Diabetes. Regular exercise can help insulin more effectively lower your blood sugar level. Physical activity can also help you control your weight and boost your energy.
  • Asthma. Often, exercise can help control the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.
  • Back pain. Regular low-impact aerobic activities can increase strength and endurance in your back and improve muscle function. Abdominal and back muscle exercises (core-strengthening exercises) may help reduce symptoms by strengthening the muscles around your spine.

Check with Your Doctor & Get Started Today!

Checking with your doctor before exercising is never a bad idea, depending on your condition(s) there could be some important precautions you need to take. They will also be able to provide recommendations with pain reduction and necessary dietary adjustments. If you feel nervous starting alone, you might want to consider a group exercise program. You might also find condition-specific programs at your local hospital or clinic.

Have any Questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Source:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise-and-chronic-disease/art-20046049

Heart-Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

As Thanksgiving approaches, it can be stressful trying to maintain a healthy diet surrounded by indulgences. While it’s true that sweets can be enjoyed in moderation, there are still plenty of alternatives available so you can treat yourself and stay true to your healthy lifestyle. To help you get through the Thanksgiving season, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite Heart-Healthy recipes:

 Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

Turkey

Healthy Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean

Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Light & Luscious Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

 

Have any questions for us?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742