National Cholesterol Education Month

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Did you know that high cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States? In honor of National Cholesterol Education Month, learn about the dangers of high cholesterol.

Good vs. Bad Cholesterol

The two main types of cholesterol are high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Lipoproteins are made of fat and proteins. Cholesterol moves through your body while inside lipoproteins.

  • LDL (Bad) Cholesterol: Low-density lipoprotein is known as “bad cholesterol” because it takes cholesterol to your arteries.3 Plaque buildup narrows arteries and raises the risk for heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease.
  • HDL (Good) Cholesterol: High-density lipoprotein is known as “good cholesterol” because it transports cholesterol to your liver to be expelled from your body.3 HDL can help decrease the risk of heart disease.

Causes of High Cholesterol

There are a few lifestyle factors that may cause high cholesterol. Behaviors that can negatively affect your cholesterol levels are an unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, smoking or obesity. Unfortunately, high cholesterol usually has no symptoms. It’s important as an adult (age 20+) to get tested once every 4 to 6 years.5

Misconceptions About Cholesterol

  • Misconception: You don’t need your cholesterol checked until middle age.2
    • Fact: The American Heart Association recommends all adults 20 and older have their cholesterol checked every four to six years.2
  • Misconception: Thin people don’t have high cholesterol.2
    • Fact: While overweigh people are more likely to have high cholesterol, thin people can also be affected.2
  • Misconception: With medications, no lifestyle changes are needed.2
    • Fact: Medications can help control cholesterol levels, but diet and lifestyle changes are the best way to reduce heart disease and stroke risk.2
  • Misconception: If the Nutrition Facts label shows no cholesterol, the food is “heart healthy.”2
    • Fact: A lot of times foods that are marked as “low cholesterol” have high levels of saturated or trans-fat, which raise cholesterol.2

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.

Questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. national-cholesterol-education-month-ucm_500458.pdf (heart.org)
  2. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol/common-misconceptions-about-cholesterol#.WaYA_BjMwdU
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/hdl-vs-ldl-cholesterol#hdl-vs-ldl
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/symptoms-causes/syc-20350800
  5. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/how-to-get-your-cholesterol-tested

American Diabetes Association Alert Day

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American Diabetes Association Alert Day is observed annually on the fourth Tuesday in March. This day is dedicated to spreading awareness of type 2 diabetes and encouraging people to take the ADA risk test.1

Understand Your Risk

An important part of today is learning about the risk factors of diabetes. Being aware of your risk factors can help you take the right steps to improve your health. Take the American Diabetes Risk Test here: Risk Test | ADA (diabetes.org) This test asks questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risks for type 2 diabetes.2

Common risks include:

  • Being over the age of 451
  • Having a family history of diabetes1
  • Not being physically active1
  • High blood pressure4
  • Abnormal cholesterol levels4

Type 2 Diabetes Prevention

Lower your risk for type 2 diabetes by implementing these lifestyle choices:

  • Eating healthier: choose foods higher in fiber and lower in fat (fruits, vegetables, whole grains).5
  • Physical activity: aerobic activity such as swimming, running, or a fast walk for about 150 or more minutes a week.5
  • Weight loss: If you have prediabetes, losing 7-10% of your body weight can reduce the risk of diabetes.5
  • Stop Smoking

Type 2 Diabetes Statistics

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. According to the CDC. Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90-95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in adults.6 Other key facts about diabetes include:

  • Diabetes affects about 34.2 million Americans.1
  • Nearly 1 in 5 adults living with diabetes, or 7.3 million Americans do not know that they have the disease.1
  • About 88 million people that are 18 years or older have prediabetes. Prediabetes happens when blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not quite high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.1
  • About 50% of women that have gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that women develop when pregnant, end up developing type 2 diabetes.1

Tria Health & Diabetes Management

If you currently are diagnosed or have been recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, Tria Health can assist you in managing your medications and finding a treatment plan that works for you. For select members, Tria Health also provides free diabetes testing supplies including a blood glucose meter, testing strips, and a mobile app designed to help you manage your diabetes better.

Questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. Diabetes Alert Day | NIDDK (nih.gov)
  2. Stop Diabetes:
  3. American Diabetes Association Alert Day | A Complete Guide (lifeweknow.com)
  4. Understand Your Risk for Diabetes | American Heart Association
  5. Type 2 diabetes – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic
  6. Type 2 Diabetes Statistics and Facts (healthline.com)

Health Effects of Obesity

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An estimated 97 million adults in the United States are overweight or obese, a condition that raises the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions.1 To learn more about the health effects of obesity read below.

How is Obesity Defined?

Obesity is defined as weight that is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height.5 Obesity is now considered a chronic condition and puts people at risk for other chronic conditions.2 According to the CDC, medical costs for people with obesity are $1,429 higher than those that are not obese.3

The Health Effects of Obesity4

Obesity has an affect on so many parts of the body. People who have obesity are at an increased risk for serious diseases and health conditions such as:

  1. Nervous system: Being overweight greatly increases the risk of stroke and can also affect your mental health.
  2. Respiratory system: Breathing can become increasingly more difficult when fat is stored around the neck, making the airway too small. As a result, sleep apnea occurs. This is a sleep disorder where breathing may stop for short periods of time.
  3. Digestive system: Obesity increases the risk of developing gallstones, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Additionally, fat can build up around the liver and cause damage, scar tissue and even liver failure.
  4. Cardiovascular and endocrine system: The heart must pump harder for people that have obesity. This can lead to high blood pressure, the leading cause of stroke. Furthermore, obesity can make the body’s cells resistant to insulin. This increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  5. Skeletal and muscular systems: Obesity can cause deteriorating bone density and muscle mass. It can also put pressure on joints making them still and painful.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body Mass Index (BMI) is used as a screening tool for obesity. BMI is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. A higher BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness.5 To calculate your BMI, visit: Adult BMI Calculator | Healthy Weight, Nutrition, and Physical Activity | CDC

Obesity is subdivided into categories:5

  • Class 1: BMI of 30 to < 35
  • Class 2: BMI of 35 to <40
  • Class 3: BMI of 40 or higher. This class is sometimes categorized as “severe” obesity.

How to Combat Obesity

  1. There are prescription medications for obesity. Make sure that you have at least a 30-day supply of your medications and are taking them as prescribed.6
  2. Eating a healthy diet can help support immune function. A healthy diet prevents and aids in managing other chronic conditions like diabetes.7
  3. Physical activity also supports immune function and helps with weight loss.7
  4. Getting enough sleep is crucial as insufficient sleep has been linked to other chronic conditions and obesity.7
  5. Coping with stress over time can lower BMI.7

Tria Health Can Help

For select groups, Tria Health offers a weight management service called Choose to Lose. If this structured weight loss program is included through your benefits plan, you can receive help from a combination of registered dietitians, health coaches and pharmacists, along the best-in-class nutrition tracker app ‘LoseIt!’ and a Bluetooth scale. This program is great at helping tackle the risks associated with obesity.

Tria Health is a no cost benefit available through select members’ health plans. Tria Health’s Pharmacy Advocate Program offers one-on-one, private consultations with a Tria Health Pharmacist. During your consultation, your pharmacist will review all your current medications, including vitamins and supplements. Tria Health will assist you in identifying any possible drug interactions or savings opportunities! Your pharmacist will work with you and your doctor(s) to ensure the intended outcomes from your medications are being received.

Questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. ob_gdlns.pdf (nih.gov)
  2. Obesity Is Now Considered a Disease – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic
  3. Adult Obesity Facts | Overweight & Obesity | CDC
  4. The Effects of Obesity on Your Body (healthline.com)
  5. Defining Adult Overweight and Obesity | Overweight & Obesity | CDC
  6. Certain Medical Conditions and Risk for Severe COVID-19 Illness | CDC
  7. Obesity, Race/Ethnicity, and COVID-19 | Overweight & Obesity | CDC

American Heart Month

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Each February, the American Heart Association sponsors American Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Every year more than 600,000 Americans die from heart disease.1 The purpose of this month is to raise awareness on the importance of heart health and what you can do to prevent heart disease in yourself and your loved ones.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is caused when plaque develops in the arteries that lead to the heart. Plaque accumulates overtime when the lining of an artery is damaged by high blood pressure, smoking or high cholesterol.3 When plaque clogs your arteries, oxygen and nutrients are unable to reach your heart.

Risk Factors3

Common risk factors are:

  • Smoking tobacco
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Having a high-sodium and high-carbohydrate diet
  • Obesity

Facts About Heart Health

  1. One in five heart attacks happen without the person even knowing that they had one.1
  2. Women under the age of 50 are twice as likely to die of a heart attack than men under 50.1
  3. Heart attacks are more likely to occur on Monday mornings than other days of the week. 1
  4. Diet soda raises heart attack risks. Drinking one or more diet sodas a day makes your chances of having a heart attack 43% higher than those that drink regular soda or none.1
  5. Hypertension is the leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Nearly 1 in 2 U.S. adults has hypertension, but only 1 in 4 have it under control. 2

Heart Healthy Lifestyle Choices

The American Heart Association recommends that to live a healthy lifestyle, you must:4

  • 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.

Heart disease can be prevented in a lot of cases. If you live a heart-healthy lifestyle, you can decrease your risk for heart disease.

Tria Health Can Help

This month and always, Tria Health can help you understand your risks of heart disease and what you can do to take better care of your heart. Tria Health offers Chronic Condition Management through our Pharmacy Advocate Program. Heart Disease is one 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. AMERICAN HEART MONTH – February 2021 | National Today
  2. American Heart Month Toolkits 2021 | cdc.gov
  3. Heart Disease Causes and Risk Factors (healthline.com)
  4. Healthy for Good | American Heart Association

National Wear Red Day

Did you know that 87% of all heart issues are believed to be preventable?2 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. This day is crucial as it raises awareness, educates and brings about resources on women’s heart disease and stroke risks.

Women & Heart Disease Facts7

  1. 90% of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease or stroke.
  2. 80% of heart disease and stroke events can be prevented by education and lifestyle change.
  3. Fewer women than men survive their first heart attack.
  4. Only 54% of women recognize that heart disease is their number 1 killer.

Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease & Stroke

Cardiovascular disease is the number one health related killer in women as it causes 1 in 3 deaths in women every year.2 Cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes.

  1. Diet and exercise: A healthy diet and physical activity can reduce your chances of heart disease by as much as 80 percent.2
  2. Know your risk: Factors like smoking, kidney disease and family history can increase your risk. If you are 40-75 years old, use Check. Change. Control. Calculator. (ccctracker.com) to evaluate your risk. It only takes five minutes.3
  3. Stop smoking: It puts you at a higher risk. For help on quitting visit: 5 Steps to Quit Smoking and Vaping | American Heart Association
  4. Control alcohol use
  5. Know your cholesterol levels6
  6. Reduce your blood sugar6
  7. Manage blood pressure: If it is higher that 140 over 90, seek treatment.

Recognize Stoke Symptoms

The American Stoke Association has developed an acronym called F.A.S.T. to help patients recognize symptoms:4

F = Face drooping, is it drooping or numb?

A = Arm weakness, when lifting your arms does one drape down?

S = Speech, is it slurred?

T = Time to call 9-1-1, if any of these symptoms occur.

Knowing this acronym just might help you save a life. Additionally, there are stroke symptoms that are specific to women. These symptoms include:5

  1. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  2. Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  3. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  4. Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Recognize Heart Attack Symptoms

These heart attack symptoms are also specific to women:

  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.

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. National Wear Red Day® | NHLBI, NIH
  2. NATIONAL WEAR RED DAY – February 5, 2021 | National Today
  3. 8 Steps to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke Infographic | American Heart Association
  4. American Stroke Association | To be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.
  5. Warning Signs and Symptoms | Go Red for Women
  6. Risk Factors in Women | Go Red for Women
  7. Heart Disease Facts | cdc.gov