Getting Through Winter: How to Survive SAD

Man walking in the snow
Image Source: Alice Donovan Rouse/Unsplash

With winter weather sweeping across the country, many individuals are experiencing winter-onset depression also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). While the cause of SAD is not known, brain chemicals that affect your mood can change according to the amount of light you get each day.1 While some may be more susceptible to SAD than others, there are ways of preventing and managing SAD until you get through the season.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that happens during a change of seasons, usually occurring during autumn and winter months when there is less sunlight. Symptoms usually go away in late spring or early summer.1

How is SAD Treated?

There are four primary treatment methods for SAD: Light therapy, medications, psychotherapy, and mind-body connection techniques.2

  • Light Therapy: A method that mimics natural outdoor light using a special light box with the goal of changing the brain chemicals linked to mood. It typically takes a few days to a few weeks before becoming effective. Your doctor will be able to help determine if this is the best option for you and identify which product would be the most effective.
  • Medications: Individuals with depression are more susceptible to SAD, making antidepressant treatment a good option. 
  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, is another option to treat SAD. Therapy can help you learn coping mechanisms to manage your stress and changing your negative thoughts and behaviors.
  • Mind-Body Connection: This includes a variety of techniques such as meditation, guided imagery and music or art therapy.

How Can Tria Health Help?

If Tria Health is offered through your benefits plan, 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 and supplements. If you’re interested in exploring medication treatments for SAD, Tria’s pharmacist will be able to provide you with recommendations and coordinate with your doctor(s).

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://www.drugs.com/cg/seasonal-affective-disorder.html
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20364722

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

How to Set Attainable Resolutions

Woman exercising outside
Image Source: Emma Simpson/Unsplash

The New Year is almost here! While we’re all excited for a fresh start and a chance to make some positive changes, it can be easy for our resolutions to fall astray if we don’t properly prepare. We want to help you along your journey and increase the likelihood of your resolutions sticking. Building healthy habits can change your life and decrease the chance of you getting a chronic condition. Follow these steps to help you set and keep your resolutions.

  1. Choose a Realistic Resolution: As much as we’d all like to be able to become expert guitar plays or marathon runners, it’s not always attainable within a year. It’s important to set realistic goals to increase the likelihood of achieving them. So maybe instead of becoming a marathon runner, your goal is to start running once a week.
  2. Focus on One Goal at a Time: While you might be able to accomplish all your goals, you’ll increase your success if you instead focus on one or maybe two main goals.
  3. Break it down: Now that you have your goal in mind, it’s time to break it down and plan. If we’re sticking with our running example, that means planning one day a week to run. Start small and then throughout the year work up to maybe running 2-3 times a week.  
  4. Find Support: A support system can be essential to meeting your goals. Having someone to hold you accountable can help give you the push you need. But make sure if you ask for someone’s help, you’re specific in what you’re asking of them. Whether it be words of affirmation or a gym buddy, you need to be clear for it to be beneficial.
  5. Don’t Give Up: Mistakes will happen, just remember that one mistake doesn’t have to derail your goals. Learn, adapt and overcome the challenges you face.

Resolution Ideas for Medication Health

Improving your medication health is a great resolution idea. to keep you healthy in the new year. Here’s what you can do:

  • Review all your medications with your pharmacist at least once a year. Having an expert review your medications will keep you healthy. Even if your medications don’t change, changes in your body and your reaction to medications can impact medication effectiveness over time.
  • Carry your medication list with you and review your list with other health care providers at your appointments. Many times, health care providers might not have visibility into your medication regimen. Having this information can ensure better health care decision making.
  • Make sure you are up to date with vaccinations and preventative screenings.  Early detection is key to effective treatment and can mean life or death…literally.
  • Follow all diet and exercise recommendations from your health care team.
  • Schedule and attend all yearly physicals and checkups

Questions?

If your health plan includes Tria Health, you can talk with a clinically trained pharmacist and receive a customized care plan. This includes recommendations for medication adjustments, preventative services and lifestyle modifications. Tria’s pharmacist will be able to help you achieve your goals and improve your health.

Visit www.triahealth.com to learn more.

Drug Interactions – Be Prepared & Stay Aware

Man pouring out one pill from bottle
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Are you currently taking a prescription medication? Per the government’s National Health Survey, about 20 percent of adults are taking three or more drugs. While most patients are aware of potential side effects with prescription medication, it’s important to be aware of combining certain drugs and other substances. Being aware of drug interactions can help prevent serious side effects and help ensure medication effectiveness.  

 What Factors Impact Interactions?1

Unfortunately, it is hard to predicts all drug interactions and you won’t always know how you’ll react to a certain medication. The likelihood of interaction causing problems can depend on several factors including:

  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Lifestyle (Diet & Exercise)
  • Other medical conditions
  • The length of time both drugs are taken

Types of Drug Interactions

  • Drug-Drug: There are a multitude of side effects that can occur from drug-drug interactions as there are so many possible drug combinations. Drug-drug interactions can lead to a prescription medication losing effectiveness, allowing for a disease-state to go unmanaged or it can lead to dangerous side effects like heart damage or death.
  • Drug-Food/Beverage: Certain foods can affect the medications you take but medicine can also affect how your body digests and processes food.
  • Drug-Supplement: A common misconception with supplements is just because they’re natural, doesn’t mean they’re safe. Supplements can change how the body absorbs, metabolizes or excretes drugs and influence how potent the drug is in the system.

Simple steps to avoid drug interactions

  • Talk with your doctor and pharmacist about any new medications. Make sure they know about any vitamins and supplements you are currently taking.
  • Follow all the dosing instructions listed on each of your medications.
  • Keep an updated medication list on hand for any of your medical appointments.
  • You can also use AARP’s online drug interaction checker

Tria Health can help

If Tria Health is offered through your benefits plan, 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 and supplements. Tria Health will assist you in identifying any possible drug interactions or savings opportunities!

Source:

  1. https://www.drugwatch.com/health/drug-interactions/

National Influenza Vaccination Week

It’s National Influenza Vaccination Week! While flu activity can begin as early as October, it can last well into March. The CDC and its partners choose December for NIVW to remind people that it is not too late to get a flu vaccine. With this holiday approaching, it’s important to get vaccinated to help protect both you and others from the flu. Even if you haven’t yet been vaccinated and have already gotten sick with flu, you can still benefit from vaccination since the flu vaccine protects against three or four different flu viruses (depending on which flu vaccine you get).1

What are the benefits of the flu vaccine?

  • The flu vaccine can keep you from getting the flu
    • If you still get sick, the flu vaccination has been shown to reduce the severity.
  • Flu vaccination helps prevent serious medical events associated with some chronic conditions
    • Vaccination has been associated with lower rates of some cardiac events among people with heart disease, especially among those who had had a cardiac event in the past year.
  • Vaccination can help protect both children and women during/after pregnancy.

Do you have any questions regarding the flu vaccine?

Tria Health provides one-on-one confidential counseling with a pharmacist for any of your medication related questions. If Tria Health is currently a part of your healthcare plan, call the Tria Health Help desk today for any of your questions.

Tria Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

Source:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/resource-center/nivw/about.htm