5 Ways to Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease

Photo by Canva

February is American Heart Month. The goal of this month is to raise awareness on the importance of having a healthy heart and encouraging healthy habits that will create lasting, lifelong effects. In today’s blog, you will learn about 5 steps you can do to take control of your health and lower your chance of heart disease.

  1. Control Your Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is the leading cause for heart disease. It is important to manage your blood pressure and go in for yearly check ups with your prescriber. Learn more about how to reduce high blood pressure here.

2. Stay at a Healthy Weight

Being overweight or obese can increase risk for heart disease. Consider managing what you eat and exercising on a frequent basis. If you need help knowing how to get started with weight loss and what that may look like, click here.

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 with the best-in-class nutrition tracker app ‘LoseIt!’.

3. Eat a Healthy Diet

Unhealthy eating such as too much saturated fats and added sugars, etc. increases your risk for heart disease. Eating healthy will not just happen overnight. However, if you make a few small changes every day, you can change the rest of your life.

Click here for more information on how to implement a healthy diet into your lifestyle. Eating healthy does not have to be boring and you might be surprised by how much you enjoy the substitutions!

4. Don’t Smoke

Smoking increases your blood pressure which results in an increased risk of heart disease. Quitting smoking can seem impossible. However, with the right plan, mindset and support team – you can quit smoking! Click here to start making your plan to quit smoking.

5. Manage Stress

Stress is a silent killer. It can raise your blood pressure and be a huge trigger for heart attacks. Instead of coping with stress by overeating and drinking excessively, go to the gym or focus on something calm. Don’t let stress overcome you, take control of it today with this guide.

Tria Health Can Help

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 Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Resources

https://medlineplus.gov/howtopreventheartdisease.html

Pharmacist Spotlight: Erin McGruder

This month, we would like to shine the spotlight on another one of our amazing clinical pharmacists. Meet Erin McGruder!

Specialty: Since 2019, Erin has been a Certified Diabetes Education Specialist (CDCES). In addition to talking with her patients, she collaborates directly with our in-house IT department. She works frequently with them to ensure our software program provides our clinical team the ability to stay up to date with the ever-changing guidelines and recommendations. Erin’s help allows our pharmacists to focus on providing the best possible experience for our patients.

Favorite part about working at Tria Health: Erin’s favorite part about working at Tria Health is the impact she is able to have on her patient’s lives. She feels lucky to have been with some patients since she started at Tria Health over nine years ago. When she reflects on our inclusion as part of someone’s health care team, it is nothing short of humbling to her! Erin loves being a part of an incredible team and company. She is energized daily by Tria Health’s mission to put patients first.

Career Goals: Erin plans on continuing to maintain her CDCES, which includes completing a required number of hours of continuing education. This will allow her to keep providing top-notch patient care and ensure that she is up to date with all the guidelines. Diabetes management is changing so rapidly, from the introduction of novel medications that carry additional benefits for high-risk patients to the expansion of technology to improve blood sugar control at the patient level. Additionally, she hopes to keep developing her role as a liaison between our software development team and the clinical team.

Outside of work Erin is busy wrangling her three children (7-year-old boy, 3-year-old girl, and 8-month-old boy)! They are so much fun and keep life busy! Heading into the summer season they are excited to make memories at the lake!

Pharmacist Spotlight: Sarah Ochs

We have such an awesome clinical team at Tria Health. This month, we would like to spotlight one of our pharmacists. Meet Sarah Ochs!

About Sarah: Sarah is a proud military wife. Her husband is an officer in the US Navy, who recently returned home safely from a record deployment, 206 days at sea, with Carrier Strike Group TEN. They have two fantastic boys, ages two and four, who keep them laughing and enjoying life’s many adventures!

Specialties: Sarah is a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES). She is also the FIRST pharmacist in the country to carry the designation of Certified Specialist in Obesity and Weight Management (CSOWM). She is fascinated by the effect that weight gain/loss, physical activity, and food choices can complement medications to support her patient’s healthcare goals. Her next career goal is to be a Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist (BCACP).

Favorite part of her job: THE PATIENTS! Patient care is Sarah’s passion as she genuinely enjoys her job and patient interactions. She learns about her patient’s health care goals and supports them as a whole person. Sarah takes into consideration busy life schedules, personal beliefs, medication preferences, prescription affordability, among many other factors, to help her patients achieve their goals. For Sarah, knowing that she is making a positive impact on her patient’s health and well-being is truly rewarding.

Favorite part about working at Tria Health: THE TEAM! Her clinical team and work family is hands down her favorite part. She is confident in every pharmacist’s abilities and honored to be their coworker. Sarah feels supported by the clinical team’s fearless leader, Jason Grace, and empowered to ask questions and challenge one another. At Tria Health, Sarah feels accepted for who she is, sunshine and rainbows with a sprinkle of glitter hugs. 😊

Sarah feels truly blessed to be a part of this incredible company. Teamwork makes the dream work!

Thyroid Awareness Month

Image Source: Canva

The butterfly shaped gland in your neck known as your thyroid, plays a crucial role in so many of the body’s systems. January is Thyroid Awareness Month. This month is dedicated to sharing information about thyroid health and how your thyroid functions in the body.

About Your Thyroid

The thyroid is the engine of the body’s metabolism. Located at the base of the neck, the thyroid impacts the function of many important organs such as the heart, brain, liver, kidneys and skin. It secretes two hormones, triiodothyronine, commonly referred to as T3 and thyroxine, commonly referred to as T4. These hormones help regulate how the body uses and stores energy. When your body produces too much or not enough hormones, dysfunction occurs.

There are two versions of thyroid disease, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism is the underproduction of thyroid hormone, and hyperthyroidism is overproduction of the thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism is the most common form of the disease.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism happens when certain factors stop the thyroid gland from producing enough thyroid hormones. This disease develops slowly, and symptoms are difficult to notice, especially in the early stages.

As thyroid hormone production continues to decrease, and the body’s metabolism slows, patients with hypothyroidism may experience these symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Dry, brittle hair and nails
  • Dry itchy skin
  • Sore muscles
  • Weight gain and fluid retention
  • Heavy and/or irregular menstrual cycles
  • Increased sensitivity to medications

Hypothyroidism is diagnosed with blood tests. It can be treated with thyroid hormone replacement therapy, which will alleviate symptoms, in most cases, within two weeks of starting therapy. Patients with severe symptoms may require several months of treatment before they fully recover.

Hyperthyroidism

When your thyroid keeps producing too much thyroid hormone and pushes your metabolism into overdrive, this is hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism causes the thyroid to be enlarged as it is trying to overproduce thyroid hormones. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Increased heart rate (greater than 100 beats per minute)
  • Increased anxiety and irritability
  • Trembling hands
  • Weight loss despite eating the same amount or more than usual
  • Heat intolerance
  • Muscle weakness, especially in upper arms and thighs
  • Smooth skin
  • Change in menstrual pattern
  • Increased risk for miscarriage
  • Protrusion of the eyes, with or without double vision
  • Irregular heart rhythm, especially at greater than 60 years of age
  • Increased risk of bone fracture and osteoporosis

If you experience symptoms of either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, find an endocrinologist in your area: AACE Find An Endo | American Association of Clinical Endocrinology

Questions to ask your Pharmacist

  1. What is the difference between a generic thyroid hormone pill and a brand name thyroid hormone pill?5
  2. What time of day is best to take my thyroid hormone pill?5
  3. Can I take my thyroid medication with food, other medications, vitamins or supplements?5
  4. Can any of my other medications affect my thyroid?5

Statistics on Thyroid Disease

  1. More than 30 million Americans will develop some form of thyroid condition3
  2. Up to 60% of people with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition3
  3. Women are 5 times more likely to suffer from hypothyroidism3
  4. 30-50% of people with thyroid disease have eye symptoms that may impair their vision3

Risk Factors

There are a few common risk factors associated with thyroid disorders:3

  1. Type 1 diabetes
  2. Family History
  3. Recent Pregnancy
  4. Past radiation treatment to the neck or head area

Tria Health can help

As with many chronic conditions, effectively managing your medication is extremely important in treating thyroid disease. 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.

Have any questions for us?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. THYROID AWARENESS MONTH – January 2021 | National Today
  2. Home Page | thyroidawareness.com
  3. AACE-Up to Here-Infographic (thyroidawareness.com)
  4. Thyroid Awareness Month | The Bariatric Experts Denton TX (expertsurgical.com)
  5. Ten Questions to Ask About Your Thyroid Health | thyroidawareness.com

Recall of Metformin Hydrochloride ER Tablets

Metformin Hydrochloride Extended Release Tablets are being recalled for having more carcinogen NDMA than the FDA’s acceptable allowance. NDMA is classified as a probable human carcinogen (a substance that could cause cancer) based on results from laboratory tests.  NDMA is a known environmental contaminant found in water and foods, including meats, dairy products, and vegetables.1 With levels above admissible according to the FDA it is being recalled ensuring no adverse reactions arise during consumption. If any adverse reactions are experienced you can submit them online here or find more information on how to mail or fax here. Many different retailers might be involved so it is important to check your label and bottle.

What products are being recalled?

Metformin HCl Extended Release Tablets, USP, 500 mg and 750 mg, manufactured by Amneal, are being recalled. They are the prescription, solid oral products that are indicated as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus.1

The Metformin Hydrochloride Extended Release Tablets, USP, 500 mg and 750 mg, subject to the recall, are identified by the NDC numbers stated on the product label.

Metformin HCl Extended Release Tablets, USP, 500 mg

Metformin HCl Extended Release Tablets, USP, 750 mg

*Amneal’s Metformin Hydrochloride Immediate Release Tablets, USP are not affected by this recall.1

Metformin HCI Extended Release Tablets manufactured by Bayshore Pharmaceuticals, LLC are also being recalled.

Metformin Hydrochloride Extended-Release Tablets USP, 500 mg and 750 mg lots subject to the recall are identified in the table below.

Metformin Hydrochloride Extended-Release Tablets manufactured by Marksans Pharma Limited, are being recalled due to the detection of N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) impurity.

Time-Cap Labs Inc. Metformin Hydrochloride for Extended-Release Tablets, USP 500 mg and 700 mg lots subject to the recall are identified below.

Metformin Hydrochloride Extended-Release Tablets, USP 500mg:

90 counts: 49483-623-09

100 counts: 49483-623-01

500 counts: 49483-623-50

1000 counts: 49483-623-10

Metformin Hydrochloride Extended-Release Tablets, USP 750mg:

100 counts: 49483-624-01

What’s next?

  • Because Metformin is used to treat serious medical conditions, patients taking the recalled Metformin should continue taking their medicine until they have a replacement product.
  • To determine whether a specific product has been recalled, patients should look at the drug name and company name on the label of their prescription bottle. If the information is not on the bottle, patients should contact the pharmacy that dispensed the medicine.
  • Patients should also contact their health care professional (the pharmacist who dispensed the medication or doctor who prescribed the medication) if their medicine is included in this recall to discuss their treatment, which may include another product not affected by this recall or an alternative treatment option.

Sources:

  1. https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/amneal-pharmaceuticals-llc-issues-voluntary-nationwide-recall-metformin-hydrochloride-extended#recall-announcement
  2. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-alerts-patients-and-health-care-professionals-nitrosamine-impurity-findings-certain-metformin
  3. https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/bayshore-pharmaceuticals-llc-issues-voluntary-nationwide-recall-metformin-hydrochloride-extended
  4. https://www.miamiherald.com/news/health-care/article245133825.html