The FDA has issued a public health advisory warning “consumers to stay away from the herbal supplement kratom, saying regulators are aware of 36 deaths linked to products containing the substance.” The use of the supplement has increased in recent years as a treatment for anxiety, depression, pain, and opioid withdrawal. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that kratom is not approved by the FDA for any use, and that there is no “reliable evidence” to support the claim that kratom is a safe treatment for opioid abuse or addiction. Gottlieb also said that the substance can have similar effects as opioids, “and carries similar risks of abuse, addiction and, in some cases, death.”
At Tria Health, our pharmacists counsel patients on all their prescription medications AND over-the-counter vitamins and herbal supplements. It’s imperative to understand exactly what each item is supposed to accomplish for your health, AND whether there are any potential drug interactions.
If you are taking kratom, please talk to your doctor or pharmacist about this potentially dangerous herbal supplement.
For more information, visit the FDA website here.
Each year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout event. Encourage someone you know to use this day to create a plan to quit! Quitting smoking is an important step toward a healthier life and reducing cancer risk.
According to the American Cancer Society, approximately “36.5 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the world. Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits at any age. Quitting is hard, but you can increase your chances of success with help. Getting help through counseling or medications can double or triple the chances of quitting successfully.”
A Tria Health Solution S.T.O.P.
Stop Tobacco by Optimizing Pharmacists
Tria Health provides personalized chronic condition management (CCM) to help employers and health plans mitigate risks and control health care costs. In addition to our Pharmacy Advocate program, Specialty GuardRx and Rx Plan Protection Suite, Tobacco users impose significant excess cost to private employers.
Tria Health’s S.T.O.P. program has an overall 42% success rate of getting members to 90 days tobacco free! Tria pharmacists develop a personalized quit plan which helps to improve success because every smoker has unique needs. They base the plan on many factors including: level of motivation, barriers to quitting, treatment options, and more. They provide on-going support to members to ensure success.
If you or someone you know are still smoking cigarettes, all of us at Tria Health encourage you to use The Great American Smokeout on November 16th to create a plan to quit!
World Diabetes Day (WDD) was initiated by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), in 1991 along with the World Health Organization (WHO) due to growing concerns about the increasing health threat posed by diabetes. With the passing of the United Nation Resolution, World Diabetes Day became an official UN day in 2006.
World Diabetes Day is November 14th, and this day was chosen to honor Sir Frederick Banting, the gentleman who co-discovered insulin. In 1922, Banting and Charles Best discovered insulin and revolutionized the treatment of diabetes.
World Diabetes Day aims to:
- Be the platform to promote IDF advocacy efforts throughout the year.
- Be the global driver to promote the importance of taking coordinated and concerted actions to confront diabetes as a critical global health issue.
Each year the IDF chooses a new focus area to celebrate World Diabetes Day. The 2017 World Diabetes Day chosen theme is “Women and diabetes—our right to a healthy future.”
Why a focus on women in 2017?
- 1 in 7 births is affected by gestational diabetes.
- 1 in 10 women are living with diabetes. Many do not have access to proper screenings, education, treatment or care.
- There are 199 Million women in the world with diabetes. That is expected to increase to 313 Million women by the year 2040.
- Diabetes is a leading cause of death in women, and the IDF is working to help all women with diabetes get affordable access to care and education to better manage this chronic condition.
Tria Health is Making a Difference in Diabetes Care
Tria Health has an innovative telehealth solution that improves overall care for patients by educating patients about their disease state(s) and medication regimen to improve clinical outcomes. Each patient has unique needs. At Tria Health, we counsel the whole patient, not just one condition. Our wireless meter and strip program allows the patient to share real time glucose readings with our pharmacists and other providers, as well as calculating the precise insulin needs for users. Our program improves care for patients and reduces costs and waste for employers.
At Tria Health our pharmacists are CDE’s, Certified Diabetes Educators. The National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators defines a CDE is a health professional who possess comprehensive knowledge of and experience in prediabetes, diabetes prevention and management. A CDE educates and supports people affected by diabetes to understand and manage the condition. We strive to do more than our part to manage the risks of diabetes to our patients and employer clients.
“Act Today to Change Tomorrow”
For more information, go to: www.worlddiabetesday.org
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. The good news is that the answer to whether it’s preventable is a resounding YES! In fact, prevention is a big deal! It’s even more so important if you have an increased risk of diabetes. Some of these risks include having a family history of the disease, being overweight, or a diagnosis of prediabetes.
The CDC reports that “prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.” More than 83 million American adults—more than 1 in 3—have prediabetes. Of those people with prediabetes, approximately 90% don’t know they have it. Prediabetes puts you at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke.
You can have prediabetes for years but experience no symptoms. Because of this, it often goes undetected until serious health problems arise. Concerned about your risks? Complete the Tria Health Diabetes Risk Assessment and discuss your results with your doctor!
Are You at Risk for Diabetes?
In the United States, diabetes affects approximately 30.3 million people (CDC, 2017) and is the 7th leading cause of death. Timely screening can lead to early diagnosis which slows the disease progression and ultimately long-term complications such as heart attacks, neuropathy, and irreversible kidney damage, among others.
The American Diabetes Association recommends the following screening guidelines:
- ALL adults who fit the BMI criteria and 1 or more risk factors should be screened at any age
- Adults who meet the BMI criteria without an extra risk factor can wait until 45 years old for screening
- Testing should be repeated at least every 3 years for those with normal results
Diabetes Risk Factors:
- BMI greater than or equal to 25 (for Asian Americans the cut-off is greater than or equal to 23)
- Physical Inactivity
- Parent(s) or sibling(s) with diabetes
- High-risk race/ethnicity (African American, Latino, Native American, Asian American, Pacific Islander)
- You have given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 lbs
- You had gestational diabetes
- High blood pressure (above 149/90 mmHg) or you take medications to treat high blood pressure
- HDL cholesterol (the “good cholesterol”) less than 35 mg/dL
- Triglyceride level above 250 mg/d:
- Diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome
- You have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes on previous testing
- You have other clinical conditions associated with insulin resistance
- You have a history of cardiovascular disease
If you have any of the risk factors above, talk to your doctor to see if additional testing is needed. For more information, visit www.diabetes.org
What Can You Do to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes?
At Tria Health, our pharmacists are Certified Diabetes Educators who evaluate patients at risk for Type 2 diabetes and work with those patients to institute lifestyle modifications and dietary changes that have been proven to prevent the development of diabetes.
Some lifestyle modifications you may consider include:
- More physical activity. Research shows that aerobic exercise and resistance training can help control diabetes. The greatest benefit comes from a fitness program that includes both.
- Eat plenty of fiber. Fiber reduces your risk of diabetes by improving your blood sugar control, lowering your risk of heart disease and also promotes weight loss by helping you feel full. Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains and nuts.
- Eat whole grains. Research is pending, so it’ still unclear why, but whole grains may reduce your risk of diabetes and help maintain blood sugar levels.
- Lose extra weight. Staying at a healthy weight can help you prevent and manage problems like prediabetes, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol.
- Make healthy food choices A diet which balances protein and carbohydrates, and also plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is best to maintain a healthy blood sugar.
According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes affects 30 million Americans, including 8.1 million people who are undiagnosed. Another 86 million more—one in three adults—have prediabetes and 15-30 percent will develop diabetes within five years without change.
The Scary Statistics
- People with type 2 diabetes have more than two times the risk for developing heart disease
- People with diabetes live 7-8 years less
- Two out of three deaths in people with type 2 diabetes are attributed to cardiovascular disease
- Less than half of people with diabetes are aware of their risk of cardiovascular disease. This lack of awareness prevents people with diabetes and their health care providers from addressing risks and improving health.
The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease states that “the increased co-occurrence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease demands greater awareness to save lives and health care dollars.”
At Tria Health, that’s precisely what we do—we manage the whole patient, and discuss all their conditions, prescription medications, over-the-counter medications and their lifestyle. Our pharmacists educate their patients about their medications and make recommendations to the patients and their prescribing physicians to improve clinical outcomes.
A Tria Health Patient Success Story
During an initial pharmacist consultation, it was documented that the patient’s HgbA1c was too high – indicating poorly controlled Diabetes. In addition, the patient had significant financial difficulties affording certain medications increasing medication non-adherence. The patient was initially prescribed Metformin, but stopped taking the medication due to stomach problems without replacing it with any other diabetes medication. The pharmacist recommended a prescription of Glimepiride since it is inexpensive, very effective, and generally well tolerated. The patient’s physician agreed with the recommendation and the patient has achieved a HgbA1c of 8% in one year
In addition, the Tria pharmacist recommended switching from brand-named Benicar-HCT, a blood pressure medication, to a similarly available generic blood pressure medication called Losartan-HCTZ. The generic version saved the member $40 every 30 days and the patient’s blood pressure remains well controlled on Losartan-HCTZ.
The patient initially had success and then set-backs with smoking cessation. The Tria pharmacist worked with them to achieve sustained smoking cessation and improved health by identifying appropriate therapies and by providing ongoing education and coaching.
This success story illustrates that by managing the whole patient, and all their conditions, can and will improve clinical and financial outcomes.