Mental Health and Chronic Condition Management

Sad man sitting in a corner
Image Source: Fernando @cferdo/Unsplash.com

According to a recent study published in Psychological Medicine, mental health disorders affect 44 million American adults. This includes a variety of conditions, including depression and anxiety. It is critical for organizations to provide support for mental health, not only for the overall well-being of their employees but also to help manage their overall health care cost.

Employers Should Invest in Mental Health Because They Bear 50% of the Cost

Including mental health services in a comprehensive benefits package is a smart decision for all employers. By investing early, employers can attract new talent and offset some additional costs that are associated with unmanaged mental health. Almost 43% of persons with severe depressive symptoms reported serious difficulties in work, home and social activities.1 A 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, estimates depression costs the U.S. economy $210 billion annually; employers bear 50% of that cost.

Patients with Chronic Conditions and Depression are 2x Less Adherent

Chronic conditions can be a lot to manage at an individual level. It’s not surprising that a percentage of those who are diagnosed with a chronic condition also experience some form of depression or anxiety. Studies show that people with diabetes have a greater risk of depression than people without diabetes.2 This connection is significant when it comes to adherence.  Results from 47 independent samples showed that depression was significantly associated with non-adherence to the diabetes regimen. In addition, the estimated odds of a depressed patient being non-adherent are 1.76 times the odds of a non-depressed patient, across 31 studies and 18,245 participants.3

Provide a Path to Care – Connect Employees to Providers

Employers can make accessing a mental or behavioral healthcare provider easier by offering a program that helps connect employees with providers who are in-network, vetted for quality of services and accepting new patients.4 They can also provide assistance by making sure employees know what programs and benefits are available. It’s one thing to offer mental health services to employees, but it’s equally important that everyone is familiar with and know how to access them.

Tria Health and Mental Health

Many patients decide to take medications in order to effectively manage their mental health. There are a variety of mental health medications currently on the market, ranging from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to atypical antidepressants. Because there isn’t a test to measure to brain chemicals, it can be a trial and error process to identify the best treatment for a patient. 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 mental health, Tria’s pharmacist will be able to provide you with recommendations.

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

Source:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db172.htm
  2. Diabetes Care. 2008 Dec; 31(12): 2398–2403. doi: 10.2337/dc08-1341
  3. J Gen Intern Med. 2011 Oct;26(10):1175-82. doi: 10.1007/s11606-011-1704-y. Epub 2011 May 1.
  4. https://www.employeebenefitadviser.com/opinion/increasing-employee-access-to-mental-health-benefits?tag=00000151-16d0-def7-a1db-97f024be0000

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

Migraines can be a Costly Chronic Condition

Girl facing away holding hands to head
Image Source: Element5_Digital/Unsplash

Migraine is a debilitating condition that affects over 37 million Americans and their families.1 Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. households includes someone who suffers from migraines. While most sufferers experience attacks one or twice a month, more than 4 million people have chronic daily migraine, with at least 15 migraine days per month.2 Healthcare and lost productivity costs associated with migraines are estimated to be as high as $36 billion annually in the U.S. Unfortunately, people who experience migraines typically remain quiet about their disease which leads to the misconception that only a few people suffer from the condition.

What are Migraine Symptoms?3

Per the Mayo Clinic, migraines may progress through four stages: prodrome, aura, headache and post-drome, all of which result in different symptoms. Click here to find a list of symptoms for each migraine stage. Migraines are often undiagnosed and untreated. If you regularly experience signs and symptoms of migraine attacks, keep a record of your attacks and how you treated them. Then make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your headaches.

Migraine Misconceptions

Migraines remain a misunderstood disease that is often undiagnosed and undertreated. Many people who have migraines suffer from the stigma surrounding the disease which can often lead them to further isolation. Most people don’t realize how debilitating the disease can be, more than 90% of sufferers are unable to work or function normally during their migraine.

Tria Health and Migraines

Tria Health’s Pharmacy Advocate Program offers one-on-one, private consultations with a Tria Health Pharmacist. Your pharmacist will work with you and your doctor(s) to ensure you’re getting the intended outcomes from your medications. Over the years, Tria Health has continued to expand our services to include a multitude of chronic conditions. We’re happy to announce we are now providing services to members who suffer from migraines.

Have any questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

 

Sources:

  1. https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/understanding-migraine/migraine-self-advocacy/
  2. http://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-facts/
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/symptoms-causes/syc-20360201

Tria Health: February Ask a Pharmacist Edition

Pharmacist surrounded by pills with text that reads Ask a Pharmacist
Image Source: iStock.com/macrovector

Tria Health would like to thank our followers for such positive feedback from our last “Ask a Pharmacist Edition.” Since then, we have seen even more questions coming through to our Help Desk. To better serve our audience, clients and patients, we will continue answering some of our most Frequently Asked Questions.

Because it’s cold and flu season, this month we’re going to focus on the questions that will help you get through these next few months.

Question: What basic items should be stored in a well-stocked medicine cabinet?

Answer: Here are a few essentials to stock your medicine cabinet to treat common problems.

  • Pain relievers
    • Tylenol, Advil, or Aleve.  Remember the generic versions work just as well and will save you money.   If you have children in the home be sure to have children’s formulations as well, ask your pharmacist if you need help calculating the right dose for the little ones.
  • Over the counter medications for minor stomach ailments
    • Products like Pepto-Bismol can treat a variety of minor stomach symptoms. Medications like Tums or Rolaids can help with periodic heartburn symptoms. Mild laxatives, such as Colace or Senna, can help with constipation.
  • Cold, Flu and Allergy Relief
    • Antihistamines and cough suppressants are good to have on hand for common cold and flu symptoms. To make sure that you are targeting the right symptom with the right medication consult your pharmacist. Some common brands we recommend include Claritin, Zyrtec or Allegra.
  • First Aid Kit
    • It’s always important to be able to treat household injuries, be sure to have Band-Aids and Neosporin available for cuts and abrasions.

Please don’t forget the importance of checking expiration dates on over-the-counter medications. Expired medications can lose their effectiveness. Additionally, remember the importance of properly disposing any expired medications.

Question: Why don’t I need antibiotics when I have a cold?

Answer: The common cold is almost always caused by viruses, not bacteria. Viruses do not respond to antibiotics and they typically run their course after a few days. Your best course of action is symptom management, pushing fluids, and rest—these are key to combating a virus. Additionally, over-use of antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistance which makes true bacterial infections harder to treat.

Question: Is it true that you can alternate Tylenol and Ibuprofen for fevers?

Answer: That is true. If you are combatting a high fever, alternating doses of Tylenol and ibuprofen every 2-3 hours is an effective way to keep the fever down. Always talk with a healthcare professional to ensure you are using the proper doses at the proper interval.

Question: Why do I have to take all my antibiotics if I feel better after a few days?

Answer: The symptoms associated with a bacterial infection will almost always resolve even before the bacteria is completely out of your system. While you may feel significantly better after only a few doses of an antibiotic, it is crucial to complete the full course of treatment. If the bacteria is not completely eliminated it can return and develop resistance to antibiotics which will make it harder to treat the second time around.

Do YOU have a question for our pharmacists?

 If so, please comment below or call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742, and we’ll gladly answer in next month’s “Ask A Pharmacist Edition.” 

New Year, New You?

It’s the time of year for New Year’s resolutions—or, more accurately, the time that most people have given up on those resolutions. You know the kind of resolutions we mean: “I’ll exercise more”, “I’ll start eating better and watch my portion sizes”, “I’ll quit smoking”. To ditch the resolutions by mid-January is par for the course. We understand, change is hard. However, your friends at Tria Health want to help you take back control of your resolutions and your health—and deliver the why behind it.

These lifestyle changes like losing weight, eating well-balanced nutritional meals and exercising can prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. In fact, these lifestyle changes are part of the recommendations our pharmacists are making to our patients through our Pharmacy Advocate Program.

Tria Health’s Pharmacy Advocate program helps people with Chronic Conditions

In addition to lifestyle changes, most chronic conditions require medication to effectively treat and manage. Tria Health’s pharmacists make sure patients are receiving the best benefits from their medications. They work with patients and their physicians to identify, prevent and resolve drug therapy problem’s related to a patient’s medications.

Tria Health’s pharmacists provide one-on-one telephonic counseling for members to discuss how lifestyle and medication impact chronic conditions. They provide valuable, clinically based information on how to improve your health. And, they will coordinate any recommendations with the members’ physician and/or pharmacy.

You Have the Power to Prevent Chronic Disease  

The CDC reports that, “chronic diseases and conditions—such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis—are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems.” This year, and always, we encourage you to resolve to live a healthy lifestyle. These lifestyle changes will help you feel better today—and for many tomorrow’s:

  • Get to and stay at a healthy weight.
  • Eat a nutritious diet of whole foods.
  • Watch your portion sizes.
  • Be active.
  • Quit smoking (and other tobacco products).
  • Limit your alcohol use.

Change IS hard, but if you consider the possibility of preventing chronic disease, it’s an easy decision to attempt to make these lifestyle changes. Your friends at Tria Health hope you will resolve to commit to living a healthy lifestyle to prevent chronic conditions.

 

For more information on CCM, please visit our website at www.triahealth.com or call our help desk at 1.888.799.8742