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

Do Risk Reduction Programs Work?

Image Source: iStock.com

For self-insured employers, heart disease and diabetes are considered significant hindrances in the effort to improve employee health while reducing overall healthcare costs. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women and about 9.4% of Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. In order to control cost and help employees, employers typically look to disease state management programs. While many of these programs seem beneficial, the durability and long-term effects have limited evaluation.

What is a disease management program?

Disease management programs (DMPs) are structured treatment plans that aim to help people better manage their chronic disease and to maintain and improve quality of life. DMPs are also run with the general goal of improving medical treatment in the long term. Disease management programs also aim to improve cooperation between the various specialists and institutions that provide care for a patient, such as family and specialist doctors, hospitals and rehabilitation centers.1

What are the long-term outcomes of a DMP?2

A recent study published in the NCBI had the main objective of assessing the 5-year health, economic, and quality-of-life patient outcomes of an employer-sponsored disease state management program. The program included one-on-one appointments with a pharmacist that included medication therapy management, implementation and adherence to 7 personalized lifestyle medicine programs (ie, physical activity, healthy eating, stress management, restorative sleep, moderate alcohol consumption, tobacco abstinence/cessation, and weight control), and chronic disease care coordination practices.

The results of the study identified:

  • Decreased low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels: 96.71 mg/dL vs 84.83 mg/dL, respectively
  • Increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels: 39.32 mg/dL vs 46.12 mg/dL
  • Decreased systolic blood pressure: 132.04 mm Hg vs 123.63 mm Hg
  • Average exercise time increased: 50 minutes weekly vs 156.04 minutes weekly
  • The combined healthcare and productivity return on investment for the program at 5 years was $9.64 for every $1 invested.

What is the difference between a Disease Management program and the Chronic Condition Management Program offered by Tria Health?

Tria Health started as a disease management program and has its foundation there, but many disease management programs are focused one particular disease state versus the program offered by Tria Health which is patient-centered. Most patients have more than one chronic condition, so taking a ‘patient-centered’ approach improves overall care and costs.

Interested in improving your employee’s health?

Tria Health offers Chronic Condition Management through our Pharmacy Advocate Program. Clinical Pharmacists provide one-on-one telephonic counseling for members and are their personal advocate to help them navigate through the health care system. Through reviewing a member’s medications and lifestyle, including their sleep habits, Tria Pharmacists can make recommendations that will help control their chronic conditions and help them feel better!

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279412/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6207306/

National Wear Red Day

Image Source: https://www.goredforwomen.org

National Wear Red Day is February 1st. 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. The movement also challenges people to know their risk for heart disease and act to reduce their personal risk. Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.  Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action.

What are the Signs and Symptoms?1

While there are many similarities in the symptoms of heart disease in men and women, there are even more differences. Listed below are the signs and symptoms, specific to women, that are important to watch out for:

Heart Attack Symptoms:

  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.

Stroke Symptoms:

  1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  3. Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  5. Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Take Steps to Reduce Your Risk2

Not only can you wear red to raise awareness but you can also take steps to reduce your own risk. The American Heart Association has developed an online tool called My Life Check. My Life Check allows you to find out your heart score and see if you’re at risk based on Life’s Simple 7:

  1. Managing your blood pressure
  2. Control your cholesterol
  3. Reduce your blood sugar
  4. Get active
  5. Eat better
  6. Lose weight
  7. Stop smoking

Find out Your Heart Score

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. https://www.goredforwomen.org/en/about-heart-disease-in-women/signs-and-symptoms-in-women
  2. https://www.goredforwomen.org/en/know-your-risk/risk-factors

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