February 14, 2006
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Pisgah Family Health
Tami gains extra certification
Medical Student working at PFH
With the new year, do your medications cost more? If you have changed insurance plans, signed up for Medicare Part D, or your plan has a new pharmacy benefit, your medications may change in cost. Unfortunately, each pharmacy plan has unique benefits, and PFH cannot predict which medications will be covered on your plan. If you want help choosing less expensive medications, you MUST bring in your medication formulary. A formulary is the list of medications covered by your plan, including any differential cost teirs. This information should be available in your benefits package, or on-line. Check your insurance card for a phone number or website for your pharmacy benefits.
Girls and Women in Sports
February is National Girls and Women in Sports month. There is no better way to ensure a lifetime of fitness than to develop a love of sport. We have highlighted a few organizations that are active locally in promoting sporting options for girls and women.
UCNA will host its annual Girls and Women in Sports Day this April 22nd. This is an opportunity for girls to learn a new sport and meet strong women role models. For more information, contact Allison Daines, of the Parks and Recreation Stevens Lee Center: 350-2058.
Girls on the Run of Western North Carolina
OUR VISION: Girls on the Run is a life-changing educational and running program for girls in 3rd-5th grades. Girls on Track is for girls in 6th-8th grades. The 14-week program combines training for a 5k (3.1 miles) running event with self-esteem enhancing, uplifting team exercise activities. The Girls on the Run mission is to prepare and educate girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living. The program encourages positive emotional, social, mental and physical development. By encouraging physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle, we hope to instill a life-long habit of exercise and healthy living. The goal of Girls on the Run is to empower girls early in their lives to find strength, courage, and self-respect from within and draw upon it throughout their lives. The national objective is to help prevent teenage pregnancies, substance abuse and eating disorders. The Girls on the Run program is based on studies that show:
The Girls on the Run curriculum is taught by certified Girls on the Run volunteer coaches at various sites throughout the community including schools, churches and fitness & community centers.
The 3-part curriculum offers participants a chance to examine their world and their relationships to others. Some of the specific issues that sessions address are:
Alcohol * Emotional Health * Good Communication Skills
Our 14-week program also includes a community service project and ends with all girls running or walking in a non-competitive 5k community running event with their GOTR team members & coaches to experience a powerful sense of accomplishment at the finish line!
February is Heart Health month
For most of us, heart health starts with a healthy diet. To reduce your LDL-cholesterol and raise your HDL-cholesterol, choose foods that are low in fat (especially poly-unsaturated fats), low in refined sugar, and low in cholesterol. Fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains should be increased. In general, avoid foods in the following categories:
For more details, check out these references:
5 Steps to a Healthier HeartQuick! Can you name five things you can do to help your heart keep beating strong for years to come? Heart disease is the No. 1 killer for both men and women. But research indicates that most heart attacks and other causes of heart disease death could be prevented.
1) Blood Pressure
One of the strongest predictors for heart disease is measured in two numbers -- your blood pressure. You hear the numbers, but do you know what they mean? The first or top number is systolic blood pressure -- the pressure of blood against artery walls during a heartbeat, when the heart is pumping blood. The second number is diastolic blood pressure -- the pressure of blood against artery walls between heartbeats, when the heart is filling with blood.
Do these numbers seem a bit lower than you remember? What's considered a normal blood pressure was redefined in May 2003 when guidelines were revised to include a new category -- prehypertension. Experts recommend that people with prehypertension -- an estimated 45 million men and women -- make heart-healthy lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of blood pressure complications, such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage.
Probably the most familiar heart disease risk factor, cholesterol is a type of fat that is an essential nutrient for your body. However, too much cholesterol -- or not enough of the good type of cholesterol -- floating around in your blood increases your risk for hardening of the arteries that can lead to heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Cholesterol is considered abnormal when:
3) Body Weight
People often ask "How much should I weigh" For the purposes of heart health, Ideal Body Weight is actually below the average American weight. An easy way to calculate ideal weight based on your height is as follows:
A newer calculation is called Body Mass Index. BMI uses a person's weight and height to gauge total body fat. You can use WebMD's BMI calculator to determine your BMI.
Morbid Obesity increases your risk of death from any cause by 50% to 150%, according to The Cleveland Clinic.
4) Blood Sugar
Overweight and too little exercise -- that's what greatly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. It's nothing to take lightly because it can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and even blindness. A fasting blood sugar test -- after not eating or drinking anything but water for at least 12 hours -- is most commonly used to diagnose type 2 diabetes.
The bottom line is, take diabetes very seriously.
5) ExerciseYes, you've heard it all before. But we're not talking about an unreasonable commitment here. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends aerobic exercising three to five days a week for 30 to 45 minutes. This doesn't mean strapping on the leotards and joining others in the gym. Exercise that strengthens the heart comes in all shapes and sizes -- biking, swimming, and jogging, to name a few. "Walking is perfectly fine," says Crouch. "Anything is better than nothing, but 30 minutes a day is what we recommend."
Originally published Sept. 3, 2004. Medically updated Jan. 6, 2006.
Sexual Health: Your Guide to Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases, commonly called STDs, are diseases that are spread by having sex with someone who has an STD. You can get a sexually transmitted disease from sexual activity that involves the mouth, anus, vagina, or penis. STDs are serious illnesses that require treatment. Some STDs, like AIDS, cannot be cured and are deadly. By learning more about STDs, you can find out ways to protect yourself. More information is available at www.webMD.com on the following STDs.
What Are the Symptoms of STDs?
Sometimes, there are no symptoms. If symptoms are present, they may include one or more of the following:
How Do I Know if I Have an STD?
Talk to your doctor. He or she can examine you and perform tests to determine if you have a sexually transmitted disease. If you think that you have an STD, it's important to see your doctor. Treatment can:
How Are STDs Treated?
Many STDs are treated with antibiotics. If you are given an antibiotic to treat an STD, it's important that you take all of your medicine, even if the symptoms go away. Also, never take someone else's medicine to treat your illness. By doing so, you may make it more difficult to treat the infection. Likewise, you should not share your medicine with others.
How Can I Protect Myself From STDs?
Here are some basic steps that you can take to protect yourself from STDs:
How Can I Prevent Spreading a Sexually Transmitted Disease?
Medicare Part D
Medicare Part D is now in effect, much to the consternation of medicare recipients. The wide array of drug benefits is very confusing. The financial benifit to an individual can only be determined based on the specific medications he or she is purchasing. Unfortunately, our office does not have the information or resources to help our patients find the right drug plan. However, there are many good resources available on-line to help in this process.
http://www.medicare.gov/default.asp The government's site has several pages of information on the new plan, including a guide to local plans.
http://www.webmd.com/ WebMD is a commercial site with excellent resources on the new benefit.
http://www.coabc.org/default.htm The Council on Aging has a website, as well as local classes on the benefit. They offer a live person who will sit with you and evaluate your options. This is the most user-friendly local resource.
http://www.aarpmedicarerx.com/ The AARP supported this benefit, let them explain it to you.
http://www.cvs.com/CVSApp/cvs/gateway/promotion?pid=5803 CVS's website has basic information. Their stores offer commercial brochures from the various plans' vendors.
For more health information, check out these links:
About our Newsletter
Dr. Curran and the staff at Pisgah Family Health are proud to publish the Pisgah Family Health News to our patients. Our goal is to provide regularly updated information about the office and current medical topics. We plan to publish a new issue each quarter with breaking news. The newsletters will also be archived on our website, http://www.pisgahfamilyhealth.com/.
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