Arthritis: 5 Things You Should Know

1. Who is Affected

You probably immediately associate arthritis with old age. Perhaps you have an older family member or friend who suffers from it and has joint pain.images-21

However, what you probably don’t know is it can occur at any age. Although it mainly affects adults (about 1 in 4), there are an estimated 300,000 babies and children in America that suffer from juvenile arthritis.

In America, over 54 million people have been diagnosed with arthritis.

2. What is The Most Common Type?Portrait of an adult woman with his elderly mother.

The most typical form of arthritis is osteoarthritis that afflicts primarily older patients. This condition happens when there is a loss of cartilage between joints, causing your bones to rub against each other, resulting in stiffness, pain and loss of joint movement.

3. What Causes Arthritis

Arthritis can be hereditary or caused by other factors such as bacterial or viral infections, problems with your immune system, or an injury that can potentially lead to osteoarthritis. Additionally, it is associated with more than 100 diseases. In some cases, like diabetes and multiple sclerosis, it becomes an autoimmune disease. For example, rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can also damage skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels, in addition to joints.

4. Can Arthritis be Prevented

Unfortunately, it cannot be prevented, but there are some things you can do to help you deal with arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation recommends the following guiding principles. Always consult your doctor before starting a diet or exercise regimen. 

  • YogahandsEducate yourself — Know the various stages of the disease and how it progresses. Stay current on the latest research and findings.
  • Remain physically active – Maintain a good exercise routine that promotes weight management and joint health (such as walking, aerobics and yoga).
  • Protect your joints – Always protect your joints regardless of what you do —from working to working out.

5. How is it Treated?

Arthritis treatment usually focuses on pain relief and improving joint function. The medications available to treat arthritis vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. The Mayo Clinic provides the following list of commonly used arthritis medications and treatments: 
  • Analgesics – reduce pain but have no affect on inflammation
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – address both pain and inflammation
  • Counterirritants – creams and ointments that contain ingredients to help reduce pain
  • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) – stop or slow the immune system’s attack on your joints
  • Biologics – genetically engineered drugs that target various protein molecules involved in the abnormal immune response
  • Corticosteroids – aimed at reducing inflammation and suppressing the abnormal response from your immune system
  • Physical Therapy – improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles surrounding the joints
  • Surgery – used if all else fails; involves replacing your damaged joints with artificial ones
Digital CardIf you are on a prescribed medication to help manage your arthritis, or for any other condition, and you need help affording your prescriptions, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone.
By WHBlogger 
Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 
Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.

Reviewed: 5/15/18

Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma: “Parents Can Feed Their Families, Thanks to You”

Published in Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s “The Link” Holiday 2015

Temika

Temika

When Temika looks at her daughter, Tamia, she sees a girl who’s going places. An avid reader from an early age, Tamia is set on attending college when she graduates from high school and hopes to continue studying literature, her favorite subject.

Temika knows she’ll need to save a lot of money if she’s going to be able to help with the cost of books and tuition, but for now, she must address a much more immediate concern — putting food on the table.

While her daughter is at school, Temika works her hourly job at a nearby hotel and helps care for her two young godchildren. But between her paychecks and a small amount of help through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), she often struggles to buy groceries each month.

In order to stretch the family’s food budget a little further, Temika began visiting the Food Pantry at McFarlin United Methodist Church, her local Regional Food Bank partner agency in Norman. She says the food she receives here helps when money is especially tight and payday can’t come soon enough.

Before she started coming to the pantry, Temika wasn’t always able to prepare nourishing meals for her daughter and godchildren. Now, she can make nutritious dishes — including family favorites like jambalaya — without breaking the bank.

In addition to being somewhat of a bookworm, Temika says Tamia is also a talented dancer. She’s so glad she can give her daughter the energy she needs to practice each week by providing balanced meals.

As Temika prepares for the holidays, she’s thankful for friends like you who make this time of year so special. Every time she thinks about your generosity to her family, she says she feels overwhelmed with gratitude.

“Thank you for all that you do!” Temika says, grinning widely.

The Link is published quarterly by the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, a member of Feeding America. Comments and questions can be directed to their Development Department at 405-600-3136 or info@regionalfoodbank.org 

FBROK_CARDTo get a free Prescription Discount Card benefitting the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, download, print, email, or have a card mailed to you here. Every time you save on your prescriptions, we make a donation to help provide meals for people like Temika and her family. 

Fibromyalgia: Disease or Disorder?

AdobeStock_107636192Fibromyalgia is a disorder. A “disorder” refers to an unwanted condition that’s hard to identify what’s wrong. A “disease”, on the other hand, has a specific cause and symptoms. For example, cancer is a disease because you can identify the tumors that are causing the symptoms.

Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that it affects the way your brain processes pain signals, making even a little pain extremely intense. 

Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.

Women are much more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression.

While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures also may help.
By WHBlogger

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like.

3 Facts About OCD

cleaningYou may have heard the term “OCD” used to describe a person who is being overly clean or organized. However, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a very serious anxiety disorder that can consume the lives of people who have this condition. If think you may have OCD, it’s best to see a psychiatrist or psychologist who can give you the help you may need. 

OCD symptoms are a combination of obsessive thoughts and automatic, routine behaviors that often become uncontrollable without professional help. One of the most difficult things to understand about OCD is that the sufferer often knows they are being irrational, but continues to act on the obsessions any way. 

1. There Are Two Types of OCD 

There are two types of OCD, but some people exhibit both:

  1. Obsessions are recurring thoughts that repeat again and again in the mind. They often are about negative events or other things that cannot be changed. These thoughts can interfere with daily life. 
  2. Compulsions are certain habits that are done repeatedly. They usually start as a way to overcome obsessions, but end up causing terrible anxieties that add to the problems caused by OCD. 

2. OCD Has Common Traits27257596_l

  • Suffering from irrational fear of disease, bacteria, or being dirty
  • Repeating highly superstitious or religious behaviors
  • Displaying fear of causing harm, whether it is to themselves or loved ones
  • Repeating the same action over and over again, for example, making sure oven is off again and again
  • Having recurring negative thoughts
  • Excessively checking in on others’ wellbeing
  • Lining up objects and cleaning until it is “perfect”
  • Being unable to throw anything out

3. There are Two Treatments for OCD

  1. Exposure therapy is the most common method for treating OCD. It repeatedly forces patients to face their fears, to uncover the core of their obsession. For example, those with an irrational fear of disease may be asked to drink out of a public water fountain or handle something they think is unclean.
  2. Cognitive therapy teaches patients the best ways to respond to obsessions and how to avoid compulsions. Doctors may prescribe SSRIs (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) to rebalance serotonin levels in the brain. This chemical is responsible for mood regulation, appetite, and sleep. 
Did You Know? Several celebrities suffer from OCD.  Some include: actress Cameron Diaz, singer Justin Timberlake, soccer star David Beckham, actor Leonardo DiCaprio and radio host Howard Stern. 

By WHBlogger

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like.

 

Skyrocketing Suicide Rates Could Become A Public Health Epidemic

AdobeStock_48362766By Shane Power, President of Watertree Health… 

Something frightening is happening.  Last month, the New York Times reported that the
U.S. suicide rate surged to a 30-year high, according to a federal data analysis.  Suicide rates have increased in every age group except adults 65+, with numbers at their highest among the middle-aged.  Rates for men ages 45 to 64 rose the most among all males, to 43 percent.  Rates for women in the same age group skyrocketed by 63 percent.

Among girls 10 to 14 years old, numbers tripled.  50 girls took their own lives in 1999, compared to the 150 girls in 2014.   

Overall, there has been a 24 percent increase in the suicide rate from 1999 to 2014, noted the National Center for Health Statistics.  For every 100,000 people, 13 are taking their own lives. In 1999, almost 30,000 people committed suicide.  In 2014, over 42,000 did the same. 

Our country is clearly undergoing a crisis, particularly within the middle-aged demographic. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s senior adviser for health care, Katherine Hempstead points to a correlation between suicide among the middle-aged and heightened distress levels over personal finances and jobs due to a declining economy among other factors. 

Combine shattered finances with the social isolation of divorce and you have a potential recipe for disaster.  Since the 1990s, middle-aged divorce rates have doubled.  In 2005, unmarried middle-aged women were 2.8 times more likely to die from suicide than their married counterparts.  Unmarried men had an even higher instance at 3.5 times.

Time Magazine’s article warns that the risk of loneliness is growing because of housing trends and technology.  We are currently seeing the highest number of single dweller households in America while technology exacerbates the social isolation problem.  Fewer adults are forming meaningful relationships, and our digital native children are not learning how to connect to one another in person.

Even if social isolation does not lead to suicide, it is becoming a public health epidemic.  Scientists have linked loneliness and illness where the human genome is significantly changed long-term.  The Washington Post likens such genetic changes to physical damage from diabetes, obesity and smoking.  However, social isolation isn’t given the same concern.  “Loneliness can be a lethal risk,” and often overlooked in the individualistic and success-driven culture of America. 

Mental illness usually carries a high stigma.  It is still hidden away for fear of destroying one’s personal or professional lives.  People are protecting their façade of invulnerability while they crumble privately. 

It’s not enough to make May national mental health awareness month.  We must combat it directly because our future depends on it.   

The New York Times received an “overwhelming response” to their story.  If you need help, the newspaper suggests calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Please seek help.  If you cannot spend time with friends and supportive family, there are many third party resources available by phone, or in person.  The American Foundation has chapters in every state.

Volunteers are even available by SMS now – Crisis Textline offers free, nationwide crisis intervention via text message 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Several coping strategies suggested by Mental Health Daily involve positive distraction by reading, writing or watching television and movies.  Exercise is wonderful because it quickly provides a natural antidepressant effect by stimulating endorphin production to make you feel good.

Healthline reminds everyone to take their medications as directed by their doctors.  Prescription compliance is so incredibly important.  Improper dosage of medication can increase suicidal feelings.  Speak to a doctor about alternative options if prescription drugs are producing negative side effects – Don’t change your medical schedule without consulting a professional.

The emotional needs of our communities must be addressed now.  Given the data, we know that we are already in an increasingly dangerous situation.  Our country is in a mental health crisis.

Originally appeared in The Huffington Post on 5/10/16

Mental Health In America

1_in_4_fbnourlMay is Mental Health Awareness Month, but it is something you should be conscious of year round. Why? 1 in 6 U.S. adults suffer from mental illness and 1 in 5 children ages 13-18 has or will have one at some time during their lives. Most common are mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder.

So why is this important?

Often people with mental disorders suffer silently—they may be ashamed, not sure how to get help, or consider their disorder to be a life-long sentence rather than a temporary problem. Awareness can help break the stigma and give people the tools they need to help themselves or others with mental illnesses.

The stats are overwhelming—50% of students ages 14 and older with a mental illness drop out of high school. And sadly, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in youth (10-24). 90% of people who committed suicide had an underlying mental illness, which may have been preventable if treated.

Being able to look for signs that indicate something is “off” can help you identify a classmate, friend, family member, or even acquaintance who may need help. There are many resources out there—half of the battle is navigating the system and finding a combination of treatments or therapies that fit.

MentalHealth.gov suggests being aware of these early warning signs:

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having little or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and painsAdobeStock_48362766
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

Mental health issues should never be something to be ashamed of.

As of 2017 there are over 7.5 million uninsured American adults with mental illnesses. If you are on prescribed medications for any condition, and you need help affording your prescriptions, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). 

By WHBlogger 
Updated: 4/26/2018 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like.

What is Lupus?

AdobeStock_92690222

Lupus is a disease that causes your immune system to mistakenly attack healthy tissue. It’s estimated that about 1.5 million people in America have been diagnosed with lupus, with about 16,000 new cases each year.

The cause of lupus is still a mystery. It is speculated that it develops in response to a combination of factors both inside and outside your body, including: hormones, genetics, and your environment.

Women are more prone to the disease than men. And, women who are African American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American are more likely to get lupus than Caucasian women.

What Are Some of the Symptoms?

Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because it varies person to person and symptoms come and go. No single test has been developed that can diagnose lupus, so doctors still rely on your medical history, blood work, urinalysis, and assessment of both your kidneys and liver. 

If you think you may have lupus, please see your health care professional.

How Can it be Treated?

Treatment for lupus depends on your symptoms. The most common treatments used to control the disease include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Antimalarial drugs
  • Corticosteroids
  • Immune suppressants

There is still much research being done to better understand this disease. If you are on prescribed medications for lupus or other conditions, and you need help affording your prescriptions, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone.

By WHBlogger 

Reviewed: 4/26/18

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like.

Picture Hunger – Noel, 23

To get a free Prescription Discount Card benefitting the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, download, print, email, or have a card mailed to you here. Every time you save on your prescriptions, we make a donation to help provide meals for people like Noel and her family. 

card

www.watertreehealthcard.com/cfbeo/



Watertree Health MVP Spotlight: Candace Sleight

Continuing Series…

candy-smallCandace Sleight, who goes by Candy, is originally from New York, but moved to Georgia for a fresh new start a couple years ago. When she started with Watertree Health®, she quickly became the fastest-growing Rep, climbing to one of the top positions in the company. After only 4 months, she became a President’s Club member and soon after became a wish granter for Make-A-Wish®. We are proud to announce Candy as our very sweet MVP this May.

Needless to say, she is an all-star who keeps on giving and inspiring those around her. From day 1, she has given 110% to our two-fold mission: help people afford their medications and help grant more wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses.

After working years in the mortgage and insurance industry, her reaction to Watertree Heath was, “This has a purpose? Are you serious?” It was an immediate match. Now she calls herself “Difference-Maker and Wish Granter” rather than “Insurance Agent”.

After 2 weeks, Candy was full-time. She told herself, “I’m going to make it happen. I’m going to make it work no matter what.” Her attitude and determination in combination with Trina, her Director’s support made a recipe for success.

“I really feel blessed. There really are no mistakes in life,” Candy said.

Trina shared, “I always get emotional when I talk about Candy; she’s just amazing. When she came on board, it had been a long time since I brought on a superstar. Our team was a little behind on their goals, and Candy was more than what we needed; she was what I needed. It was just a perfect match. We instantly became really great friends.”

Candy replied, “You kept up the support – the communication was always there. That’s another reason I like to help other Reps – it’s so important they know they are supported. Day to day, we’re out there alone, but we’re really not alone because we’re all helping each other, working towards the same mission.”

“I call her my spring, because she launched us into a new chapter. She’s like a garden; she just keeps growing,” Trina said with a smile.

Now, Candy’s expanded her a new chapter as a wish granter for Make-A-Wish. “I was nervous about it because I tend to be emotional, but you realize what you’re doing is making such a positive impact on the kids, their family and the community around them, it just blows you away.”

Her experience has inspired other Reps, pharmacists and technicians to consider becoming wish granters as well. So far, two have made the commitment and many more are considering. The Make-A-Wish Georgia chapter created a special flyer for her to hand out since so many people were asking about it.

“Make-A-Wish needs people. The volunteers really help make it happen.”

Candy recently helped grant her 2nd wish for a 16-year-old girl with cancer whose wish is to go to Disneyland. The wish has been approved and Candy is currently planning to make the wish reveal party as special as can be.WH_MVP_LOGO_web_small

Thank you Candy for continuing to smile, laugh, and lend an open ear to your fellow community-based Reps. You are truly an inspiration to all of us, and a well-deserving MVP!

By WHBlogger 

5/02/2015 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.