Your Practice Transformation Companion

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Are Your Vaccinations Up To Date?

Immunizations aren’t just for children. Pre-teens, teenagers and adults also need immunizations to keep protected from infection. The vaccine preventable diseases haven’t left us. They are still out there waiting for a host. Watching and waiting and ready to pounce on a vulnerable person who hasn’t been vaccinated against the disease they carry. This unvaccinated, unsuspecting person can get infected and pass it on to others. Planes are circling the globe constantly and this makes it even scarier with the ease of how a disease could travel and spread in a 24-hour period. Where is my scared, wide-eyed, unsmiling emogi when I need it? I definitely could use it now.

We talk about diet and exercise to keep ourselves healthy, but you can also add immunizations to that list. Whether it’s a yearly flu shot for every age group, or a vaccine recommended if certain risk factors or health conditions are present, it’s important that we protect ourselves and the ones we love. For some at-risk people, this could actually mean the difference between life and death.

Vaccinations are available at your primary care office, pharmacy, health department and many other locations. Currently vaccinations are covered by health insurance, whether it’s a private carrier, Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicare, Medicaid or military plan. Hopefully that never changes.

Data shows that vaccines are held to the strongest standard of safety. Vaccine information statements are required to be given at each vaccination with benefits, risks and potential side effects listed. This information is available in other languages if needed. Be an informed consumer and read up on what you’re getting and get any questions answered.

The CDC website has everything you need to learn about vaccines. There is a recommended, printable schedule for all ages that is grouped into the 3 categories below:
  • Infants and Children (birth through 6 years old)
  • Preteens and Teens (7 – 18 years old)
  • Adults (19 years and older)

Let Immunization Awareness Month be the reminder to talk to your health care provider for any questions about recommended vaccines for yourself and your children. Why take the chance of getting something when there is a vaccine against it? Get those vaccinations as soon as possible. Your co-workers and family members - children, grandchildren, parents - will be happy you did.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Hepatitis C and Baby Boomers

The baby boomer generation was the name given to people born within the years of 1945 to 1965. This age group has been found to have a high incidence of hepatitis C, as much as five times more likely than other people.

Most hepatitis C is transferred by blood from an infected person. Many of us baby boomers could have gotten infected during the time before universal precautions were taken for blood, blood products, needles, reusable syringes and the wearing of gloves during medical procedures.  Some studies show the hepatitis C epidemic can be traced to hospital transmissions caused by the practice of reusing needles with the peak being in 1950 when many of us baby boomers weren’t born or were very young. Other studies show the years being the highest from 1948 – 1963. What everyone agrees on is that before modern medicine as we know it, there was an increased chance of transmission of hepatitis C. Being a nurse, I had needle sticks many times while working in the hospital. Nurses didn’t worry much about them at the time. We had our shot of gamma globulin, filled out an incident report, and that was that. But as we gain more medical knowledge, sometimes changes must be made.

Keep in mind the potential other ways you could have gotten infected with hepatitis C such as getting an unsafe tattoo, having high-risk sex and recreational drug use. These are seen as risky behavior and caused stigma to be associated with hepatitis C for many people and stopped them from getting tested. With studies showing the hepatitis C spread most likely to be due to the absence of the universal precautions we now take, wipe that stigma away and get to your health care professional.

People infected with Hepatitis C sometimes may not even know they have it. They can live for decades without symptoms, but more people end up with a chronic infection. Unfortunately, Hepatitis C can lead to liver damage, including cirrhosis and liver cancer if not treated and cured.

Are you in the baby boomer age range? If so, get tested. It’s just a simple blood test called a hepatitis C antibody test that can be drawn at your primary care physician’s office. So easy. If your physician doesn’t ask you, ask them at your yearly exam. I had it on my list to ask my doctor and she also brought it up. I had the blood test and I was ecstatic to be found negative. Yay!


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Help Raise Awareness for PTSD

PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. It is a mental health disorder that can occur at any age after someone has experienced dangerous or scary events, such as a car accident, natural disaster, physical abuse or incidents that have occurred due to being a war veteran. It can also happen after the death of a loved one. Whatever the cause, some people may suffer from it for a few weeks or months and it gradually goes away with time. But for others, PSTD becomes chronic, disrupts everyday life, and goes on for years or even decades.

Symptoms and problems caused by PTSD include:

  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Frightening thoughts
  • Bad memories
  • Being easily startled, anxious, irritable or on edge
  • Insomnia
  • Trouble concentrating
  •  Feeling anxious
  •  Avoiding certain situations
  •  Anger
  •  Negative beliefs and feelings
  •  Depression
  •  Drinking or drug problems
  •  No longer interested in things you used to enjoy
  •  Relationship problems
  •  Employment issues

What can be done to help people with PTSD? For some, it just takes time. The PTSD fades or becomes less intense. After dealing with the death of an aging parent, you eventually get through the day without crying. You never forget, but you’ve accepted what happened and are able to move forward with your life. If you’re recovering from a car accident, you gradually stop being fearful of injury when you pass the location of your car accident. You’ll continue to be wary of the area and remember the teenager who ran that stop sign, but you’ve moved on.

But some people can’t move on. The events they’ve experienced are too much. These are the people who need to get help.

A psychiatrist or psychologist can diagnose PTSD. To reduce the risk, it is important to seek help from family, friends and support groups once a problem is realized. PTSD is not a sign of weakness. Counseling from behavioral health providers to learn positive coping strategies can be an important step in going forward with life. Medication properly prescribed can help others. Sometime a combination of the two is needed.  

The number of our veterans who experience PTSD is astounding. They’ve been exposed to many horrible and frightening experiences. With this diagnosis finally getting the attention it deserves, many support groups and organizations are now available not only for veterans, but their families and caregivers.

It is important that the public becomes aware of PTSD and what effective treatments are out there. Through research, education and training, people can turn their lives around with many making a full recovery. Let the healing begin.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Learn the risks of high blood pressure

High blood pressure is a serious condition that can lead to heart failure, stroke, coronary artery disease, kidney failure and many other health problems. It’s a good idea to know your risks. Although some of the risks are out of our control, others can be worked on. With May being high blood pressure awareness month, let’s take a moment to discuss what we can do to help ourselves.

Items out of our control include the physical and hereditary risk factors such as:

  • Age – due to the blood vessels losing elasticity
  • Gender – men more likely than women early on; women catch up with men later in life
  • Race – African-Americans are at a higher risk even at a younger age
  • Family history – You have an increased chance if a close blood relative has it

Items we can change are the lifestyle risk factors which include:

  • Not enough physical activity
  • Eating unhealthy
  • Being overweight
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Stress

What can you do to help yourself?
While you can’t change your age, gender, race or family history, there are some things you can do for those lifestyle risk factors:

  • Get moving. Aim for 30 minutes of activity 5 days a week. Physical activity can do so many good things for you. It can lower your blood pressure, help with weight loss, and reduce stress.
  • Improve your diet. It will help manage your blood pressure and make you feel good all over when you eat those fresh fruits and vegetables. Yummy! Watch the sodium that is found in so many processed foods as it can contribute to high blood pressure.
  • Manage your weight. You can do this by increasing your activity and improving your diet. See how everything is related?
  • Drink alcohol in moderation. Limiting alcohol can help prevent high blood pressure and help in your weight loss efforts. Alcohol has a lot of empty calories. Moderation is considered 2 drinks a day for men and 1 for women.
  • Quit smoking. It’s easy to say, but harder to do. I know! (See our November 2016 blog.) There are many tools and resources available online. Also, check with your health plan for what they will do to help.
  • Work on that stress. Stress has been known to contribute to the risk factors for high blood pressure. If you have too much stress in your life you may overeat, not get enough physical activity and/or drink too much alcohol. There are many ways to reduce and manage stress include taking care of your mood, giving yourself enough time to get responsibilities completed, being grateful for what you have, and being less of a control freak. You don’t have to do everything or be involved in everything! Let the things go that you can. Say no once in awhile.  Life is busy enough. Stop and smell those flowers that are starting to pop outside. You won’t regret it and neither will your blood pressure.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Defeat Type 2 Diabetes

What does it mean to be called prediabetic by a health care provider? It means your glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as a full-fledged diabetic. Ah, you say. I’m good! I’m not diabetic! But being prediabetic is not good. You shouldn’t breathe a sigh of relief that your health is fine. A prediabetic diagnosis means you are skiing on a slippery mountain slope with the threat of type 2 diabetes hanging over you like an impending winter storm.

Trust me. You don’t want to become diabetic. Suddenly you are at higher risk for a whole variety of serious health problems like heart disease, kidney failure, stroke, blindness and loss of toes, feet or even legs. Yikes! Don’t forget the added medication and blood checks you have to endure. It’s not a pretty picture and certainly not what I envision my golden years to include. I want to be as healthy as possible. Don’t you?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) facts are staggering:

·         86 million adults have prediabetes
·         9 out of 10 people with prediabetes don’t know they have it
·         Without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15%-30% of these prediabetics will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years

A major clinical research study was done that showed losing a modest amount of weight (5-7% or 10-14 pounds for a 200 pound person) and increasing physical activity (150 minutes or more a week of brisk walking or something similar) lowered the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The body was better able to process the glucose made from our food and worked better with the insulin produced by the pancreas.

What followed was that the CDC developed the National Diabetes Prevention Program. This lifestyle change program is for people at-risk for type 2 diabetes and lasts a full year. It starts with sixteen core classes to learn about healthy eating and physical activity. Other class subjects include how to problem solve, stay motivated and manage stress. The monthly post-core six sessions are to reinforce and build on what was taught in the hour-long class. Participants are weighed each week and turn in food and activity trackers that show what their food intake and activity minutes have been for the last week.

If this sounds good to you, please get in touch with Harmony at or 248.475.4736 for more information. We have trained coaches who can bring this worthwhile lifestyle change program to an organization. The word is definitely getting out nationally. Physician offices are screening patients and referring them to this proven curriculum. Insurers and employers are adding this program as a benefit. There is also good news on the Medicare front as the program will be a covered benefit for Medicare beneficiaries who meet certain criteria starting January 1, 2018.

With the season of spring upon us, there is the promise of good things to come. This is the perfect time to focus on healthy eating and physical activity as we strive for our best health and, in turn, lower our risk for type 2 diabetes.

Eating healthy:

·         Lowers risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, cancer
·         Prevents weight gain
·         Gives energy to do the things you want in life

Physical activity:

·         Lowers risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, cancer
·         Prevents weight gain
·         Gives energy to do the things you want in life
·         Improves mental health and mood
·         Strengthens bones and muscles
·         Improves ability to do the activities of daily living
·         Prevents falls

Take some personal responsibility and start today to make better lifestyle choices. Strive to eat healthy and get outside in the fresh air to increase your physical activity. Working together, we can all defeat diabetes.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Eat the Rainbow

A healthy plate of food would encompass the colors of the rainbow. The flavors would be varied depending on the season and availability of the items on the plate. Keeping those two thoughts in mind, I’d like for you to celebrate National Nutrition Month by eating a fruit or vegetable you’ve never tried before. That’s right. I challenge you to go to your local grocery store or market and pick up something colorful that you will buy and take home to eat. Something new. Something different. If you don’t like it, that’s ok. You gave it a try. You were open to new and unfamiliar things. Applaud yourself. And if you liked that new fruit or vegetable? You’ve unlocked new possibilities for healthy recipes that you and your family can enjoy. With food being one of the most important and enjoyable things we have in life, don’t stop yourself from finding happiness any way you can get it.

Our March focus is on making informed food choices and developing good eating habits. Let’s take a look at a few ways we can do this:

Know the difference between a portion size and a serving size.  A portion size is what you put on your plate. A serving size is the amount that is used to calculate the nutrients in our food; it’s what is on the food label.

Read food labels. There is a lot of good information on that label such as serving size, calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, protein and the ever-important ingredient list. If you’re on a special diet, unsure of serving size or just want to know what you’re eating, take a look at that label. You’ll be a more informed consumer.

Become familiar with MyPlate. The United States Department of Agriculture uses the image of a regular plate to recommend what a healthy diet would include. The plate is divided in half with four sections for fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins. Eating a variety of food isn’t difficult if we use this plate method as our guide. Get familiar with it and strive for that rainbow on your plate.

Strive for healthy eating. Eat fresh. Mix up your diet for nutrients and taste. Choose your snacks wisely. Aim for meals three times a day and space those meals out at regular intervals. Never skip breakfast as it fuels your day after fasting all night. Limit soda and other sugary drinks. Watch that salt intake. Choose foods with good fats like nuts and olive oil. Eat whole grains like whole grain pasta, cereals, bread and brown rice.

Learn more about processed foods. How do we separate the minimally processed from the heavily processed? That name gets a bad rep, but many items can be called ‘processed’ that are good for us. Have a read and be able to separate the good from the bad.

If you have specific questions about healthy eating, ways to prevent type 2 diabetes, information about food allergies or any other food related questions, ask your primary care physician for a referral to a Registered Dietitian (RD). An RD has met academic and professional requirements with an accredited nutrition curriculum and exam. They are your “go to” person for anything related to nutrition.

For people who are specifically at-risk for type 2 diabetes, there is even more of an urgent need to start eating healthier and increasing physical activity. The National Diabetes Prevention Program was developed at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). It is a lifestyle change, year-long program for adults with a high risk for type 2 diabetes. Participants learn how to include healthy eating and physical activity into their daily lives. The program consists of sixteen sessions of core learning followed by six sessions for the last six months to reinforce and build on content. PTI has lifestyle coaches who can bring this program to your organization. Contact Harmony at or 248.475.4736 for more information.

As we enter the season of spring with all its aspects of renewal related to the outside environment, let’s focus on our inside environment first. Be good to yourself by making informed food choices and strive to eat that rainbow. It helps create an opportunity for your best health. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

An Eating Disorder Can Be Life-Threatening

If you’ve ever known someone who has had an eating disorder then you know how scary one of these can be. Eating disorders cause serious emotional and physical problems, and are not a phase someone may be going through. The conditions are real and must be taken seriously.

The main disorders are anorexia nervosa (self-starvation), binge eating disorder (same health risks as clinical obesity) and bulimia nervosa (binge and purge cycles), but there are other types of eating disorders that cause distress and impairment to a lesser degree. It’s important to note that eating disorders do not discriminate. They affect every race, gender, age, socio-economic class, sexual orientation and language. People with eating disorders have difficulty with their behavior, emotions and attitudes regarding food and weight issues. They are struggling and need professional help.

The health consequences of eating disorders can vary depending on the disorder, but sometimes can become fatal. Some of the most extreme include:

·         Heart failure due to slow heart rate, irregular heart rate, low blood pressure, electrolyte imbalances
·         Osteoporosis due to poor diet
·         Muscle loss and weakness
·         Kidney failure from dehydration
·         Gastric and esophagus rupture
·         Bowel issues
·         Tooth decay and other dental complications (soft tissues, bone, salivary glands)

Eating disorders have always been a difficult diagnosis for people to understand. Expressing concern without placing shame on the individual can go a long way with trust. Getting someone to a health care professional who is knowledgeable about eating disorders can be a first step. Remain supportive by letting the person know that you care and will continue to be there for them.

We must continue to bring attention to the seriousness of eating disorders and direct individuals who may be struggling to get the help they need. By increasing awareness, people with eating disorders may start thinking about getting assistance earlier. Family members or friends might realize quicker that it’s time to get involved for the health and safety of their loved one. Prevention and improved access to quality treatment, along with funding for research, is key to supporting individuals and families affected by the disorders. Websites such as have the information to learn about these disorders and the next steps to finding help and support.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Staying Safe and Healthy Over the Winter

It’s here again - that freezing, awful, bone-chilling part of the year that many of us detest. I try to think about winter as only the months of December, January and February, but in our Michigan reality it is usually a little longer. If you want a winter getaway to somewhere warm, make your plans ASAP. You’re already late with the arrangements. A beach vacation dreamily watching the waves as your toes curl in the warm sand with a tropical drink in hand is a welcome winter respite for many. I’m ready! Get me on the next plane outta here! But if you’re unable to get away at least make a pact to stay safe and healthy this winter.

·         Keep gas tanks full – avoids ice in the tank and fuel lines
·         Check tire tread – replace as needed
·         Put together an emergency car kit – charged cell phone, roadside assistance information, blankets, water/snacks, sand/kitty litter for traction, booster cables, flashlight, first aid kit
·         Winterize inside and out
·         Have fireplaces/furnaces inspected by a professional
·         Replace batteries in smoke detectors/CO2 detectors
·         Keep gas available for the generator in case of power outages

·         Dress for the weather – bundle up with a coat, gloves, scarf, hat and boots
·         Spread salt, kitty litter or sand on icy patches around your home
·         Take your time shoveling snow – listen to your body
·         Watch the weather reports – heed warnings
·         Let relatives/friends know your route and expected arrival time
·         Have a plan for emergencies – see the emergency car kit above

·         Use hand sanitizer and wash your hands – a lot
·         Take your vitamins
·         Keep active not only to stay in shape, but to lift your mood
·         Get plenty of sleep – it’s dark outside much earlier to help in your quest
·         Eat well – bring on the oatmeal, but also hearty soups, stews, winter fruits/vegetables
·         Stay hydrated – drinking water isn’t only for the warmer months
·         Socialize – we’re not bears in hibernation
·         Name three things you like about winter – yes, you really can
·         Boost your immune system with all of the above
·         Get your flu shot
·         Keep skin healthy – moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
·         Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) - If you’re prone to feeling down or blue during the winter, try light therapy. Simply getting more light into your life can help a lot. See a doctor to have your Vitamin D checked. Get outside when it’s sunny.

We can’t stop our Michigan winters, but we can make it easier on ourselves by trying to stay healthy and being prepared for what the season may bring. I’ve embraced the season…but I’m also on the countdown clock. Spring 2017! I can’t wait!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Back from Palo Alto and Stanford University!

My co-worker, Megan, and I recently returned from the beautiful campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, where we trained onsite for the Stanford University Self-Management Programs T-Trainer Apprenticeship.

In case you’re not familiar with this curriculum, Dr. Kate Lorig, Director of the Stanford Patient Education Research Center and Professor of Medicine at Stanford School of Medicine, developed a number of self-management programs for people with chronic health problems. All of these evidence-based programs help people gain self-confidence to better manage their health problems on a day-to-day basis.

Already being Master Trainers for these programs, Megan and I have trained many Program Leaders over the years. We had to apply to become T-Trainers and get accepted from Stanford. Imagine our excitement when we were selected to lead the November Master Training at Stanford! Our apprenticeship week on campus was under the supervision of Certifying T-Trainer Sonia Alvarez. The class of twenty-four students for the week came from a variety of professions all over the United States. We even had three people in our class who flew all the way from Taiwan.

The training week consisted of activities to help our group of twenty-four learn the program and effectively train others. The workshop activities we did were identical to the activities taught to people with chronic diseases. Trainees act like people in the community who have taken the class so they can experience it firsthand like a community member. There were two different opportunities to practice teach the program under our guidance.

It was a great learning experience and we are now T-Trainers. What this means is that we can conduct Master Trainings for other organizations. Those Master Trainers could train Program Leaders how to deliver the program correctly to their communities.

If you have any further questions about how we could work with your organization for this program or any other programs that PTI offers, please send me an email and I’d be happy to get back with you.

Have a wonderful holiday season.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

I quit tobacco! You can, too.

November 17 is the date this year of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. This date is meant to encourage the over 42 million smokers in the United States to either develop a plan to quit or use the date as their official quit date. What a lot of people don’t know is the long history of the Great American Smokeout. Events started in the 70s and have contributed over the years to the many changes in our smoking laws for public places, workplaces, hospitals and in tobacco advertising. These changes have protected non-smokers and supported smokers who wanted to quit, saving millions of lives along the way.

Take it from me, an ex-smoker named Carla, that quitting tobacco is one of the hardest things someone can do. I smoked for many years beginning the habit when I was 16 years old and started to make commitments to quit beginning at age 40.  Not only did I try the cold turkey route numerous times, but the nicotine gum and patches. It took my third time using the nicotine patches before I was able to stay off nicotine, and I’m confident I’ll never smoke cigarettes again.

If you or someone you know is contemplating quitting, research shows that smokers who have support are more likely to quit for good. There are many more tools and resources available now than when I started quitting. Not only are there the traditional nicotine replacement products, but there are prescription products to lessen cravings. Health insurers are on board to provide support with benefits and incentives. Telephone hotlines, stop smoking groups, counseling, and even online quit groups can help you feel like you’re not alone in your quest to be tobacco-free. Friends and family members can provide encouragement and support, but make sure you inform your support network about your plan. If they don’t know, they can’t help.

You’ll start noticing the benefits right away for some things. Others may take a little more time.

·         Being less out of breath climbing stairs or participating in other activities
·         Food tastes better
·         Sense of smell returns
·         Hair, clothes and your vehicle no longer reek of smoke
·         Teeth and nails stop yellowing
·         The damaging effects of tobacco will no longer play havoc with your skin and body systems
·         Save money every day you don’t smoke
·         Smoke-free buildings and events no longer bother you. You’ll start welcoming them!
·         Breathe deep. Enjoy the fresh air without coughing.

There are many tools and resources available on the American Cancer Society website regarding the Great American Smokeout and about smoking in general. You can call them anytime at 800-227-2345 for more information on support and/or telephone coaching in your area. If you’re a smoker, circle the date of November 17 to be the beginning of your smoke-free life.

Staying away from tobacco is the single most important thing you can do for your health. Claim victory over tobacco addiction. You won’t regret it. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Spotlight on Medication Safety

PTI is casting a spotlight this month on the growing problem of medication safety in our homes and communities. Not only the use and abuse of prescription drugs, but the over-the-counter medications that can cause harm if not taken correctly.

Medication responsibility – a partnership with your health care provider

  • Make sure that all of your health care providers are aware of the medications you are taking. This includes over-the-counter medications, herbal/nutritional supplements, medicinal lotions/creams, eye drops and vitamins. Some of the items that we may assume don’t matter do matter when mixed with prescription drugs.
  • Discuss the need for the medication with your health care provider. Why are you taking it? Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s important that you understand why you are taking a medication. Remember that your health care provider is there to help you.
  • If you’re not taking your prescribed medications, be honest. Why are you not taking them? Is there more than one choice available if there are issues such as cost, schedule, side effects or ease of taking? Health care providers expect us to take the medication they have prescribed. They can’t take care of our health problem if we don’t work together.
  • Keep a medication list with you at all times. Update it when something changes. Review it with your health care provider or pharmacist. Make sure all of your providers are aware of what you take when you have an appointment.
  • Always use the same pharmacy to reduce the chance of drug interactions. Pharmacist knowledge along with the added alerts that pop-up on pharmacy computer programs can decrease adverse events.
  • Use all medications as prescribed. Don’t cut them in half, share pills with friends or relatives, or take medications that haven’t been prescribed for you.

Minding your medications

  • This is an extension of the last bullet above. The medication has been prescribed for you and you are the only one who should be taking it.
  • The abuse of medication by high school and college students to get high or change their mood continues to be a national concern. Hopefully we all remember what it was like to be young and faced with the multiple stressors of schoolwork, sports, jobs, friends and our home life. Young people also have the additional stressor of social media that many of us didn’t have while growing up.
  • What can you do to protect your family, loved ones and friends?  Become knowledgeable about the medications that are abused and keep those out of public places in your home. Bathroom medicine cabinets and kitchen cabinets are prime examples of public places in the home. We’ve all seen the scary commercials. Don’t provide the temptation for disaster.

Using sensibility with over-the-counter pain relievers

  • Many over-the-counter and prescription medications contain acetaminophen or NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium or aspirin.)
  • These can include pain pills, cough/cold/allergy medications and sleep aids.
  • There are maximum daily limits for acetaminophen and NSAIDS. Each work differently in your body.

-Taking too much acetaminophen can harm your liver, sometimes with deadly consequences.
-Taking too many NSAIDs can increase your chance of stomach bleeding.
-If you take aspirin for heart attack or stroke prevention, ibuprofen may decrease the heart benefit the aspirin was supposed to provide.
  • Not all pain relievers are appropriate for everyone due to medical history, age, current medication use and allergies.
  • More than 500 medications contain acetaminophen such as Tylenol, NyQuil, DayQuil, Mucinex, and other prescription medication such as Norco and Percocet.
  • More than 900 medications contain an NSAID such as Motrin, Advil, Midol and other prescription medication such Vicoprofen and Combunox.

Learn the facts about safe use
-Directions were meant to be followed.
-Don’t take more than the recommended dose.

With October being “Talk About Your Medicines” month, the importance of taking this first step cannot be emphasized enough. Check out the National Council on Patient Information and Education website. This coalition has been working for years to advance the safe and appropriate use of medications.

Be medication smart!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Many may not know September is Baby Safety Month. With an 18 month old of my own, baby safety is very important in our household. This year the focus is on the product registration cards that come with baby products. It is required by law for many baby products to include a registration card.

Why register your baby products? According to

·         Through product registration, parents can establish a direct line of communication with the manufacturer should a problem arise with a product purchased.
·         If there is a safety announcement or recall associated with that product, the manufacturer can contact you directly, to provide further details on what to do with the recalled product.
·         Although recalls are announced and promoted in various ways, parents can miss public announcements. Product registration cards are an easy way for information to be provided to parents directly and efficiently.

2 easy ways to register

·         Mail in registration card that came with product
·         Visit manufacturer website and register item

Remember that although these may seem like a nuisance to fill out, it benefits everyone from the parent, child and manufacturer. Keep your little ones safe! 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Living with Chronic Pain

Pain is defined as being chronic or long term when it lasts longer than 3 to 6 months, or beyond the normal healing time of an injury. This chronic pain may be mild to severe and doesn’t go away. It can take both a psychological (anxiety, stress, depression, anger, withdrawal) and physical drain (fatigue, sleeplessness) on the person experiencing it. There is also evidence that chronic pain can suppress the immune system, putting the person suffering at further risk of compromise. With almost 100 million Americans suffering from chronic pain, there is much that needs to be done with effective treatment that addresses the psychological as well as the physical aspects.

The most common sources of chronic pain include back pain, injury/trauma pain, infection, disease, headaches, joint pain, tendinitis, and pain affecting the shoulders, pelvis and neck. Muscle or nerve pain can also develop into a chronic condition causing chronic pain. Some people even have chronic pain in the absence of past injuries or damage to the body. Chronic pain can decrease the body’s production of natural painkillers, and with negative feelings associated with it, can increase the levels of substances in the body that amplify the sensations of pain. This causes a vicious cycle of pain for the person suffering.

What can be done?

Since there is a proven mind and body link with chronic pain, effective treatments need to address the psychological as well as the physical aspects. Some treatments that used to be called “alternative” are now considered “mainstream” and there are a lot of options out there. Just remember to do your homework and discuss any additional pain treatments with your health care professional.

Some of the current pain treatments (besides medication and surgery) include relaxation/stress reduction/distraction techniques, exercise, guided imagery, chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture, marijuana, behavioral therapy, hypnosis, biofeedback, music therapy and massage.

Another option that incorporates many of above methods (relaxation/stress reduction/distraction techniques, exercise and guided imagery) is the Stanford University Chronic Pain Self-Management Program. This is a 6 week, 2 ½ hour workshop that helps people learn how to self-manage their pain. Classes are highly participative, where mutual support and success build the participants’ confidence in their ability to manage their pain and maintain active and fulfilling lives.

Subjects covered during the 6 weeks include:
·         techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, isolation and poor sleep
·         appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance
·         appropriate use of medications
·         communicating effectively with family, friends and health professionals
·         nutrition
·         pacing activity and rest
·         how to evaluate new treatments

Please join us at our upcoming FREE workshop or recommend it to your family and friends. 
Country Creek Medical Building
4986 N. Adams Road
Rochester, MI 48306

Every Thursday from 1:00 PM – 3:30 PM for 6 weeks
September 22, 2016 through October 27, 2016

To register:


Contact: Carla at 248.310.8476 or email at

Friday, July 1, 2016

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

One in five people live with a mental health condition. This painful statistic shows that mental health disorders are more prominent than we might have thought. Many of these people also belong to an ethnic or racial minority. Historically, minority communities not only experience unique and considerable challenges in accessing mental health services, but discrimination or exclusion. Being a minority, along with other social determinants of health such as geographical location, availability of resources, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity contribute to minorities receiving inferior mental health treatment. Minorities who are impoverished, homeless, incarcerated or have substance abuse problems are at an even higher risk for poor mental health. These health disparities are preventable differences.

What can be done to change this?

Fortunately, it is being worked on, but will take time. With July being National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, there are organizations dedicated to providing support and resources while raising awareness for minority groups living with mental illness. The aim is to improve access to mental health services for multicultural communities through increased public awareness. Mental health services must be tailored to meet the unique needs of minority groups in different community settings.

A number of initiatives in place today focus on minority communities and their access to mental health. A range of initiatives continue to emerge at the federal, state, and local level. Primary care offices need to include mental health screenings that take into account a patient’s language and cultural background to address minority mental health care. It is imperative that mental health services are integrated with primary care services as they are the sole form of services for over a third of patients with a mental health disorder who are accessing the health care delivery system. The public mental health safety net of hospitals, community health centers, and local health departments are also vital to many minorities, especially to those in high-need populations.

There are many organizations that help millions of people who face mental illness each day. To learn more about mental health conditions, get involved in events, raise awareness and find support for family/friends/caregivers, reach out to the organizations. Here are a few.

National Alliance on Mental Illness
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration
National Council of Behavioral Health

Mental Health America