Wellness Tip

Overweight? All Is Not Lost!

Overweight? All Is Not Lost!

Need to shed 15 or 25 pounds? Try this trick: Pick up a 15- or 25-pound turkey in the grocery store (or a bag of soil at the nursery). Then carry it around for a few minutes. Did you find it tough to do? Extra pounds take a toll, don’t they? But weight gain is often such a gradual process that you might not even realize it’s happening.1

Sadly, more and more people are dying from weight-related health problems. This includes high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other conditions. In 2015, 40 percent of 4 million deaths linked to weight were in people who weren’t even considered obese, just overweight.2 And for those who gain more, the risks are even greater. For example, 44 extra pounds in midlife increases your risk of type 2 diabetes by 10 times.1 There’s an emotional toll as well. A recent study found that heavy kids faced three times the risk of depression in adulthood.3

Okay, enough of the scary statistics. I’m here to also say that even small changes can make a big difference. For example, did you know that losing just 7 percent of your body weight can cut your risk of diabetes by 60 percent?4

So what can you do? As I’m sure you’re aware, there’s no shortage of weight-loss tips out there. Here are a few backed by recent research:

· Weigh yourself regularly, especially during times of life transition, such as pregnancy or marriage. See the number going up? Nip that trend in the bud before it gets even harder to do.1

· Down water instead of other drinks. Following 16,000 adults, researchers found that drinking a glass of water instead of a beer every day reduced the risk of obesity by 20 percent. Substituting water for sugar-sweetened drinks lowered the risk by 15 percent.5

· Be wary of artificially sweetened drinks, though. Among 1,000 subjects in seven clinical trials, aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose showed no major weight-loss benefits. In fact, data from 30 observational studies involving 400,000 people showed a link between artificial sweeteners and obesity. These kinds of studies, however, can’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship.6

· “Keep on walking, keep on walking,” to paraphrase Dory from Finding Nemo. A global study looked at “activity gaps” and found that waistlines have widened in places where walking rates have declined.7 The great thing about this activity is that nearly everyone can do it. And it doesn’t cost much, just the price of a good pair of shoes. On your walks, you can also try a few quick bursts of fast walking or running to burn extra calories.8

· Get enough sleep. This link might be something you don’t think much about. But studies have shown a lack of sleep may contribute to obesity.

Of course, it goes without saying that you need to focus on healthy food choices, too. Eat more vegetables, fruits, lean meats, fish, and nonfat dairy products. And don’t tempt fate. Keep sugary, starchy foods out of your house, if you can.8

If lifestyle changes aren’t quite enough to be effective, your doctor may prescribe a medication or other measures. As you know, I’d be glad to share my insights. Good luck!

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.


1. HealthDay: “More Evidence That Midlife Weight Gain Harms Your Health.” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_167272.html Accessed 8-2-17.

2. HealthDay: “2 Billion Worldwide Are Obese or Overweight.” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_166514.html Accessed 8-2-17.

3. HealthDay: “Heavy Kids Face Triple the Odds for Depression in Adulthood.” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_165743.html Accessed 8-2-17.

4. WebMD: “Weight and Diabetes: Lose Pounds to Lower Your Risk.” Available at: http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/features/diabetes-weight-loss-finding-the-right-path#1 Accessed 8-2-17.

5. HealthDay: “Drink Water, Fight Fat?” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_165714.html Accessed 8-2-17.

6. HealthDay: “Could Artificial Sweeteners Raise Your Odds for Obesity?” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_167249.html Accessed 8-2-17

7. NHLBI: “Treatment.” Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe/treatment Accessed 8-2-17.

8. WebMD: “Lose Weight Fast: How to Do It Safely.” Available at: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/lose-weight-fast-how-to-do-it-safely#1 Accessed 8-2-17.

Kids and Sleep: How Much Is Enough?

Kids and Sleep: How Much Is Enough?

What happens when your kid doesn’t get enough sleep? Does he turn into Oscar the Grouch? Not a surprise, really. But moodiness isn’t the only downside of a lack of shuteye.

Sleep is critical for mental and physical development. In fact, a lack of sleep can lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, injuries, diabetes, and obesity in kids, as well as depression in teens (and adults).1,2

Sleep guidelines for kids. About a year ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with new sleep guidelines for kids. In case you missed it, here’s what they now recommend:

· Infants 4 to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours (including naps)

· Kids 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours (including naps)

· Kids 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours (including naps)

· Kids 6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours

· Teens: 8 to 10 hours1

Guidelines are more challenging to devise for infants younger than four months. That’s because there is so much variation among young infants as they begin to develop regular sleep-wake cycles. 1,2

Signs of sleeplessness. How can you tell if your child isn’t getting enough sleep? Here are some telltale signs. Your child may:

· Have trouble waking up and getting moving within 15 minutes.

· Sleep at least two hours longer during weekends or vacations than during the school week.

· Fall asleep during short car trips or at school.

· Have trouble remembering, paying attention, and learning.

· Be irritable or hyperactive.1,3

About that hyperactivity—that’s counterintuitive and can really throw parents. When you’re tired, you probably slow down. But kids can really wind up when they haven’t gotten enough sleep, and will resist going bedtime, even if they’re bone-tired. This sign can look a lot like attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder.4

What you can do. Yes, I know: Getting kids to bed at night is easier said than done. But it’s worth the effort, because quality sleep is not a luxury. You can make a difference in a number of ways.

For example, help your child learn how to prioritize and focus on the activities he or she really enjoys—maybe not three sports all at the same time! Limit your child’s access to caffeine—remember it’s in chocolate, too. Make sure the bedroom is cool and dark. Set a regular, relaxing nighttime routine. Most important, keep TV and computers out of the bedroom, and turn off all screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Whether it comes from a bulb or a smartphone, light promotes wakefulness.1,2

If your child isn’t getting enough sleep, it’s also important to rule out a sleep disorder or other medical condition. Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea in kids, not just in adults.4 I’d be glad to talk over your concerns or maybe its time to make an appointment with the pediatrician.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.


1. CBSNews: “New sleep guidelines for babies, kids and teens.” Available at: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/new-sleep-guidelines-for-babies-kids-and-teens/ Accessed: 7-1-17.

2. National Sleep Foundation: “Children and Sleep.” Available at: https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/children-and-sleep Accessed 7-1-17.

3. HealthDay: “Health Tip: Is Your Child Sleeping Enough?” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_164509.html Accessed 7-1-17.

4. National Sleep Foundation: “How Much Sleep Do Babies and Kids Need?” Available at: https://sleepfoundation.org/excessivesleepiness/content/how-much-sleep-do-babies-and-kids-need Accessed 7-1-17.

Protect Yourself from the Sun

Protect Yourself from the Sun

Did you know that skin cancer rates are on the rise in the U.S., where it is the most common type of cancer? It’s no wonder. Just in the past year alone, one-third of the adult population has been sunburned at least once. And that lobster-red look is a clear sign of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays—a known cause of skin cancer, which can impact any age, gender, or race.

Risks of tanning. But you’re not off the hook if you stop at tanning. That’s your body’s response to sun injury. When you tan—either outdoors or indoors—you increase your risk of melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer. You also increase your risk of:

· Premature skin aging—wrinkles and age spots

· Damaged skin texture

· Potentially blinding eye diseases

Here’s the silver lining in this gloomy cloud: Avoiding the sun’s UV rays is one of the best ways to prevent skin cancer.

General guidelines. You probably know the drill, but it bears repeating:

1. Seek shade and stay out of the sun, if you can, when UV rays are strongest—from 10 am to 4 pm.

2. Be extra careful at higher altitudes where skin burns faster.

3. Limit exposure to water, sand, snow, and concrete—surfaces that reflect light.

4. Use sun protection even on cloudy days, when certain types of UV rays can be stronger.

5. Rely on diet and supplements to get your vitamin D, not the sun.

Sunscreen. Don’t use a product that combines sunscreen and insect repellant. Reapplying it will expose you to too much of the repellent’s ingredients. Also, avoid spray tans and bronzers—they won’t protect your skin from UV rays.

Do choose sunscreens that:

· Block both UVA and UVB rays.

· Are labeled with sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher.

· Are water resistant—they’re more protective when you sweat.

· Are products you will use consistently. Generally, creams are best for dry skin and the face, gels work well for hairy areas, and sticks are easier to apply near eyes. Mineral-based sunscreens—such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide—work well if you have sensitive skin.

Wear sunscreen every day, even if you plan to be outside a short time. For best results, apply it generously 15 to 30 minutes before you go outside to all exposed areas—don’t forget your feet and ears. (A lip balm works best for your lips.) Always reapply after swimming or sweating and about every two hours or as often as the package suggests.

Sun-protective clothing. In addition to sunscreen, wear clothing that can better protect you such as:

· A hat with a wide brim. This works better than a baseball cap or visor for shielding your whole face from the sun.

· Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.

· Long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

· Loose-fitting, unbleached, tightly woven fabrics.

· Special clothing that absorbs UV rays.

Don’t forget to protect those parts of your body that may be in constant sunlight--- your nose, forehead, and eyes. Questions about sun-protection products or other ways to protect your family in the sun? Remember, I’m right here—your ready resource.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.


1. CDC: “The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer.” Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/pdf/consumer-booklet.pdf Accessed 6-6-17.

2. American Academy of Dermatology: “Sunscreen FAQs.” Available at: https://www.aad.org/media/stats/prevention-and-care/sunscreen-faqs Accessed 6-6-17.

3. MedlinePlus: “Sun Protection.” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000378.htm Accessed 6-6-17.

4. FDA: “5 Tips for a Healthy Vacation.” Available at: https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm389469.htm Accessed 6-6-17.

wellness works.jpg

Introducing the Wellness Works Nutritional line

Wellness Works - Now Available at Pharm A Save Monroe


The foundation of any supplement line is quality.

With our supplement line we are providing:

• Professional grade supplements.

• Supplements that are tested for quality, purity and safety by certified labs using the most advanced equipment and testing methods.

• Supplements that are manufactured under the highest standards in the market. Remember, not all supplements are created equal! With our supplements, the QUALITY goes in before our label goes on.

Check out the website for more information or come on in!!!

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Preventing Falls as You Grow Older

Preventing Falls as You Grow Older

Whether it simply bruises your ego or breaks a bone, taking a fall is no fun. Each year, one in three seniors 65 and older experiences a fall—a number that has grown in recent years.1 For people in this age group, falling is the leading cause of injury and injury-related deaths.1,2

Whether due to concerns about independence or worrying others, however, fewer than half these people tell the doctor about their falls. But that could add insult to injury because one fall may lead to another.3

Don’t keep it a secret. Be upfront with your doctor—and with your pharmacist. Provide details about when, where, and how you fell. We can help you pinpoint the problem and suggest changes you can make. For starters, falling might be due to:

· A chronic health condition

· An infection

· A balance disorder

· Vision problems

· Muscle weakness

· Medications2,3,4

Stay healthy. Fortunately, falls needn’t be a fait accompli. Even simple lifestyle changes can make a difference in preventing falls. This includes maintaining good physical condition with exercise, sleep, and nutrition. Also, stay well hydrated with plenty of water. And limit alcohol, which can slow your reflexes and throw you off balance. Wear properly fitting, sturdy shoes with nonskid soles and toss out the floppy slippers and shoes with slick soles.2,3,4,5,6

With your doctor’s permission, engage in exercise that improves strength, flexibility, balance, and gait. This might include walking, water workouts, or tai chi—a gentle exercise that involves meditative movements. Is a fear of falling keeping you stuck in your easy chair? Your doctor may suggest physical therapy or a guided exercise program. 1,4

Review your meds. Here’s where I can really help. Make a list of your medications. Do any make you dizzy or drowsy? Your doctor and I can review this list with you, discuss any side effects you are having, and decide whether it makes sense to change your medications. 1,4 Of course, don’t make any changes without first having a conversation with your doctor.

Make changes on the home front. Here are a few more ways to help prevent falls at home:

· Clean up spills right away.

· Remove throw rugs.

· Clear newspapers and electrical or phone cords from walkways.

· Use nonslip mats in the bathtub and shower.

· Put nightlights in hallways, bedrooms, and bathroom.

· Keep flashlights in easy-to-reach places.

· Turn on lights before going up or down stairs.

· Install handrails on both sides of stairways.4

Has your doctor suggested an assistive device such as a cane or walker—but your pride won’t quite allow it? It may help to focus on how this can keep you more independent. Other assistive devices can also help prevent falls. They include:

· A raised toilet seat with armrests

· Shower or tub grab bars

· A shower seat and hand-held shower nozzle

Remember to check our store for supplies to safe-proof your home. I can help point you in the right direction.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.


1. HealthDay: “Falls on the Rise Among U.S. Seniors.” Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_150490.html Accessed February 16, 2015.

2. NIHSeniorHealth: “Balance Problems.” Available at: http://nihseniorhealth.gov/balanceproblems/aboutbalanceproblems/01.html Accessed February 16, 2015.

3. HealthDay: “Seniors May Keep Falls a Secret.” Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_150626.html Accessed February 16, 2015.

4. Mayo Clinic: “Healthy Aging.” Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/fall-prevention/ART-20047358?p=1 Accessed February 16, 2015.

5. NIHMedlinePlus: “How Can Older Adults Prevent Falls?” Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/winter14/articles/winter14pg15.html Accessed February 16, 2015.

6. NIHMedlinePlus: “Home Improvements Prevent Falls.” Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/winter14/articles/winter14pg16-17.html Accessed February 16, 2015.

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Emotions and Heart Disease

In the past 40 years, cases of heart disease in the U.S. have dropped by 20 percent.1 Now, that’s news worth celebrating! Efforts at prevention, detection, and treatment appear to paying off. For example, Americans’ cholesterol levels keep falling. Researchers think that ditching trans fats from our diets may be one reason why.2

Still, heart disease here remains the number-one cause of death in both men and women.2 We can do so much more to support our faithful tickers. You might be surprised to learn how much your emotional health influences your heart. Check out a few recent studies:

Pessimism. A study lasting 11 years looked at the risks linked to pessimism among 3,000 men and women. And guess what? That “glass-half-empty” attitude seemed to have a pretty big impact. Those who were most pessimistic were twice as likely to die of heart disease as the least pessimistic. The researchers can’t prove that negativity caused the rise in heart-related deaths. But this emotion can lead to an increase in hormones related to stress and inflammation. And, that might help explain the link.3

Worry. An even larger study of 7,000 Norwegians also found a link between worrying about a heart attack and actually having one. The “worried well” were twice as likely to have a heart attack as those who weren’t anxious about their health. Again, the link can’t be proven, but physical changes from anxiety are the likely culprit.4

Depression. Over 10 years, researchers tracked 1,100 women and found that those with a history of depression had a much higher risk of heart disease. In fact, in women younger than 65 with no history of heart problems, depression was the only significant risk factor linked with developing heart disease. Depression can produce stress hormones. But it may it may also lead to unhealthy behaviors that can increase the risks.5

Anger. Either intense anger or physical exertion doubles the odds of having a first heart attack. Even worse? Combining the two triples that risk, according to a study of 12,000 people. Chances are, anger and intense activity simply trigger an attack in people who already have artery-clogging plaques, say the researchers. Intense emotions or activity may cause a domino effect: A rise in blood pressure and heart rate constricts blood vessels. That, in turn, causes plaques to rupture and cut off blood flow to the heart.6

Spotting any trends, anyone?

With medical help or even self-care such as meditation or relaxation exercises, you can learn how to shift some of these moods. If these emotions are a challenge for you, I’ll also do what I can to help. For one thing, I can point you to reliable sources of health information. Together we can work on managing blood pressure including discussing a few changes to your diet and lifestyle. Review the signs of a heart attack and make an appointment with your doctor today to know your overall health.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.


  1. HealthDay: U.S. Heart Disease Rates Fell 20 Percent Since 1980s: Study. Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_162007.html Accessed 1-3-17.
  1. HealthDay: Americans’ Cholesterol Levels Keep Falling. Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_162292.html Accessed 1-3-17.
  1. HealthDay: Pessimism May Take Unwelcome Toll on the Heart. Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_162083.html Accessed 1-3-17.
  1. HealthDay: Hypochondriacs May Worry Themselves Into Heart Trouble. Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_161838.html Accessed 1-3-17.
  2. Women’s Brain Health Initiative: Depression Can Fuel Heart Disease in Midlife Women: Available at: http://womensbrainhealth.org/think-twice/depression-can-fuel-heart-disease-in-midlife-women Accessed 1-4-17.
  1. HealthDay: Anger, Heavy Exertion: Fast Track to a Heart Attack? Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_161395.html Accessed 1-4-17.

Naloxone - antidote to opioid drugs

Naloxone is an antidote to opioid drugs. Opioids can slow or stop a person's breathing, which causes death. Naloxone helps the person wake up and keeps them breathing.

Naloxone Nasal is available at Pharm A Save Monroe. Our pharmacists (John or Jeff) can prescribe it.

Learn more about how this is saving lives, and why it is so important to be prepared.

An overdose death may happen hours after taking drugs.

To learn more about Naloxone Opioid Emergency kits, please click here


Medication Synchronization

April 25, 2016



Medication synchronization is when the pharmacist coordinates the refill of your medications so you can pick them up on a single day each month. Many people miss doses of their regular medications and med sync can make you more likely to take them. Med Sync does the following:

  • Eliminates the need to call in multiple prescription refills
  • Allows you the convenience of fewer trips to the pharmacy
  • Provides an opportunity to meet with your pharmacist on a regular basis to discuss your medications.
  • Automatically calls the Doctor for a refill request, so you don’t have to go without medication


  1. Talk to your pharmacist/technician about enrolling in their med sync program.
  2. Once enrolled, pharmacy staff will review your ongoing monthly medications and develop a plan to synchronize them so they can be picked up on a single day each month that is convenient for you.
  3. Pharmacy staff will call you to confirm your pick up date about a week prior and identify any necessary changes that should take place before your prescriptions are filled. Be sure to let them know if you are no longer taking a medication or if directions/dose has changed.
  4. After reviewing any changes to your medications, the pharmacy staff will prepare each prescription and make it available for easy pick up on your scheduled date.
  5. On your scheduled day, you pick up all of your prescriptions at the pharmacy. At that time, you can ask the pharmacist any questions that you may have about your medication.
  6. The process repeats itself each month so that you can pick up all of your medications at once, and the pharmacist can identify potential issues to help you take your medication as prescribed.
  7. Some people may opt to have their prescriptions filled in monthly “Bubble Packs”. The Pharmacists sets you medications up in packaging with the days of the week, and the time of the day you take it. This can be very helpful for people on multiple medications or can sometimes be forgetful.

Why should I care about synchronizing my medications?

One-third of patients have missed a dose of their medication because they didn’t refill their prescription before it ran out. If you are not taking your medication as prescribed or missing or skipping doses, it can have serious side effects on your health including death. Through med sync, the pharmacist/technician proactively refills your prescription so that you don’t have to remember to call the pharmacy and they work closely with you to make sure that your medications are working for you and being taken properly.

Will there be an additional cost or monthly fees?

There is no additional cost to you. The goal of med sync is for the pharmacist to synchronize your medications in the most convenient and cost efficient manner for you. Often times, the pharmacist will dispense a shorter or longer supply of medication for your first med sync pick up so that you can maintain your insurance coverage. It is best to ask your pharmacist/technician about their strategy for synchronizing your medication.

Will all of my medications be included if I chose to participate in a med sync program?

There are some medications that are not appropriate for a med sync program, such as antibiotics, ointments, eye drops, and “as-needed” medications. Those type of prescriptions can be phoned in when needed.


Give the pharmacy a call, or stop by and ask how you can become enrolled. That is the first step! And, if you have any questions, don’t forget to ask!

Too Hot? Too Cold? Just right!


Too hot? Too cold? Just right!

Here’s something you may not give a second thought: “Climate control” for your medications. Those little pills (or liquids) may appear untouched by the environment. But they’re not. Extreme heat or cold can make a big difference in how well your medications work.1 Proper storage is key. Here are a few things you should know.

When you receive a medication, check to see if there are specific instructions about storage. Know which need refrigeration, if any. If none do, follow these general guidelines. Store medications:

  • In their original container
  • At room temperature (59°F to 86°F)
  • Away from moisture
  • Protected from light1

At home. At home, a good storage spot might be a locked dresser drawer or kitchen shelf—not in a bathroom medicine cabinet, next to the stove, or on a countertop where the sun comes streaming in. Both bathrooms and kitchens not only get hot at times, but can also be very high in humidity.2

Keep all medications in the same place, except for those that need refrigeration. Be sure that your fridge’s temperature setting isn’t too high. That can put medication at risk of freezing. Insulin is an example of a drug that needs cooler temperatures. Keep unopened insulin vials, cartridges, and prefilled pens in the fridge at a temperature between 36°F to 46°F. Once punctured, however, most types of insulin can be stored in the fridge or at room temperature.1 Ask, if you have questions about yours.

When traveling. What if you are traveling during the “dog days of summer”? Don’t be leaving your medications in the glove compartment or trunk of your car while off scouting the Grand Canyon! Temperatures can skyrocket in a closed car.

In fact, don’t even leave them in the trunk while driving—keep them inside the car, where you can control the temperature. One British study found that trunk temperatures can go as high as 81.5°F to 110.3°F during a heat wave.3

For medications that need to be refrigerated, use a refrigerator (or freezer gel pack for longer periods), cooler, or fridge throughout your whole trip.

When flying, avoid packing away your medication in checked luggage. Baggage compartments can also undergo extremes of temperature. Instead, keep your medications in your carry-on luggage in their original, labeled containers. Don’t be alarmed if airport security asks to inspect your medication.

Any more questions? I’m glad to talk this all over with you. Or, if it helps, I can print out more information as a reference. Need it in a different language or in bigger type? Let’s see what we can do.

Just remember this: extreme environmental changes can affect your drug’s potency. And, depending upon your condition and your type of medication, that can be serious—even life threatening.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition


  1. University of Texas at Austin: “Medication Storage Tips.” Available at:http://www.utexas.edu/pharmacy/news/di_11medstorage.html Accessed 5-7-15.
  2. Learn about Rx Safety: “The Quick Scoop: Medicines and Your Family.” Available at:http://www.learnaboutrxsafety.org/quick-scoop.aspx#safely Accessed 5-7-15
  1. Crichton B. Keep in a cool place: exposure of medicines to high temperatures in general practice during a British heat wave. J R Soc Med. 2004;97:328-9.

Is it an Allergy or Is it a Cold?


Is It an Allergy—or Is It a Cold?

Spring has sprung—or it’s just about to. That means spring allergies are “blooming,” too. But sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a cold and a seasonal allergy, also known as hay fever. Here are some signs to look for and ways to find relief.

Know the signs. Both colds and allergies can cause sneezing, stuffiness, or a runny nose. But there are telltale differences between a cold and seasonal allergy. Ask yourself these five questions. The more times you answer “yes,” the greater the chance the culprit is a seasonal allergy.1

  1. Are plants starting to flower (or leaves starting to fall?) A change of season means this is more likely an allergy—your body’s response to airborne allergens (substances such as pollen that cause allergies). Colds are most common in winter months, and are caused by viruses that show up in any
  2. Did your symptoms appear suddenly and last more than a week? Cold symptoms tend to appear more gradually but go away more quickly.
  3. Are your eyes watery and itchy? Allergens can inflame the clear membrane covering your inner eyelid and eyeball.
  4. Are you free of a fever? Allergies don’t cause fevers, but colds can.
  5. Is the nasal discharge thin and clear? By contrast, a thick, yellow or green discharge may accompany a cold.1

Limit triggers. Birch, cedar, cottonwood, and pine are big allergy triggers in the spring. The other plants that cause problems depend upon where you live.

Just when you’re itching to get outdoors after a long winter, you may be better off staying inside. Try to limit your outdoor activities on days with high pollen counts—especially between 10 am and 4 pm, when pollen counts are highest. Windy days are the worst because wind can really kick up the pollen. You can find pollen counts for your area through the National Allergy Bureau (NAB). Here you can also sign up for personalized email pollen alerts.2

In addition, keep windows closed at home and in your car. For extra protection, you might try adding a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to your furnace or air conditioner. It also helps to take an afternoon or early evening shower to keep pollen off your pillow. Likewise, at the end of the day, wipe off any pets that have been outdoors. And, take off your shoes before coming inside to keep from tracking in pollen.3,4

Allergy relief aids. So right about now, you may be thinking: But how do I get relief? I can advise you about over-the-counter (OTC) remedies. Antihistamines treat symptoms such as sneezing and itchy nose or throat. Nasal or oral decongestants can help with nasal stuffiness. Eye drops relieve itchiness. Please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions you have about side effects or how long you can safely use these drugs.

If OTC drugs don’t do the trick, you might want to see an allergist, a doctor who specializes in treating allergies. Some people need other medications or allergy shots to feel better.4

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.


  1. Nemours Foundation: “A Cold or Allergies: Which Is It? Available at:http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/coldvsallergy.html Accessed 2-25-16
  1. AAAAI: “Pollen Count Stations.” Available at: http://www.aaaai.org/global/nab-pollen-counts.aspx Accessed 2-25-16.
  2. AAAAI: “Spring Allergies.” Available at:https://www.aaaai.org/Aaaai/media/MediaLibrary/PDF%20Documents/Libraries/EL-Spring-Allergies-patient.pdf Accessed 2-25-16.
  1. WebMD: “Allergy Relief Tips Wherever You Go.” Available at:http://www.webmd.com/allergies/allergy-relief-10/spring-allergies Accessed 2-25-16.


When Drugs Deplete Nutrients

Medications can be life saving. But take heed: They can also rob your body of nutrients you need.

Nutrient loss can happen in many ways. For example, a medication may:

  • Depress your appetite, which means you may not eat enough to stay nourished.
  • Increase your desire for less healthy foods, such as lots of sugar, bread, or pasta.
  • Reduce absorption of certain nutrients in the “gut,” especially in seniors.
  • Block a nutrient’s effects at the level of the cell.
  • Increase loss of nutrients through your urinary system.1

Symptoms of nutrient loss may come on gradually and look a lot like symptoms of aging, disease, or changes in mood—so it’s easy to get caught off guard. For example, pain, numbness, or tingling in legs may be a vitamin B12 deficiency. Or a magnesium deficiency may cause muscle pain and stiffness. Over time, this deficiency may even contribute to bone disease (osteoporosis).2

Which drugs are the most common culprits? Here’s a brief summary for you.

Acid blockers. If you have heartburn, reflux, or peptic ulcers, your doctor may prescribe an antacid, H2 blocker, or proton-pump inhibitor (PPI). Studies show these drugs may cause many nutrient deficiencies. They can interfere with the breakdown of food or absorption of nutrients. You may lack B12, calcium, vitamin D, folic acid, chromium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus.

Antibiotics. These drugs are big robbers of a wide range of nutrients. They also kill “good” bacteria in your digestive system. For these reasons, it may be a good idea to take a B vitamin complex or a multivitamin that contains B vitamins—as well as magnesium, calcium, and potassium. You might also consider probiotics and vitamin K—normally made by those “friendly” bacteria.

Anti-convulsants. Seizure medication can cause low levels of vitamin D.

Anti-hypertensives. Diuretics are great at helping to prevent heart attacks in high-risk people. But they may deplete magnesium, sodium, potassium, zinc, pyridoxine, thiamine, and ascorbic acid.

Beta blockers also are great at lowering blood pressure. However, they can deplete CoQ10. This can be very dangerous. The heart needs a rich supply of this nutrient for the energy “factories” of its cells.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs. When it comes to high cholesterol, statins are practically a household name. That’s because doctors widely prescribe them. But statins also deplete CoQ10—which is serious.

Hypoglycemics (oral). Drugs like metformin help make insulin work better in people with diabetes. But they can reduce levels of B12 by half. They also can deplete folic acid and CoQ10.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Used for menopausal symptoms, HRT may deplete vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, and magnesium—critical for not only heart health but also mood. Still moody on HRT? A supplement might make more sense than an antidepressant.

Nearly 50 percent of Americans regularly takes a prescription drug. And medication-related loss of nutrients is more common than many realize. Just to be safe, let’s look over your list of medications and make sure you’re not coming up short.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition


  1. Nutrition Review: A Practical Guide to Avoiding Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion. Available at: http://nutritionreview.org/2013/04/practical-guide-avoiding-drug-induced-nutrient-depletion/ Accessed June 4, 2015.
  2. American Chiropractic Association: Pay Attention to Medications, Nutrition When Treating Elderly. Available at: https://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=1357 Accessed June 5, 2015.
  3. org: Recognizing Drug Induced Nutrient Depletion in Chiropractic Practice. Available at http://www.chiro.org/nutrition/FULL/Recognizing_Drug_Induced_Nutrient_Depletion.shtml Accessed June 5, 2015. Av


High blood pressure is a “silent killer”

Healthy Heart Habits: Life’s Simple 7

As you started into the new year, did you resolve to have healthier habits? Many people do. But a long-term study found that Americans are not doing as well as they were 20 years ago in maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle.1 And that increases their chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or heart disease.2

Life’s Simple 7. In the study, the percentage of Americans who met all these heart-healthy lifestyle goals—what the American Heart Association calls Life’s Simple 7—dropped from 8.5 percent to 5.8 percent:

  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Be active.
  • Manage your weight.
  • Don’t use tobacco.
  • Maintain ideal levels of blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure.

Best for women. In the past, it was thought that hormones protected women from heart disease until menopause. Now we know that’s not the case. But two recent studies show that there may be subtle differences in what’s best for women and men.

In one study, women who followed these six habits cut their risk of heart attack by a whopping 92 percent.3

  • Don't smoke.
  • Maintain a normal body mass index (BMI).
  • Exercise—moderately to vigorously—at least 2.5 hours a week.
  • Watch no more than seven hours of TV each week.
  • Drink no more than one alcoholic beverage each day.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fish or omega-3 fatty acids. Limit sugary drinks, processed and red meats, trans fats, and sodium.

Even women who adopted just one or two of these healthy habits lowered their heart risk, with a normal BMI having the greatest impact.

Best for men. A Swedish study tracked 20,000 men and found that men with the following habits cut their risk of heart attack by 86 percent:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Drink no more than two alcoholic drinks a day.
  • Stay physically active, for example, walking or cycling at least 40 minutes a day.
  • Maintain a waist circumference of less than 37 inches.3

For men, healthy diet and moderate drinking appeared to have the most impact on reducing their heart risks.

Know your numbers. So where should you begin? One place to start is to know your numbers. That includes blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure—as well as your weight. The next step is to talk with your doctor about ways to improve.

I can also give you tips on tracking—and improving—these critical numbers. For example, if you want to track your blood pressure at home, I’ll advise you on how best to do that. Remember: High blood pressure is a “silent killer,” so the only way to know whether or not it’s lurking is to check it.

  • In fact, nearly 30 percent of Americans have high blood pressure. And, nearly half don’t have it under control with either lifestyle habits or medication.2 If your doctor has prescribed blood pressure medication, be sure to take it. For some people, that’s the only way to keep it at bay. And, don't forget to check your blood pressure, especially when you are not feeling well. Having a blood pressure unit at home is inexpensive and needed, especially when taking blood pressure medications.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.


  1. HealthDay: Fewer Americans Than Ever Sticking to Heart-Healthy Lifestyle, Study Finds. Available at: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_155611.html Accessed 12-11-15.
  2. HealthDay: Nearly Half of Americans with High Blood Pressure Not Controlling It: CDC: Available at: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_155688.html Accessed 12-11-15.
  3. WebMD: Top Healthy Habits for Your Heart. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20150107/healthy-heart-habits Accessed 12-11-15


Bathroom Safety

You may think of it as your hygiene haven, but your bathroom has the potential to be an accident trap, especially for the younger or older members of your family. A few of the leading causes of fatal injuries in homes are falls, poisonings, and drownings. The bathroom is often the scene of the “crime.” With a few simple precautions, however, you can greatly reduce the risks.

Although a soapy tub or wet floor can pose a slip-and-trip hazard for anyone, seniors are at greatest risk. Among people age 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of death from injury. The risk is six times greater for people older than 75. Here’s where you can start to lower those risks: Replace loose throw rugs with nonslip bath mats, and bar soap with a liquid soap dispenser. Refrain from waxing floors, and make sure to clean up water spills right away. Install grab bars in tubs and showers and near toilets. It might be worth having a professional do this for you. A bathtub bench or shower chair and raised toilet seat can greatly help people in your family with mobility problems. Finally, use nightlights to reduce the risk of falls during those inevitable middle-of-the night bathroom visits.

Six thousand people die and 300,000 suffer serious illnesses from accidental poisonings each year. Yet, according to the State of Home Safety in America, 82 percent of families don’t secure their medications. One of the best precautions you can take is to keep medication lids tightly closed at all times and to store medications in a lockable cabinet. Be sure to also add the following to a locked cabinet: mouthwashes, nail polish and remover, hair dye and sprays, cosmetics, and cleansers, as well as sharp objects such as razor blades and nail scissors. Remember: many children are climbers and can reach a high medicine cabinet in an instant, using the toilet and sink as their “stepping stones.”

According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, hot water scald burns cause more deaths and hospitalizations than any other burns from hot liquids. Hair curlers, curling irons, and space heaters are other common causes of burns. Take heart. You can help prevent these kinds of accidents. First, set your water thermostat to 120 degrees F or below. Before bathing a baby, test the water temperature with your wrist or elbow. Consider buying a faucet cover to pad a hot faucet and install childproof knobs to prevent young children from turning on water in a tub or sink.

To prevent other accidents in the bathroom, keep electrical appliances, such as hair dryers, away from water and stored up high when not in use. Keep space heaters out of the bathroom. Make sure your bathrooms are protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). These ground an appliance if it comes into contact with water. Also cap your electrical outlets with childproof safety covers. Finally, never ever leave a small child alone in a bathtub—not even to answer the phone or door.

At my Health Mart pharmacy, we can help you make your bathroom safer for every member of your family. Look for a selection of quality, cost-effective home safety products. If you can’t find what you need, come talk to me and we can order it for you.

Sue Graafstra



Managing Diabetes Medication

Managing Diabetes Medications

  • It’s not the kind of club you really want to belong to. Today, nearly half of all American adults have type 2 diabetes or are at risk of getting it.

If you count yourself among them, you know that managing your diabetes medications is something you can’t afford to ignore. If not well managed, diabetes can lead to serious complications. They include cardiovascular disease; nerve, kidney, eye, and foot damage; and hearing problems.

Recent research. A study of 350,000 people with type 2 diabetes found that people with poorly managed diabetes were also 50 percent more likely to have dementia.3 Other recent studies have found that diabetes appears to take a particular toll on women’s hearts. Looking at nearly 11 million people, one study found the risk was almost 40 percent higher in women than in men.

Whether woman or man, however, staying on top of medication management clearly needs to be top of mind.

Types of medications. As you likely know, managing blood sugar (glucose) is at the heart of diabetes control. If you can’t get the job done with diet and exercise alone, medications are essential. The drugs you take will depend upon the type of diabetes you have, along with other factors.

Insulin moves glucose from your blood into your cells. This helps keep glucose in the right range. If your body doesn’t make enough insulin, you will need to take it by injection, pen, pump, jet injector, or infuser.

There are also many types of diabetes pills, which work in different ways. For example, they may:

· Decrease the glucose released from your liver

· Stimulate the pancreas to release more insulin

· Make your body more sensitive to the effects of insulin

· Slow absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream after eating

Some people take more than one pill, a combination pill, or a combination of pills and insulin. There are also new types of injected medicines available to keep blood sugar from going too high after eating.

Medication review. Be sure to follow your treatment plan, but let your doctor know if you experience any side effects. If you’re a senior, this is more important than ever. Your body responds differently to drugs as you age. This means you’re at greater risk of overtreatment, which can cause blood sugar levels to go too low. And this can cause problems such as confusion or falls.

You may need to cut back or change medications. Just because a drug worked well for you in the past doesn’t mean it will continue to do so. If you have questions about this, I can go over your list of medications and see how they are working for you. Also, be sure to check in at least once a year with your doctor about your diabetes medications. Never stop or change your medications without first talking it over with your doctor.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.


1. HealthDay: Half of U.S. Adults Have Diabetes or High Risk of Getting It: Report. Available at: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_154517.html Accessed 11-3-15.

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