Woah Baby, Health during pregnancy

It’s the season of love and whether you are expecting or trying I am sure baby, pregnancyyou have a million questions about your little bundle of joy and how to give it a healthy start. Here’s the truth about pregnancy and all it’s glory.

 

Being healthy before, during and after pregnancy involves so many different aspects of your life. Living a healthy lifestyle before pregnancy is recommended but if anyone understands, I understand the occasional whopper from Burger King or the weeks of inactivity because you are just too tired after work, or the stress involved with keeping up with family, pets, work, and personal needs. However, trying to find a healthy balance is key! Make sure to attend your regular physicals and doctors appointments, and stay on top of your health and immune system. You can do this by taking daily vitamins, eating clean consistently even if you have the occasional cheat day or two. Be active when you can, take the stairs not the elevator, walk the dog rather than let them out in the back yard and do household chores rather than sit around. Simple changes make a huge difference in your energy, mood, and overall health.

During pregnancy it is important to have regular visits with your healthcare provider. These prenatal care visits are very important for your baby and yourself. It lowers the risk of your baby being born too early or the mother experiencing difficulties during the course of the pregnancy. Some things you might do when you are pregnant could hurt your baby, such as smoking or drinking. Your body will change as your baby grows during the nine months of your pregnancy. Lugging around extra belly weight, morning sickness, and aching muscles can all combine to make exercise sound incredibly unappealing. However, keeping active while you’re pregnant will ensure both you and your baby’s health. Regular exercise can make delivery less difficult, make losing your baby weight easier, aid in post birth physical recovery, and encourage healthy fetal growth. Maintain a healthy weight,but do not diet. On average you should only be consuming about 300 calories more per child, per day. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables high in Vitamin C, consume more protein, and get plenty of Calcium and Iron. You may also be tired and need more rest. Not only are you eating for two, you’re resting for two as well. Getting lots of good sleep while pregnant will give your body the time it needs to help your growing baby, making you feel better in the process. Aim for eight hours of sleep minimum a night, and try to catch an afternoon nap as well. Going to bed at a consistent time every night will also help to regulate your sleep schedule. Sleeping on your left side is recommended by doctors for pregnant women, as this relieves pressure from your back and prevents a major vein connected to your uterus from having the circulation cut off. From the beginning, women should consume prenatal vitamins each day after becoming pregnant. Prenatal vitamins contain a combination of high levels of folic acid and iron among other things, both of which are responsible for early development of the baby and reducing the risk of complications and defects such as spina bifida and premature birth.

After pregnancy, maintain a regular exercise routine, nutritious diet, and a good night’s sleep. With this trifecta you will bounce back in no time. When you find your balance, set a schedule and stick to it, it will be your relief in the most stressful and busiest of times. Most of all enjoy the ride and the experience. Pregnancy is a beautiful thing, and it should be enjoyed, so relax and kick those swollen feet up, life has only just begun.

 

Alyssa Pasek

The Votes Are In

With all of this political talk buzzing around the U.S, it is not surprising that we are opening up the conversation of Telemedicine. Legislation’s Telemedicine bill sailed through the Mississippi House of Representatives and is now awaiting the Senate’s votes.

votes are in medicine

House Bill 1178 was approved by the lower chamber 103-17 and was sent to the Senate Public Health and Welfare for their votes. This House Bill details in 18 pages how to modernize our idea of telemedicine and help telemedicine services expand throughout the state, particularly in rural areas where healthcare is limited. Many have conflicting views about this House Bill and who it’s really helping, whether it be physicians or patients using the telemedicine technology.

With this controversy, Legislation requires that a telemedicine practitioner must be able to offer multiple forms of telemedicine services and cannot be solely telephone or audio services. However, ultimately a physician has final say as to whether video is necessary, depending on his or her interpretation of the standard of care. Research found that 95 percent of Teladoc patients request audio only and only 5 percent request video in addition,  adding that in 7 percent of the cases, a Teladoc patient is referred to a physician for an office visit or to an emergency room.

It is a convenient method of Health and Medical care, not to mention the cost is attractive to most. Telemedicine visits average anywhere from $45-$49 per consultation/visit and the average wait is 12 minutes versus hours of waiting in hospital offices. It may not be for everyone, however, with the way that technology is expanding, it is time that we have more options when it applies to our health. We should not be limited by location, wealth, or situation when it comes down to getting the help we need.

 

Alyssa Pasek

The Movies Have Been Foreshadowing Our Future of Telehealth

Telemedicine, or commonly referred to as Telehealth, may just be a 21st century future game-changer for patients and doctors in terms of health care. Medical consultations and procedures are now being performed remotely over an Internet-connected mobile device or a desktop computer, similar to what we see in science fiction movies. That’s right, think Back to The Future, A.I, or Star Trek.

the movies and medicine

This form of patient care is slowly becoming widely popular as an alternative for emergency care. Telemedicine can currently help provide diagnosis for minor cases such as the common cold, flu, ear infections, pharmaceutical prescriptions, managing chronic conditions, and much more. This type of care is catching on, and i’m not surprised. Already, some hospitals, pharmaceutical, and medical insurance companies are adopting this form of digital health care, including Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Have doubts? Well, Don’t. It is upon us, patients can now look to their technology devices, have their vital signs checked, and let doctors treat them based on their lab results. What makes Telehealth an interesting concept is that these medical procedures can all be done virtually, in the comforts of patients’ own home or office. Imagine that! No more cold rooms, long waits, or uncomfortable meetings.

Picture yourself in a Sci-Fi movie where in the convenience of your own home, office, or pod you can ask a doctor questions, monitor existing conditions, and get prescriptions….Sounds so far fetched but, What if I told you that they have done studies to prove the science behind this technology.

“Key findings from the 2015 Graham Center report showed that 15 percent of family physicians have adopted Telehealth within the last year. Surprisingly, 29 percent of these physicians used Telehealth in the rural setting where diagnoses and treatments were conducted, along with chronic disease management and follow-up with patients.

When its effect on the patient’s health was monitored, 89 percent of the users agreed that it improved their health, along with 77 percent of non-users who perceived that the effect was true.”- ( Hernandez, Vittorio. “Telehealth popularity lifts further with tech advancements.”International Business Times. IBT Media Inc, 17 March 2016.)

Physicians are ready to embrace the technology in helping improve primary care services, provided certain technological issues and regulatory hurdles are resolved. Now it’s time for patients to open their eyes, mind, and ears to learn all they can about Telemedicine and how it can benefit you.

 

Alyssa Pasek

 

It’s The Bloody Truth About Blood Pressure

Ask yourself a question, Are you a high strung person or a more relaxed person? Now reflect how you think these would affect your body. No ask yourself, have you had your blood pressure checked? Many people do not know that high blood pressure usually has no symptoms and should be checked regularly, Here’s why.

bloody truth about this

Blood Pressure is considered to be a vital sign. This means that it is vital to your health and should be monitored on a regular basis. Blood Pressure is the force your blood exerts on the walls of your arteries, the blood vessels that carry oxygen rich blood away from your heart. When your heart beats and forces more blood into your arteries, the force is a little higher; this is called your systolic pressure. Between beats, the pressure drops; this is called your diastolic pressure. A normal level is below 120/80. Typically more attention is given to the top number which is the systolic blood pressure, as their is usually a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over 50 years old. To maintain a normal reading, try adding these habits consistently into your lifestyle. Exercise often, as it aids in stress relief, weight loss, and most importantly strengthens your heart. One reason exercise is so effective at controlling blood pressure is because it stimulates your body to release a substance called nitric acid. Nitric acid causes blood vessels to open up, which reduces pressure. Eat a healthy, a diet high in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts really works. You also need to avoid fats, red meat, and excess sugar and salt. Try to break any bad habits such as smoking or excessively drinking.  Alcohol adds empty calories and nicotine causes blood vessels to constrict, both causing blood pressure to rise. If you do not have normal blood pressure you may be experiencing either hypertension or hypotension.

Hypertension is considered high blood pressure, which is a common condition where the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease. blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89 is called pre-hypertension, and a blood pressure of 140/90 or above is considered high. Those with hypertension can have it for years with no symptoms and never know. The longer it goes untreated the susceptible you are to damage of the heart and blood vessels. Many things can contribute to high pressures, such as age, being overweight, using tobacco, an unhealthy diet, stress, and chronic conditions. Hypertension left untreated can lead to heart attack and stroke, heart failure, aneurysm, and metabolic syndrome. However, if your pressure is low you may have what is called Hypotension or Low blood pressure.

Hypotension has a systolic blood pressure reading of about 90 to 100. Low blood pressure can cause symptoms of dizziness and fainting. In severe cases, low pressures can be life threatening. Severely low blood pressure from any cause can deprive your body of enough oxygen to carry out its normal functions, leading to damage to your heart and brain. The causes can range from dehydration to serious medical or surgical disorders. It is treatable, but it’s important to find out what’s causing your condition so that it can be properly treated. Some medical conditions that can cause low pressure are pregnancy, heart problems,dehydration, endocrine problems, blood loss, severe infection, and lack of nutrients in a diet. Many things can contribute to Hypotension, such as age, medications, and certain diseases. Make important changes to your lifestyle, eat right, exercise daily, and know your medical history and family background.

Now you know the truth about blood pressure and it’s importance to your health. Stay healthy, stay happy and monitor that blood flow. I think you catch my beat!

 

Alyssa Pasek

Stay Cool at The Pool

As school comes to an end, the fun begins for most kids. Community pools open their gates and floods of families, friends, and kids fill the lawn chairs and kiddie pools. It’s a time for fun, relaxation, and  a little Vitamin D. However, many accidents happen around a busy pool, so here are some tips and advice to avoid those stressful situations when you just want to have a good time.

pool fun

With summer comes high risk for accidents at pools. Statistics show that everyday, nine people die in the United States due to pool related accidents. First, let’s establish basic pool safety. When accompanying a child to the pool one must know how to swim and should be within arms reach, this is called “touch supervision”. This apples mostly to young children and infants. For older children, an adult should pay constant attention, free from distractions such as talking on the phone, socializing, and drinking alcohol. Toys should be kept away from the pools surface, as well as electrical appliances and type of riding toys such as bicycles. Diving should no be allowed where it is not deep enough, and of course, no running around the pool. All are critical and must be maintained to guarantee safety.

To take it a step further it is important that parents provide the child swimming lessons. Many deaths and injuries are caused by drowning or submersion. Children four years and older should be placed in swimming lessons. This will lower the likely hood of a drowning accidents amongst pools both private and residential pools. Some factors you may consider before starting swimming  lessons for younger children would include frequency of water exposure, emotional maturity with the child,physical limitations. And any health concerns. On a more serious note, spinal cord injuries, permanent brain damage, and death can occur to swimmers who dive in shallow water or spring upward on the diving board and hit it on the way down. It is highly recommended that you stress the importance of practicing safe surrounding and being aware of your limitations and well being.

Now that you understand why its important you learn and practice water safety, it would benefit the individual by becoming CPR certified, knowing basic first aid and life saving techniques. You never know when they might come in handy and save a life.

Enjoy your summer and be smart. Watch your children and be aware of your surroundings , prepare children for summer activities, and know what to do in the case of an emergency. Summer should be safe, good fun… so make it that way.

Alyssa Pasek

Spring Has Sprung…and so Have My Allergies

It’s that time, swollen eyes, stuffy nose, itchy throat, uncontrollable coughing, rashes and much more. With Spring comes allergies, something most Houstonians are never ready for.

spring allergies and medicine

In Houston, pollen season can last all year. Because of our warm weather and high humidity, there all always allergens populating in our air. Amongst some of the common tree pollen producers are ash, cedar, cedar elm, elm, hackberry, oak, pecan and pine. Each tree has its own pollination period and peak, but expect some type of tree pollen in the air during the entirety of the season. A Bahia, Bermuda, Orchard, Red Top, Sweet Cernal and Timothy are among some of the grasses that make some Houstonians sneeze. Grass pollen counts begin to climb in March and peak in May. While Ragweed pollen hits the air in August and can be a problem into October. Believe it or not these are just a few of natures many allergens that cause people grief.

Those who expect the worse constantly are planning ahead for the allergy season, in hopes that they will be able to break the cycle. Compliance and patience play an important role when treating pollen allergies, as finding the right therapy requires a partnership between doctor and patient, one that might not produce over night results. Allergies, though an annoyance can cause more serious issues such as sinus infections, ear infections and more severe respiratory issues, and should be treated to the best of one’s abilities.

The most commonly used medications for seasonal allergies are antihistamines, which reduce the amount of histamines released in a person or block them altogether, and decongestants, which shrink nasal tissue and blood vessels in affected areas. These can include Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec. More severe symptoms require stronger and different types of drugs, such as Singulair, Alrex eye drops and Nasacort nasal spray. In the case that those over the counter drugs do not help a patient it is important that they see an allergist. An allergist works with a patient to find the drug or combination of drugs that best manages the hay fever and allergies. In conjunction with treatment, one might try things such as saline rinses, consuming local honey, and making diet changes to boost immunity to name a few.

With great discomfort can come relief. Do not give up and consult with your doctor’s about your symptoms and what the necessary steps are to find a healthy balance. Don’t worry, just breathe!

 

Alyssa Pasek

Focusing on Better Healthcare Through Information Technology

What is HIMSS, I’m sure you all are asking?  I bet you have no idea that it is right under your nose and being used in your everyday patient visits. HIMSS or Healthcare information and Management Systems Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving healthcare quality, safety, cost-effectiveness, and access, through the best use of information technology and management systems.

better healthcare

HIMSS members are known for developing many of today’s key innovations in healthcare delivery and administration, including telemedicine, computer-based patient records, community health information networks, and portable/wireless healthcare computing. Some of the best technology has been around for years, being tweaked and tested. HIMSS has found a way to connect health information and according to new surveys, half or more of doctor’s offices are using three or more of these technologies. There are currently seven technologies total including apps for patient engagement/education, patient portals, patient-generated health data, collected from consumer devices used for remote monitoring, remote patient monitoring using clinical grade medical devices, SMS texting, telehealth-audio visual fee for service, telehealth concierge service. This has become a widely accepted standard practice among hospitals and patients all over the U.S.

HIMSS is currently focusing its attention on health IT topics such as electronic health record systems, HIPAA security and privacy provisions, software usage and technical standards. They also hold an annual conference dedicated to bringing stakeholders together for several days to network and become educated in this type of healthcare.

So as stakeholders become more educated, we should too. We need to be more aware of the who, the what, and the why. Now that you understand the importance of these new advances, maybe then we can all be open minded to learning how to use these technologies to our advantage, and understand the grasp physicians have on their patients on a more personal level. HIMSS has changed the way patients and doctors communicate and understand, it is the wave of the future

Alyssa Pasek

Got Sleep? When Insomnia Takes Over

Many of you have probably experienced difficulty sleeping at least once in your life, and many of you probably did not even know you were suffering from a very common sleep disorder. Insomnia is a persistent disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep or both, despite the opportunity for adequate sleep.

insomnia taking over healthcare

Telemedicine can aid in your diagnoses by providing adequate treatment based on the severity of your condition. Insomnia can be characterized as Acute or Chronic, Acute meaning the insomnia can last from one night to a few weeks, and chronic when a person suffers at least three nights a week for a month or longer. Many factors can attribute to insomnia, such as stress, emotional or physical discomfort, environment, medications, depression, and changes in your daily schedule. Those with a mild condition can be treated by making simple lifestyle changes. However, if you continue to experience symptoms, health care provided via telemedicine may be the answer you are looking for.

insomnia and poor sleep

Virtual ER doctor’s can see patients via skype or facetime, on any computer or mobile device through our telemedicine software to diagnose a person’s symptoms and provide relief. Rapid onset, short-acting drugs can help you avoid effects such as drowsiness the following day and get you back on your feet. Treatment for chronic insomnia includes treating any underlying conditions or health problems that may be the cause. If insomnia continues, your healthcare provider may suggest behavioral therapy. These simple but effective diagnosis’ can now be more affordable, time efficient, and convenient from your own home, office, or pharmacy telemedicine pod. No more wait at a physician’s office and no more inconvenience.

It is as easy as 1,2,3 with telemedicine and averages 15 minutes or less of your time. Once you have used and set-up a login, Virtual ER will remember your medical history and a call can be made for $49.99. Many things such as Insomnia can be treated through Telemedicine. Virtual ER’s see patients for many reasons including sleeping disorders and patients are thrilled by the effectiveness and convenience of a virtual consultation. Telemedicine can help patients become a better them with a good night’s sleep.

Alyssa Pasek

Flu! When in Doubt Get Checked Out

It is a sad day in history, April 21st, 2016 will be the day of Purple Rain, as legendary musician Prince died at the age of 57. Devastatingly, the man of many hats was experiencing flu like symptoms leading up to his death. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health.

flu vaccine

Though flu season is over, do not underestimate the signs from your body. Influenza season is considered October through May, peaking in February. The Flu is an infectious disease caused by an influenza virus. Symptoms can be mild to severe and the most common symptoms include high fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pains, headache, coughing, and feeling tired. These symptoms usually begin two days after exposure to the virus and most last less than a week, the cough may last more than two weeks. It was said that Prince had been experiencing Flu like symptoms for several weeks, frequently visiting the Walgreens near his Paisley Park Estate in Minnesota. The musician was becoming very frail, and he had already had an incident where he was rushed to the hospital from his private plane. In the days before his death his symptoms did not seem to be improving according to TMZ. The flu can be dangerous if left untreated or improperly treated.

flue, sickness

It is important that individuals consult with their primary care physician or over telemedicine through Virtual ERs , where doctors can diagnose and get patients the help and medicine required. The Flu though common is nothing to mess with and is contagious to others. Most of the illness and death caused by influenza can be prevented by annual influenza vaccination. The CDC’s current Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices issued recommendations for everyone 6 years of age and older, who do not have any contraindications to vaccination, to receive a flu vaccine each year. Vaccine efficacy also varies from one person to another. Past studies of healthy young adults have shown the flu vaccine to be 70%-90% effective in preventing illness. In general, the majority (about 90%-95%) of people who get the disease feel terrible but recover with no problems. People with weak immune systems have worse outcomes than uncompromised individual’s. In most outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics, the mortality rates are highest in the older population usually above 50 years old.

If you notice a change in mood or health and believe you may be coming down with the Flu, get to a doctor right away. It’s not worth risking the odds, when in doubt get checked out!

 

Alyssa Pasek

Don’t Cry Because You Have Pink Eye

What is pink eye? No, it is not a popular eyeshadow trend or a new creative name for a crayon. Let’s take a closer look into what gave Pink Eye it’s colorful name.

pink eye cry

Pink eye otherwise known as Conjunctivitis is an inflammation or infection of the transparent membrane that lines your eyelid and covers the white part of your eyeball. Sound fun? I bet not, when small blood vessels in the Conjunctiva become inflamed, they’re more visible. This is what causes the whites of your eyes to appear reddish or pink. I am sure you are all wondering what causes this to occur, and I bet you will find this is actually a very common infection, that many have experienced at least once in their life.

pink eye severe

Conjunctivitis is commonly caused by a bacterial or viral infection or an allergic reaction. It may even affect one or both eyes. It can be irritating and itchy, but it rarely will affect one’s vision. Pink eye is contagious by touch for as long as two weeks after signs and symptoms occur, and early diagnosis can help limit it’s spread. Treatments can help ease the discomfort of an individual’s pink eye. There are many home remedies that will temporarily reduce irritation and depending on the severity professional help may be required and is recommended.

For mild cases you can try home remedies such as honey applied directly to the eye, Apple cider mixed with water eye rinses, boric acid eye wash, hot compress, or a cool saltwater compress, to name a few. All of which can be found on various websites for instructions. However, if your symptoms persist and you are experiencing discomfort or a sever case of Conjunctivitis, you should always see your primary physician or consult with a telemedicine physician via Virtual ER’s. This ensures that you get an accurate diagnosis and the necessary treatment for a speedy recovery.

Don’t worry, you won’t be the one eye, pink eye, flying purple people eater…for too long. So, wash your hands frequently, exercise good hygiene, and maintain a healthy immune system. Bye bye Pink Eye!

 

Alyssa Pasek