Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Quit Tobacco With TRICARE PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by TRICARE Communications   
Tuesday, 11 November 2014 14:51
November 10, 2014

TRICARE and Military OneSource are co-hosting a webinar to educate TRICARE beneficiaries about the resources available to them to quit using tobacco products. The webinar, scheduled from Noon – 1:00pm EST, will take place on Thursday, Nov. 20, also known as the Great American Smoke Out. To sign up, go to

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An irregular heartbeat raises your stroke risk, so it's important to have a prevention strategy. PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Dr. Sanjay Gupta   
Tuesday, 11 November 2014 14:01

For people with atrial fibrillation (Afib), the fear of having a stroke is very real. Afib raises a person’s risk for stroke five times, according to the National Stroke Association. It’s a scary statistic, especially as Afib prevalence continues to rise. Understanding the connection between Afib and stroke can help patients better manage their condition and recognize other factors that could put them at even greater risk.

“A stroke prevention strategy of some kind is required for anyone with Afib, no matter how many symptoms you have or how many risk factors you have,” said J. David Burkhardt, MD, electrophysiologist at the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St. David’s Medical Center in Austin.

Afib occurs when the heart’s upper chambers (atria), which push blood to the lower chambers (ventricles), beat irregularly. “Instead of the blood being pushed forward by the heart pumping, it’s just swirling around in the heart and can clot easily,” said Marcie Berger, MD, FACC, a cardiac electrophysiologist at Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Clots can travel and cut off blood flow to the brain, causing a stroke.

Besides an irregular heartbeat, a person with Afib “can have additional risk factors making a stroke even more likely,” said Dr. Berger.

Most doctors use a tool known as the CHADS2 score to evaluate patients’ stroke risk based on the following criteria:

  • Congestive heart failure. Heart failure occurs when blood isn’t being pumped efficiently to the rest of the body, resulting in fluid retention and congestion. If the heart isn’t pumping at full capacity, the risk of clotting increases. “Diminished heart function is a risk factor for Afib itself as well as stroke, and it’s more common in older patients,” said Dr. Burkhardt.
  • High blood pressure. When the force of blood against the arteries is too high, it can cause damage to the arteries over time. “It becomes a double whammy, where you have high blood pressure as well as atrial fibrillation increasing your stroke risk,” said Ralph L. Sacco, MD, professor and chairman of neurology at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami.
  • Age: 75 or older. The median age among people with Afib is 67 years old in men and 75 years old in women, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “In older adults, a new Afib diagnosis is usually due to age-related changes in the electrical system of the heart,” said Dr. Berger. Changes in the heart and blood vessels are common with age, and reduced circulation increases the risk of blood clots forming.
  • Diabetes. People with diabetes are nearly four times more likely to have a stroke, according to the National Stroke Association. People with uncontrolled diabetes are more prone to have high cholesterol, and plaque build-up in the arteries can block blood flow to the brain.
  • Stroke or transient ischemic attack. Someone who’s had a stroke is many times more likely to have another than someone who’s never had one. According to the American Heart Association, a person who’s had one or more TIAs, or “mini-strokes,” is 10 times more likely to suffer a stroke.

The American Academy of Neurology recently issued an updated guideline recommending oral anticoagulants, or blood thinners, to prevent stroke in Afib patients. Guideline lead author Antonio Culebras, MD, of SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, noted, however, that “doctors will need to consider the individual patient’s situation in making a decision whether or not to use anticoagulants, and which one to use, as the risks and benefits can vary for each person.”

Some stroke risk factors, such as age and family history, can’t be controlled. But, “if we can address those controllable factors earlier in the disease process, hopefully we can work to reverse this growing trend,” said J. Brian DeVille, MD, FACC, FHRS, medical director of electrophysiology at Baylor Health Care System in Dallas.

Many of the same lifestyle changes that help manage Afib can also reduce stroke risk, such as maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, and quitting smoking. The key is coming up with a prevention plan that a patient can commit to for the long run.

As Burkhardt points out, “once you’re diagnosed with Afib, stroke prevention is a consideration forever.”

Last Updated: 03/11/2014

Clinton, Iowa, to Participate in The American Medicine Chest Challenge PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Angela Conover   
Tuesday, 11 November 2014 09:52
Clinton, IA – Clinton and the Clinton County Sherriff's Office, will be coordinating the American Medicine Chest Challenge in Clinton, Camanche and DeWitt.
The event will take place on November 8, 2014 in communities across the country. This initiative will challenge residents to take the Five-Step American Medicine Chest Challenge:
· Take inventory of your prescription and over-the-counter medicine.
· Secure your medicine chest.
· Dispose of your unused, unwanted, and expired medicine in your home or at an American Medicine Chest
Challenge Disposal site.
· Take your medicine(s) exactly as prescribed.
· Talk to your children about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
To help combat this growing threat to our nation's children, we are hosting the American Medicine Chest Challenge (AMCC) on November 8, 2014. Residents can find a local collection site on or dispose of their medicine at home, following the guidelines on the site.
The most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows prescription medicines to be the most abused drugs by Americans, other than marijuana and found that 70% of people who abuse prescription pain relievers say they got them from friends or relatives. A recent study on drug use by teens by the Partnership for a Drug Free America (PDFA) found that one in 9 children are abusing prescription pain relievers to get high.
"This Challenge will raise awareness about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs and reduce the availability of potent drugs that lead kids down a path to addiction,'' explained American Medicine Chest Challenge Chief Executive Officer Angelo M. Valente.
"With the American Medicine Chest Challenge we are calling on residents to see their medicine cabinets through new eyes -- as an access point for potential misuse and abuse of over-the-counter and prescription medicine by young people," explained Valente.
The American Medicine Chest Challenge has gained the national support of PhRMA, The Partnership at DrugFree.Org, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association and the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Open Enrollment Kick Off Event Get Covered Illinois – Rock Island County PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Thea Hansen   
Friday, 07 November 2014 14:27

This November 15th, Get Covered Illinois and TPQC will host a Kick-Off Enrollment Event for Rock Island County residents to get insurance under the federal health law. This event is scheduled for Saturday, November 15th:

9:00am – 3:00pm at 1830 6th Avenue, Moline, Il.

This is an open invitation for all Rock Island County residents to learn more about their expanded options for health insurance coverages. There is no cost for attendees and there will be great give away prizes and snacks for all. Illinois certified counselors will be available to help with questions, concerns and portal navigation.

The Affordable Care Act's first open enrollment period drew what officials call the "low-hanging fruit" of the uninsured population: the sick and those who knew the law requires everyone to have insurance.

This year, the TPQC and the State of Illinois are targeting people who often need a thorough explanation and several face-to-face meetings to understand their options. With a shorter enrollment period and a stiffer penalty for going without insurance, the state is intensifying its efforts to get the enrollment message out.
The law's second open enrollment period runs from Nov. 15 through Feb. 15, half as long as last year's enrollment period. The penalty for not having insurance will increase in 2015 to $325 or 2 percent of annual adjusted income, from $95 or 1 percent of income in 2014.


How to Treat a Family Member with Dementia This Holiday Season PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 05 November 2014 15:15
World-renowned Expert Shares 5 Helpful Tips

Whether it’s Mom, Dad, Grandma or Grandpa – or your spouse – the “holiday quarter” can present special challenges for families with a loved one suffering from dementia.

“We have an expectation that loved ones should never change from the person we’ve perceived them to be for years, but everyone changes significantly over an extended period, especially those diagnosed with dementia,” says Kerry Mills, a sought-after expert in best care practices for people with dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s. November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

“Dementia encompasses a wide range of brain diseases, which means it’s not the fault of a Grandma if she has trouble remembering things or gets flustered. Empathy for what she’s experiencing on the level of the brain will help your relationship with her. Do not expect her to meet you halfway to your world; you have to enter her world.”

Spouses have a particularly difficult time coping with their partner’s dementia, Mills says. A spousal relationship is a team and is central to the identities of both people. So, while you’re paying special attention to a parent’s or grandparent’s condition, extend it to his or her spouse, she says.

Families tend to have a hard time coping with a loved one’s dementia during holiday gatherings. Mills, coauthor with Jennifer A. Brush of “I Care, A Handbook for Care Partners of People with Dementia,” (, offers tips for how to interact with a loved one – say, Grandma – whose brain is deteriorating.

•  Do not get frustrated. “First, do no harm” – the excellent maxim taught to medical students, is also a great first principle for those interacting with Grandma, who may be experiencing a level of frustration and anxiety you cannot comprehend adequately. She simply doesn’t have access to certain details, but she is still a conscious and feeling person who has plenty to offer. If you get frustrated, she’ll pick up on it.

•  Dedicate someone to Grandma during the gathering. Of course, loving families will want to include Grandma in the group, but be careful not to overwhelm her with attention. Her brain, which has trouble processing some information, could use assistance – a liaison to help her process things. Grandpa could probably use a break; her son or daughter may be the best handler during a gathering.

•  Give Grandma purpose; give her a task in the kitchen. Keep Grandma, who may’ve been prolific in the kitchen in the past, engaged! Simple tasks, such as mashing potatoes or stirring gravy, may be best. Engage her in conversation about the food. If it’s Grandpa whose suffering dementia, include him in a group. Give him a cigar if the other men are going outside to smoke. Engage him in a conversation about football, which may allow him on his own terms to recall details from the past.

•  Use visual imagery and do not ask yes-or-no questions. Again, asking someone with Alzheimer’s to remember a specific incident 23 years ago can be like asking someone confined to a wheelchair to run a 40-yard dash – it’s physically impossible. Don’t pigeonhole her. Direct Grandma in conversation; say things to her that may stimulate recollection, but don’t push a memory that may not be there. Pictures are often an excellent tool.

•  Safety is your biggest priority. Whether during a holiday gathering or in general, Grandma may commit herself to activities she shouldn’t be doing, such as driving.

“She’s been driving for decades, and then she develops a memory problem, which not only prevents her from remembering her condition, but also how to drive safely,” Mills says. “This major safety concern applies to any potentially dangerous aspect to life.”

“Currently, there’s a stigma with the condition, but I’d like to change the baseline for how we regard dementia,” Mills says. “As with other medical conditions, Alzheimer’s should not be about waiting to die – patients often live 15 years or more after a diagnosis. It should be about living with it.”

About Kerry Mills

Kerry Mills, MPA, is an expert in best care practices for persons with dementia both in the home and in out-of-home health care residences and organizations. She is a consultant to numerous hospitals, assisted livings, hospice, home care agencies, senior day care centers and nursing homes. In her twelve-year career in health care, she has served as executive director and regional manager for numerous long-term dementia facilities. She is an outspoken advocate for persons with dementia, lecturing in Hong Kong, Canada, China, Europe and the United States. Her book, coauthored with Jennifer A. Brush, “I Care,” (, is the 2014 Gold Award Winner of the National Mature Media Awards.

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