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?1 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.1,2

Risks of tanning. But you’re not off the hook if you stop at tanning. That’s your body’s response to sun injury.1 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 diseases1

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.1

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.2,3

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.4

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.2,3

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.2,3

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.3

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.

 

Sources:

  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.
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And then there is February,

Hello, Sue here with my blurb of the moment:

Hard to believe that we are already into February of 2017! We are still being reminded that we could get snow, YET, the flowering bulbs are starting to peek out of the dirt letting us know that spring is around the corner. (I don’t know about you, but I am ready for some SUN). Once the big yellow thing in the sky starts to shine that means that we can step outside and start our outdoor projects such as gardening, cleaning and even exercising.

Speaking of exercising, have you used a FitBit? It is quite the little gizmo. It helps to monitor your walking, eating and all around health program. We are lucky in this day and age that we have phones that will utilize an APP for exercising, something to measure a distance walked, measure calories etc. Even play music while you are getting rid of the pounds or tuning up your cardio. I was given a FitBit by one of my daughters and that thing keeps you honest with your steps. Monitoring the sleep is another thing we all should look at. It is so important to get a good amount of rest. I am the last one on the planet to push or sell anything to do with exercise, but we do have tools to get us off of our rumps and start moving!

Nutrition is another story in itself. We all know that since there is a gazillion dollar business telling us how to cook, what to eat when and what not to eat. Just eat well! That is all that I know as I am not a great cook,  and I am not a nutritionist (ice cream is not on the good food list BTW). But I do know that if we stop and read our body, see what it is needing to function at it’s best, we can make good decisions of what we put in it. A struggle we all experience but remember, “Life is to be Enjoyed, Not Endured”.

Let’s talk again,

Sue Graafstra

“When you wake in the morning and you open your eyes, Give Thanks!

 

Can I help you find something?

It happens all day long. People wander into Pharm A Save Monroe looking for a specific item. I ask, “Can I help you find something?”  I hear “Oh no, I am just looking.” After about 5 minutes, I see the same person is still roaming each aisle and looking back and forth in the Aids to daily living aisle. I ask , “Are you finding what you are looking for?” The response this time was, “I am getting ready for my father in law to move in with us, and I am trying to get a list together of the items we need before he gets there.”

That is where it all begins…..

From experience personally and within Pharm A Save Monroe, I have learned to ask a lot of questions to help get to a solution. You see, at Pharm A Save Monroe, we are not trying to sell you just “anything”, we are trying to help you make a decision on what best fits your needs.  More often than not, I help put a list together of items that may be helpful, and the customer leaves with a ideas and homework.  This give them the opportunity to discuss it with other caregivers, spouses and family. And, many times, that same person will purchase items from an “Online” store. Does this bother me? You may be be surprised with my answer.

Although every business needs to make sales to keep the doors open, Pharm A Save Monroe is focused on the patient and their needs. Each need differs from person to person. This also holds true for each persons financial situation and living environment. Pharm A Save does more that “Just sell prescription drugs”. The entire store is full of equipment and supplies. Sometimes some it up like this: You don’t know that you need it , until you need it.

I also supply information on local resources, insurance coverage reviews to see if an item is covered , and hugs. Hugs come free with the information.

So, does it bother me that so much time was spent with this person and there was no sale made? No, not at all.

You see, this was an opportunity for me to share my knowledge and expertise. And, this person was thankful for this knowledge. She left here feeling like she was better prepaired to make home adjustments for her father in law. In fact, this “person” and the “she” I am referring to is Jenny. I know this because I asked her what her name was. This was a personal interaction with Jenny, who was overwhelmed with where to start. I also gave Jenny my business card. I asked her to call or email anytime. I meant it, anytime. Not just if there was a question about a product, service or insurance. If I didn’t have an solution or answer, I could find someone who woud. But to call or email anytime. It is important for Jenny to have a way to communicate about different struggles she may run into during this transition.

Here is what happened next.

Jenny told her friend how happy she was that I took the time to help explain some of the available items and what obstacles may be coming in the future. Her friend, Saul, stopped in to purchase a Pik Stik. He did that because Jenny told him that Pharm A Save Monroe had these on the shelf. When speaking with Saul, he mentioned that he has a hard time getting in and out of his car. On most days, Saul did fine. But sometimes, it was just too much. I mentioned to him that we have a drive thru window, and if he called ahead, we could have items ready for him to pick up there. In the end, Saul transferred his prescriptions to Pharm A Save Monroe. Our Pharmacist packages them up for him each month in pill reminders. Saul is doing better managing his diabetes and blood pressure, now that he is remembering to take his medications.

And Jenny?

Jenny ran into one of those obstacles we discussed. She came into Pharm A Save Monroe and asked for me help. Jenny purchased the needed bed rails. The next time I heard from Jenny was at Christmas. She brought in a plate of fudge, peanut butter bars and a card.

To all of us at Pharm A Save Monroe, that is a success story.

When Drugs Deplete Nutrients

BRIDGETT

Bridgett is a Pharmacy Technician and Certified Fitter at Pharm A Save in Monroe, WA. Bridgett started working at Pharm A Save in 1998, and became an owner in 2008.Bridgett’s focus is on patient outreach, adherence aids,  marketing,compression stockings, bracing items and pharmacy management.

 

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

 

Sources:

  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.healthy heart month blood pressure ad
  • 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.

 Sources:

  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.