Medical Assistant

Red wine caught red-handed

Heartbreaking news: The time has come to redefine our relationship with dark chocolate and red wine. The antioxidant, resveratrol, which is found in these products as well as red grapes, has no measurable impact on health according to  Hopkins University School of Medicine and NIH. Previously the antioxidant was thought to help safeguard against inflammation, cardiovascular disease and cancer but there is not enough creditable evidence to support this.

CMA Today Sep-Oct 2014

Medicare revises hospice drug rules

45% of Americans age 5 and older are covered by Medicare.

Medicare has backed away from a new rule that required hospice patients to seek prior approval for all their prescription drugs. The rule was intended to clarify whether each medication should be covered under either the hospice benefit or Medicare’s Part D drug program. But the policy places undue burden on hospice patients as they need to navigate payer disputes. Under current Medicare aw, hospice patients voluntarily stop taking drugs meant to treat their terminal illness. If they want drugs to alleviate symptoms of that illness (pain) the hospice organization is supposed to pay for them out of funds provided by Medicare. Drugs for other conditions unrelated to the terminal illness are covered by the patient’s Part D drug plan. Under the new rule, patients would have been denied coverage for each prescription until they or their doctors had contacted their Part D plan to confirm the drug’s purpose.

In modifying its policy, Medicare now requires prior approval for only four groups of drugs: analgesics, authorizatnit nausea meeds, laxatives and anti anxiety drugs. These are typically covered as palliative care under the hospice benefit.

AARP Bulletin/Real Possibilities September 2014

The supersized problem of malnutrition in the US

People who are overweight or obese can suffer from a lack of essential nutrients just as a thin person might. Eating disorders represent another facet of  malnutrition. The foods we eat or do not eat directly affect health. Malnutrition may be a hidden cause underlying medical conditions.

USDA indicates 10 states with rates of food insecurity above the national average of 14.7% including a swath of southern states. Rates of food insecurity are significantly higher in low income households, households with children headed by a single parent, back, non-Hispanic households and households with children headed by a single man.

Many of the same regions and populations that have higher rates of food insecurity and hunger also face the threat of overweight and obesity. People can be overnourished in calories but undernourished in vitamins and minerals. Poor vitamin D status, calcium. folate, iron and B12 and lack of Iodine are other concerns.

To ensure proper nutrition and balance of both macro- and micronutrients, the USDA recommends increased intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat free or low fat milk and milk products, seafood and healthful oils.

There are a number of signs that may indicate malnutrition. Children need to be continually assessed for linear growth. Unintentional weight loss is a concern particularly if 5% weight loss over a month occurs. Protein-energy malnutrition can be assessed with a recent diet intake history. Blood tests can check for micronutrient deficiencies and anemia. Hair, nails and skin should be assessed for signs of dehydration.

Lifestyle changes such as divorce, death of a spouse, or children leaving home can precipitate unhealthy dietary changes that could lead to malnutrition.  Elderly adults who are living alone may not be cooking for themselves or have a loss of appetite.

In many ways, malnutrition is an issue that goes beyond the provider-patient relationship.The condition has risen to the level of a societal concern. Regardless of body sizes, nutrients that are needed should be taken in. The challenge is to make healthy food convenient and affordable and really tasty while helping people make healthy choices.

CMA Today Sept-Oct 2014


Is your lamp keeping you awake?

Exposure to too much indoor light in the evening can keep you up at night. For ceiling lights and bedside tables, use yellowish-white lights that are 40 watts or less. These bulbs produce the least amount of blue light which can delay your sleep. When using the bathroom before bed, keep the vanity bulbs above the mirror off. These extremely bright lights suppresses the hormone that helps you nod off at night.

September 2014

Remedies you may have never thought of…

Arthritis: Quaker Oats for fast pain relief. Mix 2 C. oats & 1 C. water in bowl and microwave for 1 minute, cool slightly and apply mixture to hands for soothing relief.

Achy muscles: Mix 1 T. of horseradish in 1 C. olive oil. Let mixture sit for 30 minutes, then apply as a massage oil.

Toenail fungus: Soak toes in Listerine® mouthwash.

Splinter remover: Drop Elmer’s® glue all over the splinter, let dry and peel the dried glue off the skin. The splinter will come out too.

Stuffy nose: try chewing a couple of Altoids® peppermints.


Warren/Hamilton County Office For The Agining

Never put bananas in the refrigerator!

Bananas contain 3 natural sugars- sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. Research has proven that just 2 bananas provide enough energy for a 90-minute workout. Bananas can help with a number of other conditions-

Depression: bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts to serotonin, known to make you relax, improve mood and feel happier.

PMS: The vitamin B6 bananas contain regulates blood glucose levels which affect your mood.

Anemia: high in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin.

Blood pressure: extremely high in potassium, yet low in salt.

Constipation: high in fiber so can help restore normal bowel action.

Hangovers: banana milkshake sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and with the help of the honey builds up depleted blood sugar levels while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn: bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body.

Morning sickness: snacking on bananas between meals helps keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Nerves: bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Ulcers: banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress and also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

I’m sure there are other uses!

Warren/Hamilton County Office On Aging


Low T; Real Problem or Ad-Driven Fad?

When a middle-aged man loses muscle or sex drive it is not simply getting older anymore but dubbed a condition called ‘low T’ or low testosterone. A 2013 study in JAMA Internal Medicine found prescriptions grew more than threefold between 2001 and 2o11 for testosterone. Critics say men have been convinced to take a potentially risky drug for a condition they don’t have. Proponents say testosterone can help older men improve their quality of life.

After age 30 men’s testosterone drops about 1% annually. Accompanied with diabetes levels may be lower. Doctors can not agree on what is a healthy T level for an older man. T therapy was originally developed for men whose bodies can’t produce enough often because of injuries to the testicles, cancer or genetic defects. When one takes testosterone, the body shuts down its production. The testicles may shrink and then supplementation is necessary indefinitely.

A study completed last year reported a 30% jump in risk of stoke, heart attack and death among men undergoing testosterone therapy. An alternative to perceived low T is to eat a healthier diet and be a little more active. Add quality sleep and any man will build muscle, improve libido and raise energy levels.

AARP Bulletin/Real Possibilities July-August 2014

10 Unexpected Ways to Use Coconut Oil During Pregnancy (or Anytime!)

1. Take as a supplement. The benefits of coconut oil range from resisting bacteria and viruses to reducing cholesterol. While you should always consult a doctor before adding a new supplement to your regime (especially during pregnancy), the all-natural superpowers of coconut oil are certainly something to consider adding to your diet.

2. Stretch mark cream.  Skip all those pricey stretch mark creams, and instead keep a jar of coconut oil on your bedside table. While it won’t fade preexisting scars, it can help to prevent new stretch marks from forming.

4. In the bathtub. Add a few drops of coconut oil to the tub as a natural and hydrating form of stress relief.

9. Eczema. For those with eczema, pregnancy hormones can have one of two effects — they can send the itchiness into remission, or they can cause increased flare-ups. If you fall into the latter category, try coconut oil as a natural alternative to topical steroids.

10. On nursing nipples. When used on dry and cracked nipples, many breastfeeding mamas swear by using coconut oil in place of lanolin.


by Lisa Horton


Tire Change

Fight fatigue with the following tips:

  • exercise- move more and get more energy
  • watch your diet- eat three healthy meals and a snack during the day
  • limit or avoid caffeine, especially late in the day
  • get enough B vitamins (good sources are fish, poultry, fortified cereals and eggs)
  • stay hydrated (8 to 9 glasses of fluids a day

June 2014 

What’s your diabetes IQ?

Diabetes is not just a disorder of the pancreas. It can cause serious complications to other parts of the body. How much do you know about how diabetes can affect more than blood sugar?

True or False?

1. People with diabetes can develop blurry vision and even blindness.

2. High blood sugar can lead to tooth and gum disease.

3. People with diabetes catch the flu more than others.

4. Diabetes can hurt feet.

5. Diabetes causes acne.

All are true except for 3 and 5. Flu can make diabetes more difficult to manage. Diabetes can cause skin to become itchy, dry, cracked ad thin and more vulnerable to fungal infections.

June 2014