The Importance of Vaccinations By Dr. Blair Duddy

VaccinationsWith the school year quickly approaching, it is important to ensure that students are up to date on their immunizations. Proof of immunization is a prerequisite for enrollment in all Nevada public schools for all non-exempt students. Immunizing your child is extremely important, especially when they are preparing to enter a school environment where they will be exposed to a large population of people and face a greater risk of contracting harmful diseases that could cause serious health issues.

Under state law, children can be exempt from vaccination requirements if their parents or guardians have submitted a written statement to a school’s governing body indicating their religious beliefs prohibit immunizations. Medical exemptions are also permitted.

A recent study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reported that childhood immunizations save thousands of lives and billions of dollars by preventing disease. Immunizations are integral public health tools, as they protect the vaccinated individual and limit the spread of infectious diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that among children born during 1994 to 2013, immunizations will prevent 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths, while saving $295 billion in direct costs and $1.38 trillion in total societal costs.

Immunizations serve to protect children and their classmates from the spread of infectious diseases, including measles, mumps and whooping cough. With more than 315,000 students expected to enroll in Clark County schools for the upcoming school year, vaccinations serve as the most effective preventative measure.

Disease prevention is a key component of our philosophy at HealthCare Partners Nevada. Our mission is to make sure that our youngest and most vulnerable patients are immunized and protected. HealthCare Partners Nevada participates in the federally funded Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program, which helps provide vaccines to children whose parents or guardians might be unable to afford them. To find out if your local HealthCare Partners Nevada provider participates in the VFC program, or to consult with a pediatrician about immunizations for your child, visit www.hcpnv.com/lasvegaspediatrics.

Now is the Time to Get Your Flu Shot By Dr. Lana Dawood

Flu ShotThe arrival of fall means flu season is approaching. Flu season can start as early as October and last until May. The providers at HealthCare Partners Nevada would like to remind patients that with flu season around the corner, there is no time like the present to get a flu shot. Getting the flu vaccine is the first and most important step towards preventing the flu.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infects the nose, throat, and lungs. Each year approximately 5 to 20 percent of U.S. residents get the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu-related complications. Last year the U.S. experienced a flu epidemic, with high flu activity reported in 22 states and Puerto Rico, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Unlike a common cold, flu symptoms can come on very suddenly. Those who are infected experience a sudden onset of fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue, headaches, muscle and body aches.

The flu vaccine is the best defense against the flu. HealthCare Partners recommends the vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older, especially those who live with or care for someone who is at a high risk for flu-related complications.

While everyone is at risk for the flu, some groups including as children, people with chronic health conditions, and seniors are more likely to experience complications related to the flu. In fact, 90 percent of flu-related deaths and more than half of flu-related hospitalizations occur in people ages 65 and older.

The flu virus spreads mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. People may be able to infect others one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. In addition to receiving the vaccine, you should follow preventative steps, such as washing your hands and covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, to keep yourself healthy.

Getting vaccinated and practicing simple preventative measures can go a long way in preventing the spread of the flu.  Make an appointment with your HealthCare Partners provider today to get the flu shot. For more information about the services HealthCare Partners Nevada offers, please visit www.hcpnv.com.

Key Tips on Heat and Sun Safety this Summer By: Dr. Victoria Guerra Farley

Fun in the Sun

Southern Nevada’s triple-digit temperatures have returned this summer, and with them a wide range of health risks. The intense temperatures and sunshine can pose many risks to people’s safety and overall wellness, but there is no reason people can’t still enjoy the outdoors. With the proper precautions recommended by HealthCare Partners Nevada, individuals and families can remain safe and healthy throughout their summertime activities.

Key tips on heat and sun safety include:

Remain hydrated:

When temperatures are high, it is very easy to become dehydrated when people don’t drink enough fluids to replace what is lost when they sweat. Dehydration can cause headaches, weakness, confusion and even unconsciousness, according to the Mayo Clinic. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water regularly, even when you are not thirsty.

Protect Against Sun Exposure:

Spending time outdoors without skin protection can be highly dangerous, as most skin cancers are a direct result of exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, according to the American Cancer Society. To avoid this, HealthCare Partners Nevada recommends regularly applying products with sun protection factor (SPF) values of 30 or higher. Although higher SPF values do filter out more UV rays, no sunscreen protects the skin completely.  This is why it is also important to take additional steps to guard against the sun, including wearing a hat, UV-blocking sunglasses and clothing with SPF embedded, if possible.

Prevent Heat-Related Illnesses:

The body’s temperature can reach dangerous levels during extremely hot weather. Typically, your body cools itself by sweating. When you are exposed to too much heat, however, sweating is just not enough, and heat illnesses such as heat rash, heat exhaustion and even life-threatening heat stroke can occur. Monitor for common signs of heat-related illness, including red, dry skin, excessive sweating, nausea and a fast heartbeat. Stay safe by remaining in the shade whenever possible and hydrating often.

Limit Outdoor Activities:

Limit engaging in strenuous outdoor activities during hot days to avoid heat-related illnesses. Try to avoid going outside from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the time of day when it is hottest and UV rays are most intense, according to the American Cancer Society3. Schedule activities such as running, biking and lawn work early in the morning or later in the afternoon when temperatures are cooler.

Use Caution with Swimming:

Swimming and water sports are especially enjoyable in the summertime. Experiencing these activities with a partner makes them safer and even more fun. Always remember to supervise children whenever they are in the water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger[2]. Being alert around water is extremely important, but the most vital precaution is learning to swim.

There’s plenty of fun to be had this season. Just remember these simple tips from your providers at HealthCare Partners Nevada to ensure a safe and enjoyable summer.

 

Preparing for School Sports Participation and Preventing Injuries By: Dr. Eileen Shi

Vaccines

An approaching new school year is an opportunity for many families to consider sports participation in programs offered in the communities and schools. At HealthCare Partners, we believe getting your child involved in sports and activities is a great way to build physical and mental strength, to introduce healthy challenge and to encourage commemorative interactions with peers. However, activities can bring injuries that are common even in the most well-prepared participants. We hope to delineate some of the most common and overlooked risks here to help our families achieve an injury-free experience with sport participation.

 

Exercising on a regular basis have been shown to improve over-all health and mental acuity. Summertime offers a break from school routines to try out new sports and activities to discover what they enjoy to do outdoors. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend limiting the amount of time children spends in front of TV’s and computer screens to prevent long periods of sedentary lifestyle and to encourage children to engage in fitness activities. Regular exercise for children fortifies a foundation for children to be active throughout their lives and build healthy habits that protects that from many chronic conditions such as childhood obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.

 

There are many potential injuries that can occur during sport participation. Each year, nearly 9 million pediatric patients are treated in emergency departments for unintentional injuries, including sports-related injuries. Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to injury because of their natural curiosity, inexperience, size and immature development. The most commonly encountered sports-related injury are sprains, strains, injuries from repetitive and overuse motion, dehydration and heat-related illnesses.

 

Families can take simple steps to prevent such issues. These include ensuring that children are dressed in sport-appropriate protective gear, such as a fitted helmet, mouth and wrist guards.  Stretching before and after intense physical activity also helps prevent overuse-related injuries. In addition, staying hydrated throughout physical activity especially when outdoors is pivotal to prevent the onset of heat-related illness such as dehydration and heat exhaustion.

 

Most medical and sport professionals recognize the importance of sports physical prior to starting a new competitive season.  This medical exam can be key to identifying underlying conditions that might affect a youth’s ability to compete and allows for monitoring the status of prior injuries.

 

HealthCare Partners Nevada clinics are happy to provide sports physicals, which we also encourage parents to schedule early this year.  Many schools require students to undergo a sports physical before they can try out for a team.  Scheduling these physicals early int he year can help ensure that your children can pursue their preferred sport without delay and restrictions.

 

If injuries do occur, parents should be careful with determining if medical treatment is necessary before returning to practice.  This is especially important with young children who cannot always communicate the severity and nature of their injuries.  If symptoms such as swelling, scrapes or bruising do not show improvement in 2-3 days, parents should take their children to see a pediatrician to assess the extent of the injury.  If a child loses consciousness, a visit to the emergency department is necessary.

 

HealthCare Partners Nevada offers multiple locations, and our physicians are happy to answer questions about children’s general health and safety.  For more information, please visit www.hcpnv.com.

 

What You Need to Know about Urinary Incontinence By: Dr. Kimball Huang

Live well photoAccording to the Urology Care Foundation, a quarter to one-third of men and women in the U.S. suffer from urinary incontinence, presenting serious challenges to a large segment of the population. Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control, and its symptoms range in severity. While age is a factor, obese individuals, men with prostate issues and women who have given birth are at a greater risk of developing urinary incontinence[1].

Signs of urinary incontinence include occasional leakage whenever you cough or sneeze, in addition to having sudden and powerful urges to urinate that are so strong that you can’t get to the bathroom in time[2]. It can also be an indicator of bladder cancer, and with July being National Bladder Cancer Awareness Month, this is an opportune time to discuss the condition.

There are three main types of urinary incontinence: urge, overflow and stress. Urge incontinence occurs when you have a strong need to urinate and cannot get to the bathroom before leakage occurs. Causes of urge incontinence include bladder infections and neurological issues such as stroke and dementia. Overflow incontinence happens when a bladder is so full that it leaks urine, while stress incontinence occurs when the sphincter muscles, which normally hold urine in the bladder, weaken and release urine[3].

Urinary incontinence can be the result of an underlying medical condition, such as kidney stones, a urinary tract infection, enlarged prostate or constipation[4]. Since many sufferers are embarrassed to talk about this problem, larger health issues can go undiagnosed. Therefore, it is important to discuss any instance of incontinence with your HealthCare Partners Nevada provider.

During your visit, your provider will perform a physical examination and ask questions about your daily habits, including what you typically eat and drink, and any medications or supplements you take. When visiting your doctor, he or she will also ask you which type of incontinence you are experiencing and how long you have experienced symptoms.

Urinary incontinence can be effectively managed or treated, so it is imperative to seek medical assistance as soon as you notice symptoms. There are many treatments and medications available to manage urinary incontinence, so please remember to talk to your HealthCare Partners Nevada provider to discuss your treatment plan. For more information about the services HealthCare Partners Nevada offers, please visit www.hcpnv.com.

 

 

 



[1] Urology Care Foundation, 2015, “What is Urinary Incontinence?”

[2] Mayo Clinic, Aug. 7, 2014, “Diseases and Conditions: Urinary Incontinence.”

[3] University of Rochester Medical Center, 2015, “Urinary Incontinence.”

[4] Mayo Clinic, Aug. 7, 2014, “Diseases and Conditions: Urinary Incontinence.”

The Truth About Cholesterol By Dr. Judith Ford, MD, Lead Physician of Clinical Quality at Healthcare Partners Nevada

 

Elevated total cholesterol can be an indicator of failing heart health, although it is far from a death sentence. It is attainable to achieve cholesterol health by living a healthy lifestyle and following the recommendations of knowledgeable medical professionals. HealthCare Partners Nevada, a medical network with locations across Southern Nevada, strives to make patients aware of their risk factors and develop customized treatment plans suited to their needs. High cholesterol is one of the major causes of coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke, and early detection helps save lives.

 Good vs. Bad Cholesterol

There are two different types of cholesterol – low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) – and the body’s total blood cholesterol is measured by adding the LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, along with 20 percent of the body’s triglyceride level. Triglycerides are a type of fat that can enter the bloodstream through foods that are high in simple sugars, fat and carbohydrates. In addition, elevated triglyceride levels can contribute to the hardening of arterial walls and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

LDL is often called “bad” cholesterol because it can build up in the arterial walls and form plaque, which can reduce blood flow and increase the risk of heart disease. HDL cholesterol is known as the “good cholesterol” because it is thought to help remove the LDL cholesterol that clogs the arterial walls. While higher HDL cholesterol levels indicate strong cardiovascular health, raising HDL cholesterol via medication has not been proven to be beneficial, according to a study published by the British Medical Journal.

Monitoring cholesterol levels is crucial, since low HDL and high LDL cholesterol are major risk factors for heart disease. Heart disease is a leading cause of death among men and women in the U.S. and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 730,000 Americans suffer heart attacks each year. Of those, approximately 525,000 are first-time heart attacks. Heart disease claims more than 600,000 lives in the U.S. each year and is the No. 1 cause of death among most ethnicities.

Risk Factors and Symptoms

High blood cholesterol itself is not symptomatic, so many people are unaware of their condition. It is important to undergo cholesterol testing so medical professionals can begin their treatment plan. Dr. Rakesh Kalra, a HealthCare Partners Nevada physician, says something he always emphasizes to his patients is that body type is not an indicator of high cholesterol. A thin frame, regular exercise and living a healthy lifestyle does not ensure healthy cholesterol levels. On the other hand, being overweight is not necessarily an indicator of elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

There are numerous ailments and lifestyle choices that can contribute to a person developing high cholesterol. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a diet high in saturated fat and trans fats, a lack of exercise, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes are some of the top risk factors. Genetics are the most important risk factor, and poor cholesterol health can be passed down from a parent.

“Genetics play a key role with cholesterol,” says Dr. Irene Lambiris, a physician with HealthCare Partners Nevada. “Between the ages of 20 to 30, individuals should undergo one cholesterol check. If that cholesterol check is abnormal, it is advisable to proceed to annual checkups.”

Dr. Kalra says he has high cholesterol as a result of genetics. He works out and watches what he eats to help prevent the onset of heart disease. When it comes to relaying the importance of cholesterol, he says it can be difficult to get through to certain patients.

“People tell me, ‘I’m thin, I don’t have to worry about cholesterol,’” Dr. Kalra says. “They don’t understand the importance of getting cholesterol down to prevent heart attacks and stroke. The really thin people, and even young people, often don’t realize how important it is to get cholesterol under control.”

Medicating High Cholesterol

When it comes to treating high cholesterol, the goal is to reduce cholesterol levels to a point where the risk of developing heart disease or suffering a heart attack decreases. Dr. Lambiris says she starts to become concerned when a patient’s LDL cholesterol is above 160 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). Prior to starting medication, HealthCare Partners Nevada recommends a cholesterol-lowering diet, physical activity and weight management for six months. If that does not work, medication, along with diet and exercise, is the next step.

There are myriad cholesterol medications that help regulate cholesterol levels, including statins, bile acid sequestrants, nicotinic acid, fibric acids and cholesterol absorption inhibitors[8]. Statin drugs, including Lipitor and Crestor, are very common in cholesterol treatment and lower LDL and triglyceride levels while slightly raising HDL levels. Cholesterol absorption inhibitors and bile acid sequestrants lower LDL levels and can be taken alone or in conjunction with statin drugs. Nicotinic acid drugs lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while fibric acids are typically implemented to treat high triglyceride and low HDL levels.

Statins are recommended for most patients because they are the only cholesterol-regulating medications that have been proven to decrease the risk of a heart attack. They reduce the amount of cholesterol deposited into the lumen of the artery, which is the hollow part of the artery in which blood passes through. Statins also lessen the inflammatory state of the artery, making the plaque more stable so that it does not break off and cause a heart attack. Dr. Lambiris compared the lumen to pipes in a house, saying “If they keep getting clogged, that’s a problem.”

The Red Meat Debate

According to Dr. Kalra, red meat can have an adverse impact on cholesterol, since it is generally high in cholesterol and saturated fat. Dr. Kalra says red meat is typically safe to eat occasionally, although it is important to select the right kind. If people are going to eat beef, he suggests purchasing lean beef with 10 percent fat or less. The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than six ounces of cooked, trimmed lean meat a day, which includes shellfish, skinless poultry, and trimmed, lean red meats.

Processed, highly salted red meats such as bacon, sausage and salami are associated with a much higher risk of heart disease. They are loaded with calories and saturated fat and are often packed with sodium. According to a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health study, eating 50 grams a day of processed red meats like sausage and bacon resulted in a 42 percent greater risk of heart disease and 19 percent higher risk of Type 2 diabetes.

“The sodium content in processed red meats is exorbitant, and eating too much salt can increase blood pressure as well,” Dr. Lambiris says. “I encourage my patients to avoid eating processed red meats.”

Eggs

Eggs were long considered harmful to heart health because of their high cholesterol content. In recent years, that school of thought has changed, and many medical professionals sing the praises of eggs as a nutrition-packed staple of a well-balanced diet. In fact, most healthy individuals can eat at least seven eggs a week without increasing their risk of heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. In addition, studies have shown that egg consumption can also reduce the risk of stroke.

The negative perception of eggs has led to Americans eating fewer than ever. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American in 1945 ate 421 eggs per year, a number that dropped to 250 by 2012.

“People can eat two eggs a day, and it will not impact cholesterol like we used to think,” Lambiris says. “I would rather have my patients eat an egg omelet in the morning than oatmeal.”

Oatmeal is high in carbohydrates, which raises the body’s triglyceride levels, Dr. Lambiris says. She notes that oatmeal is broken down into sugar and stored as fat, whereas protein and fat sources like eggs are broken down more easily and used as fuel much quicker than carbohydrates. While eggs are high in cholesterol, the impact of egg consumption on blood cholesterol is minimal when compared with trans fats and saturated fats. The risk of heart disease may be more closely related to the foods many people eat with eggs, such as the sodium in bacon, sausage, ham and the saturated fat or oils with trans fats used to fry eggs and hash browns.

Overall Diet

While having in-depth diet discussions with his patients, Dr. Kalra provides them with a handout outlining healthy foods low in saturated fat, fat free or 1-percent dairy products, lean meats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. In addition, he suggests consuming 25 grams of fiber per day. According to the Mayo Clinic, fiber contributes to reducing “bad” cholesterol levels, controls blood sugar and helps maintain bowel health.

“I have seen miraculous health improvements in patients committed to diet and lifestyle changes,” Dr. Lambiris says. “Sometimes, lifestyle changes are not enough because of genetics, but we do want to get them on that path where they are living healthier lives.”

And a healthy lifestyle, combined with regular checkups and a commitment to medications, can help keep cholesterol levels in check. HealthCare Partners Nevada’s primary care providers and cardiologists are committed to promoting healthy cholesterol levels and are happy to answer any questions about cholesterol and heart health. Visit www.hcpnv.com to learn more about the services offered by HealthCare Partners Nevada.

Key Tips for Senior Fitness By Dr. Elron Mighty

Fitness

Maintaining an active lifestyle can play an integral role in the physical and mental well-being of seniors. At HealthCare Partners Nevada, we are dedicated to ensuring our patients maintain their physical fitness as they age.

As we age, there are many forms and methods of exercise that are beneficial, including:

  • Engage in moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, for approximately 20 minutes a day, seven days a week or 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
  • Keep up with common chores, including gardening and cleaning, and raking leaves.
  • Join a local gym or recreation center. Many of these facilities offer exercise groups for activities such as water aerobics, Pilates and yoga. These venues are air conditioned and especially comfortable when the summer months make it difficult to exercise outdoors.
  • Do muscle-strengthening activities that work out all of the major muscle groups – legs, hips, back, shoulders, abdomen, chest and arms – at least two days a week.

Physical activity has many short-and long-term benefits for seniors, such as:

  • Weight control
  • Strengthening bones and muscles, which helps to prevent falls.
  • Fewer hospitalizations and visits to the doctor
  • Increasing chances of living longer by keeping the brain sharp, controlling blood sugar levels and boosting heart health

Regardless of age, it is important to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise or diet plan. HealthCare Partners Nevada practices the Total Care Model, a team-based approach to care in which primary care providers collaborate with nurses, specialists, care managers and additional medical staff to coordinate all aspects of patients’ medical care, including diet and exercise plans. For more information about HealthCare Partners Nevada’s wide-ranging services, visit www.hcpnv.com.

Tips for Maintaining Heart Health By: Dr. Nirav Joshi

Men's Health

With June serving as Men’s Health Awareness Month, HealthCare Partners Nevada recognizes the importance of raising awareness about preventable health issues and encouraging men to be proactive in seeking treatment for their ailments, including heart disease. A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that, in 2012, the life expectancy for females was 81.2 years, compared to only 76.4 for males.

There are many reasons why men have a shorter life expectancy than women, including a higher risk for contracting illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and HIV, according to the CDC. In addition, a higher percentage of men have no health insurance and are more likely to have professions that are considered high-risk, including mining, construction and firefighting.

The leading cause of death among men is heart disease. Approximately 70 to 89 percent of sudden cardiac episodes occur in men, yet half of all men who die of sudden coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms. There are numerous steps that can be taken to improve cardiac health. Monitoring blood pressure is vital, as is regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. A diet high in fruits and vegetables is important and, of course, abstaining from smoking is imperative.

As men age, they need to be more aware of the symptoms of certain diseases. Rather than waiting for symptoms to worsen, HealthCare Partners Nevada encourages men to take the initiative and schedule check-ups with their health care providers on a regular basis. This allows doctors to provide patients with the best possible care and outline necessary treatment plans. Early detection and prevention play an integral role in keeping people healthy, and we want to ensure our patients are taking the steps needed to live long, productive lives.

HealthCare Partners Nevada’s innovative Total Care Model can help patients manage their health care and ensure screenings are completed at an appropriate time. There is no better time than the present to call and schedule an appointment with a HealthCare Partners Nevada provider. This coordination of care also helps patients maximize their health insurance benefits, which is critically important for patients who require long-term treatment.

Common Summertime Health Issues By: Dr. Irene Lambiris

Summertime Senior

Thermometers linger in the triple digits throughout the summer in Southern Nevada, significantly raising the risk of heat-related injuries and illnesses. People can experience a variety of health issues as a result of poor preparation for the blazing outdoor temperatures, and HealthCare Partners Nevada encourages locals to be aware of how to avoid these dangers.

Common summertime health issues include dehydration and heat exhaustion, a condition stemming from exposure to high temperatures that can result in symptoms such as dizziness, vomiting and fainting. The most serious form of heat injury is heat stroke, which occurs if an individual’s body temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If untreated, heat stroke can lead to organ damage and even death, according to the Mayo Clinic. Severe dehydration can also become a medical emergency, potentially leading to low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, fever and loss of consciousness.

Some people might be unaware of additional issues they can experience during the summer months, including burns from falling or walking barefoot on asphalt.

There are several simple steps individuals can take to prevent heat-related illnesses. These include:

  • Drinking water regularly, especially when spending time outdoors
  • Regularly seeking shade or air conditioning to cool the body
  • Wearing a hat and light-colored clothing, which reflects sunlight
  • Wearing shoes whenever walking on asphalt outdoors

In case heat-related issues do arise, it is important to be aware that some of these health conditions can be treated at urgent care locations, which typically offer immediate treatment at a more affordable rate than the emergency room. HealthCare Partners Nevada encourages patients to seek care at one of its four urgent care locations if they experience non-emergent symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, moderate dehydration and headaches.

It is advisable to seek emergency care for severe conditions such as major burns and heat stroke. If an individual is suffering from heat stroke, it is helpful to move the individual out of the heat and apply cool damp sheets on the neck and armpits until help arrives.

For more information about when to visit HealthCare Partners Nevada’s urgent care clinics, visit www.hcpnv.com/urgentcare.


 

The Importance of Mental Health By Dr. Anjali Rege

 

Mental Well Being PhotoThere is more to health than being physically fit and free of serious illness. Mental health is an integral part of leading a productive life. This includes positive emotions and moods, in addition to the absence of depression and anxiety. According to the American Psychiatric Association, seniors are at a greater risk of developing certain mental health issues than younger individuals. It is important to discuss your mental well-being with your primary care provider, who can help you develop an appropriate treatment plan.

This is an opportune time to discuss the impact of mental illness on the senior population. Unfortunately, many seniors fail to recognize the symptoms of mental illness or believe that depression is a natural part of the aging process. Depression is the most common mental illness among individuals 65 and older, according to the American Psychiatric Association.[2] Serious illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer can cause depression, and if left untreated, depression can delay recovery and contribute to a variety of other issues.

At HealthCare Partners Nevada, we encourage our patients to be proactive in taking control of their health. A balanced diet and exercise are important building blocks for both mental and physical health. Beyond diet and exercise, seniors should increase their focus on social relationships, resilience, positive emotions and independence.

Although many people do not like discussing feelings of sadness or grief, your health care provider’s clinic is a safe place to express these feelings. Through an open conversation, your provider can help determine the best treatment and, in turn, better treat physical health issues. For more information about HealthCare Partners Nevada’s extensive services, visit www.hcpnv.com.