Your Health Category Archive
Oct 11, 2013Posted By: igorUnder: Your Health, Your Pharmacist
If you have an Alberta Health Care card, you are now eligible to receive enhanced pharmacy services from the Pharmacists at Stafford Pharmacy!
While these services have been provided by pharmacists in some form for years, it was previously the patient who was responsible for paying the cost associated with these services. Pharmacies, in order to recover costs of the pharmacists' time spent with the patient must offer these services on a "user pay" basis. As of July 1st, 2012 the government of Alberta cover’s the cost of many of these important services. This means that Albertans will have the opportunity for improved healthcare when accessing these Pharmacy Services. The following are services now covered for those Albertans who have an Alberta Healthcare card:
Comprehensive Annual Care Plan - Albertans living with multiple chronic diseases will be supported by pharmacists through a one-on-one assessment, care plan development and ongoing monitoring. Provision of this service requires an appointment with one of our pharmacists.
Standard Medication Management Assessment - Pharmacists will conduct individual medication reviews and develop care plans for patients with at least one chronic disease and on at least four different schedule 1 drugs or insulin. Provision of this service requires an appointment with one of our pharmacists.
Adaptation of a prescription – If the pharmacist identifies that a dosing change ore therapeutic substitut...
Oct 7, 2013Posted By: jaclynUnder: Health News, Your Health
The Flu Season is fast approaching and just as you were told in previous years, a flu shot is one of the simpler measures you can take to prevent a serious episode of the seasonal influenza. This year while you are receiving your flu shot, ask if you should be receiving the vaccination against pneumonia as well. One of the major complications that can occur following infection with influenza is pneumonia.
Every Albertan over the age of 65 is eligible to receive the vaccination free of charge, along with those under 65 who are at risk of serious complications if they develop the condition.
Those between 2 and 65 years of age who should receive the immunization include:
Chronic heart, liver or kidney disease
Chronic lung disease (except asthma)
Chronic cerebral spinal leak
Spleen has been removed or does not work well
Sickle cell disease
Other immune illnesses or conditions
People living in homeless / chronic disadvantaged situations
Living in Continuing Care or other long term care facility
In most cases, only one dose of the vaccine against pneumonia per lifetime is required. This immunization can be given at any time of the year and can be administered at the same time as the influenza vaccine.
It is important to know your immunization history to ensure that your immunizations are up to date and that you are fully protected. Bring your Health Passport with you to all immunization app...
Sep 29, 2013Posted By: jaclynUnder: General News, Health News, Your Health
Recent measles outbreaks on Ontario and British Columbia have sparked concern over the condition as well as low vaccination rates across Canada. British Columbia has reported about 12 cases so far this year. While 12 cases may not seem like a lot, typically 0-2 cases of measles occur in BC. While Southern Alberta hasn’t had any confirmed cases of measles this year, Calgary had a confirmed case in a toddler in July of this year. While rates haven’t started to rise dramatically yet, it is likely only a matter of time before we begin to experience the same outbreak unless we do something to stop the outbreak from happening.
Why the sudden increase in cases? Declining vaccination rates are resulting in outbreaks of infections in children that we haven’t seen for years. Alberta Health Services has a target of vaccinating 98% of children to ensure optimum protection from infectious diseases. However, in Southern Alberta in some small communities vaccination rates have fallen to as low as 70% putting infants and young children at risk of contracting measles and other vaccine preventable illnesses.
What are measles?
Measles are an infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus. Because the infection is viral, antibiotics do not work in the treatment of measles and treatment is supportive. Symptoms include rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation and fever. Most people will recover on their own, however in some cases measles can lead to...
Aug 30, 2013Posted By: igorUnder: Complementary Alternative Medicine, Health News, Your Health
Niacin (Vitamin B3) is a water soluble B vitamin found in meat, beans, cereal grains, fish and other niacin fortified foods. In the early 20th century, niacin deficiency (Pellagra) was common. Symptoms of niacin deficiency include dermatitis, diarrhea and dementia. Many foods are fortified with niacin, virtually eliminating niacin deficiency in developed countries.
In high therapeutic doses, niacin is currently used to decrease Triglycerides and LDL-Cholesterol (bad cholesterol) as well as increase HDL-cholesterol (good cholesterol). Niacin should only be used at high doses if recommended by a health care professional. Niacin must be started at a low dose and slowly increased as it can lead to flushing, burning, tingling and sometimes pain without slow dose increases. At Stafford Pharmacy we recommend Metagenics Niatain®. This formulation is an extended release formulation which minimizes many of the side effects of niacin.
If niacin has been recommended to help lower Triglycerides or LDL-Cholesterol, be cautious when purchasing the so called “no-flush” niacin. This “no-flush” niacin sometimes contains a different form of niacin, known as niacinamide. This formulation does not have the same cholesterol lowering effect as niacin even though it is in fact a "no-flush" formulation.
There are some manufacturers who have combined inositol, with niacin in an attempt to reduce the flushing side effect. For many, this can be an effectiv...
Aug 28, 2013Posted By: jaclynUnder: Ask the Pharmacist, Health News, Your Health
If you don’t take them each day as directed, medications just will not work. That means with each forgotten dose, your health may suffer. How does one remember to take medications and/or vitamins each day? I have been searching for that answer and come up with a few simple solutions in a quest for a a method to help me remember to take my daily vitamins.
Option 1 is having an alarm alert you to the times when you should be taking your medication.
For the technology savvy medication/vitamin users with smartphones. Simply download a free medication reminder app, enter your medications/vitamins and the time(s) you take them and away you go. A few free user friendly apps I found were the CardioSmart® Med Reminder (which can be used even if you are only taking vitamins) and Dosecast®. Both are easy to use however the CardioSmart® Med Reminder has many extra features for a more advanced user. Both of these apps track how many doses you miss and if you have taken your medication. An alternative to an app is setting an alarm on your phone that goes off each day at the time(s) you need to take your pills. This will remind you that you need to take your pills, but will not tell you which pills you need to take.
If you aren’t technologically savvy and would like an alarm to remind you to take medications, a Med Reminder (available to purchase at Stafford Pharmacy) can be programmed for you to schedule an alarm up to 5 times per day to remind you to take your...
Aug 24, 2013Posted By: jaclynUnder: Ask the Pharmacist, Your Health
Our view of Vitamin D certainly has changed in the past few years. No longer is it the vitamin with maximum doses of 400IU per day. Instead dosing is from 400IU to daily amounts of 5000IU and more, with upper end doses still climbing higher as new information is uncovered about its physiologic role and therapeutic opportunities. Many healthcare practitioners are using Vitamin D therapeutically with aggressive dosing as it is discovered that there is no harm in using these larger doses. Where reaching specific target levels becomes the therapeutic goal, some form of diagnostic measurement of Vitamin D levels becomes more important.
Did you know you can test your own Vitamin D levels?
At Stafford Pharmacy we offer a D-Spot test from Rocky Mountain Analytical.
Why Test your Vitamin D?
Only about 1/3 of Canadians have vitamin D levels* above 75 nmol/L, the minimum considered optimal for health by Health Canada
Canadians do not receive enough sunlight to make vitamin D for four to five months of the year.
A 2010 study estimated that 37,000 deaths could be prevented every year if the Canadian average vitamin D level* was 105 nmol/L.
Already taking Vitamin D supplements?
Check your D-Spot to see if your levels are in the optimal range. This will let you know if you need to increase or decrease the amount of Vitamin D you are taking.
What happens if your vitamin D levels are low?
Vitamin D has been linked to many symptoms including:
Jun 19, 2013Posted By: jaclynUnder: Health Comment, Health News, Your Health
Here is a new theory to think about, could it be possible that men have actually caused menopause?!
This isn’t a crazy theory from a woman mad at her husband either! An evolutionary geneticists at McMaster University has backed her new theory with computer models generated by colleagues in hopes that new research on the cause of menopause will be completed, and the way we think about menopause may change.
The new theory shows that men may have caused menopause by consistently choosing to mate with younger women. Consistently choosing to mate with younger women may have resulted in accumulation of genetic mutations that stunt child bearing in later life. The slow build-up of mutations resulting in the development of menopause as we know it, is hypothesized to have occurred over a period of 50,000-100,000 years!
The onset of menopause may be another case of which came first, the chicken or the egg? Did men start choosing younger women causing an inability of older women to reproduce? Or, were men forced to mate with younger women because older women couldn’t reproduce? We may not know the answer for a very long time, if ever, but it is interesting to think about and knowing the answer would certainly change the way we view and likely the way we treat menopause and its symptoms.
If this new theory is correct then menopause isn’t a “natural part of aging”; instead, it is an age related condition and treating it with prescription hormo...
Jun 14, 2013Posted By: jaclynUnder: Ask the Pharmacist, Health Comment, Health News, Your Health
Have you ever received a sample of a medication from your doctor?
Medication samples are provided to physicians by drug companies. Physicians can then choose to provide these samples “free” of charge to their patients for a small duration, in order to determine if the patient tolerates the medication before they receive a prescription for a larger quantity and must pay for the medication themselves. This sounds like a great program at first glance, but there are many built in problems when physicians provide free samples to their patients. Lets take a closer look.
Here is a real life example, showing how and why samples given to patients by physicians can be dangerous.
One of our patients went in for a regular specialist visit. The specialist decided that the patient may benefit from a new medication that has come onto the market and provided the patient with a 1 month sample along with a prescription for the new medication to take to the pharmacy once the sample was complete. The patient then went home and started taking the sample from the doctor as directed. After about 2 weeks the patient started to feel “off”, with symptoms including a new tremor, confusion, sweating and shivering, but didn’t know what was causing the symptoms. The patient then decided to bring the new prescription to our pharmacy to put on file so as not to have to worry about losing the prescription. One of our pharmacists received the prescription from this patient and r...
May 18, 2013Posted By: igorUnder: Health News, Your Health
When you have high cholesterol, you are at a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke. The problem is, you likely don’t feel sick. Heart disease is a silent killer, meaning there are no symptoms to warn you that you are sick. The only way to know if you have plaque build up in your arteries is to have your blood cholesterol levels measured by having a simple blood test done.
When you have your “cholesterol levels” measured, typically the doctor or pharmacist is ordering a lipid panel. The lipid panel consists of 4 main components:
1) Total cholesterol - the total amount of cholesterol in your blood, including both the good and the bad cholesterol.
2) Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) – this cholesterol is the known as the bad cholesterol. When LDL levels in the blood are too high they lead to plaque build up in artery walls.
3) High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) – this cholesterol is known as the good cholesterol. We want HDL levels to be high as HDL carries the LDL away from the artery walls.
4) Triglycerides (TG) - are the most common type of fat in your body. When elevated they appear to speed up the process of plaque build up in artery walls.
If you are found to have elevated cholesterol or triglycerides, the doctor/pharmacist will recommend changes to your diet and exercise. Dietary changes include avoiding saturated fats and refined carbohydrates and increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seed...
Mar 29, 2013Posted By: igorUnder: Health News, Your Health
January 1st means the start of a New Year, and with that comes New Year’s resolutions and promises to improve ourselves. Statistics show that the #1 New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. They also show that after one month only 64% of people have stuck to their resolution plans. After six months, only 46% remain strong in their resolve. Why to poor success? Although there may be more than one factor to influence the success and failure of any therapeutic strategy, one of the key causes of those resolutions focused on weight loss is that they are focused on weight, not fat and that they employ diets instead of focusing on the improvement of some very poor lifestyle choices. This year, consider making specific changes in your lifestyle to improve your health, not merely to lose weight.
Let’s look at your lifestyle in a new light—as medicine. Did you know that the first line therapy (the best and first therapy that should be tried to treat a disease) in many cases is lifestyle change? Have you ever considered that in many instances increasing your activity level and eating healthier can prevent the need for medications?
Lifestyle changes are considered first line therapy for the following medical conditions:
High blood pressure
Type 2 Diabetes
Conditions related to aging
In addition to the conditions listed above, lifestyle changes are imp...