Smoking Kills

Smoking has a long, negative history in the healthcare field because of the harmful side effects that come with it. The thing is, most people who smoke cigarettes actually want to stop. A 2011 study showed that 7 out of 10 active smokers wanted to quit. However, this task is not as easy as it sounds. It becomes an ingrained habit that is extremely difficult to change without treatment. With TV commercials, other marketing and education, people are more aware than ever about the negative long term effects of smoking. Pennsylvania has a higher rate than most other states when it comes to cigarette use. Here are a few statistics related to smoking cigarettes:

  • In 2014, nearly 17 of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older (16.8%) currently smoked cigarettes. This means an estimated 40 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes.
  • Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or 1 of every 5 deaths.
  • More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.
  • Current smoking has declined from nearly 21 of every 100 adults (20.9%) in 2005 to nearly 17 of every 100 adults (16.8%) in 2014

Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

  • Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States. This is nearly one in five deaths.
  • Smoking causes more deaths each year than the following causes combined:
    • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
    • Illegal drug use
    • Alcohol use
    • Motor vehicle injuries
    • Firearm-related incidents
  • More than 10 times as many U.S. citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the United States during its history.
  • Smoking causes about 90% (or 9 out of 10) of all lung cancer deaths in men and women. More women die from lung cancer each year than from breast cancer.
  • About 80% (or 8 out of 10) of all deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are caused by smoking.
  • Cigarette smoking increases risk for death from all causes in men and women.

There are plenty of places to turn to for help with quitting. At MacDonald’s Pharmacy, we want to help provide these resources and tool to our patients.  If you have any questions about smoking cessation or health related concerns, please feel free to talk to our pharmacists. Lifestyle modifications are not easy and you will need a support team to help you stick to your goals. Making the decision to quit is the first step and we can help show you the next steps to take in stopping for good.

Skip the Sunbed

Summer is coming to an end, and our tans will soon begin to fade as well. You may want to turn to a sunbed to keep your tan lasting all year long, but is it really worth it? Well, research shows that it is not. Using a sun bed is one of the easiest ways to get and keep a tan, but it’s also one of the most dangerous ways. We can’t ignore the long-term health risks associated with sunbeds just for the short-term gain of having a tan.

“Modern sunbeds work by exposing the user to UV radiation which can be the equivalent of Mediterranean sunlight at midday in August,” says Dr. Miriam McCarthy, Consultant at the Public Health Agency (PHA). Using a sunbed once a month or more increases your risk of developing skin cancer, and if you use them before the age of 35, you significantly increase your risk of developing melanoma.

Binge sessions in tanning salons by young people can lead to:

  • Cancer
  • Premature aging
  • Eye damage

Marbeth Ferguson, the Skin Cancer Prevention Coordinator at Cancer Focus NI said that skin cancer diagnoses have increased by almost 20%. People are ignoring the risks of using sunbeds, but Ferguson advises that no one should be using them.

If you have a concern about skin cancer, such as having a mole that’s changed in size, shape or color, you should definitely talk to your doctor right away. Early detection of cancer is vital and you should regularly be checking your skin.

Regularly Check Your Blood Pressure

In today’s digital age, there are so many wearable fitness gadgets. These can assist you in getting an overview of your health from the comfort of your own home. They can allow you to check your blood pressure, oxygen and weight. These are all things help you to maintain a healthy weight. Most of these fitness gadgets are not covered by insurance, but are definitely worth the cost.

The American Heart Association recommends for anyone with hypertension (high blood pressure) to monitor their blood pressure at home regularly. This is an important part of managing hypertension. Monitoring it from home can help you keep tabs on it from a familiar setting, make sure your medication is working and alert you and your doctors to potential health complications.

Blood pressure monitors are available at many different places and without a prescription. So, home monitoring is an easy step that you can take. Before getting started, you should know the right technique and find a good monitor.

So, why do you need to monitor at home?

  • It can help to make an early diagnosis of high blood pressure. If you have pre-hypertension, diabetes or kidney problems, home blood pressure monitoring can help diagnose high blood pressure earlier.
  • It can help people of all ages check their condition. The only way to know whether your lifestyle changes or medications are working is to regularly monitor!
  • It results in better blood pressure control.
  • It reduces overall health care costs, lowers your travel expenses and saves in lost wages.

Stop by MacDonald’s Pharmacy today to get more information on monitoring at home! We can help you figure out the best ways to regularly keep up with your blood pressure at home.

Keeping Your Knees Healthy

Men, women and children are all equally subject to knee problems. Over exercising, obesity or old age can cause them. It is important to keep them healthy and if you do suffer from knee-related issues, it is crucial to find the right knee brace to protect yourself because your knees are an important part of the way you walk.

What are knee braces?

Knee braces are supports that you wear for a painful or injured knee. Some people use them to simply prevent an injury during sports. A combination of metal, foam, plastic, elastic material and straps makes these braces.

Do knee braces work?

Braces help some people more than others. In general, functional braces, rehabilitative braces and unloader braces are the most effective. However, everyone is different. There’s no better way to know what brace is right for you than consulting with your doctor.

There are four kinds of knee braces:

  • Prophylactic: Designed to protect knees from injuries during contact sports (football, rugby, etc.)
  • Functional: Give support to knees that have already been injured.
  • Rehabilitative: These limit harmful knee movement while a knee is healing after an injury or surgery.
  • Unloader/Off-loader: Designed to provide relief to people who have arthritis in their knee.

How do I get a knee brace?

Pharmacies or medical supply stores often carry simple knee sleeves or supports and are probably your best bet for proper protection. Some people order knee braces off the internet, however, it is always wise to try on a brace before purchase. Talk to your doctor to find out different knee braces and how they can help you.

How do I use a knee brace?

A knee brace should be worn during all activities that put you at risk of injury to your knee in order to work well. Don’t forget to warm up properly before beginning any athletic activity.

How do I care for my knee brace?

Regular cleaning with soap and water is good for the brace fabric. A worn-out brace should be replaced for maximum benefit. More durable materials may cost more, but the brace will be more secure and last much longer.

At MacDonald’s Pharmacy, we can help you find the perfect knee brace. Let us know what your concerns are so we can help you pick the right product.  Keep in mind that if you want your item to be submitted to your insurance, you must have a valid prescription with a diagnosis code for fast and accurate processing.

Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes affects 26 million Americans, or eight percent of the population, with about 5.7 million undiagnosed people. Cases are projected to double, even triple, by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

November is Diabetes Awareness Month!

Here are a few of the recent statistics on diabetes:

  • Nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.
  • Another 86 million Americans have diabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of it.
  • The American Diabetes Association estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $245 billion.
  • 1 in 5 health care dollars is spent caring for people with diabetes.
  • 1 in 10 health care dollars is spent treating it and its complications.

Additionally, if a beneficiary has Medicare Part B and has diabetes, here are the guidelines set up by Medicare to cover certain supplies.

These supplies include:

  • Blood glucose self-testing equipment and supplies
  • Therapeutic shoes and inserts
  • Insulin pumps and the insulin used in the pumps

Blood Glucose Self-Testing Equipment and Supplies

Blood glucose self-testing equipment and supplies are covered for all people with Medicare Part B who have diabetes. This includes those who use insulin and those who do not use insulin. Also, these supplies include:

  • Blood glucose monitors
  • Blood glucose test strips
  • Lancet devices and lancets
  • Glucose control solutions for checking the accuracy of testing equipment and test strips.

Medicare Part B covers the same type of blood glucose testing supplies for people, whether or not they use insulin. However, covered supplies varies.

If the beneficiary:

  • Uses insulin, they may be able to get up to 100 test strips and lancets every month, and 1 lancet device every 6 months.
  • Does not use insulin, they may be able to get 100 test strips and lancets every 3 months, and 1 lancet device every 6 months.

MacDonald’s Pharmacy participates with Medicare part B, there are certain guidelines we have to follow in order to get your diabetic supplies from us. So, call if you have any questions or if you need assistance we will be happy to help.

Conquer the Common Cold!

The most important thing to remember about the common cold, or any sickness for that matter, is this: PREVENTION IS KEY!

  • Avoid touching your face with your hands, especially after touching doorknobs, sink/toilet handles, phones, etc.
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly and often – sing the birthday song. Hand sanitizer doesn’t help prevent the spread of germs as well as washing your hands carefully.
  • Disinfect commonly used surfaces (handles, phones, etc.)
  • Make sure you exercise, get enough sleep and stick to a healthy diet to support a strong immune system.

How You Can Self Diagnose the Common Cold:

  • A cold usually begins with a sore throat. This can then be followed by a runny nose, cough, congestion, sneezing and oftentimes fatigue.
  • You will begin showing signs of a cold over the course of 24-48 hours, while the flu sets in abruptly and without warning.
  • With a cold, a fever with body aches are rare. A fever usually indicates the flu or a different infection.

Treatment to Cure the Common Cold:

  • Time is the only cure for a cold. However, if symptoms last longer than 7-10 days, contact your physician immediately.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (water, juice).
  • Get an ample amount of sleep.
  • Over-the-counter cold medicines are helpful in relieving symptoms.
  • Ask your pharmacist about herbal remedies: Echinacea, Zinc, and Vitamin C.