HPC is Going Red for Heart Month

Post by Kelly Kreisler, MD, MPH, FAAP, Chief Health Officer and Pediatrician

HPC is Going Red for Heart MonthEach year in February, the United States recognizes American Heart Month, a time when the nation spotlights heart disease. Health Partnership Clinic (HPC) is proudly participating in Heart Month. On Friday Feb. 2 clinic staff are wearing red to bring awareness to the disease that is the number one killer of Americans. Heart health educational information will also be available in the clinic waiting rooms.

Heart Disease continues to be the leading cause of death for men and women of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) one person dies every 33 seconds in the United States from Cardiovascular Disease.

There are several risk factors for heart disease including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. In addition, several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at higher risk for developing heart disease including diabetes, being overweight or obese, an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use.

Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease

The good news is that you can reduce your risk of heart disease by making healthy choices and managing your health conditions.

There are several healthy changes that you can make to protect your heart and lower your risk of developing heart disease.

  • Choose healthy foods and drinks.

Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating foods high in fiber and low in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol can help prevent high cholesterol. Limiting salt in your diet can lower blood pressure. Limiting sugar in your diet can lower your blood sugar level to prevent or help control diabetes. Do not drink too much alcohol which can raise your blood pressure.

  • Keep a healthy weight.

People who are overweight or obese have a higher risk for heart disease. Carrying extra weight can put extra stress on the heart and blood vessels.

  • Get regular physical activity.

Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The Surgeon General recommends that adults get two hours and thirty minutes a week of moderate intensity exercise. Children and adolescents should get one hour of physical activity every day.

  • Don’t smoke.

Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk of heart disease. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you quit.

It is also important to take charge of your medical conditions. Check your cholesterol, control your blood pressure, manage your diabetes, take your medications as directed and work with your health care team to prevent or treat the medical conditions that lead to heart disease.

Tips to Avoid Flu, Covid-19 and the Common Cold

Inessa SergeyevaBy: Inessa Sergeyeva, APRN MSN, ANP-BC, FNP-BC, Family Nurse Practitioner

As we head into Fall the common cold, flu, and Covid-19 will return to disrupt your usual routine and keep you from doing the things you enjoy. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) many of the symptoms of the common cold, flu and COVID-19 overlap, so it may be difficult to determine what you have. Overlapping symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and body aches.

The good news is there is rapid and laboratory testing available for both flu and COVID-19, and HPC offers flu and COVID-19 testing at all of our clinic locations. It is best to call the clinic so that we can offer the safest way to complete testing.

Please keep in mind that you can dramatically lower your risk of getting the flu and COVID-19 by getting vaccinated. Flu vaccines are 40-60 percent effective, and COVID-19 vaccines are 70-95 percent effective in preventing transmission and illness. Flu vaccination is recommended for children and adults six months of age and older. COVID -19 vaccination is recommended for children and adults 12 years of age and older.

If you do still get the flu or COVID-19 after vaccination, you are less likely to get very sick or die. Getting vaccinated against flu and COVID-19 also helps protect the people around you who are at high risk, such as older adults, people with medical conditions and pregnant women. In addition, there are effective FDA approved anti-viral medications available by prescription that help reduce the duration and severity of illness for COVID-19 and flu.

Here are some simple healthy habits you can follow to lower your chance of getting a cold, flu or COVID-19:

  • Tips to Avoid Flu, Covid-19 and the Common ColdStay home if you are sick.
  • Isolate from others in your home as much as possible.
  • Cover your face with a cloth or other mask when you are unable to maintain a safe physical distance from others (at least six feet) especially when inside.
  • Wash your hands (this is best) or use a hand sanitizer that is at least 70 percent alcohol after touching hard surfaces or other people, before eating, and after using the restroom.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes as it is easier for viruses to spread this way.
  • Clean the hard surfaces in your home frequently, especially countertops, door handles and tables.
  • Keep your immune system in great shape by eating a plant rich diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep.
  • Vaccinate prior to peak flu and COVID-19 season.

COVID-19 and flu vaccination and testing are offered at HPC, contact us at 913-648-2266 to schedule your appointment.

Sleep and Organization Key to Preparing for a New School Year

Kelly KreislerBy Kelly D. Kreisler, MD, MPH, FAAP, Pediatrician and Chief Health Officer for Health Partnership Clinic

The start of the new school year is just around the corner. Preparing for back to school is key to a successful transition. Two key components are sleep and organization.

Sleep

Getting enough sleep is an important foundation of physical and mental health and school success. Children and caregivers are often surprised by the amount of sleep children need at every age. Children three to five years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours. Children six to 12 years of age should sleep nine to 12 hours per 24 hours. Teenagers should sleep eight to 10 hours per 24 hours.

When deciding on a bedtime, start with the time the child needs to be at school, then determine how much time is needed to get ready, and finally look at the recommended amount of sleep for your child’s age. To move from summer bedtime to school year bedtime, gradually move bedtime earlier by 30 minutes every week. No phones, tablets, or TV in the bedroom is an essential rule for quality sleep.

Organization

Sleep and organization key to preparing for a new school yearDepending on the age of your child, write down or have them write down everything they have to do to get ready for school. Be very detailed. Have them practice doing these things and time them to make it a game.

To avoid morning stress, do as much as possible the night before. Make lunches, lay out clothes and place homework and school supplies by the door. Create a checklist that includes visual aids for children with special needs like anxiety, ADHD and autism. Involving your child in the process ahead of time will help avoid frustration. Don’t forget to get all of your child’s prescriptions refilled, vaccines and a school physical completed to be prepared for a successful school year.

Sleep and organization key to preparing for a new school yearHealth Partnership Clinic offers back-to-school and sports physicals at all our clinic sites, including Olathe, Shawnee Mission, Paola and Ottawa. At the Olathe site, we offer a Walk-In Pediatric Clinic, Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. to Noon.

To schedule an appointment at one of our sites, call 913-648-2266.

In addition, this summer, the clinic is offering school and sports physicals and well child checkups, including immunizations, vision, hearing and dental screenings, fluoride treatments and behavioral health visits, if needed, to children and adolescents attending Shawnee Mission School District on Thursday, Aug. 3 and 10 at the Shawnee Mission West High School in Overland Park, Kan. We are also accepting appointments for Saturday, Aug. 12, which is Children’s Health Day in celebration of Community Care Clinic Month, at the Olathe clinic located at 407 S. Clairborne Rd., Olathe, Kan.

To make an appointment, call 913-648-2266.

Summer Back to School Events (PDF)

References

https://aasm.org/resources/pdf/pediatricsleepdurationconsensus.pdf

Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month

Whitney VenegoniBy: Whitney Venegoni, APRN, FNP-C, Family Nurse Practitioner

May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.

For many, May will be when symptoms are the most severe, so it is a great time to shed light on both. Allergies and asthma have a wide range of symptoms and severity, and they are experienced differently by every patient. They cannot be cured, but they can be controlled by avoiding triggers and using appropriate medications. Over 100 million Americans experience allergies each year, affecting as many as 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children. Over 25 million Americans have asthma. In Kansas, a higher percentage of our population suffers from asthma compared to the rest of the US.

Allergy symptoms can be intermittent with symptoms only half of the time or for less than four weeks total. Other patients will experience symptoms more frequently, sometimes impairing sleep or daily activities. In the most severe cases symptoms are life threatening. No matter the frequency allergic reactions happen when our immune systems have an abnormal response to something we are exposed to.

Many common triggers include pollen, dust, animal dander, mold, food, insect stings and certain medications. For some symptoms are a runny nose and sneezing during springtime. We use allergy medications to help decrease the response our body has to these triggers and alleviate symptoms. For others exposure to certain allergens will cause a life-threatening reaction. Symptoms for these patients can include flushed skin, an itchy feeling in the mouth, difficulty breathing or speaking, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and vomiting or diarrhea.  This requires an injectable, life-saving medication as soon as they realize they’ve been exposed along with emergency evaluation.

Allergies and asthma are related, and some patients suffer from both.

Allergy and Asthma Awareness MonthAsthma is more likely in people who have allergies. Family history of asthma, low birth weight, prematurity, exposure to tobacco smoke and pollutants, respiratory infections, and being overweight increase the risk of developing asthma.  Much like allergies, asthma symptoms also tend to start after a trigger. These triggers can also include pollen, dust, and mold but expand into other things like tobacco smoke, perfumes, and other irritants.  Some patients can experience symptoms when they begin to exercise. The trigger causes inflammation and irritation in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. This is called and “asthma attack.” Patients can feel short of breath and start to cough or wheeze.

Many people describe the feeling as a tightness in the chest, restriction, or weight on their chest. These symptoms can sometimes resolve if the patient can get away from the trigger, but more often it requires the use of medications. Inhalers are most often used to treat asthma and can be used to either help prevent symptoms or to manage them once they begin.  Similar to allergies, symptoms can be mild and intermittent, persistent, or life threatening.

Allergy and Asthma Awareness MonthAllergies and asthma can both be managed with the help of your primary care provider. It is important to focus on awareness of these diagnoses so all patients experiencing symptoms know that help is available. In America, complications and death associated with asthma are higher in patients experiencing poverty and with less access to education and health care. For some, there is also stigma associated with inhaler use and seeking treatment.

For patients suffering from symptoms, treatment is so important. If you think you might be suffering from allergies or asthma, contact your healthcare provider to discuss. You can make an appointment at Health Partnership Clinic by calling 913-648-2266.

For additional information, visit Allergy and Asthma Federation of America at aafa.org.

HPC kicks off Patient Safety Awareness Week, March 12-18, 2023

By Lee Champion, MSN, FCN, RN, Clinic Director/Risk and Compliance Officer at Health Partnership Clinic

The COVID-19 pandemic and increases in flu and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV cases continue to remind us of the importance of patient safety in everything we do at Health Partnership Clinic. During March 12-18, we celebrate Patient Safety Awareness Week. Although patient safety is an integral part of our processes and protocols, March is dedicated to building awareness among our staff and patients. Bottom line, safety is everyone’s responsibility.

To learn more, watch our newest video: 

Improving Patient Safety Begins With You

Here are a few steps to ensure your safety when visiting the clinic:

  • Washing HandsMost importantly, wash your hands on a regular basis (before eating, after eating, after using the restroom, etc.) and sneeze in your arms not in your hands.
  • Everyone working at or visiting our clinics must wear masks while on campus. Masks work to decrease the droplets that can carry COVID-19 and other germs.
  • Chairs are spaced apart in our lobby areas to provide less contact between patients and visitors.
  • We offer telemedicine visits if you would prefer to stay at home for your visit. If you are sick with COVID-19, a telemedicine visit allows you to discuss your care with a provider.
  • Dividers have been installed in our Olathe Pediatric lobby to separate patients who are sick from patients who have appointments for physicals and preventative care.
  • Protective MaskWe are participating in the Federal program to distribute COVID-19 Home Testing Kits. You can pick up kits at our clinic locations by asking the front desk. Limit two per household member.
  • We also continue to offer COVID vaccines on the second Friday of the month in Olathe. To schedule, call 913-648-2266.
  • Keep an eye on your children at all times. Running and playing are not permitted in the clinic.

For updates on how we are addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit us  at https://hpcks.org/coronavirus.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Thao LeBy Thao Lee, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Suicide is among the leading causes of death in the Unites States. For individuals with substance use disorders, the risk for suicide is 10-14 times greater compared to the general population.

Studies have demonstrated a relationship between substance misuse and suicide, making it crucial to be able to recognize the warning signs of substance misuse and signs of suicide.

To learn more about suicide and how to prevent it, watch our video:

Lifespan Vaccines: Are You Up To Date?

Rachel AcunaBy Rachel Acuna, RN, Clinic/Vaccine Outreach Nurse

August is National Immunization Awareness Week which is a great time to put immunizations on the top of your list. At Health Partnership Clinic, we are now offering No Cost Adult Immunizations to Sliding Fee Eligible patients and to those experiencing homelessness. If you are not a patient, please call 913-648-2266 to establish care with one of our providers. Current patients may speak with their provider or call the clinic for a nurse appointment.

Adult Vaccination

Since the development of the first vaccine by Edward Jenner in 1796, we have seen tremendous progress in our ability to prevent deadly childhood infections. But did you know we also need vaccinations as adults?

In addition to an annual vaccination for influenza, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends adults be up to date on MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), Hepatitis A & B, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, diphtheria, varicella (chickenpox and shingles), pneumonia and even meningitis.

  • Vaccination against hepatitis B can help prevent the development of liver cancer and protect you from hepatitis D.
  • Complications from adult cases of chickenpox can include; pneumonia, skin infections, encephalitis and joint inflammation.
  • Measles can lead to pneumonia, ear infections and brain damage.

Among other things, vaccines help to:

  • Reduce healthcare burdens and costs.
  • Prevent the development of antibiotic resistance by reducing the need for their use.
  • Extend life expectancy.
  • Make it safe to travel to different parts of the world.
  • Promote economic growth.

Adult VaccinationsEveryone should get a flu vaccine every year before the end of October, if possible. But you can get one at anytime during flu season.

Adults need a Td (tetanus/diphtheria) or Tdap (tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis) vaccine every ten years.

Healthy adults 50 years and older should get shingles vaccine.

Adults 65 years or older need one dose of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine followed by one dose of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine.

Adults younger than 65 years who have certain health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or HIV should also get one or both of these vaccines.

Adults may need other vaccines based on health conditions, job, lifestyle, or travel habits. You should talk to your provider for recommendations about what you might need to be up to date.

To recap, here is a list of recommended Adult Vaccines

• Chickenpox (Varicella)
• Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-everyone through 26 years
• Influenza (flu)
• Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
• Pneumococcal (pneumonia)
• Shingles (Zoster)-50 years and up
• Tdap (tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis)
• Td (tetanus/diphtheria)-every 10 years
• Hepatitis B

Take Control of Your Health – Medication Adherence

By Araceli Coria RN, BSN, Clinic Nurse at Health Partnership Clinic

What is medication adherence and why is it important?

Araceli CoriaThe Federal Drug Administration defines medication adherence as “the extent to which patients take medication as prescribed by their health care provider.” Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approximately 20 percent of new medications are not filled and of those 80 percent that are, only half are taken as prescribed. Medication adherence is important for providers to be able to make the best-informed decisions in your plan of care.

In our chronic disease nurse visits at Health Partnership Clinic (HPC), I have had the opportunity to witness patients take charge of their health while making leaps of improvement in their blood pressure and blood glucose control. We can attribute this improvement to their dedication in adhering to medication recommendations, checking their blood pressure and/or their blood glucose routinely and following up with their providers. This allows them to witness the improvement in their readings from home in real time and with provider feedback. Studies have shown providing tools for patients to monitor themselves at home provides a sense of control of their health and leads to improved adherence and better patient outcomes.

So, what does this have to do with medication adherence?

Medication adherence can be intentional or unintentional and while patients may not choose to be non-adherent the consequences of not taking important medications are still the same. Your health is important to HPC, and we can work as a team to help you overcome those obstacles keeping you from taking control of your health.

What is keeping you from taking your medications as prescribed?

Medication AdherenceIs it cost? Not knowing what to take or when? Are you afraid of side effects? Bring these questions and concerns regarding medications to your nurse or provider. Remember, you are the most important member of your healthcare team.

Your provider, nurse and medical assistant have a responsibility to help you understand what your plan of care is, what your instructions are and vital information you need to know. With an established treatment plan, you are likely to have less doctor’s visits, reduced risk of hospitalizations, improved outcomes and overall, less healthcare cost.

What will my provider do to help me?

Use your healthcare provider’s resources and if remembering to take your medications is your final obstacle, here are some tips for remembering to take your scheduled medications.

  • Use your smart phone by setting reminders and alarms
  • Use weekly pill boxes/organizers
  • Place your medication bottles by your bathroom or kitchen sink so you see your medications during your morning routine.

References:

https://www.fda.gov/drugs/fda-drug-info-rounds-video/transcript-medication-adherence

Get Screened! Sixty Percent of colon cancer deaths could be prevented with screening.

Jennifer MillerBy Jennifer Miller, FNP-BC, Family Nurse Practitioner at Health Partnership Clinic

Colorectal cancer screening and early detection saves lives.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and as a community health center, Health Partnership Clinic (HPC) is committed to preventative health and educating the communities we serve. It is an excellent time to learn more about colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) and how it can be prevented or best treated.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States for both men and women combined. This year, approximately 140,000 new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed and 56,000 people will die from the disease. But colorectal cancer is a disease that can be prevented through regular screenings, a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Early Detection Key

Colorectal Cancer AwarenessColorectal cancer can be caught early thanks to screening options that exist. Guidelines set by the U.S. Preventive Services assist in deciding how often a person should be screened. I know talking about poop or stool sounds unpleasant. But when colon cancer is caught early, it has a 90 percent survival rate per the American Cancer Society (ACS). Catching polyps before they turn into cancer is the goal. The ACS also reports that it can take 10-15 years for a polyp to turn into cancer, so this is when it needs to be caught. The Society has put together Colorectal Facts and Figures and reports that men are 30 percent more likely to get colorectal cancer.

Risk Factors

The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age. All men and women aged 50 and older are at risk for developing colorectal cancer and should be screened. Some people are at a higher risk and should be screened at an age younger than 45, including those with a personal or family history of inflammatory bowel disease; colorectal cancer or polyps; or ovarian, endometrial or breast cancer.

Family history of colon cancer is always a big concern. Diet can be another risk. Eating a lot of red meat such as beef, pork, or lamb, processed foods and luncheon meats such as hot dogs, bologna, turkey, ham and other prepackaged foods are associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. Increasing fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, barley, popcorn and other whole grains, can help reduce your risk.

HPC’s approach to screening

Here at HPC, we take it seriously. If you are 50 years old or older, one of the first questions your medical assistant will ask is when your last colorectal cancer screening was. If you are due for one, you will be handed a Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) kit. FIT is the name given to the health screening test that can identify signs of bowel cancer. It can indicate the presence of cancerous or precancerous growths in the bowel by simply identifying blood in your stool that might not be visible to the naked eye. It is an easy test that you do in the privacy of your own home.

You might ask yourself, how accurate is a FIT test for bowel cancer? According to studies undertaken by the National Institutes of Health, FIT tests are overall highly accurate – this is simply due to them being both highly sensitive and highly specific.

Ways to Catch Colorectal Cancer Early

Current screening methods include:

  • FIT should be done yearly. The test looks for hidden blood and DNA in the stool. Blood in the stool may indicate colon cancer.
  • CT Colonography is another option. This is a low-dose radiation CT scan of the colon. It helps to find changes to the colon walls. If the test is normal, the current recommendation is to do this test every five years.
  • A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a visual examination of the rectum and lower portion of the colon, performed in a doctor’s office and should be repeated every five years. This test is done with light anesthesia.
  • The classic colonoscopy tells the most. It is a visual examination of the entire colon which allows for specimens of the abnormal-appearing polyps or precancerous cells to be removed and tested. It goes further into the colon, but the good news is this test is done under sedation.

Both the flex sig and the colonoscopy require a bowel cleanout done by drinking a solution that causes diarrhea until just water comes out of the rectum. If the results of a colonoscopy are normal, then it only must be repeated every ten years. A digital exam may also be done. Not fun, but it is worth it to catch colon cancer early.

Ways to lower your risk

Here are some ways to lower your risk of colorectal cancer:

  1. Get regular colorectal cancer screenings after age 50. Between 80-90 percent of colorectal cancer patients are restored to normal health if their cancer is detected and treated in the earliest stages.
  2. Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet.
  3. If you use alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  4. If you use tobacco, quit. If you don’t use tobacco, don’t start. Alcohol and tobacco in combination are linked to colorectal cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers.
  5. Exercise for at least 20 minutes three to four days each week. Moderate exercise such as walking, gardening or climbing steps may help.

Can colorectal cancer be cured?

Since there are very few symptoms associated with colorectal cancer, regular screening is essential. Screening is beneficial for two main reasons: colorectal cancer is preventable if polyps that lead to the cancer are detected and removed, and it is curable if the cancer is detected in its early stages.

If detected, colorectal cancer requires surgery in nearly all cases for complete cure, sometimes in conjunction with radiation and chemotherapy. Between 80 to 90 percent of patients are restored to normal health if the cancer is detected and treated in the earliest stages. However, the cure rate drops to 50 percent or less when diagnosed in the later stages.

Please, feel free to share your concerns and questions with your provider. Trust me, no question is “too stupid.” We have heard it all and if we do not know the answer, we often can get you the answers.

To schedule an appointment with me, or one of my colleagues, call 913-648-2266.

Resources:

HPC providers partner with patients to manage chronic diseases.

By Catherine Rice, Vice President of Marketing/Outreach

Chronic Disease

Chronic DiseasesAbout 24 percent of our medical patients at Health Partnership Clinic have one or more chronic diseases such as diabetes, depression and hypertension. Our providers and support staff partner with these patients to help manage their disease to ensure optimal outcomes.

This month, Family Nurse Practitioner Maureen Caro, FNP-BC, shares important insights about what chronic disease is and how the clinic approaches chronic disease management.

To learn more, click here.

Here at Health Partnership, we are dedicated in managing acute and chronic diseases to help patients live happier, healthier lives and save healthcare dollars.

Chronic Diseases Chronic Diseases