capsules on medication plan schedule list or calendar

One recommendation that creates a more effective medical treatment is medication compliance. The importance of medication compliance is significant for several reasons.

 

Get the Most Efficacy

For starters, your medical team will suggest you follow any medication’s recommended dosage to get the most efficacy out of your treatment. Doctors understand that a drug will be the most beneficial at a certain dosage and frequency. Therefore, your treatment plan should yield positive results if you follow the prescription.

 

“I Feel Fine Now” May Lead to False Confidence

Unfortunately, you may fall into the trap of thinking, “I feel fine now, so I don’t have to take my medication today.” This can be problematic for you and your medical treatment plan.

The reason you’re feeling healthy is indication the medication is working. Therefore, we suggest you follow the recommended scheduled dosage to continue feeling fine. If you miss several days or weeks, you can increase the risk of feeling unwell.

happy patient

 

Potential Major Consequence

For biologic therapy, it is especially important to stay on track with your treatment plan to not only continue feeling well, but also, to not develop antibodies against the medication. For example, biologics like Remicade or Stelara, which are immunosuppressive drugs used for patients with Crohn’s disease, cannot ever be used again if your body develops antibodies against the drugs. Skipping or delaying doses increases the risk of antibody formation to the medication.

The importance of medication compliance cannot be stressed enough. We recommend you follow the prescribed dosage of any drug to ensure your treatment plan’s efficacy, to feel your best, and for biologic therapy, decrease the risk of antibody formation.

middle aged woman suffering from pain in leg at home

If you have osteoporosis, you may be looking for options to strengthen your bone density. Your medical team may have recommended that you begin weightlifting to combat the disease. But, do weight-bearing exercises really make a difference on osteoporosis?

 

What is Osteoporosis—and What Causes It?

According to the Mayo Clinic, osteoporosis is a decrease in bone density, which can lead to increased fractures—especially in the hip, wrist, or spine. Unfortunately, these fractures are extremely painful and can create complications like arthritis, bone infection, mobility issues, or nerve or blood vessel damage.

People that are most at-risk for osteoporosis are post-menopausal women because they have a decrease in estrogen, which can decrease bone density. There are certain risk factors for osteoporosis, such as sex, age, race, family history, physique, hormone levels, diet, certain medications, certain medical conditions, and lifestyle choices.

 

Treatment Methods

sportive middle aged woman holding dumbbells sitting on mat home exercises

There are some prescription medications to help you combat osteoporosis. At Specialty Infusion Centers, we administer Evenity, Prolia, and Reclast for osteoporosis.

Which medication is best for you is up to you and your doctor, but we do suggest you create a routine of weight-bearing exercises to help increase your bone density naturally. Weightlifting can help you prevent bone density loss while rebuilding bone.

 
Some exercises that we recommend:

  • Jumping rope: According to Time, jumping rope causes constant impact on your bones when your feet hit the ground, so it helps create bone density.
  • Weight lifting: The Mayo Clinic argues that lifting weights, similar to jumping rope, creates stress on the bones, which increases bone strength.

 
Interestingly, the Journal of Osteoporosis featured a study that showed the bone mineral density (the measurement of how much minerals are in the bone) in female adolescent tennis players increased not only in their tennis arm, but also their femoral neck (the most common location for a hip fracture). Therefore, consistent exercise can be an effective method to treat osteoporosis. Please consult with your doctor before starting an exercise regimen.

 

Get Bone Density Scans

It is recommended to get screening bone density scans—also known as a DEXA scan, bone mineral density test, or dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry—once you turn 65 for women and 70 for men with no risk factors. Then, you should get these scans every two years after that. If you have risk factors for osteoporosis, it is recommended that you get DEXA scans sooner.

So, do weight bearing exercises really make a difference on osteoporosis? Yes, and Specialty Infusion Centers recommends using it as an integral part of your treatment plan.

 
Woman getting vaccine

 
A lot of patients ask, “Should I get my flu shot?” The answer is a resounding yes. And here’s why getting the flu shot is important than ever—especially because of COVID-19.

 

Why It’s More Important Than Ever to Get the Flu Shot

There are several reasons why we recommend you get a flu shot. First, the flu vaccine protects against the virus in most cases. Not only does it help you avoid getting sick, but it also prevents others from contracting the flu by decreasing the spread of the virus to others.

Also, although the flu shot won’t prevent you from contracting COVID-19, it can help aid doctors in differentiating between these two viruses that present similar symptoms—fever, sore throat, cough, and fatigue.

Keep in mind, those under six months of age or a person with a severe allergy to the vaccine or its ingredient, should not get the flu vaccine.

 

When Should You Get the Flu Shot?

 

Dr Jake Deutsche

Generally, the influenza virus starts circulating in October, and it spreads more as winter progresses. The CDC highly recommends that younger, healthier people get flu shots in September. The Founder and Clinical Director of Cure Urgent Care and Specialty Infusion Centers, Dr. Jake Deutsch explains in Well + Good, “The earlier you get the flu shot, the more likely you’re going to have immunity. It can take four to six weeks for the body to build a full immune response to the flu vaccine, so that puts you in a better standing to prevent the flu.”

Remember, some experts warn that if you wait too long to get the shot, there can be vaccine shortages this year due to an overwhelming demand because of COVID-19.

 

Should People with Chronic Illnesses and Autoimmune Diseases Get the Flu Shot?

We suggest that if you have a chronic illness and/or autoimmune disease to get the flu vaccine yearly. Especially because the flu can exacerbate or flare your chronic illness. If you get the flu shot, the vaccine may help prevent the flu, thus preventing a flare-up. Additionally, if you’re receiving immunosuppressants, it could make you more susceptible to infections, including the flu.

The flu is one of the most vaccine-preventable infections and the flu shot is recommended by the American College of Gastroenterology and American Academy of Neurology, among many other agencies, for those with autoimmune disease.

We often hear that people are hesitant to get the flu shot because it makes them sick. However, there is a difference between being sick and feeling under the weather. After receiving a flu shot, it’s normal to feel some side effects. This is our system mounting an immune response and creating antibodies that will combat the flu if exposed. Sometimes, the vaccine causes you to feel less than 100 percent, but this does not mean you’re sick.

We highly recommend that you get your flu shot this year, especially in light of COVID-19.

 
Doctor and Patient discussing

 
After deciding with your doctor to start infusion therapy, the next important choice is which site should you choose: a hospital or alternate site of care? There are several benefits to choosing an alternate site of care.

 

A Complicated Process Simplified

Infusion therapy and benefits investigations can be a challenging process to navigate. At Specialty Infusion Centers, we’ve made it our mission to deliver the highest quality clinical care to our patients and guide them through the burdensome prior authorization billing process. We advocate on your behalf with your insurance company, and have some of the quickest turnaround times so as not to delay your treatment. We understand battling chronic illness can be stressful, so our goal is to take some of that stress away so you can focus on healing.

 

Cost-Effective Choice

 
Lady getting IV Infusion

 
According to Crain’s Detroit Business, alternate site of care centers can save patients between 30-50% compared to in-hospital treatment. Unfortunately, hospitals add on administrative fees for patients, which significantly increases costs.

In addition to accepting all major insurances, we have some of the lowest out-of-pocket patient costs by leveraging financial assistance programs and disease-specific foundations.

 

A World-Class Treatment Experience

 
Specialty Infusion Center

 
Specialty Infusion Centers provides flexible scheduling to help offer you a world-class treatment experience in state-of-the-art suites. We’re open seven days a week and provide evening hours. In other words, we make it work for you. On the other hand, hospitals book up weeks in advance, so rescheduling your appointment may not be possible, which can delay your treatment.

During your treatment, we provide free snacks, drinks, Netflix, WiFi, and other amenities to offer you a serene environment. Specialty Infusion Centers limits the number of patients on site at any given time, so you get individualized care in a quiet and relaxing environment.

Finally, our highly skilled clinical team is trained to expertly administer treatment and handle any type of infusion or injection reaction that may arise. We also stay in constant contact with your healthcare team, updating your provider after each infusion and carrying out specific requests, such as lab work.

The benefits of an alternate site of care are clear, and Specialty Infusion Centers is the perfect choice.

Infusion

You may be wondering what’s the difference between an infusion and injection. Here we explain what each one is, and how it may affect you.

 

What’s an Infusion?

An infusion is when fluids, medication, or blood is given through a catheter directly into a vein. A medical professional does this by using a needle to guide the catheter into a vein. The needle is then removed leaving the plastic catheter behind in the vein.

A lot of patients think that there’s a needle in their arm throughout the whole infusion but just the plastic catheter remains.

Please note, Specialty Infusion Centers only administers fluids and medications mixed in fluids.

 

injection

 

What’s an Injection?

An injection refers to the administration of medication using a needle and syringe. For example, if you’ve been given a flu shot or a vaccine, it was an injection.

In fact, there are several types of injections:

  • Intramuscularly- This is when an injection is done in the muscle.
  • Subcutaneously- When an injection is administered into the fatty tissue.
  • Intradermally- This is when injections are given in the top layer of the skin.

 

How are they Different?

The big difference between an infusion and injection is the period of administration. On the one hand, injections are often done within minutes. On the other hand, infusions can take anywhere between 30 minutes to several hours.

At Specialty Infusion Centers, we take pride in making the infusion experience as enjoyable as possible for our patients. We have iPads and flat screens TVs for Netflix for you to pass the time during your infusion. Also, we have snacks and drinks on-site for your enjoyment.

So, if your treatment plan includes infusions, consider your infusion options — like an infusion center compared to home infusion — and Specialty Infusion Centers.

While diet does not cause Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis, certain foods or drinks may exacerbate symptoms.

 

Avoid Your Troublesome Foods

Those with IBD are suggested to remove “trigger” foods one at a time from their diet to see if particular items flare symptoms. However, it is important to note that everyone is different and the foods or drinks that exacerbate symptoms vary from person to person and diets should be personalized.

In any case, here is a list of some troublesome foods:

  • Spicy foods
  • Alcohol
  • High fiber foods
  • Fried foods
  • Raw fruits & vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Beans
  • Coffee
  • Diary products (if lactose intolerant)

Again, no two people are the same, so this list may not be applicable for you.

 

Discover What are Your Trigger Foods

To discover what foods bother you, we recommend doing a trial and error. You should do this by removing a trigger food group for a few days in a row—not just for one day—and taking note of how you feel. It may be helpful to write down or journal your response to removing trigger foods. This way, you can show your dietician or doctor exactly how you felt when a particular item was removed and can help tailor your diet to what works best for you.

When removing trigger food groups from your diet, it is important to remove items one at a time. If you take several out of your diet at the same time and feel better, you won’t be able to decipher which was the culprit for exacerbating your symptoms.

A helpful tool in assessing your diet’s role in IBD is to keep a food journal. Some benefits of food journaling include:

  • Help to remember what you’ve eaten each day
  • Assess response when eliminating trigger foods
  • Tangible items discuss when meeting with Nutritionist or Physician
  • A method of mindful eating
  • Prevent eating out of boredom
  • Track calories

Again, everyone is different. Some people with IBD may not have any foods that cause flare ups while others are affected by certain dishes. Therefore, we suggest that you find a diet that works best for you to prevent you from experiencing IBD symptoms.

A chronic illness diagnosis can cause many disruptions in life: independence, activity level, physical appearance, finances to name a few. The adjustment can be difficult and challenging in many ways, but there are powerful coping tools to provide help with the new journey.

 

Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help

According to the Cleveland Clinic, “up to one-third of individuals with a serious medical condition have symptoms of depression.” You are not alone and there are many resources and outlets available to help, including, but not limited to, some of the below suggestions.

Your loved ones want to help, so it can be productive to be open with how you’re feeling and what you need in the moment. Often times, those closest to you want to help but don’t know how. Open communication can decrease frustration and allow your loved ones to help you in the best way for you.

Accept and feel all of your emotions, even the “negative” ones. Check in with yourself to see how you’re feeling and why and then give yourself permission to sit with those feelings while you process. Be kind and patient with yourself, as there is no rule book or “right way” to cope.

An extremely powerful tool and outlet can be:

  • Counseling
  • Therapy
  • Support groups

Any of these avenues create safe spaces to share and explore how you’re feeling while navigating your chronic illness and creating healthy coping mechanisms. If you’re interested in counseling, Psychology Today can help you find qualified, licensed psychotherapists and mental health counselors.

 

Exercises & Practices

In general, life can feel overwhelming. To add coping with a chronic illness on top of all of other’s life stressors can feel heavy. Adopting some practices throughout the day to slow things down, gain perspective, and prioritize can be helpful.

Meditating is a powerful tool to become more attentive to the present, while becoming mentally clear and emotionally calm. Harvard University discusses the physiological benefits of meditation by activating the parasympathetic nervous system (helps us recover from stress) and quieting the sympathetic nervous system (prepares body to react to stress).

Another tool to cope with chronic illness is to increase physical activity, as permitted. Healthline confirms the release of endorphins or “feel good hormones” after exercise. While dependent on how you feel physically from your chronic illness, even low impact exercises, such as walking or stretching, can make a difference.

Journaling can be another outlet to helping cope with chronic illness. Journaling is a safe space to step back and evaluate your thoughts, emotions, and behavior. According to Psychology Today, journaling facilitates exploring solutions, converts negative energy into positivity and growth, lowers your emotional reactivity to others, helps see other people’s perspective, and makes you feel more humane.

Lastly, a renowned researcher, Dr. Brené Brown says that practicing gratitude makes us “more willing to slow down and really be thankful for the joyful moments.” She goes on to share that people who are the most resilient and “have the capacity to lean fully into joy have one variable in common: they practice gratitude”.

The above are merely suggestions to trial and see what works best for you. Everyone is is different and there is no one-size-fits-all to coping with chronic illness. Be true and kind to yourself and honor whatever it is that you need.

Whether you get infusions every 2 weeks or 6 months, we have a few suggestions to help your treatment go as smoothly as possible.

Before Your Infusion

Be sure to drink plenty of water the day before and the morning of your infusion. According to Hemaware Magazine, “When the body is properly hydrated, veins become more dilated.” Staying hydrated will help your nurse or nurse practitioner nail that IV insertion on the first try.

What You Can Wear

There are a few attire guidelines we recommend:

  • Wear comfortable clothes, since your infusion can take between thirty minutes to six hours.
  • Dress in a short sleeve shirt—or a shirt with sleeves that are easy to roll up—to make IV placement easier.
  • Dress in layers in case you get hot or cold.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 we are no longer able to provide blankets and pillows during treatments. We suggest that you bring your own for maximum comfort.

How to Pass the Time During Your Treatment

Infusions can take a significant amount of time, so we recommend to bring entertainment. Some patients bring books to read, while others watch Netflix on their phones. At Specialty Infusion Centers, we have iPads and flat screens TVs for Netflix.

And while we have snacks and drinks on-site at Specialty Infusion Centers, you may also bring your own food or beverage.

Remember, Specialty Infusion Centers speaks with your insurance company before your appointment to get prior authorization. This way, you can relax during your infusion and feel confident that Specialty Infusion Centers has you covered.

With these recommendations in mind, you can always count on Specialty Infusion Centers for a pleasant and safe experience.

You, the patient, is as vital of a member of your healthcare team as your doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. There are many tools to take control of chronic illness that have always been important, but even more so now. Now is the time to develop and double down on healthy habits to help weather the storm of a pandemic.

green drink

 

Be Proactive

The best tool we recommend to take control of your chronic illness amidst a pandemic is to be proactive.

Staying on top of all aspects of your chronic illness, from contacting your provider to getting your medication, will help set you up for succes. Such as:

  1. Find out in advance if you need more refills or an updated prior authorization to avoid medication delays. It may take longer to get a hold of your provider to send a refill to the pharmacy or get a hold of your insurance for a new prior authorization during a pandemic. Initiate these conversations early so you can get your medication on time.
  2. Schedule your medications to be picked up at the same time to decrease the number of trips to the pharmacy and the need to leave your home.
  3. Contact your insurance company and inquire if a 90 day supply of medication is covered. If so, you can pick up all your meds at once for three months, further decreasing the number of trips to the pharmacy.
  4. Confirm your infusion center’s operating hours and if they are still open. If you decide to move centers, initiate the transfer early to avoid potential delays in treatment.
  5. Stay on your regimen. The regimen decided by you and provider to get you stable will keep you stable. Speak with your doctor about any medication concerns and do not stop a medication without speaking to them first.
  6. Avoid known triggers. Avoiding triggers that exacerbate your chronic illness can help prevent unwanted visits to emergency rooms or urgent cares.

According to Psychology Today, habits take 66 days — not 21 days that is commonly believed — to form. The increased down time during quarantine can help solidify these habits and ensure smooth sailing for dealing with your chronic illness.

Shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing. These are symptoms of asthma that can add an additional layer of difficulty to everyday tasks. From chores around the house to getting in that recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week, how can those with asthma get tasks and workouts accomplished when something as vital as breathing is compromised? Here are ways to be active with asthma.

 

 

Know When to Push Yourself – and When to Pull Back

It can be challenging and frustrating to have the desire to be active but not be able to due to an underlying condition. However, you can still get your body moving.

Being both opportunistic and realistic when programming a workout can be beneficial in determining and meeting fitness goals. Tailoring your workouts based on how you feel each day can help you push yourself on an appropriate level.

On days where symptoms feel at bay are the times to try a more intense workout. However, on days where symptoms are more bothersome, we suggest listening to your body and taking it easy. It could be beneficial to try a more low-impact activity, such as walking or stretching.

While requiring some flexibility with workout planning and compassion for yourself, it is possible to stay active even through the unpredictability of asthma symptoms.

According to the American Lung Association, here are some recommendations for workouts:

  • Include warm-up and cool-down periods in your workout
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a scarf when exercising outdoors in cold temperatures
  • Limit exercise or strenuous activities outdoors when the air quality is unhealthy (orange) and avoid outdoor activities when the air quality is red, purple or maroon.

 

 

You Can Still Be Active — Even During a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges for all aspects of our lives, including exercising. Although people have to social distance, you and your workouts don’t have to stay apart. There are still plenty of ways to still be active.

For example, at-home workouts are a socially distant alternative to help reach your fitness goals and benefit your health. Beachbody and Fitbit Coach are two great options that can assist with exercise anywhere.

 

If you need some extra motivation and connection, workouts can still be done with friends—virtually. FaceTiming a friend as you both go for a walk outside or doing your workouts together can make exercising more fun and create accountability. These are just a few of the creative ways to stay connected and in shape.

 

Have Your Rescue Inhaler Ready

No matter what level of activity you decide feels right for you, it is highly recommended to keep your rescue inhaler ready at all times. According to Healthline, a rescue inhaler can relieve or stop the symptoms of an asthma attack. So, be sure to have it close during your workouts.

Interestingly, eight percent of the 2016 Olympians live with asthma, so you can still be the athlete you want to be. (This is the same percentage of US citizens who have asthma.)

While challenging at times, it is still possible to have an active lifestyle with asthma. Something is better than nothing, so just be proud of yourself getting moving!