Taking Care of Yourself
If you have used tobacco in any form, now or in the past, tell your health care provider so he or she can be sure that you have right preventive health care.
It is well known that smoking puts you at risk for certain health-related illnesses. This means part of your health care should focus on related screening and preventive measures to help you stay as healthy as possible.
For example, you will want to regularly check the inside of your mouth for any changes and have an oral exam by your doctor or dentist if you do find any changes or problems.
The American Cancer Society recommends that periodic check-ups should include oral cavity (mouth) exams. By doing this tobacco users may be able to find oral changes and leukoplakia (white patches on the mouth membranes) early. This may help prevent oral cancer.
You should also be aware of any of the following:
- any change in a cough (for example, you cough up more phlegm than usual)
- a new cough
- coughing up blood
- trouble breathing
- chest pain
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- general fatigue (feeling tired all the time)
- repeated respiratory infections
Any of these could be signs of lung cancer or a number of other lung conditions and you should report any symptom to your doctor. Although these can be signs of a problem, many lung cancers do not cause any noticeable symptoms until they are advanced and have spread to other parts of the body.
If you have any health concerns that you think may be related to your cigarette smoking, please see your health care provider as quickly as possible.
Taking care of yourself and getting treatment for small problems will give you the best chance for successful treatment. The best way, though, to take care of yourself and decrease your risk for life-threatening lung problems is to quit smoking.
Your Pharmacy Resource
The pharmacist can be a valuable source of health information that can be used more by patients and caregivers. When the check-out clerk in the pharmacy asks you “Do you have any questions for the pharmacist?”, do not hesitate to say “yes” and then ask for the pharmacist.
What to Tell the Pharmacist
For many the pharmcist will be the last health care provider that patients and caregivers will talk to before heading home.
Some of the important things that you should tell the pharmcist include:
All the medications you are taking. This includes more than prescription drugs. It also includes over-the-counter medicines and herbal supplements.
What to Ask the Pharmacist
If the doctor did not fully answer all questions, the pharmacist can be a good source of health information.
Here are some key questions to ask the pharmacist.
Ask the pharmacist how you should be taking the medicine.
Ask what is the best time to take them and if they should be taken with or without food.
Ask the pharmacist about possible side effects and how they should be handled.
You have every right to know about your medical conditions and the medications you are taking. A caregiver should expect to have the same information so they can do their job properly. You should ask the pharmacist about any questions or concerns that you might have. Even though pharmcists are busy, answering questions is our job.
Most pharmacists will admit that helping patients is the most rewarding part of their job.
Heart and Blood Vessel Disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people with diabetes.Three out of four diabetes-related deaths are caused by heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease. People with diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to have heart disease than persons without diabetes. Even people with type 2 diabetes who do not have heart disease have an increased risk of having a heart attack.
People with diabetes also tend to have other risk factors for heart disease including obesity, high blood pressure, and hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).In recent years, FDA has approved drugs that lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It has also approved lipid-altering drugs that target abnormalities of cholesterol and triglycerides.
For more information about diabetes and heart disease, click on this link: HEART DISEASE AND HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute link: CARDIOVASCULAR INFORMATION
I have been a community and hospital pharmacist for over thirty years … trained in clinical pharmacy at one of the largest healthcare centers in the South. I am a consultant pharmacist for Medication Therapy Management (MTM) for the State of North Carolina.
I search the Internet and other sources for information that I think you should be aware of; that should be interesting and important for you to know. When I see something that meets these criteria, I will let you know about it in my next article.
If you don’t see some information that you need and it is within my areas of education and expertise, I will try to post an article or an answer as soon as possible! You can put your request in the “Contact Us” area located above the upper left column on this page.
Bob Diamond R.Ph Pharmacist