The Month of May Dedicated to Mental Health Care

mental healthcare monthMental health has been receiving a lot of attention for the past few weeks in every health care related website on the internet. While this is mostly due to the large influx of mental health related tragedies, a large increase in the United States suicide rate, and a plea to the government for increase funding – there is another reason why mental health is being so heavily reported on for the month of May. May is mental health awareness month and it has gone mostly unnoticed for years. Yes, the event does receive a lot of support and has a lot of participants, but in terms of media coverage Mental Health Awareness month has gone largely unnoticed until this year.

Mental Health Awareness month is hosted by NAMI, the National Alliance of Mental Illness, which is an organization dedicated to providing resources and assistance to those who suffer from mental illness. NAMI describes its founding as, “a small group of families that gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 and has blossomed into the nation’s leading voice on mental health.” Throughout the years NAMI has grown into an association that has garnered a lot of local affiliates, state organizations, and volunteers who raise awareness and provide support and education on mental health.

Because mental health disorders affect every one in five Americans, NAMI has chosen the month of May in order to put together a lot of its resources in one collective effort in order to raise awareness. Just how breast cancer awareness month is in October, NAMI has chosen May in order to host events like: marathon runs, fundraisers, and speeches. The over arching goal of the month is to end the social stigma against mental health disorders, and to make people be more considerate to those who suffer from a mental illness.

How to Handle Mental Health Patients as a Medical Assistant

mental health patientsMedical Assistants have one of the more versatile careers in the health care industry. When you are a medical assistant you have a slew of medical facilities that you can chose to work at. While a lot of people want to work at glamorous facilities like a doctor’s office, a clinic, or a blood drawing clinic a lot of them end up in less than ideal facilities like a prison or a mental institution. Because May is the month of mental health awareness, this article is dedicated to helping medical assistants who just accepted a position working for a mental institution. You will be dealing with a lot of prickly kinds of patients, and you’re going to need all the advice you can get, but don’t worry patients in these institutions are just like any other patients, trust me.

Consideration is the number one thing that you need to keep in mind as a medical assistant. Patients with mental disorders can be difficult to work with. You have to understand that their mind does not work like any other person’s. While this seems like an easy and obvious concept, a lot of medical assistants tend to forget it and get frustrated with their patients. They can end up losing their cool and up hurting the patient without meaning too. So be considerate.

Don’t be afraid to be stern. You have to treat these patients a bit like children. What you say has to go because they don’t know how to take care of themselves sometimes. They will also not want to take their medicine and become somewhat aggressive. You have to stand your ground and make sure they know that they can’t walk all over you. Otherwise you will get frustrated and not want to work there anymore.


U.S CDC States that Hepatitis C Kills More Than Any Other Disease

Hepatitis C is an infectious virus that targets the liver, and has afflicted more than 3.2 millions of people in the United States alone, but because of its very few and minute details it often goes unnoticed by those with the virus. According to WebMD, “many people with Hepatitis have no symptoms, but some will develop these conditions: yellowing of the eyes, skin, and urine, stomach pain, loss of appetite, fatigue, and nausea.” Hepatitis C cannot be contracted through the intake of things like food, water, or casual contact, but it is contracted by sexual contact and the sharing of needled drugs, or infectious needles penetrating the skin.

The number of deaths caused by Hepatitis C are at an all time high in the United States, and surpass the death rates of other infectious diseases such as: HIV and Tuberculosis. This information comes straight from the United States Center for Disease Control, and one can assume – by cross referencing the information provided by WebMD – that this is because most people go undiagnosed until it is more than too late. According to a study done in Italy, patients with Hepatitis C who are treated successfully have a life expectancy similar to that of the general population.

Dr. John Ward, director of the Center for Disease Control’s Division of Viral Hepatitis offered that, “Because Hepatitis C often has few noticeable symptoms, the number of new cases is likely much higher than what is reported. Due to limited screening and underreporting, we estimated the number of new infections is closer to 30,000 per year. We must act now to diagnose and treat hidden infections before they become deadly and to prevent new infections.”

The CDC goes on to recommend prevention programs to reduce HCV infections among drug users.


Heart Medication Traced to risk of Dementia

One of the more common heart diseases that affects people is atrial fibrillation which causes a heart rhythm disorder – meaning that people develop and irregular heartbeat. Instead of a steady pounding it will sound off-beat and lack the constant rhythm that a person needs in order to live a normal life. The heart of a person with atrial fibrillation can either beat too fast or too slow. Untreated, atrial fibrillation can cause chest pains and even heart failure. Atrial fibrillation also increases the risk of having a heart stroke due to the irregular rhythm.

According to CBS News, those afflicted by atrial fibrillation and who are being treated with the clot-preventing medicine known as Warfarin; experience a higher risk rate of dementia if their blood levels are too high or too low in a frequent manner. The increased risk of dementia does not only affect those with atrial fibrillation, but it also affects those who use Warfarin for other medical reasons.

According to Dr. Jared Bunch, lead researcher on the study and a cardiologist at intermountain Medical Center, “If people’s levels of Warfarin were erratic, their dementia risk was higher, whether they had AF or not.” The study goes on to report that there are so many factors that can interfere and cause a reaction to the medicine Warfarin that it has been difficult to come to a solid conclusion.

Dr. Gordon Tomaselli, chief of cardiology Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, added that certain foods and medications interfere with the Warfarin. He continued by saying that patients should beware sudden and major diet changes and to always discuss their doctor before trying any new medications. Despite the many factors that Dr. Tomaselli brought up, he adds that it is still plausible that both AF and erratic Warfarin levels contribute to dementia. While Tomaselli was not involved with the study he concluded by saying, “You can’t stress enough the importance of a good diet, being physically active, and getting high blood pressure and other risk factors under control. What’s good for the heart is good for the brain.”


Why Donating Blood Is Important

The healthcare industry tends to run on a lot of donations. Whether it be the donation of money during charity events to keep the hospitals tech growing, or the donation of organs for patients who are in dire need of a transplant, but there is an even greater and much more common thing needed at hospitals and medical facilities: blood.

There are a lot of procedures and illnesses that require a constant influx of blood because of the transfusions required. As we all know, not all blood is the same. There are several different types of blood ranging from positive and negative and the letters: A, B, AB, and O. Blood transfusions are tricky, and while O is considered the universal donor, it is a not so common blood type, so there is a great and constant need for blood of the other types.

Still not convinced? Here are a few examples of the kind of situations in which blood can help save a life. For instance, an officer of the law who has been injured during an altercation involving firearms will need a blood transfusion depending on how much blood he has lost. A pint or two of blood can save an injured police officer, or even a soldier off in the trenches fighting.

The Red Cross has gone on record as stating that in 2015 more than 6.8 million people donated blood, and that their combined efforts helped save the lives of millions of people involved in accidents, or experienced some form of complication during a scheduled surgery.

If you’re worried about time conflicts or pain during the procedure, you can rest assured. The entire process takes about 15 minutes to complete, and the only pain you will feel is a slight pinch from the needle entering your veins. So please, go out and donate!

Medical Assisting & Phlebotomy: How to Calm Blood Donors Down

Whether you are studying in a medical assistant program helping with the extraction of blood, or a certified phlebotomist administering the needle and drawing the blood, one or more of your patients is going to very nervous about the procedure, or even down right terrified of the needles that have to be used. Most people cannot stand the sight of blood and will get very squeamish when they see it being drawn into the test tube. So here are a few tips that you any medical assistant or phlebotomist can use in order to help their patients stay smooth, calm, and collected.

Tell them to stare at your eyes as you talk to them – Engaging a person with conversation is a great way to distract them from the situation taking place around them. While it is important to distract them with banal conversations such as: do you go to school, where do you work, what do you plan to do after this – remember to ask them to look you in the eyes. Most patients who are squeamish about blood or needles will close their eyes and tense up.

This can make the blood extraction process harder because it makes their veins harder to track, and you cannot prick the patient with a needle while they are tense. This is because they could move around and cause serious damage to their veins. So engage them in friendly conversation and have them stare at you in the eyes. This way you can help them relax by having a cool and calm expression. Smile at them and make them feel like the procedure is nothing more than a quick thing, and reassure them by telling them that it is only a pinching feeling that they will feel.