NEW SCREENING DEVICE AVAILABLE FOR PATIENTS WITH DIABETES

People who have diabetes must be vigilant about their eyes. Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults between the ages of 20 and 74 years, and 45 percent of patients with diabetes develop diabetic eye disease, which can lead to severe vision loss or even blindness, according to www.DiabetesSightRisk.com. One complication of diabetes that affects the eyes is diabetic retinopathy. In this condition, blood vessels become blocked and prevents areas of.....

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FEELING S.A.D. DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON? YOU’LL BE O.K.

The holidays are wonderful, but there is also a great deal of stress at this time of year. Not only are people expected to eat more than they should, drink more than they should and spend more than they can really afford, but they are also expected to be joyous and merry and full of good cheer. For some people, however, the holidays are not something they look forward to.

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SLEEP ON IT: GET YOUR ZZZS FOR GOOD HEALTH

Can sleep have an impact on your health and wellness?   Indeed it can. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, getting enough good-quality sleep can help protect your mental and physical health and quality of life. Reducing sleep by just two or three hours per night can have dramatic health consequences. Getting too little sleep puts you at risk for several chronic health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and hypertension.

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Have you made a resolution to take better care of yourself this year? Be sure to consider not only your physical health but your mental health as well.


According to a new federal report from the Centers for Disease Control, people in the United States have made great progress in some health areas —for example, they get more exercise and fewer teens smoke cigarettes — but they have lagged behind in many others, particularly in the area of mental health.


If you need an incentive to take inventory of your mental health, be aware Medicare covers a yearly screening for depression. It is part of the Annual Wellness Visit, during which you would discuss and create with your doctor a plan of preventive care for the coming year. According to Medicare Interactive (www.medicareinteractive.org), these screenings are designed to be completed by a doctor or other primary care provider to ensure you are correctly diagnosed and treated and receive follow-up care. In order to get Medicare to cover it, the depression screening must take place in a primary care setting.


The screening includes a Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-2 and PHQ-9) that helps discern if you may be at risk for or have symptoms of depression. If the questionnaire results indicate you are at risk

for or have symptoms of depression, your doctor will do a more thorough evaluation and, if necessary, refer you to a mental health professional for further care.


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) (www.cms.gov) says screening for depression in adults is reasonable and necessary for the prevention or early detection of illness or disability. The CMS describes depression as a mental disorder characterized by alterations in mood. The symptoms of depression have been recognized as far back as ancient times. (Hippocrates called it melancholia.) Depression is not a single disease, says the CMS; it is a syndrome manifested by a variety of diseases with distinct causes. Its origin includes psychological, social and biological factors.


Depression affects people across the age spectrum. In older adults, depression is often linked with comorbidities such as cancer, arthritis, stroke, lung disease and cardiovascular disease. Grief is another important risk factor for depression, and older people generally experience an accelerated loss of friends and loved ones as they age. Diagnosis of depression is based on a highly variable set of

MEDICARE COVERS SCREENING FOR DEPRESSION

symptoms. These symptoms include depressed mood; diminished interest or pleasure in activities the person formerly enjoyed; significant weight loss or gain; fatigue or loss of energy; feelings of worthlessness; and insomnia or hypersomnia.


Depression screening is important because it can help improve mental health and general medical outcomes. Under-recognized and undertreated mental illness is a serious social problem. It creates significant impacts on public health and the economy. One study estimates the combined U.S. direct and indirect costs of depression to be $83.1 billion, including $31.5 billion in direct costs and the remainder in indirect, mostly workplace costs. Depression is projected to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide by 2020.

DR. JEFFREY FOXX

A Covington, Ky., native, Dr. Jeffrey Foxx founded Family Practice Associates of Lexington in 1983. Dr. Foxx holds the belief that “God is first, family is second and medicine is third.”

more articles by Dr. jeffrey foxx