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Health and Wellness

Lakes Region VNA annual meeting and award ceremony

MEREDITH  — A group of devoted community members will be honored for their respective volunteer contributions during the Lakes Region Visiting Nurse Association's awards ceremony and annual meeting on May 18. Open to the public, the meeting will take place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Meredith Community Center.

Certificates will be presented to several outstanding citizens that have gone above and beyond in their service to the community-at-large, the medical community and the LRVNA. In 2015, honorees included Donna Grow, Phyllis Hamblet and Jeanne Sanders, all recognized for their tireless efforts to benefit the community.

During the two-hour program, officials will also introduce new staff and board members, elect new officers and share details of the annual director's report and financial report. Dr. David Strang, chairman of the New Hampshire's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Advisory Council, will serve as the keynote speaker. Refreshments and snacks will be served immediately after.

LRVNA Executive Director Cheryl Gonzalo said the yearly event, which is held every spring, is an important time to recognize those who truly made a difference for the community-focused service organization.

"Each year the staff at the LRVNA assists thousands of clients, but it's the dedication of individuals that keeps us going," Gonzalo said. "It's so important to pause for a moment and show our gratitude."

The Lakes Region Visiting Nurse Association is located at 186 Waukewan St. in Meredith. For more information call 603-279-6611 or visit www.lrvna.org.

Rheumatoid arthitis treatment often includes combination of drugs

By Martha Swats

Owner/Administrator, Comfort Keepers


The effective treatment of rheumatoid arthritis includes medications that slow the progression of joint damage and deformity. These drugs are called disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, and they are a vital part of an overall treatment plan.
Doctors prescribe DMARDs for people with inflammatory arthritis who are at risk of permanent joint damage. Each DMARD works in different ways to slow or stop the inflammatory process that can damage the joints and internal organs.
DMARDs can improve quality of life for most people ─ some even achieve a remission while taking them. Most of the time, the disease activity continues, but at a slower pace. While taking one or more DMARDs, there may be longer symptom-free periods, or less painful flare-ups. Taking a DMARD regularly makes it less likely to have long-term damage to joints, too.
There can be side effects. The FDA has approved all DMARDs, and many people take them without ever having problems. But because they work throughout the body to fight rheumatoid arthritis, their powerful action typically does cause some side effects, such as:

  • Stomach upset. Other medicines can help treat these symptoms, or they can improve as your body adjusts to the drug. If the symptoms are too uncomfortable, your rheumatologist will try a different medication.
  • Liver problems. Less common than stomach upset, you may need blood tests on a regular basis to make sure your liver is not being harmed.
  • Blood issues. DMARDs can affect the immune system and raise the risk of infection. Infection-fighting white blood cells may also be decreased. Low red blood cells (anemia) can make you tired more easily. An occasional blood test will make sure your blood counts are high enough.

Though DMARDs can have side effects, there is a good reason to take them – they usually work. Even if you are in a remission, many rheumatologists believe you should continue taking a DMARD, just to keep your arthritis at bay.
DMARDs are often prescribed together or with a biologic. This is called combination therapy. Biologic drugs are the newest type of treatment for rheumatoid arthitis, but it's important to understand the differences between treating rheumatoid arthritis with these newer medications compared to traditional DMARDs.

  • Drug target. DMARDs target the entire immune system, while biologics work by targeting specific steps in the inflammatory process.
  • Response time. It can take months before you'll know whether a DMARD is working for you. With biologics, you're likely to experience results within 4 to 6 weeks, after just a few treatments. In the meantime, your doctor may also prescribe a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug or a steroid medication to help relieve pain and swelling.
  • Risks. Both DMARDs and biologics can increase your risk for infections, so tell your doctor if you experience a fever, chills, or cold symptoms. Serious infections, such as pneumonia, are the biggest risk of taking a biologic.
  • Cost. Biologics are much more expensive than traditional DMARDs. If you need help paying for your RA treatment, you may be able to apply for assistance through your specific medication's manufacturing company.

Both traditional DMARDs and newer biologics are changing the way doctors treat rheumatoid arthritis. Today, there are actually better treatment options for RA, and earlier treatment is best. That's because once joint damage has occurred, it can't be undone.

Comfort Keepers can help. Comfort Keepers' Interactive Caregiving keeps senior clients engaged physically, mentally, and emotionally while living independently at home. Call your local office today to find out more about all the ways we can help your loved one.

Spaulding Youth Center's Cindy Foley wins Vaccine Champion Award

NORTHFIELD —  Each year, the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) and the CDC Foundation honor individuals who go above and beyond to promote childhood immunizations in their communities. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services' (DPHS) Immunization Program is proud to announce that New Hampshire's 2016 Childhood Immunization Champion is Cindy Foley, the primary vaccine manager at Spaulding Youth Center.

Before becoming a mentor at the Spaulding Youth Center, Foley wore many different hats: babysitter, basketball coach, and swim instructor, to name just a few. Over the course of her career, she has been particularly drawn to children with special needs and helping them reach their full potential in every possible way.

Foley works with both parents and children, and before she administers a vaccine she performs practice sessions with the child. This helps her understand the child's fears and helps children get used to the actions associated with administering a vaccine that can cause anxiety. Staying attuned to the child's facial expressions and body language allows Foley to recognize where there's room for improvement. Her exceptional approach and dedication to vaccinating children with special needs make her New Hampshire's 2016 Childhood Immunization Champion.

"Ms. Foley's caring approach and treating each child as an individual has allowed her to vaccinate hundreds of children, protecting them against many vaccine-preventable diseases," said Marcella Bobinsky, acting director of Public Health at DHHS. "We at the Immunization Program are very grateful for all of her work with children with special needs because every child deserves the protection of vaccinations."



05 12 Foley-Vaccine 

The 2016 Childhood Immunization Champion Award recipient, Cindy Foley. (Courtesy photo)

Living Well Workshops offered at Franklin Regional Hospital, Wesley Woods


FRANKLIN — People who live with has an ongoing health concern such as chronic pain, diabetes, or arthritis are invited to take part in "Living Well- Better Choices, Better Health" workshop presented by LRGHealthcare. A free six-week workshop is being offered on Wednesday's from 5:30-7:30 p.m, beginning May 18 at Franklin Regional Hospital and an additional workshop will be held on Wednesday's from 9:30-11:30 a.m. beginning on May 25 at Wesley Woods in Gilford.

Those attending the workshops will apply skills for living a full, healthy life with a chronic condition, learn to set weekly goals and develop a practical step-by-step plan for improving health and quality of life. Weekly topics include healthy eating, physical activity, relieving stress, pain and fatigue management, and more!

For more information or to register for this upcoming workshops, call LRGHealthcare Education Services at 527-7120.

Ask Lisa - How do I keep my kids from using marijuana?

Dear Lisa,
I've been hearing a lot on the news about legalization of medical marijuana. I'm concerned that with all the publicity that my teenage children will think it's okay to use it. What can I do to prevent my kids from using marijuana?
Concerned Dad

Dear Concerned Dad,
Good for you for keeping your children's best interest in mind. It's important for parents to tell their kids about the harms and risks of using marijuana. Some facts to know: marijuana smoke has four times more tar and contains 50-70 percent more cancer-causing substances than tobacco. It impacts the brain by changing the way an individual hears, smells and feels things. Because it also affects sense of time and coordination it can make everyday activities like driving a car very dangerous. In one year alone, more than 240,000 people were admitted to emergency rooms due to marijuana related problems. (NHBDAS)
Early use of drugs and alcohol can be a risk factor for addiction disorders. One study showed that people who used marijuana before the age of 17 were more likely to use other drugs and suffer from addiction in later life. It has also been reported that teens who become heavy users of marijuana grow up to have poor memories and brain abnormalities (CADCA).
Keep in mind that what causes one person to become addicted to marijuana, and another not to, depends on many factors including genetics, age they started using, whether they are using other drugs, relationships to friends and families, and if they are involved in other positive activities like school, sports or volunteer work (CADY).
By speaking to your children about the harms and risks of marijuana use, and doing so early and often, you can help them make better choices and live healthier lives.
For more information: http://www.drugfree.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Marijuana_Talk_Kit.pdf