How to Get the Medicine You Need

The average American spends about $1,000 on prescription drugs each year. Unfortunately, many in Southeast Missouri cannot afford to spend nearly that much for the medicine they need. If you have a chronic condition like diabetes or hypertension and you have to choose between medicine or fresh fruits and vegetables, we urge you to apply for the Prescription Drug Assistance program.

The Prescription Drug Assistance program is designed to help those who cannot afford medicines gain access to them through patient assistance programs. Enrolling in the program is easy. Just call our office at 573-624-1607 to have an enrollment packet mailed to you ,or you may download the enrollment forms and instructions.

After completing the forms, mail them and the required documents to our office:

Regional Healthcare Foundation
Prescription Drug Assistance (PDA) Program
215 W. Grant
Dexter, MO 63841

If approved, you will be sent an application for your medications. All you need to do is sign and date your application and mail it back. We will communicate with your healthcare provider to finalize the rest of the paperwork.

Depending on the medicine companies’ guidelines, your medication will either be delivered to your home or available for pickup at your healthcare provider’s office.

Most applications we submit are for a 90-day supply of medication.

  •      You should apply if
  •      You don’t have prescription drug insurance coverage.
  •      You’re underinsured.
  •      You meet the pharmaceutical company’s income guidelines.
  •      You’re a U.S. resident.

*Minimum financial guidelines apply.

Do not delay receiving the medication you need. We can help you be healthy.

Diabetes Myths and Facts

Being diagnosed with diabetes can be overwhelming, which makes sorting through factual information and myths more difficult. That’s why we’ve outlined some common myths and facts below*. Remember: If you’re ever in doubt, always speak with your medical provider.

4 Steps to Take When You’ve Been Diagnosed with Diabetes

Learning that you have diabetes isn’t easy. But the faster you understand your condition and start managing your symptoms, the better. Here are four steps to get you started on the right track.

1. Manage your diet.

Learning to manage what you eat is the most important part of controlling your diabetes. Unfortunately, it can also be the most stressful, and with good reason. You’re likely transitioning from putting little thought into everything you eat, beyond whether you’re hungry for it, to thinking through every bite and what it means for your body. The good news is, you’re not on your own. M Power offers resources, education and classes to those living with diabetes and their loved ones to help you manage your condition and maintain the lifestyle you enjoy.

2. Monitor your blood sugar.

Monitoring your glucose levels is a critical tool in treating your disease. Through the results, you’ll begin to understand how your food choices and activity levels affect your condition, and monitor the effectiveness of your medications. Your healthcare provider will advise you on how often you should check your blood sugar levels. Be sure to record the results each time, to better track results.

3. Cope with symptoms.

Just learning about your disease can be overwhelming and stressful, which is why it’s important to cope with both the physical and emotional symptoms that come with your diagnosis. You don’t have to do that alone. Find resources and education for both you and loved ones to better understand diabetes.

4. Communicate with your healthcare team.

Your treatment will only be as effective as the information your share with your medical provider. That makes it critical to communicate your symptoms, side effects and concerns at your appointments. Be sure to bring your blood sugar test results with you, and it may help to have a list of questions to ask your provider.

Interested in information about diabetes classes and screenings?

Coping with the emotional and physical affects of chronic disease

“You don’t look sick.” If you or someone you love is battling chronic disease, it’s a sure bet you’ll encounter that sentiment, or one similar, at some point. So much of chronic disease – from lupus to fibromyalgia to diabetes – is invisible to those around you. And as devastating as the physical symptoms may be, the emotional toll can be overwhelming as well.

If you’re newly diagnosed, it’s not uncommon to go through the stages of grief as you learn to cope with your condition: from denial to anger to sadness. The stress that comes with living day-to-day with symptoms can escalate both emotional and physical effects – compounded when friends, co-workers and loved ones struggle to understand what you’re going through.

That’s what led Christine Miserandino to create the “spoon theory” in 2003, as a way to help explain her life with Lupus. Christine compared living with chronic disease to holding a limited number of spoons each day. Every activity, every choice made, eliminates a spoon.

“When other people can simply do things, I have to attack it and make a plan like I am strategizing a war. It is in that lifestyle, the difference between being sick and healthy. It is the beautiful ability to not think and just do. I miss that freedom. I miss never having to count “spoons,” Christine wrote. You can download her full explanation of the “spoon theory” here.

The emotional and physical effects of chronic disease are tied closely together. That’s why it’s important to have a strong support system in place, with strategies for coping with both sides. Some tactics that may help:

Distraction: Sometimes, just focusing on something other than your disease can help relieve stress – like reading a book or watching a movie.

Physical activity: Depending on your illness, physical activity may be extremely difficult some days. But the old adage that a “body in motion, stays in motion” is true. Physical activity is not only good for your body, it’s good for your mind as well. Yoga and tai chi, for example, are both exercises that are easy on arthritic joints.

Spend time with loved ones: It can be all too easy to shut friends and family out when they don’t understand what you’re going through. But from both an emotional and physical standpoint, one thing is certain: You can’t do it alone. Use the spoon theory to give others tangible insight into your life with chronic disease.

Find support: Connect with others going through similar experiences and find local resources to help you cope. M Power offers chronic disease self-management workshops designed to help you stay active and enjoying the things you love. Find one near you.

Discover a Free Diet Plan Tailored to You

We’re pleased to announce that residents with chronic illness in Mississippi County, Dunklin County and Pemiscot County now have access to free dietitian services.

Losing weight, changing bad habits and learning to cut out entire food groups can be a daunting task for anyone. For those living with chronic disease like heart disease, stroke or diabetes, handling a new diet along with managing your symptoms can be more than overwhelming. The reality is, a diet overhaul is essential for many living with chronic disease if they hope to get well. We are here to help.

Even if you know the steps to eating better, it is not always easy to find the right recipes or learn how to meal plan for a greater chance of success.

If you are a member of one of these communities, schedule a consultation with a local dietitian and start getting well.

While participants do not need a physician’s referral to participate in this program, our dietitians will have an easier time pinning down exactly how to help their clients if they can have lab work. A physician’s referral provides them with this information.

Get support in more ways than one.

 M Power is an organization that believes those in Southeast Missouri who suffer from chronic illness have been underserved too long. Learn how to manage your symptoms by enrolling in a free workshop. This free supportive program will help you develop the skills you need for talking habits and improving your health overall.

Are you a caregiver?

 Our programs can help you better serve your loved one, in addition to giving you the encouragement you deserve. You are not alone.

If your area does not currently offer dietitian services, the plate method can still help you overcome many dieting challenges.

Find out if you’re at risk for diabetesobesity complications or heart disease, and learn how you can make small changes to the way you are living today for a healthier, happier life.

How to Fight This One Powerful Craving

You have most likely heard that consuming too much salt is bad for you, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many Americans are just not taking the advice. In fact, nine out of 10 adults still consume too much salt.

Why is eating too much salt bad?

Ingesting too much salt can lead to many health and performance issues with your mind and body. Salt causes blood pressure to rise, and high blood pressure can lead to type 2 diabetes, kidney failure, heart disease and stroke. An overabundance of salt intake can also increase your likelihood of developing stomach cancer, osteoporosis and obesity.

Many believe the best way to combat salt intake is to simply limit the amount of salt you put on food, but limiting yourself at the dinner table is only part of the change you need to make to have a successful diet with lower sodium. Many popular food items have too much salt before you ever have the chance to add your own personal flair.

Do you enjoy any of these foods?

  • Lunch meat
  • Soy sauce
  • Pickles
  • Cured meats
  • Salted nuts
  • Frozen entrees
  • Fast food or takeout
  • Canned soups
  • Ramen
  • Pizza
  • Potato chips
  • Processed foods

Many of the listed favorites have a lot of sodium per serving, and many adults and children do not stick with serving size recommendations. Often, we think something is healthy just because it has few calories. For example, a pickle might have fewer than 10 calories; however, that same pickle most likely has well over 500 milligrams of sodium. That’s one-third of what the American Heart Association recommends of sodium per day.

The American Heart Association recommends adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium on a daily average, but the ideal limit is closer to 1,500 milligrams a day. These numbers vary based on a variety of personal factors. If you’re not sure how this applies to you, contact your local health department for a free consultation with a registered dietitian.

Unfortunately, many favorite foods in America have too much sodium. This does not mean we must cut them out completely, but it does mean as a collective, we need to practice more moderation for processed foods.

Instead of seasoning with salt, try

  • Garlic powder
  • Pepper
  • Lemon zest
  • Onion powder
  • Red pepper flakes

Instead of chips for snacks, try

  • Unsalted nuts
  • Apples and peanut butter
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Fresh fruit
  • Baby carrots

Instead of TV dinners or frozen entrees, try

  • Preparing fresh or frozen vegetables without added sauce
  • Slow cooking chicken, so it’s ready when you need it
  • Cooking in bulk one day a week and freezing your own meals for later
  • Steaming lean meats with whole grain brown rice and vegetables

For one to two weeks, keep a journal of your daily salt intake to get a clear picture of just how much salt you’re consuming. Change does not happen immediately, and once you begin cutting down on salt, your cravings for it may skyrocket. Instead of trying an all-or-nothing approach, start cutting out and replacing salt one step at a time.

Chronic Disease Self-Management Class Preview: Action Plans

To successfully manage your chronic disease, you must start with wanting to change, to feel better and to be better. The road to managing your chronic disease will never be easy, but there are tools and techniques you can use to aid in your journey to good health.

Part of the curriculum within the M Power Chronic Disease Self-Management Workshop is learning how to set up and implement successful action plans.

A program coordinator will help you choose something about your habits you want to improve. The key is that you agree with the final choice and want to follow through with whatever this action plan entails. If you set a goal just because someone suggested you do it, you may not have the motivation you need to succeed.

On the same page, whatever you want to do must be possible. Deciding to do something impossible will set you up for failure and could hurt your self-esteem for pursuing further goals. Before you commit to your action plan, evaluate its difficulty and your mindset. Are you ready for something really challenging, or should you start smaller?

Your action plan should answer very specific questions: what is it, how much, how often and when? How will you know you’ve succeeded?

Example: I will be a more active person by walking 15 minutes at least three to four days a week this month.

Once you have an action plan, write it down and post it around your living area. Ask those who support you to check in on you. Make daily notes of your moods and energy levels. Did you skip your walk last week because you were too tired? Did you find you didn’t have time to go on your walk? Why is that?

Making daily notes about your action plan, positive or negative, will help you discover what you are doing successfully and where you might improve. You may also discover hiccups you didn’t anticipate. By taking notes, you can brainstorm methods to deal with those hiccups.

The M Power Workshop will also help you develop the confidence you need to embark on your action plan on your own. You will learn the best way to reward yourself and how often. If you want the best path to success, sign up during the next open enrollment period in your region.

You deserve to be happy and healthy. Let us show you the quickest way there.

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Try This Easy Diet Hack for Healthy Results

Figuring out the right portions for meals is never an easy task. Unfortunately, if you do not have a food scale, any estimations you make regarding calories and nutrients are probably way off.

Introducing the Plate Method

While still not as accurate as weighing meats and measuring your portions according to the recommendations of food manufacturers, the Plate Method is perfect for developing meals when you’re short on time, out of ideas or missing the proper measuring tools. The Plate Method does not require any math either.

Using a plate that is nine inches across (or six inches if you’re trying to lose weight), you can craft many meals to fit your tastes and dietary requirements, whether you are diabetic, have high blood pressure or cholesterol or are just looking to adjust your eating habits.

Once you have a properly sized plate, imagine a line dividing it down the middle. You will use half for non-starchy vegetables, like broccoli. On the other side of the plate, you will split it in half again, making it into fourths. In one of these quarters you will have your lean protein, like chicken, and in the other fourth, you will have whole grain foods or starchy vegetables.

Non-starchy vegetable examples for half of your plate:

  • Green beans
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Asparagus
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Mushrooms
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes

Have a fourth of your plate dedicated to these vegetables and whole grains:

  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Zucchini
  • Brown rice
  • Whole grain or whole wheat pasta
  • Whole grain or whole wheat tortillas
  • Whole grain or whole wheat bread

Tip: Just because the packaging says “multigrain” or “five grain” does not mean the product you’re looking at fit your diet. Stick with products that use the word “whole” to describe grains.

Lean proteins:

  • Skinless turkey
  • Skinless chicken
  • Baked or grilled fish (not fried)
  • Eggs
  • Low-fat cheeses
  • Most soy or tofu meat alternatives

After you have filled your plate, you can have a small cup on the side with fruits, low-fat dairy, healthy fats like avocado or low-fat condiments like dressing for dipping and spreading.

The Plate Method does require that you be mindful of food preparation and seasoning. Opt to bake, grill or steam food over frying, and use calorie-free seasonings over breading or excess salt.

Do you need extra help creating your diet? Check with your local health department to find out if you have access to free dietitian services. Did you know you can prevent type 2 diabetes with a diet designed around this method? Learn if you are at risk here.

You can learn more techniques like the Plate Method in a Chronic Disease Self-Management Workshop. Find the next enrollment period for your area here.

5 Behaviors That Will Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease

Falling into bad habits is easy, but learning how to change those habits takes dedication, patience and a little elbow grease. If you want to lower your risk for heart disease, start small. Instead of diving in all at once, use small goals to work up to an ultimate habit makeover. Over time, you can implement healthy behaviors like those below and start feeling like a better you.

Adjust your diet

Substitute calorie-free herbs and spices in place of salt. Use the Plate Method for measuring portions, and serve meat paired whole grains like brown rice and green vegetables. Fruits come in a variety of flavors and pair well with peanut butter, honey and nuts for a dessert alternative.

When grocery shopping, do your best to avoid inner food aisles. Replace morning granola bars with scrambled eggs. Start food in the slow cooker in the morning so you have a healthy meal waiting for you when you get home from work. Drinking more water in place of caffeine can also help improve overall health and lower blood pressure.

Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke

Just being around cigarette smoke can increase a nonsmoker’s risk for developing heart disease by about 30 percent. Because smoking damages the lining of your arteries, fatty material will build up. Once arteries become narrow from the fatty material, the risk of a heart attack or stroke increases exponentially. Find a free program to help you quit smoking here.

Cut down on drinking alcohol

Alcohol both raises blood pressure and works negatively with many medications. Reducing the amount you drink can also help lower your daily caloric intake and aid in weight loss efforts.

Walk 30 Minutes at least five days a week

Keep your arteries flexible by keeping your body mobile. The American Heart Association recommends frequent exercise to improve heart health, but exercise doesn’t have to be hard. Low-impact sports or walking are beneficial for anyone living a predominantly sedentary lifestyle.

Enroll in M Power self-management programs.

M Power is a collaboration of health departments across Southeast Missouri offering free workshops to individuals currently diagnosed with chronic disease, individuals at risk for developing chronic disease and those who care for others at risk for or currently living with a chronic disease. Research shows these supportive programs help individuals develop skills they need for tackling difficult habits and improving overall well-being.

Did you know that most Americans do not know they have heart disease until they have a heart attack or other chest pains? Find out if you’re at risk for diabetesobesity complications or heart disease so you can make changes for the better today.

Every Project Has a Beginning. Welcome to Ours.

Missouri is ready for growth.

Southeast Missouri is a wonderful area. Boasting an array of features and opportunities, many find it easy to make their home here in the quaint towns scattering the countryside. The landscape is perfect for raising a family, and the improved economic outlook makes it ideal for those looking to start a business. In addition, community members are often welcoming and warm to new and old friends alike.

However, for too long Southeast Missouri has been an underserved region in many aspects. Those suffering from chronic disease symptoms deserve a better support system, so M Power is initiating chronic illness support programs throughout Southeast Missouri.

We can help those with chronic disease and reduce the onset of chronic disease throughout the area.

M Power is regionally situated within Missouri’s Bootheel with goals dedicated to

• Improving the health of those with chronic diseases through the teaching of evidence-based self-management programs
• Caring for individuals diagnosed with diabetes in Southeast Missouri’s rural counties
• Bettering cardiovascular health and quality of life throughout the region with prevention education
• Promoting healthy choices that lead to individuals living with a reduced risk of developing a chronic disease
• Ensuring those with or at risk for chronic diseases have access to the necessary prescription medications and support they need

    • Through a coordinating effort among health departments and social agencies across Missouri’s Bootheel, M Power will contribute to the improvement and quality of life of those throughout the region
    • Even if you believe you’re healthy, you could be at risk for developing chronic health conditions. Find out if you’re at risk for diabetesobesity complications or heart disease.
    • We need your help.

To reach your coworkers, neighbors, friends and family, we need you to share our content on your Facebook page, in an email or over the phone. Our programs are free because we are grant funded. We have no sponsorship and we are not selling anything.