Albuquerque, N.M. — What are benefits of Direct Primary Care for ABQ employers and employees? How is Direct Primary Care bringing more value for businesses and their employees? How is it a recruiting advantage from other companies?

Direct primary care or DPC is an alternative to traditional fee-for-service.

Here are the top 10 benefits of Direct Primary Care for businesses and companies:

1. Offers cost-effective healthcare

Benefits of Direct Primary Care for ABQ Employers and Employees

DPC provider, such as Well Life ABQ, provides various services for a flat rate of $75 a month and $30 for additional members. It includes the following:

DPC has no co-pays, and the rate is lower than traditional fee-for-service. The money saved on traditional insurance converts into your savings. 

2. Delivers quality care at lower cost 

Benefits of Direct Primary Care for ABQ Employers and Employees

DPC costs lower than traditional fee-for-service with more personalized healthcare service. Your employees get to talk to a medical practitioner longer without hurrying. 

In 2017, the University of New Mexico reported that 40% of residents lived in places with severe shortages of primary care. It is on top of the medical practitioner shortage in the state.

However, WLABQ has in-house medical practitioners to cater to the needs of your employees. The flat rate covers immediate and unlimited access to personalized medical care, unlike traditional fee-for-service, which costs every visit or medical procedure.  

3. Provides accessible and convenient services

Benefits of Direct Primary Care for ABQ Employers and Employees

Your employees don’t have to leave work to get an appointment or a consultation. Other than on-site visits to the clinic, your employees can take advantage of virtual consultation and telemedicine. 

Their work won’t be affected since they can call anytime during their break or at night when they’re home. Your employees can also reach a DPC, such as WLABQ, through e-mail and text messaging.  

Your employees won’t have a reason to file for sick leave with the menu of communication channels they have. Their workload and productivity won’t be affected.

4. Lessens absenteeism and presenteeism

Benefits of Direct Primary Care for ABQ Employers and Employees

Absenteeism is away from work. While presenteeism is being physically present but functionally absent. Your business can incur more minor losses from employee absenteeism and presenteeism due to sickness. 

Absenteeism impacts your business in many ways. Productivity may decline, which increases production cost and inversely lowers your profit margin. Your human resources (HR) staff may face the burden of disciplining consistent absentees. 

They may increase the workload of other employees to compensate for the slack. Absenteeism can also cause higher employee turnover and immediate hiring of unfit employees.

Based on Circadian Technologies, the top reason for unscheduled absences for a shift worker is personal illness at 30%. For example, if you manage a healthcare facility of about 500 employees working on shifts, you can lose up to $1.3 million annually due to absenteeism.

If you offer employees a DPC package, you assure them they have the medical and health services they need to prevent them from getting sick. You won’t be bothered by employees filing sick leaves and disrupting the workflow in your business. At the same time, it converts to savings instead of losses for your business.

5. Improves employee productivity

Benefits of Direct Primary Care for Companies in Albuquerque

According to the CDC,  absenteeism causes loss of productivity estimated at $225.8 billion a year. Specifically, chronic health conditions cause impaired performance which costs about $211 billion based on the IBI.

DPC offers acute and long-term treatment or management of chronic illnesses. Remember Maria? DPC manages her hypertension, diabetes, and osteoarthritis to perform better at work and take fewer sick leaves. 

You won’t have to shoulder expenses for additional wages, leave benefits, and worker’s compensation. And you won’t have to spend on incidental costs in case of hiring a replacement employee.

6. Entices competent recruits and retains best employees

Benefits of Direct Primary Care for ABQ Employers and Employees

You can replace sickly employees who have resigned, but there’s a price to it. Studies reveal that hiring a new employee in the USA can cost you. It includes actual hiring and workdays to fill the position. 

The average cost of hiring a new employee is $4,129 based on the Society for Human Resources Management. Moreover, it takes about 42 days to fill the vacancy. A reputable recruitment platform pins it at $4,000 in 52 days.

If replacing a worker is certain, you can present DPC as a benefit to potential hires. It gives you a competitive edge that attracts the best candidates. Healthcare is one of the critical benefits other than paid leaves and retirement plans. 

Owning a medical-related business puts you in a challenging situation. Your employees are more susceptible to developing acute or chronic illnesses due to the nature of their job. Keeping their health in check becomes a priority. 

Health benefit is what potential candidates are looking for in your company. DPC also helps retain the best employees, knowing their health is your priority.

7. Enhances job satisfaction and morale

Benefits of Direct Primary Care for ABQ Employers and Employees

It takes more than salary to make your employees happy. They feel secure as DPC serves as a security blanket to their medical and health needs. This sense of security lessens their worries about getting sick. It relieves them from paying medical bills that come with being sick, too. As a result, they focus on their job and reach their full potential. 

DPC manages a healthy workforce for you in terms of cost and employee satisfaction. You get quality medical care for your employees. They remain productive and contribute to the overall success of your business.  

8. Promotes a culture of health and wellness

Benefits of Direct Primary Care for ABQ Employers and Employees

As they say, employees reflect how you manage your business. You can tell how good a company is doing through the employees. DPC promotes a culture of health and wellness with its various services. It is not just for your sick employees.

Think of Maria. DPC manages chronic diseases to allow your employees to function in their work. Fewer absences and improved productivity mean less cost on your part. Instead, you gain a healthy workforce that keeps the culture in your business alive and well. 

DPC, such as WLABQ, offers a holistic approach to health, including prevention and chronic illness management. Other than medical screenings and lab tests, WLABQ also has weight loss programs, integrative medicine options, women’s wellness, and nutritional counseling. These services aim to nurture the health of your employees proactively.

9. Less administrative work and spending

Benefits of Direct Primary Care for ABQ Employers and Employees

 The National Health Expenditure Projection for 2020-25. projects health spending to rise by 6%.  It can be costly for you, especially if you have a business of barely 200 employees.

DPC offers a membership package at a fixed rate. You pay the membership package directly to a DPC, bypassing insurance companies. It eases your work since you won’t have to deal with third-party providers. 

It also eliminates third-party billing. Having fewer employees work on processing insurance claims and reimbursements lowers your overhead cost.

10. Cuts overall healthcare costs

Benefits of Direct Primary Care for ABQ Employers and Employees

Healthcare continues to rise as business owners like you find ways to lower their operational expenses. DPC saves money as it complements an existing health insurance plan or other medical programs. It can cut costs by 15% to 20% annually.

DPC saves cost from overutilization of diagnostic lab works and facilities. Instead of cashing in on labs per visit, a DPC package covers these services practically at a fixed rate.

A medical survey points out members enrolled in a DPC program have fewer surgeries, ER visits, and hospital admissions. DPC saves money otherwise spent on these preventable medical situations.

Retain Employees and Provide Quality Healthcare with NO COPAYS 

Benefits of Direct Primary Care for ABQ Employers and Employees

DPC is not insurance. You may still need additional insurance to cover services outside of DPC, like hospitalization.

Benefits of Direct Primary Care is best for employers

As an employer, you’d want to lower healthcare expenses for quality service that helps manage the wellness of your workforce. You might want to consider DPC as a benefit for your employees, like Maria, who drive your business to become profitable.

Well Life ABQ takes care of people who take care of others. LEARN more how we can take care of your employees!

Benefits of Direct Primary Care for ABQ Employers and Employees

benefits of direct primary care
benefits of direct primary care

Pain can be dreadful. It can be incapacitating and frustrating. It can be a formidable obstacle towards daily activities in one’s way of life.

Pain has become one of the most significant healthcare crises in the United States, with nearly 50% of Americans citing pain as their primary complaint.

According to a World Health Organization study, psychological illnesses such as depression and anxiety are four times more likely to be present in people with persistent pain. 

But fret no more. Pain management opens an avenue for an improved quality of life. However, it is a complex and tedious process that requires accuracy and expertise. 

Every patient experience is unique. People have varied perceptions and thresholds of pain. Hence, pain management should be carefully tailored to each patient for it to serve its purpose.

Programs on pain management are not new, and multiple pain management clinics offer various programs for pain. These clinics have become a haven for people whose quality of life is affected. And, it seems, for those who suffer primarily because of chronic pain. 

And that is why direct primary care is particularly important! Direct primary care gives you access to a primary care healthcare provider who probably knows you better than you know yourself. Direct primary care encourages long-term relationships between clinicians and patients such that there is a holistic approach in patient care, on top of continuity in terms of management. 

With this kind of relationship in mind, direct primary care can help manage chronic pain, which probably cannot be addressed by a simple 10 to 15-minute walk-in consult at just any clinic. 

Your primary care healthcare provider first rules out all other possible causes of your pain using diagnostics and imaging, which may be part of your membership. The primary care healthcare provider also maximizes pain management available at his fingertips.  If needed, he will refer you to a pain management clinic to facilitate further therapeutic options.  The primary care healthcare provider will start with a first-line management (e.g., oral medications) before assessing if you are really in dire need of a pain specialist.

If you are interested in knowing more about direct primary care, you may call our WellLifeABQ hotlines at 505 585 2345.

Nonetheless, if chronic pain is one of your persisting problems today, here are some facts on pain and pain management you might find helpful and educate yourself before you visit your primary care healthcare provider. 

pain management nerve well life abq

Pain is perceived when the brain interprets signals from the peripheral nervous system regarding an “injury” in the body.

Pain is a complex process involving neurotransmitters and various chemicals in the human body.  You perceive pain as a threat to the body when specialized nerves, called nociceptors, are initiated by a specific adverse chemical, thermal or mechanical stimulus. 

The activation of nociceptors may be direct (e.g., trauma) or indirect (e.g., via biochemical mediators released from damaged tissues). These mediators may trigger a domino effect by augmenting the pain response by upregulating more pain receptors. Examples of these mediators are prostaglandins, bradykinins, serotonin, histamine, and arachidonic acid. 

The severity of the perceived pain depends on (1) how many nociceptors are activated, (2) how long the stimulus was perceived, and (3) the number of mediators released.

These nociceptors send signals from the peripheral nervous system towards the spinal cord’s spinothalamic tract. Neurotransmitters then relay the pain signals from the spinothalamic tract onto the brain. The brain then recognizes the signal and localizes the pain. 

pain management headache well life abq

There is no such thing as a “higher pain tolerance.”

As much as we want to believe there are varying degrees of pain tolerance, studies have pointed out the differences are more on the “experience” of pain than “tolerance” towards pain.

The same kind of stimulus can evoke different responses from person to person. A study using MRI showed the network of the brainstem and spinal cord regions contribute to an individual’s specific response and are responsible for variations in pain sensitivity. Another study used MRI in tracking morphological and functional brain alterations in response to chronic pain. This tracking paved to the discovery that everyone can feel pain, but not everyone experiences pain the way others do. The same stimuli can elicit different responses per individual. 

Pain is directly classified as acute or chronic.

Acute pain occurs suddenly, often described as sharp, and usually stems from direct tissue damage. It’s called nociceptive pain or “pain that arises from actual or threatened damage to non-neural tissue and is due to the activation of nociceptors. It does not last longer than six months.

On the other hand, chronic pain is a sensitizing pain lasting more than three months. It can be nociceptive, neuropathic, or central – and it can be all three. Chronic pain is a multifaceted sensory and emotional experience affected by a person’s psychological state.

pain management well life abq

Pain management is an actual branch of medicine.

Pain management is the branch of medicine that deals primarily with patients who suffer from chronic pain. It aims to give them a better quality of life and ease the suffering associated with experiencing chronic pain.

Otherwise known as Algiatry, pain management is a discipline within the field of medicine that  deals specifically with the “prevention of pain, and the evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation of persons in pain.”

A typical pain management team is multidisciplinary.

The typical pain management team is composed of the following:

Pain management is a holistic approach to curing chronic pain. It involves physical, behavioral, and psychological therapies towards pain, such that the outcome is long-lasting and affecting a better quality of life. 

A pain medicine specialist may be an anesthesiologist, physiatrist, or any board-certified medical or osteopathic healthcare provider. They are also known as interventional pain management specialists. 

Pain medicine specialists (or pain management healthcare providers) implement a broad-based approach to treating pain disorders. This approach includes assessment of pain as an indication of disease, to pain as the primary disease.

The pain specialist serves as a consultant to other healthcare providers if there are co-managing healthcare providers involved. His objective is to provide the best care to the patient and alleviate the patient’s suffering.  The pain management specialist, as the attending healthcare provider, may request or perform the following:

The pain medicine specialist also formulates comprehensive therapeutic plans that consider a patient’s culture and special needs. 

Evaluation involves the usual medical approach to all other illnesses: a review of prior medical history, a review of previous laboratories, imaging and electrodiagnostic studies (if any), and a comprehensive assessment on behavioral, social and occupational issues. An interview and a thorough physical examination by the pain medicine specialist are also a must.

pain management well life abq medicine

Pain management involves a diverse therapeutic approach.

Direct primary care plays a huge role in the management of illnesses, including pain management.  Identifying the problem often starts with a primary care healthcare provider, who rules out other causes of pain that might merit immediate medical attention or perhaps a trip to the emergency room. 

Once the primary care healthcare provider establishes the cause of pain,  he often discharges a patient and prescribes pain medications and physical therapy. 

However, suppose pain medications and physical therapy fail. In that case, this failure may warrant more advanced pain management and hence a referral from the primary care healthcare provider to the pain management healthcare provider or pain medicine specialist.

Pain management specialists train to address pain in the following stepwise manner

  1. Medications are considered the first line of therapy. Anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, and anti-depressants fall under this category, including injections done on purpose to numb pain such as in nerve blocks.

    Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulators (TENS) commonly employed in rehab medicine also fall under this category. TENS use skin pads to deliver low-voltage electrical current to areas of concern, numbing pain in the process.

  2. The second line of management involves advanced procedures or a mix of medications plus advanced procedures.

    Radiofrequency (RFA) is one advanced procedure that involves the application of heat or chemical agents to stop a nerve from transmitting signals to the brain. This kind of therapy is usually done for chronic pain problems.Another procedure, viscosupplementation, also falls under this category. Viscosupplementation involves the injection of lubricant fluid into joints to relieve pain.

  3. The third line of management involves a more invasive procedure – implantation of a pain pump or spinal cord stimulator. This implantation directly relieves pain at the spinal cord level, inhibiting it from sending signals to the brain related to pain.

    Another therapeutic option falling under this category is stem cell therapy or implantation.

A pain management clinic is a health facility that diagnoses or manages chronic pain.

pain management pain clinic

Pain clinics are actual health facilities focused on the diagnosis and management of chronic pain.

So, does pain management really work? Research has it that people who turn to comprehensive pain management live a better quality of life with less emotional distress. Daily tasks also become bearable and easier with proper pain management. 

If you think pain management will work wonders for you, you can consult us, your primary care provider, for advice on the next steps to take. 

WellLife ABQ can help you! Book an appointment with our clinic today and during your consultation, share your past and present medical history. Include as well every concern you have in mind. You will be oriented on what therapeutic options are available for your specific case, and we will do our best to exhaust readily available options for your specific care. You will be referred to a pain management clinic once necessary. The ultimate goal is to help you bounce back and live pain-free using a non-invasive approach.

Contact our WellLifeABQ hotline at 505 585 2345. Let us start creating a holistic pain management plan that is tailor-fitted for you today!

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. | Well Life ABQ — Physical therapy addresses pain concerns in various ways. From the most common conditions such as back and neck problems, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis to musculoskeletal disabilities, we’re going to go list down the therapies and options to manage your pain.

Addressing Musculoskeletal Pain

There are various treatments for your pain. It depends on the source of your pain:

Work-Related Pain | Pain Management

Studies have been conducted on musculoskeletal disorders among office employees. Working in the office puts you at risk of neck, spine, and low back problems. Some of the causes of the problems are prolonged sitting or leaning.  

Inappropriate ergonomic set-up or work station contributes to the problems, too. This happens when the height or measurement of your desk, chair, and equipment aren’t aligned to your body. Your body’s position and posture are affected as you adjust to your physical work environment. Your poor posture and keyboard-use puts the burden on your neck and shoulders.

Musculoskeletal disorders are usually accompanied by pain. Upper extremity musculoskeletal pain or UEMP is common in the workplace. A study reveals that office workers suffer UEMP and its associated disability. 

Other than the neck and shoulders, the lower back may also be affected. Office workers who tend to sit for prolonged periods may suffer from low back painWork factors contribute to an increased risk for low back disorders and pain. These are heavy physical work, lifting heavy loads, and improper body mechanics.

Similarities Between Physical Therapy (PT) and Occupational Therapy (OT)

Difference Between Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy

Is Physical Therapy effective for musculoskeletal pain?

One of the best options for musculoskeletal pain is PT. It gets to the source of the pain and treats it. PT sessions may include stretching, strengthening exercises and aerobic training.

Exercise proves to be beneficial for pain. You may exercise on your own. But a physical therapist creates a program for you. You learn the do’s and don’ts from the physical therapist to prevent further injury. A physical therapist also guides you in performing the exercises correctly. 

Researchers conducted a review on the effective treatment options for pain in primary care. It shows that there’s strong evidence on the effectiveness of exercise for musculoskeletal pain. It also improves the function and quality of life of people suffering from the pain. Strengthening exercises reduce the disability and intensity of low back pain of older adults, too.

Researchers performed a qualitative study about the physiotherapy of people with chronic musculoskeletal pain. The study shows that physiotherapy treatment in a primary care setting proved beneficial. It provided strategies and positive behavior changes for people with chronic pain.

The analysis of results describes the therapist-client relationship in four sub-themes:

  1. Creating and sustaining a therapeutic relationship
  2. Being participative, taking initiative, and hurdling challenges
  3. Appreciating advice, motivation, and feedback
  4. Gaining knowledge and new body awareness change behaviors

* Acceptance and management of pain are present throughout the four themes.

Physical Therapy for Neck Pain

Do you have chronic neck pain or recovering from a neck injury or surgery? PT may be recommended for you. PT reduces pain, returns function, and strengthens muscles. 

study shows that cervical flexor muscle training reduced pain. The anxiety and depression levels of people with chronic neck pain were diminished. Therapeutic exercises for chronic nonspecific neck pain and specific PT program are also effective.

There are two kinds of PT for neck pain. These may involve one or both during the course of your PT sessions.

  1. Active PT: It aims to reduce your pain by relieving stress on your neck spine. This type of therapy includes stretching and exercises. These movements improve the flexibility of your neck and strengthen it.
  2. Passive PT: It aims to help reduce your pain and the swelling of your neck. This type of therapy won’t demand an effort from you. There are many ways to relieve your neck pain, passively. You may apply heat pads or cold packs on the neck. Massage works. For equipment-aided therapy, electrotherapy and ultrasound may be used.

Physical Therapy for Low Back Pain

Exercise therapy emerged as the first-line treatment for chronic low back pain. Medication can be avoided as exercise relieves pain by activating the central inhibitory pathways

This benefit has been verified as researchers in a study looked into 150,000 insurance claims. The results of the study were published at the Health Services Research. It found out that people with low back pain were “better off seeing a physical therapist first.” For one, there’s an 89% lesser chance of being prescribed opioid drugs.

The recommended PT for your chronic low back pain may include biofeedback, exercise, manual therapy, massage, relaxation, yoga, interdisciplinary rehabilitation, or multidisciplinary treatments. Other passive PT and electrical methods may be ineffective. Thus, they’re not recommended for use.

Are you a candidate for Physical Therapy?

You have to be checked first before starting PT for your neck or low back pain. There are conditions where you won’t be prescribed with PT as this may worsen your condition.

If you answer YES to any of these questions, you may not be allowed to undergo PT:

These medical issues must be addressed first before you are allowed to continue with PT. You have to undergo a series of tests, too. These include X-ray, CT scan, and MRI to determine the cause of your pain. 

But there are other therapies for your pain…

Physical Therapy is effective as a first-line treatment for your chronic pain. It’s one of the many therapies for your neck and low back pains. To know more about your options, reach out to Well Life ABQ at 505-585-2345 for pain management. We’re a direct primary care provider accessibly located in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M – As of 2019, about 31% of locals in New Mexico have hypertension or more commonly known as high blood pressure. It is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the leading and fifth-leading causes of death, respectively. 

Here are the few things you should know about hypertension and how you can find help in Albuquerque.

What is Hypertension?

Hypertension is also known as high blood pressure. It is defined by two factors: systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic pressure (DBP). Systolic blood pressure is defined by the amount of pressure within the arteries when the heart is beating. Comparatively, diastolic pressure is defined by how much pressure there is when the heart relaxes.

According to the American Heart Association, normal blood pressure is defined as SBP <120mmHg, with DBP <80mmHg. Hypertension occurs when SBP is >130 and DBP is >80. 

Diagnosis of hypertension often involves many factors such as age and medical history. Take for example a person below the age of twenty with no medical complications; they will have a lesser likelihood of being diagnosed with hypertension. Comparatively, a 70 year-old post-stroke patient with elevated blood pressure (BP) levels is at much higher risk. Additionally, appropriate use of a blood pressure machine also plays a role in diagnosing hypertension. If used incorrectly, it can lead to erroneous results.

One phenomenon that plays a role in BP measurement is known as “white coat hypertension”. People that undergo BP tests in a clinical setting often have higher than normal BP levels. This is due to the environment, and the fact that they are in the presence of a medical professional. When measured at home however, these same patients reported having normal blood pressure levels.

As a result, many providers recommend patients to test their BP levels in areas where they feel at ease. If your average BP readings are >130/80mmHg in your own home, you may have hypertension. 

In contrast, masked hypertension is when a person has consistently elevated BP measurements at home, but when measured in a clinical setting, their BP is normal. Additionally, hypertension is asymptomatic.

Prevalence of Hypertension

In low and middle-income countries, there is an estimated 1.13 billion people that suffer from hypertension. This means that approximately 1 in every 4 men/5 women have hypertension.

Between 2015-2016, 30.2% of men, and 27.7% of women suffered from hypertension. The prevalence of hypertension also increases as a person gets older, with hypertension being prevalent in only 7.5% of young adults, but 63.1% in those older than 60.

Hypertension is a global issue that affects many people. The cost from clinic visits, maintenance medications, complications and hospital admissions makes it a public health concern. The World Health Organization in partnership with the US CDC launched the Global Hearts Initiative. 

Their aim is to lessen the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases through prevention, detection and management of hypertension. By promoting healthier lifestyles, establishing treatment protocols and making healthcare more accessible, they are taking steps to reduce the prevalence of hypertension.

What Causes Hypertension?

Hypertension is affected by the elasticity of our arterial walls and the volume within our circulatory system.  

Vasoconstriction occurs from the narrowing and contraction of the blood vessels. The more contracted your blood vessels are, the higher your blood pressure. Hormones like aldosterone, and neurotransmitters such as epinephrine and norepinephrine play a part in affecting blood pressure.

Elasticity of our arterial walls is affected by many factors, but cholesterol plaques, inflammation and smoking are the major ones.

There are 2 main types of hypertension: Primary and Secondary Hypertension.

Primary or Essential Hypertension

It has no specific cause. Rather, it is the cumulative effect of various risk factors that lead to the development of hypertension.  A large majority of adults that are diagnosed have this type of hypertension.  The risk factors that lead to increased risk of hypertension are: 

Plaque build up is one of the main causes of coronary artery disease, which is related to hypertension. As we get older, cholesterol plaques tend to accumulate in the walls of our blood vessels, which can lead to high blood pressure. People who are obese and have a sedentary lifestyle are also prone to developing abnormalities in their lipid (fat) levels, which can also lead to plaque build up. 

Secondary Hypertension 

It is caused by a specific organic or medical issue. For example, medications such as oral contraceptives, NSAIDs and antidepressants can elevate a person’s blood pressure. Hence, it is important that you discuss with your healthcare provider your complete medical history. If you are hypertensive and you need to take any of these medications, they can adjust the timing, dosing and frequency of these medications to lessen any side effects.

Secondary hypertension can be caused by many factors. These include:

For these cases, treatment of the primary cause can work to alleviate blood pressure elevation.

What happens if I have uncontrolled hypertension?

If you notice that your BP is consistently greater than 130/90, you should visit your primary care provider. Ignoring these factors may lead to complications associated with uncontrolled hypertension. 

There are three types of uncontrolled hypertension. 

Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to several life-threatening complications such as: 

The higher your blood pressure is, the higher your risk of having a stroke.  Additionally, these complications have a significant socioeconomic burden. According to statistics compiled by the CDC (2020):

Management of Hypertension

Lifestyle changes can aid those with hypertension. This includes weight loss (if the person has a higher than normal BMI), eating a heart-friendly diet, restricting sodium intake and getting regular exercise. As well, restricting alcohol consumption to 1-2 drinks a day is also part of managing hypertension. 

Incorporating one of these changes has been shown to decrease systolic blood pressure by at least 4-5mmg, and diastolic blood pressure by 2-4mmHg. Additionally, dietary changes can decrease SBP by an average of 11mmHg (Whelton et al., 2018). 

In most cases, lifestyle changes alone cannot adequately control elevated blood pressure levels. This is why many clinicians also prescribe medication in conjunction with lifestyle changes. These include thiazide diuretics, ACEIs, ARBs, and CCBs. 

Thiazide diuretics inhibit sodium and chloride reabsorption in the kidneys. We mentioned earlier that a diet rich in salt is a risk factor for hypertension. This is because salt absorbs water and increases the volume of circulating fluid. This results in increased blood pressure from greater volumes of fluid.

Some examples of thiazide diuretics include indapamide, hydrochlorothiazide and chlorthalidone. The ACC/AHA recommends the use of chlorthalidone, as studies show it can be used to protect against cardiovascular disease. 

ACEI stands for Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. ACE is responsible for converting angiotensin I to angiotensin II, which constricts small blood vessels. By inhibiting the production of this potent vasoconstrictor, blood pressure can be lowered. In addition, ACE inhibitors exert a protective effect against heart failure and heart attacks. Examples of these ACE inhibitors are captopril, enalapril and lisinopril. 

ARBs, or Angiotensin II receptor blockers directly inhibit the action of the potent vasoconstrictor. Examples of this include candesartan, losartan and valsartan. This type of medication is not used in combination with ACE inhibitors, due to risk factors. Both ARBs and ACE inhibitors should be avoided in pregnant patients and in those with bilateral renal artery stenosis. 

CCBs, or Calcium Channel Receptor Blockers inhibit the influx of calcium ions in the smooth muscle cells of coronary and systemic arteries. Additionally, it also inhibits vasoconstriction and lowers blood pressure. Examples of CCBs include amlodipine, nicardipine and diltiazem. 

As with all medications, CCB usage carries risk. Some CCBs cannot be used for people with heart failure. As well, CCBs cannot be used with antihypertensives called beta-blockers because of the risk of heart block and bradycardia. 

Some patients require more than one type of antihypertensive medication. As a result, some clinicians may prescribe two or three medications, depending on how well your blood pressure is under control. 

Upon taking medication, the goal is to have a BP reading of <130/80. However, if your average BP reading is >140/90, your provider may consider giving you 2 different types of antihypertensives.

Compliance is an important aspect of controlling blood pressure.  Medications need to be taken daily and consistently for the best risk reduction.

How can I prevent hypertension? 

Hypertension is very common amongst the elderly. In fact, it is rare to meet someone older than 60 who is not on maintenance medication for hypertension.

Primary hypertension is classified as a non-communicable lifestyle disease. If you are under the age of 50 with high blood pressure, you may be advised to change your lifestyle. There are real-life examples of people who were diagnosed with high blood pressure; these people were advised to change their lifestyle as well as take medication. 

On their follow-up visits, their blood pressure levels were normal. As a result, their provider declared they no longer needed medication and advised them to continue with their lifestyle modifications. 

One specific diet that you can apply is the DASH diet. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This plan is flexible and involves a balanced intake of various macronutrients with an appropriate caloric requirement. 

The DASH diet does not require you to eat or restrict any specific kind of food. Rather, there are nutritional goals that you should focus on achieving. The DASH diet is recommended by the U.S. based National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for hypertensive patients. 

The DASH diet encourages intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Prioritize low-fat dairy products and eat lean meat like fish and poultry (without the skin). As well, a healthy intake of beans and nuts are also encouraged. Junk foods should be avoided, as they are rich in saturated fats, trans fats, and salt. The DASH diet also recommends limiting intake of artificially sweetened beverages that contain sugars. 

The total daily required calories depends on your age and gender. For example, if you’re >51 years old and you have a sedentary lifestyle, your daily caloric intake should be 1,600 calories a day. 

But for a 45 year old person with a high level of daily activity, the recommended caloric intake is 2,200 calories. It is also emphasized that your daily salt intake should be less than or equal to 1,500mg.

To create a DASH diet plan that caters to you, visit your primary care provider and/or a nutritionist. 

Another lifestyle change that can prevent hypertension is regular physical activity. Do moderately intense aerobic exercise 3-5 days a week, with days dedicated specifically to weight training. Examples of aerobic exercises include cycling, running and brisk walking. For those diagnosed with hypertension, your frequency of physical activity should be 5-7 days a week. 

Experts recommend 30-60 minutes of aerobic exercise a day, which does not have to be done continuously. Even if periodic breaks are needed, BP levels will still improve (Zaleski, 2019). 

If your family tree consists of individuals that are hypertensive, you may be at risk as well. Start monitoring your blood pressure and apply these lifestyle modifications as soon as possible. Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and limit your alcohol consumption. 

If you believe you are at risk of hypertension, consult a primary care provider at Well Life ABQ today. Our team of clinicians can provide you with advice for dietary changes, exercise and medical management. 

We take pride in treating our patients with the care and patience they deserve. If you’re looking for a health clinic that’ll treat you like family, get in touch with us today!

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD) is more common than you think. About 38%-63% of women have complaints about it and data regarding this issue on women are barely sufficient. We will deep-dive into what FSD is and how we, at Well Life ABQ, can help you manage the symptoms fast!

What is Female Sexual Dysfunction?

Ever felt like you weren’t “in the mood”? You’re not alone! You might be surprised to learn that approximately 40% of women worldwide suffer from sexual performance anxiety that could be an underlying on sexual dysfunction. 

One out of every eight women experiences  personal distress related to sexual problems. In a US study involving 30,000 women, 43% reported low arousal, low desire, orgasm difficulties, and sexual distress. The number one reported sexual problem was low desire followed by low arousal.

But what exactly is Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD)?

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) defines FSD as a persistent sexual problem that causes significant distress for at least six months.  They categorized FSD into the following:

What causes sexual dysfunction?

Given its high prevalence, you might be wondering how so many women all over the world develop FSD. To understand,  it is  essential to look at all the factors that affect a woman’s sexual response.

One of the most common reasons for female sexual dysfunction includes relationship factors. In one study involving 1,800 men and women in stable relationships, researchers discovered the longer the relationship’s duration, the lower the sexual satisfaction and frequency. 

They also found  sexual desire declined for women, while tenderness declined in men. These outcomes do not apply to all relationships – however, they do imply a significant general trend. Besides the duration of a relationship, their current relationship status, and erectile dysfunction in men also play a role as risk factors for FSD.

Women with prior physical or sexual abuse may also develop FSD later on in life. Psychological disorders can also affect sexual function, such as side effects of medication and depression and anxiety. Lastly, fatigue and work-related stress can also play a role in affecting sexual desire.

Some medical conditions, like menopause, can make intercourse uncomfortable. Declining estrogen levels in peri- and postmenopausal women can also lead to sexual dysfunction. Lower estrogen levels cause changes in the labia.  The vagina and urethra may become dry, leading to burning sensations and irritation. The pain from these changes, in addition to diminished lubrication, leads to a decline in sexual desire.

Therapies of Female Sexual Dysfunction

Treatment for female sexual dysfunction depends on the cause. There are several available therapies you can apply.

One method is to set aside time for intercourse. Today, many women are busy and have many responsibilities – such as advancing their career, taking care of family, and doing the housework. As a result, there are many possible distractions and sources of stress. Hence, the first step is to make sex a priority.

Mindfulness is another method for dealing with FSD. FSD is a multifactorial disorder with psychological aspects; focusing on the present can help to decrease stress. Additionally, learning to avoid distractions can help women to achieve greater stimulation during intercourse.

A person’s relationship status also plays a key role. Good communication is a necessity in any healthy relationship. As a result, if you’re having issues with low arousal or low interest in sexual activities, talk to your partner about it. If your partner knows you’re prone to exhaustion at night, then the best time to initiate intercourse would be in the morning. By communicating with your partner about your needs, you can come to a compromise and make everyone happy.

Some women don’t have issues with their partners yet still suffer from FSD. A medical or psychiatric condition may cause this suffering. For cases like these, a more specific therapy type may be needed, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. If none of these treatments work, medication for sexual dysfunction may help.

What is Bremelanotide or PT 141?

Bremelanotide – or PT141, is a synthetic peptide discovered from Melanotan II, a product that darkens the skin and induces tanning. One study found that Melanotan II comes with the side effect of increased sexual arousal. Since then, numerous studies have explored the possibility of using Bremelanotide as a treatment for various types of sexual dysfunction.

Bremelanotide is a melanocortin-receptor agonist that binds specifically to type 4 or MC4R receptors in the brain. The exact mechanism of how it improves female sexual dysfunction is unknown. However, its role as a melanocortin receptor agonist allows it to influence brain pathways related to sexual response. As melanocortinergic neurons are involved in dopamine release, they can stimulate improvement in sexual arousal.

Benefits of Bremelanotide

A group of women with female sexual dysfunction used subcutaneous home-administered Bremelanotide for three months in one study. Compared to the group given a placebo, the women given Bremelanotide scored higher on a questionnaire called Satisfying Sexual Events (SSEs). 

The SSE measures the symptoms of sexual dysfunction, such as arousal, satisfaction, and desire,  discovered to improve with Bremelanotide use. These women also tolerated the medication well.

Another way to administer Bremelanotide is through the nasal passages. A group of premenopausal women with female sexual arousal disorder received one dose of 20 mg intranasal Bremelanotide and reported increased sexual desire. As well, those who attempted to have sexual intercourse on the same day had a higher degree of satisfaction compared to the placebo group.

Many studies further explore the effects of Bremelanotide on sexual arousal not only in women but also in men. Bremelanotide has a well-established safety profile, and a majority of participants tolerate the medication well. The FDA has approved it to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder.

Side Effects of Bremelanotide

As with all studies, there are outliers. A minority of women administered  Bremelanotide reported nausea, vomiting, and flushing. The symptoms of nausea usually improved following another dose. No one reported severe injection site reactions, and many women continued administration of the medication despite the side effects.

Additionally, Bremelanotide may cause localized darkening of the skin, as it originates from a tanning agent. We recommend patient’s to stop using Bremelanotide if hyperpigmentation persists. 

Participants in other studies also reported elevated blood pressure levels as a side effect. These events did not occur more than once, and an increase in blood pressure or lowering of heart rate would often resolve after 12 hours. In general,  people with uncontrolled hypertension and cardiovascular disease should not take Bremelanotide. If you are taking Naltrexone for opioid or alcohol addiction, do not take Bremelanotide. It may cause an adverse reaction due to drug-interactions.

Women that suffer from female sexual dysfunction can feel distressed from a lack of sexual arousal. Many have difficulty relaxing due to their responsibilities and external stresses. However, getting control over your sexuality is key to living a life of happiness and satisfaction.

Here at Well Life ABQ, we offer intranasal Bremelanotide for women suffering from FSD. Our team of healthcare experts can also provide an assessment to determine what form of therapy is best for you. If you’re looking to get back your ‘mood and groove’, get in touch with us today!

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Getting a proper diet is already a challenge for most of us living in the “fast lane”. A typical morning breakfast in your home may be toast or cornflakes with milk. Sometimes you miss out on breakfast as you whisk your way to the office. You possibly popped a few vitamins. You may eat a quick lunch later. And then partake in a hearty dinner when you get back home after a long day’s work.

You might think you’re getting all the nutrients you need, right? Chances are…no.  The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 reported these facts:

You may think taking vitamins and supplements compensate for the lack of foods you eat. This idea is not totally accurate, according to The Harris Polls in 2018. It surveyed adults 18 years old and above.  

The American Osteopathic Association requested the online research.The results show  86% of adults take supplements and vitamins. But, about 21% of them revealed to be suffering from nutritional deficiency. These statistics highlight the importance of nutrition.

Well Life ABQ offers nutritional counselling should you need one. You may book an appointment with us at  505 585 2345. For the meantime, read through the blog to know the best ever solution to proper nutrition at your workplace.

What is Nutrition?

Nutrition is the process of eating food for the body to survive and even thrive. Nutrients provide the energy the body needs to function and stay healthy. Carbohydrates, lipids or fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water compose the six essential nutrients.

How Does Poor Nutrition Affect You?

Unhealthy eating habits lead to nutritional deficiency. You may skip a meal when you’re in a hurry to catch a meeting. Or you might quickly consume an unhealthy, processed meal. The quality of food and drink also matters. Some people may consume too many sugars, salts, and bad fats. Few people eat enough vegetables.

Poor work performance can be due to poor nutrition. It reduces your ability to work and function properly. In time, you may develop health-related problems and illnesses. Some of these are obesity, high blood pressure or cholesterol, heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer. Poor performance affects your productivity and the organization, too. For the employer, it means greater costs of health or medical insurance. It also indicates a loss in profit due to employee underproductivity or absences.

Now that you know about these realities, you may want to take a closer look at your food choices. You may consider shifting to a healthier eating pattern. Let’s first work on your nutrients. Then, we’ll proceed to your nutrition at the workplace.

What is the Proper Diet for Adults?

Many factors are considered when calculating the recommended calorie intake for adults. These include age, sex, weight, height, and level of physical activity. The estimated range for females is from 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day. For men, it’s 2,000 to 3,000 calories. Nutritional intake of macronutrients, minerals, and vitamins also depends on sex and age. These are specific components found in your foods and drinks. Available online is a detailed table of Nutritional Goals for Age-Sex Groups Based in Dietary Reference Intakes and Dietary Guidelines Recommendations.

How Can You Count Calories?

You can count calories by adding up the food and drinks you’ve consumed. If you’re eating packaged foods, refer to the nutrition labels. The chart shows you the contents and the specific nutrients and total calories. There are also online calorie calculators to determine calorie counts for non-packaged foods and drinks.  Pay close attention to serving sizings.

What is MyPlate?

Other than counting calories, your eating pattern is also essential .  Healthy  eating habits inspired the launch of the MyPlate campaign.It focuses on the nutritional value, serving size, and variety of food recommended. These should contain fewer  sugars, salts, and bad fats. 

You may start by making a meal plan built to your healthy eating pattern. Based on the MyPlate guide, your plate should contain the  five basic food groups. These are vegetables, fruits, grains, protein, and dairy. MyPlate applies to everyone.  

You can check out the guide, which has categories based on age. Yet, there are other kinds of healthy diets.  Another plan  I prefer is the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) Healthy Eating Plate.  This guide is currently similar to the USDA My Plate, but  wasn’t always the case.  

The HSPH guidelines included healthy fats and reduced grains for almost ten years before the USDA guideline  updated their recommendations.   Heavy  lobbying efforts keep USDA guidelines bogged down.   

Any changes in the USDA guidelines have significant  financial implications on the various food industries because school lunches follow these recommendations  Furthermore,   The  Department  of Agriculture manages the USDA guidelines, but the Department of Health and Human Services needs to handle these guidelines. 

What are the Other Kinds of  Diets?

The U.S. News & World Report conducted its yearly assessment of 35 diets. The expert panel was composed of 25 of the country’s top healthcare providers who specialize in diabetes, heart disease, and weight loss. There were dietary consultants and nutritionists, too.  In its January 2020 report, the Mediterranean Diet ranked as the best diet. This diet ranked first for the third consecutive year. The DASH and Flexitarian diets were tied in second place. The USDA also listed the Mediterranean diet as a healthy eating pattern.

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

The origin of the diet is in the Mediterranean region. Ancel Keys, an American physiologist, promoted the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. He pointed out the link between the diet and its effect on heart disease. This diet consists of red, orange, and dark-green vegetables. Included are legumes and starchy vegetables. Fruits and oils of any kind are acceptable, particularly olive oil. The rest are whole and refined grains, seafood, meats, poultry, nuts, seeds, and soy products. But , it contains less of the daily recommended intake of calcium and vitamin D you’d need.

What is the DASH Diet?

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) program was designed by experts from the National Institutes of Health. It  helps prevent and lower high blood pressure. The DASH diet consists of less salt, low fat, and more calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Also, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy make up the DASH diet. It promotes moderate portions of fish, poultry, nuts, and whole grains. Fats, red meat, and sweets are allowed in small amounts  But  weight loss isn’t intended with this diet. And it may not be appropriate for you. People with chronic kidney or liver disease need to consider this diet with caution. 

What is the Flexitarian Diet?

Dawn Jackson Blatner, a dietician, created the Flexitarian (flexible and vegetarian) diet.   The Flexitarian diet mostly consists of whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits. It substitutes animal meats with plant proteins. Like the Mediterranean diet, foods come from natural and less processed sources. It’s low in  sugar, too. Unlike the DASH diet, the Flexitarian diet is intended  for weight loss. But , you may be prone to nutrient deficiencies. You might miss out on Vitamins B12, calcium, and iron. The same goes for omega-3 fatty acids and zinc.

Top Ways to Promote Proper Diet in the Workplace 

  1. Baseline health and medical data: Employees need to write down all pre-existing medical conditions. They will list  their lifestyle activities, habits, and other health-related information. Based on this data, we assess the general health condition of employees. And, we recommend health and nutrition interventions to the management. It’s best to ensure employees that a privacy policy is in place.

There are various ways to determine the nutritional status of your employees:

  1. Weight loss: Encourage your employees to opt for a more active lifestyle. A study shows  a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diets may result in weight gain. This impacts work productivity, according to another study. Employee-sponsored weight loss programs are helpful for employees who are trying to lose weight.

  2. Nutritional education or counseling: Nutritional education is a useful tool in improving your  employees’ nutrition status. Some of these topics are about various diets, essential nutrients, and weight control.  A  primary approach in managing many diseases consists of nutritional counseling. Unlike nutritional education, nutritional counseling is individually-centered.

  3. Cafeteria food choices:  In the end, offer healthier food, beverages, and snack choices in the cafeteria.   A variety of foods need to be available to give employees options.  The key is your food should contain the primary five food groups mentioned earlier. 

  4. Replace soda, sugary stuff, and chips with healthier alternatives in vending machines. Try to offer natural vegetable or fruit drinks. Instead of chocolate bars, offer nutrition-filled energy bars. There are also healthy chips with less salt, zero bad fats, and no preservatives.

Proper Diet | Nutrition for you and your workplace

Proper nutrition is essential for employees as this impacts their health and productivity. The right diet, regular exercise, and weight management are the key factors. We can perform a thorough nutritional assessment to determine the nutritional status of your employees.

You may call us at the Well Life ABQ for more information about laboratory tests for nutritional status, weight loss, and nutritional counseling – a direct primary care provider near you – 505 585 2345.

proper diet at workplace nutririon

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The prevalence of low Vitamin B12 is high among people who are between 26- to 49 year-olds. Vitamin B12 deficiency is treatable.

You may take Vitamin B12 supplements by mouth. Vitamin B12 injections or shots are also useful  in treating  Vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 shots boost  Vitamin B12 quickly. It bypasses the digestive system and goes directly into your tissues. It works for people who are unresponsive to oral supplements and severely deficient.

For more information about Vitamin  B12, call us at the Injection and Infusion Clinic of ABQ at 505-445-4300. Or book your Vitamin B12 shot online today. 

A lack of Vitamin B12 can cause many health problems. It affects your heart, physical performance, and cognitive functions. This blog shares with you the importance of  Vitamin B12:

What is Vitamin B12?

It is known as cobalamin, is a naturally occurring water-soluble vitamin. It’s essential in energy and red blood cell production, DNA synthesis, and proper nerve and neurological function. 

Protein-rich foods such as eggs, meats, and dairy contain  Vitamin B12. It’s not present in vegetables, but breakfast cereals can be fortified with it. The Office of Dietary Supplements recommends a daily intake of 2.4 mcg of Vitamin B12 for adults and children four years and older.

It comes in various forms. The natural-occurring B12 vitamins are methylcobalamin (MeCbl), adenosylcobalamin (AdCbl), and hydroxycobalamin (Cbl). These bioidentical forms can be found in foods and supplements. The synthetic form, cyanocobalamin is found in supplements. A study reveals that bioidentical forms are superior in safety and bioavailability than cyanocobalamin.

Vitamin B12, specifically MeCbl in combination with AdCbl or Cbl, corrects B12 deficiency. Clinical evidence shows it’s effective as a supplement given by mouth or injection. Another study suggests methylcobalamin as a potential pain killer. It improves nerve conduction and helps in regrowing damaged nerves. The researchers of the study noted methylcobalamin alleviated low back pain, neuralgia, and diabetic neuropathy.

Causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

An autoimmune condition, malabsorption, or insufficient intake of Vitamin B12 can cause a  deficiency . 

Autoimmune condition: Pernicious anemia is a type of megaloblastic anemia. It’s a blood disorder characterized by the lack of intrinsic factor. A  protein,  intrinsic factor aids your intestines to absorb  Vitamin B12. With a lack of intrinsic factor, the intestines can’t get enough  Vitamin B12. The body can’t produce enough red blood cells because there isn’t enough  Vitamin  B12. It affects 1% to 2% of adults.

Malabsorption: Individuals with gastrointestinal disorders can’t absorb enough Vitamin  B12. Gastrointestinal disorders include Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and infestation from a tapeworm or Diphyllobothrium latum. Older adults and people who have undergone weight loss or gastrointestinal surgery are also at risk. 

Insufficient intake of  Vitamin B12 happens among vegetarians and strict vegans. People who eat all plant-based food may lack the recommended intake of  Vitamin B12. Researchers published a cohort study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study reveals vegetarians and vegans have low concentrations of  Vitamin B12. 

What are the Symptoms  of Vitamin B12 Deficiency ?

The prevalence rate of  Vitamin B12 deficiency ranges from 1.5% to 15% in the general population. Symptoms include:

Six Potential Benefits of Vitamin  B12

Prevents anemia: High-dose  Vitamin B12 taken by mouth or injected intramuscularly are effective in correcting anemia related to B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 helps prevent megaloblastic anemia. Megaloblastic anemia is  acquired due to a lack of  Vitamin B12. 

Huge  red blood cells characterize  megaloblastic anemia, but fewer red blood cells appear.  Due to its size, it can’t move out of the bone marrow into the bloodstream. When this happens, there are not enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to the parts of your body. You feel weak or tired as a result.

Prevents congenital disabilities: Lack of  Vitamin B12 to women and their fetus, have detrimental effects. Women may experience infertility and abortions due to  Vitamin B12 deficiency. For pregnant women, it may cause a risk of birth defects and preterm birth. 

Researchers found  low levels of Vitamin B12 were evident among mothers of children with neural tube defects. Vitamin B12 levels of <250 ng/L may pose three times the risk of birth defects. Women who want to become pregnant should have concentrations of Vitamin  B12 >300 ng/L to 400 ng/L.

Improves mood and depressive symptoms:  Vitamin B12 aids in synthesizing serotonin chemicals in the brain that regulate mood. A lack of  Vitamin B12 may decrease serotonin, which results in mood disorders such as depression. 

A study revealed  lower  Vitamin B12 levels caused  a higher risk of melancholic depressive symptoms. Vitamin B12 deficiency also increased the risk of severe depression two-fold among older women. 

Management of depression may include  Vitamin B12. A study reveals   Vitamin B12 with antidepressants improved depressive symptoms. 

May reduce risk of neurological disorders: There have been studies conducted that dispel claims that  Vitamin B12 improves cognitive function. Researchers need to complete further studies to have adequate evidence to support it. 

However, some studies reveal otherwise. Some research studies  linked  anorexia, apathy, irritability, growth retardation, and developmental regression as Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms. The study cited that Vitamin  B12 is essential in keeping the brain healthy. 

Vitamin B12 supplements may prevent damage to the nervous system, which leads to mental decline and disorders. Among people with mild cognitive impairment,  Vitamin B12 with omega-3 fatty acid may slow the decline. The rate of brain deterioration also declines with  Vitamin B12 plus folate.

Low levels of  Vitamin B12 are associated with poor memory. A study suggests that  Vitamin B12 supplementation may improve memory function.

Boosts energy and fights fatigue: A study shows that  Vitamin B12 deficiency affects physical performance.  Vitamin B12 supplementation corrects it.  However, athletes with a well-balanced diet won’t benefit from it because they already have sufficient amounts. 

“Can vitamin supplements improve sports performance?” Physically active individuals may take vitamin supplements to prevent vitamin deficiency based on the recommended dietary allowance.

A 2020 review shows vitamins and minerals play a vital role in energy, fatigue, and cognition. It includes B vitamins. According to the researchers, vitamins and minerals are needed for energy production. 

Moreover, vitamins and minerals aid in carrying oxygen to the brain and muscles through red blood cells. Note that iron and B vitamins play a critical role in the development of red blood cells.

The researchers concluded that vitamin and mineral supplementation might contribute to physical, psychological, and cognitive health. It may decrease perceived mental and physical fatigue.

Supports immune system: Vitamin B12 plays a role in the regulation of the immune system. However, the exact mechanism is still unclear. Researchers conducted a study among people with  Vitamin B12 deficiency. 

They found that the  Vitamin B12 deficient participants had decreased lymphocytes. They also exhibited abnormally high CD4/CD8 ratios and low Natural Killer (NK) cell activity. CD4/CD8 and NK lymphocytes are vital in fighting bacteria and viruses. Any changes in the ratio of lymphocytes may increase your risk of catching infections.

The study reveals  Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) injection therapy restored lymphocytes. Vitamin B12 shots also improved CD4/CD8 T cell ratio and NK cell activity. It highlights  Vitamin B12 as an “immunomodulator for cellular immunity.”

How Long Do Vitamin B12 Shots Last?

The effects depend on how your body reacts to the Vitamin B12 shots. These shots are   absorbed rapidly within 48 hours after injection. At this time, about 50% to 98% of the dose may appear in your urine. 

A severely deficient person may get five to seven B12 shots in the first week of therapy. Once Vitamin B12 levels become normal, Vitamin B12 shots should be given at least every three months   to prevent relapse. Most patients prefer a weekly shot for the most energy.

Vitamin B12 may be stored in your body for 3 to 5 years. . Depending on your lifestyle and health condition, your Vitamin B12 level fluctuates. A liver disorder may affect  Vitamin B12 storage since Vitamin B12 is stored in the liver. Liver disorders include ascites, cholestasis, hepatic encephalopathy, jaundice, and portal hypertension.

Vitamin B12: Potential Side Effects

Vitamin B12 shots are safe, effective, and well-tolerated for preventing or correcting a deficiency. You may experience pain or redness at the injection site as a temporary discomfort. There’s no risk for toxicity except if you have a kidney problem. You can pass it out of your body through urination since it is water-soluble. 

In general, other side effects are mild diarrhea or itching all over your body. People must be cautious if they have allergies, medical conditions and are taking medication. Vitamin B12 shots may affect people with the following conditions:

Vitamin B12 interacts with other medications:

How Much is the Cost of Vitamin B12 Shots?

Vitamin B12 injections at the Injection Infusion Clinic of ABQ cost $24.81. Take note  we use activated Vitamin B12 shots made up of methylcobalamin or hydroxocobalamin. It performs better and safer than cyanocobalamin, which contains cyanide.

Take the Shot

Vitamin B12 shots are beneficial for people suffering from Vitamin B12 deficiency.  If you have this condition or think you may already have this condition, talk to us about it at the Injection and Infusion Clinic of ABQ  505-445-5030.

vitamin b12 guideline benefits well life abq

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M — The charging of surprise medical bills is finally banned by Congress, a move that has been hindered for several years by well-funded interests. Surprise medical bills remain to be one of the most costly and frustrating practices in medicine.

Surprise Medical Bills: How Does It Happen?

It happens when an out-of-network provider is referred and then renders services for a specific patient’s care.  For example, an emergency room physician treats a patient whose insurance covers the hospital, but the doctor may be out of network.  This can also happen during a hospitalization.  The patient is sent to radiology and the radiologist that reads the image, is out of network.  Patients have no control over this and it is/was infuriating.

Unfortunately, these services often cost more than usual…and can be denied by insurance companies outright. 

The $900 billion stimulus package that passed both chambers carefully stipulated a list of significant policy initiatives, including a ban against surprise medical bills. These medical bills are made explicitly illegal. 

This “emergency relief bill”  is an essential measure against surprise medical bills, which frequently occur when a patient receives treatment from an out-of-network provider. Instead of passing the burden of the charges on to the patients, these out-of-network health providers are obliged to coordinate with insurers in settling for a fair price. Changes take effect by 2022 and cover doctors, hospitals, and air ambulances. 

Ground ambulances are exempted for this, however. Lawmakers implied the variety of providers, multiple state and local regulations, and lack of in-depth information regarding the overall maintenance of ground ambulances might delay and jeopardize the bill’s passage. Lawmakers, however, have taken measures to study the problem of ground ambulance bills. 

Previous studies have noted that 71% of ambulance rides involve potential surprise medical bills. A median surprise bill equivalent to $450  accounted for ground transportation and $21,698 for air transportation. However, air ambulances, because this mode of transportation is less common than ground ambulances, remains covered.

Prevalence of Surprise Medical Bills

Academic researchers have noted that millions of emergency visits and hospital admissions left Americans with extensive insurance coverage at the mercy of a surprise medical bill. A study indicated that one out of five inpatient emergency room cases might lead to these charges. This study, citing specifically that in 2014,  20% of hospital inpatient admissions originated from the emergency department, 14% of outpatient emergency room cases, and 9% of elective inpatient admissions are prone to have a surprise medical bill. 

Some private-equity firms have taken advantage of the situation by turning surprise medical billing into a robust business model. Outsourcing of emergency room staff and moving providers out of the network became a move that potentially boosted hospital income. 

The issue of surprise billing was an opportunity for both political parties to agree. It has been a long-term problem of health committee leaders, and Washington has finally found itself in a genuine policy debate that is not politically driven. Mr. Trump and the current administration have actively tackled various initiatives to increase price transparency in the healthcare industry. President Joe Biden included the proposal in his campaign as part of his health care plan. Senator Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health Committee and a Republican of Tennessee, is one of the renowned and influential lawmakers supporting the bill. 

According to a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, eighty percent of adults want the practice prohibited.  There are no federal laws banning the practice, but 32 states have already enacted laws protecting healthcare enrollees from balance bills. Still, the issue grappled moving past Congress as each policy proposal was met by an opposition from the healthcare or insurance industry. 

A resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute named Benedic Ippolito relays that despite the issue being non-partisan, targeted, specific, and resonating well with voters, it was still tricky. He adds though many things have been working altogether in the bill’s favor, extra effort is still needed to surpass the obstacles and oppositions against it. Ippolito had helped explain the issues on surprise medical bills to the lawmakers as the new bill was in its early beginnings.

To defeat solutions that potentially lower their pay, hospitals and doctors stand their ground fighting against the bill. On the other hand, insurance companies and large employer groups maintain their wish to have a more vital ability in negotiating for lower payments towards medical providers currently sending surprise bills. Ask Us About Affordable Healthcare

The Debate Around Surprise Medical Bills

Nearly approved last December, this legislation was a tough battle, but providers lobbied aggressively against the bill and it was thwarted once again. Private-equity firms splurged tens of millions of dollars on commercials contradicting the bill. They argue such action will lead to doctor shortages, the closure of some hospitals, and the inability to access medical care in rural and underserved communities. 

As a result, Committee chairs squabbled over jurisdictional issues, and at the last minute, the bill was postponed. This year, legislators tried again while moderating several conditions that may be unacceptable to an influential doctor and hospital lobbies. Although the current version may not do as much to lower health care costs as the previous version, the current version will still protect patients and work on their behalf. After experiencing recurrent setbacks, consumer advocacy groups applauded the new legislation.

According to Frederick Isasi, executive director of Families USA, the bill was about “Congress recognizing in a bipartisan way the obscenity of families who were paying insurance still having financial bombs going off.” For him, this was a triumph for the “American people against moneyed interests.”

Furthermore, the final compromise in the No Surprises Act 12 requires insurers and medical providers to tap the services of an outside authority or an “arbiter” in deciding for a payment rate if they could not agree on a specific rate. 

This arbiter, an independent, unbiased entity, shall assess and determine a fair amount, which compares what other medical providers and hospitals usually pay for similar or comparable services. The arbiter is required to consider the median in-network rate in the decision-making process. Patients are only required to pay for in-network cost-sharing amounts and nothing more. How To Get Discounted Medications in ABQ

Banning of Surprise Medical Bills: “A Definite Win”

Compared to other proposals Congress had considered, this bill appears to be more beneficial towards health care providers. The proposal enforced in California is said to have angered doctors because of the minimized role of arbiters and pre-identified, benchmarked reimbursement rates.   Several states found out the most price disputes are settled and negotiated before an arbiter is needed. 

Christopher Garmon, an assistant professor of health administration from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, gauged the extent of the problem and said the bill is a “definite win for everybody” if it forces them to step out and negotiate a solution. 

Although surprise bills stemming from the use of air ambulances are infrequent, these tend to be huge. Hence, this new regulation will bar air ambulances from charging patients surprise bills. For instance, a Pennsylvania coronavirus patient who was unconscious was billed a whopping $52,112 for flight facilitating transfer between two hospitals. States that ban surprise bills can’t discuss cases such as this because federal law prohibits them from regulating air transit fees. 

The new law excludes ground ambulances, often a source of a significant amount of surprise bills. 

The Congressional Budget Officer found out a previous version of the bill would cause small reductions in payments towards affected providers (especially emergency room doctors and anesthesiologists) working in facilities where surprise bills are likely. Both providers, those who send or do not send surprise bills, are affected by this law because eliminating the option reduces their influence on contracts with health insurers.

The new legislation gained a negative reaction among health insurers, while hospitals and physicians gave a mixed response. Health insurers even cited the coronavirus pandemic as a valid reason to delay the passage of a new bill. 

A letter from the American Medical Association,  submitted to the congressional leaders, cited they “oppose enactment of the bill in its current form.”They stated this was because it would significantly disadvantage already stressed physician practices, especially small physician practices that don’t have the resources to take advantage of the IDR process. This process allows physicians to obtain fair compensation for their services.” The AMA further expressed concern over the bill’s tendency to “strain the ability of small practices to keep their doors open,” especially over what has happened for the last ten months. 

After specifically quoting their concerns,  the AMA insisted “now is not the time to adopt flawed surprise billing legislation”, and they want their provisions reconsidered.

A large private-equity-owned physician staffing firm known as TeamHealth expressed approval for the bill, calling it a significant improvement for the past two years in terms of proposals advanced by major insurance companies. TeamHealth was previously engaged in surprise billing practices.

On another note, the bill gained the support of the American Hospital Association (the country’s largest hospital group) and the Federation of American Hospitals, which represent private hospitals.

Ouch! Does your head hurt at the mention of the word migraine? As you may know, a migraine is much more than just a bad headache. In addition to throbbing head pain, individuals with migraines may experience double vision, nausea, and sensitivity to light. As these episodes can be intense and unexpected, people that suffer from migraines are often forced to stop whatever they are doing and lie down.

Due to COVID-19, many people are experiencing an increased number of migraines. This is likely due to environmental changes, such as differences in light, climate, or even a new workplace.

If you’ve been experiencing these symptoms, here are some ways you can fight back against the mighty migraine.

What is a Migraine?

A migraine is a neurological condition that affects both children and adults. Migraines are characterized by a throbbing, splitting pain that is typically located on an area of the head. Some sufferers also experience nausea, vomiting, tingling sensations, and sensitivity to external stimuli such as light and sound.

What Triggers Migraines?

There are many different factors that can trigger a migraine – caffeine intake, , food triggers, hormonal triggers, lack of sleep, fluorescent lighting, and stress all contribute to migraine episodes. However, even without these factors, migraines can still occur from out of nowhere. 

How to Reduce Migraines at Work

To this day, no one knows the exact cause of migraines. However, it is clear that some migraines are brought on because of environmental factors. Any external stimuli that trigger our five senses can also trigger migraines.

As an employer, you want to adjust the work environment to lessen the risk of employees being sidelined by a migraine.  You can consider a no-perfume policy as well as encourage a quiet workplace. If possible, dim the lights in the office. People that suffer from migraines are often sensitive to bright lights. As a result, creating a comfortable work environment will help to prevent migraines.

If you are an employee that suffers from migraines, dim the lights in your office as well as your computer screen. Computer screens emit blue-light, which can also trigger migraine episodes. If you find it difficult to stare at a computer screen all day, blue-light blocking glasses can help to take some of the edge off. You can also purchase an anti-glare filter for your computer monitor.

Lastly, stress can also contribute to migraine episodes. Employees that face upcoming deadlines, or have a lot of things on their plate are especially prone to migraines. If you’re feeling overworked, talk to your employer and come up with a plan to reduce stress. You’ll also be reducing the frequency of migraines. 

Green Light for Migraine Relief

As mentioned earlier, light sensitivity is a common symptom of migraines. Unfortunately, many offices contain fluorescent lights, which are a known trigger for  migraines. If your office lights are unbearable, consider using green light as an alternative. According to Harvard researchers, they found that when migraine sufferers were exposed to green light, the severity of their migraines was greatly reduced. Pick up a green light lamp or light bulb today, and see if it makes a difference.

What Can an Employer Do When an Employee is Missing Work for Migraines?

Statistics show over 90% of migraine sufferers are unable to work when experiencing a migraine. Coupled with the fact that migraines affect a large percentage of people, there’s a good reason to believe that as an employer, you will encounter at least one employee who is unable to work due to migraine headaches.

To help your employees maintain productivity, you’ll want to be aware of a few things. First, it’s important to know that employees that experience migraines at work may fall under the same protection as employees with disabilities or major illnesses. In fact, according to employment law, migraines count as a serious illness; and in some cases, may even qualify as a disability.

When an employee is experiencing migraines at work, it is important to offer them additional accommodations. Some of these include:

 Flexible hours: Letting your employees set their own hours greatly helps them out. As migraines can appear at any time, they’ll appreciate the freedom to stop working when an episode gets triggered. Once the migraine subsides, they can return to work without fear of being chastised.

 Working from home: Due to COVID-19, many companies allow their employees to work remotely. For those suffering from migraines, working from home may act as a permanent solution. Employees that work from home have the freedom to change the environment to suit their needs. As a result, this can prevent or alleviate the frequency of migraines. It also allows employees to lie down when necessary, which speeds up the recovery process. 

• A migraine-friendly break room: If space allows it, try creating a migraine-friendly space at the office. To prevent accidental stimulation that may trigger a migraine episode, ensure it’s a dark, quiet room with comfortable seating.

 Isolate the employee: Employees that have difficulty with migraines at work can be isolated as an accommodation. Similar to a migraine-friendly break room, the goal is to create a safe space for employees to work in. You can do this by ensuring the room is dimly-lit, as well as a fragrance-free zone. Keep the space quiet and provide noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs if necessary.

 Fluorescent light filters: If dimming the lights isn’t an option, consider using fluorescent light filters to create a more natural light source. This helps to reduce the effects of bright fluorescent lights, and prevent migraines.

Through Well Life ABQ’s Employer Direct Primary Care (DPC) program, your employees can now get 24/7 care and access to healthcare. We have multiple options that help manage migraines and other health concerns for the long-term. This is a huge benefit to your employee increasing their productivity at work. Contact Well Life ABQ today.

Standard Solutions for Migraine Attacks 

Besides finding a dark room and laying down, medication can also be used to treat migraines. This choice of medication usually depends on how severe the headache is, and what works best for the individual.  For those with mild to moderate migraine headaches, simple pain-relievers like NSAIDs or acetaminophen can be used.

For moderate to severe migraine headaches, oral triptans and ergots are a common first choice. Some examples of oral triptans include eletriptan, zolmitriptan and sumatriptan.   A one-time injection of toradol is very effective.  Well Life ABQ also has the ability to provide something called an SPG nerve block and/or a magnesium infusion.

When migraine headaches are associated with nausea or vomiting, an antiemetic drug is usually prescribed in conjunction with pain relievers. Examples of these drugs include phenergan or zofran, which help to reduce vomiting and nausea.

In cases of debilitating or severe migraine headaches wherein none of the initial interventions work, if your employee does not have a DPC provider, they may need  to visit an urgent care or emergency room where IV medications are always readily available. As you may also experience intractable vomiting and severe nausea, being under the supervision of healthcare workers is recommended. .

According to Smith (2020), the following medications are some of the standard first-line treatments for severe migraine attacks:

At Well Life ABQ, our Direct Primary Care clinic can provide your member employees with fast-acting parenteral medication to help you feel better. We also carry toradol shots, which provide quick relief from severe migraine attacks, as well as migraine medications such as NSAIDs, triptans and antiemetics.  

Other Preventive Measures for Migraine Headaches

Instead of reaching for medication whenever migraines occur, it’s much more efficient to simply prevent them from happening in the first place. Good sleeping habits and regular exercise can help to prevent migraine headaches, as well as knowing exactly what triggers them.

Food sensitivity testing can also help to prevent migraines. Some studies have linked inflammation from certain foods as a trigger for migraine headaches. Thus, it is beneficial to  know what foods you may be allergic to, in order to prevent triggering an inflammatory response.

Food sensitivity testing makes use of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect the presence of IgG (antibodies) against specific food allergens. A normal panel test contains over 100 different food allergens to narrow down what causes inflammation. Once a specific allergen is identified, you want to avoid food that contains that allergen to prevent and reduce the frequency of migraines.

For women, migraine headaches can also be linked to hormonal imbalances. “Menstrual migraines” usually occur 2 days or 3 days before or after a woman’s period. These headaches are caused by changing levels of estrogen and progesterone – a sudden drop in these hormones can trigger a migraine attack.  A comprehensive treatment plan should include preventive options when migraines occur “on schedule”. 

Birth control pills are another option. These pills have been found to either worsen or possibly relieve migraines. For women that are prone to menstrual migraines, they should take birth control pills with lower concentrations of estrogen and progesterone.

Similar to birth control pills, pregnancy can also exacerbate or lessen migraine attacks depending on which trimester the mother is in. If you are pregnant, consult with a doctor before taking any medication to check if it’s safe for the baby.

Migraine headaches can be a real pain. Our direct primary care clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico can help to relieve the pain of migraines, as well as lessen the frequency of them. 

At Well Life ABQ, we have solutions to help you combat migraine-induced side effects, as well as any other health issues you may be facing. We also offer direct primary care plans that provide many advantages over traditional healthcare methods.

DPC offers cost-saving benefits for both employees and employers, and makes the treatment process much more enjoyable. If you’re looking to be treated with the care and attention you deserve, get in touch with us today to find out how we can help!

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Prostate problems are common among many men as they age.  The symptoms make starting the urinary stream harder.  The urine is retained in the bladder and doesn’t empty,  so you have to go more often.  Routinely waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom is not considered normal.  And that urine hanging around in your bladder can lead to infection. 

You may have a condition termed lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) suggestive of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Basically, urinary problems are simply due to an enlarged prostate.

Good news! Well Life ABQ has two options for our members.  One is an herbal combination, and we are now carrying Tamsulosin for only $7-$8 per month… WITHOUT INSURANCE. Allow us to tell you why it’s effective and safe, how it works, and why it’s a better option than other therapies.

Prostate Solution: Tamsulosin is Effective and Safe

How it Works: Three Pathways to Explain its Mechanisms of Action

1. Five (5)-alpha pathway

Both the herbal combination and Tamsulosin push back on something called the 5-alpha pathway.  This push back is what we call the “mechanism of action.” Let’s back up a smidge, though.  An enlarging prostate causes all these urinary retention symptoms.  And the prostate enlarges in response to a hormone called 5a-DHT, which is a metabolite of testosterone. 

If your body is genetically predisposed to prefer the 5-alpha pathway, you will have more chances to get prostate symptoms. A 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor reduces the size of the prostate. As an inhibitor, it blocks the primary hormone responsible for the prostate’s growth. 

2. Five (5)-bravo pathway  

In addition to this 5-alpha pathway, there is a 5-bravo pathway. This pathway behaves itself. It’s a weaker androgen as compared to the 5-alpha pathway that is most androgen-potent. Androgen is a group of hormones, including testosterone, responsible for male characteristics and their development. This group is responsible for the growth of your facial hair, sex organs, and muscles.  By pushing back on the 5-alpha pathway, we encourage the 5-bravo pathway to solve your problem.

3. Aromatase pathway

There is a third pathway called aromatase.  This pathway typically occurs when the bucket overfloweth.  So, this overflow happens with testosterone replacement or testosterone abuse.  Aromatase causes testosterone to turn into a form of estrogen called estradiol.  This aromatization is why men, especially testosterone abusers – grow boobs or gynecomastia.  Gynecomastia differs from a 5-alpha preference.  Aromatase inhibitors specifically address this condition.

If you are experiencing this symptom, we can help. We see this a lot with men receiving testosterone replacement from clinics promoting and providing this high-dose replacement. The two most popular programs are BioTe and Testopel for hormonal imbalance.

What are BioTe and Testopel? | Addressing Prostate Symptoms 

BioTe is a bioidentical testosterone pellet therapy that brings depleted testosterone back to its optimal level. It works by replicating and replenishing the hormones in men and women alike. Testopel is another pellet brand similar to BioTe. Men (and women) have these kinds of pellets implanted under their skin.

We agree it feels great to feel superhuman, but there is a dark side.  These super-high levels lead to too many red blood cells and increase inflammation.  This little duo of side effects increases your risk of heart attacks and strokes.  

Adverse Effects of High-Dose Testosterone  Replacement  Therapy

15,401 men aged 45 years and older participated in a study about the adverse effects of high-dose replacement therapy. It revealed men who took testosterone replacement therapy or TRT were 21% more at risk of heart-related incidents. Men who continuously used TRT were at high risk between 6 months to 2 years of continued use.

This super high replacement therapy also causes prostate enlargement in a high percentage of men. The FDA mandated a warning about TRT among men with BPH because it increases the risk of aggravating symptoms of an already enlarged prostate.

We recently had a new member at the clinic that had been to the ER due to prostate enlargement. It was so severe, he had a complete urinary blockage, and he needed catheterization.   Not fun!  Probably in the top 10 of men’s worst nightmares.  

We reviewed his medical history and found he had started high-dose testosterone replacement about 12 months prior.  Polycythemia or high red blood cell counts lead to this same person being instructed to donate blood regularly.  Never once was he told this could all be related to him starting testosterone replacement!  We started him on tamsulosin (the 5-alpha blocker) and decreased his testosterone levels to an optimal range.

Tamsulosin is a drug classified as a selective alpha-blocker. It’s used to treat symptoms of BPH but not to shrink the prostate. Rather, it relaxes the muscles of the prostate, including the bladder. This relaxation of the muscles is why it helps to relieve your difficulty in starting the stream of your urine, weak stream, and your need to pee often at night.

Before you start taking Tamsulosin, tell us about the other medications you are taking or planning to take. Include your allergies to specific medicines, if any. Let us know if you have or had kidney or liver disease or prostate cancer.

Is Tamsulosin For You? 

At the start of the therapy, you may feel lightheaded or dizzy, but it gets better. This “first dose phenomenon” was observed among men aged 45 to 80 years old in the US. A total of 383,567 new users served as subjects in this Tamsulosin drug study. It included 2,562 hospital admissions linked to severely low blood pressure

The researchers concluded that hypotension occurred during the first eight weeks at the start and restart of the therapy.  Therapy starters were able to tolerate the low blood pressure if they were aware it was temporary. 

Like any drug, you have to consider its potential side effects and its benefits. The more common side effects are pain or difficulty in passing urine. You may experience lower side or back pain with or without fever or chills. Coughing, hoarseness, and chest pain are also side effects. Some of these side effects don’t need medical attention and go away as you progress with Tamsulosin.

Let Us Know

Don’t let your problem get any bigger. As a primary care provider, we treat, improve and prevent many conditions, including prostate enlargement.  We are also able to provide hormone replacement therapy safely and effectively.  All Well Life ABQ at 505 585 2345 today.

Get in Touch

Questions or concerns? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via our contact form or email!

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