Condition Closeup: Community-Acquired Pneumonia

Community-acquired pneumonia is much more common than most people realize.

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Community-Acquired Pneumonia: A Common and Serious Health Concern

Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a widespread and potentially serious infection of the lungs that affects millions of people each year. Acquired outside of healthcare settings, CAP can range from mild to severe and can lead to significant complications if not treated promptly and appropriately. Understanding its prevalence, causes, symptoms, risks, and treatment options is crucial for effective management and prevention of serious health outcomes.

Prevalence and Causes

CAP is a common illness, particularly during the fall and winter months. It is one of the leading causes of hospitalization and death worldwide, especially among the elderly, young children, and individuals with underlying health conditions. The condition is primarily caused by bacterial pathogens, with the most common being Streptococcus pneumoniae. Other bacteria, such as Haemophilus influenzae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydophila pneumoniae, and Legionella pneumophila, can also cause CAP.

 

| CAP is the second most common cause of hospitalizations and the most common infectious cause of death among adults in the U.S., resulting in 4.5 million outpatient or emergency room visits annually. |

 

 

How People Often Get It

People can contract CAP through various means, most commonly through inhalation of respiratory droplets containing infectious pathogens. This can occur through:

 

  • Close contact with an infected person: Being near someone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Aspiration: Inhaling food, drink, or vomit into the lungs.
  • Underlying health conditions: Chronic illnesses like COPD, diabetes, or heart disease can increase susceptibility.
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Symptoms

The symptoms of CAP can range from mild to severe and typically include:

  • Persistent cough, often producing phlegm or pus
  • Fever and chills
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain that worsens with breathing or coughing
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Confusion, particularly in older adults

Risks of Non-Treatment

If CAP is not treated promptly with appropriate antibiotics, it can lead to severe health complications, including:

  • Bacteremia: The infection can spread to the bloodstream, causing sepsis, a life-threatening condition.
  • Pleural Effusion: Fluid can accumulate around the lungs, requiring drainage.
  • Lung Abscess: Pus-filled cavities can form in the lung tissue.
  • Respiratory Failure: Severe infection can prevent adequate oxygen from reaching the bloodstream.
  • Chronic Respiratory Problems: Long-term damage to the lungs can occur, especially in those with pre-existing conditions.
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Treatment Options

Timely antibiotic treatment is essential to manage CAP effectively and prevent complications. The choice of antibiotic depends on the severity of the illness, the patient’s health status, and local resistance patterns. Commonly used antibiotics include:

Azithromycin

    • Effective against a wide range of bacteria, including atypical pathogens like Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydophila pneumoniae, and Legionella pneumophila.
    • Usually well-tolerated with a convenient dosing regimen.

Amoxicillin-Clavulanate (Augmentin):

    • Often used for mild to moderate cases of CAP.
    • Effective against Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae, including beta-lactamase-producing strains.

Doxycycline:

    • An alternative for patients with penicillin allergies.
    • Effective against Streptococcus pneumoniae and atypical pathogens.

Fluoroquinolones (e.g., Levofloxacin, Moxifloxacin):

    • Effective against a wide range of bacteria, including drug-resistant strains.
    • Often used for more severe cases or when there are concerns about antibiotic resistance.

Ceftriaxone (Rocephin):

    • A third-generation cephalosporin commonly used in hospitalized patients with more severe infections.

In addition to these, several other antibiotics can be used based on the specific clinical scenario and patient factors. Always consult with a healthcare professional on the best course of treatment for any condition.

 

Azithromycin, amoxicillin-clauvinate, and doxycycline all come in every standard Jase Case.

 

Community-acquired pneumonia is a common and potentially serious condition that requires prompt and effective treatment to prevent complications. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking early medical intervention can lead to better outcomes and quicker recovery. With a range of effective antibiotics available, patients have multiple options for treatment. Consulting with healthcare professionals to choose the best course of action is essential for managing CAP and minimizing the risk of severe health consequences.

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Medication Spotlight: Methylprednisolone

From asthma to allergic reactions, to arthritis, Methylprednisolone is a highly effective corticosteroid.

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What is Methylprednisolone?

Methylprednisolone (Medrol Dosepak™) is a versatile corticosteroid medication widely used to treat a variety of inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, including asthma, arthritis, severe allergic reactions, and skin disorders. Its effectiveness comes from its ability to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system, providing quick relief from symptoms like swelling, redness, itching and pain.

This medication has been a cornerstone in medical treatment for decades, trusted by healthcare professionals for its potent anti-inflammatory properties. By mimicking cortisol, a hormone naturally produced by the adrenal glands, methylprednisolone helps regulate inflammation and immune response, making it invaluable in managing acute conditions.

 

| There are over 3 million prescriptions for Methylprednisolone in the U.S. annually |

 

However, it’s important to note that methylprednisolone can suppress the body’s immune system, potentially reducing its ability to fight infections. Patients should avoid exposure to infections and promptly report any signs of illness to their healthcare provider. Additionally, methylprednisolone should never be taken concurrently with other anti-inflammatory drugs unless specifically directed by a healthcare professional, as this can increase the risk of side effects and complications.

 

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Methylprednisolone is particularly effective in treating asthma, where it reduces airway inflammation, and in autoimmune diseases like lupus and multiple sclerosis, where it helps control overactive immune responses. It is also commonly used in managing severe allergic reactions and skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, offering significant relief from discomfort and improving the quality of life for patients.

While highly effective, methylprednisolone can cause side effects, particularly with long-term use. Common short-term side effects include increased appetite, weight gain, and mood swings, while prolonged use may lead to osteoporosis, muscle weakness, and an increased risk of infections. Despite these potential drawbacks, its benefits in managing chronic and acute conditions make it a valuable option for many patients.

Overall, methylprednisolone remains a trusted and essential medication in the management of a wide range of health issues, providing substantial therapeutic benefits and improving the lives of those affected by inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

 

Methylprednisolone is one of over 25 different medications available as add-ons in our Jase Case.

Check here for a full list of available medications.

 

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High Cholesterol: Are You At Risk? What Can You Do?

High cholesterol is an issue for many. But nearly half of sufferers aren’t aware, or treating their condition.

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Cholesterol: necessary in the right amounts, dangerous in high levels.

High cholesterol is a prevalent health issue in the United States, affecting millions of adults and posing a significant hazard to overall heart health. Cholesterol levels also increase your risk for heart disease – the leading cause of death in the United States. 

Through a combination of dietary and lifestyle choices –  and when necessary, medication – cholesterol levels can be managed, and the health risks mitigated.

 

| About 86 million U.S. adults have borderline high cholesterol levels ( >200 mg/dL), and 25 million have high cholesterol ( >240 mg/dL) CDC |

 

Risk Factors and Lifestyle Choices:

While some risk factors like age and genetics are unchangeable, lifestyle significantly impacts cholesterol levels. Diet plays a crucial role, with high intake of saturated fats, trans fats, and refined carbohydrates contributing to elevated cholesterol. Physical inactivity, obesity, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption also negatively affect cholesterol profiles. 

Often overlooked factors include chronic stress, poor sleep habits, and high sugar intake, all of which can disrupt cholesterol metabolism.

 

| Nearly half of those with high cholesterol are unaware of their condition, and thus not treating it. |

 

Managing High Cholesterol:

Fortunately for some, cholesterol can be managed effectively with the right lifestyle choices being made, while others may additionally require medication. Either group that you fall into, know that high cholesterol’s health risks don’t have to be severe if you are diligent about prioritizing heart health. 

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Lifestyle Changes:

  1. Adopt a heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
  2. Increase physical activity: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise.
  4. Quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption.
  5. Manage stress through relaxation techniques, meditation, or yoga.
  6. Ensure adequate sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours per night.
  7. Stay hydrated and limit caffeine intake.

Medications:

  • Statins: These drugs, including atorvastatin (Lipitor™), and rosuvastatin (Crestor™) are the most commonly prescribed.
  • Cholesterol absorption inhibitors: Medications like ezetimibe reduce cholesterol absorption in the intestine.
  • Fibrates: Drugs such as fenofibrate and gemfibrozil primarily lower triglycerides.

 Note: all of the medications listed above (and more) are available to receive a 12-month backup supply with our Jase Daily service.

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The Importance of Medication Adherence

For those prescribed cholesterol-lowering medications, consistent adherence is crucial. Suddenly stopping these medications, especially statins, can have serious consequences. A rapid increase in cholesterol levels can occur, heightening the risk of cardiovascular events. 

Statins help stabilize arterial plaques, and discontinuing them can increase the risk of plaque rupture. Many cholesterol medications also have anti-inflammatory properties crucial for heart health, and stopping them abruptly can negate these benefits. Additionally, cessation can lead to deterioration of blood vessel lining function, known as endothelial dysfunction.

Even a short interruption in medication can be risky, especially for individuals with existing heart disease or multiple cardiovascular risk factors. The effects of stopping medication aren’t always immediate but can accumulate over time, potentially leading to serious cardiovascular events. It’s vital to maintain open communication with healthcare providers and never make changes to medication regimens without professional guidance.

 

In Summary:

Managing high cholesterol is a lifelong commitment that involves a combination of healthy lifestyle choices and, for some, medication. Regular check-ups and open communication with your doctor are essential for developing and maintaining an effective cholesterol management plan. 

By taking proactive steps, individuals can significantly reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke, paving the way for better cardiovascular health.

You should never have to worry about running out of, or not having access to the medications you rely on daily. With Jase Daily, we offer a 12-month backup supply of many different cholesterol medications from each class of cholesterol drug: cholesterol absorption inhibitor, fibrate class lipid-lowering agent, and of course statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors).

Check to see if we offer your specific cholesterol medication, or any of your other medications for chronic conditions today!

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In the News: Pharmacy Benefit Managers and Your Prescription Costs

PBM’s are supposed to lower prescription costs; they often do the opposite.

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News you should know about:

Pharmacy Benefit Managers and their secretive role in your prescription costs:

A new investigative report by the NYT shows that an mostly secretive group of companies called Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM’s), and their subsidiaries called Group Purchasing Organizations (GPO’s) often end up leading to higher prescription drug prices for consumers, despite their stated role being to actually lower prescription costs. Almost all of these companies are owned by either CVS health, UnitedHealth, or Cigna. They oftentimes push name brand prescriptions which allow them to profit more off their percentages, even while cheaper generics are available. The NIH raised similar concerns over PBM’s in a report last year.

These prescription price concerns relating to PBM’s have been echoed time and again with primary issues being that the consolidation of PBM’s in the industry incentivize them to charge more, while they also purportedly use manufacturer drug rebates to increase their profit, instead of passing on those rebates to the consumer.

A recent bill introduced to reform PBM’s influence on prices in the prescription market failed to gain traction in congress. With the organization Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency going so far as to state that:

 

| “Every day that passes without PBM reform is a day a community in America risks losing access to a pharmacy…” |

 

Ensuring your own access to your prescriptions has never been of greater importance. While we hope congress can eventually reign in prescription prices, we can’t count on it. We do anticipate further price hikes later this year do to the election and the state of the economy. Get your own supply of emergency medications today with a Jase Case.

 

 

Bird Flu concerns loom with a lack of testing and data to act upon.

Experts warn bird-flu could be another pandemic if preventative measures aren’t taken. Testing needs to increase, because it is currently unknown how widespread the disease is – especially among poultry and dairy farm workers. The same thing happened in the early stages of the Covid pandemic – an initial lack of testing left health officials in the dark, resulting in the U.S. being many steps behind in mitigating the risk to the public.

This current strain of the H5N1 bird flu is also behaving differently than the strains of years past, spreading between animals it does not normally infect. This recent leap of the virus from poultry to dairy cows has been called “a never-before-seen vector for transmission“.

While the threat to humans is still classified as low risk, the CDC is working with public health officials and local clinicians to assess risk, implement monitoring and more testing.

But alarm bells are being rung, as former directer of the CDC, Dr. Robert Redfield recently stated in an interview that it is not a matter of if, but when we have a bird flu pandemic.

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Early administration of antiviral medication, such as Oseltamivir, is the most effective course of treatment for strains of influenzas including the avian influenza (bird flu). This means the earlier you treat a viral influenza infection the better. For those wanting to stay ahead of this potential health threat, we recommend adding Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) to your Jase Case today, as it will only be harder to get after an outbreak has occurred.

 

In other prescription related news:

• Wildfires in Ruidoso NM – that are finally beginning to be contained – have led to the evacuation of many residents, and the closing or destruction of businesses in the town. This has affected access to pharmacies, prompting local officials to step in with emergency procedures to ensure that evacuated residents have access to their prescription medications.

• As drug shortages continue to affect patient care worldwide, some antibiotic prescriptions are being withheld to hospitals only. The pediatric version of Azithromycin is the latest medication to be affected by short supply, and face such restriction.

 

As highlighted above, there are so many forces at play affecting whether or not you can get access to the prescriptions that could save your life. Choose Jase to get your own supply of emergency or daily prescriptions and use code READY20 for $20 off your order.

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Ivermectin: Just the Facts

Let’s clear the air about this maligned medication.

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The Ivermectin Imbroglio

Ivermectin has stirred many conversations – some very heated, and very public – in the past few years, but before 2020 many of you might not have even heard of the drug before.

With all the hubbub surrounding this medication in recent years, and much more recently, let’s set the record straight on just what it is that we are all talking about.

Opinions withheld, here are just some facts.

 

| Ivermectin has been FDA approved for human use since 1996 |

 

The Basics:

Ivermectin is a medication with a long-standing history of effectiveness in treating a variety of parasitic infections. First commercialized in 1981 for use in animals, it was later approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human use in 1996. Ivermectin has been a critical tool in combating diseases caused by parasitic worms, such as onchocerciasis (river blindness) and lymphatic filariasis. It is also commonly used to treat intestinal strongyloidiasis and external parasites like scabies and head lice.

The FDA’s approval of ivermectin highlights its safety and efficacy as it could not receive this approval without extensive testing. Over the years, it has been included in numerous health programs worldwide, even sometimes distributed for free in mass drug administration campaigns to control parasitic diseases in endemic areas. Its broad spectrum of activity against various parasites have made it an indispensable drug in the arsenal against parasitic diseases.

Even the National Library of Medicine via the NIH has a paper written touting the effectiveness of Ivermectin in treating various conditions in humans.

Furthermore this medication has been a cornerstone in global health initiatives, especially in tropical regions where parasitic infections are prevalent. For decades, ivermectin has played a crucial role in reducing the burden of these diseases, leading to significant improvements in public health outcomes.

 

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Ivermectin in the News:

Ivermectin was all over the headlines back during the pandemic. Lauded by some as a miracle pill, and derided by others as something entirely bogus. We’re not going to rehash all of that, but it is somewhat telling that recently it has made a different kind of headline:

 

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Availability and Price Volatility:

Often when Ivermectin is making these headlines people will rush to get some, impacting scarcity and driving up prices. And not all suppliers offer the same Ivermectin either! Some of them are compounded formulas with only a 6 month shelf life.

Our high quality, shelf-stable Ivermectin is back in stock, and we currently have it on sale for our lowest price ever! Add it to your Jase Case today, while we have it available at this price.

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