Know how to prevent an opioid overdose – Health Briefs |

Know how to prevent an opioid overdose – Health Briefs

Prescription opioids, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and morphine, and illicit opioids, such as heroin and illegally made fentanyl, are powerful drugs that carry the risk of a potentially fatal overdose. Anyone who uses opioids can experience an overdose, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, certain factors may increase that risk including, but not limited to, the following.
• Combining opioids with alcohol or certain other drugs.
• Taking high daily dosages of prescription opioids.
• Taking more opioids than prescribed.
• Taking illicit or illegal opioids, which could possibly contain unknown or harmful substances.
• Certain medical conditions, such as sleep apnea or reduced kidney or liver function.
• Advance age.

Death from an opioid overdose happens when too much of the drug overwhelms the brain and interrupts the body’s natural drive to breathe. Learn more about opioids at

Coloradans receive dental care through Medicaid

Colorado’s Medicaid program is helping Coloradans recover from years of no dental care, resulting in increased economic and social opportunities made possible with improved oral health.

“Coloradans benefit each day from adult dental coverage through the Medicaid program. This expansion has been crucial to providing preventive and ongoing dental care to hundreds of thousands of Coloradans,” said Carol Morrow, D.D.S., president of the Colorado Dental Association. “This program helps Coloradans stay healthier and saves money for Medicaid and the state of Colorado.”

A new social media campaign has begun sharing stories of the impact of dental care on adults.

“In sharing these stories, we want to show the importance of this program and, more broadly, the connection between dental care and our overall health,” Morrow said.

Beginning April 1, 2014, Colorado adults enrolled in Medicaid gained access to dental coverage. Colorado expanded this benefit due to the importance of dental care and strong evidence that good oral health is substantially linked to overall physical health. Health experts agree that neglecting oral health leads to serious conditions, such as strokes, heart and lung disease, pneumonia and diabetes. Good oral health, conversely, can prevent major health conditions and supports healthy pregnancies.

Complementary health approaches help arthritis sufferers

An estimated 27 million adults in the United States live with osteoarthritis — the most common type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, is caused by the breakdown of cartilage. Osteoarthritis is characterized by pain, joint damage and limited motion. The disease generally occurs late in life and most commonly affects the hands and large weight-bearing joints, such as the knees.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a health condition that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in the joints. Conventional medical treatments are highly effective for RA, however researchers are also studying complementary health approaches as possible additions to RA treatments.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health recommends some approaches that are used to manage arthritis symptoms including the following.

• glucosmine and chondroitin supplements

• acupuncture

• tai chi

• massage therapy

To learn more, visit

Colorado Crisis Services offers mental health help

Colorado Crisis Services is available to help with a mental health, substance use or emotional crisis, 24-hours-per-day, seven-per-week, 365-days-per-year. Call 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255 to speak confidentially with a trained professional, or visit one of the 11 Walk-In Crisis Services Centers across the state. For more information, visit

Cancer deaths higher in rural America

The cancer gap between rural and urban Americans continues to grow in the United States, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study shows that cancer death rates are falling more slowly in rural areas than in urban areas, but proven strategies can help reduce these disparities.

The report is the first comprehensive description of cancer incidence and deaths in rural and urban areas.

While rural areas have lower rates of new cases of cancer (incidence rates) than urban areas, they have higher cancer death rates. Incidence rates were higher in rural areas for several cancers, including those linked to tobacco use, such as lung cancer, and those that can be prevented by screenings, such as colorectal and cervical cancers.

To reduce these gaps, health care providers in rural areas can:

• encourage patients to make healthy choices that lower cancer risk, such as quitting smoking, avoiding secondhand smoke, protecting skin from the sun when outdoors, staying physically active and eating healthy foods;
• recommend cancer screening tests and vaccinations that can prevent cancer, and;
• participate in comprehensive cancer control coalitions.

The complete report is available at

Office of Women’s Health raises awareness of women veterans

There are more than 1.6 million women veterans in the United States, and m
any feel invisible and unsupported by traditional veterans’ services, according to Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

“The word ‘veteran’ calls to mind the image of a man, especially when you’re talking about a combat veteran. … Women veterans share many of the exact same concerns of our male colleagues, yet we also face unique issues,” Thomas wrote in a blog for the Office of Women’s Health.

She believes that communities can help take care of women veterans.

“See us. Hire us. Make space in veterans’ organizations, on your campuses, in your VA hospital. Recognize our experiences and unique needs, and care enough about them to have us at the table when you’re planning your next veteran outreach project,” Thomas wrote.

To read the complete blog post, visit

To learn about services offered to women veterans, visit

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