Medical Monday Health without proper heating, medication or food

Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 6:41 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - With rising costs, this winter could be a struggle for some. To pay the bills, some may have to chose between heating, food and medication. Dr. Robert McFadgen, Primary Care Physician at Northern Light AR Gould Hospital says your health could be at risk if your home is adequately heated.

Dr. Robert McFadgen, Primary Care Physician says, “Things like frostbite, those types of issues. But of course you worry about people who have respiratory conditions. Especially if some people their asthma or breathing can be triggered by cold air. So, if they are always in the cold than they’re going to have increased risk of respiratory complications or exasperations of their underlying respiratory illness. So, that’s a big worry there. Of course people who have any type of vascular disease, where they don’t have good profusion to begin with, could be at increased risk of having complications in their extremities.”

McFadgen adds it’s important to remember infants can not regulate their body temperatures and that elderly can have trouble maintaining their body temperature as well in a lower temperature setting. Layering up in your home is a short term solution to warm up, but Dr. McFadgen doesn’t recommend it for long term. Some may look for alternative ways to heat their homes and it’s important to know the warning signs of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. According to Dr. McFadgen, a few warning signs are headache, dizziness, confusion and lethargy. Some may chose to skip buy medications in order to pay for heating or food, Dr. McFadgen says that can be very dangerous to your health.

Dr. McFadgen says, “Depends on the medication of course, so it’s not one size fits all, but definitely risky. Some of these medical conditions can cause overall deterioration very quickly to quick complications. A quick example, a diabetic, who is not able to get their insulin can go into a diabetic coma quickly. It’s not something that could happen over months, but over hours to days. So, depending on that persons situation it could be very serious and very quick problem could occur.”

And while some may opt to buy less food or less healthy options, Dr. McFadgen offers this warning. “Of course, the fresh fruits and fresh vegetables and high fiber type of foods that we would prefer, are more expensive and harder to come by and you have to go out more frequently to pick them up. As opposed to the canned goods which are very high in sodium and low in nutrients. So, it’s similar to not being able to take your medications. Seeing those chronic conditions worsen because of having to adjust your diet to adjust for that lifestyle.”

Dr. McFadgen says it’s important to talk to your physician about your situation. “Rather than keeping it to yourself. There may be something that we can do. So, just start the dialogue and just be open about the current situation your facing. It’s much more common, than anyone really thinks. It’s, everyone’s facing it, so just be open and have the conversation and get started.”

If you or someone you know is struggling, encourage reaching out to a primary care physician.