The pandemic has had a profound effect on our health and wellness as a society, impacting everything from relationships and mental health to our willingness to visit a doctor’s office for routine checkups and medical care. If you’re among those who have delayed care, it may help to know you’re not alone. Studies show nearly half of all Americans delayed or cancelled health care services since the pandemic started and 40% said they didn’t feel safe going to a doctor’s office.
The good news is the tides are turning. According to the recently released 2021 study from Reader’s Digest, “Healthy Living Matters: Impact of the Pandemic on Cholesterol Management”— done in conjunction with Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. — there has been a renewed effort toward proactive health practices, with 61% of respondents noting they’re maintaining good health, up 10 points from 2020. And while plenty (36%) admitted to feeling concern about visiting a medical facility, 41% did participate in a telemedicine/virtual appointment with a healthcare provider this past year.
As we continue to navigate this new normal, consider the following ways to help get your health and wellness in check and back on track.Shutterstock
1. Make that doctor’s appointment
As the saying goes, the hardest part is getting started. While the pandemic has caused many of us to become more insular, the fact remains one of the best things you can do for yourself is get a checkup from a medical professional. When detected early, it may be much easier to correct the course of illnesses and improve outcomes. For example, did you know high cholesterol often has no signs or symptoms before heart disease develops? So while patients can’t see it or feel it, high cholesterol can be dangerous if left untreated. When making healthy lifestyle changes aren’t effectively getting cholesterol under control, a doctor may also prescribe a statin like LIVALO® (pitavastatin).
LIVALO is a cholesterol-lowering medication called a “statin.” Along with a heart-healthy diet, helps to lower total cholesterol, “bad” cholesterol (LDL-C), triglycerides, and Apo B and to raise “good” cholesterol (HDL-C). LIVALO has not been studied to evaluate its effect on reducing heart-related disease or death. Common side effects include back pain, constipation, diarrhea, muscle pain, and pain in the legs or arms. LIVALO can also cause serious muscle or liver problems.
Please read the Important Safety Information for LIVALO at the end of this article. Ask your doctor if LIVALO may be right for you.
2. Get your cholesterol checked
According to the Reader’s Digest study, 57% of those diagnosed with high cholesterol delayed having it tested since the onset of the pandemic. Fortunately, 48% have since been tested. If you’re among those holding out on testing, don’t delay — high cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death in the United States. Should you learn you have high cholesterol, your doctor can help in setting up a treatment plan along with healthy lifestyle changes and may include possibly taking a cholesterol-lowering medication such as a statin, like LIVALO. It’s also important to note that not all statins are the same – what works for one patient’s unique needs may not be the most ideal for another.Shutterstock
3. Manage your stress
Part and parcel to our wellbeing is stress management — particularly since 48% of those surveyed acknowledged an increase in stress over the past year. While a small amount of stress can actually help drive performance, the Mayo Clinic notes a few things that may help lessen its effects on your body, mood and overall behavior. They include identifying your triggers, enlisting relaxation practices like meditation and yoga, and getting help when needed. Otherwise, stress can potentially negatively impact your overall health by way of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity or diabetes to name a few.
4. Set achievable goals
When it comes to your health, developing diet and fitness goals is key — provided you can stick with them. The best way to adhere to your commitment? Find workouts and healthy foods that you actually enjoy. Still having trouble getting where you want to be? Consider enlisting a diet or fitness buddy. Doing so can be motivating and helps provide accountability.
5. Start Moving
On top of offering a powerful cardio workout — which can help lower your risk of heart disease and improve blood pressure, blood sugar levels and high cholesterol — hitting the trails has been proven to boost your mood, therefore combatting stress and anxiety. Hiking not your thing? A good power-walk around the block has the same benefits.Shutterstock
6. Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated not only helps boost your energy. It also aids digestion and helps you feel better overall since dehydration can impair your mood, concentration and overall brain function. As an added benefit, keeping your fluids up can increase satiety, sense of fullness and boosts your metabolic rate. Aim to follow the 8×8 rule, drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day.
7. Connect with family and friends
There is a strong link between having a support network and one’s psychological well-being. People who are supported by close relationships with friends, family or groups — be it via FaceTime or a small outdoor gathering — are less likely to become ill or face premature death. Add that to the fact that human connections take us outside of ourselves, giving us someone or something else to focus on and helping us practice gratitude in daily life.
8. Try something new
Sure, it can require courage but trying a new hobby or activity can help stave off boredom by keeping you busy. Plus, doing so benefits your mental health. Research indicates that people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress, depression and low mood. The bottom line? Taking action to tackle something unfamiliar shakes up your routine, prevents you from getting stuck in a rut, and has the potential to offer a relaxing, meditative or engaging experience that benefits your overall health and wellbeing.
9. Cut out the takeout
Easy and tempting as it may be, limiting the frequency you dine out can have a positive impact on your health. On top of being comforting, home-cooked meals give you the opportunity to control what you put in your body — and better regulate your intake. Of course, that doesn’t have to mean forgoing restaurants entirely — instead, just rethinking the type of establishments (think healthy, organic, vegetarian or vegan) you frequent.
10. Stay on track
Non-adherence to medications is widely recognized as a major public health concern and contributes to patient morbidity, mortality and health costs. Fifty percent or more of patients discontinue statins within one year of treatment initiation, and more do so over longer time periods. It’s important to know that high cholesterol typically doesn’t have any symptoms, so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to tell on your own how well the statin is working. That’s why it’s important to keep taking your statin, such as LIVALO, as prescribed, even if you don’t see or feel any difference. If you stop taking a statin, cholesterol levels can increase, putting you at risk for a heart attack or stroke.
With a few steps, the support of loved ones, regular visits to your healthcare provider and potentially support from prescription medications like LIVALO, can affect your wellbeing and help steer the course of your health and wellness down a positive path.
Important Safety Information for LIVALO® (pitavastatin) tablets
What is LIVALO?
- LIVALO is a cholesterol-lowering medication called a “statin” for adults with high cholesterol that, along with a heart-healthy diet, helps to lower total cholesterol, “bad” cholesterol (LDL-C), triglycerides, and Apo B and to raise “good” cholesterol (HDL-C).
- LIVALO has not been studied to evaluate its effect on reducing heart-related disease or death.
Who should NOT take LIVALO?
LIVALO is not right for everyone. Do not take LIVALO if:
- You have a known allergy to LIVALO or any of its ingredients.
- You have active liver problems, including some abnormal liver test results.
- You are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant, as it may harm the baby.
- You are currently taking cyclosporine or gemfibrozil.
What is the most important information I should know and talk to my doctor about?
- Call your healthcare provider or get help right away if you experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as rash, itching, or hives.
- Muscle problems may be an early sign of rare, serious conditions. Tell your doctor right away if you have any unexplained muscle pain, weakness, or tenderness, particularly if accompanied by malaise or fever, or if these muscle signs or symptoms persist after discontinuing LIVALO.
- Serious liver problems have been reported rarely in patients taking statins, including LIVALO. Your doctor should do liver tests before you start, and if you have symptoms of liver problems while you are taking LIVALO. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you feel more tired than usual, have a loss of appetite, upper belly pain, dark-colored urine, or yellowing of the skin or eyes.
- Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications you take including nonprescription medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.
- Increases in blood sugar levels have been reported with statins, including LIVALO.
- Tell your doctor about your alcohol use.
- Tell your healthcare provider of a known or suspected pregnancy.
What are the most common side effects of LIVALO?
The most common side effects of LIVALO in clinical studies were:
This is not a complete list of side effects. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA.
Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
How should I store and take LIVALO?
- Store LIVALO tablets at room temperature, in a dry place, protected from light, and keep out of the reach of children.
- Take LIVALO orally once daily with or without food at the same time each day.
- Swallow the tablet whole. Do not split, crush, dissolve, or chew.
- The maximum recommended dosage is LIVALO 4 mg once daily.
- If you take too much LIVALO or you or someone else takes an overdose, call your doctor and/or local Poison Control Center.
Other important information I should know about LIVALO.
- LIVALO is available by prescription only.