For more than 28 million people throughout the United States, health centers are the place they go for their medical needs. These centers, which are often funded through government grants, are designed to provide comprehensive primary care and preventative services for those who need it the most.
During the week of August 9 through the 15, 2020, the nation celebrates these important community resources with National Health Center Week. For more than 30 years, this week is filled with community outreach to raise awareness about the important work done at health centers in cities and towns throughout America.
What are Health Centers?
Not everyone has the resources available to go to a private physician for medical concerns.
Health centers are designed to provide access to health and wellness services that can include mental, physical, and oral health diagnoses and treatments. These are places that people can go to address substance abuse disorders and receive guidance for preventative treatments to stay healthy as they age.
An important part of a health center’s mission is to overcome the economic, geographic, and cultural barriers that often inhibit people from getting the medical care they need. Patients are often individuals and families who may be struggling economically, including homeless populations, agricultural workers, veterans, and residents of public housing facilities.
Resources Available at Health Centers
While health centers were opened to address all physical and mental conditions that impact the population, often patients report common chronic health issues. The most common diagnoses by doctors and medical personnel at health centers are:
Also known as high blood pressure, hypertension is a serious condition that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. While lifestyle changes, such as reducing stress, stopping smoking, and eating a healthy diet, can dramatically improve the symptoms, doctors frequently prescribe medication to help. These can be a wide spectrum of drugs, including lisinopril, hydrochlorothiazide, Lopressor, and Norvasc.
Inactivity, poor diet choices, and obesity can result in a diagnosis of high cholesterol. It can also be inherited. High cholesterol is a leading cause of heart disease, which is also one of the most common causes of death. Along with lifestyle changes, doctors will also often recommend a treatment that includes statins like Lipitor and Altoprev, or other medications like Prevalite, Zetia, and Praluent.
Asthma can be caused by many factors, including poor air quality, respiratory infections that go unchecked, too much physical activity, and being around cigarette smoke. Patients often require rescue inhalers like Albuterol and long-term medical inhalers like Advair.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports nearly 10% of the U.S. population has been diagnosed with diabetes, and it’s especially prevalent in low-income communities. Preventative lifestyle changes, including losing excess weight with regular exercise and a low-sugar diet, are crucial to treating Type 2 diabetes. Often, patients will have to take medications to regulate their blood sugar. These can include Metformin, Trulicity, Insulin Lispro, and Januvia.
Low-Cost Medications Available
Patients who are concerned about high healthcare costs can benefit from a visit to a health center to address illnesses before they worsen.
Prescriptions can also be very expensive, but rxless.com is an online service that can help reduce costs for individuals and families so they can feel their best any time of the year.