Health Medical Monday without proper heating, medicine or food

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) – With costs rising, this winter could be tough for some. To pay the bills, some may have to choose between heating, food and medicine. Dr. Robert McFadgen, primary care physician at Northern Light AR Gould Hospital, says your health could be at risk if your home is heated enough.

Dr. Robert McFadgen, primary care physician, says, “Things like frostbite, those kinds of issues. But of course you worry about people who have respiratory problems. Especially if some people their asthma or breathing can be triggered by cold air. So if they are always out in the cold, they will be at increased risk for respiratory complications or exasperations from their underlying respiratory disease. So it’s a big concern there. Of course, people with any type of vascular disease, where they don’t have a good profuse to begin with, might be at increased risk for extremity complications.

McFadgen adds that it’s important to remember that infants can’t regulate their body temperature, and older adults can also have trouble maintaining their body temperature in a lower temperature setting. Layering in your home is a short-term solution to warming up, but Dr. McFadgen doesn’t recommend it for the long term. Some may look for other ways to heat their home, and it’s important to know the warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. According to Dr. McFadgen, some warning signs are headaches, dizziness, confusion, and lethargy. Some may choose not to buy medicine to pay for heating or food, says Dr. McFadgen, this can be very dangerous to your health.

Dr McFadgen says: “It depends on the drug of course, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, but it’s certainly risky. Some of these medical conditions can lead to overall deterioration very quickly and rapid complications. A quick example, a diabetic who is unable to get his insulin can quickly fall into a diabetic coma. It’s not something that could happen over months, but over hours or days. So depending on that person’s situation, it could be very serious and a very quick problem could arise.

And while some may choose to buy less food or less healthy options, Dr. McFadgen offers this warning. “Of course the fresh fruits and vegetables and high fiber foods that we would prefer are more expensive and harder to find and you have to go out more often to pick them up. Unlike canned foods which are very high in sodium and low in nutrients. So it’s like you can’t take your medicine. Watching these chronic conditions get worse because you have to adjust your diet to accommodate this lifestyle.

Dr. McFadgen says it’s important to talk to your doctor about your situation. “Rather than keeping it to yourself. Maybe there is something we can do. So just start the dialogue and be open about the current situation you are facing. It’s a lot more common than you really think. Everyone is dealing with it, so be open, have a chat and get going.

If you or someone you know is having difficulty, encourage them to contact a primary care physician.

Add Comment