What to Know for Healthy Aging Month

Our bodies change in many ways as we age. The more we know what to expect and how to manage any challenges, the better. NOAH offers comprehensive healthcare for patients of all ages, but since September is Healthy Aging Month, we are sharing useful tips and reminders for you and your loved ones.

Don’t Miss Annual Physicals

Annual physicals are an opportunity for you to discuss your health and wellness with your primary care provider. Medical providers will order age-appropriate tests and labs to get a full picture of your health. At NOAH we strongly encourage our Medicare patients to schedule their annual Medicare Wellness Visit to discuss health goals and recommendations.

Get Regular Check-Ups

If you aren’t feeling well, make an appointment to see your provider. Patients, especially aging patients, shouldn’t try to wait it out if there is something wrong. Having regular check-ups will keep you feeling well and catch any potentially serious conditions early.

Mental Health Matters

No matter your age, your mental health is important. In aging adults, depression can have a negative impact on health conditions like heart disease and stroke. Patient’s often underestimate depression and mental health concerns, but it is important to everyone’s overall health to make sure mental wellbeing is, managed appropriately.

Get Moving

More physical activity means a healthier you! Getting active can help delay, prevent, or manage many chronic diseases like diabetes and high cholesterol. Being more active can also help keep your bone density and strength. Any exercise is better than none, so just get moving!

Eat For Your Health

Being overweight or obese will seriously harm your overall health, particularly as you age. Eating a nutritious diet will help manage chronic conditions, keep you healthy, and even improve your mood. Consider adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to your meals, and always talk to your provider about any diet changes.

If you have trouble accessing or affording healthy, nutritious food, talk to NOAH. We can help!

Stay Social for Healthy Aging

A recent study found that older adults with more social activity had more positive moods, fewer negative feelings, and higher levels of physical activity. If you don’t have a social network, look for one through volunteer activities, at senior centers, at church, or other local community groups.

NOAH is here for you and your loved ones at any age. To learn more about healthy aging, comprehensive care, enrolling in Medicare or another insurance plan, access to healthy food and other resources, reach out to NOAH today at 480-882-4545 or make an appointment online.

5 Things to Know for Flu Season 2021-2022

Flu season is around the corner and NOAH is ready to keep you and your family protected. We know that with COVID there might be additional questions about the virus, symptoms, and the vaccines. NOAH has you covered with these top five things to know about flu season.

1. Flu Season Is Almost Here

Flu season officially starts in October and can last through May of the following year. But the peak of flu usually happens around December through March with February being the month that often has the most flu cases nationwide.

2. Try These Safety Measures Stop the Flu

Many of the things we are doing now to slow or stop the spread of COVID like extra hand washing, more antibacterial gels and wipes, staying home when sick, wearing masks (especially if sneezing or coughing), will help reduce the flu as well! During last year’s flu season, the flu was minimal because of these safety measures, along with a lot of social distancing, so it is possible to keep the spread of flu lower than previous years.

3. The Flu Vaccine Helps

Every year, flu shot manufacturers identify the strains of influenza A and B that pose the most risk for the coming season. Flu shots also include H1N1, and because of flu shots, H1N1 isn’t causing outbreaks anymore. Flu shots are adjusted every year with new influenza (flu) strains because it mutates like all viruses.  

4. Flu Shots Help Different Ages Appropriately

Children are a high-risk group with flu so anyone 6 months and older should get the flu shot. When children under eight are getting the flu vaccine for the first time ever, they will need to have two doses, given four weeks apart. The following flu seasons will be just one dose.

A high-dose flu vaccine made specifically to support the more fragile immune system of people 65+ is available during flu season.

5. Flu Shots and COVID Shots Can Go Together

The CDC says that it is safe to get the flu and COVID vaccines at the same time.  If you have any concerns about potential side effects or changes in effectiveness of the vaccines if given together we suggest talking to your NOAH provider to come up with a vaccine plan that is right for you.

Almost everyone can and should get the flu shot every year, including people with egg allergies.. The only people who shouldn’t are patients under 6 months old or someone with history of an anaphylactic reaction to the flu shot in the past or a flu shot component. 

The CDC has a lot of information about flu season including updated flu cases and vaccine activity on their website here. NOAH offers patients different options including regular appointments and drive-up flu shots. If you have questions about the flu vaccine or want to schedule your appointment, contact NOAH today!

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Hidden Health Concern

By Daniel Davis, MD | Internal Medicine

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious condition that affects millions of Americans.

This condition increases risks for things like car accidents and strokes, and it can make other medical conditions worse. Learn more about about the condition, symptoms, how to get screened, treatments, and more.

What are the symptoms?

It can be hard to diagnose sleep apnea because there is a long list of symptoms, and some aren’t very noticeable.

Common symptoms include:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Loud snoring at night
  • Pauses in breathing with gasping or choking sounds
  • Morning headaches
  • Brain fog
  • Mood problems
  • Frequent urination at night
  • Insomnia
  • Not feeling rested even after sleeping all night.

Some people with the condition may have minimal or no symptoms at all.

What are risks from having sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is associated with a very long list of medical problems. Some of the most serious are increased risk of stroke, heart attack, worsening hypertension, congestive heart failure, heart arrhythmias, and can cause sexual problems. Many of these things, like stroke risk or sexual problems, have shown to improve with treatment.

Who should be screened?

Anyone with the common symptoms above should talk to their medical provider about testing for sleep apnea. Screening is also good for people with related conditions, or people with “mission critical” professions like pilots, bus drivers, and truck drivers.

How are patients tested?

Sleep apnea is either diagnosed with a test at home or an in-lab sleep study. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests anyone with severe insomnia, those who take sedatives or narcotics, or have any heart or lung conditions to do an in-lab sleep study. For other people, the cheaper home test is a good option.

How is sleep apnea treated?

The good news is that there are effective ways to treat sleep apnea. The most common treatment is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. CPAP machines are a mask attached to a machine that provides pressure to prevent airway obstructions. A CPAP can work wonders, but some patients need time to adjust. If you are having trouble with your CPAP machine, ask your medical provider or go to this website to get help from other people living with this condition.

CPAP is the best treatment, but if patients cannot adapt to it, other, less effective treatments like dental devices and surgical procedures can be options. Behavioral and diet changes can also improve sleep apnea. Consider avoiding alcohol and self-medicating for sleep, try to lose weight, and adjust sleep positions for possible improvements.

Want to learn more?

If you have questions about sleep apnea or think you or a loved one may be suffering from this condition, talk to your medical provider. NOAH providers can discuss symptoms or concerns you have and make a treatment plan. Visit the AASM sleep education website for additional information about many sleep-related conditions.  

Ask the Expert: COVID-19 in 2021

Dr. Jennifer Vanyo-Novak, D.O. | Family Physician, Medical Director

The COVID-19 pandemic has given us ups and downs over the past year and a half. We hear about the “return to normal” but what does that mean and how do we get there?

NOAH’s Medical Director and Family Physician Dr. Vanyo-Novak breaks down the facts, explains the complex, and clears up rumors and misunderstandings about COVID, vaccines, and the new normal.

Dr. Vanyo-Novak

A lot of places are opening back up. Do we really need masks again since places stopped requiring them? Isn’t COVID almost over?  

Unfortunately, no, COVID is not almost over. Though the number of cases declined for a while thanks to mask mandates, social distancing, and vaccines against COVID-19, we are now seeing the cases rise.  As of 7.27.2021 the CDC has advised that even vaccinated individuals begin to mask again indoors in high risk COVID regions which includes us here in Maricopa County. This is in part due to lower than needed vaccine rates, not enough people following guidelines, and an increase in travel and social gatherings.  Like with most viruses that go uncontained, we are seeing the virus that causes COVID-19 evolve into new variants (strains of the virus) that are smarter, more easily transmitted, and harder to defeat than the original strains of the virus.

Right now we are hearing about variants, especially the Delta variant, but what is the difference? Should we be worried about another outbreak?

Viruses are living things and they continuously change so they can evolve and survive. There are several different strains right now, Delta being the most common one in the U.S. Several new strains are labeled as “Variants of Concern” by the CDC meaning they are more transmissible, cause more serious illness, don’t respond as well to treatments, and can be more resistant to vaccines.

With a rise in cases due to the Delta variant and other “Variants of Concern” we are seeing an increase in hospitalizations in younger patients without risk factors, even young children.  The virus is not just a risk for the elderly or people with underlying conditions. 

If someone got the vaccine, are they safe from new COVID strains? Will they need to take booster shots?

Honestly, we are still learning about the virus, its’ variants, and the vaccines. In the beginning health experts and scientists weren’t sure booster shots would be needed. Now, it looks likely that boosters will be needed but we don’t know when. Originally, they did not think boosters would be needed soon, but this can change as the case numbers rise. What the experts are working on understanding is if vaccinated people are getting COVID, is it because these new strains are outsmarting the vaccines, if the vaccine effectiveness is fading, or a combination of the two. 

Currently 97% of COVID-19 hospitalizations are unvaccinated individuals. That tells us that while we will not ever be 100% protected, most vaccinated people are protected and if they do get infected it is unlikely that they will get seriously ill. That was always a big goal with the vaccine.

If someone didn’t get vaccinated and doesn’t plan to, won’t they be safe since other people got the vaccine and infections are lower than earlier in the pandemic?

It is great that as of 7.28.21 338 million Americans have been vaccinated against COVID. However, that is only 49% of the U.S., putting us well below the 70-80% needed for herd immunity.

COVID cases aren’t looking as good as they were even a month ago. Less than 50% of Maricopa County is fully vaccinated and with school starting, travel increasing, and mask mandates mostly gone, the number of infected people will continue to increase.

Most of us interact with other people: school, work, stores, travel, transportation, exercising at gyms, and more. We can’t just think about ourselves, we must consider our community – the herd – and protect that. We have a responsibility to our friends, family, neighbors, and society to take care of each other.

The virus will continue to mutate into new variants and harm people, and the vaccines are our greatest defense.  We need to achieve herd immunity before we can truly begin to feel safe.

Kids don’t get COVID, so why do they need a vaccine?

In general most children have a much more robust immune system than adults. Children have gotten COVID throughout the pandemic, but they are getting it more now, and ending up in the hospital more. With new variants this trend may continue, and more children may become seriously ill or worse, die from this virus.

Children, like the rest of us, interact with family members, friends, classmates, teammates, and many other people. We want children to be protected from this virus, but also for them to protect their community as well.

How can we possibly know if the vaccines are safe if they aren’t fully approved?

They have all been given Emergency Use Authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and here is a short video to explain it. All vaccines have trials that require at least 3,000 people. The COVID vaccine trials were done on 30,000 people before the first approvals in late 2020!

The main difference in the approval and process for the COVID vaccines is that while most vaccines go through a series of steps, finishing one step before moving the next one, with COVID vaccines, they moved to the next step once all the data showed things were looking good (as opposed to fully completed). But every step was still included, all the monitoring and review was still happening, but in a more fluid way.

At this time, every step has been fully completed and vaccine makers are beginning to apply for full FDA approval.

If the risk of getting really sick from COVID-19 is still low, why should someone take a new vaccine?

Possible side effects from the vaccine are still much less than the risk of COVID-19 and serious illness, including what we are now seeing as long-haul COVID. The vaccine side effects are mostly normal, expected, and mild. COVID is mutating and with each strain it can be more deadly, or more infectious than before.

We cannot just consider ourselves; we have to consider the effects of our choices on those around us. 

If the mRNA (vaccine technology used in some vaccines) isn’t new medical technology, why haven’t we used it in vaccines before.

t hasn’t been used in vaccines before COVID because we haven’t needed a new vaccine on this scale until now. The mRNA technology has been used successfully for decades, with a lot of research done on its benefits and any risks.

Anyone 12 and older can schedule their vaccine appointment one of NOAH’s locations. Click here to request an appointment. If you have additional questions or concerns about COVID-19 or the vaccine, make an appointment with one of our medical providers.

Migraine & Headache Awareness

Headaches can be a mild discomfort or can disrupt your entire week (and more). Millions of Americans live with headaches for many different reasons. Let’s understand what headaches are, different types of headaches, what causes headaches, and how to prevent or treat them. Awareness about migraines and headaches can help you and other people in your life.

What are Headaches?

Headaches in general are a common pain condition with around 75% of adults experiencing at least one headache in the past year according to The Cleveland Clinic. A minor headache can be sharp or dull pain in the head, but can also include the neck, jaw, or shoulders.

What are the Different Types of Headaches?

According to Harvard Health Publishing at Harvard Medical School, there are more than 300 different kinds of headaches! Here are some of the more common ones:

  • Tension are the most common types of headaches and can be caused by physical or emotional stress or tiredness.
  • Sinus headaches aren’t recurring headaches. Pain is usually in the forehead, and around the nose and eyes. Expect a stuffy or runny nose and/or a fever with these headaches.
  • Migraines are much more severe than tension headaches and women experience migraines more than men. Migraine triggers are different for everyone but can include changing weather, foods, neck or back pain, and more.
  • Medication can cause headaches and many medications list headaches as a side effect.

What Causes Headaches?

The most common headache triggers are stress, lack of sleep, hunger, diet, and caffeine withdrawal. Different triggers cause different headaches in different people. Learning about yourself, your habits with stress, sleep, and food can help you and your medical provider understand what is causing your headaches.

How to Treat or Prevent Migraines and Headaches?

Knowing some of your headache triggers can help you prevent or prepare for a headache. If a change in weather and pressure triggers a migraine, you can be sure to have medication ready. Or if certain foods cause headaches, avoiding them can be an easy way to minimize the number of headaches you have.

General headaches like tension headaches can be treated by drinking water or coffee, eating something, lying down, or taking over-the-counter pain reliever like aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) – though be sure to talk to your doctor before taking anything new. Migraines and sinus may require a prescription or other treatment from your medical provider, and medication headaches need to be discussed with your provider.

If you have questions about headaches that you or a loved one get, talk to a NOAH provider today.

Heat Safety: Staying Safe in Arizona’s Extreme Heat

Summer in Central Arizona is always hot. Always! Even “normal” summer temperatures in Phoenix are dangerous. Then we get a few days or weeks of extreme heat that can be even worse. Know the risks with heat safety, understand the signs of heat illness, and be prepared.

Risks for Extreme Heat

We might be used to high temperatures here in Phoenix, but above 110, 115, or higher are serious. And, when we have more humidity – before or after summer rains usually – it can make the heat much worse. Knowing about heat safety is important year round in Central Arizona.

Everyone can get sick when the temperature and/or humidity go above normal. But some groups are in more danger of getting sick, including people who are:

  • Pregnant
  • Infants or young children
  • Older adults
  • Living with chronic medical conditions or on certain medications

Signs of Heat Illness

There are different levels of heat illness and knowing the symptoms can help a person recover and may even save their life.

  • Heat rash – red cluster of pimples or small blisters around the neck and chest areas typically. Get the person to a cool, shady place and keep the rash dry.
  • Heat cramps – muscle cramps, pain, or spasms in the legs, arms, or stomach. Drink water and eat something but avoid salt.
  • Heat syncope – dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting. The person should sit down and slowly sip water or clear juice.
  • Heat exhaustion – is when your body has a serious loss of water and salt, and the person has a headache, nausea, heavy sweating, dizziness, or weakness. Remove the person from the heat, remove unnecessary clothing, give them liquids, put cool compresses on head and neck, and go to a doctor or hospital.
  • Heat stroke – the most serious illness and can cause death if not treated quickly. The person may have a seizure, be confused, have a very high body temperature, may sweat a lot or have hot dry skin. Call 9-1-1 immediately and begin trying to cool the person down with an ice bath (best action), cool compresses on head and neck, soak clothing with cold water, and use a fan to keep air moving around them.

Prepare for the Heat

It comes every year, so we should all be prepared for the heat. Starting as early as May and going through October, temperatures and humidity can get uncomfortable or dangerous and heat safety is even more important.

First, never ever leave any person or pet in a car. In Arizona, even in cooler weather, cars can get dangerously hot quickly. Never leave anyone or any pet in a car.

Next, limit outdoor activities and exercises if possible. People make the mistake of thinking because they (or their pets) have hiked, run, walked, etc. during hot weather before, that they are somehow immune to the dangers with sometimes devastating results. If you must do activities outside or work outdoors, avoid the hottest part of the day, try to avoid days with extreme temperatures, leave pets at home, seek as much shade as possible, and be sure to take plenty of cold water, a charged phone, and wear appropriate clothing.

Lastly, check on older family, friends, and neighbors. When older people have mobility issues or live alone, the risks can be even worse. Call or better, visit them in person to make sure they are safe.

If keeping the power on is a concern, NOAH’s Community Resource Team may be able to help find utility assistance or other types of help. Also, most power companies in Arizona cannot shut off power from June 1 – October 15 for late payments. So even if you, or someone you know like an elderly neighbor is behind on payments, they will be cool and safe at home during the hottest months.

Throughout Maricopa County there are cooling stations for people who need water or don’t have access to cool, indoor spaces for safety. Find one near you but be prepared so hopefully you never need it.

Time For Your Medicare Wellness Visit?

By: Dr. Linda Eller, DO

Are you or a loved one on Medicare insurance? If so, wellness should be top-of-mind and the good news is, it’s covered starting with the Medicare Wellness Visit (MWV).

Dr. Linda Eller, Family Medicine

The wellness visit through Medicare isn’t the traditional head-to-toe physical that most people think of. The MWV covered under Medicare is an annual visit to identify and reduce any health risks your healthcare provider might find.

Why Wellness Visits Matter

The Medicare Wellness Visit, while not a traditional physical, is a tool for your medical provider to find gaps in your healthcare. The questions asked during the MWV are specific and help to narrow down concerns while allowing your healthcare team to provide better care.

During the pandemic, many people skipped preventative and wellness appointments with their primary care provider. This included patients missing their MWV. Right now, we are contacting and encouraging patients to come in, starting with an MWV. Now is the time to get back to your doctor.

What to Expect at a Medicare Wellness Visit

At the wellness visit, we take a complete health history and use the MWV questionnaire from Medicare to understand a patient’s needs. If this is a patient’s first MWV, we will start with an EKG. Then your provider will discuss findings from the questionnaire and address concerns about your health and wellness.

Providers will do a limited physical exam to check blood pressure, weight, vision, and other things depending on a patient’s age, gender, and health history.

At the MWV, your provider can make referrals to specialists, order labs, and discuss necessary imaging and diagnostic tests like mammograms or colon cancer screenings. We will also talk about the risks and signs of depression, trips and falls, and other health and wellness concerns.

Our goal is to create a personalized prevention plan together to help prevent disease and disability according to your health and risk factors.

What a Medicare Wellness Visit Isn’t

This isn’t a traditional physical. It may sound like it is, but there are distinct differences. The MWV allows healthcare providers to have a baseline for health and wellness that Medicare knows is important to this patient group.

Providers don’t generally address existing chronic health conditions or refill prescriptions. The MWV is specific to finding and addressing any new concerns and planning for the next year’s healthcare with the patient.

Having your annual MWV is important, and NOAH is ready to make sure you get back on schedule. If this is your first appointment at NOAH, we want to get to know you, your health history, and discuss preexisting or chronic conditions before your MWV.

Give our NOAH team a call today at 480-882-4545 to schedule an appointment and plan for a healthy and productive year ahead.

Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S. However, it is also a cancer that can be prevented in some cases. For Skin Cancer Awareness Month, let’s dive into the types of skin cancer, the risk factors, and how to prevent or reduce your risk for skin cancer.

Types of Skin Cancer

There are seven different types of skin cancer, but three types are the most common.

  1. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)

BCC is the most common and while anyone can get BCC, it is more common in people with fair skin. BCCs typically develop after years of repeated sun exposure or indoor tanning and looks like a small skin-colored or light pink growth or bump found most often on the head, neck, and arms where people usually get more sun exposure.

  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)

The second most common form of skin cancer is SCC, which is also more common for people with fair skin but can happen to anyone. SCC looks like a firm red bump and is more common on the areas with more sun exposure, including face, ears, neck, chest, arms and back.

  • Melanoma

Known as the most serious, melanoma tends to spread. Melanoma is much less common than BCC or SCC, but it is also the deadliest type of skin cancer, which makes early detection even more important. Melanoma usually shows up as a dark spot, or a growth on an existing mole.

Risk Factors

Like with many cancers, the risks don’t follow a strict list of risk factors. But there some things that we do or don’t do that can have an impact.

  • Sun exposure, sun burns, and using indoor tanning beds can seriously increase your risk for skin cancer, as well as skin damage like premature aging and sunspots (also called age spots).
  • Skin tone and how your skin reacts to sun – like if you burn easily – matters. People with fair or light skin are more prone to sunburns and sun damage.
  • Some things, like genetics and family history can have an impact on someone’s risk of developing skin cancer. While you can’t change this risk factor, knowing means you and your doctor can be proactive.

Prevention

Overall, the best thing people can do to reduce their risk is reduce sun exposure and UV exposure (like indoor tanning beds) and get to know the moles and spots on your body, so you know if anything looks out of the ordinary.

Wearing protective clothing and sunscreen can provide a lot of protection. Wearing SPF 15 or higher when you go outside can decrease your risk of SCC and melanoma by 40% or more!

Having an annual skin exam can help spot any serious or potentially questionable spots or growths early. Your doctor should also know if you have had skin cancer in the past, if you have a family history, or are at a greater risk from overexposure to sun.

If you have any questions about spots on your skin, or if it’s been a while since your last skin exam, contact NOAH today and make an appointment.

Stroke Awareness Month

Do you know the signs of a stroke? The sooner someone with a stroke gets help, the better. People who are treated during the first few hours have a better chance of survival and less chance of having permanent disabilities from the stroke.

Signs of a Stroke

Knowing the signs can save a life. It happens every day. The signs are organized to the memorable acronym F.A.S.T.

F – Face drooping. The face can be drooping on one side or be numb. If you are unsure, ask the person to smile.

A – Arm weakness. Can the person raise both arms? Are they both the same height? Does one arm droop?

S – Speech problems. A speech issue could be the person having slurred speech, trouble talking, or is hard to understand.

T – Time to call! If the person is showing ANY of these symptoms, it is time to call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

These are not the only symptoms of a stroke, but they are the best immediate way to recognize one. Other signs that someone may be suffering from a stroke include numbness especially on one side of the body, confusion or trouble understanding things, vision trouble, dizziness and trouble walking, and a severe headache that comes on suddenly.

Risk Factors

There are things that make you or someone in your life at a higher risk of stroke. These risks include high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity, low physical activity, high cholesterol, heart disease, and having a previous stroke. Working with your healthcare team to improve some of these areas can reduce your risk of having a stroke.

Other risks are out of your control but knowing them is important to your ongoing medical care and wellness. Some of these factors are include gender because women have more strokes than men, age as risk increases with age, race, and family history.

Knowing your risk factors will help you manage your risk so talk to your NOAH provider today if you have any questions or concerns.

Stroke is one of the top causes of death and disability in America, so knowing the signs and what to do can save a life. Every minute counts during, so act F.A.S.T.!

Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month: More Than Postpartum Depression

By: Alyssa Fagan-Clark, LMSW |Behavioral Health Counselor

During May, we celebrate Mother’s Day and Maternal Mental Health Awareness month! We often think of new motherhood as a time of excitement, care giving, happiness, and a deep sense of love. And while it is often all these things, conditions like postpartum depression can also be a period of intense struggle and uncertainty for many mothers and their loved ones.

According to Postpartum Support International, perinatal mental health disorders are the number one childbirth complication. One out of every seven mothers will face some form of postpartum mental health disorder, and the number is much higher for women of color with one of every three mothers impacted.

According to the CDC, the rate of maternal depression diagnoses at delivery is increasing. In 2015, the rate had increased seven times from where it was in 2000! This is more than the slight emotional changes most women – around 80% – experience in the 3-5 days after childbirth known as the “Baby Blues” period.

The “Baby Blues” happens after childbirth, when a woman’s body undergoes extreme hormonal and physical changes, in addition to the added emotional stress of caring for a newborn. This period typically lasts 2 weeks or less. Symptoms of the “Baby Blues” usually include moodiness, tearfulness, feeling overwhelmed, and general tiredness. While these emotional changes are normal and expected for most women, significant mood changes occurring for moms past this two-week period are a sign that she likely needs additional mental health support. While postpartum depression is a term many people may be familiar with, there are many other types of mental health disorders new mothers face.

Perinatal mental health disorders can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • And in rare cases, psychosis

Mothers who experience symptoms of these disorders may find themselves scared, uncertain, or even ashamed. Most mothers don’t expect complications like this during a time they thought they would be their happiest.

There are some risk factors for perinatal mental health disorders, including:

  • Personal or family history of mental illness
  • Economic stress
  • Having a baby who experienced a NICU stay
  • Experiencing an especially stressful or traumatic birth
  • Certain health diagnoses such as a thyroid issue or diabetes

A new mother’s best and most immediate source of help may be close friends and family members, who can recognize if she is struggling emotionally and assist her to get connected with professional support.

Luckily, the NOAH behavioral health team has mental health practitioners who are specially trained to work with new mothers (and fathers) who are struggling with mental health needs in this special time. If you or a parent you know needs care, please contact NOAH today.