Every 34 seconds someone dies from heart and blood vessel diseases, America’s  No. 1 killer.

Given this fact, it’s important to learn all you can about heart attack.  For example, you should know the warning signs of heart attack so you can get help right away.

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but most start slowly with mild pain or discomfort. Here are some signs that could signal a heart attack:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest which  lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, your back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs, such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

How can I reduce my risk for a heart attack?

Even if you already have heart disease, there is a lot you can do to improve your heart health.

  • Don’t smoke and avoid second-hand smoke.
  • Eat a healthy diet that’s low in saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium.
  • Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week.
  • Control your blood sugar if you are diabetic
  • Treat high blood pressure, if you have it.

How high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack

The excess strain and resulting damage from high blood pressure causes the coronary arteries serving the heart to slowly become narrowed from a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances that together are called plaque.  This is known as atherosclerosis.  As arteries harden with plaque, blood clots become more likely to form. When an artery becomes blocked due to plaque or blood clots, the blood flow through the heart muscle is interrupted, depriving the muscle of oxygen and nutrients.  The damage that occurs is called a heart attack.

High blood pressure is known as the silent killer because it typically gives no symptoms until damage is done to the heart and arteries.  High blood pressure can also damage the blood vessels in your brain, causing a stroke, as well as causing damage to your kidneys and eyes.  Lifestyle changes can help lower blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease.  Consult your doctor for ways you can avoid this killer disease.

Dr. Jacobson Recognized Regionally for Help in Opioid Epidemic

The Region VI Behavioral Health Board recently acknowledged Dr. Trevor Jacobson, M.D., for his service to the area by presenting him with the Regional Empowerment Award. This award is presented to a deserving member in our region for being a champion in the fight against the opioid epidemic. Dr. Jacobson received the award on December 5, 2019, at a Legislative Dinner in Pocatello.
JoAnn Martinez is the Chair of Region VI Behavioral Health Board and she acknowledged his impact by stating, “The quality services that you provide inspire hope, recovery, and resiliency in the lives of Idahoans suffering from addiction and their families. Your efforts are instrumental in making a positive difference to our community through education, awareness, training, and prevention of opioid addiction. You have been active in the community, and the service you provide by training professionals on the treatment of individuals with addiction is invaluable as we continue to address the need of those struggling with addiction in our area. Our community benefits immensely from the work that you provide.”

Dr. Jacobson is practicing at Bear Lake Memorial Hospital Internal Medicine Clinic. He received a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology, Medical Degree, and Family Medicine Specialty Degree all at the University of Utah. He is Board Certified as a Family Practice Physician with experience in pediatrics, sports medicine, weight loss management, women’s health, mental health, addiction, and disease prevention.

Dr. Jacobson is one of the few providers in the region that has specialized in the fight against opioid addiction using medication-assisted therapy, and his program has been found to be effective in the treatment and recovery of opioid dependence. Over 100 patients from across 5 states are being treated with medication-assisted therapy each month in Dr. Jacobson’s clinic. During his medical residency, he saw that patients were getting hooked on opioids which was a big concern to him. His experience in helping those patients helped him design a program that has proved effective. His patients are
receiving great outcomes and they are passing the word on to others to reach out and get assistance.

Dr. Jacobson’s program works with Idaho’s Response to the Opioid Crisis (IROC) project that is working to fight the opioid epidemic currently plaguing Idahoans, their family members, and friends. The Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) is currently using a multifaceted approach that seeks to expand access to Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), reduce access to opioids through prevention efforts, enhance the recovery-oriented system of care, and reduce deaths. This 4-part approach will: ▪ Provide opioid specific treatment and recovery support services to individuals with an Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). Treatment services will include access to both Methadone and Suboxone/Buprenorphine MAT. ▪ Increase accessibility to resources that will assist in reducing the incidences of opioid misuse by reducing access and preventing overdose deaths. Methods include using prescriber report cards to create social norms of decreased opioid prescribing; reducing diversion of opioids by establishing drop-box programs in pharmacies statewide; and educating prescribers on use of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). ▪ Provide community-based services that connect individuals with an OUD to peer supports and sober living activities. ▪ Increase the use of Naloxone to reverse opiate overdoses through training and provision of Naloxone to first responders and other community members who may encounter individuals at risk of opiate overdose. If you or someone you know would be interested in receiving more information on services available, please contact Dr. Jacobson at 208-847-1110.

Tim Ballard and Healthier You Conference

Want to Meet A Real Hero?

On January 18th, 2020, Bear Lake Memorial Hospital will be hosting “A Healthier You” conference at the middle school. The conference will be from 1:00p.m.-5:00p.m. The keynote speaker for the event will be Tim Ballard, CEO and founder of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing human trafficking victims.

Mr. Ballard is a former CIA and Homeland Security Special Agent who worked on a national and international level to stop human trafficking.  In 2013, Ballard, not wanting to be limited to only rescuing American children, gave up his secure job and pension in order to create his own company which has enabled him to rescue children and victims of human trafficking all over the world. The O.U.R. highly trained team consists of former navy seals, former intelligence agents, and other operatives with special skill sets.   Large supporters of O.U.R. include Glenn Beck, Tony Robbins, and Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburg Stealers NFL team.

In the past 5 years, O.U.R. has rescued over 3000 victims and assisted in the arrests of more than 1500 traffickers around the world. In October 2014, Operation Underground Railroad, in cooperation with the Columbian government, executed the largest-known human trafficking bust to date.

Ballard has bachelor degrees in Spanish and Political Science, as well as a master’s degree in International Politics.  He is an expert in American History and is the author of several books which include: Slave Stealers: True Accounts of Slave Rescues Then and Now;  The Lincoln Hypothesis; The Washington Hypothesis and The American Covenant– a 2 volume set

Movies and documentaries about Tim Ballard and O.U.R. include:

The Abolitionists, *Operation Toussaint, and The Sound of Freedom, a full-length movie to be released in the spring of 2020 starring Jim Caviezel as Tim Ballard. (A special, free showing of Operation Toussaint will be at the Middle school on Monday, January 6th.  Anyone is welcome)

Bear Lake Memorial Health Care conference committee members feel extremely fortunate that Mr. Ballard, a world-class speaker, has consented to come to our valley and be a part of our conference. Tickets for the conference are $10 and are available at the front desk of the hospital or online at Eventbrite.  Conference presentations include:

1p  Power Through Positive Coping-Brad Nelson, LMSW;

2p  Bystander Intervention-Anya Anthony; P.A.

3p  Healing from Trauma-What Works by Shaun Tobler, MSW, LCSW

4p  Tim Ballard, Keynote Speaker (book signing afterwards)

*You may attend any portion of the conference.  The conference is NOT exclusively for women. Seating is not assigned and limited. TICKETS ARE REQUIRED


Influenza is Upon Us

National Influenza Week

December 1-7, 2019

Previous flu vaccination coverage data has shown that few people get vaccinated against influenza after the end of November. The Centers for disease control and its partners want to remind people that even though the holiday season has begun, it is not too late to get a flu vaccine.  As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination should continue throughout flu season in order to protect as many people as possible against flu. While vaccination is recommended before the end of October, getting vaccinated later can still be beneficial during most seasons for people who have put it off. If you have already been sick with the flu, you can still benefit form vaccination since many different flu viruses spread during flu season and most flu vaccine protects against four different flu viruses.

The Burden of Flu

Flu isn’t a “bad cold” and can result in serious health complications, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, and can lead to hospitalization.  Flu can sometimes even lead to death.

​_Most people who get flu will recover in several days to less than two weeks, but some people

will develop serious flu complications.

​_People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women,

people with certain chronic health conditions, and people 65 years of age and older.

​_Anyone who gets the flu can pass it to someone at high risk of severe illness, including children

who are too young to get the vaccine, elderly people, and those with certain chronic illness.

Benefits of Flu Vaccination

​_The flu vaccine is estimated to prevent 5.3 million influenza illnesses.

​_A 2018 study showed that from 2012 to 2015, flu vaccination among adults reduced the risk of

being admitted to an intensive care unit with the flu by 82 percent.

_Studies show that when a pregnant woman is vaccinated, her baby is protected for several

months after birth.

​_ Flu vaccination has been shown to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but

still get sick.

Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.

Diabetes Prevention-5 Tips for Taking Control



Changing your lifestyle could be a big step toward diabetes prevention-and it’s never too late to start.  Consider these tips:


When it comes to type 2 diabetes, (the most common type), prevention is the key.

Diabetes prevention is as basic as eating more healthfully, moving more, and losing a few extra pounds.  It’s never too late to start!  Making a few simple changes in your lifestyle now may help avoid serious health consequences in the future.

Exercise can help you lose weight, lower your blood sugar, and boost your sensitivity to insulin.

Research shows that aerobic exercise and resistance training can help control diabetes. The best benefits come from a program that includes both.

Fiber can help you reduce your risk of diabetes by improving your blood sugar control, lower your risk of heart disease, and promote healthy weight by making you feel full.

It’s not clear why, but studies show that whole grains may reduce your risk of diabetes and help maintain blood sugar levels. Try to make at least half your grains whole grains.

The American Diabetes Association recommends blood glucose screening if:

  • You are over 45
  • You are overweight and have additional risk factors, such as a family history
  • You lead an inactive lifestyle.

Breast Cancer Awareness

healthcare and medicine concept – girl hands holding pink breast cancer awareness ribbon

It’s no secret that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Though we may get tired of seeing breast cancer information all over social media, in magazines, on the internet, etc., being informed and having regular mammograms are the best keys to helping women detect breast cancer early.  Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women.  

What are the symptoms? 

There are different symptoms of breast cancer, and some people have no symptoms at all.   Symptoms can include: 

Any change in the size or the shape of the breast. 

Pain in any area of the breast. 

Nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood). 

A new lump in the breast or underarm.                                                                                          

How can I lower my risk? 

Risk factors you cannot change include: 

Getting older- the risk increases with age 

Reproductive history- early menstrual periods, menopause after 55 

Having dense breasts-women with dense breasts are higher risk 

Personal or family history (either mother or father’s side) of breast or ovarian cancer     

Risk Factors You Can Change: 

Not being physically active 

Being overweight or obese after menopause 

Taking hormones (those that contain both estrogen and progesterone) taken during menopause when taken for more than 5 years. 

Reproductive history- Having the first pregnancy after 30, not breastfeeding, and never having a full-term pregnancy. 

Drinking alcohol 


Please make your mammogram appointment today by calling 208-847-1630.

Cholesterol…The Good, the bad and . . .

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found your body and has several useful functions, including helping to build your body’s cells. Your cholesterol levels are an important measure of good heart health. Too much LDL, or Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, can build up within the walls of your blood vessels and narrow the passageways. Sometimes a clot can form and get stuck in the narrowed space, causing a heart attack or stroke. That is why LDL is known as the “bad” cholesterol.

People who have naturally higher levels of high-density level lipoprotein cholesterol, or HDL, are at a lower risk for heart attack and stroke. HDL picks up excess bad cholesterol in your blood and takes it back to your liver where it’s broken down and removed from your body. That is why HDL is known as the “good” cholesterol. Ideally, you want higher levels of HDL, and lower levels of LDL.

High cholesterol can develop in early childhood and adolescence, and your risk increases as your weight increases. More than 102 million American adults have a total cholesterol level at or above 240 mg/dl, which puts them at risk for heart disease. A desirable, TOTAL cholesterol level would be less than 170mg/dl, with the LDL (bad) cholesterol level being less than 110 mg/dl, and the HDL (good) cholesterol being 35 mg/dl or higher.

Lifestyle changes known to increase HDL, such as moving more, quitting smoking or improving your diet, have been shown to lower the risk of heart attacks. Besides helping you lose weight, increased physical activity can lower your triglycerides, the most common type of fat in your body, while increasing your HDL levels. Benefits can be seen with as little as 60 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise a week. Adjusting your diet to avoid trans fats, which increase LDL levels is also important. Foods prepared with shortening, such as cakes and cookies, often contain trans fats, as do most fried foods and some margarines. Limit saturated fat, found in meats and full-fat dairy products, as well. Eat more fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and whole grains as these foods help control cholesterol levels. *See list below for cholesterol lowering foods.

The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends that adults aged 20 years or older have their cholesterol checked every 5 years. Your doctor can advise you if you need to have your cholesterol levels checked more often.

*Some foods that can lower cholesterol:

Legumes, avocados, nuts (especially almonds and walnuts), fatty fish (such as salmon and mackerel), whole grains (especially oats and barley), fruits and berries, dark chocolate and cocoa, garlic, vegetables, and extra virgin olive oil.

Vaccines Save Lives 

It’s hard to fully appreciate how vaccines have changed the world of modern medicine. The fact is, vaccines have helped save millions and millions of lives. On a global scale, health organizations work diligently to distribute vaccines to poorer countries. Thanks to increased access to the measles vaccine internationally, the annual death toll from this disease fell from almost 600,000 in 2000 to just 122,000 in 2012.
However, vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, mumps, and whooping cough, are still a threat. They continue to infect U.S. children, resulting in hospitalizations and deaths every year. Outbreaks of preventable diseases occur when many parents decide not to vaccinate their children. In the year 2000, the endemic spread of measles was considered to be eliminated in the United States but is now on the rise. If children are not vaccinated, they can spread disease to other children who are too young to be vaccinated or to people with weakened immune systems, such as transplant recipients and people with cancer. When we vaccinate children, we not only protect other children, but family members, friends, and grandparents.
Immunizations are not just for children. Protection from some childhood vaccines can wear off over time. You may be at risk because of your age, health, or lifestyle. All adults need immunizations to help prevent them from getting and spreading serious diseases. For instance, all adults need a seasonal flu vaccine every year. A study done by the CDC showed that the influenza vaccine saved 40,000 lives from flu-related deaths during the nine-year period from 2005-2014. Every adult should get the Tdap vaccine once if they did not receive it as an adolescent to protect against pertussis (whooping cough), and then a tetanus/diptheria booster shot every 10 years. You should talk with your doctor if you feel you should be exempt from these vaccinations.
A recurrence in the rise of outbreaks of infectious diseases in the U.S., such as measles, can be traced to those traveling to the U.S. from other countries, but the CDC feels the real culprit is misinformation about vaccines. Anti-vaxxers take advantage of social media and the internet to stoke public resistance to vaccines. The World Health organization named vaccine hesitancy among the top 10 threats to global health in 2019. To help spread this message and to counter misinformation, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine created a website (see below) displaying overwhelming evidence that vaccines are safe. The American Medical Association sent a letter to top executives at Amazon, Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube urging them to do more to stem the proliferation of health-related misinformation.
For credible information about the safety of vaccines, talk to your doctor or visit:
www.cdc.gov  or sites.nationalacademies.org/BasedOnScience/vaccines-are-safe/

BLMH is Top 20 in the Nation

Bear Lake Memorial Hospital Named as 2019 Top 100 Critical Access Hospital

 Bear Lake Memorial Hospital in Montpelier, ID scored in the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) in the United States by iVantage Health Analytics and The Chartis Center for Rural Health. This recognition is regarded as one of the industry’s most significant designations of performance excellence. Bear Lake Memorial is one of over 1300 Critical Access Hospitals surveyed nationally. This is the third year in a row the hospital has received this recognition additionally in 2018 they ranked as a Top 20 CAH by the National Rural Health Association.


“In an era of increased complexity and uncertainty, Top 100 hospitals have established themselves as a bellwether for rural provider performance,” said Michael Topchik, National Leader of The Chartis Center for Rural Health. “Top 100 status is a real indicator of how proactive these hospitals are when it comes to pushing for performance improvement in areas such as quality, outcomes, patient safety, market share and finance.”


Measurements like these reinforce Bear Lake Memorial’s high standards of quality healthcare and their vision of being most caring to the visitors and residents of the Bear Lake Valley and surrounding areas.



Summer Safety 101

Bear Lake winters can be long and hard.  The excitement of spring and summer brings with it a desire to get out of the house and be more active.  By following a few main safety tips, summer can be an enjoyable, safe time.

Stay Hydrated.

The standard recommendation is to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.  If you spend a fair amount of time in the sun, you may want to drink even more to avoid dehydration.  Don’t just depend on your body to tell you when you’re thirsty because as you age, you become less aware of your thirst.  Be proactive in staying hydrated. Sodas, coffee, and especially alcohol won’t work as good alternatives for hydration.  Water, sports drinks, and juice are the best.

Don’t Stay Out for Too Long.

If you are in extreme heat, you should keep your plans for outdoor activities reasonably short. Do not spend all day in the sun. After a couple of hours, plan to take a break.  You don’t always feel the effects of the sun in the exact moment, but it can build to something dangerous if you aren’t careful how much time you spend outside on hot days.

Keep Sunscreen Where It’s Readily Accessible So That You Will Remember to Use It.

If you carry a bag or purse, keep your sunscreen in it at all times.  If you don’t, stick your sunscreen in your care or anywhere else you can think of where you will be likely to have it when you need it.  You will need to reapply if you get wet,

sweat, or stay outdoors for a reasonable amount of time.

Check the Side Effects of Your Prescriptions.

Some medications make people more sensitive to the sun.  Make sure you know if your prescriptions mean you need to take extra precautions.  Some common prescriptions you will need to be aware of that can increase sun sensitivity are: Antibiotics such as Doxycycline, Tetracycline, and Ciprofloxacin; Antidepressants such as Doxepin and other tricyclics: Antihistamines; some blood pressure drugs such as Hydrochlorothiazide, Aldactazide, and Diltiazem; many cholesterol drugs, diuretics, chemotherapy drugs, and NSAIDS such as ibuprofen. (This is not a comprehensive list.  Check with your doctor about your medications.)

Use Air Conditioning If You Have It

Making sure you are comfortable in your home is worth the price of air conditioning. If you don’t have it, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program may help if the cost is prohibitive.

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