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Healthwise Maui

Q: What can I use instead of methamphetamine to stay awake to work my three jobs?

Dr. Stephanie Yan, general, trauma and critical care surgeon, Island Family Surgical Care Center: Believe it or not, I have been posed this question in my surgical practice. I’ve had to delay or postpone several surgeries, so I can further evaluate my patients for the long-term adverse effects of methamphetamine use that might cause complications during and after their surgeries. I’ve also had to take care of many patients after accidents because of methamphetamine use.

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive and illegal psychostimulant drug. Meth first appeared in Hawaii in the 1980s as a recreational drug. However, most of the patients I encounter using meth have resorted to it in order to work longer hours. But meth is not iced coffee. Meth is very harmful. Methamphetamine is neurotoxic and can damage the brain. It may cause structural and functional changes in the brain associated with emotion and memory, severe dental problems, malnutrition, high blood pressure, vascular damage and heart failure.

Consider green tea, yerba mate, ginger root tea, fresh juice, coffee and dark green food for the B vitamins, which will help give you that boost of energy. Working out regularly, at least three times a week, can give you energy as well and will also help you sleep better at night, so you feel refreshed and energized during the day.

Maui has resources available to treat people who are struggling with meth addiction. Please ask your primary care doctor for a referral to these programs here on Maui.

Q: A friend of mine gets her annual mammogram at Maui Memorial hospital. I didn’t know they offered services to people who are not patients in the hospital. Do you need a referral from a doctor in the hospital? I work right down the street and it would be so convenient for me to get a mammogram there.

Dennis McKeon, director of diagnostic imaging, Maui Memorial Medical Center: No, you don’t need a referral from a Maui Memorial Medical Center physician to get a mammogram here. In fact, the federal law called Mammography Quality Standards Act says that any woman who wants to be screened for breast cancer can self-refer. That means you don’t need any physicians’ referral to get a mammogram. You can call Maui Memorial Medical Center’s Imaging Department directly at 243-3012 and make an appointment. The receptionist will ask you for the name of your primary care physician that will be receiving your screening results.

Maui Memorial Medical Center Imaging Department accepts all forms of insurance, except Kaiser. Kaiser patients who inquire about a mammogram will be referred to a Kaiser Maui clinic. Maui Memorial is one of several health care facilities offering mammograms, including Maui Medical Group and Maui Diagnostic Imaging.

For those women who do not have insurance, we may still be able to help. If you would like to self-refer for a mammogram but don’t have insurance, our Maui Health Foundation may be able to help pay for your screening mammogram through Malama I Ke Ola Health Center. If you are interested in learning more, or to make an appointment, call the health center at 871-7772.

Research shows that early detection saves lives. When you catch and treat breast cancer early, you have a higher likelihood of going into remission and curing it. There are many imaging labs around the island that can accommodate your scheduling needs. So, don’t let insurance or the “busy-ness” of life be an excuse for not getting a mammogram!

* Physicians, providers and administrative staff who practice at Maui Health System hospitals and clinics answer questions from the public in “Healthwise Maui,” which appears on Thursdays. Maui Health System operates Maui Memorial Medical Center, Maui Memorial Medical Center Outpatient Clinic, Kula Hospital & Clinic and Lana’i Community Hospital and accepts all patients. To submit a question, go to the website at mauihealthsystem.org/contact.