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Healthcare news from Montana Public Radio.

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In the first three months after getting his Dexcom continuous glucose monitor, Ric Peralta managed to reduce his average blood sugar level by three percentage points.

"It took me from not-very-well-managed blood sugar to something that was incredibly well managed," says Peralta, a 46-year-old optician in Whittier, Calif., who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2008.

The Vaping Illness Outbreak: What We Know So Far

Sep 18, 2019

An outbreak of severe lung disease among users of electronic cigarettes continues to spread to new patients and states, and public health officials say it's too soon to point to a cause.

According to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 380 confirmed and probable cases have been identified in 36 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The CDC has confirmed six deaths, and a seventh death has been reported by public health officials in Tulare County, Calif.

Updated: Sept. 18, 10:26 a.m. ET

The U.S. abortion rate is continuing a long-term downward trend, according to new data released by the Guttmacher Institute on Wednesday.

On a hot June day in Fort Scott, Kan., as the Good Ol' Days festival was in full swing, 7-year-old Kaidence Anderson sat in the shade with her family, waiting for a medevac helicopter to land.

A crowd had gathered to see the display prearranged by staff at the town's historic fort.

"It's going to show us how it's going to help other people because we don't have the hospital anymore," the redheaded girl explained.

A report released by the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health says just over 26 percent of Montana residents are obese, compared to the nationwide average of about 30 percent.
(PD)

Montana has the country’s sixth lowest obesity rate. That’s according to a report released Thursday by the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health, which says just over 26 percent of Montana residents are obese, compared to the nationwide average of about 30 percent.

Montana State University nutrition expert Carmen Byker Shanks says that’s a testament to state programs promoting nutritious, unprocessed foods in schools and hospitals.

Health officials nationwide are investigating up to 450 possible cases of severe pulmonary disease linked to e-cigarettes. The Associated Press reports up to six people have died.
iStock

Montana health officials on both the statewide and local level are piecing together a puzzle. State epidemiologist Laura Williamson says "a handful" of patients have recently come forward with possible cases of severe lung disease. The case reports are coming from across the state. The one thread connecting them? All the patients have a history of vaping.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is testing a new program in Montana aimed at connecting rural veterans in a behavioral health crisis to care. According to the state health department, veterans account for more than one out of every five suicide deaths in the state.

Gov. Steve Bullock signs an executive order, Sept. 4, 2019 declaring Big Sky Care Connect Montana's single state-designated health information exchange entity.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

A virtual network of patient medical records is under construction by state officials and a newly formed organization in Montana’s health care industry. Gov. Steve Bullock announced Wednesday that $19 million in federal funding is backing the developing information exchange.

Big Sky Care Connect is Montana’s latest attempt to link health care providers so they can more efficiently share patient medical information.

SoClean's CPAP cleaner. The company is expanding to Kalispell and plans to hire up to 100 people during it's first year of operation.
Courtesy SoClean

A new business coming to Kalispell says it intends to hire up to 100 people during its first year of operations. More than twice that number may eventually be hired on.

While many Capitol Hill Republicans would like to avoid another public debate about whether to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Trump and his appointees keep bringing it up — promising their own health plan that would be "phenomenal" and make the GOP "the party of health care."

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