AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is a syndrome caused by a virus called HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). The illness alters the immune system, making people much more vulnerable to infections and diseases. This susceptibility worsens as the syndrome progresses.
Causes of HIV/AIDS:
HIV can be transmitted through:
The Virus CANNOT be transmitted from:
or other forms of “casual contact”
Signs and symptoms of early HIV infection:
Many people with HIV have no symptoms for several years. Others may develop symptoms similar to flu, usually two to six weeks after catching the virus. The symptoms can last up to four weeks.
Symptoms of early HIV infection may include:
Asymptomatic HIV infection
In many cases, after the initial symptoms disappear, there will not be any further symptoms for many years. During this time, the virus carries on developing and damages the immune system. This process can take up to 10 years. The infected person will experience no symptoms, feel well and appear healthy.
Signs and symptoms of late-stage HIV infection may include:
Diagnosis of HIV/AIDS:
HIV blood test
Diagnosis is made through a blood test that screens specifically for the virus.
If the HIV virus has been found, the test result is “positive”. The blood is re-tested several times before a positive result is given to the patient.
For those whose tests came back positive, they will be asked to undergo some other tests to see how the infection has progressed, and also to decide when to start treatment.
Education: Health education is an important factor in reducing risky behavior.
“Think Pink Live Green”
1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer
A healthy diet & exercise routine can reduce your chance for breast cancer by nearly 40%
When caught early, breast cancer has a 98% survival rate
Nearly 85% of women diagnosed with breast cancer DO NOT have a family history
Know the symptoms of breast cancer
Early breast cancer usually doesn’t cause symptoms. But as the tumor grows, it can change how the breast looks or feels.
These symptoms do not automatically indicate breast cancer. But, if you have any of these conditions, you should tell your health care provider so that the problems can be diagnosed and treated.
Knowing Your Body:
For women under 50-years old:
For women over 50-years old:
The Breast Cancer Prevention Lifestyle
Yes, you can maximize your potential for actually preventing breast cancer! It’s all about personal choices in how we take care of ourselves.
Breast milk is best for your baby, and the benefits of breastfeeding extend well beyond basic nutrition. In addition to containing all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first six months of life, breast milk is packed with disease-fighting substances that protect your baby from illness.
That’s one reason the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months (although any amount of breastfeeding is beneficial). And scientific studies have shown that breastfeeding is good for your health, too.
Breastfeeding benefits for the baby (2)
1- Breast milk provides the ideal nutrition for infants. It has a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat — everything your baby needs to grow. And it’s all provided in a form more easily digested than infant formula.
2- Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria.
3-Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies. Plus, babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea. They also have fewer hospitalizations and trips to the doctor.
4-Breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood in some studies.
5-What’s more, the physical closeness, skin-to-skin touching, and eye contact all help your baby bond with you and feel secure.
6- Breastfed infants are more likely to gain the right amount of weight as they grow rather than become overweight children.
7- The AAP says breastfeeding also plays a role in the prevention of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). It’s been thought to lower the risk of diabetes, obesity.
Benefits for the mother:
1-Breastfeeding burns extra calories, so it can help you lose pregnancy weight faster.
2-It releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth.
3- Breastfeeding also lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Will I Make Enough Milk to Breastfeed?
The first few days after birth, your breasts make ideal “first milk.” It’s called colostrum. Colostrum is thick, yellowish, and scant, but there’s plenty to meet your baby’s nutritional needs. Colostrum helps a newborn’s digestive tract develop and prepare itself to digest breast milk.
Most babies lose a small amount of weight in the first 3 to 5 days after birth. This is unrelated to breastfeeding.
As your baby needs more milk and nurses more, your breasts respond by making more milk. Experts recommend breastfeeding exclusively (no formula, juice, or water) for 6 months. If you supplement with formula, your breasts might make less milk.
Even if you breastfeed less than the recommended 6 months, it’s better to breastfeed for a short time than no time at all. You can add solid food at 6 months but also continue to breastfeed if you want to keep producing milk.
1- www.babycenter.com ? Breastfeeding ? Breastfeeding Basics
1. Sleep boosts immunity: Prolonged lack of sleep can disrupt your immune system.
2. Sleep can slim you down: Studies have shown that people who sleep less than seven hours a day are 30% more likely to be obese than those who get nine hours of sleep or more.
3. Sleep boosts your mental wellbeing: Chronic sleep debt may lead to long-term mood disorders like depression and anxiety.
4. Sleep prevents diabetes: Missing out on deep sleep may lead to type 2 diabetes by changing the way the body processes glucose, the high-energy carbohydrate that cells use for fuel.
5. Sleep wards off heart disease: Long-standing sleep deprivation seems to be associated with increased heart rate, an increase in blood pressure and higher levels of certain chemicals linked with inflammation, which may put extra strain on your heart.
6. Sleep increases your fertility: Regular sleep disruptions can impair fertility by reducing the secretion of reproductive hormones.
Hospital Infections Kill 200 Daily in U.S.
People who are hospitalized in the United States risk acquiring healthcare-associated infections, which kill 75,000 patients per year, U.S. health authorities said Wednesday.
Many bacterial infections — which can lead to serious complications from pneumonia and illnesses of the intestinal tract — could be prevented if healthcare workers practiced common hygiene, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Although there has been some progress, today and every day more than 200 Americans with healthcare-associated infections will die during their hospital stay,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden.
“The most advanced medical care won’t work if clinicians don’t prevent infections through basic things such as regular hand hygiene.”
The data, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, came from 183 U.S. hospitals in 2011.That year, the CDC survey found that about 721,800 infections occurred in 648,000 hospital patients. Some 75,000 patients with healthcare-associated infections died during their hospitalizations. The most common infections were pneumonia and surgical site infections (each at 22 percent), followed by gastrointestinal infections (17 percent), urinary tract infections (13 percent), and bloodstream infections (10 percent). The germs causing these infections were C. difficile (12 percent), Staphylococcus aureus, including MRSA (11 percent), Klebsiella (10 percent), E. coli (9 percent), Enterococcus (9 percent), and Pseudomonas (7 percent).
A second report out Wednesday from the CDC found that nationwide, such infections are on the decline in recent years. Bloodstream infections were down 44 percent between 2008 and 2012, and infections related to 10 selected surgical procedures were down 20 percent in the same timeframe. Hospital infections with MRSA and C. difficile showed less substantive declines, at four percent and two percent respectively from 2011 to 2012. The United Sates is “making progress in preventing healthcare-associated infections,” said Patrick Conway, chief medical officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
He said the gains come from three main mechanisms, including financial incentives, performance measures and public reporting to improve transparency, and increased use of interventions that have proven effective. “This progress represents thousands of lives saved, prevented patient harm, and the associated reduction in costs across our nation.”
Harvard Health Publications
If you’ve ever had the flu, you know how sick you can be. Chances are good that some of the advice friends and family gave you about avoiding or dealing with the flu was wrong. There seems to be no shortage of misinformation and bad advice when it comes to dealing with the flu. Here are 10 common myths about the flu.
1. You can catch the flu from the vaccine.
The vaccine is made from an inactivated virus that can’t transmit infection. So people who get sick after receiving a flu vaccination were going to get sick anyway. It takes a week or two to get protection from the vaccine. But people assume that because they got sick after getting the vaccine, the shot caused their illness.
2. Healthy people don’t need to be vaccinated.
It’s true that the flu vaccination is routinely recommended for people who have a chronic illness. But anyone even healthy folks can benefit from being vaccinated. Current guidelines suggest that children ages 6 months to 19 years old, pregnant women, and anyone over age 49 be vaccinated each year. In addition, the flu shot is recommended for healthy people who might spread the virus to others who are particularly susceptible. For this reason, health care workers are routinely advised to get the flu vaccination to protect their patients.
3. Getting the flu vaccination is all you need to do to protect yourself from the flu.
There are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself during flu season besides vaccination. Avoid contact with people who have the flu, wash your hands frequently, and consider taking anti-viral medications if you were exposed to the flu before being vaccinated.
4. The flu is just a bad cold.
Influenza may cause bad cold symptoms. But in the United States alone, 36,000 people die and more than 200,000 are hospitalized each year because of the flu.
5. You can’t spread the flu if you’re feeling well.
Actually, 20% to 30% of people carrying the influenza virus have no symptoms.
6. You don’t need to get a flu shot every year.
The influenza virus changes (mutates) each year. So getting vaccinated each year is important to make sure you have immunity to the strains most likely to cause an outbreak.
7. You can catch the flu from going out in cold weather without a coat, with wet hair or by sitting near a drafty window.
The only way to catch the flu is by being exposed to the influenza virus. Flu season coincides with the cold weather. So people often associate the flu with a cold, drafty environment. But, they are not related.
8. Feed a cold, starve a fever.
If you have the flu (or a cold) and a fever, you need more fluids. There’s little reason to increase or decrease how much you eat. Though you may have no appetite, “starving” yourself will accomplish little. And poor nutrition will not help you get better.
9. Chicken soup will speed your recovery from the flu.
Hot liquids can soothe a sore throat and provide much needed fluids. But chicken soup has no other specific qualities that can help fight the flu.
10. If you have a high fever with the flu that lasts more than a day or two, antibiotics may be necessary.
Antibiotics work well against bacteria, but they aren’t effective for a viral infection like the flu. Then again, some people develop a bacterial infection as a complication of the flu, so it may be a good idea to get checked out if your symptoms drag on or worsen.
The flu is a good example of how medical myths can get in the way of good medical care. When it’s flu season, take the necessary steps to stay healthy. That includes separating fact from myth.uction in costs across our nation.”
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
After undergoing hip replacement, you may expect your lifestyle after the surgery to be a lot like the way it was before, but without the pain. In many ways, you are right, but it will take time. You need to be a partner in the healing process to ensure a successful outcome.
You will be able to resume most activities; however, you may have to change how you do them. For example, you will have to learn new ways of bending down that keep your new hip safe. The suggestions you find here will help you enjoy your new hip while you safely resume your daily routines.
Resuming Normal Activities
Once you get home, you should stay active. The key is not to overdo it! While you can expect some good days and some bad days, you should notice a gradual improvement over time.
Sleep on your back with your legs slightly apart or on your side with an abduction pillow, a regular pillow between your knees, or a knee immobilizer at night. Be sure to use the pillow for at least 6 weeks, or until your doctor says you can do without it. Sleeping on your stomach should be all right.
For at least the first 3 months, sit only in chairs that have arms. Do not sit on low chairs, low stools, or reclining chairs. Do not cross your legs at the knees. The physical therapist will show you how to sit and stand from a chair, keeping your affected leg out in front of you. Get up and move around on a regular basisat least once every hour.
Stair climbing should be limited if possible until healing is far enough along. If you must go upstairs:
– The unaffected leg should step up first.
– Then bring the affected leg up to the same step.
– Then bring your crutches or canes up.
To go down stairs, reverse the process.
– Put your crutches or canes on the lower step.
– Next, bring the affected leg down to that step.
– Finally step down with the unaffected leg.
You can begin driving an automatic shift car in 4 to 8 weeks, provided you are no longer taking narcotic pain medication. If you have a stick-shift car and your right hip was replaced, do not begin driving until your doctor says you can. The physical therapist will show you how to slide in and out of the car safely. Placing a plastic bag on the seat can help.
Return to Work
Depending on the type of activities you perform, it may be as long as 3 to 6 months before you can return to work.
Walk as much as you like once your doctor gives you the go-ahead, but remember that walking is no substitute for your prescribed exercises. Walking with a pair of trekking poles is helpful and adds as much as 40% to the exercise you get when you walk.
Avoid activities that involve impact stress on the joint.
Lifting weights is not a problem, but carrying heavy, awkward objects that cause you to stagger is not advised, especially if you must go up and down stairs or slopes.
By the time you leave the hospital, you should be eating your normal diet. Your physician may recommend that you take iron and vitamin supplements. Continue to drink plenty of fluids and avoid excessive intake of vitamin K while you are taking the blood-thinner medication. Foods rich in vitamin K include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, liver, green beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, soybeans, soybean oil, spinach, kale, lettuce, turnip greens, cabbage, and onions. Try to limit your intake of coffee and alcohol. You should watch your weight to avoid putting more stress on the joint.
Dos and Don’ts
Dos and don’ts (precautions) vary depending on the orthopedic surgeon’s approach. Your doctor and physical therapist will provide you with a list of dos and don’ts to remember with your new hip. These precautions will help to prevent the new joint from dislocating and to ensure proper healing. Here are some of the most common precautions:
– Don’t cross your legs at the knees for at least 8 weeks.
– Don’t bring your knee up higher than your hip.
– Don’t lean forward while sitting or as you sit down.
– Don’t try to pick up something on the floor while you are sitting.
– Don’t turn your feet excessively inward or outward when you bend down.
– Don’t reach down to pull up blankets when lying in bed.
– Don’t bend at the waist beyond 90.
– Don’t stand pigeon-toed.
– Don’t kneel on the knee on the un-operated leg (the good side).
– Don’t use pain as a guide for what you may or may not do.
– Do keep the leg facing forward.
– Do keep the affected leg in front as you sit or stand.
– Do use a high kitchen or barstool in the kitchen.
– Do kneel on the knee on the operated leg (the bad side).
– Do use ice to reduce pain and swelling, but remember that ice will diminish sensation. Don’t apply ice directly to the skin; use an ice pack or wrap it in a damp towel.
– Do apply heat before exercising to assist with range of motion. Use a heating pad or hot, damp towel for 15 to 20 minutes.
– Do cut back on your exercises if your muscles begin to ache, but don’t stop doing them!
By Anne-Marie Botek – AgingCare.com
Urinary incontinence can strike both caregivers and their elderly loved ones.
An overactive bladder is one of the many potential causes of urinary incontinence. The muscles of an overactive bladder contract uncontrollably, resulting in the urge to urinate, and potentially causing a person to void unintentionally.
According to the Mayo Clinic, an overactive bladder can be caused by Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, a urinary tract infection, an enlarged prostate (in men), certain medications, and constipation, among other things. Sometimes, the root cause of an overactive bladder cannot be discovered. In these cases especially, making minor alterations to a person’s diet may help alleviate some of their symptoms.
Put your bladder on a diet:
Here’s a rundown of dietary DONTS for someone with an overactive bladder:
– Citrus fruits
– Spicy foods
– Carbonated beverages
These foods and beverages can be irritating to the bladder and may make it more prone to involuntary contractions.
Additional tips to keep the bladder happy:
These are just a few suggestions, so they may or may not fit in with the specific dietary needs of you and your loved one.
Here are some general guidelines to help you keep meals healthy and bladder-safe:
– Keep Your Weight Healthy
People who are overweight tend to experience more problems with urinary incontinence. Exercising and eating a healthy, balanced diet can help you and your loved one to maintain a healthy weight and decrease your risk for incontinence issues.
– Drink Water
It may seem counterintuitive to advise someone with urinary incontinence to drink more, but being dehydrated can make urine more concentrated and irritating to your bladder. Also, not getting enough fluid increases the likelihood of constipation. According to the Mayo Clinic, women should drink a little more than two liters of fluid per day, while men need about three liters. Hydration can be a very individual process though, so if you are still experiencing the symptoms of an overactive bladder, the Mayo Clinic also says that a 25 percent decrease in your daily fluid intake could help. People who have an overactive bladder should stay away from beverages that are alcoholic, caffeinated, carbonated, or citrus-flavored. Water, apple and pear juice, and herbal tea are all bladder-friendly.
– When it comes to Pasta, Bread, and Rice, try to stick to Whole-Grain and Whole-Wheat Versions as much as possible.
This will ensure that you’re getting the maximum amount of fiber and nutrients. In the grocery store, look for the 100 percent whole grain stamp on the front of the box or bag. Also check to make sure that the word “whole” sits in front of every grain or flour ingredient listed on the package. Brown rice is always a whole grain.
– When Cooking Proteins and Veggies, try to Avoid Frying them in Oil or Butter.
Proteins are most healthy when baked, broiled, grilled, or seared. Veggies can be steamed, baked, or grilled. To add bladder-friendly flavor to main dishes, add a sprinkle of some non-irritating spices such as: basil, chives, dill, fennel, garlic, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, salt, tarragon, and thyme.
– Go Fresh and All-Natural as often as possible.
This will not only reduce the amount of chemicals that could potentially irritate your loved one’s bladder, but also optimize the nutrients, vitamins and minerals they get from their food.
– Avoid Sauces and Dressings that are Spicy or Tomato-based as these can Aggravate the Bladder.
Instead, seek out lighter sauces made from oils, and bladder-safe herbs (see list above). Sauces that contain cheese can be dodgysome people may tolerate them well, while others may not. Mozzarella, feta, mild cheddar, and ricotta are generally pretty safe cheeses for most people’s bladders.
How Tumors Form?
The body is made up of many types of cells. Normally, cells grow, divide, and produce more cells as needed to keep the body healthy and functioning properly. Sometimes, however, the process goes wrong and cells become abnormal, forming more cells in an uncontrolled way. These extra cells form a mass of tissue, called a growth or tumor. Tumors can be benign, which means not cancerous, or malignant, which means cancerous. Lung cancer occurs when a tumor forms in the tissue of the lung.
The Leading Cause of Cancer Death:
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the United States. Experts estimate that over 200,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed each year; over 100,000 cases in men and 100,000 cases in women. Lung cancer occurs most often between the ages of 55 and 65.
Two Major Types of Lung Cancer:
There are two major types of lung cancer; non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. Each type of lung cancer grows and spreads in different ways, and each is treated differently.
Non-small cell lung cancer is more common than small cell lung cancer.
Small cell lung cancer grows more quickly and is more likely to spread to other organs in the body.
Lung Cancer Can Spread:
Lung cancer may spread to the lymph nodes or other tissues in the chest, including the lung opposite to where it originated. It may also spread to other organs of the body, such as the bones, brain, or liver. When cancer spreads from its original location in the lung to another part of the body such as the brain, it is called metastatic lung cancer, not brain cancer. Doctors sometimes call this distant disease.
Smoking and Lung Cancer:
Lung cancer would occur much less often if people did not smoke. The good news is that smoking is not as popular as it used to be. In 1965 about 42 percent of all adults smoked, but by 2008 only 21 percent did. Also, there has been a sharp drop in lung cancer deaths among men, mainly because fewer men are smoking, and for the first time in decades, lung cancer deaths in women are now declining.
The bad news is that smoking rates, which were dropping, have stopped declining in recent years. Smoking by young adults actually increased by 73 percent in the 1990s but has shown a downturn or leveling off in the past few years.
Causes and Risk Factors:
Tobacco Products and Cancer
Using tobacco products has been shown to cause cancer. In fact, smoking tobacco, using smokeless tobacco, and being exposed regularly to secondhand tobacco smoke are responsible for a large number of cancer deaths each year.
Cigarette Smoking Causes Lung Cancer:
Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. Scientists have reported widely on the link between cancer and smoking since the 1960s.
If You Smoke:
If you smoke cigarettes, you are at much higher risk for lung cancer than a person who has never smoked. The risk of dying from lung cancer is 23 times higher for men who smoke and 13 times higher for women who smoke than for people who have never smoked. Lung cancer can affect young and old alike.
Stopping smoking greatly reduces your risk for developing lung cancer. After you stop, your risk levels off. Ten years after the last cigarette, the risk of dying from lung cancer drops by 50 percent, which does not mean, however, that risk is eliminated.
Smoking cigars and pipes also puts you at risk for lung cancer. Cigar and pipe smokers have a higher risk of lung cancer than nonsmokers. Even cigar and pipe smokers who do not inhale are at increased risk for lung, mouth, and other types of cancer.
The likelihood that a smoker will develop lung cancer is related to the age smoking began; how long the person smoked; the number of cigarettes, pipes, or cigars smoked per day; and how deeply the smoker inhaled.
Other Factors That Increase Your Risk
Many studies suggest that non-smokers who are exposed to environmental tobacco smoke, also called secondhand smoke, are at increased risk of lung cancer.
Exposure to radon can put a person at risk for lung cancer, too.
Another substance that can contribute to lung cancer is asbestos.
Symptoms and Diagnosis:
Common Signs and Symptoms
When lung cancer first develops, there may be no symptoms at all. But as the cancer grows, it can cause changes that people should watch for. Common signs and symptoms of lung cancer include:
a cough that doesn’t go away and gets worse over time
constant chest pain
coughing up blood
shortness of breath, wheezing, or hoarseness
repeated problems with pneumonia or bronchitis
swelling of the neck and face
loss of appetite or weight loss
These symptoms may be caused by lung cancer or by other conditions. It is important to check with a doctor if you have symptoms because only a doctor can make a diagnosis. Don’t wait to feel pain. Early cancer usually doesn’t cause pain.
By National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that results from degeneration of neurons in a region of the brain that controls movement. Parkinson’s disease (PD) belongs to a group of conditions called motor system disorders, which are the result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. The primary symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are:
– Shakes or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face
– Rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs and trunk
– Slowness of movement
– Inability to move
– Postural instability
– Impaired balance and coordination
– Slow movement
– A shuffling walk
– Stooped posture
– Foot pain and toe curling
– Difficulty swallowing or chewing
As these symptoms become more pronounced, patients may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks. Parkinson’s disease usually affects people over the age of 50. Early symptoms of PD are subtle and occur gradually. In some people the disease progresses more quickly than in others. As the disease progresses, the shaking, or tremor, which affects the majority of people with Parkinson’s may begin to interfere with daily activities. Other problems associated with Parkinson’s include:
– Depression and other emotional changes
– Difficulty in swallowing, chewing, and speaking
– Urinary problems or constipation
– Skin problems
– Sleep disruptions
There are currently no blood or laboratory tests that have been proven to help in diagnosing sporadic PD. Therefore the diagnosis is based on medical history and a neurological examination. The disease can be difficult to diagnose accurately. Doctors may sometimes request brain scans or laboratory tests in order to rule out other diseases.
The Stages of Parkinson’s Disease Hoehn and Yahr Staging of Parkinson’s Disease
* Stage One
– Signs and symptoms on one side only
– Symptoms tend to be mild
– Symptoms are inconvenient but not disabling
– The condition usually appears as a tremor of one limb
– Friends have noticed changes in posture, locomotion and facial expression
– Symptoms are bilateral, affecting both sides of the body
– Symptoms start to interrupt the activities of daily living, with minimal disability
– Posture and gait are affected
– Significant slowing of body movements
– Early impairment of equilibrium on walking or standing
– Generalized dysfunction that is moderately severe
– Severe symptoms
– The person can still walk to a limited extent
– The person is no longer able to live alone
– Tremor may be less than earlier stages
– Cachectic stage
– Invalidism is 100%
– The person cannot stand or walk
– Requires constant nursing care
Another commonly used scale is the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). This much more complicated scale has multiple ratings that measure mental functioning, behavior, and mood; activities of daily living; and motor function. Both the Hoehn and Yahr scale and the UPDRS are used to measure how individuals are faring and how much treatments are helping them.
By JANE E. BRODY- New York Times
Vitamin D promises to be the most talked-about and written-about supplement of the decade. If the findings of existing clinical trials hold up in future research, the potential consequences of this deficiency are likely to go far beyond inadequate bone development and excessive bone loss that can result in falls and fractures. Every tissue in the body, including the brain, heart, muscles and immune system, has receptors for vitamin D, meaning that this nutrient is needed at proper levels for these tissues to function well.
Studies indicate that the effects of a vitamin D deficiency include an elevated risk of developing (and dying from) cancers of the colon, breast and prostate; high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease; osteoarthritis; and immune-system abnormalities that can result in infections and autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
Most people in the modern world have lifestyles that prevent them from acquiring the levels of vitamin D that evolution intended us to have. The suns ultraviolet-B rays absorbed through the skin are the body’s main source of this nutrient.
Although more foods today are supplemented with vitamin D, experts say it is rarely possible to consume adequate amounts through foods. The main dietary sources are wild-caught oily fish (salmon, mackerel, bluefish, and canned tuna) and fortified milk and baby formula, cereal and orange juice.
People in colder regions form their years supply of natural vitamin D in summer, when ultraviolet-B rays are most direct. But the less sun exposure, the darker a persons skin and the more sunscreen used, the less previtamin D is formed and the lower the serum levels of the vitamin. People who are sun-phobic, babies who are exclusively breast-fed, the elderly and those living in nursing homes are particularly at risk of a serious vitamin D deficiency.
Given appropriate sun exposure in summer, it is possible to meet the bodys yearlong need for vitamin D. But so many factors influence the rate of vitamin D formation in skin that it is difficult to establish a universal public health recommendation. Asked for a general recommendation, doctors suggest going outside in summer unprotected by sunscreen (except for the face, which should always be protected) wearing minimal clothing from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. two or three times a week for 5 to 10 minutes.
What caused that dark, unsightly mark on your leg? You don’t recall bumping into anything. Lately, however, you seem to be bruising frequently. Is this cause for concern?
Easy bruising is common with age. Although most bruises are harmless and go away without treatment, easy bruising can sometimes be a sign of a more serious problem.
Why is easy bruising so common in older adults?
Most bruises form when small blood vessels (capillaries) near the skin’s surface are broken by the impact of a blow or injury, often on the arms or legs. When this happens, blood leaks out of the vessels and initially appears as a bright or dark red, purple or black mark. Eventually your body reabsorbs the blood, and the mark disappears.
Generally, harder blows cause larger bruises. However, if you bruise easily, a minor bump, one you might not even notice, can result in substantial discoloration.
Some people, especially women, are more prone to bruising than are others. As you get older, several factors can contribute to easy bruising, including:
Aging capillaries. Over time, the tissues supporting these vessels weaken, and capillary walls become more fragile and prone to rupture.
Thinning skin. With age, your skin becomes thinner and loses some of the protective fatty layer that helps cushion your blood vessels from injury. Excessive exposure to the sun accelerates this process.
When does easy bruising indicate a more serious problem?
Easy bruising sometimes indicates a serious underlying condition, such as a blood-clotting problem or a blood disease. Consult your doctor if you:
Have unusually large or painful bruises, especially if your bruises seem to develop for no known reason
Have easy bruising and abnormal bleeding elsewhere, such as from your nose, gums or intestinal tract
Suddenly begin bruising, especially if you recently started a new medication
Develop bruising during an illness in addition to fever or confusion
These signs and symptoms can indicate low levels of or abnormally functioning platelets components of blood that help it clot after an injury or problems with proteins that help the blood clot. To diagnose the cause of your bruising, your doctor might check your blood platelet levels or do tests that measure the ability of your blood to clot.
How can I prevent or treat bruises?
To prevent minor bruising, eliminate household clutter that could cause bumps or falls.
Long-sleeved shirts and pants can provide an extra layer of protection for your skin.
Limit prolonged exposure to the sun to help you avoid its aging effects and a resulting increased risk of bruising.
Once a bruise has formed, however, not much can be done to treat it. Most bruises eventually disappear as your body reabsorbs the blood although healing may take longer as you age. If the bruise is swollen, it might help to apply a cold compress and elevate the affected area. After the swelling decreases, a warm compress might speed removal of the blood.
You might not be able to eliminate easy bruising. However, taking simple steps to protect your skin and avoid injury can go a long way toward keeping you bruise-free.
As people get older, it is normal for their vision to change. However, there are steps you can take to preserve your eyesight and improve your vision – an important part of staying safe and independent.
The effects of aging on vision can range from mildly irritating changes to serious eye diseases. Changes may include:
-Difficulty reading small print;
-Taking longer to adjust from light to dark;
-More sensitivity to glare from sunlight or unshielded light bulbs;
-Loss of depth perception, which makes it difficult to judge distances;
-Difficulty in seeing contrasts and color;
-Tearing or watery eyes.
Because vision is so vital to daily living, it is important to recognize the changes. Having your eyes examined regularly can help to detect problems early on and help maintain good vision.
SYMPTOMS OF VISION LOSS
As you age, you or someone else may notice that you are experiencing symptoms of vision deterioration. Signs include:
-Greater sensitivity to light;
-Choosing bright over dull colored objects or clothing;
-Spilling food or drinks because you misjudge where items are;
-Finding it hard to copy from written texts;
-Becoming clumsy, such as having difficulty threading a needle or buttoning a shirt;
-Seeing flashes of light or rapid movement from the corners of your eyes;
-Having difficulties with driving at night;
-Experiencing uncontrolled eye movement;
-Making driving mistakes, such as missing street signs or traffic signs;
-Falling because of a missed step or an unseen object on the floor.
MINIMIZING YOUR RISK
There are many steps you can take to protect your vision.
-If you are over the age of 45, have your eyes examined on a regular basis.
-If you suffer from dry eyes (gritty, itchy, or burning), a home humidifier and eye drops may help. In a few serious cases, surgery may be needed to correct the problem.
-If your eyes water, it may be that you are more sensitive to light, wind, or temperature change. Simply shielding your eyes or wearing sunglasses may solve the problem.
-Turn on the lights. Seeing better can sometimes be as easy as changing a light bulb to one with a higher wattage.
-Don’t smoke. Smoking tobacco is a major risk factor in the early onset of age-related macular degeneration.
-Reduce glare as much as possible by using good lampshades, glare shields on computer monitors, and sunglasses. Sunglasses should provide 99 to 100% UV-A and UV-B protection.
-Protect your eyes from accidents in your home. Put a grease shield over frying foods.
Make sure sprays are pointed away from you when spraying.
-Wear safety glasses in the workshop and when using chemical products such as ammonia.
-Eat your carrots. A daily dose of the vitamins and minerals found in melons, citrus fruit, carrots, spinach, and kale may help slow the progress of age-related eye diseases
-Don’t drive at night if you have problems with depth perception, glare, or other vision difficulties.
It is the spring; It is the time to open the windows, pack away the winter coats, get out in the garden and head to the pharmacy to stock up on allergy medications!!!
Among the most common allergy triggers are: Tree, grass, weed pollen, mold spores, dust mite and cat, dog, and rodent dander.
Although there is no magical cure for spring allergies, there are however a number of ways to combat them, such as taking your allergy medications before your symptoms start and eating natural remedies, such as citrus fruits, broccoli, onion, garlic and parsley.
There are also the following safety measures that can be taken at home.
– Keep pets out
– Keep your home’s doors and windows closed
– Clean the windows, book shelves and air conditioning vents
– Wash blankets weekly in hot water
– Shower and wash your hair before bed
– Minimize outdoor activity when pollen counts are high (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
WebMD (2012). Spring Allergies.
WHAT IS ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE?
Alzheimer is a disease of the brain that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior.
It is not a normal part of aging. Alzheimers gets worse over time. Although symptoms can vary widely, the first problem many people notice is forgetfulness severe enough to affect their ability to function at home or at work, or to enjoy lifelong hobbies.
The disease may cause a person to become confused, lost in familiar places, misplace things or have trouble with language.
9 WARNING SIGNS OF ALZHEIMERS DISEASE
It may be hard to know the difference between a typical age-related change and the first sign of Alzheimers disease.
To help, below is a list of warning signs for Alzheimers disease. Individuals may experience one or more of these in different degrees. If you notice any of them, please see a doctor.
1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
One of the most common signs of Alzheimers disease, especially in the early stages, is forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; and relying on memory aides (e.g., reminder or notes) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
Some people may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
People with Alzheimers disease often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people have trouble driving to a familiar location
4. Confusion with time or place
People with Alzheimers can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.
5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer. They may have difficulty reading, judging and determining colors. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not realize they are the person in the mirror.
6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
People with Alzheimers may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name
7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
A person with Alzheimers disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again.
Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time.
8. Withdrawal from work or social activities
A person with Alzheimer may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.
9. Changes in mood and personality
The mood and personality of people with Alzheimer can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.
Alzheimer’s Association (2011)
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. However, improvements in cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment have increased the survival rate for many types of cancer. About 64 percent of all people diagnosed with cancer will be alive 5 years after diagnosis.
What causes cancer?
Scientists have learned that cancer is caused by changes in genes that normally control the growth and death of cells. Certain lifestyle and environmental factors can change some normal genes into genes that allow the growth of can-cer. Many gene changes that lead to cancer are the result of:
✔Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun
✔Exposure to carcinogens (cancer-causing sub-stances) in the workplace or in the environ-ment.
Some gene alterations are inherited (from one or both parents). However, having an inherited gene alteration does not always mean that the person will develop cancer; it only means that the chance of getting cancer is increased.
Can cancer be prevented?
Although there is no guaranteed way to prevent cancer, people can reduce their risk (chance) of developing cancer by:
✔Not using tobacco products.
✔Choosing foods with less fat and eating more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
✔Exercising regularly and maintaining a lean weight.
✔Avoiding the harmful rays of the sun, using sunscreen, and wearing clothing that protects the skin.
People who have an increased likelihood of developing cancer can help protect themselves by avoiding risk factors whenever possible and by getting regular checkups so that, if cancer develops, it is likely to be found and treated early. Treatment is often more effective when cancer is detected early. Screening exams, such as sigmoidoscopy or the fecal occult blood test, mammography, and the Pap test, can detect precancerous conditions (which can be treated before they turn into cancer) and early-stage cancer.
How do you treat cancer?
Cancer treatment can include:
The doctor may use one method or a combina-tion of methods, depending on the type and lo-cation of the cancer, whether the disease has spread, the patients age and general health, and other factors. Because treatment for can-cer can also damage healthy cells and tissues, it often causes side effects. Some patients may worry that the side effects of treatment are worse than the disease. However, patients and doctors generally discuss the treatment op-tions, weighing the likely benefits of killing cancer cells and the risks of possible side effects.
✔ Wash your hands before handling food and during food preparation
✔ Wash your hands after going to the toilet
✔ Wash and sanitize all surfaces and equipment used for food preparation
✔ Protect kitchen areas and food from insects and animals
Separate raw and cooked
✔ Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods
✔ Use separate equipment and utensils (such as knives and cutting boards) for handling raw foods
✔ Cook food thoroughly, especially meat, poultry, eggs and seafood
✔ Bring foods like soups and stews to boiling to make sure that they have reached 70C. For meat and poultry, make sure that juices are clear, not pink. Ideally, use a thermometer
✔ Reheat cooked food thoroughly
Keep food at safe temperatures
✔ Do not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours
✔ Refrigerate promptly all cooked food (preferably below 5C)
✔ Keep cooked food hot (more than 60C) prior to serving
✔ Do not store food too long even in the refrigerator
Use safe water and raw materials
✔ Use safe water
✔ Select fresh foods
✔ Wash fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten raw
✔ Do not use food beyond its expiry date
World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/foodsafety
As we age, it becomes harder for our immune system to fight infections. For older adults, some foods can be more risky to eat because of the way they are produced, and the conditions and length of time they are stored.
Food to Avoid:
– Hot dogs straight from the package without further heating
– Non-dried deli meats, such as roast beef and turkey breast
– Raw or lightly cooked egg or egg products
– Raw or undercooked meat or poultry, such as steak tartare
– Raw seafood, such as sushi.
– Refrigerated, smoked seafood
– Raw or unpasteurized dairy products, including soft cheese
– Refrigerated pts and meat spreads
– Unpasteurized fruit juice and cider
Anyone can fall, but the risk of falling becomes greater with age. There are simple steps you can take in your home to help prevent falls and injuries.
+ Protect yourself in the BATHROOM:
– Use a rubber bath mat for the bathtub.
– Use a bath seat in the shower
+ Protect yourself in the LIVING ROOM and BEDROOM:
– Reduce clutter. Get rid of loose wires, cords and other obstacles.
– Consider using a cordless phone so you will not have to rush to answer it
(or use our NEW Miniature Alert Device)
– Have good lighting and install nightlights.
– Get rid of scatter carpets or make sure they are non-slip.
– Do not get up suddenly from bed or chair, this can make you dizzy.
+ Protect yourself in the KITCHEN:
– Store kitchen supplies in easy-to-reach locations.
– Store heavy items in lower closets.
– Always wipe up spills immediately to prevent slipping.
– If you use floor wax, use the non-skid kind.
+ Protect yourself around STAIRWAYS:
– Remove your reading glasses when you go up or down stairs.
– Never rush up or down your stairs. Rushing is a major cause of falls.
The new miniature US made “Freedom Alert” allows your loved one to contact you or a friend at the push of a button. It is the world’s first programmable two way voice emergency pendant communicator. Now available through HCL. Please call us for details.