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5 Fun activities to share with your loved one in a nursing home

It’s Sunday afternoon and you’re getting ready to visit your grandma at her nursing facility, but you are at a loss of how the two of you can spend fun, quality time together. What are some things you can do that both of you will enjoy? This time is precious and it’s important to make the most of it. Below is a list of different creative activities you and your loved one can do while they are in a nursing facility.

Crafts

Whether or not you’re a creative person, simple crafts can be a fun way to add some color to your time together. Crafts you and your loved one can do range from making holiday decorations to scrapbooking and even painting.

Mark Walker, director of therapy at Orem Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing, says their staff enjoys providing seasonal and holiday-oriented craft projects for their residents.

“We just finished doing a Valentine’s project where we cut out hearts and placed them all over the facility.” Not only are these activities fun, but they can also help your loved one’s cognitive and motor skills.

Hand massages

Some nursing facilities, such as Provo Rehabilitation & Nursing, offer hand massages as one of their regular activities. You can give your own loved one a hand massage or manicure as a way to rejuvenate and relax them. Regular touch also communications multiple positive emotions that can create a deeper connection. Try using essential oils or hand lotion in their favorite scent.

Make connections (phone call, storytelling)

Use your time together to share and collect memories and stories. Chances are your loved one has some great stories from growing up that you haven’t heard yet. Once they are gone, those stories may be lost forever. Take the time to ask them about their life and favorite memories. Consider journaling or recording these conversations so you can keep them for years to come.

Entertainment

Another way to bond with your loved one is to find a mutual love of some sort of entertainment and enjoy it together. Whether it’s reading a book, playing a board game, listening to music, or watching a favorite movie, entertainment is the perfect way to spend an afternoon with each other. Many facilities, such as Orem Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing, provide different types of media that you can enjoy together. Consider inviting your loved one’s friends at the nursing facility to enjoy with you.

“Usually our biggest focus is on hobbies that our residents do at home,” said Walker. “We often start up a bowling session, which is great for balance and upper body strength, and the Wii gaming system is an excellent tool. We like the Wii Fit Program because it encourages standing balance and weight shifting activities.”

Outings

While you may have to take a few precautions, going out or exercising can be a fun way to spend time with your loved one. You can garden, go out to lunch, see a play, walk to the park, or even stretch outside. The fresh air and quality time is sure to make for a wonderful day together.

If you’re not sure what to do with your loved one who’s staying in a nursing facility, try one of these activities. Remember, the important thing is that you make the most of your time together.

This article was originally published on The Daily Herald. It has been republished here with permission.

UTI: Can you feel the burn?

If you are experiencing burning while urinating it could mean one of two things: The toilet is, in fact, on fire. Or you may have a urinary tract infection.

What are some symptoms of a urinary tract infection?

Along with a burning sensation while urinating, symptoms for a UTI also include a frequent need to go to the bathroom, nausea, strong-smelling urine, itching, and muscle pains. In a nutshell, UTI’s are as unpleasant as they are common. But the burning question is what causes this infection and how can one prevent them from occurring?

What are some causes?

According to the Office on Women’s Health, some common culprits include delaying trips to the bathroom when the urge arises and improper wiping after a bowel movement. Older adults may experience a UTI due to diabetes, the reduced production of estrogen, and kidney stones.

They also estimate that about one in five women who get UTIs will get another one. It’s likely for some women to suffer from three or more UTIs in one year. If you are prone to UTIs, ask your doctor about your treatment options. Your doctor may ask you to take a small dose of medicine every day to prevent infection. Or, your doctor might give you a supply of antibiotics to take at the first sign of infection.

What are some proven forms of prevention?

In older adults, practicing good hygiene is the most reliable way to avoid getting a UTI or other undesirable infections. “Having good hygiene helps avoid urinary tract infections, said Jeremy Withers, Director of Nursing at River’s Edge Rehabilitation and Living Center. “Also, it’s important to keep your loved one as dry as possible, and the most critical aspect is hydration. Make sure your loved one is hydrated.” Women’s health recommends drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water per day to stave off infection.

Cranberries are berry good for you.

Despite changing trends in treatment, the go-to method for treating UTIs is antibiotics. However, some studies have found success with pure cranberry juice and supplements. “Cranberry supplements can help treat them or prevent them from happening as often,” said Jeremy. Once scrutinized as a new age trick, cranberry has emerged with a nod from some scientists as an effective method for treating and preventing urinary tract infections.

To better understand its effectiveness, it’s helpful to understand how infection settles in. “The bacteria responsible for more than 95 percent of urinary tract infections are a pathogenic strain of the same E. coli bacteria found in the lower intestine. If not for these fimbriae, the flow of urine would simply wash the bacteria away. But once they’re securely latched onto the urinary tract walls, they quickly start reproducing,” wrote livescience.com contributor Diya Chacko.

Experts admit cranberry juice is not strong enough to kill bacteria. But it does pack enough punch to prevent it from attaching to the intestinal walls. “Cranberries contain large amounts of a chemical called proanthocyanidin, or PAC. PAC functions almost like a shield as it forces the fimbriae to crumple so they can’t attach to the surface of the cells in the urinary tract,” wrote Diya.

So drink your water, and take your cranberry supplements. By taking preventative measures and seeking treatment should an infection persist, you can avoid getting burned by a urinary tract infection.

Eye specialist says proper nutrition can treat and reverse common vision problems

Dr. Robert Abel Jr, MD author of the new book, The Eye Care Revolution, will reveal which nutrients are essential for the care and feeding of your eyes

For 40 years, Dr. Robert Abel Jr. has dedicated his professional life as an ophthalmologist to preserving vision. As a founding partner in a large eye care practice in Delaware, he operates on four hundred cataract patients a year, but he treats six times that number without surgery.

“We know that specific foods and nutritional supplements have value in treating specific diseases, and we also now know there are also certain foods and supplements that specifically encourage eye health,” says Dr. Abel, author of the book, “The Eye Care Revolution.”

Dr. Abel says by using an understanding of nutritional chemistry and other means it is possible to control or eliminate many of the factors that contribute to the development of serious eye diseases:

 

  • Controlled clinical studies show that the risk of developing cataracts can be decreased by more than half by eating fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C, as well as the antioxidants vitamin A, E, lutein, and glutathione boosters.
  • The risk of developing glaucoma can be lowered by consuming high levels of vitamins C, Omega 3, and B12. Also rhythmic breathing and avoiding blood pressure medications in the evenings.
  • The risk of developing macular degeneration can be reduced by maintaining high levels of vitamins A, D, E, the carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein, DHA, and the amino acid taurine (found in egg whites).
  • Diabetic retinopathy can be delayed or prevented by consuming vitamin C along with alpha lipoic acid, Quercetin, and other bioflavonoids.

What is the ideal dietary regimen for someone concerned about preserving or improving eye health? In his book, “The Eye Care Revolution,” Dr. Abel lists the Top Ten Foods for Sight:

  1. Cold water fish (sardines, cod, mackerel, tuna) are an excellent source of DHA, which provides structural support to cell membranes and is recommended for dry eyes, macular degeneration, and sight preservation.
  2. Spinach, kale, and green leafy vegetables are rich in carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein protects the macula from sun damage and from blue light.
  3. Eggs are rich in cysteine, sulfur, lecithin, amino acids, and lutein. Sulfur-containing compounds protect the lens of the eye from cataract formation.
  4. Garlic, onions, shallots, and capers are also rich in sulfur, which is necessary for the production of glutathione, an important antioxidant for the lens of the eye.
  5. Non-GMO soy, low in fat and rich in protein, contains essential fatty acids, phytoestrogens, vitamin E, and natural anti-inflammatory agents.
  6. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins A, C, E, and beta-carotene. Yellow and orange vegetables, like carrots and squash, are important for daytime vision.
  7. Blueberries and grapes contain anthocyanins, which improve night vision. A cup full of blueberries, huckleberry jam, or a 100 mg bilberry supplement should improve dark adaptation within 30 minutes.
  8. Wine, known to have a cardio-protective effect, has many important nutrients, which protect the heart, vision, and blood flow.
  9. Nuts and berries are nature’s most concentrated food sources. Grains, such as flaxseed, are high in the beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower cholesterol and stabilize cell membranes.
  10. Extra-virgin olive oil, is a healthy alternative to butter and margarine.

Dr. Abel says to maintain eye health, drink six eight-ounce glasses of filtered water every day to keep properly hydrated, as water helps create the fluid in our eyes.

New Dietary Supplement for Eye Health: Eye Complex CS (Clinical Strength)

“While we should depend primarily on whole foods to meet our nutritional needs, we should use vitamins and supplements as an insurance policy,” says Dr. Abel.

For eye health, Dr. Abel has formulated a special multivitamin, Eye Complex CS, which contains important nutrients supportive of the retina and having a protective effect on the lens:

 

Vitamin C 250 mg N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) 50 mg Selenium .05 mg
L-Glutathione 2.5 mg Alpha Lipoic Acid 25 mg Vitamin E 100 IU
Lutein 10 mg Zinc 7.5 mg Bilberry 40 mg
Zeaxanthin 0.5 mg Taurine 50 mg Riboflavin B-2 15 mg
Vitamin B-6 10 mg Vitamin B-12 0.1 mg Rutin 100 mg
Grape Seed Ex 25 mg Citrus Bioflavonoids 100 mg Chromium .05 mg
Ginkgo biloba 20 mg Beta Carotene 10,000 IU Eye Bright 100 mg
CoQ10 10 mg Green Tea Ex 50 mg Green Tea Ex 50 mg

ABOUT DR. ROBERT ABEL, JR., MD (www.eyecomplexcs.com)

Dr. Abel earned his medical degree at Jefferson Medical College in 1969, completed his ophthalmology residency at Mt. Sinai Hospital and was a Cornea Fellow at the University of Florida. A board certified ophthalmologist, Dr. Abel is on the staff of the Christiana Care Health System. He is a former Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Thomas Jefferson University. He founded and has been Medical Director of the Medical Eye Bank of Delaware since 1981. He teaches locally and internationally on numerous subjects, including cornea, cataract and nutrition. He instructs the Cornea Microsurgery Workshops at the Academy of Ophthalmology meetings annually and has been on the Academy’s Committee of International Ophthalmology.

Dr. Abel has done active research on corneal transplants, corneal pathology, contact lenses and drugs as they relate to the eye. He holds two patents on artificial corneas and has received the AAO Honor Award and the Senior Honor Award. Dr. Abel is the author of the popular new book, “The Eye Care Revolution,” which teaches patients how to treat and reverse common vision problems, and he has written eight other books. Other information concerning eye care can also be found on his website, EyeAdvisory.com. He was also voted “TOP DOC” by Delaware Today Magazine. In his spare time, he practices Tai-Chi, and studies alternative medicine systems.

4 reasons why thinning hair doesn’t mean the end of the world

It’s the stuff some nightmares are made of. For some, it’s being trapped in a snake den. For others, it’s standing in public in nothing but your underwear. But one fear most older adults all share is the fear of losing our hair. In a society that relishes its long locks, anyone touting a “magical cure” can name his price.

One inevitable fact of life is that thinning hair is a common byproduct of aging. Studies show that up to 50 percent of women over the age will experience hair loss. Sadly, many of us have a genetic predisposition to hair loss, called androgenetic alopecia.

“As we age, overall density changes and individual strands become finer,” explained dermatologist Doris J. Day in her article for Prevention.com.

Before you silently accept your follicle-deprived fate, here are some methods that have shown to reduce the rate of hair loss.

1.You are what you eat.
Your hair is a direct reflection of your diet, so if you don’t like what’s happening on your head, you should pay attention to what’s going in your mouth. Good nutrition has a variety of benefits for your health, but your hair stands to benefit from a diet loaded with protein, zinc, iron, and vitamin B12.

“We know that a nutritious diet is key to healthy skin, functioning organs, an alert mind, and good strong hair. Our kitchen staff really go the extra mile in making sure the food is not only delicious, here at arroyo, but that it is just what our residents need,” said Pamela Fernandez, LPN at Arroyo Vista Nursing Center.

At any age, good nutrition is clearly evident in the condition of our hair. “A strand of hair is composed of mostly protein, which means your hair needs protein to grow,” wrote WebMD contributor, Joseph Saling. “At any given time, about 90% of your hair is in the growing phase. For each individual hair, this growing phase lasts 2 to 3 years. At the end of that time, hairs enter a resting phase that lasts about three months before they are shed and replaced by new hair. If you don’t get enough protein in your diet, a disproportionate number of hairs may go into the resting phase.”

2. Get a massage.
Many people have found success in performing a daily scalp massage. According to Livestrong.com contributor, Shemiah Williams, a three-minute scalp massage not only stimulates the scalp and improves circulation it reduces stress. However, there is no medical evidence fully supporting massaging the scalp as a proven method for preventing hair loss.

3. The heat is on.
Ironically, sometimes our efforts to improve our hair’s appearance is the very thing contributing to its departure. Heated styling products are one of the biggest culprits to increased hair loss.

“Certain hair appliances that use high heat to help style your hair can lead to damaged hair and breakage, which can look like baldness,” wrote contributor Krisha McCoy. “Damaging hair appliances include blow dryers, flat irons, curling irons, and other devices that apply heat to your hair.”
Krisha added that these hot hair appliances cause the most damage to your hair when you use them on wet hair. Some devices get so hot they boil the water in your hair shaft, which leaves your hair brittle.

4. Avoiding certain medications.
If you need added incentive to improve your health to the point of decreasing your medications, hair loss could be a strong motivator. Many prescription medications contribute to increased hair loss in men and women.

“Among the medications that can potentially cause hair loss are blood thinners, vitamin A supplements, some arthritis medications, antidepressants, gout medications, medications for certain heart problems, blood pressure medications, and birth control pills,” wrote Krisha. The good news is that your doctor may be able to prescribe an alternative medication.

According to an ABC News report, men will spend over $1 billion on hair treatment products this year. Men also will spend some $60 million on vitamins and nutritional supplements with dreams of keeping their hair on their head instead of their brush. With new products hitting the store shelves on a seemingly weekly basis, it’s important to research the effectiveness of these methods to determine which ones look promising or should get the brush off.

This article was originally published on Orange County Register. It has been republished here with permission.

Is your loved one buried under clutter? Here are tidy ways to pare down the belongings

As your loved ones enter their golden years, their home becomes their sanctuary. But if they’ve kept all the tokens of love over the years, their home is probably too cluttered for them to navigate safely. This can be a health hazard, both physically (tripping and falling over things) or mentally (hoarding).

Here are some tips to help your older loved ones lessen their belongings so that they can remain safe and happy in their homes.

Put safety first: Your elderly loved ones have spent decades with their belongings – especially if they’ve remained in the same home – and they have created an emotional attachment to many of the items in the house. Although each item may have a special place in their hearts, the more items in the house, the more dangerous navigating between the clutter becomes. Help them see the safety benefits of organizing and decluttering so that they will change their attitude about the decluttering process.

Find support: Sometimes extreme clutter means that your loved one has developed a hoarding problem. Healing a hoarding issue takes time and patience, so we recommend you find a good support system for you, your loved one, and the rest of the family. Love, support, and patience are key in decluttering the house. Whether your loved one has a hoarding problem or not, groups like the IOCDF (International OCD Foundation) offer great suggestions and tips for those struggling with clutter.

Take it slow: Always remember to start small. You don’t want to overwhelm your loved ones by renting a dumpster for a weekend and completely gutting their house. Be satisfied with baby steps in the right direction. Try starting with one room – or even a cupboard – so that your loved one can work through the process of decluttering with you. Remember: Patience is always important in these situations.

Put it in a box: Persuade your loved one to handle an object only once. Allow him or her time to look at the object and make a conscious decision about whether to keep it or not. The more the object is handled, the harder it is to make a decision. Make three piles (or have three boxes) in each room: one for keeping, one for throwing away, and one for donating. If your loved one can’t decide whether to throw it away, put the item in a box for up to six months. Then, he or she can revisit the item and decide what to do with it.

Share heirlooms with those who want them: To help your loved ones in the process of decluttering, gather the family together and distribute any cherished heirlooms. Your loved ones will feel secure knowing that the item isn’t going to waste, and you will get to keep something special.

Paring down the belongings of your aged loved ones can be a long and difficult process. But if you remember to keep safety at the top of your priority list, find a good support system, go slowly and steadily, put everything in a box, and keep the heirlooms, the level of stress and hardship will be minimized.

This article was originally published in the Orange County Register. It has been republished here with permission.

Seniors and dental care: it’s something worth smiling about

Typically, we make sure our family has regular checkups but is your older loved one following the same schedule? Experts are guessing the answer is probably not.

According to the Center for Disease Control, a little over half (60 percent) of today’s senior adults visited a dentist in 2013 despite the fact that one in four of seniors aged 65 and older have gum disease. This segment of the population is in need of proper dental care since many of today’s serious diseases can be linked to tooth decay or gum disease.

“It is thought that poor dental hygiene allows a proinflammatory state that is associated with CAD,” wrote Youngsoo Cho, MD., “I must emphasize that this is not a proven cause, but studies have shown an association with tooth decay and Coronary Artery Disease.”

Other studies have found correlations between poor oral hygiene and diabetes and pneumonia.

Yes, Aunt Cora needs to visit the dentist, but there are a number of challenges seniors face when it comes to dental care. Three of those reasons include financial, transportation and lack of prevention.

Put your money where your mouth is

“Unfortunately, only about 2 percent of older Americans have dental insurance,” wrote contributor Chris Hawkins for SeniorLiving.com. “This means that many end up going without. And the older the person, the more likely they are to need dental care for a variety of reasons.”

At present, neither Obamacare nor Medicare provides dental coverage. However, there are programs at a state level that can offset the cost of dental care.

Running your mouth off

Oftentimes, it is the responsibility of a loved one to transport a senior to various medical appointments. If that kind of support doesn’t exist, the condition of his or her mouth will decline.

The good news is that many senior facilities are proactively taking the matter of dental care into their hands.

“It’s really hard to find good dental benefits for seniors. Medicaid does cover some but it’s limited in most states. However in a long-term care facility like Provo Rehab and Nursing, there is an internal dentist that makes sure residents have routine cleanings and checkups,” said Loralee Hatch, business director at Provo Rehab and Nursing.

Here’s something to chew on

As with most health conditions, prevention is the best defense against serious disease, and dental care is no exception. It is common for many of your loved ones’ medications to create dry mouth, which encourages tooth decay and disease. Also, treatments requiring chemotherapy or radiation to the head or neck can damage or destroy oral tissue.

Seniors can counteract the potential damage of medications or treatments by drinking lots of fluids, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, and adopting a routine of regular brushing and flossing. In some cases, it is difficult for your loved one to brush their own teeth. In situations of dementia or other medical limitations, seniors may not cooperate. The best strategy is to talk with your loved one’s doctor and discuss your dental concerns with the skilled nursing or assisted living facility. You will find that everyone involved wants the best for your senior and will work together to be sure your senior’s dental needs are addressed.

“Keeping your mouth healthy keeps your overall system in shape, especially in your senior years,” said Hatch, and that’s worth smiling about.

This article was originally published by The Daily Herald. It has been republished here with permission.

25 Family history questions to ask Grandpa before it’s too late

When a loved one passes away, it’s not just their presence you miss. Along with their smile, their kindness, generosity and voice, the individual stories and memories that make up that individual are lost as well. With all the ways that currently exist to ask questions and record and preserve memories, don’t wait until it’s too late to record the important information your grandfather has to share.

A study found that “the more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned.”

To get the best information, and maybe even some new stories you’ve never heard, you will find the more specific the questions, the better.

Here is a list of questions to ask your grandpa the next time you visit.

Questions about Childhood

Little details about the past and how children played are a piece of history. With the changing generations, technology, and other factors, you might find your grandfather had a completely different childhood than you. Then again, some things never change.

1. What games were popular when you were a kid?

2. Tell me about your best friend growing up? Have you kept in touch? What was special about this person?

3. Do you remember any particular sadness in your growing up years? Were there any tragedies or events that shaped you?

4. What types of things did you do as a kid that kids of the newer generation don’t do anymore (paper route, etc.)?

5. What is the fondest memory you have of your mother and father? Grandfathers and grandmothers?

Jobs and hobbies

Information about your grandpa’s career, jobs, and hobbies can give you an idea of how they spent their time. But, if you find that they are lonely or feeling bored, knowing what activities they found joy in can give you ideas for activities you participate in with them today.

6. What was your first job? What did you like about it? What did you hate about it? Any stories from that job that stand out to you?

7. Did you go to college? What did you study? Did you graduate? Any stories about college friends, professors, or trips?

8. What hobbies have you had that brought you joy? Did you collect anything (stamps, rocks, coins, etc.)?

9. Did you enjoy reading, writing, or creating art? What was the first book you can remember loving?

10. As a child, what were your career aspirations? Did those change as you got older? Why?

Family and friends

11. Have you asked your parents or grandparents how they met or what their courtship was like? Stories and memories of dating can inspire sweet and funny memories.

“From the day my grandparents met, and throughout their entire courtship, my grandfather wrote a letter to my grandma expressing his love for her,” said Kellyn Brandt, administrative assistant at Sea Cliff Healthcare Center. “It wasn’t until my grandfather passed that I learned about this, and it made me think about all the questions I could have asked him. Since then I’ve been hounding my grandmother for every detail about their love life.”

12. (If married) How did you and your spouse meet? What were your other dating experiences like? How did you know your spouse was the one to marry?

13. As an adult, did you have any close friends who you’ve kept in touch with? Think about the friends who influenced your life and why they were important to you.

14. Name one thing about each of your kids (if you have them) that stuck out to you as they were growing up.

15. Name something about raising children that changed from your first child to your last.

Places you’ve lived

While your grandfather may have lived his life in the same home as his parents, there may be details you didn’t know or expect. Learn about their travels and experiences both at home and away.

16. What do you remember about your childhood home? Where did you grow up, and where do you consider your hometown?

17. Did you ever move? What were your feelings when you moved? How many different places did you live?

18. Name each place you lived and one memory of each place that shaped your life?

19. Of all the places you’ve lived, which was your favorite? Which was the saddest?

20. Where would you have liked to live but never got there?

Looking forward

21. How do you want your family and friends to remember you? Of all the ways people could describe you, what words or thoughts would you like to leave with them?

22. What are you most proud of in your life? Any relationship or professional achievements?

23. How has your faith or spirituality changed throughout your life? Where did you start, and where are you now?

24. Was there any experience or event in your life that you didn’t think you would make it through? How did you persevere, and what did that experience teach you?

25. What was the kindest thing you’ve done for someone else?

Speaking with your loved ones about their lives is a way to record the pieces of your family history that live only with them. Beyond the record that these conversations create, talking to your grandpa will strengthen a relationship with him now, and you’ll have plenty of stories to share with your children. And that’s enough reason to pick up the phone or drive over and connect now.

This article was originally published on Familyshare.com. it has been republished here with permission. 

3 things you should know about diabetes

Did you know at this very moment you could have diabetes?

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, out of the 29 million Americans with diabetes, 1 in 4 don’t know they have the disease. But as thousands of new cases of diabetes are diagnosed each year, the prognosis is grim. A newly diagnosed diabetic faces a future of pills, vague fitness and nutrition plans and no real answers for effective treatment.

What if the medical community could eliminate diabetes from our families? What if there was a way to prevent diabetes? Better yet, what if there was a way to reverse it?

There is a way.

But it requires a greater understanding of the effects of diabetes on the body, the limitations of today’s healthcare and the empowering effects of looking at this disease differently.

The effects of diabetes on the body

What is happening in your body? Quite a bit. In a healthy body, energy is created when the hormone insulin pulls glucose cells out of the blood and passes through a receptor site to produce Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP.

But in a diabetic’s body, the receptor site doesn’t open for this molecule, so insulin and blood sugar have no choice but to convert to cholesterol, attach to your blood vessel walls and wreak havoc on your system with painful inflammation.

Today’s pharmaceutical companies have created drugs for every health condition. Often a diabetic is prescribed a cocktail of blood sugar, cholesterol, and high blood pressure medications and told to eat right and exercise, yet this generalized treatment plan doesn’t effectively reduce the symptoms of this disease.

The limitations of today’s healthcare system

At times it seems there is a disconnect between treating and curing disease. One pathway doesn’t typically lead to the other. It’s frustrating.

According to the World Health Organization, the US ranks 37 in overall health systems, barely edging out Slovenia and Cuba. Americans take 50% of the world’s medications yet make up a mere 5% of the world’s population. Our nation’s dependency on pharmaceuticals contributes to a healthcare system that focuses on symptoms rather than prevention. That can be frustrating for a patient struggling for answers.

Read: 7 surprising ways you’re destroying your health

The empowering effects of looking at diabetes differently

“Get busy living, or get busy dying.” —Andy Dufrensne, character from the movie “The Shawshank Redemption”

You have the power to reverse this disease, and there are tools to help you. This isn’t about turning your back on modern medicine. I recognize the use of drugs as an essential part of treatment for a number of illnesses, but I don’t view medications as a permanent solution.

A better approach would be for patients to free themselves from the confines of large quantities of medications and explore long-term solutions through customized treatment plans that profoundly improve quality of life.

If you hope to control diabetes, you must gain a greater understanding of this disease, understand the limitations of the present healthcare system and embrace a new knowledge of what can treat and ultimately reduce the negative effects of this disease. In this way, you are gonna “get busy living” every day.

Dr. Candice Hall is Chief of Staff of Next Advanced Medicine. She was awarded Physician of the Year in 2005 from the NRCC and has over 14 years of experience in Functional Medicine.

This article was originally published on Familyshare.com. It has been republished here with permission.

Sleep Apnea: When it’s more than just sawing logs

sleeping-socialVivian hadn’t slept in the same bed with her husband of 40 years for well over one year. His snoring carried a velocity that could shake the neighbor’s dishes, so she made a place for herself in the downstairs spare bedroom.

Her husband’s snoring was nothing new, but when he started complaining about severe headaches and grew irritable over things that didn’t used to bother him, she knew something was wrong. A visit to the doctor determined her husband suffered from sleep apnea.

Is sleep apnea another form of snoring?

Though snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea, all snorers do not have it. There are two types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when one’s airway is partially blocked, usually by soft tissue collapsing in the back of the throat. Central sleep apnea is less common but carries serious risks. This form occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe. This often happens because of problems with the respiratory control center.

In both cases, the cessation of breathing, which can last from a few seconds to a few minutes, means your brain is not getting adequate oxygen, and that’s scary stuff.

Who is at risk of suffering from sleep apnea?

People of all ages can suffer from sleep apnea, but the common factors that contribute to its occurrence include excessive weight, large tonsils, some types of medications, sinus problems, gastroesophageal reflux, and gender. Males are more likely to experience sleep apnea. In some cases, children have experienced sleep apnea that affects their learning capacity and other daily activities.

Living with the effects of sleep apnea is really no way to live. It’s difficult to function when your sleep patterns are regularly interrupted. It leaves many people suffering from depression, headaches and an inability to concentrate. It also affects motor skills, which can affect one’s job performance.

How is it treated?

Sleep apnea must be treated immediately. If left ignored, sleep apnea could increase the risks of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, stroke and heart disease.

For mild cases, the staff at the Mayo Clinic has seen success when patients quit smoking or reduce alcohol intake. Also, lifestyle changes such as weight loss or medications for possible allergies will help.

In an assisted living environment where sleep apnea and other sleep disorders are common, most nursing staff are prepared to assist patients to help them sleep more comfortably.

“Most of the time patients come to us already equipped with their breathing aids such as CPAP and BPAP machines. Our nursing staff is trained on how to make sure their masks are fitted properly, and that they are compliant in wearing them,” said Laura Hayes, assistant director of nursing at Draper Rehabilitation and Care Center.

She added that in some situations, not using it or using it incorrectly can lead to chronic respiratory failure. It is also important that the families of residents understand how their loved one’s sleep apnea works.

Dr. Susan Redline, an expert in sleep apnea research at Harvard Medical School, has found that severe cases of sleep apnea increase the risk of heart disease and heart attacks. She suggests talking with the doctor about a CPAP Mask. This device provides continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which sends enough air to keep airway passages clear.

“It not only reduces the daytime blood pressure count, but it also reduces increased high blood pressure at night, including the times when heart attack and stroke is most likely to occur,” Redline states.

If someone you love can saw logs with the best of them, this is your wake-up call to make sure something more serious isn’t preventing them (and you) from getting a good night’s sleep. Good health, whether awake or while sleeping, is something dreams are made of.

This article was originally published on MomClick. It has been republished here with permission.