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All Posts in Category: Preventative Care

Exercise May Help Parkinson’s Patients Avoid Falls

Parkinson’s disease patients are known to be at a higher risk of falling, due to the changes in the brain caused by the disease. A recent study found that exercise may be beneficial in preventing future falls.

Researchers found that 25% of recently-diagnosed Parkinson’s patients suffer a fall in their first year of living with the disease. The finding is a surprise because one would think falls would increase during later stages of the disease.

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Physical Therapy: An Alternative for Pain Management

We are in the middle of an opioid epidemic. Nearly 25.3 million adults suffer from daily (chronic) pain, according to the CDC. Yet a large number of patients, many of them seniors, need help managing pain. Are there alternatives to these medications, which may cause addiction and dangerous side effects?

Physical therapy is one of the non-opioid alternatives recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in recently released guidelines that urge prescribers to reduce the use of opioids for most long-term pain management. The guidelines indicate that while prescription opioids are appropriate in certain cases (such as cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care), non-opioid approaches are preferred, given the damaging potential side effects of opioids, which include depression, overdose, and addiction, plus withdrawal symptoms when stopping use.

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How to Prevent Medication-Related Problems

If the healthcare industry tracked the costs of addressing medication related problems (MRPs) it would be the fourth most costly “disease” after cancer, Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease. This cost reflects only the direct healthcare costs, those costs paid directly to prescribers, hospitals, rehab/emergency care/ long-term care services and for medications, anything billed or paid for by the healthcare system and consumer.

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Preventive Screening for Seniors: Is That Test Really Necessary?

Caregivers and seniors often find themselves inundated with messages touting the benefits of this cancer detection test, or that diagnostic exam.

And, for those over 65, Medicare offers about a dozen free screenings—from bone density measurements to mammograms.

But, are all those tests really necessary?

The honest answer to this vital question is, regrettably, very complex.

Age is really just a number

Many health organizations, including, the American Cancer Society (ACS), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), use age-based cut-offs to determine recommendations for certain screenings.

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Adult Vaccination: Protect Yourself, Protect Others

In the interest of promoting more robust discourse around the importance of regular vaccinations for serious but preventable contagious conditions, MHA@GW is hosting a guest post series in honor of National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). AgingCare.com has paired with MHA@GW to encourage people of all ages to receive the proper vaccinations in order to protect their health and others’. Read more about this project here.

For many people, the topic of vaccinations evokes childhood memories of anxious trips to the doctor for shots. However, keeping up with recommended vaccine schedules through adulthood and old age is just as imperative as receiving those initial doses in childhood.

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Don’t Let A “Brain Attack” Blindside You

Each year in the United States, there are more than 700,000 new strokes. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the country, after heart disease and cancer. And stroke causes more serious long-term disabilities than any other disease. Nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people over the age of 65. And the risk of having a stroke more than doubles each decade after the age of 55.

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Making Life Easier for a Person With Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease is progressive and symptoms may come on in stages. Difficulties increase as the disease progresses. Learning how to continually adapt not only the home environment, but also daily living processes that take into consideration a gradual decline in health and abilities should be the main focus of caregivers.

Adapting the home environment to not only deal with the challenges that Parkinson’s disease presents, but also to everyday routines easier– such eating, bathing, and dressing helps to lengthen quality of life.

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Early Warning Signs of Cardiac Arrest May Help Reduce Heart-Related Deaths

Sudden cardiac arrest may not be as sudden as doctors have thought, researchers report.

Roughly half of cardiac arrest patients experience telltale warning signs that their heart is in danger of stopping in the month preceding their attack, new study findings suggest.

Those symptoms can include any combination of chest pain and pressure, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and flu-like sensations (such as nausea, back pain and/or abdominal pain), the researchers said.

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Are you up to date?

Childhood vaccinations are one of the greatest medical success stories of the 20th century, but as you age, you become more at risk for certain diseases. August is National Immunization Month giving us all a friendly reminder that  immunization should be a life-long priority. We found a clear cut list from Immyounity.com that makes it easy to know which shots you need to re-up on and when.

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Cataract Awareness Month

June is Cataract Awareness Month

A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye that can impair vision. More than half of all Americans age 65 and older have cataracts which are diagnosed by an eye exam to test how well you can see the lens and other parts of the eye. Cataracts occur when there is a buildup of protein in the lens that makes it cloudy. This prevents light from passing clearly through the lens, causing some loss of vision. Since new lens cells form on the outside of the lens, all the older cells are compacted into the center of the lens resulting in the cataract.

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The Tooth and Nothing but the Tooth

Recently I had some major dental work done. It’s like repairing the plumbing in your house – it’s expensive to do, you have to fix it, and the end product is really no better than when it was originally installed. After all the time and expense, your teeth are merely functional – not improved on the original – just operating like they should.

This is not to disparage dentists – I have a great dentist. We need these folks to fix our teeth, especially as we age. I am reminded of those sad, old photographs of the elderly who have had all their teeth pulled. Nothing but liquids and mush for them. What would President George Washington have looked like without his wooden false teeth?

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Summer is Here: Protect Yourself Against the Heat

Older adults need to protect themselves from the heat. Keep cool by staying in the air-conditioned indoors as much as possible. Drink lots of water. If going outside, wear a hat and light clothing. Drink even more water. If outdoors more than just a short while, take a break in the shade and enjoy a cold glass of iced tea.

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Champagne Benefits Memory Loss

A new study is in the works to determine if 1 to 3 glasses of champagne a week can help prevent memory loss. According to scientists at the University of Reading, the phenolic compounds found in champagne can improve spatial memory which records information about one’s environment. The phenolic compounds favorably alter a number of proteins linked to effective memory storage. Many of these proteins are known to be depleted with age, making memory storage less efficient, and leading to poorer memory in old age and conditions such as dementia. Champagne slows these loses and therefore may help prevent the cognitive losses that occur during typical and atypical brain aging.

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Choose the Right Foods for your Age

Our bodies change in numerous ways as we age. As a result, our nutritional needs also change as we grow older. Age-related changes affect how our bodies process food, which influences our dietary needs, appetite, and digestion. The foods we eat have a strong impact on our health, weight, and even our mood. As we grow older, it is extremely important to choose the right foods and avoid dietary shortfalls that are common among seniors. However, with the aid of compassionate caregivers from Home Health Companions seniors can better manage each aspect of senior nutrition.

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