Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Five Easy Ways to Soothe Aching Joints at Home

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that nearly 15 million Americans suffer from severe joint pain (ranking a seven or higher on a scale from one to ten) on a regular basis. If you’re part of this group and find that joint pain is affecting your daily life, keep reading.

Listed below are five tips to help you ease your pain and home and get back to doing the things you enjoy most.

At-Home Treatments

These five at-home treatments will help ease your aches and pains and leave you feeling better than ever.

1. Take a Bath

A warm bath can work wonders for aching joints. You can up the ante even more by adding Epsom salts to the water.

Epsom salt is a chemical compound known as magnesium sulfate. Magnesium sulfate has been proven to help reduce inflammation and muscle spasms while relaxing tense spots in the body.

Add two cups of Epsom salts to your bathwater and soak for at least twenty minutes for relief from pain and stiffness.

To make your bath even more effective, add some essential oils to the water as well. Lavender oil is a great addition when your pain is caused by stress or anxiety, and peppermint oil can help further reduce swelling and inflammation.

2. Try Topical Treatments

There are also many topical creams and gels out there that are helpful for people dealing with joint pain and soreness.

Some of these products are meant for general pain relief, while others are specially formulated to help with conditions like arthritis. For more information on arthritis cream click here.

If you don’t want to go out and buy arthritis cream or a topical pain reliever, you can make your own with products you might have in your own condition.

Mix a couple dashes of cayenne pepper with 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil. Use gauze or a cotton ball to apply the paste to the skin around the joints that are experiencing pain. You can apply the paste several times per day. You’ll feel a mild burning sensation at the beginning, but most people get used to it fairly quickly.

3. Move More

It might seem counterproductive at first, but more movement is actually beneficial for people dealing with joint pain and stiffness.

When you remain sedentary, your muscles tense up and weaken. This increases your risk of injury and also causes you to compensate for weak muscles when you do have to move. Compensation leads to imbalances throughout the body that will only result in more pain and tension.

If you’re feeling stiff and sore, try to get up and do some kind of low-impact exercise. Walking, cycling, or yoga are all great options that will help loosen up your muscles and give you the relief you’re looking for.

Incorporate these movements into your schedule regularly, as well, to prevent soreness from occurring in the first place.

4. Eat (or Drink) More Ginger

Ginger is an anti-inflammatory herb that has been found to mimic the effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

There are several different ways that you can incorporate ginger into your diet. One of the easiest is to simply add a few slices of fresh ginger to boiled water to make tea.

You can also make a ginger poultice by making a paste of minced fresh ginger and olive oil. Apply the paste to the painful joint, wrapping in place with gauze if necessary. Leave it for 10-15 minutes.

5. Try Aromatherapy

Lavender and peppermint essential oils are some of the most popular pain- and stress-relieving aromatherapy options. However, plenty of others, including marjoram and rosemary oil, have also been found to soothe aching joints.

To experience the benefits, mix a teaspoon of any of these oils with a quarter-cup of almond or coconut oil. Then, simply take a deep inhale whenever you need some relief.

Preventing Joint Pain

All of these tips are great for soothing aching joints. But, it’s also important to take steps to prevent joint pain from occurring in the first place.

Some options for preventing pain and inflammation include:

•    Regular exercise
•    Managing weight to prevent excess pressure on the joints
•    Taking joint-protecting supplements like collagen, Omega-3 fatty acids, and glucosamine
•    Staying hydrated

Final Thoughts

Lifestyle changes like improving your diet and getting enough exercise can help prevent joint pain. When it does occur, though, the tips discussed above can help relieve the pain and allow you to continue living your life. Try them out today!

This is a guest blog entry.

Monday, December 11, 2017

How To Improve Your Chances Of Successfully Recovering From An Addiction

Overcoming an addiction is not an easy process. When you first start down the path toward recovery, it may feel like you aren't making progress as quickly as you would like. Keep in mind that you won't recover overnight. However, as long as you commit to the process, you will eventually beat your addiction. Try using these steps to improve your chances of successfully recovering from an addiction:

1. Participate in regular counseling sessions. People who meet with a counselor or therapist on a regular basis are far more likely to recover than those who try to go it alone. These professionals can help you stay on the right path.

2. Don't expect immediate results. Chances are, you didn't become addicted overnight. You also won't recover overnight. Old patterns of thinking can be extremely hard to break. You may find your thoughts returning to drugs or alcohol again and again. Don't feel discouraged. The longer you stick with it, the less intrusive these thoughts will become until eventually you are free from your addiction.

3. Fill up your free time. As an addict, nothing is worse than having too much free time. If you don't keep yourself busy, you are far more likely to spend time thinking about your addiction. Pick up some new hobbies and do your best to stay occupied.

Consider looking for hobbies that involve other people. Being able to get together with friends who share your interests can be a great way to keep yourself occupied so that you don't return to old, negative patterns.

4. Focus on the present. One of the first things that people learn when they seek treatment for drugs or alcohol is that you have to take the process one day, one hour, or one minute at a time suggest the experts at Sage Recovery Villa. Anytime you are tempted to drink or do drugs, stop yourself. Tell yourself that you can make it one more day without. If necessary, you can even break it down into smaller increments, telling yourself you can make it another hour or another minute without. Typically, cravings pass quickly. By the time you get through the next hour or day, you will most likely be in a much better position to resist.

5. Figure out what to do with all of your time. One of the hardest parts of recovering from addiction is suddenly finding yourself with a ton of free time. If you don't find new activities to fill your time, you will be more likely to relapse. Try to come up with some productive activities that you can do to keep yourself from drifting aimlessly through the day.

6. Tell people about your addiction. One of the worst things that you can do when you are recovering from an addiction is to try to hide it from others. Although you don't have to tell everyone, you should tell a few key people in your life. Find trusted friends or family members that you can confide in. That way, you will have a support system in place that you can count on if you find yourself tempted to relapse.

7. Stick with it. No matter what happens or how tempted you are, stick with your recovery. The more dedicated you are to getting better, the more likely you are to succeed. Don't allow minor setbacks to throw you off the path toward recovery. Instead, stay focused on your goal and you will eventually get there.

This is a guest blog entry.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

3 Common Challenges for People with a Chronic Disease

Managing chronic illness is nothing new for older adults. In fact, AARP reports that over 70% of adults 45+ have at least one chronic condition, and 20% are reported to have three or more. Most commonly older adults suffer from obesity, heart disease, depression, diabetes, cancer, and emphysema, though as you age, rates of conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia rise as well.

Medication Management
Many chronic conditions are managed in part by a fixed medicine schedule aimed at keeping symptoms at bay and even reversing recent damage. Unfortunately, prescriptions and supplements for a chronic disease can be numerous and complex. Take, for example, a patient with advanced Parkinson’s Disease who also has seizures, arthritis, and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). They may need to have seizure medicines crushed up and administered with applesauce, Parkinson’s medication applied as a patch to a different part of the body every day, topical arthritis aids applied to their joints, and then additional liquid supplements and over-the-counter medicines thickened and given orally multiple times a day.

The Mayo Clinic reports that upwards of 50% of patients with chronic disease don’t actually take their medicine as prescribed, leading to countless hospitalizations and alarming mortality rates. For a number of reasons including confusion, complicated medicine schedules, cost, health illiteracy, lack of caregiver support, and communication barriers between doctors and patients, it’s no surprise that many suffering from chronic illness are unable to adhere to their prescribed treatment plans.

Experts recommend that patients with chronic conditions use pill organizers to sort and manage daily medicines as well as alerts - be they smartphone apps or alarm clocks. Alerting caregivers when medicine hasn’t been taken has also been shown to increase adherence rates for patients. Continuing a dialogue with medical providers is also key as they can help simplify medicine schedules by altering frequencies or dosages, and provide greater insight into side effects, drug interactions, and more.

Completing Basic Daily Tasks
Whether it’s neuromotor changes like you see with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease, peripheral neuropathy like is common with diabetes, joint stiffness and pain like with osteoarthritis, or confusion and disorientation like someone suffering from dementia may experience, varying symptoms of chronic disorders can negatively impact a person’s ability to complete daily tasks. Dressing, showering, brushing teeth, eating, toileting, etc. are all key markers of basic functioning, however, they often become more and more difficult as a person’s disease progresses.

Patients and their caregivers can benefit from adaptive equipment and ease-of-use tools which simplify everyday tasks and empower greater independence and self-reliance. The best grabbing aids, for example, will allow a person to reach up to a shelf or down to the floor to pick things up (i.e. keys, jars, etc) without having to bend or stoop over, or awkwardly strain up and possibly lose their balance. Additional tools might include bed rails, shower stools, dressing aids, and mobility aids like walkers, canes, or knee scooters.

Organizing Care Networks
Sometimes a chronic condition will qualify a patient for in-home health care which simply means medical professionals like nurses, physical therapists, home health aides, and speech therapists can come to the home to administer treatment and train caregivers. Unfortunately, the rules for receiving this type of skilled care are strict and not every patient with a chronic condition will qualify. Broadening the care network and finding ways to coordinate friends and family to pitch in becomes of utmost importance.

Some free online tools like CaringBridge.org and LotsaHelpingHands.com help people set up online signups, care calendars, meal trains, and other resources to organize a network of friends and family who can help with caregiving tasks like transportation to appointments, picking up prescriptions, making meals, etc. New hospital and family caregiver laws, like the one that passed in California in 2015, are also requiring hospitals to communicate with family caregivers when their loved one is discharged from the hospital. Hospitals must provide counsel and training about continuing care at home, medication management, and even skilled tasks like dressing wounds and managing incontinence.

This is a guest blog post.

All You Need to Know About the Vampire Facial

Have you ever wanted a rejuvenated look but was too scared to go under the knife and commit fully to the procedure? Well, you might've missed out on a brand new treatment called the Vampire Facial.

Royalty Free Photo
This method is being used by many celebrities throughout the world and it utilizes non surgical techniques, making it a great option for those who are scared of going under the knife. In this article, we’re going to introduce you to what they are exactly and let you judge whether they’re the good choice for you.

What Exactly Is a Vampire Facial?

The whole procedure is rather simple compared to surgery. First, a blood sample is taken and Platelet-Rich Plasma, also known as PRP, will be separated from it. The areas to be treated will be injected with a hyaluronic acid filler that will help sculpt and change the shape of the face.

After that portion of the procedure is finished, the PRP is injected to promote collagen and fatty tissue production while improving blood flow and refreshing the look of your skin.

The effectiveness of the facial is owed solely to the PRP portion of the therapy. PRP is what promotes those rejuvenating effects you will experience after getting this treatment. The plasma helps stimulate collagen located in your face while at the same time encouraging your body to regenerate new skin cells.

What Are the Benefits of the Vampire Facial

One of the major benefits of the vampire facial is the skin rejuvenation and revitalization. After receiving the treatment, you will automatically notice an increase in your skin's tightness and firmness and some areas will look less saggy. Aside from the cosmetic benefits, the vampire facial comes at a far more reasonable price than many other facial treatments. Not to mention that these treatments also use artificial, synthetic materials which may leave you with unwanted consequences.

In regards to safety, the vampire facial has almost no side effects and your body will easily accommodate to the filler material since it came directly from you and your body.

What is the Price of the Treatment?

The whole process, including extraction of PRP and the process of injection that takes place almost immediately after can cost anything from 800 to 1500 dollars, depending on where you choose to take the procedure. Bigger cities like New York or Los Angeles will require you to pay slightly more than you would in some smaller ones. The recovery period is only a couple of hours after the procedure.  During that time, you might experience a reddened face but nothing dramatic.

Many new patients decide to go for this treatment over a surgical procedure because of the low risk and less dramatic results it offers. The recovery time is also considered quite low which will allow you to get back to your usual routine much faster. The procedure itself takes a small amount of time and the pain is almost non-existent. This is probably the best, non-invasive to rejuvenate your face and improve your appearance.

This is a guest blog entry.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

5 Bath Accessories That Benefit Your Health

A warm bath at the end of a long day can do wonders to help relax tense muscles and bring you peace of mind, but did you know that with the right accessories it can also benefit your health? Don’t miss this essential guide to bath accessories that are good for your body and mind:

Essential Oils
The oils extracted from various plants like lavender, sandalwood, bergamot, peppermint, and rosemary, have been used homeopathically for centuries to aid all types of ailments including headaches, anxiety, and brain fog. A warm bath serves as a great carrier for an essential oil which can benefit your mental clarity and calmness. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil straight to your bathwater, or if you are taking a shower, add a few drops to a washcloth you leave on the shower floor (the essential oil will aerosolize when hot water runs over it).

Back Scrubber
Straining to scratch and scrub hard to reach parts of your back can seem impossible and cause you to awkwardly twist and contort your body. This might do more harm than good leading to tense and inflamed low back muscles and neck pain. Using a back scrubber solves this issue by giving you an extendable loofah-like scrubby on an ergonomic handle or belt with which to rub and clean your back. Different types of scrubbers for your shower or bath can be found online or in many drugstores and grocery stores.

Dry Brush
Dry brushing prior to your shower or bath can do wonders for your appearance and health. As a type of exfoliator, a dry brush helps to slough off dead skin cells and built-up impurities on the surface of your skin that are clogging up your pores. As well, the long, upward strokes up your legs and arms towards your heart help to stimulate lymphatic drainage, boosting your immunity and encouraging the flow of lymph which helps to pull toxins out of your tissues. Experts recommend dry brushing while standing nude in the shower and then rinsing off before you take a bath to experience the best effects.

Listening to soothing music while you soak in the tub can have more powerful effects on your mental well-being than you may know. Music bears a unique connection to specific parts of the brain linked to emotion and research has shown its ability to play a positive role in your health. Researchers at McGill University, for example, reviewed 400 research papers covering the neurochemistry of listening to music and discovered that it aided mood and stress management and even gave the immune system a boost.

Shower Chair

For older adults especially, easy-to-use equipment that both simplifies the bathing process and helps prevent falls is a must for staying safe and mobile. Shower chairs can provide a much needed non-slip seat on which to sit when legs feel weak or tired, grab bars help to support and stabilize you when standing or sitting in the bathtub, and non-slip tape or textured mats on the floor of the bath or shower can prevent you from slipping when the water is running or soap bubbles build up.

In addition to mental wellness and relaxation, baths offer myriad health benefits including helping to clear nasal congestion, alleviate muscle aches, cleanse and hydrate skin, and even induce sleep when taken right before bed. It’s important to remember that you want your bath water to stay between lukewarm and very warm; water that is too hot can actually increase your heart rate, make you excessively sweat, and potentially dehydrate you.

This is a guest blog entry.

Monday, December 04, 2017

What Really Happens to Your Body When You Quit Smoking

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in America, resulting in heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke. Despite the common knowledge that habitual smokers live an average of 12 years less than non-smokers, many people still feel daunted by the thought of quitting even though they’re anxious about the risks.

If you’re looking to kick the habit, don’t expect just to stop overnight. Instead, consult your doctor and ask for a nicotine alternative to help your body adjust. These days, there are numerous options available to former smokers, including gums, patches, and e-cigarettes. Quitting can be hard, even if you are using a vaporizer, so ease the process with a treats e juice.

However you decide to give up smoking, you’re probably wondering what will happen to your body after you quit, so here’s what to expect in those first days and weeks as a non-smoker.

Heightened Senses

As early as two days after your last cigarette, the nerves that control your sense of smell and taste start to heal. As a result, you will notice you have a heightened sense of smell and are able to taste flavors you’ve probably been missing for years.

Withdrawal Symptoms

If you stop feeding your body nicotine altogether, you will start experiencing withdrawal symptoms around three days after you quit, such as headaches, irritability, and cravings. Nicotine withdrawal is far from pleasant, which is why most people struggle to stop smoking. If you decide that going cold turkey isn’t for you, then you may decide to use a nicotine replacement to help your body readjust.

Less Coughing

After your first month as a non-smoker, you will realize you are coughing far less. This is because your lung capacity is improving and the damage caused by inhaling toxins and carcinogens is beginning to heal. You may find it easier to exercise and find you don’t get out of breath so easily.

Increased Body Temperature

Because smoking damages your heart and blood vessels, smokers often feel cold due to poor circulation. In the first few months after quitting, you will notice that your body feels warmer as your blood circulation improves. After your first year as a non-smoker, your risk of developing coronary heart disease has decreased by half, which has dramatic implications for your long-term health.

Lower Health Risks

Although smoking can be incredibly detrimental to your health, many of the risks can be lowered or eliminated by stopping smoking altogether. According to medical professionals, after 15 years of not smoking, your risk of developing heart disease or pancreatic cancer is reduced to the same level as a non-smoker; and after 20 years, your chances of dying from all smoke-related causes drop to the equivalent as someone who has never smoked at all.

So, while stopping smoking can be a momentous challenge, it’s worth knowing that your efforts will have a considerable impact on your health, almost immediately. Although it’s helpful to view the whole picture and see that your goal has an end-result, try to go one step at a time when you first quit. Treat each hour, day, week, and month without cigarettes your own personal victory, and soon it won’t feel like such a struggle.

This is a guest blog entry.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Underarm and Forearm Crutches as Mobility Aids

Whether you have a chronic disability in your lower extremities or you sustained an injury to your lower-limbs, crutches are your go-to tools to help with your mobility. Research shows that strains and ankle sprains account for a majority (36%) of lower extremity injuries in the United States. Mobility aids are needed to facilitate ambulation while recovering from these type of injuries.

According to the University of California - Disability Statistics Center, 6.1 million people in the United States make use of devices, such as crutches, canes, and walkers to help with their mobility.

Crutches can facilitate your movement and ambulation by letting your upper body carry the weight of your lower limb. Physical movement while recovering from an injury can improve the blood circulation in your injured limb and speed up healing. It also helps in improving lung and kidney functions, thanks to better perfusion, and prevents the loss of calcium from your bones as a result of prolonged immobility.

Crutches can also help you do some tasks on your own. In fact, statistics show that compared to wheelchair users, the chance that a crutch user has in landing a job is more than double. It allows you to navigate to places where wheelchairs cannot.

There are several types of crutches you can choose from depending on your needs but the most commonly used are underarm crutches and forearm crutches.

Underarm crutches
An underarm crutch is also known as an axillary crutch. It is the most common type of crutch and is usually made of wood or aluminum.

Underarm crutches are commonly used in pairs. They can be easily adjusted to suit your height. When in a standing position, the shoulder rest (the topmost part of your crutches) should be placed 1-2 inches below your armpit. You should push yourself upright with your hand holding the handgrip. The handgrip must be at the level of your hips so that your arms are slightly flexed at 30°.

When using underarm crutches, you should never let your underarms support your weight by resting them on the shoulder rest. Doing so might compress the blood vessels and nerves in your armpits.

Crutch paralysis is a condition caused by chronic compression of the radial nerve located in your armpit as a result of improper use of crutches. To prevent this from happening, you should ensure that the distance between your shoulder rest and your armpit is maintained at 1-2 inches. The shoulder rest must also have adequate cushioning and padding. People with crutch paralysis have a good chance to recover after physical therapy and axillary crutch discontinuation.

Forearm crutches
A forearm crutch is also known as an elbow crutch or a Lofstrand crutch. It is used to maintain balance and stability. It is generally lightweight and made of aluminum material. The defining feature of a forearm crutch is its adjustable arm cuff, where you should insert your arm before gripping the handgrip, that adds additional support to the user.

Forearm crutches are popular in Europe. In the United States, however, forearm crutches are generally used by people with chronic ailments or disabilities. There is quite a number of options on the list of the top forearm crutches on the market you could choose from, each having features to suit your needs.

When using forearm crutches, your elbow should be flexed at 15-30° to maximize your upper body strength and allow you to bear more weight. When standing upright, the rubber tip of your crutch must be positioned 6 inches in front and 2-4 inches outside of your foot. The arm cuffs should be snug, comfortable, and should secure your forearm 1-1.5 inches below your elbow.

In forearm crutch users, the pressure and weight of your lower limb are being carried by your ulna (one of the two bones in your forearm). To prevent secondary ailments attributed to long-term use of forearm crutches such as pain and injuries, make sure that you are using an arm cuff that is properly sized for your forearm.

Home Safety Tips for Crutch Users
Balance and mobility problems following an injury are the reasons why people are using crutches for support. For these reasons, home safety is important to prevent them from sustaining injuries secondary to slips and falls.
  • Keep your everyday items within reach
  • Remove clutter, clean up food spills, and roll up trailing electrical cords
  • Remove slipping hazards from your bathroom by installing grab bars, handheld showers, and non-slip bath mats
  •  Keep your house well-lit
  • Create a clear pathway by rearranging your pieces of furniture
Crutches are great aids for mobility that let you maneuver on your own. You can ask your healthcare provider for assistance and demonstration on the proper use of this equipment to prevent you from developing another complication.

This is a guest blog entry.

Positive Health Benefits of Recreational Gambling

One of the main reasons that gambling is popular is because it can be plenty of fun. Although addictive gambling is a serious public health concern, there is some evidence that recreational gambling in moderation could have some positive health benefits.

Gambling takes many forms, from a friendly wager with friends and family, to lottery scratch off tickets, to slot machines, and neighborhood poker. Each state and country has different laws about gambling that you should be familiar with. For anyone staying in Canada, here is some information about the legality of casino gaming in Canada - online-casinos-canada.ca/legal - this way being knowledgeable about all the online gaming laws in Canada will make sure that you stay above the law and have peace of mind while playing.

As per this article on NBCNews.com, a study carried out at Yale based on telephone interviews indicates that recreational gamblers aged 65 and older report better health that their non-gambling peers. Click this link to read the full study: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18072825. It was also found that older gamblers report less alcoholism and depression than younger gamblers. However, the same study found that problem/pathological gambling was uniformly associated with poorer health measures among both younger and older adults.

Some gambling activities provide ample opportunities to socialize, get together with friends, and make new friends, provided that you opt for the right games. Poker seems to be the best choice in this regard as there’s plenty of socializing that happens at the Texas Hold‘em tables. There has been some research to show that nursing home residents engaged in simulated gambling activities showed higher happiness levels compared to their baseline levels. Mental health benefits of gambling can sometimes be attributed to socialization but also to the use of problem-solving skills, concentration, and memory. Many will be surprised to know that scientists use a measure known as the Iowa Gambling Task (see Wikipedia.org entry) to evaluate frontal lobe brain functioning based on how respondents use good and bad decks of cards on a computer simulated gambling game.

The key to avoiding a gambling problem is to do so in moderation by becoming aware of responsible gambling - slot-machines.ca/responsible-gambling/. That means setting a pre-specified budget of money that you can afford to lose in the worst case scenario and to not try to then gamble more to earn any losses back. Gamblers also need to keep base rates in mind: in the end, the house will always come out on top. Remembering this can also help avoid spending too much money when it comes to gambling. Lastly, if you have an addictive and/or impulsive personality or any type of cognitive impairment (e.g., attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dementia, traumatic brain injury), gambling would be something to best avoid. Addictive gambling can result in depression, alcoholism, bankruptcy, marital discord, and even self-harm so it is best to keep gambling a recreational activity that is done in moderation.

This is a guest blog entry.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Hand Strengthening Exercises for Seniors

In addition to maintaining mobility and being able to age in place, retaining hand and grip strength can make a huge difference in the independence and longevity of aging seniors. Being able to use your hands can mean the difference between feeding yourself and having to be feed, or between using your phone or having to have someone make calls for you, for example.

Some natural deterioration in hand health accompanies aging including loss of skin elasticity, reduced bone density, nerve degeneration, decreased dexterity, weakness in grip and pinch strength, as well as reduced blood flow and fingernail changes. Obstructive medical conditions can exacerbate hand weakness and loss of use - these may include:
  • Arthritis - painful joint inflammation in one or more hands can make gripping, flexing, and using your hands and fingers much more difficult.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome - numbness, tingling, or pain in the wrist, hand, and fingers can result from pressure being put on the median nerve from the narrowing of the carpal tunnel in the wrist.
  • Tendonitis - inflammation of tendons, typically in or around the thumb, can bring on this type of painful tendonitis localized to the hand.  
  • Trigger finger - tendon irritation that causes a locking or painful popping can limit finger movement and cause painful inflammation.
While some conditions like rheumatoid arthritis cannot necessarily be prevented by exercise and lifestyle changes, symptoms can be mitigated by them, and it only benefits seniors to focus some exercise and strength training on the hands. Don’t miss these important hand health-boosting activities:

Forearm Exercises
Did you know that you don’t actually have any muscles in your hands, only tendons, ligaments, and bones? The muscles which control your finger movement and grip are actually located in your arm, so exercising and strengthening them is key. A forearm workout tool should be lightweight, portable, and effective at helping seniors stretch and reinforce key arm muscles that control grip and pinch strength. Some forearm workout tools are spring-loaded and look the handles of common household tools like pliers or shears, while others are ring-shaped and squeezable like stress balls. You can find forearm workout tools online or in some big box stores and sporting goods stores.

Yoga for the Hands
Can a mindfulness low-impact exercise like yoga, with its deep breathing and meditation, truly help improve your hand health and strength? Absolutely. Yoga practice helps fortify the connection between the body and mind which pairs well with hand exercises that rely so greatly on brain and eye coordination. Yoga exercises for the hand may include simple reflex stimulation, targeted stretching, and applying pressure between fingers as you touch them to each other in what are known as “Mudras.” Yoga is also known for helping to boost blood flow and loosen joints, which can additionally aid arthritis sufferers.

Hand Movements
Routinely practicing basic movements and exercising with items you find around the home can bolster arm/hand strength and help you maintain range of motion. These types of movements include exercises like wrist rolls - holding a small canned good with elbows bent at your sides, forearms out, and palms facing up, bend your wrists to curl your hands forwards towards your body and back. You may also use a rubber band wrapped around your thumb and fingers to practice mini resistance stretches, or simply squeeze a stress ball or tennis ball at regular intervals throughout the day.

Final Considerations
Using functional fitness to maintain your dexterity and a strong grip and pinch strength will largely benefit day to day tasks that are critical but which you may barely think twice about - brushing your teeth, picking up grocery bags, using the TV remote, or typing a text message on your phone. It’s critical to not wait until your hand strength starts to give out, but rather to start exercising now while you still have muscles and tendons to tone and flexibility in your fingers and wrist.

Practicing fine motor skills requires the routine use of the hands and fingers and bears its own health benefits including reducing risk of Alzheimer’s and other cognitive decline. Hand strength and functionality play a key role in helping seniors recover from debilitating conditions too like stroke or mobility impairment which requires them to grip a walker or cane.

This is a guest blog entry.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

3 Must-Have Home Appliances to Improve Air Quality and Reduce Allergies

Almost everything can cause allergies. In the United States alone, an estimated 35% of the whole population suffers from allergies, and the number keeps rising.  Studies have shown that if adults suffer from allergies then there is a 33% increased chance their kids will develop allergies as well.

According to Accuweather, indoor allergens like dust mites, pet dander, and mold are the main causes of allergies rising very highly across the entire United States. In most of the cases, even with actions like regular vacuum cleaning and keeping pets away from home (of course, not always possible), we can't completely control those allergens. But there are several home appliances that can help us control the allergens. These are the three must-have appliances (highly recommended) which improve the air quality in your home and can keep the allergens away from your home.
1. Air Purifier

If you are an allergy sufferer, the first question you have to ask yourself is: "Is the quality of air in my home good for me?" And without any delay, you will get an answer. NO. Because you're already an allergy sufferer...Actually, you are surrounded by a lot of pollutants every day. And especially in these "technology is driven and health is forgotten" days, how can you improve the air quality in your home to protect your family from various allergens? Here comes the Air purifier which is an ultimate indoor choice that lets you and your family enjoy a healthy breath of air you've never experienced before. And like so many things, these air purifiers work with multiple technologies. Out of these, the HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) air purifier is the one which is most popular and the best one if you are allergic to pollens. Also, there will be others like the UV air purifier which kills germs and bacteria and supports the immune system. There is also the Electrostatic, which removes smoke and odors. There is also the Ozone air purifier which kills mold and odors and is inexpensive as well. But considering all important factors like healthy air, maintenance, price, and performance, no other purifier beats the HEPA one.  
2. Robot Vacuum

Why a Robot vacuum and not a regular vacuum cleaner? A study found that most of the regular vacuum cleaners don't trap the dust. In fact, they throw the dust and germs back in the air which makes your indoor setting more allergy-inducing. Also, keep in mind that most people are highly sensitive to dust, so cleaning with a normal vacuum cleaner will make that situation worse. And this is where a necessity of automatic vacuum cleaner arises. A Robot vacuum is an automatic cleaning machine which doesn't require human effort and time as well. All you have to do initially is plug it in to charge it. Whenever the battery power gets low, the robot itself reaches the dock station and self-recharges. As people have shifted more towards these robot vacuums, huge competition has emerged between the robot vacuum manufacturers. This has resulted in a lot of models. In every field, it is always the brand that matters. The same applied here. Irobot is the veteran robot vacuum company existing today. It has released so many Roomba (robot vacuum) models in the form of (6-9) number series. But for many, there is always a confusion which Roomba model to buy?  This is why you should do your research to compare online and invest in the best Roomba model that is best for you and never forget to choose a Roomba model with HEPA filter (highly useful to trap the allergens inside the robot vacuum itself). 
3. Dehumidifier 

Needless to say, a dehumidifier is essential to obtaining a lower moisture level. While dehumidifiers can differ from model to model, they all work on similar principles. Dehumidification is the process of extracting moisture from the air, which is useful for many health and comfort reasons. A dehumidifier can help solve many air quality issues in your home that are due to high humidity. It is always recommended to keep indoor humidity below 50% and over 30%. If the humidity is below 30%, it can cause dry, itchy skin, and nosebleeds. And if the humidity level is over 50% this makes the air feel damp, which can worsen asthma, allergies and promote the growth of airborne allergens such as mold spores and dust mites. Not only does optimizing the air humidity reduce allergens but there are also so many other benefits (i.e. reduces: - dust, odors and irritation to skin and respiratory system) to using a dehumidifier.

This is a guest blog entry.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Mattresses – how is quality affected by the price?

Sleep is important for your ongoing physical and mental well-being. Getting the optimum amount of sleep can help with everything from memory skills, to attention levels and the health of hair and skin. Having the right mattress is important if you want to ensure that you get the sleep you need.

Another important reason for making sure that you choose the right mattress, is that a lack of support can lead to problems with aches and pains in your neck, back and shoulders. So, how does the amount you pay for a mattress affect the quality of the product you choose?

Do you have to buy an expensive mattress?

Many people do not have a huge amount of money to spend on a mattress. The good news is that there are affordable mattresses on the market that provide you with a reasonable amount of support. They may not provide you with the perfect amount of comfort and support that you can get from more expensive memory foam mattresses, but they are still beneficial when compared to the old mattress you have. This is because an old mattress normally starts to lose its firmness and shape. Once this happens, your sleep starts to be adversely affected, and you will probably find that you start to suffer from aches and pains. Even a reasonably priced mattress can help to improve the situation.

Why you may want to pay more for a mattress

If you have a significant amount of money saved, it's worth investing it in a high quality mattress. You may want to choose a memory foam mattress which is specifically designed to mold to your shape, and provide you with the optimum level of support. Although, it's a good idea to check out the pros and cons of this material, before you buy.

It does not just have to be about support when you are buying a new mattress. There are mattresses which are made from organic products. These eco-friendly options  make it less likely that you will be exposed to off gassing while you sleep. They are also a lot better for the environment.

Buying an expensive mattress can be worthwhile if you want a high level of support and comfort or to be eco-friendly. But you can get a good quality mattress which offers an acceptable level of support at a lower cost.

Why you should not buy second hand 

One thing you should never do is buy a mattress second hand. This is because you cannot tell how well it's been cared for. It may lose any firmness it has very quickly. It's also possible that the mattress could be full of bacteria if it has not been properly cleaned on a regular basis.

Never continue sleeping on a mattress that is worn out because it is bad for your health. When you replace the mattress, always buy new and spend as much as you can afford to get the best level of support you can. Remember to shop around before you buy as this can help you to get the best possible deal on the product you want to purchase.

This is a blog post by James Andrews.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

How To Detox Your Body From Alcohol And Drugs

Whether you are a recreation drinker or have admitted that you have a more serious problem, a prolonged use of drugs and alcohol can cause toxins to build up in the body.  This build-up will be bad for your health as the toxins such as ethanol from alcohol are known to harm the body tissue, organs and other systems.  This can result in a range of different health problems and diseases.  Fortunately, there is some good news which is that the body is able to heal itself if you provide the correct treatment.

What Is The Proper Treatment?

The best treatment for your body is to detox which is essentially giving your body an internal makeover.  When you detox, you will clean out the toxins which are harmful to your health.  To detox, you will have to have a proper diet, complete exercise and add other healthy habits to your lifestyle while bringing your drug and alcohol use to an end.  When you do this, you will remove the impurities in the blood that causes problems and give your body the chance to heal.

Of course, depending on the level of your addiction, you will need to consult with a doctor before you try detoxing on your own.  If you have a severe addiction, you need to have medical help from a dual diagnosis rehab center. Within a process you will need professional support as you will experience vomiting, nausea, sweats, headaches and other unpleasant symptoms.  It is important to note that these are expected as your body tries to get rid of the unhealthy toxins.  Of course, if the symptoms worsen, you need to get medical attention as something could be wrong.

Cutting It Off At The Source

The obvious start to detoxing is to stop taking drugs and drinking.  In order to completely rid your body of the toxins associated with this, you need to stop the habit.  This provides the body with the opportunity to expel the toxins which have accumulated without worrying the new toxins entering the body.  The sooner you are able to quit, the faster you will be able to detox.

Keep Your Body Hydrated

Alcohol and drugs are known to dehydrate the body and this can cause a range of unpleasant side effects including fatigue, headaches and muscle pain.  You can eliminate these issues by drinking a lot of water.  Water will also help your body detox as it is used to flush out the system and bring balance to the body.  The more water you are drinking, the more toxins are being flushed out.  The minimum amount of water you should drink per day is 64 oz, but when detoxing you should increase this to 80 oz or 100 oz. 

Get The Good Nutrients

The most common way for toxins to enter the body is by being ingested.  This is why it makes sense to replace unhealthy foods with healthy ones.  The best way to do this is to completely change your diet.

The first step in this change would be to cut back on bad fats and sugars which hinder the healing process.  You should also avoid any refined or processed foods as they generally are unnatural and will not provide much in terms of nutrients.  They are also harder for the body to digest.  This means that you have to limit food which comes in jars, cans and boxes. 

One of the best ways to give your body a nutrient jump-start is by juicing.  This is when you drink natural juiced fruits and vegetables as they will provide you with all the minerals and nutrients that your body needs to be healthy.  It is possible to drink 5 times the amount of fruits and vegetables compared to eating because your body is filled up with juice and not the meat of the plant.  This is important because you are able to get more of the nutrients you need as you are able to consume larger amounts. 

If you do not have your own juicer or cannot afford to get one, you need to make sure that you are eating a diet which is high in fruits and vegetables.  You should also take a multivitamin to ensure that you are getting every nutrient that your body needs.  When you are eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, you need to ensure that they are organically produced as they will be grown without any harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides.  These can be as harmful to your body as not getting enough nutrients.

All The Foods That Are Great For Detoxification

If you want to leech the impurities in your intestines and dispose of them you need to eat chia seeds, parsley, cilantro and lemon.  If you need more fiber and antioxidants to boost the immune system you should eat green leafy vegetables such as romaine, kale, seaweed and wheatgrass.  Another source of antioxidants which help your body fight disease is berries including blueberries, strawberries and raspberries.  To get the Omega-3 fatty acids that you need which will help limit your cravings and depression, you need to eat wild caught fish, almonds and avocado. Here are some good foods for detox.

Getting The Toxins Out

While you are putting good foods into your body, you need to also focus on getting the bed out.  While it is possible to eliminate toxins through waste, you should also look at exercise which is one of the best ways of getting rid of bad toxins.  Exercise will increase your heart rate and cause the body to sweat which allows you to get rid of the bad toxins which have built up in your body.  You can do this through hot yoga, running, cycling or other exercise.  Not only will the exercise help you detox, it will also increase your endorphin levels which makes your mood better.

Other Habits To Incorporate

There are other habits which will help you detox such as lowering your stress levels.  We live in a fast-paced world where it can be hard to remember to take time for yourself, but you need to ensure that you do this.  Too much stress can be detrimental to your health and will decrease the effectiveness of detoxification.

You should also stay away from cigarettes and coffee while detoxing.  These items also have harmful toxins and they can trigger addiction.  This could cause you to relapse and this is something that you will want to avoid. 

You should also look at getting a massage which is a great stress-reliever.  Massages can also help to release the toxins in your body. 

When you detox, you also need to get more sleep.  Most people are actually sleep-deprived without realizing it and this will impact your health.  It is important that you get 8 to 9 hours of undisturbed sleep each night to ensure that your body is healthy.

It is also recommended that you get your friends and family involved in your detox.  This will provide you with the support that you need to overcome your addiction and help you stay on track.

This is a guest blog entry.

Why Your Foot Arch Type Matters

When it comes to foot care, there are a handful of routine practices which can help keep your feet in fighting shape. Daily cleaning, drying, and moisturizing can help remove impurities from the bottom of your feet as well as exfoliate off dead and dry skin cells and keep them hydrated.

Regular stretching exercises for your feet can also bolster the strength of the many muscles and tendons in them to help prevent injury. One of the best things you can do for your feet, however, is to know your arch type and how to properly support it when you are physically active (i.e. when working out, playing sports, etc). Why is knowing your arch type so important?

•    Helps you choose the type of running shoe/sneaker for exercising in
•    Gives you an idea of what type of insoles you might need for better arch support
•    Can help you address pain points of high arches or flat feet

The Wet Test
Are you asking yourself, “How do I know what type of arch I have”? One of the easiest ways to gauge your arch type is with a wet test. Find a paper shopping bag or another piece of heavy paper and set it on the floor. Fill a shallow pan with a layer of water, and then one by one, step in the water and then out onto the heavy paper. Bear all your weight on that leg momentarily, and then cleanly step off.

If you see an average-looking half-moon (crescent) footprint, then you have the most common arch (medium) which sufficiently supports your body weight and causes you to pronate normally when walking and running. Pronation is simply the slight natural inward rolling of the ankle when your foot makes impact with the ground. As you strike with your heel, the ankle rolls slightly inward, and weight is distributed to the forefoot.

If you see a footprint almost entirely filled in, on the other hand, with no significant arch space, this indicates you have a low arch, also referred to as flat feet. The potential dangers of a low arch derive from the fact that overpronation, or an exaggerated inward rolling of the foot when walking and running, actually stresses the feet and knees.

And if you leave but a sliver of a crescent-moon footprint on the paper, this indicates your arch is higher than normal, likely resulting from an under-pronation (or outward rolling known as supination) of the foot when walking or running. Similar to flat feet, high arches can increase the risk for injury by unnecessarily straining the foot and leg muscles, and ankle and knee joints.

Common Foot Problems for Low and High Arches
Low and high arches reflect problems with pronation so understanding the cascading effects on the feet and knees is critical. As foot tendons like the plantar fascia and lower leg muscles like the Achilles tendon compensate for the extra load, they can become strained and lead to:

Plantar fasciitis - the plantar fascia is a tough band of tissue which supports your arch and runs along the bottom of your foot from your heel to your toes. When it has to stretch more and more to bear the weight of over or under-pronation, it can become inflamed and even incur microscopic tears. This can result in burning and stinging pain in the bottom of your heel and up through your arch.

Achilles tendonitis - in the same way, when the tendon running down the back of your calf which connects to you heel starts to feel the tug and pull from under or over-pronation, it can become inflamed as well. More serious tears and ruptures of the tendon may occur from even greater overuse and poor body mechanics.

Heel spurs - heel spurs develop when calcium deposits build up on the bottom of the heel bone. Often associated with damage to the plantar fascia, heel spurs also manifest when the membrane wrapped around the heel bone routinely becomes torn. Low arches are more susceptible to heel spurs.

Metatarsalgia - the ball of the foot where the metatarsal bones connect the foot to the toes can become inflamed from constant pounding, this injury is also known as stone bruise and results commonly from high arches that place undue stress on the ball and heel of the foot. Additional markers of high arched feet include hammertoes, claw toes, and calluses on the ball, heel, or side of the foot.

The good news is that low and high arches don’t have to be permanent detriments to your pronation or foot and leg health. With proper footwear and useful orthotics (like arch supports or plantar fasciitis insoles), you can equip your feet with the strength and flexibility they need to properly support your weight at any time.

This is a guest blog entry.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Diabetes Foot Care Tips

There are different foot care rituals listed by the American Diabetes Association that diabetics should follow:

1.  Check Your Feet On A Daily Basis

Check for infected toenails, red spots, swelling, sores or cuts.  At times diabetics might not be able to feel any pain in their feet.  That is why they need to thoroughly check their feet every day.  Individuals who are unable to bend down to be able to see their feet can either have someone else check them or use a mirror.

2.  Thoroughly Wash Your Feet

Diabetics need to wash their feet in warm water every day.  After washing your feet, wipe them dry and then apply talcum powder or cornstarch between your toes to make sure the skin is dry.  Keep in mind that it isn't recommended that you soak your feet since that has a tendency to dry the skin out.

3. Moisturize After Cleaning

Be sure to apply cream or lotion or petroleum jelly even to your feet in order to keep them smooth, soft and moisturized.

Aloe vera gel frequently is recommended since it makes an effective moisturizer.  However, be sure to only moisturize the bottom and top of your feet but not in between your toes, since some infections could result.

4.  Trim Your Nails

Right after bathing is the best time for you to trim your toenails since that is when nails are soft and soaked.   Cutting your nails straight across is the best way for you to trim them. Avoid cutting into your toenails corners.  The corners can be smoothed afterward using an emery board or nail file.

5.  Always Use The Right Footwear 

Wear footwear at all times to keep your feet protected - both outdoors and indoors.  Wear stockings, nylons or socks with your footwear to avoid getting blisters or sores.  Wear shoes that fit you well and properly protect your feet.  It is also important to select the right kind of footwear.  Your feet should be supported and allowed to breathe by your shoes.  Walking shoes or athletic shoes are perfect for this, it’s also possible to get diabetic shoes.  Don't wear shoes with high heels or pointed toes since they tend to put a lot of pressure on your toes.  Make sure your shoes provide enough space for your toes.  Avoid vinyl or plastic shoes since they don't breathe or stretch.

6.  Keep Your Flood Flowing        

It is important for diabetics to make sure that blood flowing to their feet isn't hindered in any way.  Don't wear elastic, rubber bands or tight socks around your legs.  When you are sitting put your feet up.  Another way of ensuring blood flow is moving your ankle in and out and up and down.  You can wriggle your toes also for around five minutes two or three times per day.  However the main thing is to stop smoking, since it can lead to a reduced amount of blood flowing to your feet.

This is a guest blog entry.

How to Choose the Best Portable Wheelchair Ramp

Despite laws and regulations that have increased the number of businesses that are wheelchair accessible, there is a still a significant disparity when it comes to wheelchair accessible homes. In fact, less than one percent of all U.S. homes can easily accommodate wheelchairs.

The ideal situation is for all homes and businesses to be accessible to all. In the meantime, though, a portable wheelchair ramp can give you independence and help you easily access any building.

There are lots of factors to consider when choosing portable ramps for wheelchairs to make sure you find one that is both safe and easy to use. Read on to learn some of the most important things to keep in mind during your search.

Types of Ramps

First of all, let’s go over the options that are available to you when it comes to choosing a portable wheelchair ramp.

Threshold Ramps

Threshold ramps are wedge-shaped and usually made of either rubber or metal. While they are portable, they’re often kept in one place for a longer period of time since they don’t fold up as easily as other styles.

Telescoping Ramps

Telescoping ramps are adjustable in length, like a telescope. They can be lengthened or shortened easily and can be used for several different obstacles and types of rises.

Suitcase Ramps

Suitcase ramps, as their name suggests, fold up and can be stored easily, like a suitcase. They’re ideal for helping wheelchair users get over steps, curbs, and raised landings.

Roll-up Ramps

Roll-up ramps feature a track attached to side rails. They can be stored by removing the rails and rolling up the tread like a sleeping bag.

Size and Slope

No matter what type of ramp you buy, you’ll need to take its size and slope into account.

Your ramp should ideally be a bit narrower than the openings where it’ll be placed. It should, at the same time, be wide enough to accommodate your wheelchair. A good rule of thumb from the American Disability Association (ADA) is to look for a ramp with a minimum width of 36 inches.

The ADA also recommends a ramp with a slope no higher than 1:12. This means that there is at least 1 foot (12 inches) of ramp length for every 1 inch of vertical rise. For example, a 24 inch rise would require a ramp length that is at least 24 feet.

Remember, the 1:12 ratio is the absolute minimum. The steeper a ramp’s incline, the more likely you are to experience the following problems:
  • Difficulty maneuvering a manual chair up it
  • Increased likelihood that power chairs and scooters will stall or bottom out
  • Increased likelihood that transport wheelchairs will bottom out because of low ground clearance
Height Limitations 

Height threshold also needs to be taken into account when shopping for a portable wheelchair ramp. If it’s too high or too low, you’ll face additional difficulty getting into buildings.

Think about the steps leading into your home, doors with raised thresholds, and vehicle entrances and make sure the ramp you’re considering purchasing can accommodate all of them.

Weight and Portability

When shopping for a portable ramp, you’ll also need to think about how you’re going to use it. Do you need a truly portable solution, or do you need a more semi-permanent solution?

If you’re looking for a semi-permanent ramp (like the threshold ramps discussed above) weight and portability won’t be as important. However, if you’re going to be carrying your ramp with you everywhere you go, you’re going to want to find the lightest and most portable option possible.

Ramps made of aluminum or fiberglass are usually the most lightweight and are easy to carry.
Weather Considerations

Your ramp should be made with durable yet lightweight materials, but it should also include slip-resistant elements for rainy and snowy days.

Portable ramps can get extremely slippery, opening you up to a whole new range of safety risks. Make sure you find one that can withstand all weather conditions and help you get where you need to go without risk of slipping and sliding.

Weight Capacity

Finally, you’ll need to think about your ramp’s ability to hold your weight and the weight of your wheelchair. Think about times when additional weight will be included as well, such as when you’re carrying groceries or packages. Putting too much weight on your ramp can cause a serious safety risk, so be sure to buy one that is highly durable.

Wrapping Up

There are lots of options out there when it comes to portable wheelchair ramps.

There’s no one ramp that is perfect for everyone, so it’s important to take into consideration things like weight, height threshold, and portability to make sure you get the right ramp for your needs. Shopping for ramps can be overwhelming at first. But, if you keep these tips mind, you’ll be able to find the perfect option in no time! 

This is a guest blog entry.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Dementia and Risk of Falling

A 2017 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed encouraging data regarding rates of dementia in the U.S. Over 21,000 adults 65+ were tracked in a longitudinal study called the “Health and Retirement Study” sponsored by the Social Security Administration and the National Institute on Aging.

The findings reflected sweeping improvements in population brain health as the prevalence of dementia dropped from 11.6% to 8.8% between the years 2000 and 2012.

Rates of Dementia
While that is exciting news for older adults, the truth is that the cases of dementia will only rise as the second largest generation in the U.S., Baby Boomers, all age into the 65 and over age group in the next 15 years. While dementia is not a guaranteed part of aging, it does largely affect older adults.

Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are debilitating diseases that rob many seniors of the basic faculties with which they need to function. Over 5.5 million people in the U.S. currently live with some form of dementia, with Alzheimer’s accounting for roughly 60 to 70% of dementia cases according to the World Health Organization.

Damaged and dying neurons and synapses in the brain contribute to dementia symptoms including a deterioration in thinking, learning ability, memory, judgment, language, comprehension, and orientation. In addition to difficulty completing daily tasks, dementia can negatively impact a person’s behavior and emotional control. Dementia is typically a progressive and chronic degeneration of the brain, and in some forms of dementia, can actually result from conditions which prevent enough oxygen from reaching the brain.

Vascular dementia as it is called, or vascular cognitive impairment, is on the rise according to some researchers, in part due to the higher rates of heart disease, stroke, and other conditions which affect blood vessels. When widespread small vessel damage reduces the amount of or blocks blood flowing to the brain, it deprives brain cells of the oxygen and nutrients they desperately need.

Dementia and Falling
  • Medical providers and home health networks need to educate the caregivers of someone with dementia about increased fall risk and how to manage it in order to prevent life-threatening injuries. While falling is the leading cause of fatal injuries for older adults, when it comes to seniors with dementia, their chances of experiencing a harmful fall are even higher due to:  
  • Poor judgment - as cognitive decline progresses, poor decision-making can put an elderly person at risk of not just getting scammed on the internet, but in falling too. Mistakenly deciding to descend a steep staircase or head outside when it is icy, for example, can quickly lead to falls.
  • Impaired memory - when a senior with dementia is a “fall risk,” precautions are taken in their home or hospital room to prevent them from falling. This might include putting fall rails on the bed, setting up fall monitors, and making sure a patient is always accompanied out of bed and into the bathroom. Memory issues can lead a senior to forget that they have been asked to call for assistance if they need to get out of bed, or they may forget where they are and become disorientated and fall.
  • Vision problems - difficulties with vision and spatial awareness often accompany cognitive decline and can make safe mobility impossible. Oftentimes, people with vascular dementia will specifically have vision impairment due to blood vessel damage in the brain. Regular vision checks with a doctor, as well as mobility aids, home lighting audits, and home accessibility upgrades can help.
  • Clutter - some dementia patients will exhibit habits of hoarding and filling their living environment with unnecessary items and furniture. This clutter is a huge risk factor for falling, as the more “stuff” you have to move around or walk over to successfully navigate the home environment, the more likely you are to trip or lose your balance.
  • Physical weakness - being unable to exercise regularly or stay physically active, dementia patients will experience muscle loss and weakness as well as a reduction in bone density compounded with deterioration in balance, coordination, agility skills, and the risk of falling increases. 
  • Medication side effects - some medicines which are used to treat forms of dementia as well as other age-related diseases like Parkinson’s, can actually cause hypotensive side effects. A sudden drop in blood pressure when standing can lead to dizziness and loss of balance, increasing the potential to fall.

What Can Caregivers Do
In addition to learning as much as possible about dementia’s side effects and increased risk for falling, family members and caregivers of seniors with dementia should fall-proof the home. Grab bars, toilet seat risers, and a non slip bath mat in the bathroom are a must. Ramps up to outside doorways and porch railings help secure outside walking areas, and clearing clutter and trip hazards inside may include removing area rugs and large pieces of furniture too.

This is a guest blog entry.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Beware of These Common Home Health Hazards

Your home is where you and your family come together for shelter, security, and safety. As comfortable and safe as your home may feel, there could be dangers lurking that you weren’t aware of.

What many homeowners may not realize is that a lot of the illnesses they experience come from the things they do and have in the home. In order to improve your health and keep your loved ones safe, you’ll need to identify the health hazards in the home and remove them. Below, are some of the most common health hazards in the home.

1.  Lead Paint

Those who live in a home that was built before the 1970’s could have an issue on their hands with lead paint. Though not hazardous just to sit on the walls, when lead paint starts to chip, it can present a hazard for pets and young children. When chips of paint are ingested it can cause led poisoning.

If you believe you have led paint in your home, purchase a kit from the store. While you can remove the paint yourself, it would require you to remove your kids and pets from the home and strip all the paint. Therefore, it is best to hire professionals to remove the paint for you.

2.  Pests

You may have thought that pests like mice or cockroaches were nothing more than gross looking and embarrassing to have in the home, but it’s actually a lot worse. Both mice and roaches leave behind bodily fluids and feces that if touched or ingested can cause you to get sick.

Some people try to remove infestations of mice and cockroaches on their own with no such luck. DIY pest control isn’t always advised as it can result in more harm. The harsh chemicals found in store sprays and the hazards of traps and devices to catch pests can really harm you and your family. Companies like Moxie Pest Control are skilled in safely removing pests like mice and cockroaches from the home safely.

3.  Mold

Mold is one of those hazards that you are likely aware is bad for your health, but can be tricky to find. Most often people can smell mold and mildew before they ever see it. Exposure to certain molds can result in upper respiratory problems. This can include difficulty breathing, sore throat, stuffiness, runny nose, eye irritation, and in some cases, skin rashes.

If you believe there is mold in your home, you need to have it removed. Identifying it can be hard but you should check places like the basement or attic where there is dampness and moisture. While you can remove small amounts of mold on your own with a bleach solution, it is best to hire a mold remediation expert for larger amounts.

4.  Asbestos

Asbestos was a building material used to build homes more than 30 years ago. Asbestos was determined to be unhealthy and could lead to serious medical conditions including shortness of breath, lung damage, and other illnesses and diseases.

Asbestos is harmless unless disturbed. This often happens during renovations and home improvement projects. If you have an older home and believe there could be asbestos present it is best to contact the experts to safely remove it.

5.  Dust and Allergens

Dusting might be a chore that you hadn’t gotten around to doing but too much dust and allergens in the home can wreak havoc on your health. Dust and allergens tend to accumulate on everything from the carpets to the floors. Too much dust in the home can lead to upper respiratory issues that include difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, runny nose, itchy throat, and more.

Dust enters the home from all over. The best way to get rid of dust is to go beyond dusting certain surfaces. You need to clean the carpets, clean the vents, and even consider an air purifier to get rid of allergens and improve the indoor air quality.

To the untrained eye, the above-mentioned hazards might not seem like anything to worry about. However, when ignored, these hazards could ruin your health. Checking the home periodically for these hazards and hiring an expert to remedy the problem is the best course of action to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy.

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

Low Back Pain: Are You at Risk?

Have you ever experienced a sudden, sharp sensation in your lower back? How about a dull, constant ache just below your waist? If yes, then you belong to the 80% of adults who experience low back pain.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), low back pain is the most common cause of job-related disability and a major contributor to absences from work. The severity of the pain could range from a mild ache to an intense pain which could limit your mobility.

The onset of low back pain could be sudden or gradual, depending on the cause. Some diseases could present with low back pain. Among these are sciatica (compression of the sciatic nerve), scoliosis (lateral curvature of the thoracic spine) and a herniated disc (compression or bulging of the intervertebral discs).

The anatomy of the lower back
The lower back is composed of the lumbar region of the spine. This region has 5 vertebrae (lumbar 1 to lumbar 5) that bear and support the weight of the upper body. Intervertebral discs are located between each vertebrae. They function as shock absorbers and cushions. They also protect the spinal cord in the middle of the spine.

There are 31-pairs of spinal nerves attached to the spinal cord and they are responsible for the transmission of signals to the brain as well as body movement. Lumbar ligaments keep the vertebrae in place and lumbar tendons connect the muscles to the spinal column.

Are you at risk?
There are certain factors that can put you at risk of having low back pain, including:

•    Age. Pain in the lower back becomes a common concern as you age. The symptom usually occurs between ages 30 and 50. As you age, your muscle mass, tone, and elasticity gradually decrease. This could make you prone to having tears in your tendons and muscles. Osteoporosis could also predispose you to brittle bones. Your intervertebral discs also lose flexibility and fluid, compromising their function as shock absorbers.

•    Fitness level. Low fitness activity could make you prone to having back pain. Having weak abdominal and back muscles might not support your spine properly, especially if you are someone who tends to do exercises and intense outdoor activities in the weekends after being inactive for the rest of the week.

•    Pregnancy. During pregnancy, your body releases a hormone called ‘relaxin’ that serves to relax your pelvic ligaments in preparation for labor. This could make the ligaments that support your back unstable. The growing baby also adds additional weight to your upper body. These could lead to low back pain, a complaint which is common in pregnant women. The symptom usually resolves after childbirth.

•    Weight gain. Your lumbar spine supports the weight of your upper body. Being overweight or obese can put too much weight and stress on your back, leading to low back pain.

•    Occupational risk factors. Doing jobs that require pushing, pulling, lifting heavy objects, especially those that involve twisting of the spine, can lead to back injury and low back pain.

•    Poor posture. Poor posture can put undue stress on your spine as well as constrict your blood vessels and nerves. It can lead to low back pain, especially if you sit all day in a chair that has inadequate back support.

    Back pain in children. Low back pain is not common in children. However, carrying a heavy backpack loaded with school supplies can lead to muscle strain and muscle fatigue. It is recommended that a child’s backpack should weigh 10–15% of his or her body weight. Obese children, however, are recommended to carry a bag that is one-third lighter in weight than the other children’s.

How to deal with low back pain?
Low back pain can restrict your movements and make daily activities difficult to do. If you are experiencing low back pain, even the simple act of bending over to put your shoes on could be hard. A dressing aid like a long shoe horn makes it easier to slip on your shoes without the need to bend over and tug at the heel tab, no matter how high-cut your shoes are. These benefits of using a long shoe horn could prevent your back pain from being aggravated by bending movements.

Applying cold packs could ease pain and inflammation in your lower back, as can heat therapy and massage, improving your mobility. You should limit your bed rest and resume daily activity as soon as you can. Prolonged bed rest could further diminish your muscle tone and might do you more harm than good. Just be careful to avoid movements that exacerbate the pain.

If the pain persists despite these home remedies, you should consult your doctor for further diagnosis.

This is a guest blog entry.

Five Products Everyone Can Use to Treat Knee Pain

Knee pain is extremely common, especially among active individuals and those with arthritis. If you are looking for a way to relieve your pain without giving up your favorite activities, keep reading.

Listed below are five highly effective pain relief products that everyone with knee pain should have at the ready.

Knee Braces

Knee braces are helpful for people who suffer from both acute and chronic knee pain. A quality knee brace will provide extra support, prevent injury, and make sure the knee moves in a controlled way.

It can be difficult to find the best knee brace for working out. If you’re having a hard time making a decision, make sure you understand the different types of braces and what kind of pain and injuries they work best with.

•    Hinged braces are best for people who need extra protection and stabilization after an ACL, MCL, or PCL injury or surgery.
•    Compression sleeves can minimize mild or moderate chronic knee pain or arthritis-related pain.
•    Wraparound braces are good for mild or moderate pain, as well as those who often experience patellar instabilities or dislocation.
•    A band or strap can be used for those who have runner’s knee, patellar tendonitis, or acute knee pain.

Topical Painkillers

Topical painkillers, also known as analgesics, are products that can be rubbed or sprayed on the skin to help treat sore muscles or painful joints. Whether they come in spray, cream, or gel form, topical painkillers often feature a combination of the following ingredients:

•    Counterirritants like menthol, methylsalicylate, and camphor, which create a burning or tingling sensation.
•    Salicylates, which are also used in products like aspirin to relieve pain.
•    Capsaicin, which causes a burning or tingling sensation to relax tension and relieve pain.

Knee Pillows

Many people, especially those with arthritis, are kept awake at night by pain in their knees and hips. A knee pillow will help relieve your pain by allowing you to keep your legs, hips, knees, and spine properly aligned while you sleep on your side.

They also reduce stress on the knees since they keep the legs farther apart to avoid uneven pressure. This lack of pressure allows for better blood circulation, which prevents muscle tension and soreness in the knees and legs.

When you’re shopping for a knee pillow, look for a memory foam pillow for the most comfort. Some pillows also come with a strap that helps keep your knees in place throughout the night, which can be especially helpful for people who toss and turn a lot.

Electrical Stimulator

If you’ve ever visited a chiropractor or physical therapist, you’ve probably experienced electrical stimulation for your knee pain. There are lots of portable machines available so that you can continue to treat your pain at home.

Many people like the near-instant relief that these machines bring, as well as the fact that they don’t have to rely on any painkillers.

Electrical stimulators are easy to use and can be adjusted for your specific tolerance level.

Before using one at home to help your knee pain, make sure you get clearance and instructions on how frequently to use it from your doctor or physical therapist.


There are a number of nutritional supplements out there that are actually very beneficial for those who suffer from knee pain. Supplements like collagen, glucosamine, and chondroitin are especially useful, as they aid in repairing tissue damage and reducing pain and inflammation.

Krill oil and fish oil are also good to supplement with to ensure you’re getting the recommended daily dose of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s help reduce inflammation, which is especially important for those whose knee pain is related to arthritis.

Vitamin C is another good supplement to take for those who suffer from arthritis-related pain. Meeting your recommended daily dose also helps prevent the development of osteoarthritis. When your body gets an adequate amount of vitamin C, cartilage loss and joint inflammation are reduced and bone density improves.

Final Thoughts

If you suffer from knee pain and feel like you’re running out of treatment options, give one (or more) of these products a try today. Whether you need a more aggressive remedy like electrical stimulation or just a better night’s sleep, one of them might provide the relief you’re looking for.

This is a guest blog entry.