Thursday, May 10, 2018

5 Things You Should Know About X-ray Protection Technologies and Health

In the 1890s, Wilhelm Roentgen experimented with inventions that would become today's X-ray machines. For his contribution, he received the first Nobel Peace Prize for Physics. While this was one of the first purposeful uses of radiation, some form of radiation has always been in existence. Our uses of radiation have evolved over the last few decades. And with it, so has our understanding of the need for radiation protection against the harmful elements of radiation exposure.

Here are 5 things you should know about radiation, X-ray protection, and your health.

1. Radiation protection grew out of X-ray use.

In the late 1980s, the world was reeling with the discovery of X-ray technology. Scientists and researchers delved liberally into using X-ray imaging apparatuses with no awareness of the possible side effects. This disregard for the damaging effects of X-rays continued for several years. Widespread and unprotected use continued. But soon individuals began to report various symptoms.

The dangers of X-ray use were documented by a doctor and a professor with the Vanderbilt University. These two individuals experimented with taking X-rays of one of their heads, which resulted in a loss of hair. William J Morton, Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla are among others who reported various irritations as they used X-ray technology.

In the early 1900s, William Rollins, a pioneer in radiation protection, discovered that X-rays could kill lab animals. And that a pregnant guinea pig was unable to carry to term due to exposure to X-ray radiation. Thus the connection that radiation could kill a fetus.

2. Lead as radiation protection was the gold standard for many years.

Most any material provides some protection against radiation waves if used in large amounts. The challenge scientists faced was to find materials that allowed movement while also shielding from gamma rays.

Studies on materials and various radiation waves evolved. Researchers soon discovered that different shielding techniques were needed depending on variables. For example, the type of energy waves, as well as the application of those energy waves into daily use.

For many years, lead was used as the standard of protection when it came to X-rays and radioactive material protection.

With its high molecular density, lead is effective at preventing penetration of gamma rays. To this day, it continues to be used as a protective shielding material against radiation. Certain applications are best suited for the use of lead plates, lead glass, lead bricks, and other barriers.

Today there are many alternatives to lead that offer the same protections, but without the weight, density, and bulkiness of lead.

3. Industry revolutionizing alternatives to protective wearables.

Professionals who are exposed to radioactive material must wear X-ray protection in the form of gloves, glasses, and aprons. Because lead is blended with additives to make it wearable, the result of this blend is often unwieldy.

Non-lead protection uses composites of tin, tungsten, antimony, and bismuth, among others. The exact blend differs based on the manufacturer. But all of these materials are lighter in weight, yet have the same capacity as lead to block radiation.

4. Heavy shielding gear can cause back issues.

Radiologists wear X-ray shielding gear on a daily basis. A 2014 study surveyed 148 radiologists spanning 10 hospitals. Thirty-eight percent of the radiologists reported work-associated pains and injury. And forty-one percent of those surveyed complained of lower back pain.

Back pains are one of the leading causes of disability around the world. Many medical experts agree that wearing heavy materials is likely the cause of back pain in the aforementioned study.

Additionally, lead based protective gear is costly to dispose of in an environmentally friendly manner. By contrast, non-lead-based protective options are easier to recycle. Therefore, the use of non-lead protective gear has become a popular option to those in this field.

5. Outside of X-rays, these are your common sources of daily radiation.

Mankind has been exposed to natural sources of radiation since our beginnings on the planet earth. The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission lists these naturally occurring sources of radiation:

• Radon and thoron - 37 percent
• Cosmic - 5 percent
• Internal - 5 percent
• Terrestrial, soil - 3 percent

Naturally occurring sources of radiation amount to 50 percent of the radiation we are exposed on a day to day basis. Manmade sources of radiation account for the other 50 percent. The sources are medical procedures at 36 percent, nuclear medicine at 12 percent, consumer products at 2 percent, and Industrial and occupational exposure at 0.1 percent.

This is a guest blog entry.

4 Common Misconceptions About Injuries and Recovery

Think you know everything you need to recover from your injury? Were you recently injured but perhaps are not healing as fast as you would like? Did you know that some well-established ideas about injuries and recovery could be misleading? Here are some common misconceptions that could be delaying your healing process.

Misconception No. 1: If there's no pain, there's no injury.

Whether you were sidelined by a sports injury or hit by a drunk motorcycle driver, any case of injury requires medical attention. But often, if the pain from an injury is not enough to knock us off our feet for good, we brush it off for fear of hospital bills. Or perhaps you experienced some initial pain, but it subsided after a while? Any event where your body is subjected to trauma requires a visit to the doctor.

In most cases, pain is the body's response to injury. It is the body's alarm system telling you that damage has been inflicted and that you must take time to heal. But in certain cases, this response system might not be activated. Nerves in an area that received the damage might not be sending pain signals to the brain as they should. Or if the body is in too much pain, the nervous system may shut down.

Injuries that are not seen to right away can become more complex to treat. And by the time your pain response kicks in, your body might be in worse condition than if you had caught it right away.

After an accident or an injury, regardless of your pain level, always seek medical attention. Doing so will make sure injuries are diagnosed and treatment starts as soon as possible.

Misconception No 2.: Rest 24/7 after an injury.

This misconception is partly based on fact. Your body heals best during sleep hours. Damage done to your body is repaired during sleep, says Michael Twery, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research. Prioritizing a good night of sleep is essential. But sleep alone is not enough for total tissue recovery. Part of recovery involves movement.

Naturally, the advice your doctor gives for your case would take preference. But as soon as the doctor gives you the green light, start moving once again. If you are not sure what exercises are safe for someone with your injury type, be sure to ask.

Medical experts frequently state that moving about after surgery is vital for a speedy recovery. Being immobile comes with its own set of problems, such as blood clots, weakening of muscles, sluggish gut, etc.

Misconception No 3.: Working through the pain is OK.

"Pain is all in the mind." "Work through the pain." "No pain, no gain." These and other workout mottos become so widespread that often they are taken for truths that should be applied to all sources of pain.

Sometimes pain can be misleading. Phantom pain experiences, where nothing is actually wrong with one's body, can lead people to ignore pain or just "fight through it."

But for the most part, pain is your body's way of telling you to "get help." After an injury, it is particularly important to know the balance between enduring a little discomfort for the sake of staying mobile. And discerning that from when pushing through your pain could lead to secondary effects and harmful pain.

Misconception No 4.: It's better to forgo pain meds so you don't develop an addiction.

Not taking pain medication, while sounding noble, could actually hinder your recovery. When the body is in constant pain, it can be difficult for you to perform other activities that are needful for recovery. For example, pain could keep you up at night and prevent you from sleeping. As discussed earlier, sleep is when your body does a large part of its repairs. Not being able to get in quality sleep due to pain can set your healing back considerably.

Unmanaged pain could also prevent you from undergoing rehabilitating movements and exercises. Pain can limit your range of motion so that it causes you to rely on muscles that are not developed for that strain. This, in turn, can result in other damaging secondary effects.

If you are concerned about developing a reliance on pain meds, tell your doctor about your worry. And then only take as much as prescribed. If there is any of your prescription left after the pain has abated, be sure to throw it away.

This is a guest blog entry.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Five Tips for Correcting Supination

Have you ever thought about what your feet do when you walk or run? If you’re like most people, you probably haven’t, at least not until something starts hurting.

A lot of people are walking and running in a way that sets them up for a slew of lower body injuries. One common walking/running mistake people make on a regular basis is called supination.

Read on to learn more about supination and what you can do to correct it.

What is Supination?

When you walk, the ankle and back of your foot is supposed to roll in (pronate) slightly to cushion impact and help you adapt when walking on uneven surfaces. If your heel doesn’t roll in as far as it should or rolls out altogether, this is known as supination.

Supination is common among people who have tight Achilles tendons and/or high arches.

Why is Supination a Problem?

When you supinate, you put extra stress on your feet and legs since the shock isn’t being properly absorbed.

Some common injuries caused by supination while walking or running include:
  • Iliotibial band syndrome
  • Ankle sprains
  • Hammertoes
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Plantar fasciitis
Correcting Supination

As you can see, when left untreated, supination can cause a lot of problems, especially for runners and other active individuals. Luckily there are lots of things you can do to correct the problem. Some of the best methods of correcting supination include:

1. Change Your Shoes
For people who supinate as they walk or run, the best shoes are lightweight and flexible sneakers that support the ankle without wearing down in response to frequent motion in the ankle joint. High-top sneakers are also beneficial for people who have weak, wobbly ankles.

2. Wear Orthotic Inserts
In addition to replacing your running or walking shoes, you can also invest in orthotic inserts that support the arch. Some inserts also lift the heel to help minimize the rolling motion of the feet.

Inserts also minimize pressure placed on the pinky toes and keep the ankle stable. This, in turn, protects the knees and lower back when you run or walk.

3. Correct Your Running/Walking Form
New shoes and inserts help minimize discomfort and provide extra support for the ankles and feet. But they don’t actually address the root problem. If you really want to kick supination to the curb, your running and walking form needs to change.

Keep these tips in mind when walking or running to start altering your gait for good:
  • Land softly when you run or walk quickly
  • Land with the midfoot instead of the back of the heel
  • Shorten your stride and increase the cadence of your runs to make a softer landing easier
  • Maintain good posture -- keep your chest lifted and spine aligned
4. Stretch Regularly
It’s also important to stretch the lower body regularly, especially when you’re working on correcting your running or walking form.

Switching up the way you move will likely cause some increased muscle soreness, and it’s harder to change your way of walking or running when you have tight muscles that prevent you from moving through a full range of motion.

Some good stretches to incorporate into your routine include:
  • Calf stretches
  • Hamstring stretches
  • Quad stretches
  • Iliotibial band (outside of the thigh) stretches
You should also foam roll the lower body to further loosen up the muscles and promote faster healing.

5. Incorporate Resistance Training

Finally, make sure you’re also working on strengthening the muscles in the lower body. This will help you establish new and better muscle recruitment patterns and will further protect you from injury as you work on correcting your supination.

Good exercises to include in a resistance training routine include:
  • Squats (using your bodyweight or holding a weight overhead to improve your posture)
  • Lunges (walking lunges, reverse lunges, and side lunges are all good)
  • Banded side steps (these strengthen glutes and outer thighs)
  • Calf raises

Supination can cause a lot of problems, whether you’re an athlete or an average Joe. If you have a tendency to supinate while walking or running, keep these tips in mind as you start correcting the issue, and you’ll see improvements in no time!

This is a guest blog entry.

Top Tips for Dental Implants Care

Millions of people in Canada go through tooth replacements every year. In tooth replacements, dental implants have gained the most popularity. Whether you have suffered tooth loss due to an accident or infection, or if you want to make your appearance better with tooth replacements, dental implants are your best bet. Unlike getting dentures or bridges, dental implants are extremely convenient and durable. If you look after them and maintain good oral hygiene, your dental implants can last a lifetime which is one of the many reasons why they are so popular. You can get free consultation for dental implants at many dental clinics in Canada. However, we have summarized the Top Tips for Dental Implants Care for you.

Care Tips Post Surgery

  • You should only take in a soft diet post-surgery. Avoid eating hard or chewy substances for a few days or for as long as directed by your dentist.
  • You should only drink clear liquids for a few days.
  • Don’t try to act heroic and be sure to take your pain medication as directed by your dentist.
  • Some tenderness is fine but consult your dentist immediately if you notice increased pain. In case you can’t reach your dentist immediately, search for Markham dentists near me and get the nearest help before it gets serious.
  • Take any antibiotics prescribed regularly to aid the healing process and to avoid any infections.
  • For brushing your teeth, use a soft tooth brush to clean your teeth and the implant twice a day.
  • Avoid using an electronic or ultrasonic tooth brush for a few weeks.
  • Avoid wearing dentures or any prosthesis provided immediately after the surgery to let the tissue around the surgical site heal.
  • Floss and clean between teeth in the entire mouth once a day except for around the implant tooth.
  • Use a non-alcoholic antimicrobial mouth wash or saltwater rinses twice a day post-surgery if recommended by your dentist.
You will also get a free consultation for dental implant care post-surgery from your dentist. It is highly advisable to follow the instructions and commit yourself to regular dental checkups post-surgery to ensure success of the implant.

Make Your Implants Last a Lifetime 
As with natural teeth, with some regular care your dental implants can last a lifetime. Unlike dentures, you don’t need to replace them.
  • Maintain a thorough oral hygiene at home to make sure that you don’t catch any dental disease and the area around the implant does not catch any infections.
  • Get proper and regular professional maintenance done to make sure that your implants are fine and the rest of your teeth are healthy. If your dentist is far away and you can’t regularly visit them conveniently, simply search for Markham dentists near me and find your nearest clinic.
  • There are different types of implants that require specific care. You can get a free consultation for dental implant cleaning from a number of dentists in Canada that can guide you in this regard.
We hope that these Tips prove to be useful for you and help you maintain your dental implants well.

This is a guest blog entry.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Tips For Choosing The Best Dentist

Having a difficulty choosing the best dentist in Canada? With so many dentists in Vaughan, it gets challenging to choose one. How do you know which dentist is the right choice? Is your dentist using the latest technology?

When it comes to dental health, we all avoid regular visits to the dentist because of various factors. For many people, choosing a dentist in Canada is a daunting task, this is why people avoid visiting a dentist. Though it is a not a smart move, most of the people don’t visit the dentists until a problem escalates. According to experts, one of the reasons for many health conditions is poor oral hygiene.
Since it is hard to choose a dentist, we have listed few the tips that will help you select the right dentist for your needs.

The Facility is Clean or Not

One of the top things you need to focus on is whether the dental clinic is clean or not. A good dentist will operate in a clean and neat facility. All the things in the clinic must be clean and organized. The equipment in the facility must be squeaky-clean as you don’t want to catch any disease or infection. Most of the dentists in Vaughan have a neat, clean, and organized office.

Check Reviews

Another thing you need to check before choosing a dentist is the dentists reviews. If a dentist offers excellent services, they are likely to have a list of satisfied patients. So, you can check the testimonials available on the website of the dentist. By checking the reviews online, you will know more about the patient’s experience with the dentist. You can even ask your friends, family members, or even neighbors about the dentist they visit.


This is the most important thing that you should not ignore. With the technological advancement, dental procedures and equipment have evolved. Now, you don’t have to worry about dental procedures being painful. The tools have become noiseless and procedures are often painless. The improvement in the technology has enhanced the quality of care. For instance, with the introduction of Digital x-rays, radiation exposure is decreased compared to traditional x-rays.

Experience of the Dentist

It is crucial to check the experience and education of the dentist. Is the dentist certified or not? Is the dentist a member of any association? For how long they have been practicing dentistry? Do they participate in any ongoing trainings? All these questions will help you decide whether or not the dentist is the right choice.

An experienced dentist will make sure you are comfortable and will tend to your needs carefully. There are many experienced dentists in Vaughan. You must make sure the dentist you chose is perfect for you.

Overall, choosing a dentist is a serious matter and you should research extensively before choosing one. The dentist reviews will tell you a lot about the dentist. What type of services they offer, how they deal with their patients, and the experience of the patient are all important factors to know about.

This is a guest blog entry.

Why Should You Join A Fitness Class?

Do you want to be mentally and physically more fit? Fitness classes are gaining popularity rapidly. According to a study, both women and men are participating in fitness classes. There are various reasons for joining a fitness class.

The instructor will use various techniques and workouts for challenging people of all ages. It is a great way to have a healthy lifestyle and an easy way to become more social.

Unfortunately, managing and organizing a fitness class is a daunting and challenging task. There are several aspects that you have to pay attention to, from registering to scheduling to marketing to accounting. To make it easy to organize fitness classes, a fitness class software is an ideal choice. In this article, we have listed the reason why you should join a fitness class.

Have a look at the reasons why it is better to join a fitness class.

Professional Guidance

In order to stay in shape and have a fit body, you need to join a fitness class. An expert will be there to guide you at every step of the fitness program. The instructors will be certified and they are capable of making the fitness sessions enjoyable and fun. The instructors are experienced and have comprehensive knowledge. They can use this knowledge to keep the individuals motivated and committed to achieve their fitness goals. Furthermore, the instructor will set the tone and other individuals in the class will offer motivation.

Social Support

One of the reasons for joining a fitness class is that it makes you feel a part of something bigger. A fitness class spreads positivity as it welcomes people from all walks of life. It brings together people from different backgrounds, ages,and levels. This is a great way to make new friends and improve bonds with others. Joining a fitness class is one of the best ways to stay fit.

No Looking at The Time

When you join a fitness class, you will have a fun time. The exercises or activities will make you forget you are working hard and this will help in increasing your energy levels. When you will join a fitness class, you will not only be working hard, but you will be having fun. Having a fun workout plan will ensure you stick to the routine of physical activity.

Using The Best Fitness Class Software

The use of fitness class software is a great way to manage the fitness classes. It enables the customers to book the classes online. In case the class is full, they will be notified when there is a space in the class. Another reason to use the fitness software is that it makes payments easy. You can easily create schedules and update them any time.

In the end, the WellnessLiving crossfit box software is a perfect way to keep your customers updated. When you join a fitness class, you can have a pleasant time while staying in shape. The group fitness will help you experience movement in a memorable and positive way.

This is a guest blog entry.

Overcoming Serious Illness: The Recovery Process

If you’re battling, or have battled, serious illness in the past then you’ll know just how rocky the road to recovery can be. It’s understandably challenging for you, but also for those around you who love you and care about your welfare.

Overcoming serious illness is a huge achievement, and can make you view life in an entirely different way. You become more aware of other people’s struggles and you’re less quick to judge their circumstance. It can be an uphill battle, but once you get there, it’ll be a huge relief off your shoulders, and you will feel re-energized with a new zest for life.

Get The Compensation You Deserve 

If you feel that your medical care could have been handled better than it was, then you could be eligible to receive compensation. Medical costs and bills are notoriously high, and you can put yourself in serious debt by receiving ongoing treatment. If you suspect there was a medical mistake or malpractice when you were in the hospital, then contact The Medical Negligence Experts to review your case and assess whether there’s been bad practice somewhere down the line.

Make Friends 

Having a support network is crucial to your recovery process. You need to understand that you’re not in this alone, and there are others just like you who are experiencing the same issues as you, having the same challenges, as well as feeling similar achievements too. Reach out to close friends and family and ask for help wherever you need it. You may need a shoulder to cry on, and an extra pair of hands on standby to help you when you need it, so make friends with people you meet along the way in your recovery process. Bear in mind that you have a responsibility to those in need too. If you meet new people suffering just like you, then reach out to them and help them through hard times and good times, just as they have for you.

Be Prepared For Ups And Downs 

Overcoming serious illness is certainly no walk in the walk, and the recovery process can take months, even years. It’s crucial that you do ask too much from your body as you’re recovering and learning to readjust to life and everyday tasks and activities. Be prepared to face setbacks on the road to recovery and try not to become disheartened when your recovery looks set to take a little longer than first anticipated. Make sure that you interact with others in a similar position to yourself, and learn about their journeys alongside having a companion to share your recovery process.


If you lost mobility skills during your serious illness, then physiotherapy might be able to help you get back on track and restore some movement into your limbs. Physiotherapy can be hugely beneficial to those who have suffered muscle wastage as a result of spending long periods of time in bed or a wheelchair. Physiotherapy is part of the recovery process for many people on the road to recovery, so give it a go, and with any luck, you’ll be edging closer to your recovery goals in next to no time.

This is a guest blog entry.

Top 4 Suggestions for Finding the Right Ostomy Products

Some conditions are not healed; instead, managing them so the patient enjoys the highest possible quality of life is the focus. This is true with many conditions that require an ostomy. An ostomy is a surgically created opening in a bodily organ and may remain open for a long time. That means investing in products that help to keep the opening free from infection and allows it to provide the intended function. If you have an ostomy, it pays to know how to select the right support products. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind.

Knowing What You Need

Knowing what sort of products you will use on a daily basis is a must. Your surgeon will provide a list of supplies and provide some instructions for using them properly. You will likely need to keep a supply of pouches on hand. Barriers are something else that will come in handy. Flanges with the right kind of tape will also be on the list.

Your list of supplies will include products designed specifically for CanMed wound care. Those help to protect the ostomy from the introduction of foreign matter and minimize the potential for inflammation and infection.

Getting to Know Different Brands

You'll find there are a number of reputable brands to consider. Some of them offer all or at least most of the ostomy products your medical team recommends. While the brands may offer products that look quite a bit alike, that does not mean the quality is similar. It's up to you to choose brands that are best for your particular needs.

One way to learn more about those brands is to go online and compare the features of each. You may find that giving hollister products is a great idea, based on how they compare to other brands.

Reading Reviews

You spend time reading online reviews for everything from new can openers to credit cards. Why not seek out reviews for different types of ostomy products and supplies? The goal is to locate reviews created by those who have actually used those products. Learning more about the personal experiences of people who live with conditions similar to yours makes it easier to determine which brands to try and which ones to avoid.

Finding a Reliable Supplier

Once you know what is needed and which brand you want to try, look for a retailer or supplier who can fill your order and have it on the way quickly. Many people prefer the anonymity offered by online medical supply sites. The products come in packaging that don’t tell the world what’s inside. Look for sites offering competitive pricing and reasonable shipping rates and terms. Knowing you can place an order today and the things you need will be here before your current supply is exhausted provides plenty of peace of mind.

Today is the right time to begin your search. See what you can find, learn the facts, and place your order. If everything goes as planned, you will never have to rethink where to shop or what brand to buy.

This is a guest blog entry.

4 Important Things to Do Before Undergoing Facial Cosmetic Surgery

Whether you are having your eyebrows lifted or changing the shape of your nose, it’s important to remember that undergoing any type of cosmetic surgery is serious. That means you must prepare for the surgery properly.

Among the things your surgeon urges you to do in advance, these four stand out the most. Make sure they are addressed before the day of the surgery and things will be much better during and after the procedure.

Go Over Your Medications Carefully

What medications do you take daily? Are there any over the counter products such as herbal combinations that you also take? Your surgeon needs to know about each of them.

The goal is to determine what impact, if any, those prescriptions and over the counter products will have on you while the surgery is in progress and during the recuperative period. While many of them will be fine to continue taking, others may have to wait for a time.

For example, you may take a medication or use a supplement that thins the blood. That’s not a good thing for people who are about to undergo Calgary facelifts. Your surgeon will provide suggestions for how much in advance you should stop using the product. There will also be a recommendation to not resume usage for a specified time after the procedure.

Meal Planning in Advance

How will you get nutrition in the days after the procedure? Some cosmetic procedures will not involve having to make any special preparations. With others, it may be necessary to focus on food and drink that provides plenty of nutrition but does not require much chewing. The surgeon will provide some ideas for meal planning. Make a trip to the supermarket and stock up on things you can enjoy and still follow the surgeon’s guidelines.

Arranging Your Finances

If you have them, use sick days to cover whatever period the surgeon believes is necessary before you return to work. Perhaps your bank of days is not enough. Check with your employer and see if you can use some of your vacation time to cover any remaining days. The goal is to make sure you don’t have to worry about falling behind with the bills while you are away from work.

Getting To and From the Procedure
Depending on the type of procedure you are having, the cosmetic surgeon may allow you to return home after a few hours of observation. In this scenario, it’s wise to have a loved one drive you to the procedure and be there to take you home afterward.

Even if you are having a more complex procedure like a rhinoplasty and will remain at the clinic for several days, it never hurts to plan your trip home in advance. If no one can be there on the day of your release, the team at the clinic will help you make arrangements with a professional transport service.

The goal is to ensure you have a procedure that is free of complications and can enjoy a speedy recovery. Work with the medical team to plan everything in advance and the only thing you will need to concentrate on is enjoying the results of the surgery.

This is a guest blog entry.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Assistive Devices To Help With Home Comfort

Advances in technology and assistive devices for seniors and those with limited mobility are allowing individuals to thrive. There are a range of products available to augment the senses, range of motion, and one’s comfort, especially for those that spend most of their time at home. These products include mobility, communication, hearing, and visual aids; diabetic equipment and supplies; respiratory equipment and supplies; oxygen therapy; prosthetics; braces, pumps, and compression garments. The Ontario Government has an Assistive Devices Program (ADP), making it easier for a wide range of people to access these aids. (Please note: there are several devices that are not covered by the program. ADP does not cover repairs and maintenance costs.)

Part of heightening home comfort is the choice to receive private, comprehensive, in-home health care services in the community. Those in the Toronto-area trust Integracare to attend to their loved ones and to offer advice and assistance in obtaining the right assistive devices. They sell and rent walkers, bath seats, commodes, wheelchairs, electric hospital beds, sell non-prescription pharmacy supplies, and more. Their Registered Nurses, Registered Practical Nurses, Registered Physiotherapists, and Personal Support Workers work collaboratively with clients, families, and community services, fostering independence, joyful living experiences and comfort for seniors. With the aid of trusted Caregivers plus government assistance, you can find the right assistive devices to suit your loved one’s needs and improve their quality of life
Positioning devices like specially-designed back and head supports, cushions, powering tilting beds, and recliners make the bed more comfortable and improve the quality of sleep, which is a common problem for seniors. These devices also include pads that properly position limbs and keep them cushioned. They can make it easier to spend waking hours in bed or on the couch, so reading, watching TV, or conversing is more comfortable.  

An FM system for the hearing impaired is a transmitting microphone you can speak into and your family member receives the sound to either his or her ears or directly into a hearing aid. Cochlear implant replacement speech processors have internal and external components to allow the wearer to hear using a microphone, a speech processor, and a transmitter. Bone conduction implants or bone-anchored hearing aids work through sound vibrations transmitted through one’s own natural bone conduction. Speaking can be aided by voice prostheses, amplifiers, electrolarynxes, and speech-generating devices. Being better able to communicate with family members and friends in the home is important for feeling safe and for supporting good communication and relationships.

In addition to comfortable wheelchairs and walkers, specialized glasses, magnifiers, and other optical aids help with the ability to navigate one’s home more easily and engage with books and other visual entertainment. Audio players, CCTV- and computer-based reading and writing systems assist with electronic enhancement for reading books, the news, and family communiques. Braille typewriters and other manual braillers assist the visually-impaired with composing their own messages and letters.

Ask your loved one’s personal Nurse or Personal Support Worker about which assistive devices can ease their comfort and lifestyle at home. They can make recommendations tailored to his or her specific conditions and symptoms. Be sure to check if Ontario’s Assistive Devices Program can help with three-quarters of the cost.

This is a guest blog entry.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Understanding Age-Related Changes in Cartilage

Bone density and muscle mass are often the primarily discussed victims of aging as older age contributes to muscle atrophy and osteoporosis. But what about the all-important cartilage?

What is Cartilage?
Cartilage is a type of connective tissue that is critical to the musculoskeletal system. Firm, flexible, and whitish in color, cartilage can be found all over the body from the ear to the larynx and most notably in joints, acting as a cushion between two or more articulating bones.

There are two different types of cartilage found in the body. The first and most abundant is hyaline cartilage which is found in the respiratory tract and at the ends of bones. Articular cartilage in the knee, for example, is a type of hyaline cartilage; it absorbs shock when you walk and run, tolerates shearing forces between the bones that meet at the knee, and bears up to 20 times a person’s body weight. Hyaline cartilage has few fibers and is kept healthy and lubricated by synovial fluid.

The second, fibrous cartilage, is composed of a thicker, collagen-like matrix and can be found in insertion zones of tendons and ligaments, in the articular and vertebral discs (in the spine), and in the meniscus.

What Happens to Cartilage Over Time?
At infancy, a baby’s skeleton is composed largely of cartilage. Pliable and flexible, cartilage makes the baby less vulnerable to breaks as they learn to crawl, stand, and walk. Over time, the cartilage hardens into bone, though you may be surprised to learn that the bone development process isn’t fully complete until age 25.

Hyaline cartilage remains, however, in key places like articulating joints - the knees, elbows, shoulders, and so on. When cartilage becomes damaged because of a traumatic injury or general wear and tear, it, unfortunately, cannot regenerate on its own. It is one of the few tissues in the body that does not have its own blood supply, so when damage occurs, it is not miraculously bathed in nutrient-rich fluids that facilitate healing.

In addition, articular cartilage relies on just one single type of cell for renewal (or cell turnover) called a chondrocyte; repeated injury and older age results in less and less activity from chondrocytes. On top of all that, key proteins known as proteoglycans found in connective tissue that reinforce cartilage and make it more resilient become altered over time resulting in a higher risk of injury and damage to the cartilage itself.

Common Conditions that Affect Cartilage
There are a handful of common cartilage-specific conditions that affect older adults, especially those who were very active earlier in life as well as those who are obese.

Chondromalacia patella - abnormal softening or degeneration of cartilage in the knee can contribute to a condition known as chondromalacia patella, or runner’s knee. Worn down, thin cartilage cannot fully protect the knee cap and people who suffer from this condition end up with severe pain caused by the friction of the thigh bone rubbing directly against the kneecap. Chondromalacia can also occur in the hip and shoulder joints.

Osteoarthritis - the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis (also known as degenerative joint disease) develops slowly over time due to deterioration of cartilage. Symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, stiffness, and tenderness around a joint as well as limited range of motion and loss of flexibility. Bone spurs can also develop as a result of cartilage wearing away, and some people even feel a grating sensation when they use an affected joint.

Herniated disk (slipped disk) - degenerative disk disease, or the wearing down of the cartilaginous joints of the spine, can result in spinal disks “slipping” and bulging out of their protective casing. This condition is marked by severe back pain, limited range of motion, even numbness and paralysis associated with nerve damage from the herniated disk placing pressure on spinal nerves.

Preventing Cartilage Damage
If you are looking to prevent cartilage damage and strengthen your musculoskeletal system to stave off these painful conditions, experts recommend following these tips:
  • Exercise regularly to help strengthen bones and muscles and take some of the burden off your joints. Choose fitness activities wisely, however, based on your age and ability levels. You don’t want to overdo exercise as it can exacerbate cartilage deterioration.
  • Manage a healthy weight. Carrying about extra weight places excessive pressure on vulnerable joints like the hips, knees, and ankles. Lose weight to offload some of the stress on these joints and preserve the health of your cartilage.
  • Wear protective gear (like orthotic braces and splints) and use appropriate equipment when playing sports and exercising to avoid overloading your joints.
  • Rest painful and swollen joints, and use cold and hot therapy to reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and relieve pain.
This is a guest blog entry.

What to Expect After Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom teeth are the molars that appear at the rear of the upper and lower rows of teeth. Most people have these teeth appear during the latter part of their teenage years or at least by the time they reach their 20th birthday.

Since one or more of the teeth can create crowding, it’s important to undergo a wisdom teeth extraction and prevent future problems. Here are some ideas of what to expect once the wisdom tooth is removed.


Many of the more unpleasant effects of undergoing wisdom teeth removal occur during the first 48 hours after the procedure. That’s when you can expect things to be at their worst. Even so, many people find that following the instructions provided by the dental team make those issues manageable.

Bleeding is one of the first things you will notice. Typically, the empty socket is packed and the dental team may place some dressing over the area. You can expect the bleeding to continue for several hours after the procedure. Assuming that you do not irritate the socket and the surrounding tissue, you should notice the blood flow lessens. By the second day, you should see little to no new blood.


Swelling is definitely one of the things you can expect after undergoing wisdom teeth removal in North York. The gum tissue around the socket will swell and there is a chance that the tissue on the inside of the cheek will also expand slightly. The swelling may be significant enough for you to notice the outside of the cheek bulging slightly.

The swelling looks worse that it really happens to be. Applying a cold pack for 20 minutes at a time, then removing it for 20 minutes will help a lot. If you don’t have a cold pack, a bag of frozen peas will work fine. Continue applying the cold for the remainder of the first day. If there is still some swelling on the second day, consider applying heat. You should also remember to take any anti-inflammatory medication the dental team prescribes.

As the feeling returns in the hours after the wisdom teeth removal surgery, you can expect some discomfort. Your dental team will provide a prescription for pain medication and recommend you take the first dose as soon as you notice the anesthesia from the surgery is wearing off. Keep in mind that it can take up to 8 hours before the feeling fully returns to the area.

If you tend to experience nausea when taking medication on an empty stomach, feel free to consume a small amount of some soft food. Something that requires no chewing and that you can keep away from the affected area is the best choice. You should notice a difference in the pain level by the next day, but continue to take the medication as directed.

Noticeable Difference After Two Days

Once you get through the first 48 hours after the wisdom teeth removal, most of the swelling should subside. The bleeding will stop and the tissue will begin to firm up a bit. While you still need to be careful, resuming part of your normal daily activities is fine. Remember to avoid strenuous exercise or actions for a little longer. If in doubt, call the dentist and ask if a certain activity is acceptable. If not, wait a few more days before resuming that particular activity.

Remember that the wisdom teeth dentist is never further away than a phone call. If you notice anything unusual or if the bleeding and swelling aren’t subsiding by the end of the second day, call immediately. Doing so allows for quick action that makes the remainder of your recovery more comfortable.

This is a guest blog entry.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Stress: It's Not All Bad News

Stress is not all bad news. This may come as a surprise because we tend to only talk about stress in the negative. To be sure, it carries quite a lot of negatives and some of them are pretty bad. Still, that is only one side of the story. It is past time for you to hear the other side:

The Effects of Stress Can Be Controlled

Let’s start with the elephant in the room. Left unchecked, stress can kill. High blood pressure and elevated heart rate are just two of the potentially fatal consequences of stress. But we have medication that can fight even those consequences of stress and have for a very long time.

Stress has other effects that are not fatal but can be rather awkward all the same. Certain body chemistries combined with stress can produce excessive sweat. Though not always, sweat can be the carrier of offensive odor that can be socially devastating in the wrong situations.

While stress sweats cannot be completely eliminated, they can be controlled. You will need products like name brand deodorant to fight the smells and you can use antiperspirant products like SweatBlock to reduce the sweat for 4 to 7 days depending on the brand and formula you choose.

There are even techniques for dealing with nervousness and performance anxiety when the house lights are low and you have to make the presentation. None of this is to say that dealing with stress is fun or easy. And we are definitely not downplaying the serious consequences of unchecked stress. But there are ways to control even the worst of its effects. And that is very good news indeed.

Stress Is Necessary

We need stress to recognize and act on danger. Without it, we would die a thousand horrible and completely avoidable deaths because we were apathetic when we should have been frightened into action.

Stress produces cortisol which has the primary function of preparing the body for fight or flight. That is what keeps us alive and functioning in an emergency. That means stress is an evolutionary advantage. Like all evolutionary benefits, stress has to be kept in check. If not, it can turn against us.

Still, that is no reason to fear it.

Stress is common to all humans. In generic terms, it simply means to push something to its limit. A stress test is what we do when we need to maximize the potential of a thing to endure. The fact that we have a breaking point does not make stress a bad thing.

Stress Makes Us Stronger

There is a saying that "whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger." That is not literally true but the idea is sound. We get stronger by being pushed to and discovering new limits. Muscles don’t grow if not stressed. If you stop using your muscles they atrophy. Stress them properly and they grow stronger.

The same is true of mental and emotional strength. Soldiers are trained to be efficient under extremely high-stress situations because they are trained to use stress as one of their tools. One who carries the weight of the world with grace and competence is one who has been stress trained.

Avoiding stress at all costs cheats you out of an important tool for growth.

Stress Is a Warning

Before we get to fight or flight, we recognize that something isn’t quite right. Sometimes it is just a feeling, intuition. Sometimes, it is something more. Stress is a part of our early warning system that something in our life is off.

You wrinkle your nose. Is that smoke? It occurs to you that the kids are at home alone for a couple of hours. Did you turn the iron off after pressing that shirt? What you are feeling is the leading edge of stress. It is enough for you to stop the car and call the kids to make sure everything is alright. All alarms are annoying. But that clangorous cacophony of distracting dissonance is exactly the early warning system nature provides to keep us alive.

So, while excessive and uncontrolled stress is always bad, the good news is that it can be controlled. Stress is necessary. Stress can make you stronger. And stress is one of the best early warning systems that nature has ever produced.

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Going organic — 3 ways natural products can enhance your appearance

Humans have been using plant by-products in healthcare potions and balms for thousands of years.

From Cherokees using blackberries to soothe swollen joints to Druids drinking birch sap for its holistic healing properties, there’s a long tradition of using local flora to cure all manner of ailments.

As time wore on, synthetic chemicals were thought to be more effective than natural compounds for certain applications — but many eco-conscious customers are now returning to the sustainable products that served our forebears for generations.

So if you want to go organic, here are three ways natural products can enhance your appearance.

1. Acne

Acne is a common condition — but extreme cases can adversely affect a sufferer’s confidence.

Papules and pustules can be painful and unsightly, and cysts might even cause permanent scarring.

Makeup and cosmetics can block pores and cause an outbreak of acne — so use them sparingly and remove completely at the end of each day.

In terms of treatment, gentle organic skin care products containing willow bark extract and tea tree oil can be effective for some patients — they’re gentle on the epidermis but strong enough to eliminate dead skin cells, oil and dirt.

2. Looking youthful

If you haven’t managed to locate the legendary fountain of youth or stashed away enough savings for a Hollywood facelift, you’ll need to find other ways to stay youthful.

Good general fitness and a robust facial cleansing routine can keep your visage look young and firm — and organic creams, masks, and moisturisers containing natural products like manuka honey, avocado, lavender and liquorice root can restore radiance and evenly tone discoloured skin.

But staying hydrated is one of the best, and cheapest anti-aging treatments — two to three liters of water per day will flush toxins from your system and can take years off your appearance.

And laughter’s also good medicine — making your facial muscles work together while you smile increases blood flow so that you positively glow.

Between slapping on the honey, guzzling water and having a good old chortle, you’ll soon be looking so spritely that you’re asked for ID to buy a bottle of fizz.

3. Eyes

Even when the rest of your face looks toned and taut, saggy, baggy eyes can be extremely aging.

When your peepers lose their luster and the skin around them looks leathery, it feels like the start of a serious decline.

However, health-enhancing kiwi fruit is a bit of a cure-all — these hirsute spheres might protect your eyes from macular degeneration as well as reducing blood clots and boosting the immune system.

But organic eye defense creams that contain other ingredients like aloe, shea butter and green tea can also be effective.

And for the outside of your eyes, cucumber patches are one beauty cliché that works brilliantly — their soothing effect reduces puffiness and diminishes dark circles.

If you’re a newbie to the world of organic beauty, learning about these three ways natural products can enhance your appearance should convince you to go green and serene.

What organic products do you use? Share your tips in the comments section.

This is a guest blog entry.

Monday, April 30, 2018

What You Need To Know About Diabetes And The Medications Involved

Whether you are suffering from diabetes or not there is a good chance that you have heard about insulin, blood glucose, carb counting, and finger pricking. Unfortunately, for a diabetic they are exposed to these terms on a daily basis. While many individuals don’t have any understanding of these terms, they can play a major role in diabetes. In fact, these very things could cause the disease to go from a mild annoyance to a deadly situation. This is why it is imperative that you understand everything you possibly can about diabetes, how to manage it, and the medications that are involved with the disease.

What Is Type I Diabetes?

Type I diabetes, sometimes referred to as juvenile diabetes, onset typically begins in childhood. Symptoms have also been known to appear in adolescence and early adulthood. Even though Type II diabetes has some similarities with Type I, the onset is typically later in life. Another difference between the two is people with Type I diabetes cannot produce insulin. The characteristic of both types of diabetes is high blood glucose levels.

Children, teens and young adults who are diagnosed with Type I diabetes are required to take insulin for the rest of their life. This is the only way they can manage their blood glucose levels. People who are diagnosed with Type II diabetes are typically prescribed oral anti-diabetic medications. And, if these do not work affectively to maintain optimal blood glucose levels, the prescribing physician will either increase the dose or switch to insulin.

Teaching Your Children About Their Disease

If your child is old enough to understand about their condition, you will need to help them cope with it. Many young children will feel segregated from their classmates and other young children, because they are forced to check their blood glucose levels routinely and take insulin injections. It is up to you as a parent to help your child deal with these emotions. In the beginning, your life will feel like a scary roller coaster ride. But, over time you and your child will come to terms with this condition.

Type I Diabetes Symptoms

As mentioned above, both types of diabetes have some similarities, including symptoms. These include frequent urination, feeling of being very hungry, severe fatigue, blurred vision, abrasions that do not heal properly and increased thirst. Other symptoms of Type I diabetes are unexplained weight loss and dry, itchy skin. Both types of diabetes also share the symptom of tingling or numbness in the feet.

More rare symptoms shared by both types of diabetes include changes in mood and irritability. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention. Your physician will recommend testing to determine if you have diabetes Type I.

How Is Type I Diabetes Diagnosed?

Type I diabetes, like type 2 diabetes, is diagnosed through a blood test known as A1C or hemoglobin A1C. This test can be performed in your physician’s office, but it will need to be done before you consume a meal. Your physician will recommend not eating prior to arriving to his/her office. The lab technician will draw your blood and send it to a laboratory for testing.

The A1C test measures blood glucose levels over a period of eight or 12 weeks. This is a very convenient test that provides accurate results, as long as the patient complies with his or her physician’s recommendations.

Type 1 Diabetes Stats

It is impossible to be alive today and not to know something about diabetes. In fact, there is a pretty good chance that you know someone who has this illness. Type 2 diabetes is actually more common, but there are still plenty of people that suffer from type 1 diabetes. Regardless, there are still a lot of people who don’t know enough about this condition. What actually causes type 1 diabetes and how is it treated? Is it possible to cure this type of diabetes?

Again, type 1 diabetes is far less common. It is estimated that 90 to 95 percent of diabetes patients actually have type 2. In 2014, it was reported that more than 29 million Americans had diabetes.
 There is a good chance that the number is far higher today. Of all diabetes patients, only 5 to 10 percent suffer from type 1 diabetes. Type 2 is caused by a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle. Type 1 patients primarily get the disease early on in life or have it at birth.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to prevent this disease and there is no cure. It is possible to prevent type 2 diabetes, but not type 1.

Who Does It Effect?

You should also understand that type 1 diabetes can impact anyone. It is often referred to as juvenile diabetes. This is the case because it is contracted at birth or early in life. Then, it will impact the patient for the rest of his or her life. However, it is possible for patients to be diagnosed at pretty much any age. The onset is usually very quick. Therefore, it is always important to manage this condition using insulin. Insulin injections or an insulin pump is a suitable option.

In the future, it is believed that artificial pancreas systems will be able to help patients avoid needing to use insulin.

There Is No Cure

It is entirely possible to live a good life, despite having diabetes. In fact, you can probably live just as long as people without this condition. However, it will need to be managed properly. While it is possible to manage the disease using insulin, it is important to understand that insulin is not a cure. It also does not prevent the chance that patients could experience serious effects of diabetes. A good diet and insulin can help prevent problems and improve your overall quality of life.

What You Need To Know About Insulin

Insulin is a hormone that is naturally produced by the body and it allows sugar to reach the critical parts of the cells, so that it can be utilized for energy. Insulin is considered one of the most powerful hormones in the body, so when there is some kind of irregularity, you can imagine how much this will throw off the body. Some individuals develop diabetes because their bodies can’t produce enough insulin, whereas some individuals develop diabetes because their cells can’t absorb it right. Whatever the situation is, insulin shots are usually the number one go-to solution for diabetics. So, what do you really need to know about insulin?

Well, first you need to know that insulin shots usually do not hurt, as most injections are given through small, thin needles. Type II diabetes is the most common type of diabetes where the patients will require the extra boost of insulin. This will allow them to adequately control their blood glucose levels.

You also need to be aware of the fact that there is a right and wrong way to inject insulin. First, you need to make sure that you are always washing your hands and wiping the top of the insulin vial with alcohol. This will kill off any germs and bacterium that could have built up. When mixing always make sure that you are following the mixing directions right down to the very last detail, as a single air bubble could cause the most intense consequences.

Since insulin is required to be stored in the refrigerator it will probably be cool when you pull it out. Unfortunately, injecting cold insulin can be a bit painful and this is why it is best to let it reach room temperature before injecting it. Pull the vials out hours before the required injections, let it reach room temperature, and inject in.

Monitoring Your Blood Glucose Levels

As a diabetic you will be constantly monitoring your blood glucose levels, which will be critical to your overall health. The most important thing that you need to know is that all monitoring devices are not created equally. This is why you should always take the time to do the proper research and check with your doctor before investing in a monitor, as you want the best one that money can buy.

Accuracy and proper readings are without a doubt one of the most important aspects of any meter. You want your meter to be able to read your blood sugar levels right down to the very increment. Most individuals will check their meter with a control solution beforehand to make sure that it is accurate and calibrated properly.

Doctors that deal with diabetic patients usually issue them monitoring devices for free or you can even buy these items at rebate from a variety of manufactures. It really is the test strips that are going to be the priciest and you want to make sure you check with your insurance provider to see how much compensation you can get.


It can be difficult to diagnose type 1 diabetes on your own. However, there are some things that you can look for. Still, you should definitely take your child to a doctor if you notice a handful of these symptoms within a short period of one another. Below, you will learn more about the symptoms of type 1 diabetes.
  • More Frequent Urination and Increased Thirst –The abnormal level of sugar in your child’s body will actually remove fluid from the tissues. As a result, this can make your child thirstier than eve before. In return, this can also increase their urination frequency.
  • Weight Loss – Most type 1 diabetes patients will begin losing weight even if they’re eating the normal amount. This can happy pretty rapidly some times. Without the right amount of sugar, the muscle and fat will begin to shrink. One of the most first signs that can pinpoint diabetes is unexplained weight loss.
  • Lethargy – It is also a good idea to keep an eye on your child’s activity levels. If they’re becoming lazy and lethargic, there is a possibility that your child is suffering from diabetes.
  • Increased Hunger – Children with this type of diabetes will also experience intense hunger. Your child doesn’t have a sufficient amount of insulin to push sugar into their cells and muscles. This will also cause the organs to crave energy. In return, this will make your child incredibly hungry.
  • Fruity Breath – You should take a second to smell your child’s breath. Do you notice that it smells like fruits? This is another sign that your child may be suffering from diabetes.
  • Yeast Infections – It should also be known that diabetes may cause yeast infections. Young girls may develop genital yeast infections. Babies may experience diaper rashes, which have been caused by yeast.
Risk Factors

There are plenty of things that can increase someone’s risk of developing diabetes. One of the most notable is family history. If you have several diabetics in your family, you’ll have a slightly higher risk of becoming a victim yourself. It is believed that genetics may have an impact. Race is another risk factor. In America, type 1 diabetes tends to be much more common among white children. There are also several environmental risk factors. They include certain viruses that may destroy islet cells.

Diet is usually not linked to type 1 diabetes. However, consuming cow’s milk early in life may increase your child’s risks. It is also believed that breast-feeding may actually decrease the risks. With type 2 diabetes, it is entirely possible to avoid the illness by staying slim and eating the right foods. With type 1 diabetes, this simply is not possible.

Serious Complications

Type 1 diabetes is capable of causing serious complications. If you do not treat and manage this problem correctly, you’re going to run into dangerous problems. Type 1 can eventually lead to heart and blood vessel disease, nerve damage and kidney damage. It can also cause osteoporosis, eye damage and certain skin conditions. Those looking for the right insulin medications should definitely check out

What To Discuss With Your Doctor

When visiting your doctor, you should discuss your child’s condition with them. Make sure that you ask about glucose monitoring. When does it need to be done and how often? You should also ask your doctor about the benefits of nutrition and exercise. Chat about insulin therapy and administration, hypo and hyperglycemia, and ketones. Make sure that you have enough information to keep your child’s condition under control. If you do not, the risks are going to be incredibly high.


When it comes down to it, diabetes is a dangerous problem. However, you must understand that it doesn’t have to be. It is possible to live a very long life despite having diabetes. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you can still be happy and healthy. Just speak with your doctor and learn how to manage your condition. Eat healthy, exercise and use your insulin as recommended by your doctor. If your child has this disease, you need to give them instruction from very early on. Doing so will ensure that their life is enjoyable for as long as humanly possible.

This is a guest blog entry.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Should Seniors Get the Pneumonia Vaccine?

If you are over the age of 65, your doctor may have suggested at your last well-check that you consider getting the new pneumonia vaccine. If you’re curious about the vaccine and your chances of getting pneumonia, don’t miss this quick guide:

What is Pneumonia?
First, a quick anatomy lesson. When you breathe, air travels into your mouth, down your trachea, and through your bronchioles to little air sacs in your lungs called alveoli (there’s roughly 600 million of them in there). From there, your body transports necessary oxygen into your bloodstream.

When a pathogen like a virus, fungus, or bacteria makes its way into your lungs, it can infect those little air sacs causing them to fill with fluid and pus and become inflamed. This is known as a pneumococcal infection, or pneumonia. Respiratory infections of this kind are particularly dangerous to certain groups of the population including children, seniors (especially those with dementia), and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

There are multiple types of pneumonia which can affect patients including community and hospital-acquired pneumonia. Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is “caught” outside of a hospital or other healthcare facility and develops when an airborne germ is inhaled and sets up shop in a person’s lungs or in some cases, when liquid or food goes “down the wrong pipe” into their lungs; this is known as aspiration pneumonia.

Hospital-acquired pneumonia has its own distinction because the bacteria which causes it is often more resistant to antibiotics and because it affects a more vulnerable population that is already being treated for some other illness at the time. Hospital patients can acquire it from other patients, from germs on instruments used in treatment (like intubation tubes and ventilators), and even from air circulated through their rooms. In fact, a 2014 report in the journal Virulence shared that pneumonia is associated with the highest rate of mortality in ICUs (intensive care units).

Hallmark symptoms of pneumonia in seniors over 65 include:

•    Cough (often produces phlegm)
•    Chest pain when coughing or breathing
•    Confusion or disorientation
•    Fever, chills, sweating
•    Shortness of breath
•    Fatigue
•    Vomiting, diarrhea, nausea
•    Body temperature lower than normal

Medical professionals can easily monitor vital signs and lung sounds with tools like a stethoscope, pulse oximeter, and blood pressure monitor. Pneumonia often additionally presents with irregular lung sounds (crackling, wheezing, bubbling) and may also be accompanied by rapid heart rate, changes in blood pressure, and muscle aches.

Seniors who suspect they have pneumonia should see a doctor right away as life-threatening complications can quickly arise including difficulty breathing, an infection that spreads to the bloodstream, dehydration, or an abscess or fluid buildup in the lungs. Complications like these often end in hospitalization and in some cases, even death.

Typically doctors will administer tests like imaging scans of the lungs, blood tests, measuring the oxygen saturation levels in your blood, and sputum tests. Depending on the type and severity of pneumonia, treatment can include antibiotics, antivirals, cough medicine, oxygen therapy, pain relievers, breathing treatments, and more.

How Do Vaccines Help?

Vaccines that target specific bacteria strains that can cause pneumonia have been licensed since 1977, with the most recent versions being approved by the FDA in 2000 and 2011. There are two different versions of pneumococcal vaccines the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that seniors get - Prevnar 13® (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine or PCV13) and Pneumovax23® (pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine or PPSV23).

Prevnar 13® is received as a single dose and protects seniors against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria that can cause infections like pneumonia and even ear infections. Studies show that this vaccine safeguards 45 out of 100 seniors over 65 from pneumococcal pneumonia.

Pneumovax23® defends seniors from 23 different types of pneumococcal bacteria that cause serious infections like pneumonia. Studies reveal that this vaccine can safeguard 50 to 85 out of 100 seniors over 65 against invasive pneumococcal disease. Depending on if you have a chronic medical condition, you may receive one or two additional boosters of this vaccine in addition to the initial dose.

The medical community also believes that other vaccines, like the seasonal influenza vaccine, can play a role in preventing pneumonia as pneumonia and other respiratory infections are a common complication in seniors who develop the flu.

What Else Should You Know?
In addition to age, various risk factors can increase your chances of developing pneumonia. These include smoking, chronic diseases like heart disease, asthma, and COPD, hospitalization, and having a weakened immune system (common in those who have had chemotherapy, organ transplants, viral infections, etc).

Experts recommend speaking with your doctor about your pneumonia risk, vaccine options, possible side effects from receiving vaccines, and a vaccine schedule based on your health status.

This is a guest blog entry.

Friday, April 27, 2018

5 Jobs in the Medical Field That are Easy to Get

If you want to get a job in the medical field, you will first need to spend some time learning what your options are like. There are actually quite a few jobs that you can get in this industry without having to invest a ton of time or money. The more research you do into these job options, the easier it will be for you to find the right career to pursue.

1. Phlebotomy Technician

Becoming a phlebotomy technician is fairly simple and easy, and there is quite a bit of job security. It only takes around a year to get this sort of job, and you will need to earn your certification before you can start working. While this is regarded as an entry-level position, there are plenty of opportunities for advancement. These technicians are responsible for drawing blood from patients and can work in hospitals, laboratories and private clinics.

2. Medical Transcriptionist

A medical transcriptionist is an important job in the medical field, and there is a lot of demand for these professionals right now. If you are organized and have a knack for details, this could be the perfect job for you. You will work in an office setting and listen to dictations from doctors regarding patient files. A high school diploma or GED is required, and you must complete a medical transcriptionist training program.

3. Physical Therapy Assistant

Physical therapy assistants help with patient’s recoveries, and it can be an extremely rewarding line of work to get into. If you are interested in one day becoming a physical therapist, this is the first step in that path. You will work under a licensed physical therapist, helping them with whatever they need.

4. Dental Assistant

These days a lot of people are becoming dental assistants because the pay isn’t bad, and it doesn’t take very long to get one of these jobs. There are lots of dental assistant schools in NC, and it’s important that you look into some of them. You will first need to go through a training program before you can get certified to do this type of work.

5. Critical Care Nurse

One of the great things about becoming a critical care nurse is that you only have to earn an Associate’s degree. After a couple of years of school and a training program, you can start working. These nurses make around $65,000 per year, so the pay is pretty good. As a critical care nurse, you will be responsible for taking care of patients on a daily basis. This can be a stressful job at times, but it’s also very rewarding.

With all of the different jobs there are in the medical field, you will certainly need to explore your options before deciding on one in particular. The more time you take to look into these choices that you have, the more likely you will be to make the right decision on your future job.

This is a guest blog post.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

3 Common Men’s Health Problems and What to Do about Them

There are many health problems that men should be concerned about especially with increasing age. Effectively dealing with any of these problems requires increased awareness, reducing exposure to risk factors, not ignoring signs and symptoms when they occur, consulting regularly with health care providers, identifying and treating health problems early, and complying with prescribed treatments. Below is a description of the most common health problems for men along with information on treatment. 

1. Cardiovascular (Heart) Disease:  Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States, even surpassing cancer. Common risk factors for heart disease include obesity, smoking, alcoholism, a sedentary lifestyle, high stress, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. While genetic factors can also play a role in heart disease, many of the risk factors are preventable or modifiable. This can be accomplished with a regular exercise routine on most days during the week, a proper diet that is low in saturated fat and high in whole grain fiber, engaging in regular relaxing leisure activities, and avoiding harmful lifestyle choices such as alcohol abuse and tobacco use. It is also important to go for yearly physicals, monitor blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and to comply with a health care provider’s treatment recommendations.   

2. Diabetes: Many men with heart disease also have diabetes, the most common form of which is diabetes mellitus (often abbreviated as DM). DM is a complex, long-term disorder in which the body is unable to effectively use insulin, a natural chemical that helps the body quickly absorb glucose (a type of sugar) from the blood into cells for energy and storage needs. Signs and symptoms of DM include frequent thirst, frequent urination, sweet smelling urine (due to high glucose levels), tiredness, increased appetite, and vision problems. DM can cause damage to blood vessels including in the eyes and feet which is why vision and foot care is so important during treatment. DM is typically treated with a combination of diet, exercise, and medication (typically a form of insulin) to help improve the body’s ability to absorb glucose. Compliance with medication and glucose monitoring is often a problem in patients with DM (due to finger pricks and injections), which is why it is important to meet with a diabetic nurse educator and have a good social support network to help increase treatment compliance.  Oral medications for diabetes are also available as is blood sugar monitoring without finger pricks.

3. Erectile Dysfunction: Heart disease and diabetes are both risk factor for erectile dysfunction. Commonly referred to as ED, erectile dysfunction is a frustrating problem for many men and their partners.  Despite this frustration, many men are reluctant to discuss ED with their healthcare provider due to social embarrassment and social discomfort.  If you or a loved one suffers from ED, it is important to know that help is available. This can include psychological counseling if the cause is related to anxiety or depression. Treatment can also involve using medication to increase blood flow to the affected tissue. The most commonly used such medication is Viagra. Although this medication once required a prescription, you can now obtain Viagra without a prescription.

10 Important Reasons Why You Should Not Exercise Today

Committing yourself to a regular exercise schedule is usually a highly recommended idea, often cited as the perfect way to stay fit while keeping your brain happy. However, it is still crucial to note that even the healthiest of professional athletes grant their bodies some occasional recovery time, because they know that overworking their muscles can lead to some serious trouble.

With that in mind, here are 10 warning signs to look out for, which are not excuses, but important reasons to stay off the program for a while.

1. You’re in Pain
A general ache in the muscles can be a good sign, as this indicates that you’ve had an intense training session and your body is repairing itself. However, this type of soreness should fade rather rapidly, especially after a warm up, hence why any sharp pains felt specifically during a workout mean that you should stop immediately. You are probably repetitively pushing one area too hard, and it needs some rest while you focus on other muscle groups.

2. You’re Still Sore from Yesterday’s Workout
Exercise causes tiny tears in the muscles, and it is during this process of repairing these tissues that the body actually gets stronger. If you don’t allow your muscles this downtime, you won’t rejuvenate properly, and then you run the risk of an injury. Take a day off to recover.

3. You’re Injured
Whether a sprain, a fracture, or a break, only your doctor can tell you how far you can push yourself after these mishaps. Usually, any unnecessary pressure can severely aggravate an injury, so your best bet is to rest up with some ice compression, and perhaps slowly explore some more low-impact exercises such swimming, yoga, or walking with a supportive knee brace.

4. You’re Sick
When you have the flu or a fever, your body is doing everything it can to fight off this virus. Why would you throw any additional stress at yourself during this torturous time, especially when you know you won’t perform your best anyway? What’s more, you may also infect your whole gym with your germs! That said, don’t use a mild cold as an excuse to stay at home and feel sorry for yourself, as short low-intensity workouts should be safe, as long as you aren’t coughing anywhere and you pay careful attention to your hydration.

5. You’re Lacking Sleep
Sleep is imperative to good health, as it reduces the risk of heart disease and helps your mind to deal with your daily pressures. For this reason, it is utterly counterproductive to cut your slumber hours short just to hit the gym early. Furthermore, too much exercise produces the stress hormone called cortisol, which itself can actually cause insomnia.

6. Your Heart Rate is Up
If you check your resting heart rate in the morning and it is pumping at an above average speed (between 60 to 100 bpm for adults) then your body is struggling to recover and you need to give it a few days to catch up.

7. You’re in a Terrible Mood
Exercise is famous for its mood-enhancing properties, and so if you continuously find yourself irritated or unusually depressed, this probably means something is wrong. These emotions could be a result of an exhausted physical body, a surge of stress hormones, or an unrealistic expectation for yourself. However, these details are less important than simply taking a break and doing something relaxing with your day.

8. You’re Pregnant
Thankfully, a pregnancy does not necessarily mean that you have to abstain from physical activity completely, as some exercise is definitely recommended. Speak to your doctor about your specific limitations, but it’s usually safe to participate in low-impact activities to the likes of walking, swimming, and yoga.

9. You’ve Recently Suffered from an Asthma Attack
As with any health ailment, it is up to your doctor whether or not you are fit enough to resume your regular training. When it comes to respiratory issues, it’s usually best to wait a few days before jumping back into the game, and even then, you should start slow, warm up a lot, and keep your inhaler close by. If you experience any loss of breath, stop immediately.

10. You’ve Recently Suffered from a Concussion
A concussion is not something you want to mess with, because there is no such thing as a safe brain injury. This trauma leaves your head in a very vulnerable state, and a repeat blow could place you at risk for another concussion. Even if you feel fine, it is not up to you when you should to go back to your regular exercise routine, and instead, you must obtain explicit permission from your doctor first.

This is a guest blog entry.