Be Prepared to Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention shared that winter storms and cold temperatures can be dangerous. Stay safe and healthy by planning ahead. Prepare your home and cars. Prepare for power outages and outdoor activity. Check on older adults.

Although winter comes as no surprise, many of us are not ready for its arrival. If you are prepared for the hazards of winter, you will be more likely to stay safe and healthy when temperatures start to fall.

Take These Steps for Your Home

Many people prefer to remain indoors during winter, but staying inside is no guarantee of safety. Take these steps to keep your home safe and warm during the winter months.

  • Winterize your home.
    • Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.
    • Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.
    • Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.
  • Check your heating systems.
    • Have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly, and ventilated to the outside.
    • Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
    • Install a smoke detector. Test batteries monthly and replace them twice a year.
    • Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.
    • Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies.
      • Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Check batteries when you change your clocks in the fall and spring.
      • Learn symptoms of CO poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.

Read more

#MoveWithHeart! in February

Go4Life from the National Institute on Aging shared that February is National Heart Month and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute at NIH is asking people to pledge to #MoveWithHeart this February and all year long.

Did you know that by simply moving more, you can lower your risk of getting heart disease or having a stroke? Many types of activity can help your heart—going on a hike or taking the stairs, biking to the store or around the block, wheeling yourself in your wheelchair.

Choices you might make every day can contribute to heart disease. Do you smoke? Are you overweight? Do you spend the day sitting at a desk or in front of the TV? Do you avoid doing exercise? Do you drink a lot of alcohol? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, making healthy lifestyle changes might help you prevent or delay heart disease.

Take the following steps to keep your heart healthy:

Be more physically active. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most or all days of the week. Every day is best. It doesn’t have to be done all at once —10-minute periods will do. Start by doing activities you enjoy —brisk walking, dancing, swimming, bicycling, or playing basketball or tennis.

If you smoke, quit. It’s never too late to get some benefit from quitting smoking.

Follow a heart healthy diet. Choose low-fat foods and those that are low in salt. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and foods high in fiber. Following a healthy eating plan and being physically active might help you.

Read more

Can’t Sleep? Try using essential oils!

College of DuPage Nursing Student Betsy Canedo shared that it is currently estimated that only 1 out of 3 Americans currently get enough sleep. On average, a typical adult sleeps and average of 6 hours a night and another 40 percent are estimated to sleep less than 6 hours (CDC, 2016).

Most individuals use sleeping aids, although sleeping pills have side effects like grogginess the next morning and other effects. One proven remedy that offers help with sleep without the unwanted lingering side effects are essential oils.

Essential oils have been available for years and are proven to help with sleep (https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/best-essential-oils-and-their-benefits/#.WncqwkTr4Dk.email)

Read more

4 Tips to Help You Remember the Doctor’s Instructions

Three business partners keeping thumbs up

The National Institute on Aging shared that no matter what your age, it’s easy to forget a lot of what your doctor says. Even if you are comfortable talking with your doctor, you may not always understand what he or she says. So, as your doctor gives you information, it’s a good idea to check that you are following along. Ask about anything that does not seem clear. For instance, you might say: “I want to make sure I understand. Could you explain that a little more?”or “I did not understand that word. What does it mean?”

Another way to check is to repeat what you think the doctor means in your own words and ask, “Is this correct?” Here are some other ideas to help make sure you have all the information you need.

  • Take notes. Take along a notepad and pen and write down the main points, or ask the doctor to write them down for you. If you can’t write while the doctor is talking to you, make notes in the waiting room after the visit. Or, bring an audio recorder along and (with the doctor’s permission) record what is said. Recording is especially helpful if you want to share the details of the visit with others.
  • Get written or recorded materials. Ask if your doctor has any brochures, DVDs, or other materials about your health conditions or treatments. For example, if your doctor says that your blood pressure is high, he or she may give you brochures explaining what causes high blood pressure and what you can do about it. Ask the doctor to recommend other sources, such as websites, disease management centers, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies that may have written or recorded information you can use.
  • Talk to other members of the healthcare team. Sometimes, the doctor may want you to talk with other health professionals who can help you understand and carry out the decisions about how to manage your condition. Nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, and occupational or physical therapists may be able to take more time with you than the doctor.
    • Call or email the doctor. If you are uncertain about the doctor’s instructions after you get home, call the office. A nurse or other staff member can check with the doctor and call you back. You could ask whether the doctor, or other health professional you have talked to, has an email address or online health portal you can use to send questions.

    For More Information About Questions to Ask the Doctor During an Appointment

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    1-800-232-4636 (toll-free)
    1-888-232-6348 (TTY/toll-free)
    cdcinfo@cdc.gov
    www.cdc.gov

    Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
    1-800-633-4227 (toll-free)
    1-877-486-2048 (TTY/toll-free)
    www.medicare.gov

Read more

Cold Weather Safety for Older Adults

The National Institute on Aging shared that if you are like most people, you feel cold every now and then during the winter. What you may not know is that just being really cold can make you very sick.

Older adults can lose body heat fast—faster than when they were young. Changes in your body that come with aging can make it harder for you to be aware of getting cold. A big chill can turn into a dangerous problem before an older person even knows what’s happening. Doctors call this serious problem hypothermia.

What Is Hypothermia?

Hypothermia is what happens when your body temperature gets very low. For an older person, a body temperature colder than 95°F can cause many health problems, such as a heart attackkidney problemsliver damage, or worse.

Being outside in the cold, or even being in a very cold house, can lead to hypothermia. Try to stay away from cold places, and pay attention to how cold it is where you are. You can take steps to lower your chance of getting hypothermia.

Keep Warm Inside

Living in a cold house, apartment, or other building can cause hypothermia. In fact, hypothermia can happen to someone in a nursing home or group facility if the rooms are not kept warm enough. If someone you know is in a group facility, pay attention to the inside temperature and to whether that person is dressed warmly enough.

People who are sick may have special problems keeping warm. Do not let it get too cold inside and dress warmly. Even if you keep your temperature between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, your home or apartment may not be warm enough to keep you safe. This is a special problem if you live alone because there is no one else to feel the chilliness of the house or notice if you are having symptoms of hypothermia. Read more

Tapping the brain to find how music heals

Read more

6 Tips For Caring For Your Child With POTS Syndrome

Abby Drexler a contributing writer and media specialist for POTS Care who  regularly produces content for a variety of health and wellness blogs shared with Healthy Lombard the following information about POTS.

What Is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome?  Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome is a condition that affects the human body’s circulatory system, including the blood vessels and heart. Patients refer to this condition as POTS syndrome, and it primarily affects females from the age of 15 to 50. However, it is possible for children to have POTS syndrome, and if a child has this condition, then their parents must understand how to manage the symptoms.

 

What Are the Symptoms Of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome?

This circulatory problem manifests with an assortment of symptoms that include:

  • Light-headedness while standing
  • Rapid heartbeat at various times
  • Intermittent fainting episodes
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Overall weakness
  • Blurry vision

In children, this condition might begin after a viral illness or surgery, and it is often combined with other medical issues such as chronic headaches or irritable bowel disease. Diagnosing POTS in children is difficult because the symptoms are similar to the ones in other conditions such as anemia, hyperthyroidism or dehydration.

 

What Causes Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome?

The cause of POTS varies but can include these factors:

  • Decrease in blood flow to the heart
  • An unusually low blood volume
  • An increase in heart rate to compensate for a low blood volume
  • Constriction of the blood vessels
  • Problems with neuropathy
  • Chronic fatigue following an illness

Children with autoimmune disorders, diabetes mellitus or a gastrointestinal condition are more likely to have POTS as a secondary condition.

Read more

This Is the Best Diet to Go On (According to Harvard Researchers)

POPSUGAR shared that if you want to lose weight, what’s on your plate is often more important than the minutes you spend in the gym.

And if you want to see the most change, a 2015 study from Harvard says you should be cutting carbs, not fat.

For the study, published in PLoS One, researchers from Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital reviewed 53 randomized trials of over 68,000 patients who had been assigned to either low-fat or low-carb diets. They found that low-carb diets were consistently better at helping patients lose weight than low-fat diets; the participants on the low-carb diets lost 2.5 pounds more than those on low-fat diets, with the average weight loss among all groups at about six pounds.

This latest study on the weight-loss benefits of a low-carb diet adds further evidence that if you want to lose weight, ditching bread — not olive oil — can help you see success. Another recent study, for example, showed that dieters who ate fewer than 40 grams of carbohydrates per day lost about eight pounds more than dieters who were put on a low-fat diet. Other studies have shown that high-carb diets may be the real heart-disease culprit, not saturated fat. All in all, this new review is a good reminder that if you want to lose weight, you should choose a diet rich in healthy fats, lean proteins, and fresh produce. Of course, not all fats are created equal. In the ongoing debate on whether fat is the enemy of waistlines and healthy hearts, an in-depth study may have the answer: if you want to lose weight and be healthier, opt for a low-carb diet over a low-fat one. Read more

Saving Our 5 Senses as We Age

Amy Paturel, a health and science writer shared  in the  AARP Bulletin, July-August 2017, that changes in sensory function can make everyday pleasures feel flat while increasing risk of other health issues.

Jazz trumpeter Kris Chesky pops in foam earplugs when he mows the lawn or gets on an airplane. Onstage, he asks the band to play quiet passages even more pianissimo. “Once you’ve got hearing loss, due to aging or sound exposure, you can’t get it back,” says Chesky, 58, a University of North Texas music professor and codirector of the Texas Center for Performing Arts Health. “I want to keep what I’ve got, even if it makes me a little unpopular sometimes.”

Tens of millions of Americans suffer age-related losses in at least one of their senses, according to a recent University of Chicago study. Such changes can make everyday pleasures feel flat while increasing the risk of other health issues, such as poor nutrition, falling, depression or dementia.

Hearing

A lifetime of noise — power tools, a loud workplace, that Who concert — along with normal aging can cause deterioration. The tiny hair cells in your ears that send signals to your brain don’t regenerate, notes Frank Lin, associate professor of otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Your brain shrinks as you age, but hearing loss can accelerate this shrinking, which can more than double the risk of dementia. You’re also more likely to suffer falls. “Balance gets thrown off when you can’t hear your footsteps,” Lin says. Hearing loss also increases your odds for depression and loneliness.

What you can do: 

  • Wear foam earplugs or ear-protecting headphones around loud sounds.
  • Watch your weight, blood sugar level and blood pressure to keep the tiny arteries that fuel hair cells in your ears healthy.
  • Visit the AARP Hearing Resource Center for more information.
  • Use hearing aids or devices to amplify the sound of your phone or TV. In a 2016 study at Columbia University in New York, hearing aid users scored better than nonusers on cognitive and memory tests.

Read more

Vitamin D plays important role

Patrick B. Massey, MD, PH.D., medical director for complementary and alternative medicine at Alexian Brothers Hospital Network and president of ALT-MED Medical and Physical Therapy, 1544 Nerge Road, Elk Grove Village, shared with the Daily Herald Newspaper that you might be surprised to learn that a low blood level of vitamin D increases the risk of developing a thyroid illness known as Hashimoto’s disease.

Indeed, in some medical studies vitamin D supplementation may help to reverse this disease. In these studies, robust supplementation with vitamin D significantly reduced the blood markers for Hashimoto’s disease.

Hashimoto’s disease (HD) is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and slowly kills the thyroid gland. It is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in technologically advanced countries.

The symptoms of HD are quite variable depending on how badly the thyroid has been damaged. Early in the disease there is often an increased release of thyroid hormone. Symptoms may resemble that of hyperthyroidism such as weight loss, high blood pressure and a rapid heart rate.

Blood tests at this time may suggest, but not always, a hyperthyroid state.

As the disease progresses, more thyroid tissue is damaged. At this time the symptoms of HD mimic a sluggish thyroid gland or even frank hypothyroidism. Read more