Rheumatoid Arthritis Facts

·        
Rheumatoid
arthritis is an inflammatory, autoimmune disease that causes pain, swelling,
stiffness, and loss of function in the joints.
·        
It
does not only affect the joints, but may also attack tissue in the skin, lungs,
eyes, and blood vessels.
·        
People
with rheumatoid arthritis may feel sick, tired, and sometimes feverish.
·        
Generally,
rheumatoid arthritis occurs in a symmetrical pattern, which means that if one
knee or hand is involved, the other one is too.
·        
It
can occur at any age, but usually begins during a person’s most productive
years.
·        
People can go to a family doctor or
rheumatologist to be diagnosed.
·        
Affects
women more than men. 
·        
Cause
is still unknown.
·        
Rheumatoid
arthritis is not contagious.
·        
Common
tests for rheumatoid arthritis:
o  
The rheumatoid factor test. Rheumatoid factor is an antibody
that is present eventually in the blood of most people with rheumatoid
arthritis, but not all people with rheumatoid arthritis test positive for
rheumatoid factor, especially early in the disease. Some people who test
positive never develop the disease.
o  
The citrulline antibody test. This blood test detects antibodies
to cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP). This test is positive in most
people with rheumatoid arthritis and can be positive for years before
rheumatoid arthritis symptoms develop. When used with the rheumatoid factor
test, the citrulline antibody test results are very useful in confirming a
rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis.
·        
Other
common tests for rheumatoid arthritis are:
o  
The erythrocyte sedimentation rate, which indicates the presence of
inflammation in the body.
o   A test
for white blood cell count.
o  
Blood
test for anemia.
·        
Exercise
and medications are common treatments and in some cases, surgery is needed.
If you have
any questions or concerns regarding rheumatoid arthritis you should contact
your physician.
Reference: http://nihseniorhealth.gov/rheumatoidarthritis

How to prevent Identity Theft

Only
carry essential documents with you.
Not carrying extra
credit cards, your Social Security card, birth certificate or passport with you
outside the house can help you prevent identity theft.
Keep
new checks out of the mail.
When ordering new
checks, you can prevent identity theft by picking them up at the bank instead
of having them mailed to your home. This makes it harder for your checks to be
stolen, altered, and cashed by identity thieves.
Be
careful when giving out personal information over the phone.
Identity thieves may
call, posing as banks or government agencies. To prevent identity theft, do not
give out personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call.
Your
trash is their treasure.
Shred you receipts,
credit card offers, bank statements, returned checks, and any other sensitive
information before throwing it away.
Make
sure others are keeping you safe.
Ensure that your
employer, landlord, and anyone else with access to your personal data keeps
your records safe.
Stay
on top of your credit.
Make sure your credit
reports are accurate and that you sign up for a credit monitoring service,
which can alert you by email to changes in your credit report. This is a
helpful way to prevent identity theft.
Protect
your Social Security Number.
To prevent identity
theft, make sure your bank does not print your Social Security card Number on
your personal checks.
Follow
your credit card billing cycles closely.
Identity thieves can start
by changing your billing address, Making sure you receive your credit card bill
every month is an easy way to prevent identity theft.
Keep
a list of account numbers, expiration dates and telephone numbers filed away.
If your wallet is
stolen, being able to quickly alert your creditors is essential to prevent
identity theft.
Create
passwords or PIN numbers out of a random mix of letters and numbers.
Doing so makes it harder
for identity thieves to discover these codes, and makes it easier for you to
prevent identity theft.

5 Daily Habits for Living Longer

Although
aging is a complex process, you can fight it with five simple daily
habits.
1.    Eat
and assortment of fruits and vegetables.
      People
who eat a wide assortment of fruits and vegetables consistently have the lowest
rates of chronic disease. They maintain healthier body weights, and they live
longer.The
diverse colors of fruits and vegetables represent different nutrients and
antioxidants. These various nutrients and antioxidants can fight aging from a
number of angles. Anthocycanins, for example, the antioxidant in blueberries
that gives then their dark blue color, can help fight cancer cell growth, while
beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A that gives carrots their orange
color, can help support optimal immune function.
2.    Long
chain of omega-3 fatty acids.
      The
long chain of omega-3 fats eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenic
acid, or DHA, are as close to a fountain of youth the world has to offer.Individuals
with the high levels of EPA and DHA in their blood have the lowest rates of
heart disease and the slowest rates of chromosomal aging.EPA
and DHA are found in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut, mackerel, and
sardines, If you do not like seafood or you do not like fish enough to eat it
every day, take a fish oil supplement, Getting EPA and DHA in y our diet from a
supplement works just as well as getting them through eating fish.
3.    Floss
every day.
Flossing
isn’t just good for your gums, it is good for your longevity too. Flossing
removes the bacteria that causes periodontics and leads to cavities. But this
bacteria can cause problems for more than just your teeth and gums.  If you wait too long between flossing, the
bacteria surrounding your teeth and gums will build up. Flossing removes the
bacteria, this is important because if enough bacteria builds up, it can enter
your blood stream, causing inflammation and increasing the risk of
cardiovascular disease.
4.    Drink
plenty of green tea.
Green
tea may not be able to fight cancer, but it will help you shed those extra
age-accelerating pounds you have been carrying around. Green tea contains an
antioxidant called epigallocatechin-3 gallate( EGCG). A daily dose of EGCG
combined with caffeine will help you lose as many as three pounds in 12 weeks
and 1 inch off your waist.
5.    Move
more.
Inactivity
and the loss of muscle mass as you age can accelerate the aging process. The age-related
changes in muscle quantity and quality that occur, even on the cellular level, can
be counteracted by staying active.
Reference:
www.livestrong.com/article.545201-5-daily-habits-for-living-longer

7 Safety Tips for Traveling Alone

1.    Stay
connected.
Before you
leave home, find out whether your mobile phone has roaming capabilities at your
destination. If not, or if the roaming cost is prohibitive, rent a phone once
you arrive so you have a lifeline. Smartphones should be outfitted with GPS or
online maps, which are good options for drivers.
2.    Keep
others informed of your daily itinerary.
Regularly let your family and friends know where you are
going. When traveling alone into parkland or wilderness, always let someone
know when you expect to return as well as your exact route and stick to it.
3.    Stash
money, credit cards, and passport in separate places.
Keep some money and credit cards in
your wallet or purse, and additional cards in a pocket or money pouch. When
sightseeing, only carry a copy of your passport’s data page, keeping your
passport locked in your hotel safe. On travel days, carry your passport separately
from your money and credit cards.
4.    Study
up on your destination.

Be aware of safety concerns as well as of local customs and etiquette,
especially with regard to dress. When in doubt, opt for conservative. Women
travelers should know in advance if harassment is an issue and both men and
women should get the safety information on public transportation. Also,
research neighborhoods to avoid, especially after dark. Know the local number
to call for emergencies.
5.    Stay
healthy.
Is the water
safe to drink? Are poisonous snakes or spiders a problem? Does your dive
operator have a good safety record? Bring an extra supply of prescription
medications and an extra script with the generic drug name rather than the
brand name. And don’t forget the hand sanitizer.
6.    Ensure
that your lodgings are safe.

Keep your door locked, with the security chain fastened. Try to book a room
close to where the action is- near the concierge desk, or near elevators. Stay
away from ground floors where window entry is possible, DO not answer the door
if you are not expecting anyone.
7.    Keep
your wits about you.

Traveling alone does not mean cowering in a hotel room. Venturing out into the
unknown is one of the thrills of travel. But do not let yourself get distracted
by sights and sounds (recording every moment on camera or cellphone) that let
your guard down. Of all the travel-alone safety tips, this is the most
important: Don’t leave the common sense at home.
Reference: www.aarp.org/travel/travel-tips

Facts: Improving mobility in the elderly

1.   
Impaired
mobility is a major health concern for older adults. It affects 50% of people
over 85 and at least 25% of those over 75.
2.   
Therapy
designed to improve mobility in the elderly is usually built around diagnosing
and treating specific impairments, such as reduced strength or poor balance.
3.   
Older
adults will perform at their best when they measure their progress and work
toward specific goals related to strength, aerobic capacity, and other physical
qualities.
4.   
Caregivers
attempting to improve an older adult’s mobility must decide what impairments to
focus on such as leg strength, balance, limb velocity, and core strength just
to name a few.

Promoting Independence in the Elderly

Promoting
independence in self-care can provide older adults with the capability to
maintain independence longer and can leave them with a sense of achievement
when they complete a task unaided. Older adults that require assistance with
activities of daily living are at a greater risk of losing their independence with
self-care tasks as dependent personal behaviors are often met with
reinforcement from caregivers. It is important for caregivers to ensure that
measure are put into place to preserve and promote function rather than
contribute to a decline in status in an older adult  that has physical limitations. Caregivers
need to be conscious of actions and behaviors that cause older adults to become
dependent on them and need to allow older patients to maintain as much
independence as possible. Providing information to the older adult on why it is
important to perform self-care may allow them to see the benefit in performing
self-care independently. If the older adult is able to complete self-care
activities on his or her own, or even if they need supervision, encourage them
in their efforts as maintaining independence can provide them with a sense of
accomplishment and the ability to maintain independence longer.
Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elderly_care#Promoting_independence_in_the_elderly

What is Home Care?

Home care is
health care or supportive care provided in the patient’s home by licensed
healthcare professionals. It is often referred to as home health care and is
used to distinguish it from non-medical care or custodial care, which is care
that is provided by people who are not doctors, nurses, or other licensed
medical personnel.
Licensed
personnel and others who assist the individual may be referred to as
caregivers. Caregivers may help the individual with daily tasks such as
bathing, eating, cleaning the home, and preparing meals.
For
terminally ill patients, home care may include hospice care. For patients
recovering from surgery or illness, home care may include rehabilitative
assistance.

What is the Concept of Home Care?
Recently,
there is a growing movement to distinguish between “home health care” meaning
skilled nursing care, which is usually provided by a Home Health Agency and “
home care” provided by a homecare agency or independent home health aide or
caregiver, meaning non-medical.
Home care
aims to make it possible for people to remain at home rather than use residential,
long-term, or institutional-based nursing care. Home care providers deliver
services in the client’s own home. These services may include some combination
of professional health care services and life assistance services. Professional
home health services could include medical or psychological assessment, wound
care, medication teaching, pain management, disease education and management,
physical therapy, speech therapy, or occupational therapy. Life assistance
services could include help with daily tasks such as meal preparation,
medication reminders, laundry, light housekeeping, errands, shopping,
transportation, and companionship. Home care is often an integral part of the
post-hospitalization recovery process, especially during the initial weeks
after discharge when the patient still requires some level of regular physical
assistance.
Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_care

What Health Screenings do you need if you are over Age 50?

As we enter
our 50’s and beyond routine screenings to detect health problems become more and
more important. Often, the earlier a problem is detected and diagnosed, the
earlier it can be successfully treated or managed. Screenings are a critical
part of protecting our health.
Breast
Cancer Screening
Mammograms use x-rays to look for
breast cancers when they are still small. The American Cancer Society
recommends annual mammograms for women over age 40. Mammograms are the best way
to detect early breast cancer.
Prostate
Cancer Screening
Men usually start around age 50 to
talk to their doctor whether they need a prostate exam or not. This screening
involves a blood test measuring a substance called PSA. The screening may also
include a rectal exam of the prostate. Men with a father or brother who had
prostate cancer before age 65 should start to talk to their doctor about
prostate screening at age 45.
Osteoporosis
Both men and women
should be screened for osteoporosis starting at age 65. Your doctor may advise
you to start at a younger age if you are at risk for bone loss or a broken
bone.
Colorectal
Cancer
Both men and
women should start colorectal cancer screening at age 50. The standard
diagnostic test is the colonoscopy. If no precancerous polyps are found, you
may not need to have it repeated again for another 10 years. If you have a
family history of colon or rectal cancer, you may need to be tested sooner.

Diabetes
It is suggested by the National
institute of Health that everyone age 45 or older think about being tested for
diabetes. Consider starting at a younger age if you are overweight and have
other factors that out you at higher risk, such as elevated blood glucose
level, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or a family history of diabetes.
Cholesterol
Men should have cholesterol screenings
at age 35. Women should begin at 45. Both men and women should consider getting
tested at an earlier age if their risk for heart disease is high.
Blood
Pressure
All adults should be screened for high
blood pressure once a year.
Abdominal
Aneurysm
Men should have a
one-time screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm between ages 65 and 75 if they
have ever smoked. This ultrasound test looks for a weak, bulging spot in a
major blood vessel in the abdomen. This test is not recommended for older men
who have not smoked or women.
Cervical
Cancer
Women should be screened
at least every three years. After age 65 or after a hysterectomy for benign
disease, women stop having pap smears as long as their previous pap smears were
normal and they are not at high risk for cervical cancer.
Screenings are just one way you can prevent disease later in
life. Other crucial steps include:
  •     Avoiding tobacco
  •     Maintaining a healthy weight
  •     Eating a healthy diet
  •     Getting at least 30 minutes of moderate physical
    activity most days of the week.
  •     Drinking alcohol in moderation

References:
www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-09-2010/health_screenings_what_tests_do_you_really_need_if_you_are_over_age_50
www.yalemedicalgroup.org

Living Wills can offer a Peace of Mind

Living wills
tell others how you want to be treated when it comes to life-sustaining
measures. It is used when a person becomes terminally ill or unable to
communicate or makes decisions. A will does not always tell doctors to withhold
or end treatment. Wills can call for a treatment to continue regardless of your
medical condition. Having a living will protects your rights as a patient and
means that your family or friends are not left with the burden of making difficult
decisions about your care.
You should
put into writing how you feel about life-support systems, what your desires
are, and who you want to make decisions for you if you can’t make them for
yourself.
Some issues
to consider when putting together a living will are:
1.   
Life-sustaining
equipment
a.   
dialysis
machines
b.   
ventilators
c.   
respirators
2.   
Do
not resuscitate orders, which means medical staff are not to use CPR if your
breathing or heart stops.
3.   
Tube
feeding or supplying fluids by tube.
4.   
Withholding
foods or fluids.
5.   
Palliative
care or care that provides comfort.
6.   
Organ
and tissue donation.
You
can refuse aggressive medical treatment, but still allow treatment that focuses
on comfort. Such treatments could include antibiotics, nutrition, pain
medications, and radiation therapy.

Making it legal
Write
down your wishes. Once you sort through your feelings, you must write down your
preferences so that your caregivers and health care providers know how to care
for you. Any form you use must be signed, dated, and witnessed.
It
is best to be as specific as possible. In a crisis situation, caregivers need
clear direction, which also will help avoid conflicts. You should make sure
your family, doctors, hospital and other care providers all have a copy of your
living will so that it can be easily accessed and followed.

Choose a personal
advocate
You
will need to choose someone to make decisions for you if you are not able to do
so yourself. The person you choose should be named in a legal document known as
a durable power of attorney. For health decisions, this person is often called
your health care proxy
Choose
someone who understands you, respects your wishes, and can make difficult
decisions in times of stress. Explain your end-of-life preferences and ask
him/her if they will honor your wishes. If they answer “yes” you have found
your advocate. You can designate your durable power of attorney to make
financial and other decisions for you as well, should you become incapacitated.
An
advanced directive will contain the two legal documents you need: your living
will and your durable power of attorney.
References:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_wills
www.yalemedicalgroup.com/living_wills

How Seniors Can Beat the Heat

After age 65,
your body can’t adjust to changes in air temperature, especially heat, as
quickly as it did when you were younger. This can put you at risk for a heat
related illness.
You may also
be at a greater risk for heat-related illnesses if you have a chronic health
condition or take certain medications that interfere with normal body response
to heat.
You can still
enjoy the warm weather by taking a few precautions when it gets hot.

Ways to keep cool
If you do not
have air conditioning:
  • Open
    your windows at night.
  • Create
    a cross breeze by opening windows on opposite sides of the room or house.
  • Cover
    windows when they are in direct sunlight and keep curtains, shades, or blinds
    drawn during the hottest part of the day.
  • Dampen
    your clothing with water and sit in the breeze from a fan.
  • Spend
    at least 2 hours a day (the hottest part, if possible) in an air conditioned
    place, such as a library, senior center, or house.

    Other ideas:
         Take
a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.
  • Ask
    a friend or relative to drive you to a cool place on very hot days if you don’t
    drive. Many towns or counties, area agencies, religious groups, and senior
    center also provide such services, Don not stand outside waiting for a bus.
  •  Dress
    for the weather. Some people find natural fabrics like cotton to be cooler than
    synthetic fibers. Light colored clothes feel cooler than dark colors.
  •  Do
    not try to exercise, walk long distances, or do a lot when it is hot outside.
  •  Do not go to crowded places when it is hot.

Who is at risk?
These health
factors may increase your risk:
  • Poor
    circulation, inefficient sweat glands, and changes in the skin caused by normal
    aging.
  • Heart,
    Lung, and kidney diseases. As well as any illness that causes weakness or
    fever.
  • High
    blood pressure or other conditions that require changes in diet; for example,
    people on low-salt diets may face an added risk.
  • The
    inability to perspire caused by some drugs, including diuretics, sedatives,
    tranquilizers, and certain heart and blood pressure medications.
  • Taking
    several medications at once for various conditions.
  • Being
    substantially overweight or underweight.
  • Drinking
    alcoholic beverages.

How to handle heat illness
Heat stress,
heat fatigue, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion are all forms of hyperthermia,
the general name for a range of heat-related illnesses. Symptoms may include
headache, nausea, skin that is dry with no sweating, hot and red, muscle
spasms, and fatigue after exposure to heat.
If you
suspect someone is suffering from a heat related illness you should do the
following:
  • Get
    the person out of the sun and into a cool place, preferably a place that is air
    conditioned.
  • Offer
    fluids, but not alcohol or caffeine. Water and fruit and vegetable juices are the
    best.
  •  Encourage
    the person to sponge off with cool water.
  •  Urge
    the person to lie down and rest.
  •  Seek
    emergency medical attention if you suspect heat stroke, Possible symptoms of
    heat stroke include:
    • Headache
    • Dizziness
    •  Disorientation,
      agitation, or confusion
    • Sluggishness
      or fatigue
    • Seizure
    • Hot,
      dry skin that is flushed but not sweaty
    • High
      body temperature
    • Loss
      of consciousness
    • Rapid
      heartbeat
    • Hallucinations

Refereces: 
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/heat_illness
www.yalemedicalgroup.com