Senior Health Topics

Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disease that attacks the brain and results in impaired memory, thinking and reasoning. The cause is unknown and there is no cure. It affects an estimated 4 million American adults, and is the fourth leading cause of death after heart disease, cancer and stroke. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of Dementia. Dementia itself is not a disease, but rather a group of symptoms which accompany certain diseases and conditions. These symptoms include changes in personality, mood, language problems, disorientation to time and place, and loss of abilities severe enough to interfere with work and/or social activities that is not a normal part of aging. Alzheimer’s disease is distinguished from other form of Dementia by its characteristic changes in the brain called Neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques that are visible only upon microscopic examination and are unique to this disease. Alzheimer’s disease has a gradual onset and changes will vary significantly from person to person. The disease can last from tow to over twenty years, with eight years being the average length. You do not need to feel alone and unsupported while caring for a person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. When there is help, there is hope.

Information on Alzheimer’s Services

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or related disorders is never easy, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. There are many people who can help and there are specialized programs and services that can make life easier and more manageable for you and the person with Alzheimer’s disease. Some of the services you might need include: HEALTH CARE SERVICES. These include an accurate diagnosis for appropriate continuing treatment and care. Specially trained doctors and nurses in the field of geriatric medicine, family practice, internal medicine, and psychiatry can answer your questions and concerns. These are basic services that would include safety proofing your home and an ID bracelet for the patient should you become separated, nutrition information, transportation services, tips on managing activities of daily living, and financial and legal guidance. There are also HOSPICE CARE SERVICES available. These include home care, domestic specific day care and short term residential care while you go on vacation or get a much needed rest, and long term care is available, when required. You do not need to feel alone and unsupported while caring for a person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. When there is help, there is hope.

Related Disorders

Dementia is a group of symptoms that characterize certain diseases and conditions. These symptoms include changes in personality, mood and behavior. The causes and rate of progression of Dementia vary. Some of the more well known diseases that produce Dementia include Alzheimer’s disease, multi-infarct Dementia or Vascular Dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Pick’s disease, Croohealth Jacob disease, Lou Gerhig disease and Multiple Sclerosis. There are other conditions that mimic Dementia called Pseudodementia that are often treatable and/or reversible if detected early and accurately diagnosed. These conditions include: normal pressure hydrocephalus, depression, brain tumors, thyroid disorders, brain infections, nutritional deficiencies, alcoholism, head injuries and drug reactions or interactions. All person suspected of having Dementia should receive a complete diagnostic examination by a physician experienced in diagnosis of Dementia disorder. You do not need to feel alone and unsupported while caring for a person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Where there is help, there is hope.

More

Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disease of the brain. Its causes are unknown and there is currently no cure. The following list will help you understand the warning signs to look for: Recent memory loss that affects job skills. Forgetting things more often and not remembering them later; asking the same question and not remembering the answer. Difficulty performing familiar tasks; forgetting to do certain things, and also forgetting how to do them. Problems with language; forgetting simple words or substituting inappropriate words, and making sentences incomprehensible. Disorientation of time and place; becoming lost in a familiar place,; not knowing how they got there, or how to get back home. Poor or decreased judgement; not be aware of some things they are doing, such as wearing many articles of clothing, one on top of the other. Problems with abstract thinking; forgetting what numbers are and simple mathematical procedures. Misplacing things; putting commonly used items in inappropriate places. Changes in mood or behavior; exhibiting rapid mood changes for no apparent reason. Changes in personality; drastic personality changes like becoming extremely confused, irritable, suspicious or fearful. Loss of initiative; becoming passive and requiring prompting to get involved in activities. If several of these symptoms are a matter of concern to you, contact the Alzheimer’s Association at (810) 557-8277, or make an appointment with a physician for a complete examination of the individual with the symptoms.

Arthritis

Arthritis is an inflammation of a joint by pain and sometimes changes in structure. This disease may result from a number of conditions although the exact cause is unknown. There is no specific therapy but if pain is severe enough, bed rest may be required for short periods of time. Anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed or aspirin can be used to relieve the pain. Passive exercise is used to prevent stiffness and you should avoid getting very cold.

Treating Arthritis

Arthritis is an inflammation of a joint usually accompanied by pain and frequently changes in structure. Contrary to popular belief, arthritis is not inherited. Arthritis is not caused by bad wether or stress, although these conditions may cause the symptoms to worsen. While there is no specific therapy, rest, passive exercise and anti-inflammatory drugs are generally prescribed. If the condition is sever enough, bed rest may be recommended. The use of exercise ad physical therapy is important in maintaining range of motion of the affected joints. The drugs most often prescribed for relieving the pain of arthritis is still aspirin. However, Naprosyn and Ibuprofen are also used in treatment. Surgical replacement of the joint has been effective in very severe forms of arthritis.

Arthritis or Rheumatism

Rheumatism is a general term used to describe acute and chronic conditions characterized by inflammation, soreness and stiffness of muscles, and pain in joints. It includes arthritis, degenerative joint disease, bronchitis and many others.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Although arthritis most commonly occurs in person over the age of 50, rheumatoid arthritis can strike at any age. The symptoms include aching of the joints, swelling, stiffness, fever and fatigue. This type of arthritis sometimes goes into remission when the symptoms disappear. However, when the symptoms reoccur, it can be more severe. Your physician may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain. A low impact exercise program interspersed with rest periods may help reduce stiffness. In extreme cases, rheumatoid arthritis can affect the heart, lungs and the nerves.

Arthritis Surgery

Arthritis is an inflammation of a joint usually accompanied by pain and frequently changes in structure. Contrary to popular belief, arthritis is not inherited. Arthritis is not caused by bad weather or stress although these conditions may cause the symptoms to worsen. While there is no specific therapy, rest, passive exercise and anti-inflammatory drugs are generally prescribed. If the condition is sever enough, bed rest may be recommended. The use of exercise and physical therapy is important in maintaining range of motion of the affected joints. The drugs most often prescribed for relieving the pain of arthritis is still aspirin. However, Naprosyn and Ibuprofen are also used in treatment. Surgical replacement of the joint has been effective in very severe forms of arthritis.

Knee Problems

In a normal knee, the space between the thigh and shin bones is filled with fluid and cartilage. This serves as a cushion and shock absorber. In an arthritic knee, the cartilage deteriorates, causing the bones to rub against each other. This results in pain and stiffness. Since the knees are major weight-bearing joints, they are often severely affected by arthritis. Losing excess body weight is often recommended as a first step in relieving some of the pain. Light to moderate exercise can also help. Short walks and swimming are often recommended to help keep joints limber and reduce the stiffness. In addition, ice or heat packs on the affected joint may provide relief. Your doctor may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medication. When the arthritis becomes so severe that is intolerable, surgery may be advised. Depending on the diagnosis, a partial or total knee replacement may be recommended. Results of these procedures have been excellent and most patients are able to return to a more comfortable and active lifestyle.

Fibromyalgia

Q. Lately, I’ve been feeling very tired, can’t sleep very well, and seem to be in pain a lot of the time, almost sore all over. No one seems to be able to figure out what’s wrong with me. Some days I can’t even seem to function because of the pain. I picked up a brochure from the Arthritis Foundation on Fibromyalgia, and was wondering if this may be what’s wrong with me.

A. Fibromyalgia is a common clinical syndrome recognized by the Arthritis Foundation. There are reproducible physical findings for diagnosis. These include:

1) widespread painful tender points in the muscles

2) generalized muscular aching

3) morning stiffness

4) fatigue and non-restorative sleep

Other associated symptoms may include:

1) headaches

2) an irritable bowel 3) psychological distress

4) occasional memory blanks, difficulty concentrating, and word mix-ups

5) allergies, and

6) marked functional impairment.

Comprehensive, multi-disciplinary program assessment, treatment, and emotional support are offered. Call us and let us tell you about all of the available resources to start the process of physical and emotional recovery with doctors of many specialties who have a real interest in you as an individual.

Knee Pain Orthosis

Q. I have an intense pain in my knee that prevents me from everyday activities. My doctor has suggested the “Unloader” knee orthosis in order to delay surgery. Can you tell me more about this knee brace?

A. Yes! The “Unloader” is a clinically proven orthosis designed to provide relief from unicompartmental degenerate joint disease. In a recent study, the “Unloader” provided relief in 19 out of 19 patients between the ages of 35 and 55, and 19 out of 21 patients between 55 and 75!

Hip Problems and Arthritis

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joint, which typically results in pain and loss of mobility. These symptoms are caused by advanced wear and tear of the protective cartilage. As the cartilage deteriorates, the bones rub against each other. The hips, which are major weight-bearing joints, are often severely affected by arthritis. There are a number of suggested treatments for reducing the pain and improving mobility in the hips. Losing excess body weight may be the first step. Being overweight put additional stress on these already irritated joints. Light to moderate exercise can also help. Short walks and swimming are often recommended to help keep joints limber and reduce the stiffness. Ice or heat packs on the affected joint may also offer relief. Your doctor may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medication. If the medication is not supplying the relief you need, check with your doctor. If the joint has deteriorated to the point where daily activities have become too painful or impossible to perform, hip replacement surgery may be advised.

Arthritis of the Knee

In a normal knee, the space between the thigh and shin bones is filled with fluid and cartilage. This serves as a cushion and shock absorber. In an arthritic knee, the cartilage deteriorates, causing the bones to rub against each other. This results in pain and stiffness. Since the knees are major weight bearing joints, they are often severely affected by arthritis. Losing excess body weight is usually recommended as a first step in relieving some of the pain. Light to moderate exercise can also help. Short walks and swimming are often recommended to help keep joints limber and reduce the stiffness. In addition, ice or heat packs on the affected joint may provide relief. Your doctor may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medication. When the arthritis becomes so severe that it is intolerable, surgery may be advised. Depending on the diagnosis, a partial or total knee replacement may be recommended. Results of these procedures have been excellent, and most patients are able to return to a more comfortable and active lifestyle.

Arthritis of the Hip

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joint, which typically results in pain and loss of mobility. These symptoms are caused by advanced wear and tear of the protective cartilage. As the cartilage deteriorates, the bones rub against each other. The hips, which are major weight-bearing joints, are often severely affected by arthritis. There are a number of suggested treatments for reducing the pain and improving mobility in the hips. Losing excess body weight may be the first step. Being overweight puts additional stress on these already irritated joints. Light to moderate exercise can also help. Short walks and fswimming are often recommended to help keep joints limber and reduce the stiffness. Ice or heat packs on the affected joint may also offer relief. Your doctor may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medication. Of the medication is not supplying the relief you need, check with your doctor. If the joint has deteriorated to the point where daily activities have become too painful, hip replacement surgery may be advised.

Osteoporosis

One consequence of menopause is Osteoporosis, also called brittle or porous bones. Bone is a living tissue. The loss of estrogen after menopause causes women to loose bone mineral faster than men. This condition causes a loss of bone mass, and may lead to osteoporosis. If a woman develops osteoporosis, the result is fractured bones, most often in the spine, wrist or hip. The backbone may compress, which is why you see so many elderly women who seem “shrunken together”. More than 50% of all women over the age of 75 have one or more broken bones caused by osteoporosis. But that doesn’t mean osteoporosis is inevitable. Tests can determine your chances for developing osteoporosis later in life. If your risk is high, therapy will be recommended. The idea is to start preventative therapy in time, before osteoporosis becomes a problem. By slowing or stopping the loss of bone mass, HRT can prevent osteoporosis providing therapy is started in time. Actually, both men and women lose bone mass as they age. But osteoporosis poses a special danger to women. And some women have a bigger risk than others. Women at risk include thin women, women with a family history of osteoporosis, smokers, heavy drinkers, women who don’t exercise or are inactive, women who enter menopause early in their lives, women who have had their ovaries removed, women taking steroids and women who do not have enough calcium in their diet.

The Problem of Bone Loss

Osteoporosis, a condition of accelerated loss of bone, is a major health problem in the United State and is responsible for well over one million bone fractures each year. More women die from the complications of these fractures annually than from the combined deaths resulting from cancers of the cervix and breast. Difficult to diagnose in its early stages, osteoporosis often goes undetected until bones become so brittle that even the slightest trauma may cause a fracture. Furthermore, the gradual loss of bone may result in disfigurement, wrinkles, decreased mobility, and/or calcium deposits in soft tissue such as joints, kidneys and arteries which may lead to further complications. If left untreated, total bone loss in postmenopausal women may equal more than half of their normal bone/calcium levels. By the time women reach their 80th birthday, 40% of them will have sustained a fracture of the spine, causing pain, disability and height loss.

Is Dietary Calcium the Answer?

Many have assumed that simply increasing dietary calcium or taking a simple calcium supplement will prevent bone loss. But this is not necessarily the case. Bone loss can be caused by many things, including deficiencies of other nutrients besides calcium. Nutrients like magnesium, silica, phosphorus, zinc, copper and fluoride, to name a few. “Milk – it does a body good”. But unfortunately, many people have lost the ability to properly digest and metabolize dairy products. Milk allergy is one of the most common food allergies known. So, milk isn’t for everyone. You have not doubt seen the advertisements suggesting you take Tums “for the calcium you need”. Tums is an antacid which contains calcium carbonate. Ironically, when the normal acid secreted in your stomach is neutralized, calcium is very poorly absorbed. The digestion and absorption of other nutrients is also impaired. Calcium carbonate is a very cheap form of calcium, but it is not well absorbed by many people. In fact, high intake of calcium carbonate may lead to other disorders through negative effects on the metabolism of other nutrients.

What May Help?

Recent scientific evidence, however, support the following conclusions about the preventions of bone loss through comprehensive supplementation. 1. The adverse effects of age-related bone loss may be prevented if adequate amounts of calcium are ingested during childhood. Some go so far as to say osteoporosis should be viewed as a pediatric disease. Maximum bone density in young children and adolescents may not be achieved because calcium intake is often not adequate. National surveys show that many children in the US consume less than half of the RDA for calcium. It is also known that a large amount of the bone a women will lose during her lifetime is lost before menopause. The once believed notion that bone loss occurs only in elderly women in inaccurate. Many researchers feel quality calcium supplementation is essential for both young and old. 2. Supplemental calcium may significantly reduce the progression of bone loss already being in postmenopausal women. One study group experienced a 43% reduction in bone loss when they added 1,000 mg of calcium to their normal diet. The researchers concluded that complete calcium supplementation may slow or reduce bone loss. 3. The risk for developing osteoporosis may be reduced with a comprehensive calcium-rich supplement known as microcrystalline hydroxyapatite concentrate (MCHC). One preliminary study of osteoporotic post-menopausal women, with the complication of primary biliary cirrhosis, showed that MCHC not only prevented bone thinning, but it actually increased cortical bone thickness. Those taking MCHC showed a remarkable 6.1% increase in bone thickness. Further research is needed to confirm this effect. Conversely, the group receiving no supplementation experienced a 5.5% loss of bone.

A More Effective Way to Nourish Your Bones

While ordinary calcium supplementation alone is of some value, MCHC provides more complete bone nourishment. It provides many nutrients helpful for building strong bones. MCHC contains proteins, other organic factors, magnesium, zinc, silica, manganese, and many other special trace minerals bound together by nature with an absorbable calcium. Consider the following analogy: Just as a good home builder provides all the quality materials needed for a beautiful home, good bone nourishment provides a broad range of essential materials needed to build strong bones. MCHC provides calcium, trace minerals and the organic matrix naturally present in healthy bone.

Who May Benefit From MCHC?

Recent food surveys demonstrate a majority of North-American men, women and children fail to consume adequate amounts of certain minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, and manganese. Considering the important role these minerals play in building and maintaining strong and healthy bones, proper bone nourishment is essential for all North-Americans. Other risk factors which may result in an accelerated loss of bone include: Menopause, hysterectomy, a family history of osteoporosis, a thin, petite or small frame, pregnancy, breast feeding, allergy to, or avoidance of milk or dairy products, regular use of drugs such as Dilantin, Prednisone, Lasix, Synthroid or other steroids; anti-ulcer medication, antacids containing aluminum, certain antibiotics, alcoholism, inadequate exercise or sedentary occupation, smoking, digestive problems, excess consumption of soft drinks or caffeine, diets inadequate in calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, and/or copper and any of the following diseases such as diabetes, thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, hyperparathyroidism and gum disease.

Recommendations for Promoting Optimal Bone Health

1. Reduce excessive protein and fact intake, and eliminate junk food from your diet.

2. Avoid excess alcohol consumption.

3. Increase intake of green leafy vegetables; seeds and whole fresh foods.

4. Avoid aluminum cookware and aluminum-containing antacids.

5. Exercise regularly.

6. Take miscrosrystalline hydroxyapatite concentrate to provide excellent bone nourishment.

7. Don’t smoke.

Brittle/Porous Bones

One consequence of menopause is osteoporosis, also called brittle or porous bones. Bone is a living tissue. The loss of estrogen after menopause cause women to lose bone mineral faster than men. This condition causes a lot of bone mass, and may lead to osteoporosis. If a woman develops osteoporosis, the result is fractured bones, most often in the spine, wrist, or hip. The backbone may compress, which is why you see so many elderly women who seem “shrunken together.” More than 50 percent of all women over the age of 75 have one or more broken bones cause by osteoporosis. But that doesn’t mean osteoporosis is inevitable. Tests can determine your chances for developing osteopororsis later in life. If your risk is high, therapy will be recommended. The idea is to start preventative therapy in time, before osteoporosis becomes a problem. By slowing or stopping the loss of bone mass, HRT can prevent osteoporosis, providing therapy is started on time Actually both men and women lose bone mass as they age. But osteoporosis poses a special danger to women. And some women have a bigger risk than others. Women at risk include: thin women, women with a family history of osteoporosis, smokers, heavy drinkers, women who don’t exercise or are inactive, women who enter menopause early in their lives, women who have had their ovaries removed, women taking steroids, women who don’t get enough calcium in their diet. Can osteoporosis be prevented? Yes! Women who have a high risk of developing osteoporosis should know that HRT can effectively prevent it. But HRT is a preventative therapy, not a cure. It must be continued as long as your physician recommends. If stopped too soon, women will begin to lose bone mass again. Special scanning equipment can measure bone mass by looking right into your body and taking pictures of different parts of the skeleton. Or specialists can measure the rate of bone mineral loss with the use of special tests taken from a blood or urine test. One test may be enough, or several may be made over a period of time to check the rate of bone mineral loss. In any case, scanning is a painless procedure.

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