Fertility Struggles: The Truth About Having Children

Alzheimer’s: The Quick Guide To Understanding The Disease

While as many as five million Americans are battling this disease on a daily basis, the disease itself can still seem unknown and frightening. Below is a quick guide to understanding Alzheimer’s Disease.

What Is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disorder that affects the memory and general mental functions. It is progressive, meaning it worsens over time and does not relapse or “get better.”

Alzheimer’s is not simply age-related memory loss—instead, it’s a disease that leads to brain cell death and deterioration in daily functioning. While the majority of sufferers are 65 and older, this disease can affect those in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Alzheimer’s is diagnosed by neurologists with the help of neurological exams, neuropsychological testing, and brain imaging.

Who Is At Risk?

There are many factors that play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. While genetics can play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s, it only plays a small part. Those with a cognitive impairment or with a past head trauma are at an increased risk, but general lifestyle, heart health, and lifelong social engagement also play a role.

Note that even if someone falls into all of the categories, it does not mean they will develop it. Likewise, an individual who does not appear to be at risk can still develop this disorder during their lifetime.

How Is it Treated?

While there is no cure for this disease, there are medications and other medical treatments that can significantly slow the progression of the disease and increase the patient’s quality of life.

One of the more popular drug treatments is one that increases communication between cells within the brain. Progression of the disease can be stopped for a time with this treatment, but eventually, memory and mental function will begin to deteriorate. As functions break down, it’s important to work with physical and occupational therapists to prolong the functions the patient does have, and help them to adapt to what they can no longer do.

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, the patient’s happiness and general well being can still be maintained with the help of loved ones, doctors, neurologocial services and treatment. If you or a loved one are at an increased risk, it’s important to maintain proper health through diet and exercise—both physical and mental. If you suspect a loved one has this disease, it’s important they be seen immediately so they can receive proper treatment. 

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What You Should Not Do When You Have Asthma

When you are diagnosed with asthma, a chronic respiratory disease that involves the involuntary constriction and closing of the bronchial tubes and which hinders breathing, you may not know what you should do to make your condition better. You are likely tempted to completely alter everything in your life to avoid any future asthma attacks or flareups, or even to just ignore the problem entirely in an attempt to prove how tough you are. However, if you do so, you may actually make several mistakes that not only make your life more difficult, but may also inadvertently worsen your asthma and related symptoms. So, learn what not to do when you have asthma.

Do Not Ignore Treatment Protocols

If you are of the “mind over matter” persuasion, you likely take your asthma diagnosis in stride. And, when your doctor prescribes various asthma treatments, such as the use of a nebulizer, daily inhaler usage, and the use of emergency inhalers in the case of an attack, you nod and smile like the good patient you pretend to be.

However, when you get home, you forgo treatments entirely, skip days at your convenience, or, even worse, do not carry your emergency inhaler with you. Asthma is entirely manageable with proper treatment, but if you refuse to follow your treatment protocol, not only will your asthma continue to get worse, you could be putting your life in jeopardy.

If you are traveling and get a sudden asthma attack while on the highway in the middle of nowhere, the difference between your breathing and not breathing may be your emergency inhaler. But, if you don’t carry it with you, you could pass out from and even lose your life to oxygen deprivation. So, don’t take unnecessary risks, and follow your asthma treatment plan to the letter. 

Don’t Stop Exercising Or Enjoying Regular Activities

On the opposite end of the spectrum, people who are overly cautious and fearful of aggravating their asthma may severely limit their daily activities and exertions in an effort to prevent problems. However, this may actually make your asthma worse.

The lungs and bronchial tubes work just like any muscle in your body. The more you use it, the stronger it is and the better it functions. So, your regular workouts, even if they make your breathing difficult at the time, will actually help reduce your asthma symptoms and keep your lungs functioning more healthily for longer. 

You should not avoid exercise or activity in deference to your asthma. Instead, just make sure you have your emergency inhaler on-hand, and if you are involved in sports or other activities that put a great deal of pressure on your respiratory system, ask your doctor about preventive treatments you can use immediately before those activities to further prevent asthma complications.

As you can see, asthma is manageable if you know what not to do when diagnosed. Managing your asthma is a balancing act, but you should not place unnecessary limitations on yourself because of it, and at the same time should take the needed precautions to stay safe and healthy with your asthma.  For more information, visit sites like http://www.oakbrookallergists.com.

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Cataract Surgery: What To Expect Before, During And After The Procedure

Cataracts can greatly impact your ability to see the world clearly as the natural lens that covers your eye becomes cloudy. Thankfully, ophthalmologists can surgically restore your vision by replacing this natural lens with an artificial one. Knowing what to expect both during and after this procedure can help you to better understand the benefits and risks associated with cataract surgery and ultimately determine if this procedure is right for you.

What To Expect Before The Procedure

Nearly all cataract surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis at a local hospital. Typically, you will be asked to report to the hospital shortly before the procedure is scheduled to begin so that you can be prepped for surgery.

Before the procedure begins, you can expect to be given a mild sedative and to have a local anesthetic administered in your eye. While you will be awake for this procedure, the use of a sedative and local anesthesia should prevent you from feeling any discomfort or pain. If you are anxious about the idea of remaining awake for this procedure, be sure to share your feelings with your ophthalmologist prior to the day of your surgery. This will allow you to discuss the possibility of using full anesthesia if necessary.

What To Expect During The Procedure

Once you have been sedated, your surgeon will make a very small incision in the side of your cornea using a laser. Next, a micro-device that creates ultrasound vibrations will be inserted into the incision. The vibrations caused by this device work to break up the lens that covers your eye so that suction can be used to remove it.

After removing your natural lens, an artificial lens known as an intraocular lens will be implanted. Once this artificial lens is in place, your cataract surgery will be complete.

What To Expect After The Procedure

You should expect to experience mild irritation and discomfort, additional tearing, and light sensitivity in the hours directly following your surgery. These issues can be addressed through the use of over-the-counter pain medications and should subside on their own within a few days. Wearing a pair of dark glasses may also help to eliminate light sensitivity until the eye is able to heal completely.

In order to prevent infection, your surgeon will also require you to administer antibiotic eye drops for several days after the procedure.

Once the eye has healed completely, your new lens will not require any special care, however, you may need to obtain a new eyeglass prescription as most people see a dramatic improvement in their vision after undergoing cataract surgery.

For more information, contact Alta View Eye Care Center or a similar location.

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Your Smartphone May Aid You In Preventive Skin Care

About 5 million people are treated for skin cancer in the United States each year, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation. In fact, in the past 30 years, more people have been diagnosed with skin cancer than all other kinds of cancer combined. Skin cancer, unlike most other types of cancer, is preventable by using sunscreen, limiting sun exposure and staying away from tanning beds. Visiting your dermatologist regularly is a key component of skin cancer prevention, but certain smartphone apps might help reduce your risk, as well. Keep in mind, however, that these apps should never replace your biannual or annual dermatologist appointments.

How the Apps Work

Most smartphone apps designed to decrease your risk of skin cancer require you to take photographs of your skin, including any moles or marks you have, and upload them to the app. Some apps provide information about the risk of skin cancer based on the appearance of the moles while others allow you to send pictures to dermatologists who will provide more information, including whether you need to make an appointment. If you’re considering using a skin cancer app, choose one that allows you to send images to a doctor because these tend to be the most accurate and beneficial.

Benefits of the Apps

One of the primary benefits of smartphone apps designed to detect possible skin cancer, is that it gets people thinking about and paying attention to their skin. For example, if a consumer downloads one of the apps and takes careful photos of the skin, including moles and marks, that person has a more accurate picture of skin condition than someone who doesn’t pay attention to marks on the skin. The apps that allow consumers to send images of their skin to a dermatologist can help diagnose potential problems, especially in people who can’t afford or are scared to go to the doctor.

Potential Drawbacks of the Apps

Consumers shouldn’t rely on smartphone technology to take control of their health. While the apps can certainly help, one drawback is that some people might rely solely on the apps for their health care rather than seeing a doctor on a regular basis. Another potential drawback is that some apps might inaccurately diagnose a mark as benign when it’s, in fact, malignant or diagnose one as malignant when it’s really nothing to worry about. An app that tells a patient that their skin is healthy and that they have no worrisome moles might lead to delay of treatment when there is actually a problem.  

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When To Seek Medical Care During Pregnancy: Signs Of Trouble

When you find out that you are pregnant, it is one of the happiest times of your life. You also quickly come to the realization that you are fully responsible for another life growing inside of you. This realization makes taking care of your health your number one priority. As such, you need to be sure that you know all of the situations or scenarios in which you need to seek immediate medical attention in the ER. That way you can be sure that you are taking the best possible care of your health and the health of your growing baby. 

Bleeding Any Time During Pregnancy

Extremely light bleeding or spotting early on in pregnancy is a fairly common symptom that women experience. This bleeding often resolves itself in a day or two and can usually be attributed to the time when the fertilized egg implants into the uterus. Spotting can occur at virtually any time in the first trimester, and can often have no effect on the health of your pregnancy.

However, because bleeding (even small amounts) can be a sign of ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, or other health problems, you will still want to contact your doctor for advice. If the bleeding becomes heavier, you should seek immediate medical attention for evaluation and treatment. 

Accidents or Physical Trauma

When you are pregnant, any accident or physical trauma you endure could be worrisome. If you suffer from a fall on stairs, walking down the street, or in the shower, you should go to the ER to get checked out. While the trauma may seem minor, it could have serious effects on your unborn baby. 

Additionally, any injury directly to the abdomen, or traumas such as a car accident (even minor) also warrant immediate medical care. You can use your discretion to determine whether or not an accident warrants medical attention to a certain extent. However, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Severe Abdominal Cramping

Early in your pregnancy, very minor cramping is a common symptom. These minor cramps usually occur as the uterus swells and grows when the egg is implanted and subsides within the early weeks of your first trimester. 

However, if the cramping is severe and/or occurs later in the pregnancy, you could be experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, or early labor. An examination and ultrasound at the doctor’s office or the er can help to determine the cause of your cramping and get the problem resolved as quickly as possible.

When you are pregnant, your health is your number one priority. To ensure that you take the best possible care of yourself, it is important for you to know the situations when you need to seek emergency medical care. If you know what to look out for, you can stay safe and healthy throughout your pregnancy.   

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The Many Roles Of An Unpaid Caregiver

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are more than 34 million unpaid caregivers in the U.S. — most of whom are family members and friends. In many ways, lay caregivers have more responsibilities than paid caregivers. If you are considering being a caregiver, it’s likely that you will play multiple roles in your efforts to contribute to your love one’s overall well being.

Providing Personal Care and Keeping the Household Running

Sick or elderly individuals often have difficulty performing necessary daily routines without assistance. Although you need to help your loved one remain as independent as possible, as a family caregiver, you may be responsible for:

  • Helping the person with the daily activities of living, including bathing, dressing, undressing, grooming, and using the toilet. When mobility is a problem, you must help the person walk or transfer from bed or a chair.

  • Making sure the person eats, sleeps, and takes the prescribed medications.

  • Preparing meals and performing household chores.

  • Shopping, banking, and running other necessary errands.

  • Paying bills, taking care of insurance issues, and completing required paperwork. Managing your loved one’s finances usually involves knowing what services, resources, and financial assistance are available and then providing the requested information and documents.

Providing Health Care Support

A family caregiver is as much a member of the person’s health care team as all the medical professionals involved. In providing health care support, you are responsible for:

  • Seeing that prescriptions are filled.

  • Giving medications at the scheduled times.

  • Performing range-of-motion exercises as instructed by the physical therapist if movement and mobility are problems.

  • Reporting any side effects, new symptoms, worsening symptoms, and other changes in the individual’s health condition to the doctors or visiting nurses.

  • Taking the person for medical appointments and outpatient therapies or treatments.

Providing Emotional Support

A caregiver’s role extends beyond providing personal care and medical support in helping the person live as normal a life as possible. You can give emotional support by:

  • Maintaining a positive attitude. It’s important not to take a sick loved one’s frustrations and anger personally. The person’s agitation and resistance may be the result of chronic pain or cognitive issues and not you. It’s best to remain calm in these situations to prevent you and your loved one from experiencing additional stress.

  • Listening when the person talks. Sick individuals often need to share their feelings of anger, frustration, and sadness with someone. Chronic pain and illness can bring on depression, but reaching out to others for support can help.

  • Showing you care even if with a simple gesture like holding the person’s hand.

  • Respecting your loved one’s need to be alone sometimes.

Providing Social Support

Whether your loved one is sick or disabled, a person’s well being includes meeting the need for social interaction and companionship. You can offer social support by:

  • Assisting the person in staying connected to others by communicating through letter-writing, text messaging, emailing, or making telephone calls. Even if a loved one is home bound, it’s important for the person to continue to nurture family relationships and close friendships.

  • Keeping your loved one involved in life. Encourage the person to see visitors regularly and attend social gatherings when feeling up to it physically. If the person can’t go out, bring other people in. Ask the person’s minister to visit, and invite over friends from church groups and social clubs.

If attending to all these needs seem overwhelming, consider hiring a professional service, like Accu-Care Nursing Service Inc, to help even a little with your loved one who is need of assistance.

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3 Things That Can Help You Care For Your Elderly Parent

Caring for an elderly parent can be very rewarding, but it can also be very challenging and time consuming. If you are working, busy with your children, or simply have a full schedule, there are certain things that you can do to make caring for your elderly parent just a bit easier and more manageable. This article will discuss 3 different things that can help you get the help you need to care for your parent, while still allowing them to live with you. 

Adult Day Care

If there are certain days where you are working, won’t be home to take care of your parents, and/or can’t take them with you, then you can take them to an adult day care such as Independent Days Adult Care Center, Inc. This adult day care will allow them to get the medical care that they need, while interacting with others that are their same age and have similar health related issues. They will be able to watch movies, play games, and otherwise interact with their peers. They will also receive any medicines that they need, and will be well fed while they are there. 

Help and Support of Family

Another great way to make caring for your parent more manageable is to spread out the responsibility among your family members. Talk with your older children, spouse, and siblings, and explain to them what tasks you need help with. You can have them take care of the basic tasks that your parent needs, such as feeding, dressing, hygiene, cleaning, etc. You can also have those in your family with a driver’s license drive your parent to and from doctor’s appointments. This will not only help you to better care for your parent, but it will also give your children, spouse, and siblings that opportunity to spend some quality time with someone they love.  

Personal Nurse

Your parent will likely need a nurse to help take care of them, so rather than driving them to the nurse each day, you can instead hire a nurse to come to your home. This nurse will be able to give your parent any medicine, oxygen, or medical tests that they may need on a regular basis. Even better than hiring a nurse, is having one in your family who is willing to help you. Either way, this nurse will make caring for your parent much easier because you won’t have to spend countless hours driving to and from the nurse’s medical office.

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