Tag Archives: diseases

Stroke. General Information

stroke

Stroke occupies one of the leading positions among diseases representing a mortal danger to humans. The problem is that in early stages it is quite difficult to recognize this disease. A little numbness in the arm, dizziness, being tongue-tied – few people will attach importance to these symptoms. Neither the patient nor his family can even know that at this time a brain disaster is happening. Meanwhile, the person’s life often depends on competent and immediate action of those who are close by. It is therefore useful to know the causes of stroke, its symptoms and the way to act in a critical situation.

At the situation with stroke literally every minute counts. Depending on how quickly and accurately people surrounding the patient find the way around the situation, depends not only on the possibility of further recovery but first of all the person’s life. Because of a stroke, millions of people die each year. And this disease spares nobody – neither men nor women, neither old nor young people.

Risk Factors
In recent years stroke “became much younger”. Cases of the disease in people aged 25-30 years surprise no one anymore. This is facilitated by a number of factors – from inheritance to bad habits. The main risk factors for stroke include:

• Arterial hypertension
• Increased level of cholesterol in the blood
• Alcohol abuse
• Constant stress
• Smoking
• Sedentary lifestyle, obesity
• Malnutrition (excess of salty, spicy, fatty foods)

In addition, more strokes are registered in the elderly. And if under the age of 60 years, men are susceptible to this disease more than women, after 60 years, the situation changes – women suffer from strokes more often. As for the adverse outcome, the death rate from stroke is higher among men.

The mortality rate in stroke is conditioned by the fact that the people, who were near, did not attach importance to suspicious symptoms, were confused and did not call an ambulance in time. And the precious minutes were slipping away, taking with them the chances of the person to survive. The mortality rate in strokes depends directly on how quickly the qualified medical assistance was provided

Each of us is exposed to stroke risk, and at any moment someone next to you might need an emergency. And if you know how stroke manifests itself, what to do if it happens, thus you can save the life of this person.

Important!
The sooner the medical assistance will be provided in stroke, the lower is the probability of death and the risk that the person will be for a lifetime confined to a wheelchair.

What is a stroke?
A stroke is a syndrome of acute cerebrovascular accident, which leads to the development of certain neurological disorders. In accordance with the genesis strokes can be divided into ischemic and hemorrhagic. The first one is caused by the blockage of cerebral vessel by thrombus or embolus, the second one is characterized by a rupture of the vessel. In both cases circulatory failure occurs and, consequently, the loss of a certain area of the brain tissue. Cells located in the midst of disaster, are often beyond repair. However, around this “dead” area there is a zone of reversible changes – for this area actually the struggle in the treatment of the patient is unfolding. And here every minute counts: the time during which the cells can resuscitate in the zone of reversible changes is only three hours after the stroke. It is essential to keep within this so-called “therapeutic window” to minimize the affected area.

How to recognize the symptoms of stroke
Stroke symptoms in most cases occur already in the first minutes of the disease. And everyone can recognize them. During the stroke the brain cells, deprived of normal blood supply, begin to die, that may manifest itself by the following symptoms:

• Sharp headache
• Severe dizziness, incoordination
• Weakness, numbness of the muscles on one side of the body
• Speech problems (retardation, smudging, complete inability to pronounce sounds)
• Blackouts, a sense of the blurred image, double objects, reduction of vision
• Confusion or loss of consciousness (usually short-time)
• Disorientation (confusion in the dates, the inability to determine location, the lack of in-touch capability, a person cannot recognize the loved ones)
• Hallucinations

Do not ignore the alarming symptoms, even if they were short-term. At the slightest suspicion of a stroke, for example, if a person stumbled several times for no reason, or just for a few seconds lost consciousness, use the rule of SSR:

• S – smile
Ask the person to smile. During the stroke muscle paralysis or paresis occurs usually on one side of the body, resulting in the curved smile – on the affected side the mouth will be downward-sloping.

• S – speak
Try to speak to the stroke victim, asking him to say any simple phrase, such as “It is raining outside.” During a stroke the speech is usually disturbed, it becomes incoherent or hindered.

• R – raise the arms
Ask the stroke victim to raise both arms up simultaneously. During the stroke one arm will fall or go sideways.

If doubts remain, ask the person to put out tongue. During a stroke it usually sinks down to one side. If the afflicted person has at least one symptom of a stroke – immediately call an ambulance! At the same time as accurately as possible, list all of the symptoms. Even if the signs of a stroke were short-term, and the afflicted person recovered quickly, it is important to convince him to seek medical help.

One should know that frivolous at first glance symptoms of a stroke almost in 100% of cases are indicative of serious brain dysfunctions. And this, in turn, can cause serious consequences that can chain the afflicted person to a bed or wheelchair, and even lead to death.

WHAT A SENIOR SHOULD KNOW ABOUT FLU

flu

Flu (Influenza) is an acute respiratory disease of viral etiology, occurring with symptoms of general intoxication and damage of respiratory tract. The influenza virus is very easily passed. The most common route of infection – airborne. Another route of virus transmission is also possible (although much rarer) and that is infection through various articles of daily use.

Flu is a severe viral infection that affects people regardless of sex or age. This is an acute disease that is characterized by an acute toxicosis, catarrhal symptoms in the form of rhinitis, stuffiness in nose and cough with bronchi lesion.

Flu in elderly patients causes the largest number of complications, and it is quite difficult to cure it, because the immune system of people after 59 years is significantly weakened.
The regular flu can turn into a tragedy for an elderly person who is suffering from chronic diseases.

What is different about the flu in elderly patients against the flu in people of other age categories?

Peculiarities of influenza in seniors

- The majority of people of this age group have not one, but a whole bunch of chronic diseases, therefore, the flu in such patients will proceed particularly hard with possible hospitalization.

- The frequency of complications after the recent flu in this age category is many times higher than the permissible percentage (up to 70% of flu cases have serious complications on the cardiovascular system, lungs, kidneys, acute exacerbation of chronic diseases).

- The risk of death in a case of severe influenza among the elderly is several times larger than that of middle-aged people, frequently visiting the areas with large concentrations of people. This means that a person of the age 35-40 years with a chronic disease and always using subway services, is less likely to get sick during the seasonal flu period than the older man, who came in a regular store to buy some bread, and the risk of getting a severe complication is significantly higher for an older person.

- Elderly people at the age of 65 and over, especially living alone, seriously suffer from flu, because they have to take care of themselves, and therefore, during the first 3-4 days there is a high risk of dehydration and increasing stress on heart.

- Unlike young people, seniors get sick with flu faster, stay sick longer, and often do not seek medical advice, engaging in self-treatment, or come absolutely sick to a clinic, becoming a source of infection for other people, and exposing themselves to a risk of complications, incompatible with life.

- Seniors have an extremely weakened immune system, so the flu will progress rapidly, causing complications.

- Elderly people impaired cough reflex, which leads to stagnation of bronchial mucus, which in its turn causes complications connected with the respiratory system of the sick person, provokes heart failure and may cause death.

- The presence of chronic diseases with a large number of medicines do not always allow vaccinating an elderly person.

How does the flu manifest itself in elderly patients?

The flu manifests itself approximately the same as that of other people, but older people suffer through the flu much harder – organism can no longer serve them as truly as before, the work of many organs, including the immune ones, is partially impaired.

Flu symptoms:

• Fever
• Total weakening of the whole body
• Chills
• Headache and muscle aches
• Severe fatigue that lasts up to three weeks
• The pressure in the chest, cough, runny nose
• Dry throat and nose
• Difficulty in breathing
• Sometimes gastrointestinal disorders may appear in seniors with flu: nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. However, these symptoms are more characteristic of childhood.

Possible flu complications in seniors

These complications can manifest themselves not immediately but that doesn’t make them less serious. Sometimes, in particularly difficult cases, there are several complications, for example, bronchitis and tonsillitis. Also, the symptoms of long-standing chronic diseases may aggravate, which a person previously disturbed a person, and now resumed after or with the onset of flu.

• Dehydration of the whole body
• Tonsillitis of different species
• Pneumonia
• Bronchitis
• Tracheitis
• Laryngitis
• Rhinitis

Therefore, when having any of flu complications one should immediately seek medical attention. The earlier the treatment is started, the greater is the chance to avoid more serious complications.

How to prevent flu in elderly people?

A young person can easily cope with flu in a week, but for an elderly person this disease can be fatal. Or it is rather difficult to cure. Every day of life of our beloved ones is very valuable to us, and we do not want them to suffer. Therefore it is very important to help seniors to protect themselves from the flu.

The best protection against the flu is annual vaccination.
Practice shows that vaccinations that are properly selected and are done at the right time, reduce the risk of flu by 80%. Studies show that vaccination in the elderly can reduce mortality rate due to influenza in nearly 90% of cases, and the possibility of hospitalization – up to 70%. These are very large numbers. Behind them – a lot of lives.

How to treat the flu properly in seniors?

Flu treatment in elderly patients is not limited to pharmacy drugs. To eliminate dehydration and remove toxins it is necessary to drink plenty of warm fluids (not soda). It can be fruit drinks, brews, teas, mineral water without gas.

Also, you need to protect yourself from stress – for a weakened organism, it is destructive, moreover, it disrupts the nervous and immune systems.

In old age, almost all people are taking some medicines. Therefore, you must make sure that these drugs can be combined with preparations for the prevention of influenza or its treatment. Your doctor should consult you on this question.

The usual medication for the elderly, eliminating the symptoms of flu at the initial stage is Relenza (zanamivir) or Tamiflu (oseltamivir). If you take these medications (one of them) for two days after noticing flu symptoms, the disease will significantly reduce its course and will be suffered through much easier than without treatment. Flu in seniors can be prevented if they would take good care of their health. But if you are already sick, see a doctor immediately, because in this case, timing is critical.

Seek medical advice immediately if the following symptoms occur:
- If you start feeling difficulty in breathing
- Flu symptoms do not improve, but worsen after 3 or 4 days
- After the flu symptoms improved, and then suddenly the symptoms of a more serious illness started developing: nausea, vomiting, high fever, chest pain or expectoration of yellow-green mucus.

Take care of your beloved ones and stay healthy!

Heart Attack: Symptoms and Prevention

heart-attack

The human heart is primarily a muscular organ. It performs many functions in our body, violation of at least one of them leads to serious disruptions in the whole body. Quite often many of us do not pay attention to the alarm bells of the heart, telling that it is just the time to start taking care of it. We work ourselves ragged, smoke a lot and laugh too little, worry too much about trifles and do almost no exercises or sports. So we can say about almost every resident of the modern metropolis. And that doesn’t do any good to our heart.

Most of the cardiovascular diseases begin with poor lifestyle and the gradual “clogging” of the arteries. Heart disease should be diagnosed by a doctor after a comprehensive analysis. However, the symptoms of these diseases should be known to anyone, even to people, who are very far from medicine.

A heart attack, which can very often be provoked by abovementioned, is known as a terrible disease, taking human lives. Heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction, leads the list of causes of death. But what factors contribute to heart attacks and how to avoid it?

When the access of the blood flow to the heart muscle is blocked, it does not get enough oxygen, part of the heart tissue begins to die, and there comes a heart attack.

Blocking of blood flow to the heart occurs because of the presence in the coronary arteries of sufficiently large blood clots, known as plaques. When the plaque blocks the artery, it blocks the path for blood to the heart. Without blood flow the heart doesn’t get oxygen and part of its tissues start to deteriorate, or even die.

The plaques may start to appear in coronary arteries already in childhood. Over the years the situation may worsen. By themselves, the plaque may partially restrict the access of blood to the heart, then angina starts – a disease that increases greatly the possibility of heart attack.

Let us consider the symptoms of a heart attack

The most typical manifestation of myocardial infarction is the appearance of pain. The pain may arise in the left half of the body, in the arm before forearm, in scapula, in the left side of the neck. It is also possible to feel pain in hands, in the lower jaw, in shoulder area, and in the upper abdomen. The pain is long-standing and can be squeezing, stabbing, burning and aching in nature.

Characteristic symptoms indicative of a heart attack, is the shortness of breath, which manifests itself even at minimal activity, and may also be felt at rest. This happens because of the fact that the heart does not receive the needed quantity of blood for its normal functioning. A person may also feel weakness. Sweating may increase greatly.

Attention should be paid to functioning of the heart also in case of increased fatigue. This feeling of fatigue may persist for several days, weeks without any special attention to be paid to it. A heart attack may also be accompanied with stomach pain, nausea and vomiting. In most cases, these symptoms are not associated with a heart disease, but one should pay attention to them, if they occur on the basis of normal food consumption and are not associated with the reception of poor nutrition. Sometimes a temporary loss of consciousness happens.

Heart attacks may be preceded by increased heart rate, which manifests itself in a form of rapid and disordered pulse.
Precursors of a heart attack can also be such conditions as anxiety, feeling of discomfort, insomnia.

People with diabetes, and / or those who are over 75 years may have “silent heart attack.” Such a heart attack is not accompanied by any pain sensations.

Reasons that increase the risk of heart attack

• Age: Age is considered one of the major risk factors. In men over 45, women over 55, the risk of having a heart attack raises a lot.

• Angina: a disease, which increases the risk of a heart attack. The major difference between a heart attack and angina is that having angina the patient will feel better within 15-30 minutes after taking the medication, and the patient having a heart attack will feel no improvement.

• The level of cholesterol in blood: if a person has increased cholesterol level, the risk of blood clots formation in the arteries increases. The clots can block the blood flow to the heart muscle, and this can lead to a heart attack.

• Diabetes: People with diabetes are unfortunately at a higher risk of development of a number of diseases and conditions, many of which contribute to increased risk of a heart attack.

• Diet: People consuming large quantities of animal or saturated fats has a higher risk of a heart attack.

• Genes: a person may inherit a predisposition to heart diseases.

• Heart surgeries: patients who had undergone a heart surgery have more chances to suffer from a heart attack.

Hypertension (high blood pressure): the disease also increases the risk of heart attack, and hypertension itself can develop due to a lack of physical activity, overweight, diabetes, family diseases history and some other factors.

• Physical inactivity: people who lead a sedentary lifestyle, have much higher risk of heart attack than people who lead an active lifestyle.

• Previous heart attack: anyone who has had a heart attack, are to a much greater extent than other people at risk of heart attack.

• Smoking: people who smoke regularly, are also at risk of a heart attack.

• Excessive body weight (obesity)

Prevention

Is there any prevention of myocardial infarction or how to avoid it?
We can answer this question in the following way: something we are destined by nature (we can not escape from such risk factors as age and heredity), but there are a number of factors which we can influence, so that at least delay the time of the heart attack.

1. Control of body weight. In people who are overweight, the load on the heart increases, together with the risk of hypertension and diabetes development.

2. Regular physical exercise. Physical activity leads to the improvement of metabolism, and hence weight loss. It is proved that regular exercise lowers for 30% the risk of recurrent myocardial infarction in those who have suffered it. A set of exercises and the level of activity is chosen by your doctor.

3. Quitting the bad habits. Scientists have already long ago proved that smoking and alcohol consumption significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. In people who do not want to give up the destructive habits, the risk to have a recurrent heart attack increases twice.

4. Control of blood cholesterol levels. All people older than 45 are recommended to regularly monitor the parameters of lipid metabolism, as atherosclerosis is one of the major causes of cardiovascular problems.

5. Control of blood pressure as at arterial hypertension the load on the heart increases significantly.

6. Diet. It is recommended to limit consumption of salt, foods containing large amounts of cholesterol, and high-melting fats. The diet should increase the amount of fruits and vegetables containing fiber, vitamins and minerals, and seafood.

7. Receiving preparations containing acetylsalicylic acid. Aspirin is included in the standard of not only treatment of myocardial infarction, but also its prevention. For the selection of the optimal dosage and selection of a particular drug you should consult a doctor.

8. Avoid stressful situations and learn to manage stress.

DEHYDRATION IN SENIORS: all you need to know about this illness

dehydration in seniors
The normal course of vital processes both, in a healthy state, and in the cases of illness, regardless of age requires maintaining the stability of the internal environment of the tissues, for example, temperatures, acidity, concentrations of various substances, such as sugar, mineral salts and other. The regulatory apparatus serves to maintain these normal conditions, or the so-called homeostasis. Unfortunately, the regulatory and metabolic processes of elderly people are not as perfect as they used to be at a young age, and perhaps therefore dehydration occurs very often in geriatric patients.

The proportion of water to our body weight is approximately 60%, however this number is slightly larger at a young age that in the elderly. Water is in the blood vessels, in intercellular space and in the cells themselves. Water is a solvent for the salts, proteins, lipids and other substances forming our body. A balance between intake and loss of water indicates about the normal water parameters. Drinking liquid depends on access to its source, from mental factors and the sensitivity of the thirst center, which can be found in the brain.

One should not underestimate the role of water for our body. The insufficient amount of water in the body may result in devastating consequences, causing the development of many diseases. And on the contrary, this state itself – dehydration – can be kind of a signal of the developing diseases. Thuswise it is extremely important to have sufficient information about dehydration.

Dehydration may appear at any age but the most dangerous it is to elderly people and children. That is why it is so significant for caregivers to learn more about the symptoms and reasons of dehydration, and understand how to prevent it.

The main reasons of dehydration

There are several reasons that lead a person to dehydration. Among the major factors of fluid loss can be identified the following:

• long-term overheating in the open sun – heat stroke;
• excessive sweating;
• loss of water due to some gastrointestinal tract diseases -diarrhea, vomiting;
• inadequate nutrition;
• temperature changes during fever;
• increased urine output at different diseases, such as diabetes, Addison’s disease, kidney disease, hyperparathyroidism, incorrect use of diuretics;
• decreased feeling of thirst, and as a result drinking not enough water;
• poor kidney function;
• for disabled or frail seniors – inability to reach a glass of water or sometimes it is just difficult or painful for them to get up from the chair to get some drink.

In a normal state blood plasma is composed of 90% of water. The lack or thickening of blood provokes constriction of peripheral capillaries and vessels, which manifests itself in the hemodynamic disturbances – hypotension, vegetative-vascular disorders or hypertension. In cases when the stage of dehydration is extremely severe, it often ends in death.

Symptoms and signs of dehydration

A major indicator of dehydration is a quick weight loss. In just a few days you can lose up to several pounds. A quick weight loss (when you lose more than 10% of your body’s total weight) is considered severe. The problem is in the fact that very often it is hard to distinguish signs of dehydration from the symptoms of other diseases, but, in general, dehydration has the following signs:

• viscous saliva, dry mouth;
• increased thirst;
• mucous membrane of the eye cannot tear;
• wrinkled skin;
• swings of emotional state – at first excitement, then – sudden irritability;
• a slight dizziness;
• decreased urination, at the same time urine has a dark color;
• cooling of the limbs;
• skin numbness;
• occurrence of muscle cramps.

In severe cases of dehydration you may observe the following signs:
• severe dizziness, which occurs in the supine position;
• changes in behavioral responses – a sharp sense of fear, inattention, embarrassment, etc .;
• lightheadedness, shown after 2 minutes after lifting;
• weakness in limbs, when you cannot get up or move around;
• rapid breathing and weak pulse;
• clammy and cold skin, and sometimes the opposite – hot and dry;
• no urination for more than 12 hours;
• loss of consciousness.

Prevention of dehydration

The danger of dehydration consequences is so high that at times it can cost too much. In order not to expose your body to such endurance it is necessary to prevent possible dehydration in the very first stage. To prevent dehydration some simple recommendations should be followed:

1. In dry weather, during long journeys, active physical activity or high body temperature, always have on hand a bottle of water.
2. Make sure that children and the elderly in your family consume a sufficient amount of fluid per day.
3. Avoid exercise, when the weather is hot and dry.
4. Avoid alcohol, especially in hot weather, because it blocks the ability to feel the symptoms of the first stage of dehydration.
5. In sunny and dry days, try to wear clothing in bright colors, preferably made of natural fabrics and loose-fitting.
6. Try to be in the shade or air-conditioned environments.
7. Healthy eating is also important – the diet should include food containing water, such as fruits, vegetables, soups.

Take care of your loved ones and help them to hydrate normally. And mind, that cases of severe dehydration need an urgent medical attention.

Senior Dental Health

Senior Couple In Bathroom Brushing Teeth

Aging affects functioning of the whole body, but often, people are just not aware or are not prepared for some health issues. In today’s article we will introduce the readers to the most common age-related oral diseases.

Xerostomia (dry mouth)
Reduction of salivation can be caused by a range of factors, including the receipt of certain medications, Sjogren’s syndrome or radiation therapy of tumors in the head and neck area. Saliva provides a natural protection of the mouth, washing away food debris and preventing the uncontrolled growth of pathogenic bacteria. In case of insufficient secretion of saliva greatly increases the risk of caries and periodontal disease, which, in their turn, entail other problems of dental health.

Darkening of the teeth
It happens due to the thinning of the enamel (the underlying layer of dentin, which has a darker color, becomes visible through the thin enamel), and prolonged use of food and drinks leading to changes in enamel color. Very often it is possible to return the whiteness by simple teeth whitening procedure, whereas in some cases more complex procedures of cosmetic dentistry may be required.

Tooth root caries
As a result of aging and deterioration of oral health care, the recession (lowering) of the gums is frequently observed. The result is the exposure of the tooth root, which is much less protected and more vulnerable to the development of caries.

Periodontal disease
This disease is typical not only for elderly people, it occurs in people of all ages. However, taking into consideration the long progression of the disease, its severe forms are more specific to elderly people. The longer period the disease remains undetected, the greater amount of oral tissues get involved in the pathological process. Although periodontal disease is caused by dental plaque, there are other factors increasing the risk or severity of the disease. They include food debris between the teeth, smoking, occlusion pathologies, poorly made dental prostheses, malnutrition and systemic diseases (such diseases like anemia, diabetes). Although the periodontal disease occurs because of disorders in the whole body, its development may be prevented. At early stages the symptoms of the disease can be completely eliminated. The treatment at the later stages may require surgical intervention. If you notice any of these symptoms: redness, swelling and bleeding gums, mobility of teeth, bad taste and bad breath, there is an urgent need to consult your dentist.

Which factors complicate the gum diseases?
- Poor diet
- Insufficient oral hygiene
- Chronic diseases such as some heart diseases, diabetes and cancer.
- External factors such as stress and smoking
- Some medications that can affect the condition of the gums

It is important to note that the prevention of gingivitis and periodontal disease can help keep your teeth until old age.

Teeth loss
It happens due to many reasons, including the following: as a result of periodontal disease, injury, or tooth decay which was left untreated. The lost tooth should be replaced as soon as possible to prevent misalignment of teeth, which can cause malocclusion and lead to dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

Stomatitis caused by wearing dentures
The reason for inflammation of the soft tissues under the dentures can become bad-fitting dentures, insufficient oral hygiene or yeast-like fungi Candida albicans.

How to prevent dental problems in the elderly
First and foremost is a thorough oral hygiene throughout the whole life. Proper oral hygiene lies in brushing teeth, at least two times a day during two minutes, every day flossing and using antibacterial mouthwashes.
With age, even usual oral hygiene may for many people become quite a challenge, due to developing arthritis or loss of strength and manual dexterity. Fortunately, now many products that can help in this situation began to appear on the market. In addition, it is important not to miss any scheduled visit to your dentist to carry out preventive examinations and some professional oral hygiene.

Take care about your teeth and stay healthy!

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

RA-and-normal

Joint diseases occur in people of all ages. And it should be noted that diseases of the musculoskeletal system “get younger” every year. More and more of young population is suffering from arthritis, and already almost half of seniors over 65 have this disease. Thus, the prevalence of arthritis today is enormous.

In addition to such extensive prevalence, it is important to pay attention to the insidiousness of the disease. Many people are seeing the doctor too late, when the pain becomes unbearable, and there are restrictions in joint mobility.

Arthritis is an inflammatory disease characterized by affecting the joint’s inner lining. Localization, origin and course of arthritis may be different, but always accompanied by pain, redness, swelling, and limitation in joint mobility, particularly expressed in the morning.

Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects the elderly. It becomes the reason of inflammation of joints and tissues surrounding them. This significantly affects their function and quality of life. For the disease not to develop further, and for a person not to lose the ability to work, it is necessary to slow down the inflammatory process.

So what rheumatoid arthritis is?

Rheumatoid arthritis is known as an autoimmune disease in which the lymphocytes begin to struggle with own body. It is a chronic inflammatory damage of joints and surrounding tissues. Arthritis develops in connective tissue and causes erosive changes in it. After the inner lining of joints is inflamed, the joint liquid starts to be produced in them intensively. Eventually the joint becomes immobile and any movement results in acute pain. Sometimes there is a thickening of the joint, which is distributed to other tissues, ligaments are affected and a person may become invalid.

Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common for women. Most often the disease affects the smokers. This disease may appear after earlier cold, after injury or if you have a source of infection in your body.

The causes of rheumatoid arthritis

The causes of the arthritis development in seniors are immunological and biochemical changes. Autoimmune changes occur in the connective tissue of joints. Regular hypothermia can also cause the development of rheumatoid arthritis. There are studies proving that there is some genetic predisposition to rheumatoid arthritis. Smoking and viral infections play quite a remarkable role in the development of the disease.

High physical loads on joints upregulate rheumatoid arthritis. For example, when the knees or other joints are often heavily loaded. During pregnancy a woman’s body has a double load, and this directly affects the joints.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

The development of the disease is slow, and therefore often remains unnoticed at an early stage. The following symptoms are usually appearing first:

1) a slight increase in body temperature;
2) general weariness;
3) rapid fatigability;
4) loss of appetite;
5) weight loss;
6) weakness.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects whole groups of joints, polyarthritis develops. The joints’ lesion occurs symmetrically. Rheumatoid arthritis in the elderly differs from rheumatoid arthritis in other people by the fact that it always begins acute and all the symptoms are expressed brightly. After the development of inflammatory process, the joint pain appears, they start to swell. People start feeling joint stiffness.

The treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in seniors

Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in older people has its own peculiarities:
1) timely diagnosis of the disease;
2) determining the appropriate treatment regimen and further prognosis;
3) modifying medications;
4) taking into account peculiarities of metabolism in patients of geriatric age;
5) relief of inflammation;
6) antidepressants (if necessary);
7) training in nutrition, sleep and rest schedules.

The treatment regimens are prepared by the doctor considering the possible risk of side effects and compatibility of medications.
Any person, who has received a chronic incurable disease, can become depressed. But the sooner a person realizes that the power of will and thirst for life can work wonders, the quicker his condition will become easier. Rheumatoid arthritis is not a sentence, with proper treatment and appropriate psychological mood it is quite possible to live a full life with it.

age-related-eye-disorders-2

Age-Related Eye Disorders. Part 2

Age-related changes

Even if you manage to avoid serious ailments, with age gradual and barely noticeable changes anyway occur in your body. For example, the pupil decreases in size, which limits the amount of light incoming into the eye. A crystal clear lens of the eye gradually turns yellow, losing its transparency and acting like a filter for the camera, which absorbs some part of the light. This usually leads to essential reduction in the quantity and color intensity of light reaching the retina.

In addition, at a younger age photoreceptors, contained in retina (rods and cones) were positioned close to each other, now their density has decreased so less and less relevant cells can respond to the falling on the retina light. All these factors lead to the fact that, according to research, a person at the age of 80 requires 10 times more light than a twenty-five year old.

With age the ability of the eye to adapt to darkness and restore vision in bright light decrease greatly. Most of all this affects the color vision and vision in darkness, as both of them depend on the illumination intensity.

Against this background, many serious eye diseases are developing in elderly people. In the previous article we described two of them, cataract and glaucoma. In this article we will talk about age-related macular degeneration, which may lead to a complete blindness, and about diabetic retinopathy.

Age-related macular degeneration
Macula is a small part of retina that is most sensitive to light and allows you to see the smallest details. To clearly see something, you automatically turn the eyes so that the image falls exactly on the macula, and for the clearest distinction of details they need to get to the central macular fosse. Macular degeneration is an atrophy of macula. Also being, in fact, a nervous tissue of the brain, retina is particularly sensitive to a decrease in blood flow and / or bleeding.

In this case (decrease in blood flow and / or bleeding), the macula loses some of its ability to distinguish the image, which may lead to a slight or even severe impairment of vision. In old age exactly macular degeneration is one of the main causes of visual deterioration.

If the problem is in the rupture of a blood vessel, in this case laser therapy can advantageously be applied to block it, on the condition that the vessel is not too close to the macula. If the problem is the insufficient blood supply, the direct way to influence it does not exist. There is some evidence that in this case some certain diets are useful, for example, products with a high content of zinc and antioxidant vitamins.

In people with this disease, blindness rarely develops, but a sharp reduction of visual acuity develops. This disease deprives a person from the ability to read, drive and perform many other everyday functions. Additionally, the ability to distinguish shades disappears.

Approximately 46% of people over 75 years old may have different stages of this disease. Similarly to cataract and glaucoma this disease can be inherited.
Giving up smoking, in case if you are a smoker, will give a great chance to slow down the course of the disease or to reduce greatly the chances of its development!

Diabetic retinopathy
A person can get sick with diabetes at any age, but complications with vision are usually seen in older age, they have the ability to “accumulate”. Patients with diabetes, who do not see a doctor or “deceive themselves” with diets or drugs, risks to lose their eyesight. When a person has diabetes, the tiny blood vessels of the ocular fundus are affected – they clog, bleed, form a messy accumulation. This phenomenon is called diabetic retinopathy, and it often leads to blindness. In this case, laser treatments are successfully used. People with diabetes are also more prone to cataracts.

People with diabetes may have the following effects:
1. Rapid changes in vision or experiencing difficulty reading, which may happen in days or weeks. They are usually caused by a change or an increase in the sugar content in blood.
2. When looking at the brightly lit areas some spots appear. This is often a sign of bleeding in the eye or it may also indicate a retinal detachment.
3. Loss of some portions of the field of vision. The cause of this may be the tissues’ swelling due to local bleeding.

All these diseases are very serious, and can lead to visual disability, if they are not timely detected and an appropriate treatment isn’t started. It is therefore extremely important at the slightest visual impairment or unexplained symptoms to visit an eye specialist.

age-related-eye-disorders

Age-Related Eye Disorders. Part 1

There are four seasons in a year, and the same way there are four seasons in our lives.
Unlike the calendar autumn, the autumn of life comes once and for ever. Autumn always brings us a lot of joy showing its beauty through the multiple vivid colors of the parks and gardens, carpets of leaves under our feet, the last warm and splendid days of Indian summer… Autumn of life also brings a lot of bright feelings and impressions – a rest that was well deserved throughout your life, the long-awaited birth of grandchildren, the opportunity to acquire interesting hobbies, for which we didn’t have enough time before, etc. And we would like to have as many marvelous and bright days in old age as possible. But as always, any warm autumn sooner or later gets replaced by nasty weather, cold rains and icy wind, we rarely, after reaching an old age, are not facing health problems.

Of course, it is extremely unpleasant to suffer from arthritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and many other ailments, but when the vision deteriorates, the fear appears of blindness and loss of own independence.
After reaching the age of 65, the vision of every third elderly person is getting worse due to the development of some eye disease. There are 4 main diseases, the presence of which is very often directly connected with the age-related changes of the body – cataract, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

Cataract occurs when the lens and its capsule become clouded. The lens consists mainly of water and proteins. If the proteins clumped together, it manifests itself in clouding of a small part of the lens. This dense mass of proteins is a cataract. It may increase in size, gradually impairing vision. At full lens opacity the central vision is completely lost; the only thing which people may only distinguish is the presence of light, its absence, and its brightness.

The cataract may be defined by some symptoms, the presence of which should alert you and make you to refer to the eye care professional. Among them are the following: a photophobia, when people may complain that the light from a lamp or the sun rays hurts their eyes constantly. In addition, a sense of mist may appear, which prevents to see clearly.

Factors affecting the lens opacification, are extremely diverse. There are cases of the lens opacity as a result of physical influences (thermal heat causes cataracts, ionizing radiation originates radiation cataract). The cause of cataract development, as known, may also be the effects on the eyes of ultraviolet sun rays, so it is necessary to protect the eyes. In most cases lens opacification results from aging. It was called “Cataracta senilis”, or “age-related cataract”.

Eat more beta-carotene.
According to Allen Taylor, director of the Laboratory of Nutrition and Visual Research, located in Boston, and supported by the United States at Boston University, beta-carotene – vitamin A, contained in vegetables – can prevent the incipiency of cataract or delay its development. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant and it effectively neutralizes the harmful free oxygen molecules that, traveling throughout the body, are involved in many degenerative changes. Studies have shown that people with a high content of beta-carotene in blood are much less likely to get cataract, while those who avoid foods rich in this substance, get sick more often. Beta-carotene may be found in orange and yellow fruits and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins, cantaloupe and apricots, as well as in dark green leafy vegetables – cabbage and broccoli.

Vitamin C – is also a wonderful doctor. Studies conducted by scientists have shown that a healthy eye contains enough vitamin C, while in people suffering from cataract, its concentration is much lower.
In laboratory experimentation it has been found that vitamin C protects the lens from formation of free radicals, particularly those whose appearance is caused by the effects of ultraviolet rays. It has been found that between vitamin C and a frequency of cataract there is a direct bond. A daily dose of 500 milligrams of vitamin C will create a reliable protection from the disease. This amount is equal, for example, three glasses of orange juice.
But if the cataract is in severe state, in this case only surgery can help.

Glaucoma is a disease that can be described as an increase of intraocular pressure that damages the optic nerve of the eye. This disease often proceeds for a long time without any apparent symptoms. About one million people live around the world with this disease, completely unaware of its presence. But unfortunately, glaucoma may become extremely dangerous, without timely detecting and then the proper treatment it can lead to total blindness! In the United States it is one of the main reasons of people becoming blind. Factors that may provoke the occurrence of glaucoma are natural aging, receiving of steroids, as well as myopia.

Glaucoma treatment is normalization and monitoring of ophthalmic fundus pressure. There are both medicamental treatment (eye drops, etc.), and the surgical intervention – trabeculectomy. There is also a more advanced method of laser treatment called trabeculoplasty.
Patients with glaucoma should observe the general regime: regular sleep (at least 7-8 hours a day), walks on fresh air, lacto-vegetarian diet; the use of coffee and alcohol is prohibited. Fluid intake is restricted to 4-5 glasses per day. Hard work and night shifts are counter-indicative for patients with glaucoma.
Remember, glaucoma, as well as cataract, may be a genetic condition. The risk group includes everyone, whose blood relatives have ever had this eye disease.

Hypertension. Causes, symptoms and treatment.

hypertension
Hypertension is permanent or occasional elevation of blood pressure. It’s an insidious disease. High blood pressure often doesn’t have any symptoms, but it slowly affects the heart, brain, kidneys. The disease informs about its presence by headache, dizziness, tinnitus, short term heartache and rapid heartbeat. Also the following symptoms became possible: faintness, shortness of breath, rapid fatigability, unprovoked nose bleeding.

Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120/80 mmHg. Identification of hypertension is possible only by regular blood pressure measurement, because there can be just single jumps in pressure, for example, during physical activities, emotional experiences or after alcohol ingestion. It is important to know not only the blood pressure readings, but also how quick the blood pressure comes back to normal.

After age 40 the vasoconstriction happens, the vessel wall elasticity decreases, which contributes to hypertension. At a young age the increase in arterial blood pressure is possible on the background of diseases of endocrine glands, lungs and kidneys, as well as during the pregnancy period. The risk of hypertension increases if your immediate family members or you suffer from diabetes. Permanent neuropsychic overstrain, stresses and lack of sleep facilitate the hypertension development. Excessively salty and fatty food, smoking and alcohol abuse also raise the blood pressure. Overweight people and people with sedentary lifestyle often suffer from hypertension.

You should pay a close heed to the changes in the state of your organism, and it is recommended to measure the blood pressure at the first signs of the disease. If you noted a repeated rise of pressure, doctor’s appointment is plainly required for you, as the selection of preparations is strictly individual, and is performed on the basis of a complete diagnostics of your body.

There are some risk factors, which may cause the complications in the work of cardio-vascular system.

The following risk factors are emphasized:

1. Age. Men older than 55, and women older than 65 years.
2. The cholesterol content – total cholesterol above 6,5 mmol per liter.
3. Cardiovascular diseases in the patient’s relatives.
4. Diabetes.
5. Smoking.
6. Sedentary lifestyle.
7. Corpulence.

The risk factors are divided into two groups. The first group comprises the risk factors, which can be eliminated with doctor’s help or by your own efforts. These include diabetes, increased cholesterol, smoking, etc. The second group comprises age, genetic predisposition.

Long-lasting hypertension aggravates the cardiac performance, heartbeat increases, pulse quickens, the heart enlarges.

Besides hypertension, the increase of blood pressure may be caused by kidneys disease, malfunction of thyroid gland, structural heart defects, constriction of aorta (coarctation), etc.
Symptoms of Hypertension
Principal symptoms:

· headache;

Headache occurs more often in the occipital region, but also in temporal and parietal regions. The pain increases with mental and physical activity. Particularly severe pain accompanies the hypertensive crises.

· pain in the region of heart;

Constricting pain, long-lasting dull pain or sometimes short-term lancinating pain in the region of heart are possible in the people with hypertension.

· palpitation;

· tinnitus;

· seeing spots;

· dizziness.

Hypertensive crisis

Hypertensive crisis is a sudden short-term manifestation of hypertensive disease. The reason of hypertensive crisis is the interruption of arterial pressure regulation mechanisms, accompanied by an increase in arterial blood pressure and disorder of blood circulation in internal organs. It originates from the alteration of psychoemotional state, using a significant amount of salt in food, abrupt change of weather conditions. Hypertensive crises are often a result of the absence of hypertension due treatment. The danger of hypertensive crisis lies in the fact that it can exacerbate the existing heart and brain diseases.

Symptoms of hypertensive crisis:

· headache;
· precordialgia shooting up the arm and scapula;
· dizziness;
· faintness.

Complications of hypertensive crisis:

· myocardial infarction,
· acute cerebrovascular disorder,
· pulmonary edema,
· cerebral edema,
· lethal outcome.

Hypertensive crises are much more common in women.

Treatment of hypertension

The treatment of hypertension is mainly focused on normalization of blood pressure. The disease treatment is a complex one. One group of preparations is oriented to reduce the blood pressure. Vasodilating and diuretic preparations are also used. Sedative (obtundent) medical preparations are due in no small part to treatment. The selection of medication is strictly individual and will depend on the patient’s condition. The special diets focused on decrease of salt and liquid consumption are selected for people with hypertension. Alcohol is forbidden for people with hypertension disease as well.

Leeches are also used for hypertension treatment – hirudotherapy.

Activities for Patients with Alzheimer’s

activities-for-patients-with-alzheimer
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, but it is very serious. The disease can cause serious problems, among which is memory loss.

Memory loss may start as mild forgetfulness, but usually the disease worsens over years. What can be done to keep patients with Alzheimer’s happy and active?

Activities and hobbies that your loved ones liked in the past will be really helpful. Help them to continue staying busy with the things they like.

Doctors agree that such activities help to stir memories, lessen the irritability that the disease may bring, develop emotional connections and help to self-express. What is more important, all these activities should be meaningful, not just usual activities to fill the time. You also need to keep in mind that Alzheimer’s disease affects not only memory, but also behavior and senses. Be careful with choosing activities for your loved ones!

If we talk about the suggested activities, doctors suggest:

  • Play music and sing sons
  • Engage you loved ones in doing arts and craft
  • Clean around the house
  • Read books and newspapers together with your loved ones
  • Cook and bake together
  • Play with puzzles
  • Enjoy watching family videos

Always remember that every person should be approached differently. Be supportive and flexible. If your loved one doesn’t want to be engaged in any kind of activities – take a break and try later.

Keep in mind that with seniors who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, the result is not so important as the process. Enjoy the process of an activity together with your loved ones!