Tag Archives: health problems

GETTING READY FOR AUTUMN

getting-ready-for-autumn

HEALTH OF ELDERLY PEOPLE IN AUTUMN

Autumn has already come, and the cold is just around the corner, which in our climate occupies quite a long part of the year. The so-called “golden autumn” passes quickly, and the rest of the time is dominated by mud, cold and slush. The sharp drop in temperature and frequent changes in barometric pressure may themselves cause serious deterioration of health, especially this appeals to elderly people with chronic diseases.

First of all, these factors affect the condition of elderly people with diseases of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, disorders of musculoskeletal system and psycho-emotional disorders. The sharp fall of temperature causes a spasm of blood vessels, which can lead to a hypertensive crisis or angina attack. Atmospheric pressure drop causes hypoxia – low oxygen content in the body. This in its turn leads to a lack of it in the heart muscle and brain. People can feel heartaches and headaches, and in people who are prone to emotional instability, their psychological condition is deteriorating, and sometimes they face a real depression.

Elderly people who have diseases of the musculoskeletal system (osteoarthrosis, rheumatism), there are aching pain in the affected joints in places of old fractures or wounds, and even absolutely healthy people during this period often feel uncomfortable.

The cold leads to a reduction of immune system capacities: dramatically increases the number of acute respiratory diseases, chronic illnesses are aggravated.

Following our recommendations below will add some bright colors to your autumn:

• If during this period of the year you experience the exacerbation of chronic disease, you should consult your doctor and try to follow all his prescriptions and recommendations. Do not self-medicate.

• If your health and mood are heavily dependent on the weather, take care of yourself. Dress warmly in cold.

Include in your diet herbal teas, which may include some brier, eat more vegetables and fruits, add some vitamin complexes with microelements.

• If the state of your health allows this, move more regardless of the weather – it enhances the metabolic processes in the body and normalizes blood circulation.

Wear low-heeled shoes with non-slip soles. Remember that the fall is the main cause of serious injuries and death among the elderly.

If you have a reduced visual acuity, try not to leave the house in the dark period of the day, to avoid injury.

• And most importantly – create for yourself and your family a good mood, it is a universal remedy against different diseases. Friendly and smooth attitude towards others, optimism and humor – all this contributes to a long and healthy life.

It is well known that negative emotions: resentment, fear, sadness, anger, grief, envy, hatred – are risk factors, approaching old age and shortening life, and vice versa, positive emotions – delight, joy – cause extraordinary rise of vital forces of an organism. Laughter is a sign of joy, cheerful mood and mental health. It favorably affects the lungs and regulates the metabolism.

Practice care and attention towards each other. Try especially after retirement, to organize the rhythm of life. Alternate feasible work with a reasonably organized rest.

Much attention should be paid to sleep. Sleep is a vital human need. The duration of sleep should be such that after waking up a person should note good spirits and a burst of energy. A healthy and sound sleep requires a right regime of life: go to bed at the same time, dine without overeating not later than 2-3 hours before bedtime. Take a thirty minutes walk before the bedtime and do not watch too emotional television broadcasts, neither take tonic beverages such as strong tea or coffee before the bedtime.

Autumn of life is called the elderly age, and it is a very difficult season. But this time of life has its joy and delight. A person in this age moves into a new quality, he or she becomes a grandparent. And life begins to play with new colors, new, previously unknown feelings and joys, new worries and concerns, life takes on new meaning.

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.

Pet Therapy – a Wonderful Cure for Loneliness

pet-therapy

The help to elderly people cannot be accomplished without ensuring, first of all, a harmony in the soul of an elderly person. Pet can carry out the most important assistance to the elderly – to make them not so lonely, provide them with an extra incentive to existence, and give them their warmth and joy. Pets bring harmony and order into the emotional state of their masters.

Any pet, whatever it may be – large or small, and even a fish in the aquarium, as if connects to human energy, adjusting it to a positive mood. Each animal species has certain unique features; that is why their positive impact on a person has its shades and nuances, but the result of this interaction has always the most beneficial impact on an elderly person.

Sometimes there are such situations in life, when pets are the only friends for the elderly and lonely people. They fill their lives with meaning and care. Help to relieve mental and physical pain and suffering. Pets give their owners life energy.

Elderly people understand that the main and the best part of their lives is left behind. Their emotional tone is decreasing, and the physical condition is worsening. And this in its turn may lead to such a mental state, as depression. To avoid this, we need positive emotions, and in this our four-legged friends can help.

Animals have a natural ability to maintain a person’s emotional state. And remove the feeling of loneliness when you are not needed. This feeling appears because the majority of elderly people live alone, away from their children and grandchildren. And they need anything to fill in the lack of attention and communication. Animals will love devotedly their master and will constantly be near. And most importantly is that the elderly and lonely people will acquire a vital need to be wanted and needed by someone.

Pet-therapy or animal therapy

The origins of psychological illnesses treatment with the help of animals go back to the end of the 18th century, when the Yorkshire mental hospital began to use dogs for the treatment of patients. Even then, the clinic doctors have noted that animals had a positive impact on patients. In the course of therapy the reduction of aggression and frequency of episodes was noted in patients.

Today Canistherapy (dog therapy) and Felinotherapy (cat therapy) is widely used to improve the condition of children with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and other pathologies. The specialists observed the improvement of coordination, decrease of spasticity and significantly improved memory in children.

Communication with your pet has also a beneficial effect on the activity of a human brain, which helps to prevent or reduce many psychological disorders. Thus, in particular, during Alzheimer disease – communication with cats eliminates anxiety, which is so pronounced in this disease. A sense of great responsibility in relation to a pet, and taking care of the beloved one stimulates an elderly person to be active, which in its turn stimulates the desire to be healthy and to live.

How pets help to cope with depression and stress

With the approach of autumn, many people gain such kind of psychological disorder as “autumn spleen”. Causeless melancholy, gloom and other subdepressive states begin to exhaust us with the arrival of the first frosts. Often even quite healthy people can be difficult to force themself to get out of bed in the morning and do not frown during the day. If you are familiar with such states, physicians strongly advise to adopt a pet.
Pets live according to their own schedule, in which the emphasis of life corresponds to the daily cycle. Thus, a dog or a cat is sure to wake you up early and require a morning walk or feed. And it will be a good enough reason for you not lie in bed until noon.
Morning walking the dog helps to strengthen immunity, is good for the heart and helps to lose weight. If you feel a bit lethargic and inactive, a dog will teach you to be more cheerful, open and determined.

Equally effective cure for the blues Is communication with the cats. Did you notice that the Internet is full of videos with funny shots of the cat tricks and pranks? These animals are very curious, and having got a kitten in your home will be an endless source of funny events and situations. In addition, cats are curing the vain anxiety and excessive fatigue by the warmth of their body and the characteristic “purr”.

But not only dogs and cats are “home psychotherapists”. Other pets, such as aquarium fish, birds, rabbits, hamsters and even insects, are also doing an excellent job in fighting with stress and despondency.

Psychological observations allow the following conclusions: pets help people to cope with the problems they face, with stress, loneliness. They significantly improve the bad mood and give a great emotional support. And it does not matter who lives at a person’s home: a cat or a dog, a bird or a simple fish – any animal has a positive effect on the physical and psychological well-being of an elderly person. Daily contact with a pet reduces the risk of various diseases, as well as inspires the human soul with optimism and reliability.

Pets give their owners a hundred percent, selfless love and attention, no matter who is their master: a young boy or a very old man. Pets turn into the very best friends with whom you can talk and share feelings. Communication and interaction with the animal increases the level of serotonin in the brain, which increases the sense of well-being of the owner.

Take care of yourself and your pets, and stay healthy!

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.

Bedsores

bedsores

Bedsores are the areas of ischemia and necrosis of tissues resulting from prolonged compression, shear or friction of the tissues between the human skeleton and the surface of bed.

It is well known that human body tissues function obtaining the necessary nutrients from blood. Blood vessels, which penetrate all human tissues and are like soft elastic tubes, deliver blood to all the organs and tissues of the human body. The smallest ones, the capillaries, are especially important for normal metabolism in tissues. The movement of fluid through such tubes is easy to be slowed down or completely stopped by compressing them. Any sitting or bed-bound person has some of his soft tissue and blood vessels compressed, which results in a lack of blood flow to the tissues. If this condition lasts for more than 2 hours, then a nutritional disorder (ischemia), and later the death (necrosis) of soft tissues comes. Bedsores (or as they are also called – decubitus ulcers, pressure sores or pressure ulcers) are developing. Therefore it is necessary to remember that prolonged immobility is not safe!

The second reason, due to which bedsores may develop, is, for example, when the bed sheet is pulled out from the patient. At this time there is a significant displacement of the surface layers of soft tissues relative to deeply placed layers, which results in rupture of small blood vessels, and disturbance of blood supply to these tissues. Similarly, bedsores can form in weak, bed-bound patients, who, without support in the legs, start slowly slide down in a chair or in a bed from a sitting or half-sitting position, which is barely noticeable to the eye but very sensible to soft tissues.

Bedsores risk factors:

- bad nutrition and lack of drinking;
- overweight and exhaustion;
- smoking;
- cardiovascular diseases;
- diabetes;
- incontinence;
- injuries and diseases of the brain and spinal cord;
- sweating at an elevated temperature;
- dirty skin;
- crumbs and small items in the bed;
- folds, stitches, buttons on underwear;
- allergic reaction to skin-care products.

Places where bedsores appear more often

Potential areas of bedsores formation may be all the places over the bony prominences on the body, which are compressed when lying or sitting. The subcutaneous fat at these places is the least expressed, and the pressure of bony prominences is expressed more strongly. If the patient is lying on his back these places are the sacrum, heels, ischial tuberosity, elbows, shoulder blades, back of the head. When lying on sidelong – on the side of the hip (the area of major trochanter), on the sides of the ankles and knees. If the patient is lying on his stomach – the pubic area and cheekbones.

Bedsores stages

In the development of bedsores several stages can be distinctly specified. The longer lasts the pressure on the skin area, the harder is the tissue damage.

Stage I. Clearly limited red area of intact skin, the redness does not disappear after relieving the pressure. Patients with darker skin, which does not allow to determine the change in its coloring, may perform the diagnostic of the skin area under pressure by the increase in temperature, the emergence of induration or edema. Redness disappears in a few hours or days after the cease of pressure depending on the degree of circulatory disorders.

Stage II. Partial damage of epidermis up to dermis. It is characterized by surface ulcer, which can manifest itself clinically in the form of scratch, blister, or shallow crater.

Stage III. Damage of all skin layers (epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous tissue), which can reach the fascia lying under the skin, without affecting it. Clinically such bedsore manifests itself as a deep open ulcer exposing underlying tissues or without it.

Stage IV. Sores throughout the entire thickness of skin with extensive tissue necrosis and damage to muscles, tendons and bones. Often there is tissue damage and the formation of infected pockets.

Prevention principles

Treatment and prevention of bedsores are inextricably associated with a whole set of measures aimed at the care for sick person. Material costs for the prevention of bedsores are always lower than their treatment.

The preventive measures are required for patients who use a wheelchair, are confined to bed, patients suffering from partial immobility (of separate body parts), urinary and/or fecal incontinence, exhausted patients, patients with obesity, suffering from diabetes, or suffering from effects of a stroke.

Major prevention principles:

• reduction of pressure, friction or shear;
• periodical change of position;
• special mattresses, aids and appliances helping to reduce compression areas;
• good nutrition and personal hygiene;
• reduction of skin irritants;
• skin care – keep the skin clean;
• reduction of skin moisture;
• regular and proper urination and defecation.

But even with the best care, only bedsores of the first and second stage may be treated without any operative intervention. Bedsores of stages three and four usually need a surgery followed up by a prolonged recovery period with possible complications. That’s why a regular inspection of the body of immobile patients with the early detection of bedsores is so important.

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.