Tag Archives: physical health

DANCE TO STAY HEALTHY

dance
Dance belongs to those things that really can colorize the monotonous life of any person. Dance is good for the emotional state, psychological health and physical condition, together with feeling good and self-awareness in general. When you decide to add physical activity into your life, you try to choose something exciting and entertaining. And what could be more exciting than dances?

The dance with a good reason is called “a song of the soul” – the older a person is, the more meaningful are his or her movements, the more sense and experience it is possible to invest in the dance steps. Dance is a nonverbal way to express yourself, to process the accumulated problems, find new dimensions of the world. One should not also forget what a wonderful way to exercise are the regular!

Dancing is just a perfect way for people, irrespective of age, to keep themselves in a good shape. Dancing is not only fun and enjoyable, but also very good for health. In this article, we will tell you what kind of benefits can dancing bring to your body.

How useful is dancing for the general well-being?

- Dance protects our hearts
Dance is an excellent exercise for people who are living with a high risk of cardiovascular diseases. An Italian study has proved that people with heart failure, engaged in dancing as a kind of exercise strengthen their health, heart and improve their breathing. Their life-quality also improves significantly in comparison with those who are doing exercises on a stationary bike or treadmill.

- Dance helps to lose weight
If you attend dancing-classes regularly, they will definitely help to lose weight. The scientific research has shown that sportive aerobics based on dance movements, is as effective for losing weight and gaining of a good shape as cycling or running.

- Dance gives energy
Do you feel during the day, that you do not have enough energy? Dancing is one of the things which can help you regain it. Yet another scientific study found that weekly dancing can improve the physical condition and make adults more energetic.

- Dance endows with flexibility, strength as well as endurance
Ever and again dances require flexibility from you. Most dance classes are started with a warm-up, when people are doing stretching and suppling exercises. During the dance, you have to do your best to have all the muscle groups involved.
Dancing makes you stronger, causing the muscles to resist the weight of your own body. Many styles of dance, jazz and ballet among them, include jumps. In order to jump, your leg muscles need to be particularly strong.
It’s not a secret that dance can be called a physical exercise that is why it makes everyone more enduring. And what is endurance? It is the ability of muscles to work each time for more time without getting tired. If you’re dancing regularly, especially if you are doing some energetic style, you will be much more enduring.

How useful is dancing for the emotional state?

- Dance brings happiness
Dance is a special action which is enjoyed by any person. If you watch a dancing person, you will certainly notice a big happy smile on a dancer’s face. Smile and laughter while dancing is absolutely normal! That is because dancing provides an opportunity for real enjoyment of life and each other. Unlike other physical exercises, dancing has no age limit. A person irrespective of age can dance and take advantage of the benefits that this activity brings to his/her health.

- Dance saves from depression and de-stresses
It is proved that the dance can prevent mild depression and make a dancing person more self-confident. Depression is becoming increasingly common problem in teenagers and adults of various ages.
The research, published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, has proven that therapy that includes dance moves, not only helps to get rid of depression, but also helps to fight stress, since it regulates serotonin and dopamine levels in organism. Taking into account that dance has also a social aspect, it helps to get rid of feelings of loneliness, from which so many people in depression are suffering, and very often – elderly people living alone.

- Dance enhances the self-esteem
Dancing helps to become more self-confident. Each time you master a new movement, a wee bit of confidence is added to you and your mood gets better. And this increased self confidence extends to all areas of your life.
As we have already said, dance is a social action. Studies of specialists have proved that strong social relationships and communication with friends help to increase self-esteem and give a positive attitude towards life. Dancing gives you plenty of opportunities to meet other people. Sign up for dance classes and it will give you a chance to raise the self-esteem and make new friends. Considering that the physical exercises relieve tension and stress, dance will allow you to feel good in general.

How useful is dancing for the state of mind?

- Dance improves memory
Scientists have proved that dancing can improve memory and prevent dementia. Scientists have found that aerobic exercises help to prevent reduction in the hippocampus volume – the part of the brain responsible for memory. Hippocampus in a natural way diminishes during adulthood. This often leads to problems with memory, and sometimes to dementia.

- Dance helps to combat Alzheimer’s disease
A study involving elderly people, represented in the New England Journal of Medicine, enlightened the fact that dance frequently helps to prevent symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease along with some manifestations of dementia. Moreover, dancing makes people of any age smarter. This study also manifests that people having Alzheimer’s disease are capable to restore forgotten memories when dancing to familiar music.

- Dance makes people smarter
For centuries, books and other writings about dancing praised benefits of this activity for health, considering dance, as a rule, as a physical exercise. Today, thanks to the scientists, the benefit of dancing for the mind has been proved. The main quality of an intelligent person is the ability to make decisions. The ideal way to develop this ability – to get engaged in an activity that requires a constant fast (within seconds) decision making. Thus, to become smarter, it is enough just to work on your dance style, without having to remember the sequence of movements.

What is the best dance style?

There are many dance styles. Jazz, salsa, merengue, bachata, reggaeton, zumba, hip-hop, ballet, etc., all of which require different music. Each dance style is equally useful. Any dance gives an opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle. Dancing can help in many different things. All kinds of dance are equally effective, the main thing to choose the style that you prefer, and do it regularly, so that this pleasant activity brings benefit to the health.
During the scientific study the specific dances have been established, which have the most positive impact on the state of health of elderly people. These include: Waltz and Argentine Tango.

WINTER SPORTS: HEALTH BENEFITS

Senior couple in winter

If a person leads an active lifestyle, exercises or works out and takes care of health, the onset of winter does not mean for him or her the beginning of “winter slumber”. On the contrary, winter sports are an opportunity to diversify pretty much physical activity and even more – to improve health, and the old age is not at all an obstacle. Frosty fresh air, snow, sparkling in the sun, a company of good friends – what can be better for the pastime! Excellent mood and cheerful spirit will be guaranteed, but not less important is the impact of winter sports on health.

What an elderly person can do in winter

When it’s cold outside and the snow has piled up, then the only desire is to nestle cozily in a warm plaid in front of TV and drink hot tea with homemade pastry. But after a few winter months spent like this, you may suddenly find out that your health has deteriorated: some overweight appeared, your joints and spine start “reminding” constantly about their existence by aching pain, the blood pressure “jumps” from time to time and the heart “cuts didoes”. In order to prevent the progression of chronic diseases, and various degenerative-dystrophic changes in the body, a person, in adulthood as well, should try not to stay at home but to move as much as possible.

Winter provides excellent opportunities for this. This is skiing, sledding, skating, Nordic walking, or just walking in a snow-covered park. For a golden-ager the personal sporting achievements are not important and daily trainings are less needed. It is enough to get adequate physical exertion 1-3 times per week, which will provide a good mood, strengthen the immune system and improve health.

Skiing is traditionally very popular in many countries. Almost every elderly person is capable of taking a short walk at his or her own pace. Skiing is an aerobic kind of sports, i.e. implying the combination of the load on muscles with the intake of large amounts of oxygen. Already the first lesson has a beneficial effect on heart muscle and blood vessels: they are toned up, the blood flow normalizes. This improves performance of other internal organs too, strengthens muscles of legs, arms, abdomen, back. If an elderly person is skiing on a weekly basis, then by spring, he will feel both rejuvenated and healthier.

Sledding is another activity very useful in adulthood. Especially wonderful is when the whole family participates in it. During the down-run, coordination improves; literally every muscle is toned up, breathing quickens and deepens and the release of adrenaline happens.
Skates can be recommended to elderly people, if they previously had an experience of ice-skating, since the possibility of injury is pretty high. This kind of sports trains the muscles of the lower limbs, buttocks and abdomen, and also teaches people to quickly coordinate their movements.

In recent years, such sport as Nordic walking is gaining its popularity. You may be engaged in it both in summer and in winter. It is especially attractive because it does not require the purchase of expensive sports equipment, it is enough to buy just special sticks.

What is needed for winter sports activities?

In advanced age, it is important not to overwork and not to harm your health, so medical consultation before the physical activity is required. If you have a chronic disease, the effects of injuries and surgeries, degenerative disease at any stage, the question of the possibility of any exercise and physical activity is considered individually.

It is very important not to get excessive physical load at the very first activity, it should be increased gradually. Important is also the choice of clothes, always take into account the weather conditions. Sport suit has to be free cut, the fabric – water resistant, breathable and impermeable. You cannot stand on skis or skates right after eating, at least 2 hours should pass after it. On the cross-country skiing or sledding it is recommended to take a thermos of hot tea or mineral water without gas, to avoid dehydration.

Going in for any winter sports, it is important to monitor your health. There is no need to catch up with younger skaters or skiers, since the goal is not sporting achievements but systematic improvement of health. As soon as you feel severe fatigue, palpitations, shortness of breath or pain, you must stop the activity.

With careful attention to yourself any winter sport will bring only benefits, cheerfulness and excellent mood!

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.

Sleep Disorder in Seniors

sleep-disorder-in-seniors

As the saying goes – “Sleep is the best medicine”. And indeed it is. During the night sleep about 70% of the daily amount of a very important for the human body hormone melatonin is produced. This hormone of the pineal gland (epiphysis) regulates biorhythms, protects against stress, premature aging and even prolongs life. Sleep restores the body and the brain, during sleep our memory and blood pressure are regulated, immune functions are restored. Sleep disorders, especially in older people, significantly reduce their quality of life. Statistics show that 35% of seniors are experiencing problems with sleep deficiency. Thus in women (50%) the sleep disorders are met more often than in men (25%).

Some basic concepts of sleep

Sleep consists of two phases – rapid-eye-movement sleep (REM sleep) and non-rapid-eye-movement sleep (NREM sleep). During REM sleep, we process the obtained during the day information, “communicate” with our subconscious mind and see dreams. NREM sleep is divided into four phases. Falling asleep, people consistently pass all the phases of NREM sleep, then – REM sleep, then the cycle repeats.

Each cycle lasts about 90-100 minutes, and each duration of REM sleep increases, reaching in the morning up to 50 minutes. This is called sleep structure.

During the night, on average, five such cycles occur, and for the normal recovery of the body it is important for sleep not to be interrupted. However, with age, duration of sleep and its structure change.

Older people have the following sleep peculiarities:

• sleep in the elderly is discontinuous, fragmented;
• elderly often wake up at night and then have difficulty falling asleep, lying awake for about 30-60 minutes, and sometimes even more than an hour;
• elderly people go to bed earlier and falling asleep takes longer;
• sleep efficiency is reduced in the elderly (they are able to sleep only 80% of time spent in bed);
• senior’s sleep is more sensitive;
• biological clock shift with age: 50% of 70-year wake up before 7 a.m., and 25% – before 5.

All these are the normal age-related changes, and one should adjust to them. However, sometimes insomnia results from other causes, some of which are listed below:

- stress and psychological disorders;
- nutrition routine violation: late meals or overeating;
- drinking coffee or alcoholic beverages, as well as smoking;
- violation of the daily routine/sleep schedule;
- taking medications which may have insomnia as a side effect;
- periodic limb movement disorder, myoclonus or restless legs syndrome.

What can be done to prevent sleep disorders?

- Do not limit physical activity: a short walk before bedtime makes it easier to fall asleep.
- If you sleep poorly at night, do not go to bed in the afternoon. If you still feel tired during the day, it is better to sleep not more than two hours, and before 3 p.m.
- One of the most effective means in the fight against insomnia is a calm environment and fresh air. In such environment it is easier to fall asleep for any person, and especially for older people. You can sleep in the open air in the yard, in the garden, if there are conditions for this. It is good to sleep with an open window or window leaf: the flow of oxygen calms overexcited areas of the brain, and a person quickly falls asleep.
- For sleep to be normal, it is necessary to go to bed constantly at the same time. What is it for? If a person has a distinct schedule, timely rests and goes to bed always at the same hour, his entire body adapts to such a regime. At the time, when a person is used to get ready for bed, he already wants to sleep, he falls asleep quickly and soundly.
- Bright sunlight stimulates the activity of the organism, and the darkness, on the contrary, promotes sleep. In the elderly due to deterioration of vision (as a result of cataract, for example) the efficiency of the light exposure reduces, and thus the phase of wakefulness and sleep have less contrast. In this regard, experts advise to spend in the afternoon as much time as possible outside for the retina to receive enough light stimulation. In this case, darkness will promote sleepiness and quality sleep.
- Restrict fluid intake during the second half of the day, keeping its daily amount.
- Perform routine actions before bedtime. Make daily evening regimen (brush your teeth, wash, set the alarm clock) – this creates a good mood for sleep.
- Maintain a calm environment around yourself. The room where you sleep, should be dark, quiet, not hot and not cold.
- Bed – a place for sleep. And therefore do not use it for eating, reading, watching TV, and so on, that is, for those actions that are associated with an active lifestyle.
- Sleep is affected by many diseases: hypertension, gastric diseases, peptic ulcer disease, airways obstruction in case of problems with the lungs, chronic cerebrovascular insufficiency, renal and prostate diseases, accompanied by frequent urination, pain in the joints and spine. It is therefore important to control chronic diseases and keep them in a state of remission.
- Many medications taken by the elderly, affect the sleep structure. So sometimes you need to find an alternative drug.

With a wise attitude and care about their health every elderly person is quite able to establish a healthy, deep sleep.

 

The Importance of Exercising for Seniors

importance-of-exercising

Physical activity is the way to health and longevity, especially when it concerns elderly people.

It is believed that with age many people have reduced activity. This may be due to age-related negative emotions and decrease in self confidence. The lack of physical and mental activity really accelerates the aging process, therefore it is for the benefit of all people to prevent or at least reduce the effects of aging. For this purpose it is certainly worth to sharpen our focus on physical training.

Is not hard to guess, that physical activity contributes to muscle tone, maintenance of the cardiovascular system, good mood and improvement of the quality of life.

Factors affecting the change in the life balance of elderly people

Unfortunately, the factors of aging every day have a negative impact on human health. Several factors are inevitable, and they cannot be affected, but some can be controlled or even minimized.

Behavioral factor of elderly people

- Maintain an active lifestyle. Use comprehensive training programs: strength / resistance, cardio/endurance, stretching/flexibility.

- Balanced proper nutrition including the most essential vitamins and nutrients. In particular, vitamin D is very important.

- Comfortable shoes. Shoes should not be too high (a negative effect on your posture) and heavy. Comfortable, lightweight, fitting shoes provide the best contact with the ground. Even walking barefoot (not everywhere of course) becomes an excellent help

- Pay attention to reception of medications. Individual side effects are possible. Always consult your doctor as for the impact of certain drugs.

Age-related biological factor

With age loss of vision, hearing and mental clarity is possible. There is a risk of arthritis developing and deterioration of the vestibular apparatus. You may experience the appearance of any chronic disease.

Studies show that many diseases and ailments that accompany the aging process, such as difficulties with movement, can be prevented by physical training. In addition, physical activity is an excellent way to improve the quality of life and make friends. Also, regular physical activity reduces the risk of the following diseases:
heart disease,
• stroke
• diabetes
osteoporosis
arthritis,
• back pain,
high blood pressure,
• some cancers, such as colon cancer.

As a prevention of the described above diseases can serve all the same exercises and training. A competent physical activity improves endurance, strength and immune system.

Exercises help to increase muscle strength and improve their tone, thus reducing the risk of accidental falls, leading to injuries. In addition, regular physical exercises develop flexibility, mobility, speed of movements, endurance improve cognitive abilities, memory, the ability to sound judgment, well-being and quality of life.
Physical training is also new acquaintances and communication.

External factors

Try to avoid the potential dangers that surround us in everyday life. That’s a minimum list of external factors:

- Winter time. The presence of ice on the roads
- Rooms with slippery floors
- Curbs and various roughness of the pavement
- The quality of lighting in the streets and indoors
- Escalators

The task of exercises is to adapt the body to everyday loads, regulate the cardiovascular, autonomic, neuromuscular systems, strengthen the musculoskeletal system, create a good mood. All exercises should be done with a smile and best of all to the music.

The most important point to be considered in training is a balance between physical exercises. For example, between normal walking and running. Understanding the balance helps to optimize the training process and avoid unexpected injuries. This is especially important for the elderly.

Each year, about 20 percent of people older than 60 years receive a variety of injuries. Fear of injury restricts people in physical activity. This fact, and the fact of biological changes in the body, changes in the environment and the difficulties of life forms certain stereotypes. But all this can be avoided through a balanced exercise (strength training, cardio, etc.).

Nowadays almost all gyms develop various special programs for seniors. But before you start any training it is better to consult your doctor concerning the possible initial physical loads for your body.

Remember, it is impossible to stop the natural biological processes, but it is completely possible to control them, staying active at any age. Physical activity is that little thing you can do for yourself at any stage of life.
As one very wise man said: “Help your body now and the body will help you in an old age.”

Day View Adult Family Home provides qualified and affordable services for seniors. Our trained staff understands the importance of exercises and we work to create positive environment for seniors’ training.

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.

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.

Laughter Therapy is Prolonging Our Lives

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Not everyone knows that there exists a whole science of laughter and it is called gelotology. It claims that laughter, laughter therapy is able to have a positive impact on human physiology. Laughter therapy is widely used by psychologists worldwide.

Laughter therapy, what is it?
Laughter therapy is one of the methods of psychotherapy, which is practiced by modern psychologists all over the world since the 60s. Gelotology manifests that a person can treat some of his diseases by laughing. Referring also to history, we see that even the great Hippocrates said that laughter is a medicine and that it brings invaluable benefit to our health.

Why laughter is so useful and on what principles the laughter therapy is built? 
William Fry, a professor of Psychology from Stanford University, considered laughter as one of the types of breathing, at which the inhale increases and exhalation is shortened, herewith the intensity of such laughter makes the lungs to get completely rid of air. At this moment the body’s biochemical reactions occur. In particular, the laughter therapy helps to reduce the level of stress hormones – adrenalin and cortisone, and at the same time promotes the release of endorphins, that can reduce the emotional and physical pain, thus a feeling of satisfaction appears.

In addition, laughter therapy helps to cleanse the upper air passages and improve the blood circulation. Therefore laughter therapy can be compared to a walk in the woods or an oxygen cocktail.

By means of laughter therapy, first of all, the accumulated psychological problems can be solved. Laughing, we overcome stress, become more sociable, get rid of hatred, anger and resentment, reset the negative emotions and irritation. Laughter, which began in a state of relative rest, eventually restores our entire body.

But the benefits of laughter therapy do not end thereon. You do not have enough good rest? Laughter therapy for only 5 minutes will replace a 40-minute rest. Therefore, if you suffer the lack of sleep – just laugh and you will immediately feel how the body is filled with cheerfulness and energy.
No time for training in the gym? Also laugh! Laughter therapy helps almost 80 muscle groups to relax. During laughter therapy the heartbeat quickens, blood cholesterol level decreases, and endocrine glands produce substances that contribute to the removal of headaches. It’s hard to believe, but 1 minute of laughter therapy is equal to 30 minutes of aerobics.
Laughter therapy may work as a personal cosmetologist. Laughing involves almost all the facial muscles, thereby increasing their tone and, consequently, improving the appearance.

Thus today there are three subtypes of laughter therapy:
• Classical laughter therapy – conducting psychological trainings in groups and individually;
• Laughter Yoga – Indian technique of correct, natural and light laughter;
• Medical clownery – employees of medical institutions make some performances for the patients.

During special trainings, under the guidance of an experienced specialist, people learn to laugh properly. To laugh in such a way that laughter will bring maximum benefit to their health. They learn such laughter with the help of special exercises – breathing and physical, autotrainings, yoga, and special games. Medical studies have shown that the cerebral cortex contains areas that are responsible for the overall physical condition of a person and their proper work cause a sense of happiness.
Laughter can influence these “areas of happiness”! When a person laughs, the intensity of the blood flow to the brain increases, and the cells of the gray matter of the brain receive a large dose of oxygen. As a result, the weariness and headaches go away, the blood circulation in the vessels improves, the upper respiratory tract is cleared, endorphins are produced – the hormones of happiness, depression and other mental illnesses disappear. Shakespeare said, “A merry heart lives long.” Here you have the principle of the laughter therapy.

Wise nature has given the human laughter not in vain. It releases vast amounts of energy, rejuvenates and heals us, makes it possible to throw off the heaviness of accumulated thoughts, problems. But how to use laughter to fight for our health teaches the laughter therapy. Laughter therapy is a great healer. So laugh more often and be healthy!

SAFE DRIVING FOR SENIORS

safe-driving-for-seniors

If you are over 60 years old, driving can be more dangerous than you think. And the problem is not only in various eye diseases, the frequency of which increases sharply with the age …

How age affects driving?
Some believe that senior car enthusiasts drive more safely than young people do, because they have a great driving experience, they are not as prone to high-speed driving, avoid to drive after drinking alcohol, etc. However, according to some studies, despite a safe driving style and a smaller percentage of the total accidents, the elderly often get into car accidents in the most ordinary, uncomplicated situations, such as at intersections.

But how the age-related changes affect the ability to drive a car?

• Eyesight: The eyesight is 95% guarantee of safety while driving a vehicle. With age, because of various ophthalmic diseases or as an evidence of physiological aging processes, the visual acuity decreases, the peripheral (side) vision gets worse, and sensitivity to glare increases.

After the age 50 , almost every second person has the initial changes in the eye lens, i.e., the development of cataract starts, which is manifested in decreased visual acuity, blurred images, sometimes in double vision.

Dangerous in terms of driving is glaucoma – a disease, one of the main manifestations of which is the narrowing of the visual fields, herewith the acuity of the direct vision, which is checked by an ophthalmologist during a routine examination, is in the early stages quite high.

With age, the accommodative abilities of the eyes are reduced – the ability to see clearly at various distances.

The dark adaptation also descends – a senior driver requires much greater level of illumination than a young one.

• Hearing: with age hearing is also worsening, which, of course, complicates the driver’s ability to hear the sound of brakes, horns, sirens.

• Muscles and joints: the decrease in joints mobility and stiffness in movements is noted in the elderly. They often have such diseases as degenerative spine disease, arthritis, degenerative joint disease. Insufficient movement reduces the ability to observe the traffic and pedestrians, to perform certain maneuvers; it’s more difficult to cope with the steering and pedals.

• Perception of information: the reaction rate decreases with age significantly, it is more difficult to do several things at the same time, for example, to perceive the information and to take the necessary actions, concentration of attention abates. Many diseases, such as a stroke, for example, can significantly affect the speed of reaction, concentration, capacity for coordinated actions.

• The impact of medicines: Seniors take quite many different medications. Some medications have side effects such as blurring of vision, tinnitus, decrease in concentration, disturbances of coordination, etc. Upon receipt of such drugs driving can be extremely dangerous.

• Chronic conditions: Any deterioration of health caused by one or another disease dramatically increases the risk of a car accident. Shortness of breath, arrhythmia, high blood pressure, changes in blood sugar level of the driver, etc. – all this can lead to serious consequences.

Tips for drivers over 60 years old
However, the number of drivers who are 60 and above is increasing worldwide. The ability to drive a car, that is, to lead an active, independent way of life, significantly improves the quality of life and self-esteem of an elderly person.
How to protect yourself and others – several recommendations for drivers over 60:

• Do not use cell phone while driving. Talking on a cell phone while driving is not recommended at any age – it’s distracting, it slows the rate of reaction. The perception and processing of information of senior drivers is reduced. There is no need to make the situation worse.

• Be especially careful at intersections, particularly making the left turn. A large percentage of accidents involving senior drivers are happening at intersections.

• Avoid driving at night, especially on unfamiliar routes. If you still have to drive the car in the dark, avoid the low illuminated streets; use the special glasses with antiglare coating, so as not to be blinded by oncoming cars.

• Try to assess correctly your capabilities, focusing on the reactions of other people. Concerns of your relatives, resentment of other drivers, warnings of car inspectors, and your well-being – all this combined will help you to decide for how long, when, and where you can drive a car. If you doubt your abilities, shorten as much as possible the trip, plan an optimal route and time of drive in advance, drive only under good visibility conditions, keep good distance relative to other vehicles.

• Have annual examinations of your eyesight and hearing. Early detection of eye diseases can help to preserve your vision and allow you to continue driving.

• If you receive a new medication, carefully read what side effects it may have. Avoid driving within the first days of taking the medication, until you are sure in normal medicine acceptability.

• You may also take a refresher course, which are really numerous now, and which are really helpful for seniors.

Take care of your body, maintain physical and mental activity. Awareness of your capabilities is the key to your safety and confident driving!