Wet Macular Degeneration

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If you have recently been diagnosed with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), you may feel relieved to put a name to what has been going on with your vision.  However, on the other hand you are now probably worried about the information your doctor shared regarding the fact that wet AMD can eventually lead to vision loss.

To better understand AMD, you need to know that it affects the back of the eye called the retina.  As J. Michael Jumper, MD, a partner of the West Coast Retina Medical Group in San Francisco and a board member of the American Society of Retina Specialists explains, “The macula is the area in the center of the retina, and that’s where your eye sharply focuses when recognizing faces and reading.”  Furthermore, while there are two types of AMD (wet and dry), wet AMD is a progression of dry AMD rather than a separate condition.  Luckily most people do not progress from dry AMD to wet AMD.

Doctors say while there is no cure for wet AMD, it is important to get regular eye exams as there are therapies and treatments to help lessen the damage from the disease and preserve your vision.  Dr. Jumper says. “There’s now a good chance of maintaining vision with proper treatment. The earlier wet AMD is detected and the better vision is when treatment is started, the better the long-term outcome may be.”

The American Academy of Ophthalmology says while the disease progresses slowly the symptoms of wet AMD include seeing a dark spot or several dark spots in the center of your field of vision. Another sign is noticing lines or a grid appears wavy or blurry.

Age is the biggest risk factor for wet AMD and more common in people 60 years or older.  The disease also has other risk factors such as being Caucasian, a family history of AMD, smoking, heart disease, high cholesterol, and being overweight.  Doctors say eating foods rich in saturated fats may also contribute to wet AMD.

This post is intended for informational purposes only.  Please contact your health care provider with any questions or concerns you have regarding your health. 

MorningStar at Bear Creek brings a unique vision to senior living with our mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve. We are dedicated to creating a true home for residents within an ideal setting and invite you to schedule a tour to see firsthand our exceptional community.

Sources:

everydayhealth.com/hs/managing-wet-amd/understanding/?xid=cs_001_023_106&gclid=Cj0KCQjwttbWBRDyARIsAN8zhbL9KNaZNax997eubZPP4-b7VcTWXoRbFLSvNoe6SmaA2MfujBFH7qcaAhkFEALw_wcB

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What is COPD?

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The COPD Foundation states that, “Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis.”  As COPD progresses, it results in increasing breathlessness as the lungs are further damaged.  The damage is permanent and is the 4th leading cause of death for people 65 to 84 years old.

Often in the early stages, people mistake the symptoms of COPD with fatigue and getting older.  In addition, many people may have the disease for years before experiencing the symptoms of COPD that includes breathlessness, wheezing, or a chronic cough.

You may be at risk for COPD if you have a history of long-term smoking, a job that exposed you to dust or chemicals or other indoor air pollutants, second-hand smoke exposure, or lots of exposure to outdoor air pollution.  You may additionally be at risk if you had lots of respiratory infections as a child or have a genetic risk factor for emphysema that is related to a deficiency of the Alpha-1 Antitrypsin protein in the bloodstream.

COPD is diagnosed with a simple procedure known as a spirometry test that measures how well your lungs are working.  If your results show signs of COPD, you will need to consult with your doctor regarding treatment.  It is important for anyone with COPD to get a yearly flu shot and a vaccine for pneumonia as they can help to prevent some infections.  Good nutrition and staying as active as possible is also important.

The Mayo Clinic reminds anyone diagnosed with COPD that is not the end of the world.   They say most people have a mild form of the disease and require little therapy other than to quit smoking.  For more advanced cases, there are effective therapies available to “control symptoms, reduce your risk of complications and exacerbations, and improve your ability to lead an active life.”

This post is intended for informational purposes only.  Please contact your health care provider with any questions or concerns you have regarding your health. 

MorningStar at Arrowhead represents the best in senior living with a unique mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” We have built our foundation on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve…all of which contributes to creating a true home for residents amid a beautiful, serene setting. Call to schedule a visit to our exceptional community.

Source: copdfoundation.org/What-is-COPD/Understanding-COPD/What-Causes-COPD.aspx

Sun Protection is Still Important for Seniors

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Now that summer is here, it is important to apply sunscreen if you are going to be outside for any length of time regardless of your age.  Sometimes seniors mistakenly think since they have never had skin cancer, they probably are not going to get it now.  However the Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF) warns that older adults have already sustained decades of damage from the sun, which increases the risk of developing skin cancer.

The SCF explains that, “Suffering just five sunburns over your lifetime more than doubles your chances of developing melanoma, and each successive tan or sunburn raises the risks further.”  While it is not known how much damage results in skin cancer, we do know it is important to continue to protect our skin.

In addition statistics show skin cancer to be on the rise.  Scientists speculate one reason for this is the earth’s ozone layer has depleted, which is allowing increased levels of UV-B to reach the Earth.  This compounds the negative effects of spending too much time in the sun and can cause the development of wrinkles and premature aging skin.  Wearing sunscreen can also help prevent facial brown spots and skin discolorations as well as reduce the appearance of facial red veins and blotchiness.

The experts stress that sun precautions for seniors is fairly easy.  To start with, stay out of tanning beds.  Use effective sun protection and avoid spending time outdoors between 10 AM and 4 PM when UV rays are the most intense.  Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sun-safe clothing and UV-filtering sunglasses.  Sunscreen should be SPF 15 or higher, and if you intend to be out for longer periods, use a water resistance 30+ SPF.  Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming.

There is no need to worry about a lack of Vitamin D if you always wear sunscreen.  Doctors report you get your vitamin D requirement of 600 IU or 15mcg per day with normal daily outdoor activities of five to 30 minutes two times a week.

This post is intended for informational purposes only.  Please contact your health care provider with any questions or concerns you have regarding your health.

MorningStar at Arrowhead represents the best in senior living with a unique mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” We have built our foundation on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve…all of which contributes to creating a true home for residents amid a beautiful, serene setting. Please schedule a visit to experience firsthand our beautiful community.

 

 

Type 2 Diabetes Can be Controlled

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A recently published report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than 100 million adults in the U.S. are now living with diabetes or prediabetes.  As of 2015, 30.3 million Americans (9.4 percent of the U.S. population) have diabetes and another 84.1 million have prediabetes.  Rates of diabetes increase as people age, and among those 65 years and older, 25 percent have diabetes.

That means more than one-third of U.S. adults have prediabetes, which is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes.   The CDC warns that if prediabetes is left untreated and steps are not taken to make healthier lifestyle choices as many as 15 to 30 percent of those people will have type 2 diabetes within five years.  Furthermore, one of their biggest concerns is the fact that the majority of people with prediabetes do not know it.

While diabetes may be a common disease, self-management is a very important aspect of how well someone lives with the disease.  Organizations like the CDC and the American Diabetes Association strongly encourage anyone with the disease to get educated and learn about the latest medical therapies and treatment options.

Your lifestyle can make a difference in managing or reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes including adopting healthier eating habits, increasing your physical activity, and maintaining or losing a modest amount of weight.   If you already have diabetes, these changes can help control the severity of the disease.

If you have a family history of type 2 diabetes, are overweight or lead a sedentary lifestyle, you may be at risk for developing diabetes.  The American Diabetes Association warns that many of the symptoms can be mild and go unnoticed but early detection and treatment of the disease is important and can decrease the risk of developing complications.  They recommend discussing any concerns with your doctor.

This post is intended for informational purposes only.  Please contact your health care provider with any questions or concerns you have regarding your health.

MorningStar at Bear Creek brings a unique vision to senior living with our mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve. We are dedicated to creating a true home for residents within an ideal setting and invite you to schedule a tour to see firsthand the best memory care in Colorado Springs.

 

Source:

cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p0718-diabetes-report.html

Eye Care Recommendations from the Experts

morningstar general 12The American Academy of Ophthalmology says that early signs of disease or changes in vision can start years before they become a real problem.  This is why they recommend “adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease should receive a baseline comprehensive eye evaluation at age 40.”

They also advise that individuals without any risk factors should have an eye exam by an ophthalmologist every 2 to 4 years.  People age 55 to 64 without risk factors should be examined by an ophthalmologist every 1 to 3 years.  Seniors 65 years and older without risk factors should be examined by an ophthalmologist every 1 to 2 years as the incidence of unrecognized ocular disease increases with age.

Getting regular eye exams and being aware of any changes to your vision is important as many age-related eye problems do not show early symptoms.  Furthermore, common health problems including diabetes and hypertension can cause eye-related issues as well as some medications.

A thorough eye exam will check your visual acuity and peripheral vision, coordination of eye muscles and the pupils’ response to light and color testing.  The ophthalmologist also examines the interior and back of the eye along with the inside and outside of the eyelid.  In addition, eye fluid pressure is measured with a tonometer, which blows a puff of air onto the eye.  The test is used to check for glaucoma and other diseases.

You will additionally be monitored for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) disease.  This test uses special instruments to examine the back of your eye to detect and monitor conditions affecting the macula.

Since many eye conditions do not develop symptoms until they are quite advanced, it is important to follow the eye exam recommendations.   Also, the risk of glaucoma, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration increases as we get older.

This post is intended for informational purposes only.  Please consult with your health care provider if you notice any changes in your vision.

MorningStar at Arrowhead represents the best in senior living with a unique mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” We have built our foundation on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve…all of which contributes to creating a true home for residents amid a beautiful, serene setting. Please schedule a visit to experience firsthand our beautiful community.

Source: aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/eye-exams-101

Look for Your New Medicare Card in the Mail

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Several months ago, Medicare sent out a notification saying they would be issuing new cards to all Medicare recipients.  The new cards started mailing in April 2018, and to meet the statutory deadline, all cards will be replaced by April, 2019.  The schedule for delivery is based on your geographic location.  Medicare explains that your new cards will not contain your Social Security number as a way to help protect against identity theft and prevent fraud.  The new red, white and blue insurance cards will instead have a unique 11 digit number on them.

This is a good idea but we want you to be aware that Medicare has issued a warning to seniors to be on the lookout for fraudsters trying to exploit them.  One way they are doing this is by posing as Medicare representatives and calling recipients asking for the 11 digit number from their card.  Please Note that Medicare states they do not and will not call recipients.  They strongly advise against giving out your new number over the phone to anyone and remind recipients that Medicare only operates via the US Mail.

Furthermore Medicare asks that you help to get the word out by warning family and friends that they may be at risk for these scams.  Reiterate not to give out any information over the phone to anyone claiming to be a representative of Medicare.

Your new card will automatically come to you and you do not need to do anything as long as your address is up to date. If you need to update your address, go online or give them a call.  Also keep in mind that your card may arrive at a different time than your friend’s or neighbor’s as mailing takes time.  Your Medicare coverage and benefits will stay the same.

MorningStar at Arrowhead represents the finest in senior living with our unique mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” Arrowhead’s foundation is built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve, all directed at creating a true home for our residents. Contact us to schedule a tour to fully experience the finest senior living the Peoria & Glendale AZ area has to offer.

Stay Well Hydrated this Summer

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Now that summer is here seniors need to remember to stay hydrated.  There are several reasons why the elderly are more at risk for dehydration starting with the fact that as we age, our sense of thirst diminishes so we may forget to drink.  In addition medications commonly prescribed to seniors such as diuretics, antipsychotics and corticosteroids can affect a senior’s ability to maintain fluids.  Also our bodies do not conserve fluids as well as when we were younger.  Lastly it can be difficult for older adults to adapt to fluctuating temperatures, which may cause them to overheat quicker.

Dehydration can also occur in individuals with dementia as the disease causes them to forget to eat and drink, and in the more advanced stages, many people have trouble swallowing.  Furthermore, seniors with incontinent problems sometimes purposely limit their fluid intake as a way to avoid accidents.

Whatever the reason, dehydration can lead to serious health problems and as the outside temperatures soar, seniors must take care.  Experts recommend seniors get about 64 ounces of fluids a day, and in hot and humid weather or any changes in medical conditions or medications, you may need to drink even more.

To make it easier to drink more water, try mixing in a little juice or fruit or add a flavored water enhancer.  Other types of foods that help increase your fluid intake include savory broths, fruits such as watermelon, grapes, oranges and cantaloupe, smoothies, and herbal iced teas.

At MorningStar at Arrowhead, we understand the need for seniors to take extra care during the summer months.  Our excellent food service is comprised of lots of fresh foods and healthy, refreshing beverages.  Our community includes 60 assisted living suites and 25 secure suites in our Reflections Neighborhood for those with Alzheimer’s and other memory impairments.  Please visit our website to schedule a tour of our gorgeous community.

MorningStar at Arrowhead represents the finest in senior living with our unique mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” Arrowhead’s foundation is built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve, all directed at creating a true home for our residents. Contact us to schedule a tour to fully experience the finest senior living the Peoria & Glendale AZ area has to offer.