Senior Eating Disorders – What to Know

In today’s modern society, eating disorders are generally assumed to only be associated with younger generations; more specifically, teenagers. But they are increasingly becoming a bigger problem in older generations, and for many reasons. Here are some important things to know about the eating disorders present among the elderly.

What is an Eating Disorder?

An eating disorder is classified as a psychological disorder that is characterized by disturbed or abnormal eating habits. And there are 3 main types of eating disorders present among the elderly: anorexia nervous, bulimia nervous, and binge-eating.

  • Anorexia Nervosa: An eating disorder in which an individual becomes obsessive about what they eat as well as how much they weigh
  • Bulimia Nervosa: An eating disorder in which an individual binges in order to avoid gaining weight
  • Binge Eating: An eating disorder in which an individual has the inability to control their consumption of large amounts of food

According to Dr. Holly Grishkat, PhD., women aged in their midlife or older are part of the largest group of new sufferers of eating disorders. Considering this, there must be reasons why society only correlates younger individuals with eating disorders. For example, older individuals with eating disorders may be less recognizable, leading to less support for them to seek treatment for their problem. On the other hand, younger individuals seeking help may be more supported since they have a longer future ahead of them. This is problematic because older individuals need treated for their eating disorders in order to prevent further complications with their health than already present.

Eating Disorders Among the Elderly

Among the older adults suffering from eating disorders, the majority of them have been dealing with an eating disorder since a younger age, and have either prevented to seek treatment throughout their life, or they went into remission and the eating disorder resurfaced. In 2006, a study conducted of nearly 1,000 elderly women found that 60% of the elderly individuals were dissatisfied with their bodies. In addition to this, the same study found that 80% of these 1,000 elderly female individuals were participating in some kind of weight control ritual. Furthermore, a literature review examined cases of eating disorder in people over the age of 50 years old and they found that 81% of the cases involved anorexia nervosa and 10% of the cases had bulimia nervosa. Lastly, according to the National Eating Disorders Association, around 20 million women as well as 10 million men in the United States have experienced some form of eating disorder at one point in their lives.

What Causes Senior Eating Disorders?

There are many factors that influence seniors to participate in different forms of eating disorders. For example, eating disorders are often associated with depression because of a loss of the desire to eat food, as well as loneliness. This loneliness can be caused by anywhere from an empty nest to divorce, widowhood, loss of parents, or loss of a child. In addition to this, some other factors that can trigger a senior to engage in an eating disorder are chronic illnesses, disabilities, medications, physical problems, and diseases such as Dementia and Alzheimers Disease. Medications can suppress an elderly individual’s appetite and desire for food, which may unintentionally lead to an eating disorder. Moreover, physical problems that may affect an elderly person’s eating habits are stomach problems, cardiac issues, gastrointestinal problems, and other complications.

Signs of Eating Disorders – What to Look Out For

There are plenty of symptoms that can identify that an eating disorder is a present problem in a senior citizen. These signs include:

  • Defensiveness or denial about an eating disorder
  • Onset or worsening osteoporosis
  • Heart or gastrointestinal problems
  • Excessive hair loss
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Desire to eat alone rather than with family
  • Significant change in weight (loss or gain)
  • Changes in overall behavior
  • Large amount of laxatives
  • Dental damage

Overall, eating disorders that take place among the elderly generation can be difficult to identity and diagnose, and they can even be mentally damaging to the people attempting to help the senior citizens get rid of an eating disorder. But with the proper management as well as training, the eating disorder can be fixed and prevented in the future. A highly recommended solution for you if you know a senior citizen that suffers from an eating disorder of any kind would be to contact Maplewood of Sauk Praire facility because they have highly trained professionals that can help create hope during the dark times of eating disorders. There is hope and there is the right help out there.

Sources:

http://www.todaysgeriatricmedicine.com/news/exclusive_0409_03.shtml

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290023.php

https://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/blog/common-types-of-eating-disorders-observed-in-the-elderly-population

Transient Ischemic Attacks – What You Should Know

Introduction

A Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) or a mini-stroke is caused by a temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain due to a clot lodged in the artery. A mini-stoke has similar symptoms of an ischemic attack, the most common type of stroke. The main difference is TIA symptoms last for a few minutes to hours until the clot dissolves or dislodges on its own.

A stroke causes permanent damage to the brain because blood and oxygen flow are cut off for a longer time. It is a scary occurrence for anyone who experienced TIA since it may serve as a major warning sign of a full-blown stroke to come.

Seeking medical attention right away can help distinguish a mini-stroke from a real ischemic attack. TIA is a treatable condition and may require post-stroke rehabilitative care. Medical treatment and lifestyle adjustments can prevent TIA recurrence and reduce the risk of a stroke.

Causes of Transient Ischemic Attack

A blood clot that clogs the artery leading to the brain is the leading cause of a mini-stroke. TIA is also commonly caused by atherosclerosis or a buildup of plaques in the arteries. These plaques come from fatty deposits of cholesterol in the body. They can cause a clot to develop and float around in the body or an artery. It can reduce blood flow or get clogged in the artery. TIA occurs when the clot blocks blood and oxygen flow to the brain.

Symptoms of Transient Ischemic Attack

• Numbness, weakness, or paralysis in one side of the body, the face, arm or legs

• Sudden, severe headache of unknown cause

• Slurred speech

• Confusion

• Double vision or blindness in one or both eyes

• Loss of balance

• Lack of physical coordination

• Dizziness or passing out

Risk Factors of TIA

Some of the risk factors of TIA can be managed to prevent full stroke. Others cannot be changed. They include:

• Genetics

• Age

• Gender

• Race

• Previous transient ischemic attack

• Sickle cell disease

Reducing the Risk of TIA and Stroke

Certain health conditions and lifestyle choices increase the risk of getting TIA and stroke. Some 1 in 3 people go on to have a stroke after having a min-stroke. However, if the following risk factors are managed well, i.e. risk avoidance and preventative care, it can reduce the chance of a stroke. People who have two or more risk factors are typically at a greater risk.

Health Conditions:

• High cholesterol

• High blood pressure

• Diabetes

• Cardiovascular disease

• Peripheral artery disease

• Carotid artery disease

• Obesity

• Elevated levels of homocysteine

Lifestyle Choices:

• Poor nutrition

• Smoking tobacco

• Alcoholism

• Use of illicit drugs

• Physical inactivity

• Use of birth control pills

Treatment for Transient Ischemic Attack

If you suspect from the symptoms you suffered a TIA, you should seek medical attention immediately. Your doctor may perform various tests including CT scans, MRI’s, and MRA’s if necessary to make a diagnosis. Treatment depends on the type, severity, cause, and location of the TIA.

Medication: Anti-platelet drugs or anti-coagulant medication may be prescribed to prevent clotting in the body. Thrombolytic therapy using a thrombolytic agent may be used to dissolve blood clots blocking blood flow to the brain. It is especially useful for an ongoing stroke. Medication may also be prescribed to treat underlying health conditions associated with TIA and stroke.

Surgery: A carotid endarterectomy may be required to unclog the carotid artery in the neck. This surgical procedure is done to remove the plaques or fatty deposits to prevent another TIA or a stroke.

Angioplasty: Carotid angioplasty, or stenting, may be necessary for some patients. This surgical procedure is done to place a small wire tube or stent into the clogged artery to keep it open.

Lifestyle Changes: Eating healthier, exercising, stress management, and kicking certain habits, such as smoking cigarettes, abusing illicit drugs, or drinking excessive alcohol, can help reduce the chance of TIA or a stroke.

Getting Professional Help

Transient ischemic attack can happen to anyone. It is preventable to some extent and is treatable. Perhaps the most important thing you need to know are the symptoms and to call 911 to avoid medical complications. It is especially important to do so since TIA and stroke have some similar symptoms.

Many times, a person may require post-stroke rehabilitation which can be done in a residential or outpatient setting. Maplewood of Sauk Prairie Health & Rehabilitation Center, in Sauk City, WI, can provide stroke rehabilitative care for your or your loved one in a compassionate environment.

Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy are part of their post-stroke treatment programs which are managed by a professional and qualified medical staff. These services are offered in an inpatient or outpatient environment, depending on the client’s needs. Their goal is returning you or your loved one to an active life by working to reduce the challenges posed by a TIA or stroke.

Sources:

American Heart Association/American Stroke Association: https://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/TypesofStroke/TIA/Transient-Ischemic-Attack-TIA_UCM_492003_SubHomePage.jsp

MedicineNet: https://www.medicinenet.com/transient_ischemic_attack_tia_mini-stroke/article.htm#what_is_the_prognosis_for_transient_ischemic_attack_tia

Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/stroke/signs-symptoms-tia-mini-stroke

Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/transient-ischemic-attack/symptoms-causes/syc-20355679

WebMd: https://www.webmd.com/stroke/what-is-tia#2

Parkinson’s Disease – What You Need to Know

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative nervous system condition that impacts a stricken individual’s mobility, their ability to control bodily movements and, in as the disease advances, simple tasks like eating and speaking. Scientists and researchers more specifically attribute the onset of this disorder to the breakdown of the dopamine-producing neurons (brain cells). A decline in the important brain chemical dopamine is believed to precipitate abnormal brain behavior that results in the ailment’s physical manifestations.

Currently, there are roughly one million Americans with Parkinson’s disease and 10 million people afflicted throughout the world. For reasons not entirely understood, men are almost twice as likely to develop the illness as women.

The staff of Maplewood of Prairie Sauk, a skilled nursing home and outpatient rehabilitation facility invites our readers to learn basic but pertinent information about this health malady.

The Causes Of Parkinson’s Disease

Researchers are unable to pinpoint any one specific or probable cause. That said, certain underlying personal circumstances are thought to contribute to the ailment’s onset including the repeated exposure to numerous toxic allergens, chemicals and substances prevalent in the environment. Members of the scientific community have also identified genetic flaws as another potential cause. Despite these hypotheses regarding environment and genetics as possible triggers, scientists caution that the overall percentage of cases that can be directly attributable to these factors are still relatively small.

Research has also led medical professionals to opine that changes in an afflicted person’s brain chemistry and structure could also be a precipitator. Clusters of brain matter referred to as Lewy bodies are present in the brains of some Parkinson’s patients. These structures are said to contain chemicals the brain is unable to breakdown, which eventually leads to neuronal destruction.

The Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease

The disease is classified in five stages. Symptoms worsen as an impacted individual enters each particular stage. Early manifestations might include bodily tremors or muscle stiffness that does not interfere with daily activities or could be attributed to common issues such as the aging process or recovery from an exercise regiment.

However, as the illness advances, stricken persons will gradually experience a greater degree of difficulty executing tasks like walking, controlling bodily movements, speaking, eating or even standing without assistance. When the illness reaches the fifth and final stage, the afflicted individual could be completely unable to move and might even experience hallucinations or delusions.

Potential Complications

The manifestations of the illness may also precipitate related complications including:

*Sleeplessness

*Sexual performance problems.

*The inability to chew or swallow food might elicit digestion and nutrition difficulties.

*The loss of muscle control could lead to the inability to control urinary or bowel functions.

*Muscle atrophy.

*Dizziness or fainting upon standing.

*Increased fatigue.

*Depression.

*Mental clarity issues.

These issues could eventually lead to numerous other health problems.

The Risk Factors

Typically, one’s of contracting Parkinson’s disease increases with age. In most instances, onset of the illness does not begin until someone reaches middle to advanced age. Furthermore, most diagnosed cases of the ailment are made in persons 60 years of age and older.

Diagnosis

Eastablishing a diagnosis could be a time-consuming endeavor. There are no specific tests designed to completely confirm the illness’s presence. Diagnosis is typically made following a thorough physical and neurological evaluation and, quite possibly, several laboratory and internal body imaging tests conducted to rule out other potential health problems.

Treatment Options

Parkinson’s disease cannot be cured. However, in some cases, certain medications might be effective in slowing the ailment’s progression might or in easing associated symptoms. Prescribed drugs are usually geared towards stimulating dopamine production within the brain, mimicking dopamine’s characteristics or to alleviate specific manifestations of the illness.

Some people have found improvement after undergoing a surgical procedure known as Deep-Brain Stimulation (DBS). During this process, electrical impulses are pumped into regions of the brain believed to be impacted by the illness.

Prevention

While there may not yet be any surefire measures people can employ to prevent developing Parkinson’s disease, the execution of certain actions might lower the risk including the consumption of a healthy diet, limiting one’s exposure to environmental allergens and toxins, avoiding excessive intake of alcohol, engaging in brain stimulating activities, obtaining adequate amounts of rest and keeping the body in shape through exercise.

Conclusion

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, incurable brain disease that can have a significant impact upon a person’s life. However, the illness could be slowed and its manifestations eased through various treatment methods. Maplewood of Sauk Prairie might be able to help those stricken with Parkinson’s disease stay as strong as possible and maximize their health through our skilled nursing home facility and rehabilitation services. Please contact us at 608-643-3383.

Sources:

1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parkinsons-disease/symptoms-

causes/syc-20376055

2. http://www.parkinson.org/understanding-parkinsons/what-is-parkinsons

3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/parkinsons-disease/complications-of-parkinsons-disease.php

Avoiding falls in the senior population

Falling is a serious problem among older adults. Falls can lead to serious injury and long-term consequences. Understanding falls among older adults can help loved ones reduce the risks of falls and protect older adults’ health and safety.

Causes of falls among older adults

There are a number of things that contribute to falls in older adults. Some of these factors can be controlled with lifestyle changes and support from caregivers while other factors cannot be controlled in adults’ lives. Here are some common causes of falls among older adults:

• Reduced mobility due to age and frailty

• Illness, such as one that causes dizziness or unsteadiness

• Injury, such as one that affects mobility

• Medication side effects

• Numbness in feet and/or legs

• Dehydration

• Chronic pain

• Urinary incontinence or frequent, urgent trips to the bathroom

• Brain or mood disorders, such as dementia

• Improper environment, such as shoes that do not fit

Though all of these causes can contribute to falls among older adults, dizziness is another significant risk factor. Dizziness can be brought on by medications, illnesses, low blood pressure, and other conditions. Dizziness can lead to unsteadiness. When paired with other risk factors, this can lead to an increased risk of falls in older adults.

Effects of falls

While falls can be painful for all people, they can be particularly harmful for older adults. In fact, falls among older adults are a significant cause of serious injury or complications after an injury or surgical procedure. Since older adults are often frailer, they may break bones or dislocate joints, even from a short fall.

If the fall comes after a surgical procedure, such as in the hospital, there is a risk of harm to the surgical site, infection, or additional injuries that would lengthen the hospital stay and potentially cause distress to the patient and family.

Due to the injuries that older adults can experience after a fall, there can be long-term consequences. For example, a bone break or dislocated hip can mean the older adult is no longer able to walk independently.

Treating falls

If an older adult experiences a fall, the first step should be to seek medical attention. Even if the fall seems minor or that no injury occurred, seeking medical attention will ensure that everything is okay and address any problems that may have occurred. Not only will a physician determine if any injuries have occurred but the physician will help determine the cause of the fall, which may be another area of health that needs to be addressed.

If an injury has occurred, such as a broken bone or dislocated hip, the physician will develop a treatment plan to be carried out for the older adult. This may include a rehabilitation program and ongoing care.

The physician may also develop a treatment plan to address the cause of the fall. For example, if an older adult’s medication is causing dizziness, a physician may adjust the dosage or change the medication completely.

Preventing falls

Preventing falls is an effective way to prevent the negative effects of falls in older adults. While not all causes of falls can be avoided, such as frailty and limited mobility, there are measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of a fall at home.

Environmental factors

Environmental factors refer to the elements of the home that can contribute to a fall. Uneven or changing floor environments, such as area rugs, stairs, or a sunken living room, can lead to a fall, especially if the older adult is not familiar with the home. Paths should be even and clear of clutter. Inclines, ramps, and stairs should have handrails.

Along with this, older adults should have shoes that fit well or slippers with non-slip bottoms to minimize the risk of falls when walking. If mobility is limited, assistive devices, such as canes or walkers, should be available.

Lifestyle factors

The environment is only one component of fall prevention. Even with the environment safe, older adults are at risk of falling. Fortunately, some lifestyle changes can be made to further reduce risks. This includes providing assistance and support for older adults when needed. For example, if mobility is limited, assistance should be provided to move throughout the home.

It is also recommended that older adults remain as active as possible. Older adults who are active are less likely to experience falls. Physicians can provide recommendations for what activities are safe.

Even with preventive measures, falls can happen. If your loved one is recovering from a fall and needs assistance or rehabilitation, the staff at Maplewood of Sauk Prairie would be happy to help.

Diseases that precipitate cognitive decline in older individuals such as dementia can significantly impact their quality of life and be quite difficult for loved ones to witness. Though these types of brain and mental disorders are not yet understood entirely by the medical community, significant research efforts have focused on ways in which such maladies may be prevented. Some scientists opine that increased exercise might serve as one particular preventative measure.

The Maplewood at Prairie Sauk, a nursing facility and outpatient physical rehabilitation center serving the needs of patients with dementia and other cognitive disorders, invites people to read the following brief article focusing on dementia, the malady’s causes and symptoms, as well as how and why physical activity may keep the affliction at bay.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is not classified as any one specific type of mental illness. Rather, medical professionals categorize this moniker as a collection of conditions resulting in cognitive mental deterioration. The most commonly known form of such disorders is Alzheimer’s Disease.

What are the Symptoms of Dementia?

Manifestations may vary depending upon the exact cause or area of the brain that is most impacted. That said, regardless of any other factors, many presentations of dementia typically elicit several common symptoms such as profound memory loss, slurred or slow speech, difficulty finding the appropriate words to use in conversation, the inability to carry out once routine, everyday household or professional tasks, problems recognizing people and places (even close relatives and friends and familiar environments like home), difficulty exercising judgment in situations where such decisions must be executed, neglected hygiene, mood swings, bizarre behavior, hallucinations, balance issues and depression.

What are the Causes?

In many instances, dementia is precipitated by the progressive and irreversible deterioration of the brain’s cerebral cortex. This region of the mind controls actions like memory, personality and decision making. Under far less frequent circumstances, dementia may be a treatable manifestation of another serious illness including sexually transmitted diseases like Syphilis, the AIDS virus, hormonal and metabolic imbalances, nutritional deficiencies or severe and chronic presentations of alcoholism and substance addiction.

Can Dementia be Prevented?

While there is no medically-established preventative measure, doctors and scientists believe there are certain steps people can employ that might help reduce their chances of developing dementia later in life. These include keeping the mind strong through mental stimulation, consuming a well-balanced, healthy diet, augmenting solid dietary practices through the ingestion of brain and memory-boosting vitamin and nutritional supplements, reducing stress levels, obtaining more sleep, curtailing or eliminating bad habits such as drinking and smoking and receiving an adequate amount of exercise. Some researchers have opined that exercise may be among the most important preventative measures people can employ.

The Results of a New Study

A team of researchers representing The University of Gothenburg’s Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry in Sweden suggest that an individual’s stamina, which is scientifically-defined as the duration of time needed for the body to reach a peak level of physical exhaustion during periods of exertion, might impact his or her risk of being stricken with some form of dementia in later years.

The study began in 1968 and involved nearly 200 women ranging in age from 38 to 60. Each test subject was asked to perform a cycling race for the purpose of measuring how stout their cardiovascular systems were. Following the examination, researchers placed the examinees in one of three categories depending upon how they performed in the race: low fitness, medium fitness and high fitness. Category designations were also assigned based upon other variables such as a subject’s overall health when deemed appropriate. The researchers followed each subject for a 44-year period ending in 2012. The findings showed that the women classified as high fitness who also developed dementia did so, on average, at a rate of 11 years later than medium designees also afflicted with the condition. While researchers believe this study is beneficial, the scientific community in general opine that much more research is needed before a direct correlation can be drawn regarding physical activity as a possible medically-accepted preventative tool for dementia.

We at Maplewood at Sauk Prairie work with dementia patients. If you or a loved one are concerned about the illness or may need assistance, please contact us.

Sources:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dementia/symptoms-causes/syc-20352013
  2. https://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/tc/dementia-symptoms
  3. http://www.dementia.com/causes.html
  4. https://www.alzheimers.net/1-1-15-resolutions-reduce-dementia-2015/
  5. https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/14/health/dementia-risk-fitness-study/index.html

Most people just assume that stiffness and discomfort in the knees are a common part of aging. However, the reality is that any sort of discomfort is typically a sign that something is not functioning correctly. Many people who deal with painful knees in their middle and later years are actually suffering from osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that happens when the protective tissue surrounding the bones in your knees becomes eroded. This causes bones to grind against each other, resulting in inflammation and pain.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, roughly 27 million people in the United States alone have osteoarthritis, and the knee is the most commonly affected area. It is more likely to occur among those who are older, have a higher weight, are female, or participate in long-distance running, but osteoarthritis can happen to anyone.

What Are Symptoms of Osteoarthritis in the Knee?

Most people know that osteoarthritis can cause knee pain, but there are also many other conditions that cause knee pain. The discomfort associated with osteoarthritis tends to meet a few specific qualifications. If you are dealing with one or more of these symptoms, it may be a sign that you have osteoarthritis in your knee.

Swelling

All the constant wear and tear in the knee joint tends to result in swelling around the knees. The swollen area tends to look reddened, and it may be warm to the touch. In some cases, this swelling is made even more noticeable due to the bone spurs that can form. Swelling associated with osteoarthritis tends to come and go. Many people find that it is more severe in the morning or at other times when the knee joint has not moved in a while.

Pain

An osteoarthritic joint can be rather painful. Unlike a knee injury, the pain associated with osteoarthritis tends to appear very gradually. At first, it will just happen in the morning or when you try to move after staying still for a while. It may come and go over the course of several days, but it typically worsens throughout the years. Certain triggers, such as damp weather, standing up, the cold, or climbing stairs can make knee pain worsen.

Deformed Knees

In the later stages of osteoarthritis, damaged joints can cause a distinctly deformed look. This tends to occur because the spaces between joints are diminished and the muscles around the knees become thinner. The end result is typically a knee that looks smaller or shrunken when it is not swollen. Knee deformities tend to be more noticeable when a patient is standing, and they may cause a person to stand with their knee and lower leg turned outwards or inwards.

Immovable Knees

Without all the lubricating tissue surrounding the knee joint, people with osteoarthritis may find that their knee may suddenly lock up. It might get stuck in a straight or bent position. This type of immovability normally happens suddenly, and it will go away after a little while. Osteoarthritis can also make it tricky to move knees through their full range of motion during activities like walking up stairs or climbing. People who try to avoid moving their knee due to osteoarthritis pain may end up with weakened knee muscles. Weak muscles will make this symptom even worse.

Strange Noises

Though joints typically move without noticeable sound, osteoarthritis can cause your joint movements to become audible. As the rough parts of the bones rub together, you may begin to hear noises while you are moving your knees. Patients with osteoarthritis describe these noises as sounding like popping, grinding, cracking, snapping, or crackling noises. Like other symptoms of arthritis in the knee, these strange noises are normally worse right after waking up or leaving the knee immobile for some time period.

What Can You Do About Osteoarthritis in the Knee?

Osteoarthritis is definitely uncomfortable, but it does not have to control your life. Treatments for this condition rely on painkilling medications and exercises to strengthen and protect the knee joint. At Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, those suffering from physical ailments have access to a variety of rehabilitation services. Our talented and dedicated staff can provide rehabilitation, balance, and movement therapy that will make it easier to regain function in your knees.

Sources:
https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/osteoarthritis/what-is-osteoarthritis.php
https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/ostearthritis-of-the-knee-degenerative-arthritis-of-the-knee#1

Navigating and interacting with the world relies on good balance, which in turn relies on several body parts working together to work. The eyes, ears, bones, joints, and brain must act in accordance; each one is constantly updated and adjusted to keep the body regular. The inner ear does much of the balancing work as the vestibular system, while the muscles and joints work as the proprioceptive system to sense where the body is. What might not be as obvious but just as important, however, is the vision.

Vision in the Balance System

The inner ears need the eyes, simply because the eyes are how people best sense and judge the world around them. The vestibular and proprioceptive systems work off the information the eyes and brain give them, helping with stability and position whether standing still or in motion. The vision, in fact, serves as the main source of information for a person from childhood onward; much of the brain is used to process it. While problems in either system can cause balance trouble, vision problems often cause a sort of ripple effect in the others.

Issues with the proprioceptive and vestibular system quickly affect one’s vision, from dizziness and shakiness to throwing both eyes off-sync with each other. As the control center of the body, the brain likewise destabilizes these systems after an injury. The eyes and their connective tissue, however, give them almost everything they use to work; seeing trouble can override several bones, muscles, and organs as a result.

Effects of Poor Vision

Either system, or brain, being out of sync with the eyes can cause a number of problems: the body processing the wrong information, not having enough, or processing it incorrectly. The visual system “calibrates” the others, the absence of which contributes to falls and balance disorders. Studies suggest a relationship between poor vision and a heightened risk of falls, though research is ongoing; while falls might not seem like a great danger, they’ve caused injury to millions of Americans. Older adults are at greater risk, but for adults and teenagers alike, the right fall in the wrong place can cause significant damage.

Balance disorders typically feature poor vision as a symptom, whether blurred or uneven. Good vision makes these symptoms easier to handle, especially when the vision itself is treated. In some cases, getting glasses or contacts is enough to greatly improve balance issues. By the time someone might notice another having trouble walking and poor hand-eye coordination, there may already be a bigger issue.

Treatment

Fortunately testing the vision for its effects on the vestibular and proprioceptive systems is not difficult, though it requires seeing a doctor familiar with these links. A scan of the vision system in the interest of physical therapy comes in several parts, only one of which is just checking the eyes for good health. The doctor or physician will also check oculomotor skills, focusing skills, and how well the mind interprets and processes visual stimuli. Whether or not the eyes can work simultaneously with the brain and other systems is of utmost importance, since the visual system processes the information it receives almost instantaneously. What must additionally be tested are other injuries and disorders that affect vision, since treating those can alleviate any resulting balance problems. With the hard work and cooperation of the patient, deficient skills and habits can be improved in due time.

While vision may not appear to be the most important factor in keeping balance, the body needs them to maintain it normally. It takes the vestibular, vision, and proprioceptive systems working together to keep things level; but it is the vision which provides most of the necessary information. As this article has shown, poor vision can disrupt the other systems to the point of great risk. Proper care of the ocular and motor functions can help reverse some of the risk and improve balance, whether the fix is a simple pair of glasses or rigorous physical therapy. If your child is currently struggling with vision-related balance problem, a visit to Maplewood of Sauk Prairie can get them on the path to recovery.

Sources:

http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/publish/news/newsroom/7895

https://vestibular.org/news/12-23-2016/connection-between-vision-balance

https://www.eyeandear.org.au/page/Patients/Patient_information/Balance_Disorders/How_does_the_balance_system_work/

Adult Peripheral Neuropathy can be a serious, debilitating and life-altering medical condition that can limit an individual’s mobility and significantly impact his or her quality of life. The following brief article will examine this health malady, as well as cover associated topics including the different forms of the illness, the disease’s causes, symptoms, methods of diagnosis and treatment options.

What Is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral Neuropathy affects the body’s peripheral nervous system. This region comprises nerves that are apart from, but controlled by the central nervous system, which is made up of a person’s brain and spinal column. The peripheral nerves perform specific functions upon receiving messages from the central nervous system. Neuropathy occurs when such nerves become damaged and are unable to receive those important messages and execute specific bodily functions. Peripheral nerves can be found in various bodily regions such as the muscles, skin and internal organs. When these nerves become damaged, impacted parts of an individual’s system can, in certain instances, be rendered severely disabled.

What Are The Different Types Of Peripheral Neuropathy?

Medical researchers have identified in excess of 100 different forms of this nerve-related disability. However, each separate condition is classified based upon the extent of the nerve damage it causes. Manifestations impacting only one particular nerve are labeled mononeuropathies. Unfortunately, however, most affect several nerves at a time and are therefore categorized as polyneuropathies. In addition, neuropathies also impact specific parts of a nerve.

What Are The Condition’s Symptoms?

Manifestations often depend upon the severity of the condition, in addition to the specific type of nerve that has suffered damage (motor, sensory or autonomic). Motor nerves enable individuals to control voluntary movements. When these nerves are injured, someone might experience difficulty and/or be unable to move body parts needed to perform everyday activities such as walking, lifting and grasping objects and/or speaking. Impacted motor nerves often precipitate symptoms including muscle weakness, cramping, muscular twitching, slowed reflexes and atrophy (a decrease in muscle size).

Sensory nerves enable people to experience various sensations like pain, heat and cold. When these nerves encounter damage, manifestations can include limited or decreased sensation in affected bodily regions, specifically the hands and feet, loss of coordination skills, balance problems, mobility challenges, insensitivity to temperature changes. and insensitivity to pain.

Autonomic nerves regulate the body’s involuntary actions performed by various organs such as respiration, digestion, excretion, circulation and glandular functions. Injured autonomic nerves may elicit symptoms like loss of bladder and/or bowel control,frequent blood pressure alterations and the inability to sweat.

What Causes Peripheral Neuropathy?

This illness can be precipitated by a host of physical, biological and environmental issues.

Physical

Sudden or repetitive injury are among the condition’s most common precipitators. Acute trauma that can occur in the wake of automobile accidents, falls or even during medical operations can result in nerve damage. In addition, those who perform jobs or leisure activities in which awkward, repetitive movements are executed over long periods of time can experience stress-related nerve damage resulting in various peripheral neuropathies.

Biological

Many biological ailments could precipitate nerve damage such as various forms of cancer, kidney problems, infections, autoimmune disorders, small blood vessel conditions and endocrine diseases.

Environmental

External factors like such as prolonged use of certain medications, long-term exposure to numerous environmental toxins and allergens, as well as excessive alcohol intake and/or substance abuse can bring forth the condition.

How Is This Illness Diagnosed?

Because peripheral neuropathy can be precipitated by numerous and sometimes a combination of causes, diagnosis is typically only reached after an extensive examination of an individual’s medical and environmental histories. However, when and if a physician’s investigation leads him or her to a potential diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy, he or she may be able to confirm those suspicions by employing many different diagnostic tools including various blood tests, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), nerve biopsies, nerve conductor tests and electromyography.

How Is Peripheral Neuropathy Treated?

Most treatment protocols involve first diagnosing the condition’s specific underlying cause. Sometimes fixing the precipitating problem can alleviate or possibly even eliminate the pain, weakness and other associated manifestations. In instances where nerve damage is extensive and/or the symptoms are particularly severe, treatment might be geared towards managing said symptoms using medications, electrical nerve stimulation and/or surgery.

Peripheral Neuropathy can be an especially debilitating condition for the aged and/or people with other physical disabilities and/or complicating factors. In such instances, rehabilitation might be necessary. Those in need of rehabilitation may benefit from the services we provide at Maplewood of Sauk Prairie. We are a skilled nursing facility and provide outpatient rehabilitation as well. For more information, please contact us.

Sources:
1. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Peripheral-Neuropathy-Fact-Sheet#3208_2
2. https://www.webmd.com/brain/understanding-peripheral-neuropathy-basics#1
3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peripheral-neuropathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20352061

The World Health Organization reports that Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia will increase three-fold by 2050. And according to studies conducted by UCLA 5.5 million Americans currently, suffer from Alzheimer’s. This number is expected to be around 15 million by 2060.

The early detection of Alzheimer’s is of extreme importance and there are a number of warning signs for loved ones to look when interacting with elderly family members. Here are some of the top Alzheimer’s disease signs and symptoms.

Disruptive Memory Loss

Memory loss is one of the most prevalent symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Both short and long-term memory is affected by the effects of short-term memory loss is usually more easily noticed.

Seniors may be observed to forget important dates or appointments, repeating the same questions or information, or increasingly becoming dependent on memory aids or family members to recall things that they once could on their own. This loss of memory can often time become extremely disruptive in the lives of seniors.

Difficulty Performing Common Tasks

Senior family members afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease will often find it difficult, and maybe even impossible to complete routine tasks. An example of this would be a grandmother was known for her cooking prowess being unable to prepare her most enjoyed meal.

Seniors may also have trouble with arriving at locations familiar to them, playing games they enjoy or managing finances.

Placing Things In Odd Places

Discovering car keys in the refrigerator, the remote control in clothes hamper, or regularly finding items that had been missing in strange locations is strong evidence that an elderly family member could be suffering from the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

While some may believe that forgetfulness is a simple byproduct of aging, the person with Alzheimer’s does not only forget the whereabouts of possessions occasionally but often leave them in unusual places and are unable to retrace their path to locate them.

Seniors may also become suspicious of others when unable to locate items.

Struggling To Communicate

Visible evidence of diminished ability to communicate is another common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Sufferer’s of Alzheimer’s may often stop talking in mid-sentence and become unable to continue.

Vocabulary can also become problematic and seniors with Alzheimer’s may also struggle in searching for correct words or terms or refer to objects or people with incorrect names, and in some cases invent words that do not exist.

Aimless Wandering

A potentially dangerous warning sign of Alzheimer’s is the tendency for elderly sufferers of the disease to wander off and often become lost. This tendency toward aimless wandering is often exacerbated by the feelings of restlessness, confusion with time, anxiety, and difficulty with recognition of familiar faces that Alzheimer’s patients often experience.

Cases have been reported where individual’s with Alzheimer’s have left the home late at night in response to a need, like using the bathroom, that could easily have been fulfilled in the home. Alzheimer’s sufferers have also been reported to leave ‘for home’ when already present in their homes.

Difficulty With Visual Information

The vision problems experienced by seniors with Alzheimer’s is much different than that of most common age-related visual impairments. With Alzheimer’s there is the inability to gauge distances or determine the color or contrast of an object.

Problems with perception such as observing themselves in a mirror and believing their reflection to be someone else present in the room can also occur with Alzheimer’s.

Actions With No Purpose

Alzheimer’s sufferers will often be seen engaging in pointless activities such as packing and then unpacking belongings, pacing to and fro with no destination, or opening and closing drawers, doors, or windows repeatedly for no reason.

To the onlooker, these activities will have no reason attached to them but experts on the disease believe that these activities are repeated to fulfill a need on the part of the Alzheimer’s sufferer to stay busy or feel productive.

Withdrawal From Social Activities

Loneliness and Isolation are often associated with Alzheimer’s disease and persons with the disease may begin to ignore many of the activities that they need or once loved to do. Many times this is fueled by shame or embarrassment felt by the Alzheimer’s sufferers due to the changes they have experienced with themselves.

Depression

Depression is often a central theme in the lives of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Depression can be a difficult symptom to identify and this is made more difficult for Alzheimer’s sufferers due to impairments with cognitive function.

Senior family members that sleep much more than usual or repeatedly spend entire days watching television while engaging in little or no other activities may be suffering from depression.

Decline In Motor Skills

The proper functioning of fine motor skills is often a casualty to Alzheimer’s disease. This decline in motor skills can manifest itself in ways like struggles with tying shoes, buttoning clothes, or making use of eating utensils.

Alzheimer’s disease can be extremely debilitating for elders and a cause of much sadness to family members. Recognizing the signs of Alzheimer’s is crucial as early detection of the disease affords Alzheimer’s experts like those presently at work at the Maple Wood of Sauk Praire, in Sauk City Wisconsin.

Alzheimer’s Disease. (2017, May 08). Retrieved December 24, 2017, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/alzheimers-disease

Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet. (n.d.). Retrieved December 24, 2017, from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet

As many as 300,000 people, over the age of 65, experience a hip fracture each year. Without the once-strong bones, this can be a life-changing experience for most.

Why a Hip Fracture is so Threatening

According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, less than 50% of those who suffer a fractured hip are ever able to regain their previous way of life. Decreased hip function takes away independent walking from an estimated 40% of those afflicted. Over 60% require aid with simple movements less than a year after the occurrence. This means that a large portion of seniors suffering from a hip fracture have to become dependent on constant care, like a nursing home.

What Causes Susceptibility to a Hip Fracture?

There are several reasons why hip bones are susceptible to fracture. These may include:

• Weakening from normal aging
• Blunt trauma
• Long-term obesity
• Disease like Osteoporosis

As one grows older, the density and strength in these bones begin to diminish. Add to this poor eyesight and poor balance and you have the making of a fall on a hard surface. Or something as simple as riding in a car can result in a hip fracture if you are involved in an accident that has heavy jarring. People that are overweight may experience weakness in hips, back and legs due to the constant pressure put upon them. And then there is Osteoporosis, the silent disease. You can have osteoporosis without even knowing it until a break occurs. The only way to be sure is by having a bone mineral density test performed by your physician.

Complications

Having strong bones in your younger years makes surgery to repair a broken hip easy enough. However, when age has debilitated this area, surgery is often not an option. There are certain risks that are attached to performing surgery. These can include:

• Unhealthy bones surrounding the break
• Blood clots that can form and travel
• Developing infection at the incision

It is up to the physician as to whether the physical condition, age of patient and severity of the break is worth the risk of trying to repair a hip fracture. The patient has to be strong enough to withstand general anesthesia or spinal anesthesia and the bones must be strong enough to support a metal plate and screws. If the patient is not well enough to endure a surgery procedure, they are forced to be confined to a chair or bed.

Without the ability to have a hip surgically repaired, there are many life-threatening medical issues that can develop. When there is a fracture in the hip, inflammation sets in. This creates good conditions for blood clots to form. In addition, being bed-fast increases muscle breakdown. It has also been noted that blood pressure can increase and cause heart disease to develop.

There are life-threatening medical issues that can transpire for the elderly regardless of hip fracture surgery or not. The most common of problems is the worsening of existing medical problems, new medical symptoms forming from inactivity and debilitating pain. Once a hip fracture occurs, an elderly patient is 6 times more likely to die in the hospital from the development of post-surgery complications, like a stroke, heart attack, or blood infection.

Getting Help for the Elderly

It takes a good rehabilitation program to help an elderly patient to recover from hip fractures. While a hospital can perform certain procedures, a specialized rehabilitation program is essential. Reducing pain and swelling is the first step in gaining back your freedom. The next step is increasing mobility and flexibility, followed by strengthening. It is often difficult to receive the personal treatment needed at a nursing home due to the numerous duties that they are required to perform. Be prepared by seeking the best, such as Sauk Prairie Physical Therapy located in Sauk City, Wisconsin. Their team of dedicated nurses and nursing assistants are available 24 hours a day to assist you and support you on the road to recovery.

Sources:

Hip Fractures Older Adults Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016, September) Retrieved January 3, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adulthipfx.html

Facts and Statistics, Hip Fracture, IOF, International Osteoporosis Foundation (2017) Retrieved January 3, 2018, from https://www.iofbonehealth.org/facts-statistics#category-16

Osteoporosis, Medline Plus, US National Library of Medicine (2017, November) Retrieved January 3, 2018, from https://medlineplus.gov/osteoporosis.html

Hip-Fracture Surgery Risk Not Just Due to Age, Newsmax Health (2015, September) Retrieved January 3, 2018, from https://www.newsmax.com/Health/Health-News/hip-fracture-surgery-risk/2015/09/15/id/691715/