The human body changes every minute of every day. It constantly creates, destroys, and rejuvenates the body cells. There are constant processes that the body needs to undergo to live continuously. As the body ages, there are expected changes in the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of each person.

The most common expectation of aging is the physical function. Hearing and eyesight may not be as sharp as it was before. Physical movements may not be as flexible as a decade before. Also, in the cognitive part, reacting to daily situations may not be as accurate as before. Seniors may understand things differently than the usual stuff they are used to encounter every day. Speech changes in Seniors can significantly affect the way they communicate with the people around them. And not surprisingly, speech changes can happen to the senior population too.

Changes in physical attributes of speech

The muscles in the larynx and the vocal cords work hand in hand in producing sound. Just like in many areas of human health, aging can jumpstart an avalanche of bodily changes, including changes in speech among seniors. The body parts responsible for producing voice may start to weaken, and vocal cords are losing its elasticity.

If you feel there are changes in your speech recently or have observed in someone else, it is essential to know the causes of this condition and what you can do about it.

Aging and its effects on speech

Aging can bring many physical changes in the body. It is not clearly understood why the body ages. As a person ages, the body loses its elasticity and flexibility. The muscles become weaker, and this includes the muscles lining in the jaw and throat. Along with the throat, muscle weakness is the changes in the tissues and glands in the body. This could greatly affect the speech of the elderly leading to shaky, hoarse, and modified pitch.

Other disorders and diseases could also affect speech along with the aging body. For example, if a person has Parkinson’s Disease, Dementia, or Stroke, these conditions are directly proportional to the changes in a person’s ability to talk and communicate. Certain medications, injury, and underlying causes may be to blame.

Signs of speech changes in seniors

Changes in the speech may not be easy to recognize in the early stage of aging. Sometimes, changes in speech may just be mistaken as a result of flu, cough, and sneezing. The telltale signs of speech changes in Seniors include:

  • Changes in cognition
  • Difficulties participating in a conversation
  • Difficulty producing certain sounds or saying certain words
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness and changes in pitch
  • Loss of hearing

If you feel any of these signs or if you observe them in your loved ones, you may want to set an appointment with your Geriatric Doctor to diagnose the underlying cause of the speech changes properly. If you are worried about you or your loved one’s deteriorating speech, see your doctor for speech problem treatments appropriate for you or your loved one’s condition.

 

The foot is considered one of the most frequently used parts of the body. It is through the foot a person can stand, walk, run and move accordingly. The foot is composed of several small bones that allow movement and weight-bearing.

Several problems can occur in the foot which may result in pain, immobilization, difficulty in walking, and can be worsened with every step. There are several causes of foot pain. Here are 7 of the most common causes of foot pain while walking.

1. Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia. This is a group of thick connective tissue that is located across the bottom of the feet.

The pain may be described as stabbing pain at the bottom of the foot and gets worst when walking or standing. It usually occurs first thing in the morning. It is the cause of foot pain while walking for an estimated 15% of foot problems.

2. Morton’s Neuroma

Morton’s Neuroma is the thickening of a group of tissues surrounding a nerve that runs from the ball of the foot to the toes. This usually develops as a result of injury, nerve irritation, or trauma. This condition places pressure on the toes making the person feel that there is always a marble or a rock inside the shoe.

The pain may be described as a tingling sensation on the ball of the foot that radiates to the toes. Sometimes, the person with Morton’s Neuroma will report numbness or burning in the foot especially while walking.

3. Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia is the painful inflammation of the ball of the foot.

The pain presents as a sharp burning and aching pain on the ball of the foot. Tingling and numbness can also be present. The pain is located on the ball of the foot just behind the toes. The symptoms are highly similar to Morton’s Neuroma. The doctor may perform an Xray to rule out underlying causes.

4. Tendinitis

Tendinitis is the inflammation of the thick and fibrous cords called ‘tendons’ that connect the foot muscles to the bones. The three most common tendon inflammations are the Achilles Tendinitis, Extensor Tendinitis, and Peroneal Tendinitis.

The pain may be described as an ache in the back of the heel or the leg with little to moderate stiffness or tenderness in the foot.

5. Hallux Vagus

Hallux vagus, also known as ‘bunions’ occurs when the big toe tilts toward the other toes. This toe misalignment causes a bony prominence or a bump on the inside of the foot right at the base of the big toe.

The pain can be described as a burning sensation, particularly in the big and second toes. The pain can worsen when the person is wearing closed or restrictive shoes. The person may also report swelling, redness, and numbness in the foot.

6. Arthritis

Several types of bone and joints arthritis can affect the foot including the ankles, toes, heels, and ball of the foot.

Osteoarthritis can cause degradation of the cartilage of the feet. The cartilage acts as the protective cushion between two bones rubbing each other. Osteoarthritis leads to stiffness in the feet particularly the toe region down to the heel.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that destroys the ligaments, cartilage, and tendons surrounding the different bones of the feet. The pain is presented as dull combined with joint swelling, redness, warmth, and stiffness.

7. Heel Spur

A heel spur is an abnormal bony-like growth located between your heel bone and your foot arch. This condition causes pain, redness, and swelling. The pain is radiating throughout the entire foot especially during walking, running, jogging or any other physical type of activity.

When to See A Doctor?

If the pain increases as time goes by and it starts to hamper your daily activities, it is better to set an appointment with a doctor or an orthopedic specialist.

One or more of these causes of foot pain will prompt you to see a doctor. Your doctor will perform a physical exam on the affected area. They may also perform several diagnostic procedures to rule out the underlying cause of foot pain.

Sources:

Sources: https://www.healthline.com/health/my-feet-hurt-so-bad-i-can-barely-walk#flat-feet
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/foot-hurts-when-walking#hallux-valgus

“Dance until you drop.” as one famous line says. The aging process is one that can be challenging, but doesn’t have to be.

As first scientifically proposed by a German biologist Dr. August Weismann, the body is like a mechanical system that is going to break down with use over the years. The wear and tear theory of aging asserts the effects of aging causes progressive damage to the body cells over time until it functions less than the normal.

In the medical field, the legally elderly age is 65 years old. From this age, a person can experience several body changes. Amongst all these are joint body pain and symptoms associated with illnesses of hypertension, diabetes, etc.

Accompanying the aging process may be a gradual decrease in muscle mass and strength. Functional impairment can be a result of putting some risks to older adults.

Causes of leg weakness in the elderly

  • Sarcopenia. It is a degenerative condition associated with aging where muscle mass gradually declines, resulting in muscle weakness of the extremities. Physically inactive people tend to lose muscle mass by 3-5%. The elderly have the highest risk of acquiring this condition, and it is one of the most causes of incidents of falls and fractures among older adults.
  • Vitamin D deficiency. Older people would likely develop Vitamin D deficiency due to decreased dietary intake, diminished sunlight exposure, reduced skin thickness, impaired intestinal absorption, and impaired hydroxylation in the liver and kidneys. Vitamin D is proving to develop muscle strength among the elderly.
  • Inflammation. The body typically responds to a reconstruction of the damaged cells right after an injury. Chronic inflammatory illnesses, such as rheumatoid arthritis, are believed to decreased muscle mass and leg weakness.
  • Diabetes and Hypertension. These two medical conditions can lessen blood perfusion in the body. Diabetes can cause peripheral neuropathy damaging the nerves in the legs and feet while hypertension can increase blood pressure in the arteries of the extremities, causing leg weakness.

Effects of leg weakness

● Risk of falls and fracture. Handrails all over the bathroom are needed to reduce any injury to the elderly. We can use assistive devices like walkers to prevent damage as well.
● Functional impairment. Muscle weakness and fatigue are a result of limited mobility. A caregiver can help assist an elderly cope with daily activities.

Preventing leg weakness

  • Exercise the legs. The sit to stand chair exercise works well for seniors with weak legs and allows them to improve their balance. Participate in a simple daily routine activity to eliminate too much of physical inactivity.
  • Control your weight. Weight gain can affect joints of the legs. The more overweight you are, the higher the risk of developing osteoarthritis and leg weakness.
  • Elevate legs. It can promote good circulation among the rest of the body and prevents swelling. Elevating the legs by putting a small pillow can ease tired feet.
  • Vitamin D supplement. The recommended supplement of vitamin D for the elderly is 1000 IU/day. It can lessen not only muscle problems but also the risk of cardiac illnesses.f
  • The right diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables, including berries and green leafy veggies. Meat and fish products also provide protein for muscle improvement.

Source:
https://www.verywellhealth.com/wear-and-tear-theory-of-aging-2224235
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sarcopenia#section2

Baby boomers, those who are born between 1946 and 1964, are aging and with this fact, the number of dementia cases is rising. The need for memory care services is also expected to rise. According to the projections from World Alzheimer’s Report and RAND Corporation, the number of people with dementia will possibly double or even more by the year 2040. The demand for quality memory care services will rise sharply over the coming decades. The baby boomers generation is creating a surge of people needing treatment for dementia cases. Fortunately, the senior care industry is adept at accepting the change and meeting the demands. According to Senior Housing News, new and existing communities are ready and equipped in the development of memory care units.

Deciding to put a loved one in a memory care community

People with Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia sufferers need specialized and comprehensive care. Deciding to put your loved one in a memory care unit can be a difficult decision but the benefits outweigh the consequences. Memory care services offer more than assisted living, it gives seniors the quality of life they need with their condition.

Why you need memory care services

Memory Care Services are more expensive than traditional assisted senior living. It offers particular programs and features specifically for Dementia sufferers.

Memory Care Programs often include the following services:

  • A secure environment where they can safely wander around preventing elopement incidents.
  • A low staff-to-resident ratio
  • Color-coded hallways and building design that help seniors to navigate the premises easily and reduce their anxiety
  • Sensory-based programming
  • Can accommodate people in their early, middle or late stages of the disease

Effective Assisted Living with Memory Care Services can deliver improvements in the quality of life of the resident. Through effective services and efficient treatments, the family will observe the following indications of improvement in the quality of life of their loved one:

  • Reduced number of medications
  • Negative medication side effects
  • Reduced incidents of injuries and falls
  • Decreased number of ER visits
  • Fewer incidents of violent behaviors
  • Improved independence and Social Interaction
  • Improved body nutrition and Decreased vitamin deficiencies
  • Residents are functioning at a higher level
  • Increase sense of happiness
  • Improved or maintained mental functions of about 75% of residents in six months

The role of family in memory care

The role of the family is important in determining how their loved one lived before coming to the center. Once families decide to bring their loved one to memory care services, the memory care team will work with them to get the necessary information about the new resident:

  • Who they are
  • What are their life experiences
  • What has brought them a sense of success and purpose

Individualized programs help dementia sufferers to practice their interests, hobbies, and experiences unique to each one. The memory care communities work hand in hand with the families to help their loved ones create meaning and purpose even at their current state.

 

As people age, they don’t only get wiser – they also become more prone to fractures from common accidents such as falls. Based on statistics, 1 out of 3 adults (aged 65 and up) falls each year in the United States. The bad news is, most of these accidents could be fatal. As a matter of fact, 8,000 accidents were fatal to American seniors in 1995.

What are the common fractures for seniors?

In most cases, the patient is subject to hospital admission due to trauma. The older the age, the higher the likelihood of hospitalization. Accidents such as falls cause fractures, especially in the high-risk areas of the body such as the following:

  • Hip – Hip fracture is a common type of fragility fracture and is often associated with the highest mortality among seniors. Apart from falls, older adults who have low vitamin K and vitamin D levels are also at risk.
  • Thighbone – Fracture in this area is typically sustained in high-impact trauma, such as dangerous falls or car crashes.  Damage occurs to the thigh bone once a large amount of force hits it.
  • Pelvic bone – This happens when a strong force breaks the bony structure of the pelvis. Typical causes are falls, pedestrian accidents, motor vehicle collisions, or a vehicle crash injury.
  • Spine – Spine fracture is also known as a broken back. Immediate, high-impact trauma normally brings spinal cord injury.
  • Upper arm bone – This usually results from a fall when an arm is outstretched.
  • Forearm – This can affect one or two of the forearm bones. Aside from falls, a direct force from an object causes this fracture.
  • Hand – Hand fracture occurs when one of the bones in the hand breaks, usually caused by a fall, twisting injury, crush injury, or collision in sports.
  • Leg/ankle bones – This is typically brought about by falls, sports injuries, and motor vehicle accidents.

Are all fractures equal?

While some fractures do cause severe occurrences such as permanent disability and death, others may not be fatal and the patient can fully recover by means of physical therapy.

What factors increase the likelihood of getting fractures?

Senior citizens who experience the following are at a higher risk of getting fractures caused by accidents:

  • Eye problems such as cataracts and myopia
  • Joint and muscle issues such as arthritis
  • Nervous system disorders such as sciatica
  • Lack of balance and gait such as Parkinson’s disease
  • Sleepiness, usually brought about by medication

How can fractures be prevented?

Fractures don’t have to happen in the first place. Here are some measures you can help an elderly do to prevent accidents right before they happen.

  1. Engage in physical activity to improve mobility, flexibility, and strength.
  2. Limit sleep-inducing medicines especially during the daytime, if possible.
  3. Seek appropriate treatment for medical conditions such as those stated above.
  4. Install safety modifications like metal handles, maintain good lighting, and clear all possible obstacles around the residential area.

Seniors are at a higher risk of getting fractures. But with proper care and supervision, our beloved elderlies can live a longer, fracture-free life.

What To Do

For those who have had a fracture and need rehabilitation, look to Strides Maplewood in Sauk City WI.  Our physical therapy and occupational therapy department can help you to return to normal life.

Sources:

https://www.reliasmedia.com/articles/118940-fractures-in-older-adults
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1839833/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1126451/

What is congestive heart disease?

Congestive heart disease, or also known as congestive heart failure (CHF), is a progressive condition that takes place when the heart muscle can’t pump blood efficiently to meet the body’s needs.

Because of various potential causes, blood flows much slower than usual and heart pressure increases. Consequently, the heart cannot pump sufficient oxygen and nourishment that is needed by the body. The heart chambers stretch to allow more blood circulation, or it becomes rigid and thick. For a while, this helps maintain the blood flowing, but eventually, it weakens the heart muscles and become incapable of pumping properly.

What are the types of congestive heart disease?

There are two common types of CHF: the left-sided CHF and the right-sided CHF.

Left-sided congestive heart disease

The most prevalent form of CHF happens when blood is not correctly pumped out to the body by the left ventricle. The two classes of left-sided CHF are:

  • Systolic heart failure – This arises if the left ventricle doesn’t contract properly, thereby reducing the amount of blood pressure to circulate.
  • Diastolic failure – This occurs when the left ventricle muscle becomes rigid and the heart doesn’t fill up with blood.

Right-sided congestive heart disease

This happens when it is difficult for the right ventricle to pump blood into the lungs. Blood recoils back in the blood vessels, causing fluid or water retention in the lower limbs and other essential organs.

What causes congestive heart disease?

There are several possible causes of CHF, the most common are:

  • Heart attack – This is due to a blocked coronary artery that stops the blood circulation for the heart, leading to scarring of the heart’s muscle.
  • Coronary artery disease (CAD) – This is an artery disease that reduces blood flow.
  • Cardiomyopathy – This is heart muscle damage caused by infections or abuse of alcohol and drugs.
  • Conditions that cause heart strain – Conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, valve disease, renal disease, thyroid disease, or congenital heart defects can result in heart failure.

What are the signs or symptoms of congestive heart disease?

CHF symptoms can be persistent (chronic), or it comes and goes (acute). Symptoms could be mild or severe. The symptoms may include:

  • Lung congestion – This is caused by fluid in the patient’s lungs that results in breathing difficulty. It can also be the root cause of wheezing or hacking cough.
  • Fluid retention – This is caused by affected kidneys that results in edema and bloating.
  • Nausea and lethargy – This happens due to lesser blood to organs, muscles, and brain.
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeats – This occurs due when the heart beats faster than normal.

How is congestive heart disease diagnosed?

If the patient is experiencing the symptoms, he or she will be referred to a cardiologist. The cardiologist then will order diagnostic tests to get a complete understanding of your present condition.

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG) – This device checks for abnormalities in the heart’s rhythm.
  • Echocardiogram (ECG) – This determines if there is poor blood circulation, muscle damage, or the heart doesn’t function normally.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – This displays heart damage.
  • Stress test – This shows heart performance under different stress levels.
  • Blood tests – These check abnormalities of blood cells or if there infections present.
  • Cardiac catheterization – This displays blockages in the coronary arteries.

What is the outlook for people with congestive heart disease?

With the right care, heart failure may not stop you from doing the things you enjoy. If extended medical care is advised, there are nursing home facilities that will cater to patients with CHF.

References:

https://www.healthline.com/health/congestive-heart-failure

https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide-heart-failure

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-failure/symptoms-causes/syc-20373142

Calcaneal Spurs – What Are They?

Calcaneal spurs, also known as heel spurs, are bony outgrowths that form on the calcaneal tuberosity or the heel bone. Calcaneal spurs that occur beneath the soles are called plantar heel spurs which are commonly associated with Plantar fasciitis. Those that are found at the back of the heel are called dorsal heel spurs which are also linked to Achilles tendinopathy.

The Anatomy

The calcaneal tuberosity area is composed of many muscles including the Soleus, Abductor Digiti Minimi, Abductor Hallucis, Gastrocnemius, Flexor Digitorum Brevis, Extensor Digitorum Brevis, Extensor Hallucis Brevis, and Quadratus Plantae; and the plantar fascia  that exert an adhesive friction on the tuberosity (rounded heel bone) and nearby regions of the heel especially with abnormal or excessive pronation.

An inferior calcaneal spur, also known as a plantar heel spur, is located on the lower aspect of the heel which is situated superior to the plantar fascia insertion. It develops as a response to plantar fasciitis over some time and may also be associated with ankylosing spondylitis especially in children.

A posterior calcaneal spur, also known as a dorsal heel spur, grows on the back of the heel at the attachment of the Achilles tendon. It is often bulky and easily palpable through the skin and may need to be surgically removed as part of the treatment of insertion Achilles tendonitis.

Causes of Spurs

The causes of calcaneal spurs are often the result of repetitive trauma to the foot. One of the common causes of Calcaneal Spurs is Plantar fasciitis; the inflammation of a thick band of tissue underneath the foot that stretches from the toes to the heel. When the foot goes through consistent pressure to the plantar fascia ligament, it produces small rips and breaks close to its attachment.

To repair the injury, the body reacts with inflammation (plantar fasciitis) which causes the symptoms to occur. Calcium deposits start to gather in the space where there is ripping created. Generally, this does not affect a person’s daily activities.  Over time, the minerals build up on the bottom of the heel bone to form a calcaneal spur or heel spur. When the mineral buildup reaches a considerable form, the person feels pain surrounding the spur.

People who are prone to developing calcaneal spurs are those who have overpronation feet, have heavyweight problems and those who are frequently wearing high heels.

Symptoms of Spurs

Stabbing pain is the first symptom of Calcaneal Spur. The person feels a sharp piercing pain in the bottom of the foot near the heel that worsens in intensity after prolonged periods of rest. Patients may report severe heel pain a few steps after getting up in the morning. Also, patients may refrain from putting their weight on the affected heel. Prolonged standing or rising up after sitting for a while may also trigger the pain. Walking, running, lifting heavy objects can intensify the pain.

Diagnostic Procedures

The doctor may take note of the patient’s history and perform a physical examination. An x-ray can often establish the diagnosis. Other diagnostic adjuncts can also rule out calcaneal spurs including radiology and sometimes but rarely, doctors perform an MRI to be definitive.

SOURCES:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcaneal_spur

https://www.physio-pedia.com/Calcaneal_Spurs

Piriformis Syndrome – What Is It?

What is Piriformis Syndrome?

The Piriformis Syndrome is a neuromuscular disorder that occurs when the piriformis muscle compresses the sciatic nerve and causes abnormal symptoms in the area. When sudden spasm occurs, it causes discomfort such as numbness and pain to the buttocks area or sciatic nerve.

In definition, the piriformis muscle is a small, flat, band-like muscle located deep in the buttock area. The muscle starts at the lower part of the spine and connects to the upper part of each thighbone.

Piriformis muscle is essential to the lower body part movement because it supports the hip joint. It lifts and rotates thighs away from the body, which allows a person to walk or shift weight from one foot to the other, and at the same time, being able to maintain balance.

On the other hand, the sciatic nerve is long, thick, and a major nerve in the body, which extends from the lower end of the spinal cord and goes through the piriformis muscle. It goes down behind the leg’s back, and branches off into smaller nerves that end in the feet.

What causes Piriformis Syndrome?

In an anatomical position, the piriformis muscle serves as not only the thigh at the hip joint’s lateral (external) rotator but also the pelvis at the hip joint’s contralateral rotator. However, if the leg is flexed to around 60 degrees and above, the piriformis muscle switches from being the thigh’s lateral rotator into a medial (internal) rotator.

The piriformis muscle meets the sacroiliac joint, which acts as its stabilizer. Since piriformis syndrome happens when piriformis muscle tightens, any movement or posture that requires piriformis contraction increases the muscle’s baseline tone and contributes to the discomfort or pain when piriformis syndrome occurs.

One of the primary causes of piriformis muscle tightening is when it contracts to normalize a painful or dysfunctional sacroiliac joint. Dysfunctional sacroiliac joint conditions may include hypomobility, hypermobility, macro trauma, recurred microtrauma which causes irritation or inflammation to the concerned join, or sprain.

The most common cause of the piriformis muscle’s tightening would be likely to be either pain or hypermobility if the patient has a chronic posture of lateral thigh rotation, which leads to shortening or hardening of the piriformis muscle.

Piriformis muscle tightening may happen when patients drive their vehicles with the foot on the gas pedal, but the heel is placed on the front of the break. Another cause of piriformis syndrome is a patient’s repeated pattern of crossing their legs, where ankles are on the other side of the knee.

What are the signs or symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome?

  • Pain
  • Tingling
  • Pain that may go from the back part of the body to the foot
  • Recurring pain
  • Severe pain when attempting to do specific movements that require the use of legs (a few examples of which are climbing stairs, running, walking, bending)

Who can treat Piriformis Syndrome?

Doctors or other healthcare professionals who may help treat or address piriformis syndrome include physical therapists occupational therapists, orthopedists, osteopathic physicians, physical therapists, sports medicine doctors and chiropractors.

What are the risk factors concerning Piriformis Syndrome?

For patients involved in sports activities, injuries may include the following:

  • Inflammation (due to overuse or sprain)
  • Trauma (blunt buttock trauma)
  • Hematoma
  • Scar formation

And those who develop the above mentioned near the piriformis muscles may also be at risk of the following:

  • Cysts
  • Pseudo-aneurysms
  • Tumors

What tests do healthcare professionals often diagnose those with piriformis syndrome?

While there are no definitive tests for this neuromuscular disorder, doctors may ask the patient during a physical examination if they experience pain or palpitation when moving the concerned body part in specific directions.

Since piriformis syndrome usually causes sciatica and lower back pain, healthcare professionals perform tests to eliminate other causes of sciatic nerve compression like back sprains, herniated discs, lumbosacral spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, and many more.

X-rays may rule out any bone fracture, while CT Scans, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), Electromyography (EMG), Neurography or Electrophysiologic tests, or injecting on the piriformis muscle’s trigger points with anesthetics like lidocaine, may help the physician on-charge determine if the symptoms present is caused by piriformis syndrome or other health concerns like herniated disc and others.

Is it possible to avoid Piriformis Syndrome?

Preventing piriformis syndrome is possible if an individual avoids overuse or trauma to the lower back or gluteal muscles. With proper flexibility training, exercise, and proper stretching, the recurrence of piriformis syndrome may also be avoided if the concerned individual commits to such a lifestyle.

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/piriformis-syndrome-causes-symptoms-treatments#1

https://learnmuscles.com/blog/2017/08/04/piriformis-syndrome-causes/

https://www.medicinenet.com/piriformis_syndrome/article.htm#

Diabetic Neuropathy – Its Cause and Symptoms

Diabetes causes a lot of health issues and complications, and if not managed, can degrade one’s quality of life tremendously. However, there is nothing more disconcerting than what is called Diabetic Neuropathy. This condition is a type of nerve damage that is brought on by diabetes. The affliction affects both ends of the spectrum, which means that a person can have his senses dulled or be extremely sensitive to the slightest touch.

Sufferers usually have the condition on extremities, affecting the feet, the hands, legs, and arms. Because of the duality of its effect, a person may experience dulled or numbness in the extremities or be extremely sensitive, thereby amplifying even the slightest of touch into extreme pain. Both effects can be dangerous, and complications may arise because of the imbalance. As of right now, there is no known cure for nerves that are already damaged, but healthy food choices and lifestyle will stop its progression.

The main cause

Neuropathy affects both type one and types two diabetes sufferers, and as many thirty (30 percent) develop nerve damage because of the condition. High glucose levels and high levels of fat can damage your nerves, especially if one does not change lifestyle habits to alleviate them. Experts are pointing out the high blood sugar, and fat content does not directly damage the nerves, but the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the nerves. It is likely for a person with diabetes to develop nerve damage if they also have the following along with their pre-existing condition.

  • Being overweight
  • High cholesterol count
  • Heavy smoker
  • Heavy drinker
  • Has high blood pressure
  • Genetics

The symptoms

The symptoms are grouped according to the areas where the nerve damage occur, and these are Peripheral, Autonomic, Proximal, and Focal Neuropathy.

Peripheral Neuropathy

This is where the nerve damage is mostly on the feet and legs, although rare, this type of neuropathy also manifests itself into the arms and the abdomen. The effects include pain and a burning sensation. Tingling sensations also usually manifest itself to the extremities. More concerning is when numbness also occurs, as it can become permanent.

Autonomic Neuropathy

In this instance, nerve damage clustered around the urinary system and the digestive system. The effects are prominently felt in the area of the stomach itself and manifests in the form of heartburn, diarrhea, bloating, and constipation. The nerve damage in these areas will also make you feel full despite eating very little. Nausea and vomiting also accompany other symptoms.

Proximal Neuropathy

This kind of nerve damage is usually focused on one side of the body primarily on the thighs, hips or buttocks. The symptom is mainly the feeling of pain on either the left or right side of these parts and can lead to weakness in the legs.

Focal Neuropathy

Damage to these nerve cluster causes muscle weakness and pain, centered around the head area, legs, and the torso. Similarly, it also causes muscle weakness in these areas. The troubling symptoms include having double vision accompanied by pain around the eyes. Sometimes because of the locality of the pain, it can lead to misdiagnosis, especially in the belly or chest area.

While all the symptoms are alarming, they are manageable and progression can be stopped in its tracks with simple but effective lifestyle changes. These changes are focused mainly on healthy activities and watching food and alcohol consumption.

 

Sources:

 

  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/245310.php
  • https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/diabetes-neuropathy#2
  • https://www.endocrineweb.com/guides/diabetic-neuropathy/diabetic-neuropathy-causes
  • https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/nerve-damage-diabetic-neuropathies/what-is-diabetic-neuropathy

Short-Term Memory Loss vs Long-Term Memory Loss

Have you ever wondered why some people easily remember the name of their first grade best friend from 30 years ago – yet when they walk into a room, they will suddenly forget why they’re there? Or have you experienced it yourself? It may seem odd how people remember information so mundane yet forget those that are actually worthy at this point in life.

Short-term and long-term memory loss have the same effect yet different characteristics that may affect the individual’s way of dealing with other people or situations happening around.

The differences between short-term memory loss and long-term memory loss

Short-term memory is the capacity to hold small amounts of information in the brain.  Long-term memory is a different type of memory in which you hold information in your brain from the past.

Each of these types of memories is very important to us and a person can lose each type of memory for different reasons.

It is common for the aging brain to begin to lose short-term memory.  This short-term memory loss can cause issues such as forgetting where you set your car keys to forgetting that you had a medication to take.

Long-term memory loss can be caused by issues like injury, infection or trauma.  A person with long-term memory loss will commonly forget their past such as old friends names or important vacations that they went on with their family.

Causes of memory loss

Lack of good night’s rest

Lack of sleep has a great impact on your mind’s capacity to think and retain information. A minimum of 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep is suggested for adults.

Side effects of medication

Some medications for depression, heartburn, blood pressure, and overactive bladder can affect the memory of both short and long term. Consulting with your physician to see if adjustments can be made could alleviate some memory-related issues.

Stress and anxiety

Both stress and anxiety are known to affect human functions.  Stress and anxiety is the result of excessive production of the stress hormone, cortisol which is proven to interfere with the ability of the hippocampus to make and recall memories. Implementing a stress reduction program can help with memory function and improve the overall quality of life. Aside from that, managing stress and anxiety properly is a great way to improve your health condition.

Depression

Just like anxiety and stress, depression is linked to short-term memory loss. Thus, proper depression management and treatment is highly recommended to help alleviate memory-loss issues.

Drug abuse, alcohol, and tobacco consumption

Excessive consumption of alcohol affects short-term memory and can continue to interfere with memory afterward. Thus, doctors advise to track alcohol consumption and avoid high dosage that may affect the capacity of the brain to retain memory.

Dementia

Dementia is the term used for the condition of progressive loss of memory and other aspects of the brain’s capacity to think. Dementia can be severe enough that it already interferes with the person’s ability to interact with others and do his daily tasks.

Stroke

It is one of the common causes of short-term memory loss which happens when the blood supply to the brain stopped due to the blockage in the vessel. For patients who experience a stroke, it’s easier for them to recall a past memory than what they had for breakfast. Memory loss caused by stroke usually diminishes in effect once the patient has fully recovered.

Occasional forgetfulness is a common phenomenon. But, if it starts to affect how you deal with other people or accomplish your daily tasks, consult your doctor for proper assessment and possible treatment.

Sources:

https://www.livescience.com/42891-short-term-memory-loss.html

https://www.webmd.com/brain/memory-loss