When your heart pumps blood throughout your body, the force of the blood against the walls of your arteries is called blood pressure.  High blood pressure, or hypertension, is dangerous because that means more strain is being placed on your arteries and the heart.

The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it measured.  Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and is written as one number “over” another number.

The top numbers is the systolic blood pressure, the highest level your blood reaches (while your heart is beating).  The bottom number is your diastolic blood pressure, the lowest level your blood pressure reaches (while your heart relaxes between beats).

A blood pressure reading of 120/80 or below is considered normal.  Readings above these numbers fall into the categories of prehypertension, stage 1 hypertension and stage 2 hypertension.

Several factors can lead to hypertension, including age, family history, stress and being overweight.

High blood pressure can be lowered by lifestyle changes and medication.  Your health care provider will be able to discuss treatment options.

Maplewood and AARP have teamed together and will be providing a Driver Safety program on Thursday, November 7, 2013, 8 a.m. – noon at Maplewood, 245 Sycamore St., Sauk City.  As the name implies, the class will help you become a safer driver and is geared toward seniors. 

In the four hour course, you will learn: 

  • To manage dangerous blind spots.
  • Proper following distance behind another car
  • Safe ways to change lanes and make turns at busy intersections.
  • Proper use of safety belts, air bags, anti-lock brakes.
  • How to manage the effects of aging on driving.
  • How to eliminate distractions while driving.
  • Effects of medications on driving.

The public is invited to attend.  Registration is required. Call 608-643-3383 to RSVP.  The cost is $12 for AARP members, $14 for non-members.  Pay by check the day of the class. Participation may earn you an insurance discount, check with your insurance carrier.

As a recap to freshen driving skills keep these 10 vision tips in mind for a safe journey: 

1. Keep your eyeglass prescription up-to-date, and to wear them during your daytime or nighttime driving.

2. When driving in sunlight, wear your prescription sunglasses or good quality sunglasses. Avoid buying cars with tinted windows, they may hamper your vision night or on an overcast day.

3. Move your eyes frequently from the road checking rearview and side mirrors, as well as the instrument panel while you are driving. By turning your head with your eyes, this will help you to see any activity on the sides of your car.

4. When choosing eyeglasses or sunglasses avoid wide rims and brackets that may block or distract you.  Instead choose frames with narrow side pieces at the temples.

5. Adjust the seat so you can see the road, not just the dashboard. If your seat can’t be adjusted use a pillow or some other type of support to properly position you.

6. Remember to wash both the inside and outside of the windows and windshield; also make sure your mirrors, headlights and taillights are clean and working.

7. If you have difficulty seeing in low-light situations, avoid driving at night and in bad weather.

8. Never wear tinted glasses or sunglasses at dusk or at night.

9. If driving conditions seem difficult, minimize your distractions by turning off the radio, avoiding discussions with passengers and refraining from cell phone use. Keep the temperature inside the car comfortable.

10. As with any age:  Do not drink and drive.   Always wear your seat belt. Check your prescriptions and over-the-counter medications that could affect your driving vision and alertness.

Your diet is an important part of good health.  Below are 20 artery cleansing foods to add to your diet:

1. Avocados

2. Oatmeal (brown rice)

3. Olive oil

4. Nuts

5. Sterois from plants (such as Noni fruit plant, medicinal plants)

6. Salmon (Fatty fish such as tuna, herring, mackerel)

7. Asparagus

8. Pomegranate

9. Broccoli

10. Turmeric- ginger family

11. Persimmons

12. Orange juice

13. Spirulina (known as miracle plant, that is a form of blue green algae that is found in warm, fresh bodies of water.)

14. Cinnamon

15. Cranberries

16. Coffee

17. Cheese

18. Green Tea

19. Watermelon

20. Spinach (leafy greens)

 

According to Wisconsin’s division of AARP there are 16 counties that are a part of a food bank program. In Wisconsin, there are over 220,000 people over the age of 65 that are eligible for Food Share, which is called Wisconsin’s SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), yet there are only about 40,000 enrolled in the program. The lack of knowledge, guideline eligibility, stigma, and confusion on application has kept many eligible seniors from participating in this program. The Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin, which has a long standing relationship with AARP, is piloting a senior outreach effort to address any issues that may hinder enrollment.

From Wisconsin’s AARP single effort of contacting members in these 16 counties, they have had more than 900 calls requesting information on SNAP and assisted more than 575 households to connect with benefits.

Here are a few members who are now enjoying the benefits of the SNAP program.

* A 60 year old man out of work.

* A 55 year old woman, working a job for $8.50 an hour qualified for at least $100.00 a month in Foodshare benefits.

* An 81 year old woman living only on her social security, with $565.00 a month medical bills.

* And the list goes on for those who have heard of the program.

If you or someone you know would like information or to apply for FoodShare benefits call

800 362-3002 or you can check it out on Second Harvest Food Bank Website.

 

 

Sauk City, Wisconsin (September 15, 2013) – Maplewood of Sauk Prairie is offering advanced negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) to promote and enhance the healing of different types of wounds. The treatment uses a special vacuum dressing, which is carefully applied on patients by a skilled team composed of the Maplewood Sauk Prairie physical therapy department, nurses, and physicians, among others.

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One of the many things that we may acquire as a result of growing older is foot care problems.  When you think of all the years of wearing poorly designed or ill-fitting shoes, natural foot “wear and tear”, poor circulation and improperly trimmed toenails, there is no doubt our feet have noticed the abuse.  To prevent problems we need to practice good foot hygiene and if there is a problem, have it treated by a family member or physician.  Sometime we may need a specialist for more serious or complicated problems such as a podiatrist or an orthopedic surgeon.

By keeping good circulation and blood flow to the feet, you can help prevent problems.  Sitting, standing, pressure from shoes, smoking and extreme cold temperatures are all things that reduce blood flow to the feet.  Standing, stretching, walking and other exercise will promote good circulation as well as a foot and leg massage and the inclusion of a warm foot baths.  As we age, our feet may get wider, so it is good to have your feet measured so you can wear comfortable fitting shoes.  The upper part of the shoes should be made of soft flexible material and the soles should give you solid footing and not be slippery.  Thick soles give your feet less pressure on the sole surface, – as does low heeled shoes.  They are more comfortable, safer and less damaging than high heels.

Some common foot problems are the result of a fungal or bacterial condition such as athletes’ foot, which occurs from feet being enclosed in a dark, damp environment.   These infections can cause redness, blisters, peeling and itching.  If foot infections aren’t treated properly, they may become chronic and hard to cure.  By keeping your feet and toe area clean & dry plus exposed to air when possible, it will help prevent these conditions.  If you are prone to fungal infections, you may want to dust your feet with fungicidal powder.

Watch out for moisturizers which contain petroleum jelly or lanolin (which is found in many brands).  The constant pressure or friction, when the bony areas of your feet rub against your shoes have been known to cause corns or calluses.

If you have foot problems, a podiatrist or physician may determine the cause and suggest a treatment.  There are many over-the-counter medicines.  Some may reduce the need for surgery; however, others may destroy the tissue, but not the treat the cause.  If you are diabetic or have poor circulation, self-treatment can be dangerous.

Viruses can cause skin growths and warts, which may be painful or spread if untreated.  A doctor may apply medicines, burn, freeze or remove the wart surgically.

Bunions may develop when the big toe joints are out of line, becoming swollen and tender.  Poor fitting shoes or inherited weakness with the foot may cause bunions.  In severe bunion cases, the shoe may be cut away and protective pads used to cushion the painful area.  Bunions can be treated by application or injections of certain drugs, whirlpool baths and sometimes surgery.

Ingrown toenails can be a very painful foot problem and are caused by improper trimming.  Usually the large or great toe is the one to get an ingrown nail.  A doctor or podiatrist will cut away the part of the nail causing the problem.  They suggest you cut the nail straight across the top of the toe.

A hammertoe is caused by tendons that control toe movement which are shortened.  it causes the toe knuckle to enlarge and stiffen as it rubs against the shoes.  This may affect your balance.  Treatment is to wear shoes and socks with plenty of toe room.  In more advanced cases you  may need surgery.

Bone spurs are a calcium growth that develops on the bones of the feet.  They are caused from muscle strain, standing long periods of time, wearing bad fitting shoes or by being over-weight.  At times they may be painless, but other times the pain may be severe.  Physician or Podiatrist prescribed foot support, heel pads or cups may be necessary, thought you may want to try an over-the-counter support first.

Maplewood partners with Aggeus Healthcare and has a podiatrist come in to assist residents with foot care needs.

Compassion fatigue, a type of burnout that used to affect only people who are in so-called “traumatic professions” like doctors and nurses, is now beginning to impact regular individuals. According to an article in the National Post, written by Dr. James Aw, medical director of Medcan Clinic in Toronto, adults who are juggling various responsibilities that include caring for a sick elderly relative, are showing signs of physical, emotional, and spiritual distress commonly associated with this condition. Many people suffering from compassion fatigue nowadays are members of the sandwich generation—individuals who take care of their parents and children, on top of managing the home and maintaining a regular job.

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