If you have a need to utilize the services of an occupational therapist then there are a lot of things you should know. First and foremost, occupational therapists are dedicated to helping you get your life back. They desire to work with you to help you get the skills to help you do as many of your prior activities as possible.

In order to fully understand the role of an occupational therapist, it is important to understand the nature of their work and how they become qualified for their roles. These are truly some very dedicated professionals. Here are some facts regarding an experienced occupational therapist:

Occupational therapists have a lot of training and work in a variety of settings.

Occupational therapists are professional men and women who must have at least a master’s degree and many of them might even possess a doctorate. They have the option of attending 324 different colleges in the United States. Once they are out in the working field, they could work in a number of different areas, including hospitals, schools, rehabilitation centers, assisted living organizations and even mental health clinics. This just goes to show you that occupational therapy is a field that is truly in demand.

Occupational therapy is an important component of the recovery process.

When people think of occupational therapy, they generally think of an individual that is working with someone to get them ready for working or something of that nature. However, the “occupational” part of an OT’s job simply means they are working with the patient to help them go back to doing the things they enjoy or the things they want to do.

Occupational therapy is also concerned with helping you with “activities of daily living.”

Although “activities of daily living” can seem like a very fancy term, it actually just means the things you do each day. The activity of typing this article on a keyboard could be classified as such. However, it gets more specific than that. Activities of daily living also include such things as driving, taking a shower, brushing your teeth, paying your bills, walking your dog and a number of other things. The best way to sum it is that these activities of daily living are pretty much everything you do on a daily basis. If you are having difficulty doing all of these daily activities, then chances are you would benefit from the dedication of an occupational therapist.

Occupational therapists will generally try to help you with these “activities of daily living” after you have suffered what is called a “medical event.”

One of the reasons occupational therapists work in assisted living organizations, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers is because of the fact that a lot of them have suffered what is called a “medical event.” An event of type can be anything that causes you to not be able to do all of the things you used to be able to do. In some cases, a “medical event” can be truly life-altering, and can even force you to have to relearn how to read, how to tie your shoes, how to do household chores or even how to talk, among other things. This is one of the main reasons why an occupational therapy will often work with individuals who have been in a devastating car accident, those who have had a stroke or heart attack, or those who have had other types of accidents.

Occupational therapists are much different than physical therapists.

There are some individuals who think that occupational therapists are not that much different than physical therapists, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. First of all, physical therapists are generally concerned with utilizing exercise just to help those who want to have better health and more mobility. On the other hand, an occupational therapist will utilize exercise and range of motion to help their patients achieve functional goals. In a nutshell, the main difference between an occupational therapist and a physical therapist is that an OT is trying to help a patient restore their lifestyle.

Conclusion

At Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, there is one thing you can count on when it comes to our occupational therapists: they will work with you by taking a holistic approach. They will seek to give you an individualized patient evaluation, a customized treatment program, and recommendations of various adaptive tools that you can use for a better quality of life. If you have a need for the services of an occupational therapist, you can trust the dedicated professionals affiliated with Maplewood of Sauk Prairie.

 

When you think of speech therapy, you may think of small children receiving help on how to form difficult sounds. While this is a large part of speech therapy, speech therapy is actually used to help people of all ages who struggle with speech and language.

In addition to working with children, speech-language pathologists spend a lot of time working with senior citizens. Working with senior citizens may consist of working in the clinic, conducting home visits, or working in an assisted living facility or nursing home. Today we’ll discuss what speech therapy is for senior citizens and how it can help them live their daily lives.

Why is Speech Therapy Important for Seniors?

Speech therapy is important for people of any age because communication is a vital part of life. Communication is especially important for seniors because they may need to communicate the timing and location of pain and any basic needs that they may need to be fulfilled. This becomes increasingly important as a person ages because pain can quickly turn into an emergency situation that requires immediate attention.

In addition to the functional reasons that communication is important for seniors, it is also important for their social well-being. Regardless of if the individual lives with a spouse, by themselves, in an assisted living facility, or in a nursing home, social well-being is important for their overall health. If the individual feels like they can’t connect with others, this can have a negative impact on their outlook on life and their health.

How Do I Know if Speech Therapy is Needed?

The question to ask yourself if you are trying to determine if your loved one could benefit from speech therapy is “Are they having trouble communicating?” Since you are familiar with their daily routines, you should be able to answer this question. This is the first step in determining if speech therapy is needed.

A few other things to think about when considering if your loved one would benefit from speech therapy include how they respond when you ask them questions. Do they seem to have difficulty understanding the question or forming an answer? Additionally, are they still able to take care of their own medical and money records? If they used to do this on their own and have recently lost the ability to do so, it could reveal an underlying language issue. Lastly, is the person constantly in dangerous situations? This could include putting themselves at risk for injury or just in danger in general.

If you answered yes to these questions, it does not mean that your loved one will be thrown into speech therapy automatically. The first step is for the speech-language pathologist to conduct an evaluation to determine the root of the communication problems. Once the root of the problem is identified, the speech-language pathologist will collaborate with you to provide the best plan of treatment possible.

What will Therapy Consist of?

The answer to this question will be different for each patient because a large part of speech therapy is providing an individualized treatment plan that takes into account the patient and family’s goals. However, we have included frequent therapy plans below so that you can get a general feel of what the therapy may entail for your loved one.

A frequent therapy plan for seniors is aimed at the general aging process. This therapy plan includes working to strengthen the muscles of the larynx (a key part in forming speech) which tend to weaken with age. This therapy will consist of vocal exercises that will make it easier for them to use their voice to communicate.

Another type of therapy is often provided after a senior suffers a stroke. The speech and language problems following a stroke are known as aphasia and the speech-language pathologist is trained to provide therapy especially for aphasia.

The strategies that your loved one is exposed to will vary depending on the speech-language pathologist. Some general strategies include group therapy to gain confidence speaking, visual speech perception (linking words to pictures), and melodic intonation therapy which consists of singing words that can’t be produced using normal speech.

Overall, speech therapy is a great solution if your loved one has suffered a stroke or is having difficulty with speech and language associated with the natural aging process. Speech therapy is provided at a variety of care facilities including Maplewood of Sauk Prairie. Speech therapy can improve your loved one’s quality of life by giving them back the ability to communicate and form connections with others.

Sources:

https://www.seniorliving.org/healthcare/speech-therapy/
https://www.asccare.com/importance-speech-therapy-seniors/

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