A common health problem that often flies under the radar is prediabetes.  This health issue can be the start of a cascade of health problems that left undiagnosed, can lead to the more serious problem of Type II diabetes.


To understand prediabetes, you must understand a little bit about how the body works.  You must especially understand how the pancreas controls your blood sugar levels.

For us to live, we all must be able to control the sugar levels within our blood.  Blood sugars are increased within our blood as we eat (especially by eating carohydrates) and are reduced as our cells utilize the sugars for energy.  However, a special hormone that is produced by the pancreas, called Insulin, is the major factor that helps us to control the amount of sugar that we have in our blood.  Like a thermostat controls the temperature in your home, Insulin controls the sugar in your blood.




According to the American Diabetes Association, this chart shows the requirements for normal, prediabetes and full blown Type II diabetes.


The Problems With Increased Blood Sugar Levels

So, why should we be concerned about elevated blood sugar levels?

The amount of blood sugar that flows through your blood can create dramatic changes within your body.  These changes can affect many systems within your body including, but not limited to, your vascular system, the neurological system, the endocrine system, and virtually every other system in your body.  The health effects are far reaching.

Unfortunately, there are not significant symptoms of prediabetes, so blood testing is the best choice.  This is why it is so important to regularly see your health care provider.

If not recognized or not treated, your prediabetes can turn into Type II diabetes, which can cause significant health problems.  This is why the recognition of early onset of elevation of your blood sugar levels is so important.

The Good News:  It’s Reversible

Here is the good news, prediabetes is reversible.  Typically, the best way to reverse your prediabetes is through proper diet and exercise, however, you should work with your health care provider to decide on the best treatment route for you.

The Risk Factors For Prediabetes

Here are the risk factors for prediabetes:

  • Being overweight
  • Being 45 years or older
  • Having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
  • Being physically active less than 3 times a week
  • Ever having gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds

Race and ethnicity are also a factor: African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans are at higher risk.

Prediabetes is a serious, but reversible, health issue.  One of three Americans (86 million) have prediabetes.  Certainly the best way to deal with prediabetes or diabetes is to prevent it from ever occurring.  However, once acquired, prediabetes is reversible and you should immediately work with your own health provider.

According to the American Stroke Association, Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. It is theNo. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts (or ruptures). When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it and brain cells die.

Some Stroke Statistics

  • About 795,000 Americans each year suffer a new or recurrent stroke. That means, on average, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds.
  • Stroke kills nearly 129,000 people a year. It is the No. 5 cause of death.
  • On average, every 4 minutes someone dies of stroke.
  • About 40 percent of stroke deaths occur in males, and 60 percent in females.
  • In 2010, worldwide prevalence of stroke was 33 million, with 16.9 million people having a first stroke. Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability.
  • 2010 for stroke-related medical costs and disability.
  • African-Americans have nearly twice the risk for a first-ever stroke than Caucasians and a much higher death rate from stroke.

It is extremely beneficial to be able to identify when someone is having a stroke.  The faster they are able to get medical attention, the better their chances of recovery are.

To identify someone who is having a stroke, remember the acronym FAST.


F:  Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?

A:  Arm Weakness Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S:  Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

T:  Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.

Identifying the symptoms of a stroke and getting prompt medical attention can make all of the difference in the lasting effects and the recovery of the stroke victim.

The shoulder.

Imagine how often it’s used throughout the day.  You use it to help you get out of bed, to raise your fork or spoon to your mouth and to reach to get a glass from a cabinet.

shoulder-painHowever, like other joints in the body, the shoulder is vulnerable to injury, as well as wear and tear.  In fact, the shoulder is more susceptible to injury because of its unique ability of motion.  The shoulder has a tremendous amount of motion, but that vast motion also allows for lesser stability.  In other words, you can move your shoulder to a greater degree, but that allows for a greater risk of injury.

There are some common issues that can occur with the shoulder.  Some problems are more acute and some can be longer standing.


The shoulder is susceptible to arthritis in the glenohumeral joint (ball and socket) as well as the acromioclavicular joint (AC joint on top of the shoulder).  Through overuse or injury, these joints can develop arthritis causing pain, inflammation and lack of mobility.

Sprain and Strains

The muscles and ligaments of the shoulder can be over worked, causing minor tears.  This is often referred to as sprains (of the ligaments) or strains (of the muscles). 

Rotator Cuff Injuries

The Rotator Cuff is a group of several muscles of the shoulder.  As we age, the muscles of the Rotator Cuff can weaken leading to a greater risk of injury.  Injuries from falls and lifting injuries are common in these muscles.

Taking Care of the Shoulder

It is always best to take care of your shoulders and try to prevent any problems from occurring in the first place.  This is often done through flexibility and exercises of the shoulders that can help greatly.

Simple stretches and strengthening of the muscles in and around the shoulder can help to prevent shoulder injuries from taking place.  However, it’s important to understand that these should begin slowly and work your way up to better health of the shoulders.

In the event that an injury has already occurred, you should see your healthcare provider for evaluation.  Treatment often occurs with physical therapy, which can be very helpful in helping you to recover from your shoulder injuries.

There are many forms of arthritis, however, one of the most painful and disabling forms is called rheumatoid arthritis.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

According to the American College of Rheumatology,  rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common form of autoimmune arthritis, affecting more than 1.3 million Americans. Of these, about 75 percent are women.

RA is a chronic (long-term) disease that causes pain, stiffness, swelling and limited motion and function of many joints. While RA can affect any joint, the small joints in the hands and feet tend to be involved most often. Inflammation sometimes can affect organs as well, for instance, the eyes or lungs.

The stiffness seen in active RA is most often worst in the morning. It may last one to two hours (or even the whole day). Stiffness for a long time in the morning is a clue that you may have RA, since few other arthritic diseases behave this way.

RA, unlike osteoarthritis (OA) can effect multiple joints on both sides of the body.  Typically, OA is limited to more specific joints and caused from overuse or injury to that particular joint(s).

The Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis

RA is an autoimmune disease. This means that certain cells of the immune system do not work properly and start attacking healthy tissues — the joints in RA. The cause of RA is not known. However, new research is giving us a better idea of what makes the immune system attack the body and create inflammation. In RA, the focus of the inflammation is in the synovium, the tissue that lines the joint. Immune cells release inflammation-causing chemicals. These chemicals can damage cartilage (the tissue that cushions between joints) and bone. Other things likely play a role in RA as well. For instance, genes that affect the immune system may make some people more prone to getting RA.

The Diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis

RA can be difficult to initially diagnose because it provides many hidden or subtle symptoms.  Often the diagnosis is made when the following are found:

  • Warmth, swelling and pain in the joints
  • Anemia (a low red blood cell count)
  • Rheumatoid factor (an antibody, or blood protein, found in about 80 percent of patients with RA in time, but in as few as 30 percent at the start of arthritis)
  • Antibodies to cyclic citrullinated peptides (pieces of proteins), or anti-CCP for short (found in 60–70 percent of patients with RA)
  • Elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (a blood test that, in most patients with RA, confirms the amount of inflammation in the joints)

If your doctor believes that you do have RA, you should consult with a Rheumatologist, a specialist who can correctly diagnose rheumatoid arthritis.  Your Rheumatologist can work with you to provide the best treatment options for you.

Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Research shows that people with RA, mainly those whose disease is not well controlled, have a higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Talk with your doctor about these risks and ways to lower them.

It is important to be physically active most of the time, but to sometimes scale back activities when the disease flares. In general, rest is helpful when a joint is inflamed, or when you feel tired. At these times, do gentle range-of-motion exercises, such as stretching. This will keep the joint flexible.

When you feel better, do low-impact aerobic exercises, such as walking, and exercises to boost muscle strength. This will improve your overall health and reduce pressure on your joints. A physical or occupational therapist can help you find which types of activities are best for you, and at what level or pace you should do them.

For further information, visit the American College of Rheumatology

Many have heard about congestive heart failure, but what exactly is it?

According to the American Heart Association, congestive heart failure occurs when the heart muscle is weakened and cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen.

Romantic Hot Heart Background

Romantic Hot Heart Background

Nearly 6 million Americans are living with heart failure, and over 900,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.  Heart failure is more likely to happen as we age, but anyone can develop heart failure, which is a serious, long-term (chronic) condition. But you can live a full and active life with the right medical treatment and the attention you pay to your lifestyle.

Warning Signs of Heart Failure

By themselves, any one sign of heart failure may not be cause for alarm. But if you have more than one of these symptoms, even if you haven’t been diagnosed with any heart problems, report them to a healthcare professional and ask for an evaluation of your heart.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Consistent coughing or wheezing
  • Buildup of excess fluid in the body tissues
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite, nausea
  • Confusion
  • Increased heart rate

If you have any, or a variety, of these symptoms you should report it to your health provider.

Causes and Risks of Heart Failure

There are a variety of causes and risks for heart failure.Most people who develop heart failure have (or had) another heart condition first. The most common conditions that can lead to heart failure are coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and previous heart attack. If you’ve been diagnosed with one of these conditions, it’s critical that you manage it carefully to help prevent the onset of heart failure.

Treatment Options and the Management of Heart Failure

If your doctor suspects that you have heart failure, specific tests may be ordered to confirm their diagnosis.  These may include further physical examination, blood tests, chest x-rays, EKG, exercise stress test, and cardiac catheterization.  These tests allow your doctor to better understand how your heart is functioning.

Once you are diagnosed with heart failure, your doctor will often put a treatment plan together that may include lifestyle changes, medications, the use of devices or surgical procedures.  You and your doctor can best decide on which is the right treatment plan for you.

Living With Heart Failure

Although it can be difficult to live with a chronic condition like heart failure, many people can and do learn to manage the symptoms and live full and enjoyable lives. People who typically report greater levels of improvement and emotional wellbeing are often the ones who are willing to build new habits around eating better, exercising as directed by their healthcare team, and tracking and managing their symptoms.


Here is an informative video on dementia from the Dementia Society of America

To learn more: Dementia Society of America

Dementia is an umbrella term for the loss of cognitive function associated with a number of neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia, Huntington’s disease, and traumatic brain injury. This loss of cognitive function results from the death of once active nerve cells in the brain. The common threat between these conditions is the loss of a person’s ability to think, remember, and reason. Symptoms of dementia often include difficulties with visual perception, language skills, and ability to pay attention. Some people also suffer from the inability to control their emotions. There are many causes of dementia.

Some dementias are reversible, and some are progressive. Dementia caused by infections, metabolic disorders, nutritional deficiencies, and poisoning may be reversed with appropriate therapy. However, progressive dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and frontal temporal dementia only get worse with time. So being diagnosed with dementia is often a frightening experience. The diagnosis affects not only the patient, but also their families, loved ones, and caregivers. Furthermore, many individuals have what is referred to as mixed dementia, meaning: They suffer from multiple causes of cognitive dysfunction, and often the cause of dementia is not known.

The major risk factor for dementia is age, although dementia is not a normal part of aging, and many elderly people maintain high levels of cognitive function well into the 90s.

After a liver transplant, the important process of rehabilitation happened at Maplewood of Sauk Prairie.

Hello, my name is Howard. I’m from North Freedom. I’m here in Maplewood because I’m here after a liver transplant. I’m 48 and I believe that Maplewood is a good place, very good people, very good; they know what they are doing.

Now, I understand that Maplewood to a lot of people is assisted living, but this is also a really, very good rehabilitation center. I’m here due to, like I said, a liver transplant. When I arrived here, I couldn’t do anything for myself. Because I’m single and I live alone, going home after the transplant was not an option. I found Maplewood to be closest to home so that if I needed anything or my friends needed to see me, I was close enough for them to not have to travel hours, which is what I would’ve had to done if I was staying in UW Madison.

Here, the facility is very modern, people are very friendly. They’re very cooperative, and they’ll push you a little bit but not beyond what they believe you can accomplish. In a lot of cases, sometimes you just feel like you just can’t go any farther, they’ll show you, you can go farther and you’ll grow from the experience.

A special testimonial from Carol E., who chose Maplewood of Sauk Prairie for her rehabilitation is Sauk Prairie Wisconsin




So when we fooled around for three years and the pain couldn’t handle anymore, my primary doctor finally got a special, what do you call it, contract so that I could go to a different hospital with my insurance that they would agree to pay for.

And Medicare. Okay. When she did that, I thought, well, maybe I could be selfish and ask if I could go to rehab at Maplewood because Mom was here a few years ago. They did a fine job with her. And I wanted it to be close for Roger so he didn’t have so far to drive, okay? It was everything I expected and more, besides. Not just staff, but the patients. I’ve made so many nice people…met them here, and had such a good time talking. It’s really eased my surgery.

And the cooperation here with me and how I’m feeling and concern for my wishes is unbelievable. I’ve never experienced it before anywhere else and it’s great. So basically, I was fortunate enough to be able to go home part of everyday for the last week and spend it with my husband. Then he’d bring me back. My curfew was 8:00. Been a lot of years since I’ve had a curfew but it was fine. And they’ve done a great job. Now, when this one’s healed completely and it’s onto the next one I’m definitely coming back here.

Maplewood Supports Nurses

Maplewood Supports Nurses

After the faux pas, Joy Behar, from The View, made about “nursing” being the talent Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson, showcased during the Miss America pageant, nurses at Maplewood show support for nurse Johnson.
Back row: Stacy Sis, Raeann Marten, Jennifer Cone, Samantha Wilson, Melani Wheeler, Gloria Gesicki, Joni Blau
Front row: Bree Fourtner, Theresa Brunner, Niki Pearson (There are many other nurses that work at Maplewood. The above nurses were able to break away for a picture.)
As eonline.com printed: The View Co-Hosts Facing Backlash After Mocking Miss America Nurse Monologue: ”Why Does She Have a Doctor’s Stethoscope?”
Of course, Behar misspoke, as a stethoscope isn’t just for doctors—nurses wear them, too—a point that a number of nurses were more than happy to make.

It was the 4th of July. Chores were to a point where they could be left for a while and picking up sweet corn for supper was the perfect excuse to take a ride on the Goldwing. The deer that jumped out on their way home was the game changer to a wonderful afternoon for Randy and Diane Puttkamer.
As the motorcycle going 55 mph crashed, Randy strategically tried to cushion Diane’s fall by having her land on him. In the process, he sustained multiple fractures that required surgery. His lower right leg needed reassembly and his lung was deflated, plus both clavicles were broken, as were seven of his ribs. Diane experienced trauma to her arm. After 5 days at the UW Hospital, the Puttkamers came to Maplewood to receive extensive individualized rehabilitation and skilled care.
When Randy arrived at Maplewood he could not put weight on his right leg and needed help with all functions of mobility such as transfers and ambulation. Surgeons predicted that he would need skilled assistance for at least 4 months and in the end his gait would be affected. Randy was a well-motivated individual with a positive attitude who worked through intense pain. At Maplewood, Randy had the benefit of receiving therapy 5 days a week, 2 times a day for 3 hours. Besides exercises to improve range-of-motion, strengthening and conditioning as well as facilitate activities of daily living, he benefited from the use of other modalities found at Maplewood. Electrical stimulation and diathermy are two examples of specialized modalities used to manage pain. Reduced pain allowed him to be more mobile and build strength. He made a remarkable recovery and was able to go home two months earlier than anticipated. Randy does not need any assistive devices to walk other than a boot for healing purposes. His surgeons are flabbergasted at how far and fast progress has been made.
Diane also had rigorous therapy and has made great strides in her recovery. Fourteen years ago, she was in a car accident which left her with residual effects. Remarkably, through Maplewood’s rehabilitation, she is now able to use her arms in ways she had previously been unable to. Due to the injuries sustained to her right arm, she learned to use her left hard as she performs daily activities such as hanging laundry and cooking.
September 5, 2015 was a momentous day, as Diane and Randy were able to return home. They proudly tell others that Maplewood is not only for older people. It’s a place for younger people who want to get back to their life. “From housekeeping to the top administration, everyone cares and made us feel special. The facility is clean, staff is courteous and knowledgeable, therapy is individualized with the intention to get us back home, and the atmosphere is enjoyable. Maplewood made a tragic thing, very workable and though it is tough to say, an enjoyable experience. God not only was watching over us that day, but also gave us the skilled people from Maplewood to continue our journey.”