DID YOU KNOW?

Alzheimer’s disease is

  • One of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States.
  • The 6th leading cause of death among US adults.
  • The 5th leading cause of death among adults aged 65–85 years.

In 2013, an estimated 5 million Americans aged 65 years or older had Alzheimer’s disease. This number may triple to as high as 13.8 million people by 2050.

In 2010, the costs were projected to fall between $159 and $215 billion.4 By 2040, these costs are projected to jump to between $379 and more than $500 billion annually.

Death rates for Alzheimer’s disease are increasing, unlike heart disease and cancer death rates that are on the decline. Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, has been shown to be underreported in death certificates and therefore the proportion of older people who die from Alzheimer’s may be considerably higher.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

  • The most common form of dementia.
  • A progressive disease beginning with mild memory loss possibly leading to loss of the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to the environment.
  • Involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language.
  • Can seriously affect a person’s ability to carry out daily activities.

Although scientists are learning more every day, right now, they still do not know what causes Alzheimer’s disease.

What is known about Alzheimer’s Disease?

Scientists do not yet fully understand what causes Alzheimer’s disease. There probably is not one single cause, but several factors that affect each person differently.

  • Age is the best known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Family history—researchers believe that genetics may play a role in developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Changes in the brain can begin years before the first symptoms appear.
  • Researchers are studying whether education, diet, and environment play a role in developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Scientists are finding more evidence that some of the risk factors for heart disease and stroke, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and low levels of the vitamin folate may also increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Evidence is also growing for physical, mental, and social activities as protective factors against Alzheimer’s disease.

How do I know if it’s Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging.

Memory problems are typically one of the first warning signs of cognitive loss.

According to the National Institute on Aging, in addition to memory problems, someone with Alzheimer’s disease may experience one or more of the following signs:

  • Gets lost.
  • Has trouble handling money and paying bills.
  • Repeats questions.
  • Takes longer to complete normal daily tasks.
  • Displays poor judgment.
  • Loses things or misplacing them in odd places.
  • Displays mood and personality changes.

If you or someone you know has several or even most of the signs listed above, it does not mean that you or they have Alzheimer’s disease. It is important to consult a health care provider when you or someone you know has concerns about memory loss, thinking skills, or behavioral changes.

  • Some causes for symptoms, such as depression and drug interactions, are reversible. However, they can be serious and should be identified and treated by a health care provider as soon as possible.
  • Early and accurate diagnosis provides opportunities for you and your family to consider or review financial planning, develop advance directives, enroll in clinical trials, and anticipate care needs.

How is Alzheimer’s disease treated?

Although there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, active medical management can improve the quality of life for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.

Treatment focuses on several different aspects:

  • Helping people maintain mental function.
  • Managing behavioral symptoms.
  • Slowing or delaying the symptoms of the disease.

For more information on Alzheimer’s disease visit National Institute on Aging for more information.

Eight years ago, I heard the words no one wants to hear, “I’m sorry to inform you that you have invasive ductal breast carcinoma.” What? Not me, I was only 40 years old. I didn’t smoke. I didn’t have a family history. I lived a fairly healthy lifestyle. I  nursed my children. I seldom drank alcohol. I was a nurse and health coach and trying to do everything the magazine’s told me to do to prevent being the 1 in 8.

But…YES…it was me.

I had had my first mammogram in May that year–a birthday gift to myself for turning 40. Six months later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in both breasts. (This is one time being an over-achiever wasn’t such a good idea.)

As a cancer survivor, I have asked myself the question~was there anything I could have done to prevent breast cancer? Maybe. Maybe NOT. And guess what? We’ll never know.

Many factors over the course of a lifetime can influence your breast cancer risk. You can’t change some factors, such as getting older or your family history, but you can help lower your risk of breast cancer by taking care of your health in the following ways—

  • Keep a healthy weight.
    • Research has shown that being overweight or obese substantially raises a person’s risk of getting endometrial (uterine), breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers. Overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29, and obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or higher. Among postmenopausal women, those who are obese have a 20% to 40% increase in risk of developing breast cancer compared with normal-weight women
  • Exercise regularly (at least four hours a week).
    • Many studies show that physically active women have a lower risk of breast cancer than inactive women; in a 2013 meta-analysis of 31 prospective studies, the average breast cancer risk reduction associated with physical activity was 12%
    • Lowering the levels of hormones, such as insulin and estrogen, and of certain growth factors that have been associated with cancer development and progression
    • Helping to prevent obesity and decreasing the harmful effects of obesity, particularly the development of insulin resistance (failure of the body’s cells to respond to insulin)
    • Reducing inflammation
    • Improving immune system function
  • Research shows that lack of nighttime sleep can be a risk factor.
  • Don’t drink alcohol, or limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one per day.
  • Avoid exposure to chemicals that can cause cancer (carcinogens) and chemicals that interfere with the normal function of the body.
  • Limit exposure to radiation from medical imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans, and PET scans if not medically necessary.
  • If you are taking, or have been told to take, hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives (birth control pills), ask your doctor about the risks and find out if it is right for you.
  • Breastfeed any children you may have, if possible.

If you have a family history of breast cancer or inherited changes in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, you may be at high risk for getting breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about more ways to lower your risk.

Staying healthy throughout your life will lower your risk of developing cancer, and improve your chances of surviving cancer if it occurs.

Source: cdc.gov and National Cancer Institute

 

With all the back to school madness, end of summer celebrations and not to mention just daily living, it’s easy to put self-care at the bottom of our to-do list. For today’s Try-It Thursday, we are sharing some simple ideas for self-care that don’t take much time or money.

  • Take a 15 minute leisure walk after dinner. Stop and admire your neighbor’s lawn, or stop to smell the roses. Spending time outdoors is a great way to rejuvinate and refresh.
  • Or if strolling the neighborhood isn’t your thing, hop on your bike and go for a short spin. It really doesn’t matter the activity. What’s important is taking the time. Challenge yourself to spend at least 15 minutes participating in active movement~doing something you love.
  • Take a nap. It’s amazing how refreshing a quick cat nap can revive us.
  • Grab a healthy snack. Instead of inhaling your snack on the run, sit down, put away the phone and just enjoy your snack. It’s amazing how wonderful food tastes when we slow down enough to taste it.
  • Pick up your favorite book. Set a timer for 15 minutes. Enjoy getting lost in a story.
  • Turn on the tunes. Sit on a chair, close your eyes….and listen…
  • Go cloud watching. Lay on your back, relax, and watch the sky.
  • Be goofy. Keep a “silly” box that you can pull out when you need to have a laugh.
  • Be selfish. Do one thing today that makes you happy.
  • Unplug. Switch everything to airplane mode and enjoy the silence.
  • Take a deep breath. Spend 5 minutes deep breathing.
  • Create an at home spa experience. (Come back next week for ideas.)

Taking care of ourselves is key to living a healthy lifestyle. What is your favorite way to practice self-care?

 

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. It is the fifth leading cause of death for adults aged 65 years and older, and the sixth leading cause of death for all adults. Alzheimer’s disease involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language and over time can seriously affect a person’s ability to carry out daily activities. Scientists are learning more every day about what causes Alzheimer’s disease. Although the cause is still unknown, it is believed to be influenced by a mix of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.

How much do you know about Alzheimer’s disease? 

  1. Age is the best known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. True or False
  2. High blood pressure may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. True or False
  3. Family history does not play a role in developing Alzheimer’s disease. True or False
  4. Alzheimer’s disease is 1 of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States. True or False
  5. Alzheimer’s disease is a normal part of aging. True or False

Answers:

  1. TRUE: The symptoms of the disease first appear after age 60 and the risk increases with age. Younger people may get Alzheimer’s disease, but it is less common. Although scientists are learning more every day, right now, they still do not know what causes Alzheimer’s disease.
  2. TRUE: Scientists are finding more evidence that some of the risk factors for heart disease and stroke, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and low levels of the vitamin folate may also increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers are also studying whether education, diet, and environment play a role in developing Alzheimer’s disease. Evidence is also growing for physical, mental, and social activities as protective factors against Alzheimer’s disease.
  3. FALSE: Family history—researchers believe that genetics may play a role in developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  4. TRUE: Alzheimer’s disease is 1 of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States. The 6th leading cause of death among US adults and the 5th leading cause of death among adults aged 65–85 years.
  5. FALSE: Memory problems are usually one of the first warning signs of cognitive loss. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may experience one or more of the following: gets lost; has trouble handling money and paying bills; repeats questions; takes longer to complete normal daily tasks; displays poor judgment; loses or misplaces things in odd places; displays mood and personality changes. Talk to a health care provider if you have concerns about memory loss, thinking skills, or behavioral changes.

How did you do on the quiz?  Remember, talk to a health care provider if you have concerns about memory loss, thinking skills, behavioral changes or any other questions about Alzheimer’s disease.

Key Facts

  • Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging, and younger people can also be affected.
  • Symptoms usually begin after age 60, but Alzheimer’s disease likely starts a decade or more before problems first appear.
  • Known risk factors include increased age and having a family history of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Other conditions like heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity might also increase risk.
  • Currently, there is no prevention or cure. Treatment options involve delaying or managing symptoms and care planning.

Source: cdc.gov

May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, that’s transmitted to humans through a bite from an infected black-legged or deer tick. Symptoms can occur anywhere from 3 to 30 days after the bite, and symptoms can be wide-ranging, depending on the stage of the infection.

With Lyme Disease cases trending upward, more than doubling nationwide between 1995 and 2015, we thought it was a good time to review some basic safety tips when it comes to Ticks.

How to prevent tick bites when outdoors.

Ticks can spread disease, including Lyme disease.

Protect yourself:

• Use insect repellent that contains 20 – 30% DEET.

• Wear clothing that has been treated with permethrin.

• Take a shower as soon as you can after coming indoors.

• Look for ticks on your body. Ticks can hide under the armpits, behind the knees, in the hair, and in the groin.

• Put your clothes in the dryer on high heat for 60 minutes to kill any remaining ticks.

How to remove a tick

1. If a tick is attached to you, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick at the surface of your skin.

2. Pull the tick straight up and out. Don’t twist or jerk the tick—this can cause the mouth parts to break off and stay in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth parts with tweezers if you can. If not, leave them alone and let your skin heal.

3. Clean the bite and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.

4. You may get a small bump or redness that goes away in 1-2 days, like a mosquito bite. This is not a sign that you have Lyme disease.

Note: Do not put hot matches, nail polish, or petroleum jelly on the tick to try to make it pull away from your skin.

When to see your doctor

See a doctor if you develop a fever, a rash, severe fatigue, facial paralysis, or joint pain within 30 days of being bitten by a tick.

Be sure to tell your doctor about your tick bite. If you have these symptoms and work where Lyme disease is common, it is important to get treatment right away. If you do not get treatment, you may later experience severe arthritis and problems with your nerves, spinal cord, brain, or heart.

Antibiotics are used to treat Lyme disease Your doctor will prescribe specific antibiotics, typically for 2-3 weeks. Most patients recover during this time. You may feel tired while you are recovering, even though the infection is cured. If you wait longer to seek treatment or take the wrong medicine, you may have symptoms that are more difficult to treat. Looking ahead to recovery Take your antibiotics as recommended. Allow yourself plenty of rest. It may take

Your doctor will prescribe specific antibiotics, typically for 2-3 weeks. Most patients recover during this time. You may feel tired while you are recovering, even though the infection is cured. If you wait longer to seek treatment or take the wrong medicine, you may have symptoms that are more difficult to treat. Looking ahead to recovery Take your antibiotics as recommended. Allow yourself plenty of rest. It may take

Looking ahead to recovery Take your antibiotics as recommended. Allow yourself plenty of rest. It may take time to feel better, just as it takes time to recover from other illnesses. Some people wonder if there is a test to confirm that they are cured. This is not possible. Your body remembers an infection long after it has been cured. Additional blood tests might be positive for months or years. Don’t let this alarm you. It doesn’t mean you are still infected. Finally, practice prevention against tick bites. You can get Lyme disease again if you are bitten by another infected tick. Additional information 1. http://www.cdc.gov/Lyme

Some people wonder if there is a test to confirm that they are cured. This is not possible. Your body remembers an infection long after it has been cured. Additional blood tests might be positive for months or years. Don’t let this alarm you. It doesn’t mean you are still infected. Finally, practice prevention against tick bites. You can get Lyme disease again if you are bitten by another infected tick.

Additional information: http://www.cdc.gov/Lyme