When is constipation an emergency?
Constipation happens when you have difficulty passing stool or when you haven’t had a bowel movement in three days.
Everyone has been constipated at one point. Usually the problem is short-lived.
The causes for constipation include:
Normally, constipation is a short-term problem and can be alleviated by lifestyle changes.
For instance, identifying the problem food and eliminating it from your diet can stop constipation.
Adding more fiber into your diet and exercising for at least 30 minutes per day 5 days per week can also help.
Eating fruits like prunes, apples, pears and kiwis prove are effective in getting rid of constipation. If you want to have regular bowel movements, these fruits are helpful as well.
Constipation that is accompanied by intense abdominal pain, vomiting, blood in the stool or severe bloating suggests a serious underlying health condition and you should see a doctor immediately.
Regular constipation may be come with some pain.
However when constipation comes with intense abdominal pain, it could indicate:
If you or a loved one are experiencing constipation with intense pain, it is important to go to the emergency room immediately.
With these types of emergencies, symptoms progress very quickly and can cause death.
Thus, the sooner you see a doctor the better.
Fecal impaction happens when your stool is so hard, there is no way it can be passed. In these instance, it also obstructs normal intestinal movement.
This is the cause for vomiting in constipation and it requires immediate medical attention.
If your stomach bloating is painful and you are constipated, this is reason to see a doctor immediately.
Passing hard stool can come with some blood in the stool as the hard stool passes through the anus.
This may be minimal and may not be a cause for alarm.
However, if you notice obvious blood, large blood clots or darker colored stools when you are constipated, a more severe problem could be at hand.
A major symptom of colon and rectal cancers is blood in the stool.
This would also be a reason to see a doctor immediately.
Staying active and healthy in lock-down.
While COVID-19-related lock-downs seem to be easing all around the world, it is evident that mini lock-downs and self-quarantine periods may last for a while.
Gyms, a public place where it is easy for bacteria or virus to spread, are closed.
For somebody trying to stay active and healthy, this can be a challenge.
So how can you stay active and healthy during those periods of time when movement is restricted?
Ideally, you need 30 minutes of exercise five days per week to stay active and healthy.
In today’s post, I’ll share five simple ideas for stay active and healthy in lock-down.
Disclaimer – Make sure any exercise regimen you embark on is cleared by your doctor before you start.
Dancing is a fun and yet effective way to stay active and healthy in a time when movement is restricted.
You don’t have to have moves like Michael Jackson either!
You can either do a quick video on YouTube (or have a loved one do this for you) for dance routines and follow along.
Or you could slot in your favorite dance music, set a timer and move to that for the next 30 minutes!
That stationary bike you have been ignoring for the last few years?
You still own that my friend!
Dust off that bike (or treadmill or elliptical or…you get what I mean) and start working out.
Remember that activity you indulged in as a kid? Skipping?
It works very well.
In fact, I recently discovered a YouTube channel called the Jump Rope Dudes.
It has been inspiring to watch them post about people who have skipped their way to healthy.
Have a skipping rope around? Time to turn that into your home gym.
In most places, there is no rule against walking or running in your neighborhood.
My advice however is that you observe social distancing rules – stay six feet apart – while you exercise outdoors.
I also don’t recommend wearing a mask while working out.
If you’re lightly walking, this may not be a big deal.
However, if you will be running or taking on exercise that involves a lot of more activity, realize that your body will also need more oxygen.
If you have a mask tightly over your face, you will not be getting the oxygen as you need.
And this can lead to fainting.
So wear your mask in crowded public spaces.
But if you must engage in vigorous exercise, take the mask off so you can breathe the oxygen you need.
Your exercise mat is more than a pretty accessory.
There are hundreds of types of exercises you can do on just an exercise mat inside your home.
Staying active and healthy during lock-down is possible!
In this post, I reminded you of 5 simple and yet effective ideas for staying active and healthy in lock-down.
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Eczema is a common and yet misunderstood disease.
In today’s post, I will explain what eczema is and what you should know if you have a loved one with eczema.
Eczema, which is also called atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin care condition.
Although, it usually begins when a person is a child, it can show up at any age.
Eczema is considered an autoimmune condition.
To understand what this means, it is important to understand how the immune system works.
The immune system of your body is able to fight off bacteria and yeast using various cell types.
Your immune system is able to do this because it recognizes certain unique factors about bacteria and other microbes that provides information to the cells that these are “the enemy”.
In certain instances however, your immune system becomes hypersensitive and will fight your own body because it is somehow recognizing it as “the enemy”.
And this is the underlying factor when it comes to autoimmune disease.
Although the cause of eczema is not fully understood, we know it is happens as a result of an overactive immune system like I described above.
Because it occurs commonly in children-10-20% of children in the developed world suffer from eczema- some scientists suggest that air pollution and less exposure to infections which “prime” the immune system and make it robust, could be causes of eczema.
The most common symptom of eczema is dry, scaly and itchy skin.
Most people with eczema usually also have another type of allergy.
For people who have severe eczema, scratching the itchy skin may cause the skin to break and ooze fluid.
Over time, eczema can lead to thickened, scaly and dry skin.
People with eczema regularly have “flare-up” periods where the condition gets worse. This could happen as a result of:
Furthermore, for a lot of people, not only do they suffer physically from the disease, they might also be worried about their appearance.
Thus, it is not uncommon for someone with eczema to constantly cover up their skin or avoid events where they would have to uncover their skin.
As you can already tell, eczema is both physically and mentally difficult for the person who has it.
What can you do as a caregiver who has a loved one with eczema?
Or perhaps you have eczema yourself and are looking for tips?
Here you go.
Eczema is annoying.
And for some, it causes self-esteem issues.
The points I shared above should help you and your loved one understand and manage eczema effectively.
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Summer is around the corner and some of us are already dreaming of the warm weather, cool drinks and long days.
But it is important to not forget about skincare as you go about enjoying your summer.
In today’s post, we are talking about 10 summer skincare tips for older adults.
Let’s dive right in.
And there you have it: 10 summer skincare tips so that you can enjoy the summer to the fullest.
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Summer is right around the corner.
While we’re all looking forward to bright and sunny days-not to mention the warmth-skin care is still important.
For a lot of seniors, summertime means days of dehydration and dry skin.
As we age, our skin cells lose the firmness they once had.
This means that older people lose water from their bodies easily and thus are more prone to problems related to dehydration.
And as if dry skin wasn’t enough, that dry skin very often leads to itching. None of these things are fun!
In today’s post, I’m going to talk about what you can do to cure dry skin for yourself or an elderly loved one.
SIDE STORY:There was a time I got bad heat exhaustion from being in the sun for too long. I grew up in the tropics and thought I could handle the sun. Well, I was 100% wrong and learned that day that following simple rules like staying hydrated and wearing the appropriate protective clothing is a must if you want to avoid dehydration.
Last but not least, don’t forget your electrolytes. As you drink, make sure you are not forgetting to keep up with you electrolyte levels. Having low levels of sodium and potassium for instance can also cause problems for you in the summer. Drinks like Gatorade are helpful when it comes to hydrating and keeping your electrolyte levels right.
Plus they contribute to the health of your skin.
Enjoy your summer! And take care of your skin.
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What is melanoma and why should you care?
Well, as we come out of an unusually cold winter, it is not odd that you would want to leave the memory of winter behind and embrace sunnier and hotter days.
In fact, I am all for it!
However, in our excitement to enjoy the sun, it is important to pay attention to skin conditions that can be triggered because we are over-exposed to the sun.
One such condition is melanoma.
In today’s post, I am going to touch on 7 facts you need to know about melanoma and how you can prevent it from happening to you and your loved ones.
A melanoma is a type of skin cancer that is directly related to an over-exposure to the sun.
It happens when the pigment-producing cells in your body- melanocytes- become mutated (and no longer function properly).
While melanoma is a less common type of skin cancer as compared to other types such as basal cell skin cancer, it can be more dangerous.
This is because melanomas are more likely to metastasize (spread) from one area of your skin to other organs.
And this is why melanoma is not a skin condition to be trifled with in the least.
While melanoma can happen regardless of race, it is more common in people with fairer complexions.
Melanoma can happen anywhere on the skin but it is more likely to occur on those areas of the skin that are more exposed. For men, melanomas will typically appear on the chest and back. In women, melanomas occur commonly on the legs.
A melanoma is regularly caused by an over-exposure to the UV rays of the sun.
An artificial source of UV rays such as a tanning bed could also result in melanoma.
It is possible however for a melanoma to occur in an area of the skin that is not exposed to the sun.
If you notice any of these signs, talk to your doctor immediately so you can get tested.
What can you do to keep this skin cancer away?
So get out there and enjoy the sun as we enter the warmer months. We deserve it!
However, make sure you’re taking the necessary precautions to take great care of your skin to keep melanoma away.
A wedding is happening in the family and photos are just not going to cut it.
Your senior loved one wants to be there.
The only problem? It’s a destination wedding, so, you and your elderly loved one are going to have travel out of the country.
International travel with seniors doesn’t have to be scary.
In fact, if you plan it properly, it could be a memorable and perhaps much-needed trip for everyone involved.
In this post, I will be sharing 5 tips you should take note of when you’re traveling internationally as a caregiver with your elderly loved one.
Passengers who are 75 and above can receive an expedited form of screening. So if you are traveling with a senior who is 75 find out what the those expedited procedures will be when you get to the airport.
In addition to this benefit, if your elderly loved one is disabled or uses assistive medical devices, TSA can make special accommodations for them if you call or e-mail at least 72 hours before travel.
You can e-mail TSA Cares at TSA-ContactCenter@tsa.dhs.gov or call them at 855-787-2227 from 8am to 11pm EST during the week and 9am to 8pm EST on weekends and holidays.
Calling the airline ahead of your travel plans is also helpful.
If you inform most airlines, they will dispatch people to assist elders with getting on and off the plane, wheelchair transport and with a seating plan that suits your elderly loved one on the journey.
If your loved one is on a special diet, calling the airline customer service ahead of time will ensure that they have the right choices for them.
Make a detailed list ahead of time and make sure you pack medications and other home care medical supplies your loved one will need when you reach your destination.
It is also important to pack some of these items in an easily accessible bag so that if they are need during travel, you can easily access those.
It is a pain when you have to open up large pieces of luggage to search for stuff.
Essentials that can go into this “emergency bag” include:
If your loved one has a prescription that will run out while you’re traveling internationally, make sure to either carry the prescription so an international pharmacy can use it or get a refill right before the trip.
Will you need to get a visa? Do you already have a passport?
Make sure to iron out these details before you buy your tickets.
As much as possible and especially if your elderly loved one has a medical condition, it is ideal that you buy a seat next to them so you can help them on the trip.
If you are hiring a travel companion to come along with you, you can do the same thing.
Aisle seats are especially helpful for getting to the bathroom easily. If you have the opportunity to pick those, do so.
Get to the airport early. At least an hour ahead of the flight boarding time is always a safe cushion.
Even though you may have called TSA ahead of time, there is no telling what might be happening at the airport that day.
If you get there on time, you and your elderly loved one will not feel rushed and you will be able to navigate your trip smoothly and without agitation!
What is it they say?
You only live once?
You might not always have an opportunity to travel so enjoy the trip. Take in the sights. And make some great memories.
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Did you know that 1 in 3 adults is at risk to develop Type 2 diabetes?
This risk gets worse as people grow older and organs don’t function as well as they used to.
In this post, I will be explaining exactly what Type 2 diabetes is, the symptoms associated with the disease, and why you or your elderly loved one needs to see a doctor immediately to manage diabetes.
When you eat, your body breaks down food into different molecules that are then transported in your blood to your cells so that they can perform the functions that are necessary for life.
One of the major molecules that is broken down from your food is glucose (sugar). Glucose is an important source of fuel for your body and is at the core of many important biological and chemical processes in your body.
Glucose is transported in your blood to your cells.
You can think of your cells as a house with a door.
The key to that door is another chemical produced by your body called insulin.
In a non-diabetic person, insulin “opens the door” to your cells and allows glucose to enter into your cells.
In Type 2 diabetes however, insulin does not function properly and so glucose is unable to enter into the cells.
This results in high concentrations of sugar in the blood (this is not where sugar should be!) and ultimately results in Type 2 diabetes.
Now you’re probably thinking “But why would insulin suddenly not function properly?”
There are a few reasons why this might happen.
Whatever the case is however, Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that requires medical attention.
Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include:
Where there’s smoke, there is usually fire right?
Although scientists are not completely sure what causes diabetes, the following are risk factors associated with the disease.
Reducing/managing these risk factors can also reduce the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
As you can see, while many of these risk factors are things you can’t help, losing weight through physical activity and a healthy diet will help to significantly reduce your risk for diabetes.
As a caregiver, the best thing you can do for an elderly loved one with diabetes is to help them pay attention to medical advice.
Diabetes is a disease that appear “not serious” until complications develop.
Usually, those complications are hard to treat and can be fatal.
Thus your job as a caregiver is to encourage your loved one to:
Diabetes is one of those disease that can “lurk” in the background until it is too late.
Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of what Type 2 diabetes is, take action for yourself or your elderly loved one before it is too late.
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Didn’t think the health of your brain was connected to heart?
Although the heart and the brain are located in very different parts of your body and you wouldn’t think they affect each other, keeping your heart healthy can contribute to a healthy brain.
Here’s the deal: whenever your heart beats, blood is pumped out to all organs of your body: your brain included.
The blood that is carried to the different parts of your body contains oxygen and nutrients your body needs to function properly.
Just before the blood reaches the brain, there is a layer called the Blood Brain Barrier that allows for oxygen and nutrients to move into your brain cells.
Because the quality of blood that reaches your brain from your heart depends heavily on the health of your heart, it is important to keep it healthy to ensure everything keeps running smoothly.
High blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol can all affect the brain in a bad way.
Add in the reality that as we age, there’s an increased risk for heart-disease and heart-related problems, and this is a topic that needs to be taken seriously.
Because we take your overall health seriously, in this post, we will talk about how you can have a healthy brain by keeping a healthy heart.
High blood pressure or hypertension happens when the pressure of blood against the walls of a person’s blood vessels is too high.
When a person has high blood pressure, the heart has to work harder to pump blood to the brain.
Over time, this overworking of the heart leads to a weakened heart and blood vessels that are not effective at transporting blood to your brain.
When this happens, your brain is starved and unable to function at the level it needs to.
How do you keep high blood pressure at bay?
While there are drugs that can help you keep blood pressure low, eating a healthy diet with reduced salt and exercising regularly is helpful when it comes to keeping blood pressure down.
Cholesterol is a natural product that forms a part of your cells.
It can however become dangerous when you have too much of it in your blood.
Because cholesterol is a waxy-like substance, it easily sticks to the walls of your blood vessels.
Over time, it can cause plaque- a hard substance which clogs your blood vessels.
As you can imagine, clogged blood vessels are not going to be effective at transporting blood.
How can you keep cholesterol levels low?
Eating foods low in LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol is the first step to getting your cholesterol under control.
Food that are high in good cholesterol (HDL) cholesterol help to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in your blood.
These foods include:
Exercising regularly, quitting smoking and eating a low carbohydrate diet can also contribute to lowering cholesterol.
Some people have naturally high levels of cholesterol because they have a hereditary condition known as familial cholesterolemia.
For such people, a doctor may recommend medications to keep cholesterol low.
Because there are no real symptoms that show you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, it’s important to get consistent check-ups to make sure a doctor catches these problems during the early stages.
As we age, the risk for heart conditions goes up.
Because there is risk for memory loss and dementia with old age, it is especially important that we keep our hearts healthy so everything else is healthy.
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