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Living On Your Own - Grace Gertiatrics

Living On Your Own – Grace Geriatrics

By | Malhotra
Living On Your Own - Grace Gertiatrics

As of July 2017, 12% of the Lubbock county population was over the age of 65 years. This comes out to be almost 36,627 people. A large number of these older people reside in community living settings such as residential homes, assisted living facilities and nursing homes. However, many older people continue to live in their own homes, sometimes facing several challenges.

Challenges of Living at Home

The challenges older people face when living at home could be several. Difficulty in carrying out day to day activities like cleaning the house, transport issues when not driving, difficulty being able to obtain or prepare meals, trouble navigating stairs, struggle getting into tubs to take showers and requiring help getting dressed are some of their daily predicaments. Faced with these troubles, many finally relent against their wishes and give up their homes to go live in a community living place. Sometimes it is a choice made to avoid loneliness and boredom, when their friends and family are living far or pass away.

Transitioning to Community Living

This transition to a community living can be a welcome change for some, where they now enjoy their housekeeping, cooking, and transport needs being taken care of. However, some residents miss the spaciousness of their homes, their neighbours and friends, and the independence and privacy they had in their independent houses. Depression after such a move is a common problem that continues to ail some for years. Living in a community setting is like living in a world of its own. Not only does the outside world start to slowly forget them, but they too get more and more drawn into their new world and new friends, that sooner or later they forget their old lives.

If you are getting older, and some of the above seems inevitable, then there are some things you could do to continue living in your home as long as possible.
  • Enlist the help of your children and grandchildren in assisting you with your needs at home.
  • Seek help from home health agencies in the area, who can send help to your house on an hourly basis for assisting with housekeeping needs, showers, dressing etc
  • Exercise daily to keep yourself functional and fit for longer.
  • Participate regularly in social activities such as church, senior centres, hobby groups.
  • Volunteer or work part-time to increase socialization, and keep mentally active.
  • Use services such as Meals on Wheels if unable to prepare your own meals.
  • Modify your home to avoid stairs, have a walk-in-shower, grab bars, and raised toilet seats.

If leaving your home does become necessary, remember that the transition may be hard, but with time, patience, and preparation you will soon be happy and contented in your new world.

Keya Malhotra is an Internal Medicine and Geriatric physician practicing at Grace Clinic®. Learn more about Dr. Malhotra or call 806-744-7223 to book an appointment.

Learn more about Dr. Keya Malhotra

Healthy Weight Week

By | General Information

Healthy Weight Week is going on now! It’s a time to celebrate healthy, diet-free living habits that last a lifetime. These habits are what produce weight loss, weight maintenance and good health. Methods like starvation diets, diet pills and low-calorie diets are often tried as a quick fix to a long-term problem, and usually, don’t work. Healthy weight differs from one person to another depending on several factors such as height, bone density, body type and body composition. We each have different body types and compositions that require a different approach for healthy weight loss. The following are activities and ideas to better your health.

Stop dieting. Diets are not individualized. Every single person has unique energy and nutrient needs, based on a number of factors – height, weight, activity level, hormonal health and stress levels. All of these factors contribute to how much and what you should be eating.

Be active. Physical activity is good for your body and your mind, as well as adding years to your life and life to your years. An active lifestyle has many benefits. Regular physical activity not only improves the quality of your daily life but also increases your lifespan by reducing the risk of chronic illness.

Relax. Take time for yourself to relax and relieve the stress in your life. Stress can lead to health problems that make maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle more difficult.

Eat well. Everything that you eat and drink matters and all five food groups should be incorporated into your daily meals. The right combination of these foods can help you be healthier now and in the future.

By incorporating these ideas and activities into your daily routine you have a better chance of getting healthy and staying healthy. Celebrate Healthy Weight Week by making a promise to yourself that you will make healthy choices that are realistic for your body type in 2018.

Great News for Dog Owners

By | Beals

Dog Ownership Linked to Lower Mortality Rate

In this register-based nationwide prospective study including 3+ million individuals, dog ownership was associated with a lower risk of incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) in single-person households and with lower cardiovascular and all-cause mortality in the general population. Ownership of hunting dog breeds was associated with a decreased risk of CVD, and ownership of all purebred breeds was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality. Although further investigation in the Twin Cohort did not show any association between dog ownership and CVD and mortality likely due to the smaller sample size, additional adjustment for detailed lifestyle and socioeconomic factors only marginally altered these estimates (The Finnish Twin Cohort was first established in 1974 to investigate genetic and environmental risk factors for chronic disorders).

In conclusion, in a nationwide population-based study with 12 years of follow-up, we show that dog ownership is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in single households and with a reduced risk of cardiovascular and all-cause death in the general population.

Celebrate your furry friend with a walk. You both will be happier you did.

Fall Sport Injuries

By | Beals

It is November and no matter where you look there is a sporting event around every corner, whether it is local, state, or national. Many of us will be participating in one or more of these sports. Why is *insert your favorite sport here* America’s favorite pastime? The endorphins have us all hooked. Competition feeds your adrenals to excrete hormones culminating in the increase in testosterone. Yes, men and women can benefit from active and passive participation and all ages apply. There is an increase in socialization and community surrounding these events. These areas lead to the same thing: youth or cellular regeneration. The more cortisol and testosterone rejuvenate, the more it heals and repairs your body!

Whether you are competing against other teams or just competing with yourself, sports have been known to cause injuries. What can you do to help yourself? Train, train, train. Elite athletes are always working to keep their body in shape, and they should. It is their full-time job. Weekend warriors still need to train. The good news is even other types of physical activity will benefit your game. The stronger your body is in both types of muscle tissue, the more resilient you will be if and when you get injured.

No one wants to be hurt. Just like planning for success, you can plan for your injury. How do you do this? If you consider a problem and have a plan to manage that problem, your outcomes will be better. It has been proven in multiple disciplines, especially when it comes to sports and physical activities.

The most common injuries are soft tissue trauma: skin, muscle, fat, lymphatics and tendons can all be torn. They can also be repaired. A simple petrolatum product or bandage on your skin will heal in days. If you bleed, you quite possibly need stitches. Your body can repair torn muscles as well. Muscle training keeps the tissue engaged to handle that rapid repair. Tendons are tougher to heal because of the lack the same blood supply that the first to have. Injury involving this is classified as the first stage: a stretch with microscopic tears but overall intact. You will experience swelling and tenderness, but there is no limitation. The second a more extensive injury involving an incomplete tear of the ligament and you can have moderate pain, swelling tenderness and bruising. A grade 3 sprain involves a complete tear of the ligament. Severe pain, swelling, tenderness and bruising can all occur because of the torn ligament. However, this time there is instability of the joint with loss of function. These unfortunate individuals cannot even bear weight.

You may not be able to control the situation that caused the injury, but you can condition yourself. It has been shown in all types of literature that muscle and bone strength training limit the severity of the injury.

Consistent muscle training, both white and red muscle fibers, limit the trauma and restore functioning faster.

Regardless of the type of injury, it is frustrating. You have to stop what you are doing. Your hormones decline and the emotions change. The process… seeing the physician… wearing a splint, or worse, having to have surgery. This puts limitations on your lifestyle. Loss of patience with yourself or others while your body repairs itself. This time is important. Complete restoration of this tissue is important. It may not be the first injury that is a problem. If you have a second or third injury, it can be life-altering. Moral of the story: Don’t rush back too soon. Take time and heal right the first time. Then, you can come back strong.

What you can do is supplement. Remember the trifecta: Vitamin C, Green Tea and Vitamin E are the key ingredients to tissue repair while mitigating the inflammation in the skin. For the rest: Co Q10 every other day, Vitamin C daily, Glucosamine daily or twice a day will all help other areas. Don’t forget the fats. Steric acid and linoleic acid are found in butter, olive oil, flax oil and canola oil.

Please see me if you have any more questions.

Dyshidrotic Eczema AKA Itchy Hands and Feet

By | Beals

Acute palmoplantar eczema (more popularly known as dyshidrotic eczema) has an intense itch, small to large bubbles under the skin affecting the palms, soles, or both [1,2]. It is characterized by deep-seated lesions. Recurrence is common and patients typically experience frequent episodes for months or years. It occurs in younger individuals with equal distribution in men and women. This condition will resolve on its own, however, there is a strong association to contact dermatitis that increases with age.

Why do I mention this now? There is a significant association with allergies. Here in Lubbock, the first freeze and defoliation result in the startup of the cotton gin. This is a significant source of both intrinsic and extrinsic allergies.

First line treatment is avoidance of irritants or exacerbating factors is beneficial for most patients with dyshidrotic eczema. General skin care measures aimed at reducing skin irritation and restoring the skin barrier include:

  • Using lukewarm water and soap-free cleansers to wash hands.
  • Drying hands thoroughly after washing.
  • Applying emollients (eg, petroleum jelly) immediately after hand drying and as often as possible.
  • Wearing cotton gloves under vinyl or other nonlatex gloves when performing wet work. Powder free gloves may be of use as well.
  • Removing rings and watches and bracelets before wet work.
  • Wearing protective gloves in cold weather.
  • Wearing task-specific gloves for frictional exposures (eg, gardening, carpentry).
  • Avoiding exposure to irritants (eg, detergents, solvents, hair lotions or dyes, acidic foods [eg, citrus fruit]). It has been noted in other literature that antibacterial gels can be a common trigger. It is the preservative used or the fragrance.

Elta MD has a non-inflammatory Body Lotion or Body Moisturizer that is a good first line treatment. Topical steroids and allergy control are second and available by your doctor. This condition is commonly mistaken for other infections or inflammatory conditions. This problem should improve with the above measures but can also recur.