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All Posts Tagged: self-care

Understanding the Types and Symptoms of Arthritis

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Arthritis is the name given to a group of chronic disorders whose symptoms include pain, swelling, and limited range of motion in one or more joints. Arthritis can effect anyone but is most common in older adults. Arthritis may result from trauma, aging, infection, an auto-immune disease, genetics, or occupational injuries. Treatment options for arthritis include medication, exercise, physical therapy, and surgery. Understanding the various types of arthritis and the symptoms that accompany them can help you communicate with your health care professional to find the best treatment.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is caused by the wearing away of cartilage around the joint, causing bones in the joint to rub together. Although almost everyone will experience some degree of osteoarthritis after the age of 70, people who work in certain physically demanding jobs or play some sports are more susceptible. Osteoarthritis sufferers often experience stiffness (particularly in the morning) and loss of range of motion in addition to pain that is more severe after physical activity or certain types of movement.

Another  common form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks healthy cells. Symptoms are usually experienced in the same joint on both sides of the body. The joints most often affected by rheumatoid arthritis are the fingers, wrists, knees, ankles, and feet. Pain, swelling, and compromised movement are all common in rheumatoid arthritis, as well as eventual deformity of the affected joints in more severe cases. More women than men have rheumatoid arthritis.

Gout is a kind of arthritis that occurs primarily in the joint at the base of the big toe, although it can also occur in the wrists, fingers, knees, and heel. It is cause by excess uric acid in the blood, which is then deposited in joints and surrounding tissues in the form of uric acid crystals. Gout can have various causes, including genetics and trauma, but is often associated with frequent consumption of alcohol and meat. Gout is more prevalent in men than women.

There are many other forms of arthritis, including autoimmune diseases like ankylosing spondylitis and scleroderma, and those resulting from infection, like gonococcal arthritis. Although different types of arthritis can be differentiated on the basis of their symptoms, medical testing is usually necessary to conclusively determine the underlying cause.

Edison Home Health Care is happy to advise and assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care of Arthritis problems. Give us a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form and we will respond shortly.

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Living a Healthy Lifestyle with Arthritis

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Arthritis is a chronic disease that affects as many as 50 million Americans. Although it encompasses more than 100 conditions that may have different origins, arthritis always involves inflammation of the joints which can lead to swelling, pain, and stiffness. While everyone’s experience of the disease is different, most arthritis sufferers will experience discomfort and limitation. Pain and limited joint mobility can compromise the ability to participate in and enjoy many activities of daily living. Fortunately, there are many treatment options that can mitigate the effects of the disease and promote quality of life.

Non-drug treatment approaches to arthritis, such as physical therapy, can improve mobility and reduce pain through specialized exercises, stretching, and manipulation of the joints, as well as the application of ice or heat, massage, and the use of splints and supports around the affected joint. Over-the-counter medications, like acetaminophen (a pain reliever) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can alleviate pain and swelling, particularly in the early stages of arthritis. For more severe symptoms, prescription narcotics, like oxycodone and hydrocodone, steroids, like cortisone, and disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS) may be indicated.

In addition to physical therapy and medication, arthritis sufferers can take proactive steps to improve their quality of life. In many cases, simple lifestyle changes can have a big impact on the health and wellbeing of people living with arthritis. Low-impact exercise, such as swimming and walking, can strengthen muscles that support the joints and improve flexibility and range of motion. Getting plenty of sleep can help to reduce the frequency and severity of arthritis flare-ups. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats (like those found in nuts, seeds, and fish) can help the body fight arthritis symptoms and improve overall health. Avoiding activities and positions that put stress on the affected joints is another way to minimize symptoms and improve joint health.

Edison Home Health Care is happy to advise and assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care of Arthritis problems. Give us a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form and we will respond shortly.

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Support Groups for Parkinson’s Patients

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Parkinson’s is a chronic, degenerative disease that has symptoms of impaired mobility, body tremors, stiffness of the limbs and torso, difficulty balancing, and fatigue. These symptoms are most severe in the mid and late stages of the disease. Progressiveness of the disease varies tremendously from person to person and treatment should be tailored to meet an individual’s needs. Although there is no cure for Parkinson’s, managing symptoms can help improve a patient’s quality of life.

Education is the first step in living well with disease. Organizations dedicated to Parkinson’s provide a variety of resources with tips on medication, non-motor symptoms, and coping techniques. Movement disorder specialists usually offer supplemental materials to keep on hand such as treatment pamphlets. Research to find out if there is a local Chronic Disease Self Management Program; an organization established by Stanford University that offers weekly educational sessions for Parkinson’s patients. Support groups can also be rich sources of knowledge; connecting with other patients can offer new insights on treating symptoms and can enhance the learning curve.

In addition to being an educational source, support groups provide patients with much needed encouragement. Although loved ones and caregivers play a vital role in a patient’s life, connecting with others who struggle with the challenges of living with Parkinson’s can alleviate feelings of isolation. Remaining active and social can help ward off depression and promote emotional health. Above all, finding meaning in activities outside the home can help Parkinson’s sufferers to achieve a sense of purpose and balance that will help them cope with the challenges of the disease.

Edison Home Health Care is happy to advise and assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care of Parkinsons disease. Give us a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form and we will respond shortly.

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Understanding Your Limits with Parkinson’s

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Parkinson’s disease creates many challenges for its sufferers. It is a progressive disease, meaning that symptoms worsen over time. Physical symptoms include tremors and shaking, difficulty walking and balancing, fatigue, compromised coordination and motor skills, and rigidity of the trunk and limbs. While these symptoms are very common, affecting a majority of people with the disease, the way they appear and progress can vary tremendously between individuals. For example, severe tremors may immediately affect one patient while another may not even experience tremors. Due to the unpredictable progression of the disease, it’s important for patients, caregivers, and loved ones to pay keen attention to individual symptoms.

Certain symptoms may be mild enough to allow patients to continue performing daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, and meal preparation, unassisted in the early stages. Other tasks that once were managed easily may become extremely difficult or dangerous. High-risk activities include driving or performing strenuous chores. Once symptoms have set-in, it essential to understand the patient’s level of ability. Although it is difficult for many Parkinson’s sufferers to adjust to the loss of independence, safety should always be the primary concern.

For caregivers, it is challenging to assist someone who is facing a loss of physical ability and an increase in dependence. Ease the patient’s stress by allowing them to be actively involved in decisions about their care. Take the time to explain changes in roles in an empathetic manner. Also, allow patients to continue to participate in safe activities and household tasks as much as their condition will tolerate. Small efforts such as these will help patients maintain a sense of purpose, and will ease the transition from full independence to greater reliance on others.

Edison Home Health Care is happy to advise and assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care of Parkinsons disease. Give us a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form and we will respond shortly.

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Pacing Yourself with Parkinson’s

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Parkinson’s disease effects many body systems and produces various symptoms. Psychiatric symptoms can range from sleep problems to severe depression. Physical symptoms include body tremors, mobility challenges, and fatigue. Performing daily tasks that once were second nature, such as meal preparation or dressing, can become major challenges as the disease progresses. Promoting independence despite these difficulties can boost patient’s mood and quality of life.

A major challenge those suffering from Parkinson’s face is fatigue. Even the simplest of tasks can be extremely taxing on patients. To prevent excessive fatigue, Parkinson’s patients should have a strategic plan for their activities in order to conserve energy. Scheduling activities for times when they will have more energy and spacing events at intervals throughout the day will efficiently allocate their strength. Planning an abundant amount of rest periods – before, after, or even during activities – is often very helpful. Modifying activities to make them less strenuous and allowing more time to complete tasks can also conserve energy. Another helpful tip to follow is allowing at least 20 minutes of rest after meals. One of the most important things a patient can do for themselves is ask for help. Family, friends, and caregivers can assist with chores that are too strenuous to complete on your own.

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for Parkinson’s sufferers. Make the most of sleep by avoiding naps during the day, which can make it more difficult to sleep at night. Patients should sleep with their head elevated in a comfortable temperature. Proper sleep at night will allow the body to rest and recovery in order to optimize your daytime energy levels.

Edison Home Health Care is happy to advise and assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care of Parkinsons disease. Give us a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form and we will respond shortly.

Parkinson Home Care New York

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