(StatePoint) Nearly 25 million Americans experience daily physical discomfort, according to the National Institutes of Health, which can affect mood, mobility and quality of life.
While the reasons for discomfort vary, the way it is experienced doesn’t -- peripheral nerves are responsible for delivering sensory information, such as itch, temperature change and physical pressure to the brain.
With this in mind, experts are identifying new ways to promote nerve health and comfort by inhibiting inflammatory compounds in nerve cells, and at the same time, encouraging healthy neurotransmitter levels in the brain.
They have discovered that a fatty acid called palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), produced naturally by the body as part of a healthy inflammatory and immune response, inhibits the secretion of inflammatory compounds from mast cells, a type of white blood cell. As we age, our number of mast cells decreases, causing our remaining mast cells to work harder. That can make them overly sensitive, activating inflammatory processes linked to nerve discomfort.
“By inhibiting inflammatory compounds released by mast cells, PEA promotes the body’s natural response to uncomfortable nerve stimuli at the cellular level,” says Michael A. Smith, M.D., senior health scientist and spokesperson for Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Life Extension.
Smith points out that it is now possible to take PEA in supplement form. One option is Life Extension’s ComfortMAX, a dual-action nerve support supplement which contains both PEA as well as Honokiol, a naturally occurring lignan compound derived from magnolia that is shown to support “calming” receptors in the brain, known as GABA receptors, which affect the way the brain perceives discomfort.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and these products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, however, many experts believe they can be effective in pain management. More information can be found at www.lecomfortmax.com.
“It’s only natural to think topically or locally when we wish to inhibit discomfort. However, taking in the bigger picture could mean more effective relief,” says Dr. Smith.
(Family Features) Staying healthy can be a challenge, especially for those living with diabetes. Everyone can have conflicts finding the right balance of partaking in healthy habits, such as exercise, eating well and even keeping your teeth and gums clean. From stress to self-care, life can be up and down when you’re living with diabetes.
These seven tips from Dr. Natalie Strand, the winner of season 17 of “The Amazing Race” who lives with diabetes herself, can help you stay healthy and lead a balanced life while managing your diabetes.
Communicate with your care team. Make sure you connect with your nurse educator, endocrinologist and dietician. Reach out to them with your questions as they can often help you implement subtle changes to avoid completely overhauling your lifestyle and routine because of diabetes.
Get involved. Get a local group together to fundraise, vent or just understand each other. Groups such as Diabetes Sisters, JDRF, TuDiabetes and BeyondType1 offer ways to connect with others living with diabetes in person or on social media. Connecting with the diabetes community can be a powerful way to help ease the burden of living with diabetes.
Keep doing what you love. Just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you have to give up doing what you love. Make efforts to continue sports, travel and other hobbies, even if there is a learning curve to adapting with diabetes at first.
Maintain good oral health. People living with diabetes are two times more likely to develop gum disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Colgate Total toothpaste is FDA-approved to help reverse and prevent gingivitis, an early form of gum disease.
Get into a routine. Find a routine that works and stick with it. This way you don’t have to make new decisions each day. Anything that can ease the mental burden of diabetes can help. For example, pick a time each year for your annual visits: eye doctor, endocrinologist, renew prescriptions, etc. Picking the same time of year every year can help ensure you don’t forget to take care of yourself.
Make self-care a priority. It can be hard to keep diabetes care in the forefront. It can be boring, exhausting and also fade into the background. Remind yourself that one of the best things you can do for yourself, and for your loved ones, is stay healthy. Use your family as motivation to exercise daily, eat better-for-you foods and maintain a healthy weight.
Manage stress. Diabetes can be a big stressor. Add jobs, kids, relationships and it can become overwhelming. Find an easy and effective tool for stress relief and do it often. Even 5-10 minutes of guided meditation daily can have a big impact on stress management.
For more information and ways to lead a balanced life with diabetes, visit OralHealthandDiabetes.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
(Family Features) Furry friends can play a significant role in pet owners’ lives. The old saying goes, “dogs are man’s best friend,” and research shows they may be more than that. In fact, they just might be the key to keeping seniors active.
According to a study conducted by the University of Lincoln and Glasgow Caledonian University in collaboration with Mars Petcare Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, dog owners 65 and older were found to walk over 20 minutes more a day than seniors who did not have canine companions at home.
The study documented three key conclusions:
“Older adult dog owners are more active than those without dogs and are also more likely to meet government recommendations for daily physical activity,” said Nancy Gee, human animal interaction researcher at Waltham. “We are learning more every day about the important roles pets play in our lives, so it’s no surprise that pets are now in more than 84 million households. It’s great to recognize how pets can help improve seniors’ lives.”
Walking with your pup can help both the pet and owner get in shape. Pets can keep older adults active and even help them meet the recommended public health guidelines for weekly physical activity. According to the study, on average, dog owners more often participated in 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity and achieved 2,760 additional steps.
However, the benefits of pet ownership go beyond physical activity. It’s no secret that pets provide companionship. From reducing rates of stress, depression and feelings of social isolation, pets can play a significant role in improving people’s lives, which ultimately can make pet owners happier and healthier.
Not only do pets serve as companions in their own right, studies have shown that dog owners can get to know their neighbors through their pets. Pets can even help facilitate the initial meeting and conversation, which may come as no surprise for many dog owners who have chatted with others while walking their dogs. For older adults who live alone or in a group facility, having a pet is also a great way to build relationships with others.
As senior citizens are celebrated on upcoming days that acknowledge older adults, it turns out living with a pet can be a healthy choice for seniors in more ways than one.
For more information on the benefits of pet ownership, visit bettercitiesforpets.com.
Photo courtesy of Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com
(NAPS) - As cheerful and joyous as the New Year can be, it can also be a trigger for stress and depression for some people—but there is hope. There are many resources for people who feel wrung out ringing in the New Year.
For example, Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) can help. MFTs are licensed mental health professionals who work with individuals, couples (married or not), families of all types, and groups to cure or relieve mental, emotional and relational concerns of all kinds.
How To Recognize Depression
To help you tell if you or someone you care about is suffering from depression, the experts at the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) offer these warning signs:
• Feeling sad and/or irritable
• Changes in weight or appetite
• Difficulty sleeping
• Feelings of guilt, hopelessness or worthlessness
• Inability to concentrate, remember things or make decisions
• Thoughts of death or suicide.
How To Handle Depression
If these symptoms look familiar, here are some things to do right now:
• Recognize depression early. Depression can happen to anyone. It’s not a character defect, a weakness or a shameful condition. It’s a serious disorder that no one is immune to.
• Engage in your life. If you are depressed, you may feel like you don’t have an ounce of energy or motivation to tackle depression. Recovery, however, requires your active participation. Be willing to take the first step, even though it’s not easy.
• Build your skills. Learn why you’re vulnerable to depression and specific ways to become more resilient by breaking unhealthy patterns of thought and behavior. Developing good coping and relationship skills can reduce both the frequency and severity of depression episodes.
• Find the right therapist. Talking through one’s stressors and understanding the underlying causes is a proven way to effectively treat depression. Look for therapists with training and experience in treating depression, as well as someone who is warm, supportive and goal oriented. Use short telephone interviews to find a good fit with potential therapists. Ask about how they approach problems like yours.
• Be optimistic. You have every reason to believe you can get better with effective treatment. While anti-depressants are not a cure, they can be very helpful to some people in managing depression. Whether or not you choose to use medicine to manage your symptoms, therapy can give you the long-term skills you need to live a productive, fulfilling life.
How To Learn More
For further information about how to find a therapist, visit www.CounselingCalifornia.com.
Fair Oaks, CA (MPG) - Who says shopping for things such as compression socks, knee braces, walkers, canes or crutches has to feel clinical and impersonal?
Vanesa and Kevin Grenyion, the husband and wife owners of HealthQuest in Fair Oaks, have done everything possible to make the experience of shopping for medical equipment and supplies a much kinder, gentler one. In short, they hope to turn the industry on its head by providing a fresh approach to the physical space in which these products are sold, supported by a suite of services that include educational seminars, custom fittings, and an emphasis on “wellness,” as well as recovery.
“Two things were very important to me when I was researching the plans for opening the store,” says Vanessa. “First, I wanted to make sure that we treat every single person who walks through those doors like a human being, not a dollar sign. Second, I wanted the space to feel open, warm and well lit, so that the experience for everyone was pleasant and not so clinical.”
HealthQuest, which will be celebrating its first year in business July 18, offers a vast, top-of-the-line inventory of pain management, diabetes support, bath and safety accessories including walk-in tubs and raised toilet seats, scooters, walkers and rollators, a large selection of lift chairs, orthopedic braces, high-quality closed shoes and sandals for men and women, facial and “beauty” products, even a mothering section that includes breast pumps and pregnancy aids.
Rather than stuffing these items onto metal shelves in a crowded space where volume overshadows service, Vanessa and Kevin, both trained pharmacists who, by the way, met in pharmacy school in Massachusetts, have created something more akin to boutique for medical supplies, with categories of products grouped into their own “departments,” each designated with bright, painted signage, soft wood wall décor and inviting displays that strip the sterile right out of the experience.
“We want the experience of shopping in our store to be calming and supportive,” says Kevin, an air force veteran who still works as a pharmacist at Mather Air Force Base while sharing responsibilities for managing the new business. Vanessa, the face of HealthQuest, says she and Kevin considered opening their own private pharmacy, but competition from chain stores, as well as concerns about being targeted by thieves put that idea to bed. Instead, the couple, both born and raised in Jamaica, decided to parlay their experience in the pharmacological field with a strong interest in serving others through wellness and health services.
With the help of a VA loan, the couple were able to invest roughly $200,000 into their new venture. The first year has had some challenges, but with any small business, marketing has been key. Vanessa has spent the last year nurturing relationships with home-health care providers, assisted living facilities, pharmacies, chiropractors, physical therapists and other ancillary businesses to ramp up visibility for the new store and exposure to service providers who, like Kevin and Vanessa, want a better experience for their clients and patients.
“We have worked hard this last year to build relationships in the community, to let people know we are here and it is starting to come through for us,” Vanessa said. “This last month alone was a really strong indicator of how things are beginning to really start to shift into gear.”
The store also has partnered with at least two elder care organizations, the Older Adult Collaborative (OAC) and the Elder Society Network (ESN) to provide on-site seminars and workshops at facilities across the community to educate both care providers and the patients themselves.
“We think of ourselves as a resource center, as well as a retail store,” says Vanessa. “This is a business that relies on the needs of those in care facilities and the caretakers themselves, but it’s also here for anyone who wants a more personal experience shopping for items for themselves or their loved ones, or those in their care.”
The store offers senior discounts of 10% every Monday, as well as loyalty customer discounts of 5% off all purchases of regularly priced items.
In recognition of its first year in business, the store will be having an open-house from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 18. All are invited.
Advanced Home Health, Inc. today announced it has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Home Care Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal of Approval® is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective care.
Advanced Home Health, Inc. underwent a rigorous onsite survey. During the survey, compliance with home care standards reflecting key organization areas was evaluated, including the provision of care, treatment and services, emergency management, human resources, individual rights and responsibilities, and leadership. The accreditation process also provided Advanced Home Health, inc. with education and guidance to help staff continue to improve its home care program’s performance.
Established in 1988, The Joint Commission’s Home Care Accreditation Program supports the efforts of its accredited organizations to help deliver safe, high quality care and services. More than 6,000 home care programs currently maintain accreditation, awarded for a three-year period, from The Joint Commission.
“When individuals engage a home care provider they want to be sure that provider is capable of providing safe, quality care,” said Margherita Labson, RN, MS, executive director, Home Care Accreditation Program, The Joint Commission. “As the home care setting becomes increasingly popular, it is important that home care providers are able to demonstrate that they are capable of providing safe, high quality care. Accreditation by The Joint Commission serves as an indication that the organization has demonstrated compliance to these recognized standards of safe and quality care.”
Advanced Home Health, Inc. is pleased to receive accreditation from The Joint Commission, the premier health care quality improvement and accrediting body in the nation,” added Angela Sehr, RN “Staff from across our organization continue to work together to strengthen the continuum of care and to deliver and maintain optimal home care services for those in our community.”
The Joint Commission’s home care standards are developed in consultation with health care experts, home care providers and researchers, as well as industry experts, purchasers and consumers. The standards are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help organizations measure, assess and improve performance.
Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at www.jointcommission.org.
California Department of Public Health (CDPH) State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith reported today that the state is experiencing widespread influenza activity that is more severe than last year. CDPH has also received the first report of a death associated with influenza in a child younger than 18 years of age. The death occurred in Riverside County.
“This is a tragic reminder that the flu is a serious illness for people of all ages and kills thousands of Americans each year,” said Dr. Smith. “If you haven’t been immunized yet this season, getting flu shots for you and your family now can still help protect you this winter.”
CDPH disease monitoring indicates widespread flu activity across the state that is more severe than last year. Since the beginning of the influenza season, CDPH has received reports of 14 influenza-associated deaths, including the child in Riverside. This count represents a fraction of the total flu deaths statewide because only deaths in people younger than 65 are reported to the state and not all influenza-related deaths are easily attributable to influenza.
Hospitals statewide have been impacted by a surge in influenza patients, and hospitalizations for pneumonia and influenza at Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Northern California during the week ending January 7 reached 10.2 percent, the highest level recorded in 10 years. “We are closely monitoring the impact of influenza on health care facilities,” said Dr. Smith. “Some acute care hospitals in California are full and have diverted patients to other facilities.”
For anyone who has not yet received a flu shot this season, it is not too late. Influenza activity usually continues for several months, and it is still early in the season. CDPH recommends all Californians aged six month and older, including pregnant women, should get the annual flu vaccine. The flu virus circulating this season closely matches the vaccine, suggesting that the vaccine will provide protection against influenza and reduce the risk of severe disease.
The flu vaccine prevents disease due to the most serious wintertime virus, but other viruses are also circulating now.
For more information about influenza visit the CDPH influenza web page: www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/Influenza(Flu).aspx.