Category Archives: Health

An opioid-like botanic | “As Kratom Use Surges, Some States Enact Bans” – STATELINE

kratumRobert Roskind is the owner of the Oasis cafe in Carrboro, North Carolina, where a typical serving of kratom is a heaping teaspoon of powder in a mug of hot water, orange juice or chocolate almond milk. As consumption of the opioid-like botanic grows, some cities and states are banning its use. – Christine Vestal, The Pew Charitable Trusts

“CARRBORO, N.C. — On a sunny November afternoon in this quiet college community, a steady stream of customers walks through the doors of a local cafe called Oasis for a cup of an increasingly popular herbal beverage. The menu offers coffee, black tea, beer, wine and pastries, but nearly everyone opts for a $5 mug of kratom (pronounced KRAY-dum).

“A powder ground from the leaves of an indigenous Southeast Asian tree related to the coffee plant, kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) offers pain relief and mood enhancement, similar to prescription painkillers.

“Advocates say the substance, which does not depress the respiratory system and therefore presents little to no overdose risk, could help reduce the nation’s reliance on highly addictive and often deadly prescription painkillers. Some addiction experts also argue the plant could be used as an alternative to methadone, buprenorphine and Vivitrol in medication-assisted therapy for opioid addiction.

“Used for centuries to fight fatigue, pain and anxiety in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea and Thailand, kratom was rarely taken in the United States until recently.”

Continue reading this STATELINE article, click here.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY – “Developing Solutions for Social Isolation in the United States: Learning From the World”

We’re providing a total of $2.5 million in funding, looking for the best ideas from around the world that can address social isolation in the United States.

SOCIAL ISOLATION

by Maryjoan Ladden

I remember reading the story of a dying patient who, when asked who to call as his life was ending, he replied, ‘no one.’ He had absolutely no immediate family or close friends. Dr. Druv Khullar who wrote the piece noted ‘the sadness of his death was surpassed only by the sadness of his solitude. I wondered whether his isolation was a driving force of his premature death, not just an unhappy circumstance.’

“This profoundly sad story struck me to my core.

“Not everyone has a social network to call on when they need people by their side. Many people feel disconnected from society and from life, and that contributes to a host of physical, mental and emotional health problems. In fact, according to experts, social isolation is as bad for your health as smoking, obesity, elevated blood pressure, and high cholesterol.”

Click here to continue reading.

 

If you have an idea from abroad that just might work in America, see our new Call for Proposals!

 

See full Call for Proposals for more information.

 

“Cataract Surgery May Prolong Your Life” – The New York Times

“After 72 very nearsighted years, 55 of them spent wearing Coke-bottle glasses, Jane Quinn of Brooklyn, N.Y., is thrilled with how well she can see since having her cataracts removed last year.

cataractsPaul Rogers

by Jane E. Brody

“‘It’s very liberating to be able to see without glasses,’ Ms. Quinn told me. ‘My vision is terrific. I can even drive at night. I can’t wait to go snorkeling.’

“And I was thrilled to be able to tell her that the surgery very likely did more than improve her poor vision. According to the results of a huge new study, it may also prolong her life.

“The 20-year study, conducted among 74,044 women aged 65 and older, all of whom had cataracts, found a 60 percent lower risk of death among the 41,735 women who had their cataracts removed.” – Continue reading this New York Times article, click here.

Medicare Spends More on Socially Isolated Older Adults

Previous studies have demonstrated that socially isolated older adults are at greater risk for poor health and death than their well-connected counterparts. The AARP Public Policy Institute has released a new report that examines whether social isolation also affects health care spending among older adults, and finds that a lack of social contacts among older adults is associated with an estimated $6.7 billion in additional Medicare spending annually.” Click on the graphic below to download the report. 

medicare socially isolated

Wolf Administration Celebrates Living Independence For the Elderly’s 20th Anniversary in the Commonwealth

Harrisburg, PAHarrisburg, PA – Last week, the Department of Human Services recognized the 20th Anniversary of the Living Independence For the Elderly (LIFE) program in the commonwealth. LIFE provides services to more than 6,000 Pennsylvanians in 41 counties across the state.

“The Wolf Administration is committed to serving people in the community, and LIFE is an option that allows older Pennsylvanians to live independently while receiving services and supports that meet the health and personal needs of the individual,” said DHS Acting Secretary Teresa Miller. “Today, we celebrate this program for its 20 years of contributing to the quality of life of the seniors in our commonwealth.”

LIFE is a managed care program that provides a comprehensive all-inclusive package of medical and supportive services. The program was established by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 and is known nationally as the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).

All of the PACE providers in Pennsylvania have ‘LIFE’ in their name. The first LIFE program agreements were signed in 1997 with services implemented in Pennsylvania in 1998.

“While we prepare to launch Community HealthChoices in the southwest region of Pennsylvania, it’s critical that folks know that LIFE is also an option,” said Miller. “We want our older Pennsylvanians to be aware that there are choices available.”

To be eligible for LIFE, you must:

  • Be age 55 or older
  • Meet the level of care needs for a skilled nursing facility or a special rehabilitation facility
  • Meet the financial requirements as determined by your local County Assistance Office or be able to privately pay
  • Reside in an area served by a LIFE provider
  • Be able to be safely served in the community as determined by a LIFE provider

Some of the many services available under the LIFE program include dental, meals, medical and non-medical transportation, LIFE Center services, nursing care, personal care, social services, recreational activities, and more. LIFE also fully integrates Medicare and Medicaid services for individuals eligible for both programs.

To locate a LIFE provider in your area click here, or call the toll-free CHC Helpline at 1-844-824-3655 (TTY 1-833-254-0690).

November is Living Independence for the Elderly month and Governor Wolf issued a proclamation declaring it as such.

For more information on LIFE, visit www.dhs.pa.gov.

Living Independence For the Elderly (LIFE), which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in November, provides services to more than 6,000 Pennsylvanians in 41 counties across the state.

LIFE provides an innovative, community-based approach to integrated health care, as well as social and family support services. The program is designed to help seniors remain in their homes and communities instead of receiving care in a nursing facility.

Here’s more from the Pennsylvania Life Provider Alliance.

“The Necessity of Exercise: Physical Activity and Aging” – University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology

As the aging population keeps increasing, more and more older people are recognizing a growing need for exercise in their lives. Maintaining an active lifestyle is crucial for sustaining health and happiness. Exercise can help older adults achieve a higher quality of life, and it can help them live longer as well.

USC-MAGMASM-The-Necessity-of-Exercise-Gerontology-Infographic

Read more here.

The Great American Smokeout – Thursday – You can do this!

smokeout

Every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout event. Encourage someone you know to use the date to make a plan to quit, or plan in advance and then quit smoking that day. By quitting – even for 1 day – smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk.

“About 36.5 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the world. While cigarette smoking rates have dropped (from 42% in 1965 to 15.1% in 2015), cigar, pipe, and hookah – other dangerous and addictive ways to smoke tobacco – are very much on the rise. Smoking kills people – there’s no ‘safe’ way to smoke tobacco.

“Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits at any age. Quitting is hard, but you can increase your chances of success with help. Getting help through counseling or medications can double or triple the chances of quitting successfully.” –

“Almost 70 percent of adult smokers want to quit smoking, according to a U.S. national survey. Conventional quit-smoking treatments, including counseling and medication, can double or triple the chances that a smoker will quit successfully. Some people also try complementary health approaches to help them kick the smoking habit. In one survey of people who visited a tobacco cessation clinic, two-thirds said that they were interested in trying complementary approaches.” – Learn more about QUITTING NOW here.

“What are the symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options, for individuals with COPD?” – All Hands Home Care

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – “an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases”

Examples of progressive lung diseases:

  • Emphysema
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Refractory (non-reversible) asthma

copd

Signs & Symptoms

  • Increased shortness of breath when completing daily activities
  • Chronic coughing
  • Blueness of the lips or fingernail beds
  • Producing a lot of mucus
  • Fatigue
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in chest
  • Frequent respiratory infections

smoking

Risk Factors/Causes

  • Most cases are caused by inhaling pollutants (smoking and inhaling second-hand smoke)
  • Fumes, dust, and chemicals in work environments can be contributing factors
  • Genetics can be a factor, even if the individuals has never smoked or been exposed to lung irritants

smoking2

Diagnosis – A breathing test called Spinometry can diagnose an individual with COPD.

A Spinometry measures how well the lungs are working and how severe the individual’s COPD is.

smoking 3

Who should get tested?

Anyone who is showing signs of any of theses symptoms are at risk for developing COPD and should get tested:

  • A history of smoking
  • Has had a long-term exposure to air pollutants
  • Chronic cough with/without sputum
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath that is getting worse over time

Leaving symptoms un-managed can lead them to worsen faster than with appropriate medicine and therapy. Many adults are misdiagnosed with asthma, so an  accurate diagnosis is imperative for treatment and monitoring.

smoking3

Treatment

  • Medication
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation
    • This type of therapy combines education, exercise, nutrition, and counseling.
  • Supplemental Oxygen (Oxygn Therapy)
    • This therapy is used if breathing becomes so restricted that the body needs more oxygen.
  • Surgery
    • Some individuals have COPD so severe that breathing is difficult all of the time. In this case, doctors might suggest surgery to improve breathing.
  • Palliative Care
    • This will help in improving quality of life.

smoking 4

Managing COPD

COPD can be managed by protecting the lungs, incorporating the right type of exercises to stay physically active, and changing nutrition which can improve breathing.

Click HERE to learn more about COPD

 

“In-Home Care Helps Seniors Manage Diabetes” – CaringNews.com

 

NovemberAwarenessMonth

“Today, almost 30 million people in America are living with diabetes. Diabetes is actually a group of diseases; the most common by far is type 2 diabetes, in which the body has trouble using insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. The older we get, the more likely we are to develop type 2 diabetes.

“Doctors know that managing diabetes in older adults can be a tricky balancing act. If a senior’s blood sugar is too high, they can suffer damage to their heart, kidneys, nerves, eyes, bones and feet. Diabetes can lead to blindness, amputations and even death. Diabetes raises the risk of stroke, and causes problems with thinking and memory by decreasing the flow of blood in the brain.

“On the other hand, if a senior is taking too much medication, this can lead to hypoglycemia — blood sugar that is too low, which can cause dizziness, loss of consciousness, confusion, personality changes and falls. So, the doctor will carefully monitor a senior’s blood sugar and adjust the dosage of medications accordingly.

“Meanwhile, the patient must constantly remember to check their blood sugar, take their medications, watch their diet … it can all seem overwhelming. And sometimes, despite following the doctor’s orders, their blood sugar numbers are still too high. The stress and anxiety can lead to ‘diabetes distress’ — defined by the American Diabetes Association as ‘a reaction to living with a stressful, complex disease that is often difficult to manage.'”

Click here to continue reading this CaringNews. com article.

More on “National Diabetes Month 2017”

 

“Bogus Health News Is All Over Pinterest” – Buzz Feed News

“Pins making unsubstantiated claims — like that cinnamon cures arthritis and alkaline water kills cancer — have been pinned thousands of times.”

bogus health

Pinterest is where many people turn for ideas about how to be healthy. But the recipes, nutrition advice, and other colorful infographics that the site is so well-known for are rife with bad information about health and science.

“This kind of misinformation is baseless and ineffective at best, and harmful at worst — some pins, for example, make unsubstantiated claims about preventing and treating cancer — but Pinterest says that it is only a minor problem for the site.

“With little effort over the past month, BuzzFeed News found more than a dozen misleading health-related pins that were being shared widely.

“One pin, saved to about 13,000 boards, falsely claimed: ‘Even Doctors Can Not Explain This: Boiled Cinnamon And Honey Is The Cure For Many Health Problems,’ from cancer to arthritis to gallbladder infections. Another pin with a bogus claim — ‘Retired Pharmacy Chief Said: “The World Needs To Know, Alkaline Water Kills Cancer”‘ — was saved to more than 16,500 boards.”

Read this BuzzFeedNews article in its entirety, click here.