Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss for people age 50 and older, and an estimated 16 million Americans are living with AMD. While an AMD diagnosis can be a scary thought, there are things people can do to help reduce the risk of progression of the disease. Here’s what you need to know.
(BPT) - The ability to see the people, places and things in front of you is one of life’s most precious gifts. Imagine a life without the ability to see these things clearly — what steps would you then take to protect your vision? Life with Age-related Macular Degeneration, or AMD, can potentially lead to vision loss or blindness. While an AMD diagnosis can be a scary thought, there are things people can do to help reduce the risk of progression of the disease. Here’s what you need to know.
What is AMD?
AMD is a leading cause of vision loss for people age 50 and older, and an estimated 16 million Americans are living with AMD. AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that supports sharp, central vision needed for seeing objects clearly. The condition is progressive, which means that central vision can ultimately become impaired, which may cause difficulty keeping up with daily activities like driving, reading or recognizing the faces of loved ones. While there is no cure for AMD, there are steps patients can take to help reduce the risk of progression.
Tips for taking action
In addition, people diagnosed with AMD should talk to their doctor about taking a vitamin based on the AREDS2 study. PreserVision® AREDS 2 formula vitamins contain the exact nutrient formula recommended by the National Eye Institute to help reduce the risk of moderate to advanced AMD progression.
Get the facts and find support
Patients are often learning about AMD for the first time as they’re being diagnosed, which can be overwhelming. While the Internet is a great resource for patients, medical literature about AMD is often dense and difficult to follow. That’s why Bausch + Lomb developed SightMatters.com, an online resource to provide AMD patients with personalized tips and tools, along with a support system and network, to help each patient better navigate their life living with AMD no matter where they are on that journey.
SightMatters.com aims to help patients understand what AMD is, and how they can manage it. It also allows patients the opportunity to create a personalized action plan, which they can use to discuss with their doctor so they can start taking charge of their condition and continue to see what they love each day. Visit SightMatters.com to begin taking action today.
PreserVision is a trademark of Bausch & Lomb Incorporated or its affiliates.
AREDS2 is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
© 2020 Bausch & Lomb Incorporated or its affiliates.
The stark reality is that more and more Americans each and every day find themselves taking on the role of caregiver for a family member. This can present immense physical and emotional challenges. The first steps suggested here can help you find some balance as you navigate your caregiver journey.
(BPT) - Caring for a loved one with a chronic illness is something millions of Americans do every day. Whether it is a parent, spouse, extended family member or friend, the stress of caring for another adult can take a toll.
"I have to do absolutely everything for her," explains Anthony Cowels, whose 71-year-old wife, Florence, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1986. As he watched her disease progress, his caregiver responsibilities grew. What's more, for some of the years Cowels also cared for his elderly parents, compounding his responsibilities.
"It has been a long journey of caregiving," says Cowels, 70. "I try not to let it overwhelm me. I always look for ways to do better." Cowels learned to care for both himself and his wife better through useful tools, education and friendship and by joining a caregiver support group. He says he can "interact with others who identify with my situation.”
Family caregiving: A growing trend
Cowels represents a growing number of Americans who care for older or aging loved ones. About 41 million family caregivers in the United States provided an estimated 34 billion hours of care to an adult with limitations in daily activities in 2017, notes the AARP report Valuing the Invaluable: 2019 Update. What's more, as the population ages, caregiving demands are increasing while the pool of potential caregivers is decreasing.
As the Valuing report states, "Americans will have more older relatives or close friends to potentially care for than children in about 15 years. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that, by the year 2035, adults ages 65 and older will outnumber children under the age of 18 for the first time in U.S. history. This fundamental demographic shift is the result of the aging of the U.S. population, increasing longevity, and a declining birth rate. "
Caring for yourself
In addition to helping with self-care activities like bathing, dressing and going to the bathroom, family caregivers today often perform complex medical tasks, including wound care, giving injections and handling medical equipment. The tasks that were once provided in hospitals and health care clinics are increasingly the responsibility of family and friends, who are often given little training or support.
While many family caregivers often report positive feelings in their role such as a sense of purpose or connection with their loved one, it often comes with feelings of being overwhelmed. Exhaustion, worry, loneliness and financial stress are common challenges caregivers face. If you also work a full-time job, it can be even more difficult to balance your needs and responsibilities.
While you may not achieve perfect balance, it is important to prioritize your physical and mental wellbeing, so you can be there for the person you care for. These first steps can help you find some balance as you navigate your caregiver journey:
It is important for family caregivers to stay mentally and physically healthy so they can provide the best care possible to the growing number of people who need support. For helpful tips and caregiver resources, visit www.aarp.org/caregiving.
If you’re among the millions of people in the United States who suffer from a chronic illness, you may use “sharps” to manage your medical condition at home or on the go. Consider this information about sharps and steps for safe and proper disposal.
Understanding Medical Sharps and Safe Disposal Options
(Family Features) If you’re among the millions of people in the United States who suffer from a chronic illness, you may use “sharps” to manage your medical condition at home or on the go. For example, many people with diabetes self-inject at least two insulin shots every day, and conditions including allergies, arthritis, cancer, infertility, migraines and psoriasis, among others, may also require the use of a sharp to administer medication.
A medical term for devices with sharp points or edges that can puncture or cut skin, sharps may be used at home, at work and while traveling to manage medical conditions. Examples of sharps include:
However, disposing of those medical sharps safely may be a concern. In fact, in interviews conducted by SafeNeedleDisposal.org with sharps users, people who use needles and lancets to manage their medical conditions believe it is their responsibility to dispose of sharps safely, but lack clear, factual information on how to do so. Existing information does not always personalize disposal guidelines for people in every state or locality.
“SafeNeedleDisposal.org helps people in the United States make sense of safe sharps disposal options nearest to their home, work or wherever is convenient,” said Larry Ellingson, vice president of the National Diabetes Volunteer Leadership Council. “This resource is much needed for people who regularly use needles to manage health conditions like diabetes and want to do the right thing with their used sharps.”
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, sharps not disposed of properly may cause injury. Consider these three steps for safe and proper sharps disposal:
For more information on safe disposal of sharps, visit SafeNeedleDisposal.org.
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Adults living with schizophrenia may experience a cyclical pattern with their schizophrenia treatment journey, consisting of beginning a new treatment which lessens their symptoms, followed by a lack of adherence with their treatment plan and missing doses and leading to worsening schizophrenia symptoms or a relapse. Finding the right treatment plan, often consisting of a combination of supportive therapies and medication, can help adults control their schizophrenia symptoms.
(BPT) - Schizophrenia is a complex and chronic brain disorder that can interrupt every aspect of an adult’s life. For adults living with serious mental illness, like Jason, the journey to finding the right treatment plan, including medication and supportive therapies, can take years. During that time, adults living with schizophrenia may experience multiple episodes, breakthrough symptoms or relapse. While it can be challenging for many individuals to remember to take their daily medication, it can be especially difficult for adults living with schizophrenia, who after missing doses of their treatment may increase their risk for breakthrough schizophrenia symptoms or relapse.
Jason was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was in his mid-twenties. Following his diagnosis, Jason struggled for ten years to consistently follow his schizophrenia treatment plan.
“At the time, my schizophrenia hallucinations and delusions were full blown. I thought I had special powers — that when I made eye contact with people, I could talk to them. I thought most people were out to get me, including my parents,” Jason says. “When I was having a lot of challenges, it strained my relationship with my parents.”
Unfortunately, Jason’s story is not uncommon. Adults living with schizophrenia may experience a cyclical pattern with their schizophrenia treatment journey, consisting of beginning a new treatment which lessens their symptoms, followed by a lack of adherence with their treatment plan and missing doses and leading to worsening schizophrenia symptoms or a relapse. As a matter of fact, research has found that adults living with schizophrenia experience on average 9 relapses in less than 6 years. There are multiple factors that can increase the risk of an episode (breakthrough symptoms or relapse), including missing doses or stopping medication.
After trying numerous treatment options and being hospitalized multiple times due to his schizophrenia symptoms, Jason’s doctor talked to him and his parents about switching his medication to a once-monthly injection to limit worrying about missing doses and to help Jason better manage his schizophrenia. Together, they reviewed the potential benefits and side effects of treatment options.
After being treated with a once-monthly injection and participating in supportive therapies, Jason’s symptoms were more controlled.
“For me, it was important to get healthy, which included working with a psychologist and attending group therapy sessions early in my treatment journey, as well as taking my medication and exercising,” Jason said.
By finding a comprehensive treatment plan that worked for him, Jason was able to focus on other things like friends, family, and activities he enjoys like writing, kickboxing, and spending time with his nieces and nephews. “Most importantly,” he said, “I started working with those who were trying to help me. I began to see my parents as allies in my fight. Now I am closer to them than ever.”
Reflecting on his past experiences, Jason now wants to share his personal story to help other adults with schizophrenia navigate their own treatment journey.
“I didn’t ask for this, but I am dealing with it. I want to help other people. Don’t give up!”
If you or a loved one are an adult living with schizophrenia, ask your doctor if a change in your treatment plan could make the difference for you. Learn more at https://www.oncemonthlydifference.com.
Jason is a volunteer with the SHARE Network, a Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., program made up of people who are dedicated to inspiring others through their personal health journeys and stories of caring.
Most folks today are looking for ways to save money in their daily lives. Today, long-term food storage options can be good both for your health and for your budget. This article has helpful tips on how food storage can help anyone eat healthier and cut their food bills.
Long-term food storage options can be good for your health and for your budget. Keeping food long-term may require you to remove air from the packaging. It's also critical that you monitor the time the food has been stored to use it within its expiration date.
The first step to successfully putting away food for long-term use is to carefully monitor the purchase and use-by date. Once you've marked that on the storage container, consider investing in a vacuum sealing tool to make it easy to protect the food against insects, bacterial growth and ice crystal formation. Rice sealed in an airtight canning jar can last up to six years with no sign of insect growth. Bugs are fond of rice, but the processing prior to bagging should kill both bugs and larvae that may live under the husk or germ. According to Vacuum Sealers Unlimited vacuum sealing food removes air from the food which helps prevent bacteria growth, and prevents ice crystals from forming that allows food to stay fresh for much longer.
Processing the Food
Storing prepared food is a simple process, but the steps must be undertaken carefully. You can dehydrate food for both short-term and long-term storage. For the short term, store your dehydrated produce in glass jars so you can keep an eye on it and put it to use quickly. Eat Cured Meats suggests that when preserving meats with salt it’s best to take care to procure salt that's low in nitrates for safe use later. It's also critical to keep the meat at a constant temperature that's above freezing but below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Using Up Your Stock
Preserving food for long-term use won't help your budget if you lose track of it and don't use it within a safe period of time. Whether you're using glass jars or vacuum-sealed plastic storage bags it's critical that you carefully label the food and date it. Try to organize your stored food in bins that you can easily rotate the product and use the first-in, first-out method of food preparation.
Whether you're soaking beans or making a meal featuring smoked meat, you want to avoid any food-wasting by forgetting it at the back of the cupboard. Food storage can help anyone eat healthier and cut their food bills. Whether you live near a grocery store or need to drive for an hour to buy a gallon of milk, having food put away for lean times or bad weather can give you confidence.
Speaking of meat, check out this article for tips on how to select the best beef.
A typical course of action for people who are feeling a little under the weather is to visit a doctor who will prescribe one or more medications for them. However, more people are turning to home remedies when they need relief from minor illnesses. Some physicians are even willing to prescribe natural products, herbs, and certain types of food for patients who suffer from chronic maladies. When fending off minor illnesses, there are a number of home remedies you might wish to try before resorting to pharmaceuticals.
Eating kiwi for dinner may be the remedy you need if you find it difficult to sleep at night. Studies have shown that eating a kiwi or two an hour before turning in for bed at night can result in sleep that is both deeper and longer in duration. One reason kiwi is likely to aid with sleep is its high serotonin content. A lack of serotonin has been correlated with insomnia. In addition, kiwi is rich in folate, which is also needed for healthy sleep patterns.
Cloves possess a compound known as eugenol that has both antibacterial and anesthetic properties. These qualities make clove an excellent selection to numb the pain of a toothache and reduce the swelling and puffiness from infection. Cloves are rich in antioxidants, and their antimicrobial properties help to clean the affected area around the tooth.
Cloves are not the only food that can be used to treat a toothache. There is an array of other natural antibiotics for tooth infections that you can try before resorting to seeing a dentist, especially if you are trying to save money.
The best way to avoid acid reflux is to avoid items like fried food, high-fat beef, and sodas. One food you should add to your diet if you are prone to acid reflux is apples. Eating an apple or two a day will provide you with enough pectin to benefit from the acid-absorbing properties of the compound. Apples also contain tartaric and malic acids, which will fight against juices from the stomach that flow in an upward direction. Sweeter apples like organic red ones are the best choice to lessen the symptoms of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). They're considered an alkaline food option.
Both patients and traditional medical practitioners have become more aware of the positive benefits of using organic food for medicine. The three foods mentioned above have proven their usefulness at combating specific illnesses. You might find them a great substitute for pharmaceutical medications.
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Your teeth may be small, but good oral health can be a big part of your overall hygiene routine. Teeth are resilient, but your mouth needs proper care and attention if your teeth are going to do their jobs effectively. Understanding what good oral health is and the risks associated with ignoring it can help you develop a good routine.
What is Good Oral Health?
Dentists often speak to clients about good oral health, but they aren’t always clear about what that means. In most cases, practicing good oral hygiene means that once you are finished with your daily routine for your teeth, your mouth should look and feel good. It should also smell good or neutral. According to the American Dental Association, some of the best practices for good oral health might differ from one person to the next depending on specific needs. You may need a certain kind of toothpaste or to use flossing techniques beneficial for your teeth and gums. However, there are basic hygiene actions that everyone should practice whenever possible.
Related Health Issues
Taking care of your teeth can help you avoid other health problems that are related to poor oral hygiene. Some conditions can affect your gums. According to Fort Bend Periodontics & Implantology, gum disease is often referred to as a silent disease because many of the early signs are not visible to the naked eye. Some developed signs of gum disease could be red, swollen, or tender gums; receding gums; and persistent bad breath. These things have the potential to affect you both physically and emotionally. Problems stemming from gum disease or issues such as broken teeth might impact your social life or your ability to find new employment. Pain associated with problematic teeth could impact your mood or concentration levels.
Mental Health and Oral Health
Some researchers have studied possible links between oral hygiene and overall mental health. People with bad breath, missing teeth, gaps, or poor oral health may have negative mental and emotional feelings from these problems. According to Delta Dental of Washington, some studies show that there can be links to poor oral health and depression. It has become prevalent enough that dentists may ask about health history to determine what kind of oral care a client might need in order to be healthy mentally. Having good oral care and practicing good habits may put you in a better frame of mind.
Good oral health doesn't have to be complex or time-consuming. Knowing how to take care of your teeth and what signs to watch out for to avoid gum disease and other issues can help you keep your teeth looking good and performing great.
Anyone who suffers from migraines knows how debilitating they can be. Beyond the throbbing headache, they're often accompanied by nausea. Sometimes even light and sound become unbearable. If you are looking for ways to manage your migraines, then read on to learn three tips for living with them.
Keep a Journal
Journals are a smart way of managing your migraines. Using a daily journal to track variables such as food, environmental factors and stress can help identify patterns and triggers. Create a migraine tracking system that works for you. It can be a diary, a spreadsheet, or an app. There are also phone apps that cater to migraine management, and some of them include digital trackers. You can effortlessly track your physiology patterns by using a smartwatch that integrates with your app. Be sure to bring your journal to your doctor so they can extrapolate data to help figure out which treatment is best for you. Keep in mind that you need to be consistent for this tool to be effective.
Consider Applying for Disability
Migraines can severely affect your quality of life. They can interfere with both job performance and maintaining healthy relationships. They can even inhibit your ability to take care of yourself and your children. If a migraine prevents you from being able to perform your basic duties at home or work, you might need to seek financial assistance. Surprisingly, migraines may qualify as a disability. Applying for disability can lead you toward broader medical options such as different doctors and more affordable insurance. Information is available on a federal government website, and resources may exist locally.
Learn Self-Care Techniques
Western doctors are becoming more accepting of alternative therapies. Research shows that there are healing benefits to alternative treatments such as essential oils, massage and acupuncture. Remain conscious of the fact that stress can trigger migraines. Consider creating a daily ritual to help you relax at home. Insurance plans do not always cover alternative therapies, so relaxing at home can be an affordable option worth exploring. Create a nighttime routine that includes deep breathing and baths with healing salts. Essential oils may also be effective for you if you use those that are appropriate for your health condition. Always speak to your doctor if you are unsure about any of your choices.
Managing migraines is time-consuming, and asking for help can be difficult. However, there are many tools to assist you along your way. Remember to always consult with your doctor before experimenting with alternative therapies.
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