What is Dialysis? And Why is it Needed? Many have heard the term dialysis, but a lot of people don’t actually know what it is or why it’s used. If you’re in that same boat, keep reading. Let’s first start with the your kidneys. The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste products from the blood. Dialysis is a procedure that is a substitute for many of the normal functions of the kidneys. The kidneys are two organs located on either side in the back of the abdominal cavity. Dialysis can allow individuals to live productive and useful lives, even though their kidneys no longer work adequately. There are over 450,000 patients in the united states receiving dialysis. What does Dialysis do? Dialysis helps the body by performing the functions of failed kidneys. The kidney has many roles. An essential job of the kidney is to regulate the body's fluid balance. It does this by adjusting the amount of urine that is excreted on a daily basis. On hot days, the body sweats more. Thus, less water needs to be excreted through the kidneys. On cold days, the body sweats less. Thus, urine output needs to be greater in order to maintain the proper balance within the body. It is the kidney's job to regulate fluid balance by adjusting urine output. When the kidneys fail to filter the blood effectively, and fluid and waste products build up in the body to a critical level a person may need to start dialysis. The two main causes of kidney failure and need for dialysis treatment are diabetes and high blood pressure. When a person’s levels of waste products in their body become so high they start to become sick from them, he or she may need dialysis. The level of the waste products usually builds up slowly. To help doctors decide when dialysis is necessary for a patient, they will order tests that measure several blood chemical levels in the patient’s body generally via a urine sample. The doctor also uses other indicators of the patient's status to decide about the need for dialysis. If the patient is experiencing a major inability to rid the body of excess water, or is complaining of problems with the heart, lungs, or stomach, or difficulties with taste or sensation in their legs, dialysis may be indicated even though the creatinine clearance has not fallen to the 10 cc per minute level. Have more questions about Dialysis or having kidney problems? Ask your doctor.
Why are Blood Clots Dangerous? Your blood clots. It just does. And it generally helps to heal your wounds. But when do blood clots become dangerous? Blood clotting is a normal function that occurs when you have an injury. If you scrape your knee, blood clots at the site of the injury so you don’t lose too much blood. But sometimes blood clotting can cause complications and be very dangerous, even causing death. Sometimes a clot will form inside a blood vessel, which is either an artery or a vein. Clots can happen even when there is no injury. Clots can also fail to dissolve after an injury has healed. This can cause serious complications if not discovered and treated. Some complications could be serious and even life-threatening, especially if a clot forms in a blood vessel. It’s important to understand the symptoms of clots so you can get treatment before complications occur. You may be at risk for a blood clot, if you:
- are obese
- are a smoker
- are over the age of 60
- take oral contraceptives
- have a chronic inflammatory disease
- have atrial flutter or atrial fibrillation
- have congestive heart failure
- have cirrhosis
- have cancer
- have fractures in your extremities, especially the lower extremities or pelvis
- are pregnant
- have a family history of clotting disorders
- are unable to walk
- sit for long periods of time
- travel frequently
Shingles Have you had the chickenpox? Before the vaccine, Chickenpox was a common virus that children got causing red, sore, itchy pockmarks (or blisters) on their skin. Once the virus cleared, children would start feeling better and the pox would disappear. But little do those that had chickenpox know, that there’s an adult form that you can get. What are Shingles? Shingles is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Even after the chickenpox infection is over, the virus may live in your nervous system for years before reactivating as shingles. Shingles may also be referred to as herpes zoster. This type of viral infection is characterized by a red skin rash that can cause pain and burning. Shingles usually appears as a stripe of blisters on one side of the body, typically on the torso, neck, or face. When will they be gone? Most cases of shingles clear up within two to three weeks. Shingles rarely occurs more than once in the same person, but approximately 1 in 3 people in the United States will have shingles at some point in their life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms of Shingles? The first symptoms of shingles are usually pain and burning. The pain is usually on one side of the body and occurs in small patches. A red rash typically follows. Rash characteristics include:
- red patches
- fluid-filled blisters that break easily
- a rash that wraps around from the spine to the torso
- a rash on the face and ears
- being 60 or older (although there are many cases of shingles in younger ages)
- having diseases that weaken the immune system, such as HIV, AIDS, or cancer
- having had chemotherapy or radiation treatment
- taking drugs that weaken the immune system, such as steroids or medications given after an organ transplant
Managing Stress The New Year brings a lot of opportunity to start new goals and work on yourself for a better year. But it also brings stress associated with obtaining those goals and other beginning of the year stressors. Curb your stress with the following general stress reduction tips.
- Step Back and Put the Problem in Perspective Maybe you're disappointed that you didn't get a promotion you were up for or concerned that money is a little tight this month because of an unexpected medical bill. Feeling stressed is a natural reaction. But try to take a step back and ask yourself: Will this issue still matter in a year? In five years? If the answer is no, take a deep breath and try to move forward. Keeping things in perspective is crucial to managing stress.
- List Some Solutions and Come Up With a Plan If there's a specific problem you need to fix, make a list of all possible solutions and pick the best one for your situation. Realizing that you have options and coming up with a concrete plan will have a direct effect on stress reduction. "Break the task into smaller parts so you can try to accomplish what you need to in an hour, a day and then next week so the problem becomes more manageable," suggests Kubiak.
- Accept Those Things Beyond Your Control Some circumstances are simply beyond our control, and we have to learn to cope with and accept them. Fortunately, you do have control over how you react to stressful situations. Staying calm and being willing to accept emotional support from others can help in managing stress.
- Give Yourself a Break to Relax and Recharge Daily stressors can creep up on you before you realize it, so treat yourself to at least one relaxing activity every day. Listening to music, meditating, writing in a journal, or enjoying a soothing bubble bath are all great ways to relax and relieve stress. "Meditation allows us to clear our minds and be able to see things in a more realistic perspective," notes Kubiak. Taking time for yourself is important for both preventing and managing stress.
- Try to Get Some Regular Exercise Every Day Exercise is one of the best methods for managing stress because it can relieve both the physical and emotional effects of stress. Consider fitness choices that also deliver specific stress-reducing effects like yoga, tai chi, Pilates, or one of the martial arts, all great ways to get rid of pent-up stress and negativity. "Exercise can help regulate and dissipate in a productive way those 'fight or flight' stress chemicals in the brain," says Kubiak.
- Open Up to People and Express Your Feelings If something's bothering you, don't keep it to yourself. Talk to people you trust, like friends, family, or coworkers, about what's on your mind. Even if you're not looking for specific advice, it usually feels good just to get your feelings out into the open.
- Set Reasonable Expectations in Your Daily Life Being busy is sometimes inevitable, but regularly taking on more than you can manage can cause unwanted and unwelcome stress. Tell yourself that it's okay to say no to activities at your child's school or to extra projects at work — you are not obligated to accept every request made of you. Additionally, don't take on more financial responsibilities — such as a new car or a bigger house — if you think they'll be a stretch. Being realistic about your finances is an important strategy for managing stress.
- Resolve Issues Before They Become Crises It’s human nature to avoid unpleasant topics and circumstances, but if you're concerned about a brewing situation, whether it's at work or at home, address it early to keep it from becoming more serious, harder to solve, and more stressful for you. Problems are always easier to handle before they develop into full-blown calamities.
Brain Exercises to Boost Memory Your brain health is important. We don’t just lose muscle over time, our brains can atrophy, too. More specifically, your brain's cognitive reserve, its ability to withstand neurological damage due to aging and other factors without showing visible signs of slowing or memory loss, diminishes through the years. That can make it more difficult to perform mental tasks. Just like the workouts you do to make your muscles stronger, it’s important to exercise your brain to slow and reduce atrophy. The following brain exercises have been proven to work.
- Test your recall. Make a list, of grocery items, things to do, or anything else that comes to mind — and memorize it. An hour or so later, see how many items you can recall. Make items on the list as challenging as possible for the greatest mental stimulation.
- Play Music. Learn to play a musical instrument or join a choir. Studies show that learning something new and complex over a longer period of time is ideal for the aging mind.
- Do math in your head. Figure out problems without the aid of pencil, paper, or computer; you can make this more difficult, and athletic, by walking at the same time.
- Take a cooking class. Learn how to cook a new cuisine. Cooking uses a number of senses: smell, touch, sight, and taste, which all involve different parts of the brain.
- Learn a new language. The listening and hearing involved stimulates the brain. What’s more, a rich vocabulary has been linked to a reduced risk for cognitive decline.
- Create word pictures. Visualize the spelling of a word in your head, then try and think of any other words that begin (or end) with the same two letters.
- Draw a map from memory. After returning home from visiting a new place, try to draw a map of the area; repeat this exercise each time you visit a new location.
- Challenge your taste buds. When eating, try to identify individual ingredients in your meal, including subtle herbs and spices.
- Refine your hand-eye abilities. Take up a new hobby that involves fine-motor skills, such as knitting, drawing, painting, assembling a puzzle, etc.
- Learn a new sport. Start doing an athletic exercise that utilizes both mind and body, such as yoga, golf, or tennis.