Excerpt: What exactly is heart disease and who does it affect? The title “heart disease” is often used interchangeably with cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular heart disease refers to the conditions that involve blood vessels that are narrowed or blocked that lead to heart attack, but the term “heart disease” is not in fact one simple disease. It is the central name that encompasses conditions that affect the heart and its functions. Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, killing over 360,000 people annually?
Excerpt: Formerly known as the “shaking palsy,” Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which neurons in the brain begin to die off, and result in decreased levels of dopamine. This affects the part of the brain that is responsible for movement, coordination, and balance. It is named after Dr. James Parkinson, who was the first to complete an actual study of the disease in the early 19th century.
Did you know that delirium affects almost 7 million hospitalized patients every year? The costs of this often-undiagnosed illness are steep, especially when you factor in longer hospital stays and an increase in mortality after discharge. But what is delirium exactly? And can it be prevented? Let’s take a look at this condition, and why it has certain implications for those in senior care.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the body’s central nervous system (specifically the spinal cord and brain). Healthy nerves are composed of nerve endings that are connected by a long slender section of the nerve cell known as an axon. When everything is working properly the axon is covered by what’s known as a “myelin sheath” (a fatty white substance that is important for the normal function of the nervous system). In patients suffering from Multiple sclerosis (MS) the myelin sheath breaks down which causes communication problems between the brain and the body. Symptoms are variable from patient to patient.
SAD is a type of depression that is impacted by seasonal changes. Most often, it occurs during the dark, dreary months of late fall and winter, but in rare cases, it might affect individuals during the spring and/or summer. Like other types of depression, it can be mild, moderate, or severe, and the symptoms are remarkably familiar.
Over 11 million people in America have been diagnosed with COPD, and it is estimated that another 13 million have the disease but are undiagnosed. The number one cause for COPD is cigarette smoking. Other contributing factors are long term exposure to air pollution, chemical fumes and second hand smoke. Long term smokers, even those who have quit, are at risk for developing COPD, which was the third leading cause of death in 2011, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
Alzheimer’s disease falls under the category of dementias, which is a general term for issues that affect cognitive function and memory loss. Of the dementias, Alzheimer’s is one of the most common, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease; while the initial symptoms might look like normal memory loss, eventually they rob a person of his/her ability to carry on conversation, care for themselves, or respond to their environment.
Diabetes refers to the amount of glucose (sugar) in your system, and how your body produces or uses insulin. Insulin is a hormone created by your pancreas that transfers glucose from your blood into your cells. If your body does not create any or enough of this hormone, then the amount of glucose in your blood may increase to unhealthy levels, and this can have serious ramifications. For instance, your cells may initially be starved of energy (since glucose is staying in your blood instead of transferring into cells), and over time, your eyes, kidneys, heart, and other vital organs may be negatively impacted. One hopeful note, however, is that diabetes symptoms can generally be controlled with exercise and diet, which can positively affect other aspects of your life as well.