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August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

Posted by Connie on Sunday, August 21st, 2011 at 8:24 pm and is filed under Advocacy, Health Information, News.
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Children’s Eye Health and Safety month occurs while parents are getting children ready for back to school. Many children get physicals at this time of year, and vision screening should be part of this check up. These screenings are usually checking for cataracts, checking eye movement and eye alignment, and having a child reading from a chart to check for nearsightedness and farsightedness.  The American Optometric Association recommends vision screenings in children before the age of 1, and at 3 and 5 years. Unfortunately, some insurance programs don’t include vision screenings.

Children can be put at a disadvantage in school if they have a vision problem that is not diagnosed and treated. Parents and teachers should look for the signs of eye problems in children: (from Children’s Vision Information Network)

  • Difficulty copying from the chalkboard
  • Headaches that accompany reading and writing
  • Burning, itching, watery eyes
  • Holds books (or objects) close to eyes
  • Tilts head to read
  • Bumps into things, knocks things over

Some schools provide vision screenings each year for students, and if a problem is found parents are notified. If you do not have insurance coverage for vision screenings either with a pediatrician, optometrist or opthamologist, The Prevent Blindness America Organization has a list of specific vision programs and a list for individual states.

Do you have a child with vision problems? How was the diagnosis made?

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Being Comfortable At Home While Disabled

Posted by Connie on Thursday, June 23rd, 2011 at 8:19 pm and is filed under Advocacy, DisABILITY Advocate, Health Supplies Equipment.
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It is possible for a disabled person to be comfortable while at home. There are many home improvements that enable a person who needs specific adaptations, equipment for sale, help available for physical needs and assistance animals that can help secure safety. If a person becomes disabled through an accident or illness or a person is born with disabilities, that the belief is that that person must live in a facility. Sometimes there is funding available through the government, through health insurance, through non-profit organizations and through the community.

What is Needed in the Home

Go through the home and see what is needed. Do you need to remove items or add something? You can get the aid of an occupational therapist and/or the salesperson of the equipment look through your home with you. Perhaps you need to lower sinks, raise a toilet or add a ramp.  Maybe you need to add a completely new bathroom or bedroom, or do something as simple as remove throw rugs for safety.

Equipment

Ambulatory assistive devices and other forms of medical equipment to enable a person with disabilities be more independent and live at home are available online, at stores and through rehab centers. Many people learn about equipment from other people in support groups or through the suggestion of a therapist – physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, etc. Of course there are wheelchairs, canes, walkers, etc. But did you know that you can have IV equipment, hospital beds, platform lifts, mechanical breathing devices and other equipment that you associate with hospitals or facilities.

Help Available

In some cases, Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Certified Nurse Assistants, therapists and even live in help is available to the disabled person living at home. Even if that person has family living with them, there may need to be checkups, and respite care. If a person needs total care, an assistant may live in the home to help with various care issues – changing tracheotomy tubes, using a disabled lift, cleaning and using a g-tube. Although the person or family or friends may be able to do these tasks, a break is often needed. Also these are such delicate medical concerns, that someone in the medical profession may need to check on them frequently.

Assistance Animals

Another way to keep a disabled person safe at home is by using an assistance animal. Dogs, cats, monkeys and other animals are trained to help people with various disabilities. These animals can alert a person when they need medication, can open doors and perform tasks, and keep the person company. They are often very close to the person who is disabled as they spend a great deal of time with them. Some people develop a very strong bond especially as the animal comes to learn about their quirks and needs. These animals can be just as important as wheelchair lifts to a person in a wheelchair.

Conclusion

It is necessary for a disabled person to be comfortable at home as it is necessary for a disabled person to be safe. Make use of the agencies and medical professionals to make the decisions you need.

June is Scleroderma Awareness Month

Posted by Connie on Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 at 2:06 am and is filed under Advocacy, Autoimmune Disease, Chronic Illness, Health Information.
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Scleroderma is a rare disease, so a health the June awareness month is a great way to share information. An autoimmune disease with treatment, but no cure, Scleroderma affects about 300,000 people in the United States.

Scleroderma means hard skin and affects the connective tissues leading to inflation, scars and thickening of skin. The most common areas of  skin that are affected are the of elbows, fingers and face. If this disease is diagnosed in its early stages, there is less damage and less serious symptoms. It is important to know the symptoms of Scleroderma because as with many autoimmune diseases, diagnosis can be difficult.

Scleroderma RibbonSymptoms

  • Skin changes – swollen fingers and hands, puffy skin, thick patches of skin, especially on the fingers, tight skin around the hands, face or mouth. Skin may look shiny, and movement may be restricted.
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon the small blood vessels in the hands and feet are affected by cold or stress, which causes numbness, pain and/or red, blue or purple skin.
  • Red spots on the fingers, palms, face, lips, or tongue.
  • Loss of the skin’s ability to stretch.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Fingers are curled.
  • Digestive problems – heartburn, GERD, or trouble swallowing food.
  • Fatigue.

Types of Scleroderma

Children can develop Scleroderma and it most often Localized, which means it only affects the skin. The most common symptoms of Localized Scleroderma are Morphea, which are oval shaped skin patches that have a purple border and white middle and Linear Scleroderma, which are bands of hardened skin usually on one side of the body.

Systemic Scleroderma affects your skin, blood vessels and internal organs. It occurs suddenly and can get worse quickly within the first two years. There are subcategories of Systemic Scleroderma depending on what area of the body is affected.

Diagnosis

Blood work, biopsies and a thorough skin assessment are some of the tests done to help diagnose this disease.

Treatment

Scleroderma is treated with various types of medications depending on the area of the body or the organs affected and physical therapy. Sometime surgery is necessary.

Share the Information

Spread the word and raise awareness by sharing this post, by liking the Scleroderma Foundation page on Facebook and by sharing your story if you have been diagnosed with this disease or know someone who has.

Learn more about Scleroderma from the Scleroderma Foundation.

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Brighten Up My Doctor Appointment

Posted by Connie on Thursday, June 9th, 2011 at 12:03 am and is filed under Advocacy.
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I’d love for the medical profession to take note – there are ways to brighten up my doctor appointment! Since I have many doctor’s appointments, I’ve seen lots of doctors’ offices and met many staff members. Some visits are pleasant, some are awful and some are actually fun.

Tips To Brighten Up A Doctor Appointment

  1. The receptionist should say hello to me when I sign in (or nod to me if she/he is busy on the phone or with another patient) A smile just makes you feel welcomed.
  2. Have current magazines in the waiting room. Include subscriptions to various types. It’s not fun to sit there for an hour or two with a golf magazine from 1999.
  3. Be sure that the waiting room has comfortable chairs. Lots of people going to a doctor’s office, don’t feel well. Don’t add to their discomfort with hard or sagging chairs.
  4. Staff should wear name tags and introduce themselves. It feels awkward to tell an unnamed person that I have hemorrhoids.
  5. Nurses and medical technicians should wear neat and clean medical scrubs. I always wonder if someone remembered to wash their hands if their clothes look dirty.
  6. Ask me how I’d like to be addressed. Don’t assume I feel comfortable being called by my first name. (I do, but a lot of older people don’t.)
  7. Have some reading material in the medical office (read #2). Most of the time, you’re going to be waiting a while for the doctor to come in after you’ve seen the nurse or medical technician.
  8. Don’t act like you’re in a rush, even if you are. Please give me the time I deserve in your office. I may have questions or  problems that I need to talk to you about, Doctor. It may take me a while to warm up to you.
  9. If  you’re going to explain something complex to me about a prescription or a treatment, provide me with something in writing so I’ll remember it. Be sure I can understand your writing, or better yet, have printed copies ready.

Now I don’t expect every doctor’s office to do everyone of these things, but it sure would make me and other patients happier. Consider your patients’ comfort and be respectful. I bet you’ll have more referrals. Oh and I’d love it if the staff wore the same color or same theme scrubs on specific days. That makes me smile like a kid who gets a sticker after a shot.

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

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Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month 2011

Posted by Connie on Sunday, June 5th, 2011 at 5:49 pm and is filed under Advocacy, Chronic Illness, DisABILITY Advocate, Health Information.
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June is Myasthenia Gravis Awareness month and for 2011, the  main focus is “Uniting for a Cure… Together we are Stronger.” The Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America is asking us to help share information about this disease and to help find better treatment and ultimately a cure.

Myasthenia Gravis Awareness

As someone who has had Myasthenia Gravis for 8 years, I’m always willing to do what I can to help this organization. Plus, since I know that even medical personnel often do not know what MG is, awareness is very important. In fact it can save lives. When someone with MG goes into a crisis, they may not be able to speak or let anyone know what is happening with them. Everyone from first responders to surgeons needs to recognize the symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis, how to treat someone in crisis and what medications can help or harm.

I’ve written about what my life is like with Myasthenia Gravis. It gives you a picture of some symptoms people may experience. I hope that you’ll take the time to read it.

The Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America describes MG as:

Myasthenia gravis means “grave muscle weakness.” MG affects voluntary muscles such as those in the arms, legs, eyelids, mouth and those muscles used for breathing; the disease is characterized by general fatigue. Currently, there is no cure for MG, but there are effective treatments.

My first symptom of having MG was a droopy eyelid, which quickly moved to weakness in other parts of my body. I have had a thymectomy within the first 6 months of being diagnosed. I take Mestinon and Cellcept and am seen by a neurologist who specializes in MG through the MDA. I have good days and bad days and have learned my limits. Some days I need to use a scooter to get around, some days I can walk around a shopping mall. The heat of Florida does a number on me, so I stay indoors often, or go out in the evening.

MGFA’s mission is to find a cure for myasthenia gravis and closely related diseases, to improve treatment options and provide information and support to people with myasthenia gravis through research, education, community programs and advocacy.

Please support Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month by sharing this post, by volunteering, by making a donation, and by being an advocate.

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National Women’s Checkup Day Webcast

Posted by Connie on Sunday, May 1st, 2011 at 9:02 pm and is filed under Advocacy, Health Information.
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The National Women’s Checkup Day webcast will be held Monday, May 9th, 2011 at 4:00 p.m. PST / 7:00 p.m. EST on Ustream. Hosted by Monistat, Beverly Hills OB/GYN Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz will answer common women’s health questions and will also discuss the recent results from a Monistat survey.

If you have a question that you’re too embarrassed to ask your gynecologist, here’s your chance! Just send an email to nwhw@hunterpr.com and Dr. Gilberg-Lenz just may answer it during the live webcast on National Women’s Checkup Day. You’re not alone if you’re not asking. According to Monistat’s survey, “32 percent of women are not proactively asking their gynecologist a single question about their health.”

National Women's Health Week

The ninth annual National Women’s Checkup Day is the same day as the webcast, during National Women’s Health Week. This day is dedicated to promoting women to get regular checkups for the early detection of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, mental health illnesses, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and other conditions.

When you receive a screening test, such as a mammogram and Pap test, diseases are found early, when they are easier to treat.  Tests and checkups can also lower the risk of health conditions. So tune into the National Women’s Checkup Day webcast hosted by Monistat  (you can click on Join Crowd to get an email reminder) and take the pledge to schedule a checkup and get important screenings, learn what screenings and immunizations I need and when, and schedule at least one health screening during May 2011.

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