Oral Allergies

berriesHave you ever experienced itchiness or hives in your mouth area after eating raw fruit or vegetables? Do you also have seasonal allergies?

If so, you may have oral allergy syndrome, whose symptoms occur because the proteins in some fruits and vegetables are similar to proteins in some pollens.

“They’re not identical proteins, but they’re similar enough to confuse the immune system to have these reactions,” said said Dr. Robert Wood, chief of pediatric allergy and immunology at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

That’s not to say that everyone with pollen allergies has oral allergy syndrome. A person may sneeze all spring long and not have any obvious food sensitivities.

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Source: CNNHealth.com

Product Spotlight – Canes

canesCanes
A cane is a walking aid for those with foot or leg complications.  There is a great selection of canes to choose from to best suit your needs.

Crook Canes
A crook cane is the most common and popular style of cane.  It is often used for temporary conditions such as fractures or sprains. 
Also known as Hook, Tourist, or J-Handle canes.

Center Balance Canes
These canes are ideal for those who need firm support and assistance getting up and down from a chair.  They are popular among those with arthritis, hip complications, MS, Parkinson’s, or strokes.  Their bigger, flatter handle provide a comfortable and secure grip.
Also known as Offset Handle canes.
 
T Handle Canes 
This cane’s handle centers the user’s weight over the cane tip.  It’s compact design makes it a popular choice for folding canes.

Fischer Style Canes 
This cane’s handle spreads weight out over the entire palm for greater comfort.  Consequently, it should be ordered specifically for the left or right hand.
 
Quad Canes 
Quad canes have four feet at the end of the cane.  These canes are ideal from those who need maximum weight bearing and support.  It is often used for long term complications. 
If you need this level of support, you may be safer with a walker.  Consult your physican for more information.

The New Face of Caregiving

male_caregiverA 1997 survey conducted by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, a research and advocacy coalition, found that 27 percent of caregivers were men. By the 2004 update, that figure was almost 40 percent, with more male caregivers (60 percent) working full time than women caregivers (41 percent). Among the reasons for the increase: smaller families, longer life spans, more women working outside the home and greater geographic separation of family members.

 While male caretakers face many of the same challenges as their female counterparts-including depression, stress, exhaustion and reduced personal time-they approach their caretaking role differently, say some experts.
 
“Men approach caregiving as a form of work, a series of tasks that needs to be accomplished,” says Edward H. Thompson, coeditor of Men as Caregivers and director of gerontology studies at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass. “I don’t mean that to sound harsh. It’s just the way they look at things.”
 
Because they are used to delegating, they are more comfortable seeking outside help when they need it, says Richard Russell, associate professor of social work at the State University of New York’s College at Brockport.

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Source: AARP.org

Mend a Broken Heart, literally

Strong Heart
Strong Heart

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – For people who suffer from so-called “broken heart syndrome,” the long-term outlook is excellent and nearly all patients have full recovery of heart function, doctors from Rhode Island report.

Broken heart syndrome was first described by Japanese researchers in the early 1990s. Symptoms typically mimic a heart attack and tend to occur soon after an intense physical or emotional event. Experts think these symptoms may be brought on by the heart’s reaction to a surge of stress hormones, like adrenaline, causing a part of the heart to temporarily weaken or become stunned.

 However, based on the experience of Dr. Richard Regnante from Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence and colleagues, it appears that broken heart syndrome is temporary and completely reversible.

Source: American Journal of Cardiology, April 1, 2009.

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How to Age Gracefully – Attitude is Everything

Aging Well
Aging Well

Young people’s stereotypes about their elders may contribute to health problems years later.

Younger adults who think of old people as helpless, feeble or forgetful are more likely to experience strokes, heart attacks and other health problems when they grow old themselves, researchers at Yale University report.

Their study, published in this month’s issue of Psychological Science, is the first to show that negative stereotypes of older people—developed early in life—have health consequences years later.

Using a standardized test for stereotypes, the researchers measured the attitudes held by 386 men and women ages 18 to 49 who were participating in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging.

Their health records were assessed by researchers 38 years later, and even after controlling for a number of factors—from family medical history to income and education—25 percent of those who agreed with the negative stereotypes of old age had suffered a heart problem or stroke, compared with only 13 percent of those who had positive views of aging.

Age stereotypes, which tend to be adopted in childhood and young adulthood, “carry over into old age and seem to have far-reaching effects,” says lead study author Becca R. Levy, associate professor of psychology at the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Conn.

The big question is, why? Researchers don’t know for sure, but Levy speculates that people who have negative attitudes about aging may give up on healthy behaviors, resigned to an old age plagued with mental and physical problems.

“This is a good, complex analysis that demonstrates negative stereotypes can affect our beliefs and behaviors and our health, even if we haven’t fully untangled the mechanisms of how they do so,” says Mary Lee Hummert, a professor of communications studies at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, who has done extensive research on age stereotypes but did not take part in this study.

The study, she says, “shows that negative stereotypes seem to have a significant, independent role in predicting the incidence of cardiac events. But we don’t know why.”

Still, she says, if the science shows that negative stereotypes play a role in health problems, “you might want to ask yourself if you have those views. The study might help sensitize us to the ways our unexamined beliefs might be influencing what we do or don’t do to keep healthy. It may be that by focusing on the positive aspects of aging we can help maintain our health.”

Source: AARP.org

DSHS Cuts and You

On July 1, 2009, DSHS will enact the second of three proposed changes to the Durable Medical Equipment and Supplies program (DME). Products in this category include Wheelchairs, Walkers, Bathroom Equipment, Incontinence Products, Oral Nutrition and others. On January 1, 2009, DSHS adopted the reimbursement cuts of 9.5% that Medicare did. This affected Power wheelchairs, Hospital Beds and supplies, Nutrition and Ambulatory products like walkers and canes and has put at risk the ability of providers to offer a choice of quality products. On July 1, 2009, DSHS has proposed the following cuts to their program: Eliminating coverage for Bathroom Equipment, Blood Pressure Monitors, Compression Hosiery, Oral Nutrition. In addition, they have dropped amounts of coverage for the following: Incontinence supplies, Gloves, and Diabetic supplies. At this time, DSHS is also considering sole source contracting for all of its Incontinence supplies- this will effectively put hundreds of providers and their employees out of business. If this is enacted, all DSHS clients can expect to see their choice of provider eliminated as well as a decrease in the quality of products and the choice of products that they currently receive. It is very unfortunate that these cuts will target our most vulnerable populations at a time of need.

It is our dream that every American will receive affordable, quality health care. However rising costs and declining reimbursements are forcing many providers to make a difficult choice. Likewise, even more limitations on supplies and lack of product choices put a heavy burden on clients.

We urge you to get involved with this issue and to voice your concerns.

Write to your Congressperson today. Click here to contact your Representative.