COPD doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying life

What do Loni Anderson, Christy Turlington, King Edward VII, Johnny Carson and more than 12 million Americans have in common? They have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. Another 12 million have it but don’t know it. COPD is now the third leading cause of death in America, yet many people are unaware of COPD and its devastating effect on the lungs.

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Reduce Fall Risk

What’s the leading cause of injury in older adults? It’s not what you think…

If I were to ask you, “What is the most likely cause of injury death for older adults?” what would you say? Car accident? Bike accident? Yoga accident?

Falls are surprisingly the leading cause of injury death for adults ages 65 years and older. The Centers for Disease Control reports over 2.5 million older adults are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries each year. Among those that fall, 20 to 30 percent suffer moderate to severe injuries, such as head trauma and fractures.

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What’s that bump on your wrist? Could be a ganglion cyst

Wondering what that bump on the back of your wrist might be? Chances are, it’s a ganglion cyst. In earlier days, people would treat them by smacking the lump with a heavy book (often the Bible) — hence the name “Bible bumps.”

“It’s a common problem,” explained Dr. M. Shane Frazier, orthopedic surgeon at Revere Health. “It is by far the most common tumor of the hand or wrist. Besides carpal tunnel syndrome, the next most common ailment is a ganglion cyst.”

Typically, ganglion cysts fluctuate in size and may even disappear on their own. While these cysts are not necessarily harmful and can be left alone, the main motivators for removing the cysts are their location and appearance.

Ganglion Cyst Location

As stated in an article on WebMD, the cause of ganglion cysts is unknown, however, they occur most often in women. Seventy percent of ganglion cysts occur in people between the ages of 20 to 40.

Even though these cysts are often painless, their location can create discomfort or pain. Ganglion cysts can be painful if they press on a nearby nerve, and they can sometimes interfere with joint movement.

Ganglion Cyst Appearance

For many, the size of the cyst creates unwanted attention with an awkward conversation often following. Let’s face it, a golf ball-sized lump on the top of your wrist is certain to spur a conversation among strangers.

“For some people, ganglion cysts are very small,” said Dr. Frazier. “But others can be painful and unsightly. A little while ago, I treated one approximately the size of a golf ball.”

Ganglion Cyst Treatment

If your ganglion cyst is causing pain, the treatment options may include aspiration or surgery.

Aspiration involves placing a needle into the cyst and drawing out the jelly-like soft liquid that comprises the cyst. Then an anti-inflammatory solution may be injected into the lump.

Surgery is often recommended when painful cysts interfere with normal function, attract undue attention or cause numbness or tingling.

“It’s a same-day, outpatient procedure. Usually the scar looks pretty good, the pain goes away almost immediately and most people report motion returning quickly following surgery,” said Dr. Frazier.

Although not life-threatening, ganglion cysts can be physically painful and lead to a number of painful, embarrassing conversations. When in doubt, it is always a good idea to have your doctor check it out. This can help ensure that you receive a proper diagnosis and can discuss treatment options — apart from the Bible smacking, which is strongly discouraged.

Whether it’s carpal tunnel syndrome or a ganglion cyst, you do not need to endure the discomfort of these common “bumps in the road.” Surgical specialists such as Dr. Frazier and others with Revere Health Hand, Wrist and Elbow Center can provide effective treatment for these and other common hand and wrist conditions.

This article was originally published by The Daily Herald. It has been republished here with permission.

Sleep Apnea: When it’s more than just sawing logs

Vivian hadn’t slept in the same bed with her husband of 40 years for well over one year. His snoring carried a velocity that could shake the neighbor’s dishes, so she made a place for herself in the downstairs spare bedroom.

Her husband’s snoring was nothing new, but when he started complaining about severe headaches and grew irritable over things that didn’t used to bother him, she knew something was wrong. A visit to the doctor determined her husband suffered from sleep apnea.

Is sleep apnea another form of snoring?

Though snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea, all snorers do not have it. There are two types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when one’s airway is partially blocked, usually by soft tissue collapsing in the back of the throat. Central sleep apnea is less common but carries serious risks. This form occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe. This often happens because of problems with the respiratory control center.

In both cases, the cessation of breathing, which can last from a few seconds to a few minutes, means your brain is not getting adequate oxygen, and that’s scary stuff.

Who is at risk of suffering from sleep apnea?

People of all ages can suffer from sleep apnea, but the common factors that contribute to its occurrence include excessive weight, large tonsils, some types of medications, sinus problems, gastroesophageal reflux, and gender. Males are more likely to experience sleep apnea. In some cases, children have experienced sleep apnea that affects their learning capacity and other daily activities.

Living with the effects of sleep apnea is really no way to live. It’s difficult to function when your sleep patterns are regularly interrupted. It leaves many people suffering from depression, headaches and an inability to concentrate. It also affects motor skills, which can affect one’s job performance.

How is it treated?

Sleep apnea must be treated immediately. If left ignored, sleep apnea could increase the risks of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, stroke and heart disease.

For mild cases, the staff at the Mayo Clinic has seen success when patients quit smoking or reduce alcohol intake. Also, lifestyle changes such as weight loss or medications for possible allergies will help.

In an assisted living environment where sleep apnea and other sleep disorders are common, most nursing staff are prepared to assist patients to help them sleep more comfortably.

“Most of the time patients come to us already equipped with their breathing aids such as CPAP and BPAP machines. Our nursing staff is trained on how to make sure their masks are fitted properly, and that they are compliant in wearing them,” said Laura Hayes, assistant director of nursing at Draper Rehabilitation and Care Center.

She added that in some situations, not using it or using it incorrectly can lead to chronic respiratory failure. It is also important that the families of residents understand how their loved one’s sleep apnea works.

Dr. Susan Redline, an expert in sleep apnea research at Harvard Medical School, has found that severe cases of sleep apnea increase the risk of heart disease and heart attacks. She suggests talking with the doctor about a CPAP Mask. This device provides continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which sends enough air to keep airway passages clear.

“It not only reduces the daytime blood pressure count, but it also reduces increased high blood pressure at night, including the times when heart attack and stroke is most likely to occur,” Redline states.

If someone you love can saw logs with the best of them, this is your wake-up call to make sure something more serious isn’t preventing them (and you) from getting a good night’s sleep. Good health, whether awake or while sleeping, is something dreams are made of.

This article was originally published on MomClick. It has been republished here with permission.