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Category Archives: Senior Health

The Vaccine Controversy

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Are vaccines safe?

Childhood vaccinations have been under intense scrutiny by the public over the past 2 decades.  Vaccines have been blamed for the rise in autism, neurological problems, cancer and even unexplained death.

By the age of 2, American children can receive up to 29 vaccinations.  According to an article in the Salem News, American children receive far more vaccines by the age of 5 and still have a higher death rate than other developed countries (US -36, Norway – 13, Denmark – 12, Japan, Sweden and Iceland – 11).   More parents are deciding not to vaccinate their children, thinking that is a safer option.

The fact is that many serious, infectious diseases have been decreased or eradicated by vaccinations.  For example, smallpox is a virus that has a 30 -50% death rate.  Because of world wide vaccinations, naturally ocurring smallpox has been eliminated and vaccines for the disease are no longer needed.  The incidence of Polio has been reduced by 99%. Vaccinations are a community health issue, not just a personal issue. You might be the fortunate one that does not get overwhelmed by the bug, but the person in the market or the student sitting next to you in class may not be so lucky. Our world is shrinking because of ease of travel.  An infectious disease that was once contained in a small area is quickly spread worldwide with one plane trip.

The most publicized controversy is the possible link between autism and vaccinations.  Thimerosal, a mercury containing preservative, has been the main suspect in the rise of autism and neurological problems.  Although the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) attest to it’s safety, Thimerosal has been removed from “all routinely recommended vaccines for U.S. infants”.  There are studies that both prove and disprove the autism-mercury link.

There is still a question about aluminum in vaccinations and it’s effects on infants and children.  There have been studies showing a link between aluminum in medications and neurological damage, but few studies on the effects of aluminum in vaccines.

Gardasil, the vaccine for HPV, a common cause of cervical cancer, has been the topic of concern recently.  According to the CDC, 40 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed and they have received reports of 20,996 adverse reactions.  The reactions range from fever, dizziness and nausea to blood clots, severe neurological problems and death.

Vaccines, like any other medication, can have side effects and cause mild to severe reactions.   The best strategy is to get informed; ask your doctor, seek information from reputable sources.   Important information to gather would be:

  • Is your child or anyone in the family sick at time of vaccination?
  • Know the disease risks and the vaccine risks
  • Do you have a family or personal history of vaccine reactions, neurological disorders, or immune system problems?

Many physicians are vaccinating their patients on an alternative schedule, stretching out the traditional schedule.  Once you have gathered and digested the information, you can make an educated decision for you, your family and the community.

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October is Physical Therapy Month!

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Improve mobility and motion with physical therapy.

Improve Mobility and Motion

No matter what area of the body ails you – neck, shoulder, back, knee – physical therapists have an established history of helping individuals improve their quality of life.

A physical therapist can help you move freely again without pain and discomfort and feeling renewed and ready to move on. They can even help you prevent an injury altogether.

For instance, a study of 1,435 NCAA Division 1 female soccer players demonstrated that those who participated in a physical therapy program had an overall ACL injury rate 41 percent lower than those who did only a regular warm-up prior to practice.1

Because physical therapists receive specialized education in a variety of sciences – physics, human anatomy, kinesiology (human movement), to name a few – they understand how the body works and how to get you moving again. They know how to manage all four of the body’s major systems – musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular/pulmonary, and integumentary (skin) – to restore and maximize mobility.

Whether you are living with diabetes or recovering from a stroke, a fall, or a sports injury, a physical therapist is a trusted health care professional who will work closely with you to evaluate your condition and develop an effective, personalized plan of care. A physical therapist can help you achieve long-term results for many conditions that limit your ability to move.

Reduce the Risk of Injury

While playing a round of golf or picking up around the house may seem harmless, but these everyday activities can result in injury due to abnormal movement, stress on joints and strain on muscles.

Because physical therapists are experts in knowing how the body works, they are able to design personalized treatment plans to reduce the risk of injury whether in everyday activities or sports.

For example, women perform athletic tasks in a more upright position, putting added stress on parts of the knee such as the ACL, resulting in less controlled rotation of the joint. While men use their hamstring muscles more often, women rely more on their quadriceps, which puts the knee at constant risk. To combat these natural tendencies, your physical therapist may develop a treatment program to improve strength, flexibility, and coordination, as well as to counteract incorrect existing patterns of movement that may be damaging to joints.

Improve Balance and Prevent Falls

Falls among the elderly are prevalent, dangerous, and can diminish their ability to lead an active and independent life. According to the National Aging Council, about one in three seniors above age 65, and nearly one in two seniors over age 80, will fall at least once this year, many times with disastrous consequences. A physical therapist can help you prevent falls by designing an individualized program of exercises and activities with an emphasis on strength, flexibility, and proper gait.

Balance may be improved with exercises that strengthen the ankle, knee, and hip muscles and with exercises that improve the function of the vestibular (balance) system.

Once a physical therapist has reviewed a complete medical history and conducted a thorough examination, he or she will develop a personalized plan of care. This may include a walking regimen with balance components such as changes in surfaces/terrains, distance, and elevations; Tai Chi (which emphasizes balance, weight shifting, coordination, and postural training); and aquatics classes geared toward balance and coordination. The physical therapist also may teach specific strengthening and balance exercises that can be performed at home. If necessary, the physical therapist will refer you to other medical professionals, such as an ophthalmologist or neurologist.

For more information contact Lake Arrowhead Physicial Therapy owned by Mountains Community Hospital at 909-337-0844.

29099 Hospital Road Suite 106 in the Medical Office Bldg next to Mountains Community Hospital. For more information, visit our website at www.MCHCares.com.

 

We do not stop moving

because we grow old…

we GROW old

because we STOP MOVING.

 

Have you stopped moving because of neck, shoulder, back, knee or ankle pain?

 

If so, please stop in and discuss with our staff how

Physical Therapy can help you get moving again!

Alzheimer’s Disease: How to Cope

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Alzheimers is not a natural part of aging.

Although people may sometimes refer to their absentmindness as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and they or others may chuckle at their remark there is nothing funny about this debilitating, progressive disease that strikes millions of older adults across the globe.

Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia and is one only form of this disease that robs people of their brain function. AD will progressively rob its victims of their memory, their thinking processes and it will impact their behavior. The disease will also impact a person’s ability to solve problems, it affects their decision-making abilities, their judgment and their personality. The effects are devastating, not only on the person with Alzheimer’s but on their family and friends.

As people grow older their chances of developing Alzheimer’s increase however, unlike normal occasional forgetfulness or misplacing things, the effects of this disease are far more drastic. Many people believe that Alzheimer’s is a natural part of aging. But such is not the case.

Age and family history increase the risk for developing Alzheimer’s. Having a close blood relative, such as a brother, sister or parent who developed the disease also increases other family members risk. Other risk factors that may or may not lead to developing AD include longstanding high blood pressure and a history of head trauma. Research isn’t sure why but females are more likely to develop it than males.

According to AARP (the American Association for Retired Persons), the first symptoms of Early Onset AD occur before people turn 60-years-old. Once a person has been diagnosed the progression of the disease is rapid. The most frequent form of Alzheimer’s (called late onset) occurs in people over 60 and while research is still being conducted family genetics may play a big part in whether it develops or not.

Some of the early signs of AD include language problems, getting lost on familiar routes, loss of social skills and personality changes, difficulty performing routine tasks or learning new information or routines and frequently forgetting recent events.

Dementia symptoms, including Alzheimer’s, affects many different areas of mental function such as memory, emotional behavior, judgment and other cognitive skills such as calculation and “thinking outside the box.”

As the disease progresses patients may forget who they are, may have problems recognizing danger, they may speak in confusing sentences, they may withdraw from social contact, have hallucinations, behave violently, they may have trouble dressing themselves appropriately and/or have trouble accomplishing the simplest tasks..

Patients or family members who may have or may suspect they have cognitive problems should discuss their concerns with their Mountains Community Hospital physician. Remember, “We’re here to help!”The

Health Care at Mountains Community Hospital: The eyes have it!

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You can trust your eyes to the medical professionals at Mountains Community Hospital.

The ability to see clearly is one of our body’s greatest abilities. And, fortunately, most eye problems people experience are fairly minor. However, some conditions are far more serious and require the care of a good eye doctor, also known as an ophthalmologist.

The difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist is that an ophthalmologist is a physician–a doctor of medicine (MDs) or doctor of osteopathy (DO). MDs and DOs complete four or more years of college premedical education, four years of medical school and one year of internship to get their doctorate degrees. After they become licensed physicians, they fill a residency of three or more years. This consists of medical and surgical specialty training specifically in eye care. So ophthalmologists provide comprehensive eye care services.

Optometrists, on the other hand, are trained to diagnose and treat vision conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. And they are trained to prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses, eye exercises, low vision aids and vision therapy. They are also taught to identify cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal disease and to use some medications to treat eye disease. However, optometrists do not attend medical school. Most complete an undergraduate degree before beginning four years of training for an optometry (OD) degree. Some optometrists complete a postgraduate one-year clinical residency to gain specialist certification.

One serious eye condition is Glaucoma, which:

  • Can be age-related
  • Refers to a group of eye conditions that ultimately damage the optic nerve
  • Occurs when the “communication path” between the optic nerve and the brain is damaged, it leads to glaucoma. Glaucoma is the second-most common cause of blindness in the United States.

There are four types of Glaucoma including one that is an emergency, called Angle-closure glaucoma. This type of damage occurs when eye fluid is suddenly blocked which causes a quick, severe and painful rise in the pressure within the eye. Other types of glaucoma can be caused by heredity, eye diseases and drugs such as corticosteroids.

Cataracts are another disease that “steals” eyesight and the likelihood of getting them increases with age. Diabetes, smoking and drinking alcohol can also be risk factors.

Cataracts can begin forming when people are in their 40s and 50s but their eyesight usually remains intact until they’re in their 60s. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens that involves vision and a person’s ability to see clearly. So, ordinarily, it is a slow-moving process. According to the National Institute of Health, by the time Americans are 80-years-old, more than half have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. Because we care about your health at Mountains Community Hospital, we urge each San Bernardino Mountain resident to protect the health of their eyes by booking a preventative eye exam with an eye care professional

The most serious of all the eye diseases is melanoma (cancer of the eye). According to the Mayo Clinic, this serious melanoma develops in the cells that produce melanin, the pigment that is responsible for eye color. If the melanoma is small enough, it might be eligible for laser removal.

Mountains Community Hospital is privileged to have Dr. Ramin Tayani at the site one day per month to perform eye surgeries and care for mountain eye patients. An ophthalmologist, Dr. Tayani is able to perform the same eye surgery procedures in Lake Arrowhead that he does at his Orange County facility—the Tayani Eye Institute. Bringing top-quality eye care to the local community is one way the Mountains Community Hospital board and affiliated physicians serve mountain residents and friends.

Eczema: Help is on the Way from Mountains Community Hospital

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Hope for those with Eczema

Ever heard of Atopic Dermatitis? How about Seborrhea Dermatitis? If not, you’re hardly alone. These strange names are just a few of the medical terms for common allergic reactions to a condition known as eczema.

Eczema can cover several skin issues that cause swollen, irritated and/or itchy skin and make life generally miserable for those who suffer from this all-too-common condition. Dandruff, diaper rash and rashes that appear after touching plants like poison oak or poison ivy are also considered types of eczema.

Cold, dry winter weather can wreak havoc on skin and can lead to a variety of skin conditions that require special attention. Eczema is one of those conditions as it can pop up suddenly and is adversely affected by weather and dry winter air. Often times, the result is dry, flaky areas of skin that can be very uncomfortable and for the patient and unsightly to all.

Because winter air generally has less moisture, patients often experience outbreaks characterized by scaly, itchy, swollen spots when the weather is cold. People who know they are prone to experiencing dry skin during the winter should be vigilant by using a reliable product to keep their skin moisturized. Working to keep skin moist is important any time of year for eczema patients. So they need to use lotions that do not contain dyes or fragrances since these ingredients can exacerbate breakouts. Many dermatologists urge patients to moisturize two or three times daily during winter months.

Eczema patients should take warm baths or showers and should moisturize their bodies after they emerge from the tub or shower. The Mayo Clinic urges patients to use dye and fragrance-free laundry detergent and skip fabric softener as well as perfumed dryer sheets. Also, people with eczema should keep their fingernails short so they will do only minimum damage to their skin if they scratch itchy spots.

Because we care about your health at Mountains Community Hospital, we urge eczema patients who smoke and/or who suffer from a lot of stress to quit smoking and work toward reducing stress levels, both of which will help keep flare-ups at bay.

Atopic Dermatitis is a type of eczema but it occurs in people who have a predisposition to allergens which can range from food to hay fever and other airborne allergens such as weeds, flowers and pollen. It is vital that people who suffer with this type of eczema learn what their “triggers” are so they can reduce the possibility of outbreaks.

Remember, Mountains Community Hospital cares about your health and invites you to log onto their website at www.mchcares.com. For information on medical issues click on the link entitled Resource Center. “We’re here to help” and have been for over half a century.

Cholesterol: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Doodle on napkin about improving cholesterol

Mountains Community Hospital provides tips about how to impact your cholesterol levels.

What you eat will affect your health in many ways…including levels of good and bad cholesterol. Fortunately, there are many ways that people with abnormal levels can be corrected, including eating foods like oatmeal, certain nuts, some varieties of cold water fish and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Mountains Community Hospital urges mountain residents to pay attention to their diets and to incorporate other lifestyle changes that may be necessary in order to improve cholesterol levels and reduce health risks.

Mountains Community Hospital cares about your overall health. And since studies prove that cholesterol levels and overall heart health are important parts of living a long, satisfying life, hospital physicians stress that the importance of regular health screening tests such as cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

The hospital laboratory staff performs cholesterol testing, known as a lipid panel, with a physician’s referral. No appointment is necessary. And patients are seen on a “first come, first served” basis—usually in and out in just a short time.When it comes to triglycerides, the American Heart Association and Mountains Community Hospital recommend a level of 100 mg/di or lower. Are your triglycerides high? Should you take steps to improve your blood work? Working in cooperation with your physician, there are many ways people to reduce “bad cholesterol level,” increase “good cholesterol” and reduce triglyceride level.

The Heart Association encourages patients to take steps on their own or with their physician’s assistance before resorting to a regimen of cholesterol-lowering medications, commonly known as Statins. The Association believes medications should only be used as a “last ditch effort.”  In the United States, a triglyceride level below 150mg is desirable and a level of 150mg is considered borderline high. A level of 200-400 mg is considered high and 500 mg and above is considered very high.

Mountains Community Hospital physicians encourage everyone to help lower their “bad LDL cholesterol” by adopting lifestyle changes. Exercise, weight loss, smoking cessation and healthy eating habits are all part of a heart-healthy program. Some of the best “cholesterol lowering” foods include walnuts, almonds and other nuts. But be careful to eat just a handful at a time since nuts are high in fat. Oatmeal, oat bran, kidney beans, apples, pears, barley and prunes also help reduce cholesterol because they are high in fiber. Several types of cold-water fish, eaten twice a week, can also help. Look for Salmon, Halibut, and Albacore tuna, Sardines, Herring, Lake Trout and Mackerel. Eating foods high in fiber helps reduce “bad cholesterol.”

High LDL is a major problem for millions of Americans, and particularly for heart patients. The reason high levels pose such a threat is because they can build up inside the body’s artery walls and lead to artery blockages which can lead to heart attacks. “HDL” l is known as “good cholesterol” because it keeps arteries from clogging.

If you aren’t sure what your numbers are, call an MCH-affiliated physician today and ask for baseline blood work, because, at Mountains Community Hospital, we care about your health.

Osteoarthritis: Where and Why is it Hurting?

Senior couple on bicycles

Mountains Community Hospital in Lake Arrowhead offers a variety of treatments for Osteoarthritis.

Many “baby boomers” who were born after the end of World War II when servicemen returned from the war are now literally  “knee-deep” in a type of arthritis that is caused, generally speaking, by years of wear and tear on the body’s joints.

Osteoarthritis is a condition that frequently causes patients to change their lifestyle in many different ways. According to an online article on WebMd.com there are risk factors that patients can control to a certain extent and there are factors they can’t control.

There are different types of arthritis but osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage that helps cushion the ends of bones gradually wears away. When this occurs the bones grind against each other and that can cause a great deal of pain. The pain can be so severe that our range of movement is affected because it hurts to raise your arm or walk on legs where there’s no cushioning in the knees.

Among the factors none of us have any control over is ageing. Women over 50 are more likely to have it than men. Sometimes genetic factors will play a role because if it “runs in the family” it increases the likelihood that other family members will eventually have it as well.

Some of the ways people can help “ward off” osteoarthritis is by being selective about what sports they play. Football and other sports where tackling is often part of the game are probably not the best idea for players with arthritis risk factors. Osteoarthritis usually occurs in weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips but it can also be found in fingers, the thumb, neck and big toe. In some cases patients will develop osteoarthritis as the result of some type of physical trauma, such as an automobile accident.

Obesity ramps up the possibility that people will get osteoarthritis. Losing weight, even just a few pounds, can reduce the chances for ultimately facing the challenging “osteoarthritis onslaught.”

Patients can help their physician by keeping a record on where, when and how much they feel pain. X-rays or other imaging techniques may be ordered to confirm the osteoarthritis diagnosis.

Unfortunately, there is little if anything that can be done to stop cartilage from eroding. However, there are ways to help patients deal with pain and increase their flexibility. Physical therapy is one of the best avenues because it teaches patients how to slowly strengthen the muscles surrounding the affected joint.

Web Md. Com cautions patients that, overall, studies do not show that supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin help relieve pain and stiffness and they urge patients to discuss taking chondroitin with their physician, especially if they’re taking blood-thinners.

Mountains Community Hospital makes possible essential quality medical services to the residents and visitors of the local mountains. We provide peace of mind by securing the health of the community. Patient care is guided by interdepartmental collaboration which takes into account the unique knowledge, judgment and skills of a variety of professionals and disciplines. Open communication between departments ensures the most efficient, effective patient care.

Considering the patient and his or her family valued partners in the delivery of care, we include them in each step of treatment. We administer at MCH does not stop at the physical, but incorporates developmental, emotional, social, psychological, cultural and spiritual healing, as well.  We recognize the diversity of our community and are committed to preserving the dignity of our patients and acting as advocates on their behalf. At Mountains Community Hospital, we care about your health.