Boomer’s Blog

Boomer’s Blog2018-05-18T08:58:16-05:00

Dr. Mauk’s Boomer Blog

Each week, Dr. Kristen Mauk shares thoughts relevant to Baby Boomers that are aimed to educate and amuse.

Dr. Kristen L. Mauk, PhD, DNP, RN, CRRN, GCNS-BC, GNP-BC, FAAN

Guest Blog: What to Expect from Andropause in Your Senior Years

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Have you felt like your increasing age is taking a toll on you? As men increase in age, their normal hormone levels decrease and result in different types of male hormone imbalances. One of which is andropause or “male menopause” – a decline in a man’s levels of testosterone, their primary male sex hormone.

A gradual but significant decline in a man’s testosterone begins at age 30 at a rate of 1 to 2% per year. By about  age 70, a man’s testosterone levels may have declined by 50%. Because testosterone plays a huge role in a man’s overall health, low T levels may produce different adverse effects.

 

Andropause and senior health

Here are the most common symptoms and changes you can expect from andropause in your senior years:

  • Sleep disturbances: Sleeping difficulties or disturbances in andropause men include insomnia, sleep apnea, night sweats, and restless leg syndrome (RLS).
  • Emotional changes: Different changes in emotions during andropause often result to a lack of motivation, depression, forgetfulness, and lack of concentration.
  • Sexual dysfunction: During andropause, a man’s sexual function also weakens and lays low, which may result in low sex drive, infertility, and erectile dysfunction.
  • Osteoporosis: With declining testosterone levels, men become more susceptible to osteoporosis. Low levels of testosterone lead to loss of bone tissue and mass.
  • Physical changes: Other physical manifestations of andropause in men include increased abdominal fat, decreased muscle mass, hair loss, and swollen breasts.

Dealing with andropause

Although andropause can’t be escaped, it can be managed. Men can deal with the different symptoms and risks brought about by andropause with these simple steps:

  • Weight management: Stored extra fat, especially in the belly, can convert testosterone to estradiol. Healthier lifestyle choices such as proper diet and regular exercise are greatly recommended.
  • Physical activity: Engaging in physical activities can help alleviate unpleasant symptoms of andropause, such as mood swings and sleeping difficulties, while helping manage your weight.
  • Proper nutrition: Practice eating healthier food choices including fiber-rich foods, omega-3 fatty acids, lean meat, and fruits and vegetables for overall health, increased energy, and strength.
  • Getting checked for depression: Depression is one of the symptoms of andropause that you should keep an eye on. Beware of signs of depression or have your primary care provider screen you for possible depression.
  • Expert consultation: The best way to deal with andropause is through an expert doctor’s help. Be honest about your symptoms for proper diagnosis and treatment. For some, testosterone replacement therapy can be given as an effective treatment.

Get equipped and be ready for the andropause battle!

 

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By |April 13th, 2024|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: What to Expect from Andropause in Your Senior Years

Guest Blog: What is Psoriasis?

Guest Blog: Lindsay Munden, DNP, RN, FNP-BC

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a lifelong disease that causes scaling and inflammation of the skin. The condition starts beneath the skin’s surface and is triggered by an overactive immune system, which causes skin cells to be over-produced and accumulate on the skin’s surface faster than normal. This process is called cell turnover, and in psoriasis may take a few days instead of weeks. This causes the formation of thick, red, itchy, flaky patches with silvery scales known as plaques. While any part of your body can be affected, psoriasis most often occurs on the elbows, knees, scalp, back, face, palms, and feet.

Risks

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (2015) about 7.5 million people in the United States have psoriasis. Anyone can get the disease, but it occurs more often in adults.

  • Age: Adult men and women are affected equally. The two peak ages at onset are during the late teens to early 20s and in the late 50s to early 60s.
  • Genetics: Psoriasis has a strong genetic influence, with one-third of patients with psoriasis reporting having a family member with the disease.
  • Environmental Factors: Trauma to normal skin, repeated friction, infections, stress, fatigue, warm humid climates, changes in weather that dry the skin, and certain medications may trigger psoriasis flare-ups.

Causes

The primary cause of psoriasis remains unknown. Research has indicated that psoriasis is caused by genetic influences and a dysfunction of the immune system. Although, psoriasis plaques may look contagious, you cannot get the condition from someone that has the disease.

Symptoms

Symptoms can range from mild to severe and are often recurring. Itchy, red, inflamed and dry scaly plaques distributed symmetrically over areas of bony prominences such as the elbows and knees are characteristic of the disease. The joints, nails and scalp may also be affected. As with other chronic conditions, symptoms may flare or worsen for a few months and then subside for a period of time.

Diagnosis

Psoriasis may be hard to diagnose because it can be confused with other skin diseases. Usually your healthcare provider will make a diagnosis based on a thorough skin examination. Biopsy is seldom necessary because the clinical features of psoriasis are so distinctive. Plaque psoriasis is the most common form, but patients typically have one or more types.

Treatment

The goal of therapy is to control the symptoms and clear the plaque lesions.

For mild to moderate psoriasis, topical medications (those applied directly to the skin) and phototherapy (light therapy) are the mainstays of treatment.  For severe psoriasis, systemic treatments are recommended. Sometimes, combining topical, light and systemic treatments leads to the best results.

Topical Medication Options:

  • Topical steroids are widely used because they help reduce inflammation. Generally, a very potent topical corticosteroid preparation is applied two to three times daily for 2 weeks and then decreased to a lesser potency for maintenance therapy long term.
  • Coal tar works by causing the skin to shed dead cells from its top layer and slow down the growth of new skin cells. This effect decreases scaling and dryness. Coal tar is applied once or twice daily and is not well favored due to the potential for staining of the clothes and skin.
  • Anthralin works by slowing down the production of skin cells. This type of medication is applied to the skin for a prescribed period of time and then rinsed away, with increased increments until the skin is healed which may take a couple of weeks.
  • Topical immunomodulators are medications which work by decreasing the body’s immune system to help slow down the growth of the psoriasis plaques.
  • Vitamin D3 derivatives regulate cell growth and decrease lymphocyte (cells which play a role in the regulation of the immune system) activity. The medicine comes in a form of an ointment which is typically applied twice daily.

Phototherapy:

Phototherapy with ultraviolet-B (UVB) light is effective in the treatment of psoriasis lesions. This type of treatment reduces DNA synthesis of skin cells. Phototherapy can produce symptom-free periods of up to 2-4 months. UVB therapy units are often available at dermatologist offices and the use of commercial tanning beds (with both UVA and UVB lights) is not recommended. Dermatologists may recommend consistent light therapy 3-5 days a week for 2 to 3 months.

Systemic Medications:

Systemic therapy is reserved for patients that have severe or incapacitating disease. These medications are prescribed by expert specialists such as dermatologists or rheumatologists because they have a risk for serious side effects.

More Information:

National Psoriasis Foundation   www.psoriasis.org

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases www.niams.nih.gov

American Academy of Dermatology https://www.aad.org/

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By |April 11th, 2024|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: What is Psoriasis?

Guest Blog: How to Treat Common Chronic Skin Diseases: Types, Conditions, and Treatments

Chronic skin conditions are conditions affecting the skin which cannot be cured, but can be treated. Certain skin disorders are temporary, while others are permanent. Most chronic skin conditions are minor, but some can cause a more serious issue. According to the American Academy of Dermatology over 85 million people in the U.S. suffer from skin disorders. These conditions can affect the quality of life for those who experience inflammation and irritation, so it is very important that you identify and seek treatment for the condition that you are suffering from.

How Many Skin Diseases are There?

There are actually more than 3,000 skin disorders known in the dermatology field. Changes in color or texture of your skin can result from infection, genetics, reaction, or inflammation on the body and will most likely be classified as a skin disorder.

What are the Most Common Skin Diseases?

Below is a list of the five most common chronic skin diseases:

  1. Eczema

Eczema is an inflammatory skin disorder that results in red, dry itchy skin. Also called dermatitis, eczema can result in skin bleeding and crusting over in the folds of the arms, back of the knees, wrists, and hands.

  1. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. It can affect any part of the body but typically appears behind elbows and knees, scalp, back, face, hands, and feet.

  1. Acne

Acne is a skin condition most commonly found in teenagers and young adults, it occurs when hair follicles plug with oil and dead skin cells. Acne can cause different types of skin problems on your face including blackheads, whiteheads, cystic bumps, and red spots.

  1. Rosacea

Rosacea is a skin condition that causes redness and small red bumps on the face. Signs and symptoms can come and go for months at a time. The key symptoms of rosacea are swollen red bumps coupled with visible blood vessels on the face. If not treated it typically worsens over time.

  1. Skin infections

Skin infections can be caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria. They can infect the superficial layers of the skin or can infect the deep layers of the skin depending on the infection. The most common viral infections include: herpes, shingles, and warts. The most common bacterial infections include: cellulitis and tick borne rashes. Lastly, the most common fungal skin infections include: ringworm and athlete’s foot.

Rare Skin Diseases:

The names of five skin diseases that are extremely rare are:

  1. Hidradenitis Suppurativa: Causes lesions (pimples or boils) to form on parts of the body when your skin touches skin. Common areas include underarms and upper thighs.
  2. Inverse Psoriasis: Causes red lesions (smooth and shiny) where skin touches skin on the body.
  3. Harlequin Ichthyosis: Genetic disorder where children are born with hard, thick skin in diamond shaped scales across their body.
  4. Morgellons Disease: Condition where small fibers and particles come out of skin sores, creating the sensation that things are crawling out of your skin.
  5. Elastoderma: Causes skin to sag and hang down in folds typically on the neck, elbows, and knees.

How Do You Treat Chronic Skin Diseases?

You can treat skin diseases through home remedies or by creating a treatment plan with your dermatologist.

If you want to try to treat your disease with home remedies, here are some of the best ways to do so:

  • Tea Tree Oil: Apply after you shower and it will act as an antifungal agent to treat skin infections
  • Witch hazel, chamomile tea, and apple cider vinegar: Work as anti-inflammatories to help relieve acne breakouts, fungal infections, and dry skin
  • Oatmeal baths and masks: Help to moisturize and act as an anti-inflammatory that is very effective at remedying eczema and psoriasis.
  • Avoid smoking, alcohol, and inflammatory foods: Many chronic skin conditions can be triggered by any one or a combination of these poor lifestyle choices. By making healthier decisions, the severity of your skin condition will likely reduce.

If you are not seeing results from at home treatment plans, reach out to your dermatologist and dermatology pharmacy. This is highly recommended as they can help you ease your conditions with medical treatment and will also work with you to get to the bottom of your skin condition.

Which Treatment is Best for Skin Problems?

Depending on what condition you are suffering and the level of severity of your skin disease, the best treatment plan will differ. It is recommended to reach out to your dermatologist to receive the highest level of care. Typically the most effective treatments are: antibiotics, steroids, and prescription strength topical products.

If you are struggling with a skin condition, you are not alone! Millions of people are suffering from the same or a similar condition and there are ways to treat them. Reach out to your dermatologist to get a personalized treatment plan that will work for you!

Author Bio:

Ronak Desai is the Co-Founder of Apotheco Pharmacy Group, a leading Dermatology Pharmacy. He oversees the development and execution of corporate strategies with a focus on Pharmacy growth and development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

By |April 9th, 2024|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: |Comments Off on Guest Blog: How to Treat Common Chronic Skin Diseases: Types, Conditions, and Treatments

Guest Blog: 6 Best Practices to Avoid Back Injury For the Elderly

Back injuries are more prevalent among seniors. Although old-age contributes to some back injuries, most injuries result from handling daily activities inappropriately. Lifestyle changes that require heavy sitting and standing could also cause back injuries. As a senior, you should watch out for the following practices to avoid back injury.

Maintain Good Sleeping Posture

Seniors sleep longer, but their sleeping patterns are pretty short. A senior can sleep for two hours, wake up, stay awake for an hour, and go back to bed. Such sleeping patterns increase the chances of wrong sleep postures.

And as you know, the wrong sleep posture can cause back injury and sciatica. Keep your position reclined and fetal when sleeping on an adjustable. Sleep on the side while keeping the pillow between your knees.

Maintain a Safe Posture

Maintaining a good posture when sitting or sleeping can help seniors prevent back injuries. Avoid slouching over your telephone or computer as that stresses the back, causing injuries and pains.

Stick to the ergonomically recommended sitting position at home and in the office. Do not sit a whole day in front of a computer. Take breaks and perform some stretches to keep your back curves streamlined and strong.

When you stand, maintain a straight posture keeping the feet shoulder-width apart and the head aligned with the body. As you sit, keep the feet resting flat on the front and never cross the legs. Keep the knees behind the ankles and the neck and upper back straight.

Keep Spine-Supporting Muscles Strong

The ligaments and muscles supporting the spine get weaker as you age or when exposed to injury-triggering risks. Keeping the core strong is one way to stabilize the spine and prevent back injury and pains. Engage in exercises that promise to strengthen your core muscle groups.

Remember, an injured back can make it impossible to lift things, bend and stretch. You can engage in several exercises to keep your spine-supporting muscles strong. Low-impact aerobics activities with emphasis on walking for seniors does a great job of preventing back injury. Gentle exercises such as yoga can also do a great job of helping seniors avoid back injury.

Avoid Stress

As old age knocks, you will likely feel more stressed and unsatisfied. It won’t be a surprise if small things leave you with high anxiety and stress levels. However, do not forget that stress is a strong catalyst for back injuries. Stress changes your breathing patterns, ultimately straining your mid-back. The shoulders may also hunch up, ultimately causing pain in your middle and upper back.

Stop Smoking

Many studies have linked cigarette smoking to back injuries and pains. Smoking doubles the risk of heart disease and makes your body prone to colon and lung cancers. Smoking has been linked with worsening back pain issues and affecting your overall health. Smoking also increases the risk of back injuries.

It does so by damaging the arteries in your joints and discs. When the back joint and disc arteries are damaged, you’re more likely to experience back injury. In addition, smoking can cause osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disorder that causes back injury.

Do Not Over Exercise

Seniors have a range of issues they want to address through exercising. They want to minimize the risk of heart disease, stay fit, avoid obesity, and keep stronger. Such huge goals can make some seniors overdo some physical activities. However, never overdo any physical activity as that can leave you with more health issues.

First, excess physical activities are known to overstretch or tear up your lower back ligaments and muscles. Overstretched muscles and ligaments often cause muscle spasms, pain, and stiffness. These all can lead to back injury and unending pains. Although back sprains and strains are treatable at home, they are better avoided.

Wrapping Up

The last thing a senior wants is to have back aches and injuries. Exercises and physical activities are the leading causes of back pains and aches. Understanding how to perform exercises is the first step to avoiding back injury. You should understand that sitting and sleeping postures can also make you prone to back injury. Know the basics of maintaining the proper posture when sleeping and sitting, and bid goodbye to common back injuries and pains.

 

By |April 7th, 2024|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , |Comments Off on Guest Blog: 6 Best Practices to Avoid Back Injury For the Elderly

Guest Blog:Tips For Moving Senior Citizens

 

Moving from one home to another is seldom easy — in fact, it’s considered one of the most stressful life events people experience. However, the process can be especially tough for senior citizens. Whether you’re an older adult about to leave your long-term home or you’re the child of a senior getting ready to help a parent leave his/her home, here are some important tips to keep in mind:

  • Acknowledge Emotions. Anytime you’re talking about leaving a long-term home, you’re talking about more than changing addresses. Saying goodbye is hard. Instead of ignoring the sadness that accompanies such a move, process it. Remember, it’s normal to feel some sadness, whether you’re moving into an assisted-living facility, in with relatives or simply to a smaller place.
  • Pare Down Possessions. When it comes down to the physical moving process, the less you have to move, the easier the transition. Rather than packing every worldly possession and forcing yourself to organize later, take the time now to downsize. Go through all your furniture, knick-knacks, mementos, gadgets and so on, and determine whether you’ll truly need those items in the new place. Separate everything into “keep,” “give away” and “trash” piles. If you don’t want to hand down or donate certain items, plan a garage sale to get a little extra cash in the process.
  • Hire Professional Movers. Don’t endure unnecessary stress by managing the moving process alone — hire movers. Find a company that specializes in assisting with smooth transitions, and enlist its help to transport furniture and boxes to their intended destinations. If some things are going to a new home and others are going to friends and family, communicate to your moving company which items go where.
  • Pack an Overnight Bag. Set aside a few changes of clothes, important toiletries, towels and sheets to have with you for that first night or few nights in your new home. Instead of rifling through boxes and feeling overwhelmed with all there is to unpack, there will be a little normalcy — even when you’re still getting settled. Other good items to bring are a first-aid kit and flashlight.

Moving as a senior citizen isn’t easy, but it can be a smoother, more pleasant experience with a little planning. Use the tips above to aid your upcoming move.

Chris Crompton is a marketing manager for TSI, a leader in the shipping and freight industry since 1989. TSI offers low rates and professional service on long distance small moves and shipments.

 

 

By |April 5th, 2024|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , |Comments Off on Guest Blog:Tips For Moving Senior Citizens

Guest Blog Self-Care Tips For Caregivers

Self-care is defined as caring for ourselves physically, psychologically, spiritually, and socially. Because when we are focused on those things outside of ourselves it is so easy to overlook our own needs, self-care is a concept that applies to everyone.

For example, imagine that your boss lays a new project in your lap with an impending – and almost impossible – deadline. You put everything aside because the project requires all of your energy. So, you don’t do those stretches that keep your low back pain at bay. You don’t return non-professional emails, texts, or messages. You reschedule every appointment that doesn’t apply to this project.

In the end, the project does get done, but you find yourself completely exhausted, and in serious need of a break. The truth is, any of us can find ourselves in this situation at any time, but especially when we undertake the care of a dependent other.

People who rely on us for their daily living cannot be put on the back burner. Maybe they need help getting dressed, making meals, taking a bath, or just getting out of bed. (In some cases, the care may mean just being turned in bed to avoid developing bedsores.)

For caregivers, the work never ends. Every single day they are a requirement to another person and it is simply not possible to call in sick when someone else depends on you more than you need a day off.

The result is that caregivers are often the worst at self-care. When this happens, they can end up feeling exhausted, irritable, resentful, and hopeless. And the quality of care they can provide suffers. For caregivers, quality care starts and ends with consistent self-care.

Remember The Why

Tony Robbins is famous for always asking for the WHY. The reason for this is because when we have a why, we can find a how. This becomes monumentally more important when what we are doing is hard, long-lasting, and with little gain.

It is these times when it makes the most sense to give up because the energy we put out can seem out of proportion to what we get back. But this is also when it is so important to stop and ask ourselves why we got into this work in the first place. What was it about caring for others who depend on us that attracted us? Why did we choose this profession over others? And why do we keep at it despite the long, exhausting hours?

Answering questions like this will bring us back to the fundamental reasons for our decision to go into caregiving. It will also bring us back to a fundamental human need – which is to have a purpose.

To be content with our lives, we must feel that what we do has meaning. We must feel like we matter in one way or another, and that what we do makes a difference. Whatever our why is, it carries us forward when times get challenging. It reinforces us, stabilizes us, gives us solid ground on which to stand.

Find Something To Be Grateful For

Gratitude is such a powerful emotion that even just keeping a daily gratitude list has been shown to have a dramatic effect on many measures of our lives – from happiness and wellbeing to creativity and productivity.

While gratitude can be described as a “top end” emotion that is most effective when everything else in our life is going well, in many cases, it is just the opposite. It is through being grateful that we find a way to get through things that confound us, challenge us, overwhelm us, and make us want to quit.

For caregivers, gratitude is especially effective because not only is caring for another person inherently hard, when they are dependent, it is without end. It is at these times that our psychological systems most need bolstering, and on a daily basis.

What gratitude effectively does is bring us out of the dreariness of our daily lives and into a new perspective where things look different. And when we begin to see differently, those things we see begin to change. The sunrise looks brighter, the trees greener, the flowers brighter, and the people more kind.

Make Humor A Part Of Your Daily Life

Humor is a wonderful resource that has been associated with feelings of wellbeing, happiness, vitality, creativity, and even cognitive functioning. Humor is something that has also been demonstrated in a variety of species and seems to play a central role in bonding. But perhaps most importantly, humor acts like a tonic for the brain.

Humor allows us to temporarily escape our reality, to transform our situation is a way that brings us levity and lightness. When we can stop to laugh, we can, for the moment, suspend any negative emotions we might otherwise be feeling. We can, momentarily, make our situation and ourselves feel different.

For caregivers, humor is an essential resource because it acts like a reset button. Performed regularly, humor doesn’t just make every day better, it makes the tough ones survivable.

Caring for another person may be one of the most challenging jobs we can choose. But it is also one that is essential. By remembering why we choose to become caregivers, finding things to be grateful for and incorporating humor into our daily lives, we can keep ourselves at our best for ourselves and those who depend on us every day.

By |April 3rd, 2024|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , |Comments Off on Guest Blog Self-Care Tips For Caregivers