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 Post: 5 Things to Do If You Fall

Not only are 1 out of 4 seniors experiencing a fall each year, but new data shows that more seniors are dying from falls than were a decade ago. While you can absolutely take steps to help prevent falls like decluttering pathways in your house, installing grab bars and safety rails around the bathroom and stairs, utilizing mobility tools and orthopedic aids, and exercising regularly to maintain balance and coordination, it is also critical that seniors and their caregivers know what to do in the event of a fall.

Keep these important steps in mind to limit injuries and prevent critical complications if you fall:

1. Check for injuries – when you fall, you may know right away if you have hurt yourself. Pain, discomfort, swelling, blood, and bruising will signal that there is an injury. Sometimes, however, you may not see or feel any of these symptoms immediately because your adrenaline is rushing or you are confused or disoriented.

It is key that you take a few minutes to calm your breathing and get back in touch with your body. Slowly move your feet, legs, arms, and hands. Do not attempt getting back up if you are dizzy.

2. Roll onto your side – this will allow you to rest briefly and double check you are not injured.

3. Pull yourself up onto your knees and hands – from this position you can crawl to a nearby piece of sturdy furniture or stairs on which you can pull yourself up.

4. Support your weight with your hands – place one hand at a time on a flat surface of the piece of furniture and lift your strongest leg up so your knee is bent and your foot is pressed to the floor.

5. Slowly rise to your feet – using your arms and legs, push up slowly bringing both your feet under you to stand up. Find something to sit on nearby, i.e. a chair, to rest and catch your breath.

If you are unable to get up after a fall, call for help right away. If no one is with you but you are able to safely use your mobile phone, call 911 for help. Any potential injury to your neck, spine, or internal organs does require immediate attention so it is absolutely ok to call emergency services for help.

If you fall and are both by yourself and without a phone or medical alert device, on the other hand, keep calling out for help as your energy allows, banging on a nearby wall if reachable, and keep your body moving, even if only slightly, to stay warm.

 

 

 

By |September 25th, 2020|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Post: 5 Things to Do If You Fall

Guest Blog: How Well Nursing Education Can Benefit You?

Nursing education applies to formal nursing science education and training. It includes the tasks and obligations of physical care for patients and several various fields that facilitate and help support a patient’s health. Over the years, there have been striking shifts in nursing education. A relentless fight for autonomy and professionalism exposes this past. There have been many strains on nursing practice in the past, including women’s struggle for professional recognition and rank, faith, war, technology, and social attitudes. And today, those variables continue to affect nursing.

Many looking to start or improve their careers in our increasingly fast-paced and busy world want as many opportunities as possible to get their education. Remarkably after recent world health events have changed so much in our everyday lives, it is more important than ever that schools allow potential students to earn their degrees while maintaining life’s other responsibilities. More and more schools are introducing online options that will enable students to complete their coursework when and where it works for them, whether you’re a single parent or need to work while you finish your education. Create a transition that you would like to create. But for nurses, does this apply, and, if so, how does it work? Many online schools allow nursing students to earn online, though not entirely, the associate, bachelor, or master’s degree. You will also need to acquire experience to prepare you to work directly with patients in the field since nursing is a hands-on career. So, though you can take much of your classroom coursework online, you will need to complete in-person clinics. If you already have an associate’s degree, a valid RN license, and a minimum amount of clinical hours under your belt, an exception maybe. You may find bachelor’s degree programs exclusively online. They will provide you with advanced nursing theory education and train you to take on higher responsibilities and management positions. Online programs allow students to obtain knowledge without giving up other things that matter in their lives. Online students also have full-time work prospects, save time and money on commuting, and don’t have to break their commitments to other responsibilities. Students taking online courses will also benefit from having the lectures of their professors in written form.

Benefits of nursing education:

Nursing has profound social implications. No, we’re not talking about Facebook, Twitter, or other social media, but rather nursing’s intrinsic social context. In its mission to support the public interest, nursing is accountable to society, specifically our society’s overall health. Nursing is a very fulfilling profession. Then a job as a public health nurse can appeal to you if you want to give back to your community. A public health nurse also works in undeserved environments, usually with low-income communities, reaching out to patients who need care. Your roles can include working at events to inform community members in your local area about health risks. For example, in the event of a virus or sickness outbreak in the region, you could provide the community members with a list of symptoms.

Nursing is a very active task. Not only must you be mentally engaged at all times, but you also have to be physically involved. Nurses must walk from room to room a lot. You will burn lots of calories, and you will probably have a much easier time staying in shape. It is perfect work for anyone who wouldn’t want to sit all day in front of a computer. Nurses advocate for the advancement of well being, educate patients and the public on disease and injury prevention, provide treatment and cure assistance, engage in recovery, and provide support. No other health care professional has such a far-reaching and diverse role. By helping them appreciate the variety of social, physical, mental, and cultural interactions they face through health and disease, nurses help families learn to become healthier. Nurses support patients, and parts of their lives can continue. Nurses do more than just caring for people. They have always been at the forefront of progress in public health and health care.
A nursing degree does not automatically mean you must follow a traditional path, and a hospital or doctor’s office is not the only place to find employment. You can work in a variety of different environments to develop your skills and build your resume. The trick is to get out of your comfort zone and search for alternatives that allow you to use your degree and enjoy an exciting career. Good nurses love patients and have the power to affect others in a way that leaves the hospital even after they leave. Nurses, everywhere they go, inside and outside the hospital, affect. We should all be honoring nurses and their commitment to the public on May 12th.

By |September 22nd, 2020|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Guest Blog: How Well Nursing Education Can Benefit You?

3 Hidden Signs of Mobility Problems

While you don’t have to be overly observant to recognize that difficulty walking can spell trouble for your mobility, you may not necessarily be on the lookout for less subtle signs that can serve as red flags too. Check out this quick list of three hidden signs of mobility problems:

Avoiding Stairs
Are you opting to take the elevator more than normal? How about spending more time on the ground floor of your home to avoid using a staircase? Stairs can be one of the most difficult environments to traverse when mobility problems are starting to set in.

Stairs require extra leg strength, coordination, and balance. Avoiding stairs, whether conscious of it or not, could be a red flag. Same goes for exercise. If you are finding excuses to skip regular exercise because of mounting difficulties with getting around, it’s time to seek assistance.

Frequent Falling
While falls aren’t all that uncommon for seniors (one out of four seniors experiences a fall every year), frequent falling could indicate mobility difficulties. Even if you have not yet experienced an injury due to a fall, the fact that you fall even more than once a year could shed light on underlying risk factors negatively impacting your mobility including motor impairment and balance problems.

Chronic Illness
You may think that only chronic illnesses which directly affect your leg strength and coordination would impair your mobility, like Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis, however, you would be wrong. Conditions including diabetes, arthritis, and even heart disease can play a role in reducing your ability to quickly and safely move with ease.

Heart failure, for example, can leave your short of breath when you walk or stand for long periods of time. Diabetes can affect nerves in the legs and feet and arthritic joint inflammation can make walking painful.

Researchers have found less common risk factors that also increase an older adult’s chances of developing mobility problems. These include drinking or smoking, recent hospitalization, having symptoms of depression and experiencing memory and critical thinking problems.

Mobility difficulties do not need to be the end of the line for you. Advancements in technology, design, and engineering have revolutionized the assistive devices people with mobility problems can use. Utilizing equipment to help keep you mobile like motorized scooters, walkers, canes, and specialty wheelchairs can play an important role in both your health as well as your outlook on life.

By |September 21st, 2020|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: |Comments Off on 3 Hidden Signs of Mobility Problems

Be informed about Stroke

May is National Stroke Awareness month, so this is a good time to reflect on stroke prevention and treatment. Consider these facts about stroke from the American Stroke Association (2013): Be informed about stroke.

• Nearly 800,000 Americans annually suffer a new or recurrent stroke.
• A stroke occurs about once every 40 seconds. About every 4 minutes, someone dies of a stroke.
• Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States, killing more than 137,000 people a year.
• Risk of stroke death is higher for African American males and females than for whites. Females have a higher rate of death from stroke than males.
• In 2010, Americans paid about $73.7 billion for stroke-related medical costs and disability.

Stroke is simply defined as an interruption of the blood supply to the brain. It is most often caused by a clot that either originated in the brain or traveled from another part of the body. Warning signs of stroke include (National Stroke Association, 2013):
• Sudden weakness or paralysis, usually on one side of the body
• Sudden confusion, speaking or understanding
• Sudden changes in vision
• Sudden dizziness, incoordination, or trouble walking
• Sudden severe headache with no known cause

If you or someone you love experiences any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Do not delay. New medical treatments may be able to reverse the effects of stroke, but time is critical. Note the time that the symptoms started so that you can inform the medical professionals who are providing treatment.
The effects of stroke depend on the area of the brain that is damaged. Some common results of stroke are weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, difficulty walking or dressing oneself, aphasia, trouble eating or swallowing, bowel and bladder changes, cognitive changes such as memory problems, and emotional issues such as depression and mood swings. Stroke affects the entire family, so be sure to seek out resources and support in your community if a stroke has touched your family.

For stroke survivors, treatment in an acute rehabilitation facility with an interdisciplinary team approach is highly recommended and results in more positive outcomes. The rehabilitation team works together with the survivor and family to accomplish personal goals and achieve the highest level of function possible. Although some of the effects of stroke may be long-lasting or permanent, there is hope of continued progress and good quality of life after stroke.

By |September 19th, 2020|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Be informed about Stroke

Bladder Cancer Risk Factors and Treatment

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Background

This type of cancer occurs mainly in older adults, with an average age at diagnosis of 73 years, with 9 out of 10 cases of bladder cancer diagnosed in persons over age 55. The American Cancer Society (ACS)(2012) reported that over 73,000 cases were diagnosed in 2012 and that this diagnosis rate has been relatively stable over the last 20 years. Men are three times as likely to get cancer of the bladder as women (American Foundation for Urologic Disease, 2008) and the incidence increases with age.

Risk Factors

Risk factors include chronic bladder irritation and cigarette smoking, the latter contributing to over half of cases. Male gender and age are also risk factors.

Warning signs

The classic symptom of bladder cancer is painless hematuria (blood in the urine). Older adults may attribute the bleeding to hemorrhoids or other causes and feel that because there is no pain, it must not be serious.

Diagnosis

Assessment begins with a thorough history and physical. Diagnosis may involve several tests including an intravenous pyelogram (IVP), urinalysis, and cystoscopy (in which the physician visualizes the bladder structures through a flexible fiber-optic scope). This is a highly treatable type of cancer when caught early. In fact, the ACS (2012a ) estimates that there were more than 500,000 survivors of this cancer in 2012.

Treatment

Once diagnosed, treatment depends on the invasiveness of the cancer. Treatments for bladder cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy (ACS, 2012). Specifically, a transurethral resection (TUR) may involve burning superficial lesions through a scope. Bladder cancer may be slow to spread, and less invasive treatments may continue for years before the cancer becomes invasive or metastatic, if ever. Certainly chemotherapy, radiation, and immune (biological) therapy are other treatment options, depending on the extent of the cancer.

Immune/biological therapy includes Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) wash, an immune stimulant that triggers the body to inhibit tumor growth. BCG treatment can also be done after TUR to inhibit cancer cells from re-growing. Treatments are administered by a physician directly into the bladder through a catheter for 2 hours once per week for 6 or more weeks (Mayo Clinic, 2012a). The patient may be asked to lay on his/her stomach, back, and or sides throughout the procedure. The patient should drink plenty of fluids after the procedure and be sure to empty the bladder frequently. In addition, because the BCG contains live bacteria, the patient should be taught that any urine passed in the first six 6 hours after treatment needs to be treated with bleach: One cup of undiluted bleach should be placed into the toilet with the urine and allowed to sit for 15 minutes before flushing (Mayo Clinic, 2012a).

If the cancer begins to invade the bladder muscle, then removal of the bladder (cystectomy) is indicated to prevent the cancer from spreading. Additional diagnostic tests will be performed if this is suspected, including CT scan or MRI. Chemotherapy and/or radiation may be used in combination with surgery. When the cancerous bladder is removed, the person will have a urostomy, a stoma from which urine drains into a collection bag on the outside of the body, much like a colostomy does. Bleeding and infection are two major complications after surgery, regardless of type, whether a TUR or cystectomy is performed. Significant education of the patient related to intake/output, ostomy care, appliances, and the like is also indicated.

For more information on Bladder Cancer, visit National Cancer Institute at:
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/bladder/

Adapted from Mauk, K. L., Hanson, P., & Hain, D. (2014). Review of the management of common illnesses, diseases, or health conditions. In K. L.
Mauk’s (Ed.) Gerontological Nursing: Competencies for Care. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. Used with permission.

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By |September 17th, 2020|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Bladder Cancer Risk Factors and Treatment

Guest Blog: Why Professional Teeth Cleaning Is A Must For Dental Health

Contrary to popular belief, professional teeth cleaning can do more than give you an alluring smile. If truth be told, teeth cleaning is an integral part of primary dental care. Inadequate oral hygiene has been associated with several oral and health issues, including bone loss, strokes, and cardiovascular diseases.

While regular brushing and flossing are essential, they won’t always suffice. To ensure your teeth are thoroughly clean and healthy, teeth cleaning is considered a must. Not convinced? Below are some notable reasons why teeth cleaning is a must for dental health:

1. It helps remove stains that discolor and dull your teeth, so you’ll have a whiter and brighter smile.
2. Regular teeth cleaning can help prevent gum disease, which can lead to early tooth loss.
3. During teeth cleanings, it’s easier for dentists to detect problems like fractures and broken fillings.
4. Many studies have proven a strong link between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. Since getting your teeth cleaned on a routine basis can help prevent gum disease, you also significantly reduce your chances of developing deadly strokes and heart attacks.
5. Every hour, one person dies from oral cancer, and this is in the United States alone. The good thing is many of these cancers are curable if detected early. Dentists can often spot red flags during routine teeth cleanings.
6. Regular teeth cleaning can help you save money in the long run as you can avoid dental issues that might cost you a fortune to fix.
7. Routine teeth cleaning can also allow your dentist to compare your oral health’s current state compared to your last visit. If your dentist spots any issues, it can be corrected right away before causing other oral and health complications.
8. One of the foolproof ways to avoid bad breath is by keeping your teeth clean. Going beyond your essential oral practice of brushing and flossing will not only help ensure you’ll have a healthier mouth, but also a fresher breath.
9. Regular teeth cleaning can also help prevent the buildup of cavities that often lead to tooth decay.

The importance of regular teeth cleaning cannot be overstated. While it will require effort and a little investment, the benefits are truly worth it. You will not only save money in the long run, but you’ll also keep oral and other health issues at bay!

About the Author
Dr. Megan Peterson Boyle is the lead cosmetic dentist with Dental Studio 101 in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is focused on providing anxiety-free cosmetic dentistry services including invisalign, dental implants, dental crowns and cosmetic fillings. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her friends and family.

By |September 15th, 2020|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: |Comments Off on Guest Blog: Why Professional Teeth Cleaning Is A Must For Dental Health
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