The Different Types of Diabetes

Healthy foods at Kirby Pines
Diabetes describes a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood glucose (blood sugar). Glucose is vital to your health because it is an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. Glucose is also your brain’s main source of fuel. Even though glucose plays a significant role in our health, having too much glucose can lead to serious health problems. If you have diabetes, no matter what type, it means you have too much glucose in your blood, although the cause may differ.

The different types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and most often diagnosed in adults. If you have type 2 your body does not use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. At first, your pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time it isn’t able to keep up and can’t make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels. Gestational diabetes appears for the first time during pregnancy. This can put one at risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.

The causes of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors, but the exact cause is unknown. With this being said, there are some factors that may signal an increased risk. The risk factors for type 1 diabetes include family history, environmental factors, the presence of damaging immune cells, and dietary factors. The risk factors for type 2 diabetes include weight, inactivity, family history, race, age, high blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented but type 2 diabetes can by making healthy lifestyle choices. Eating healthier, getting more physical activity, and losing excess weight if you are overweight can help prevent type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes has long-term complications that develop gradually. The longer you have diabetes, and the less controlled your blood sugar is, will result in the higher risk of complications. Possible complications include cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, foot damage, skin conditions, hearing impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease. Diabetes is a serious disease so maintaining your blood sugar is very important. If you have diabetes, no matter what type, you want to commit to managing it.

Please join us November 21st at 1:30 pm in the PAC for our Smart Moves presentation on Diabetes.

What to Know About Osteoarthritis

Stretches at Kirby Pines

What is Arthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a disease of the cartilage in joints. Osteoarthritis causes progressive breakdown of cartilage until the bones, which were once separated by cartilage, rub against each other. This results in damage to the tissue and underlying bone, causing the painful joint symptoms of osteoarthritis.

What Causes Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis results from chemical changes in the cartilage that causes it to breakdown faster than it can be produced. In most cases, the cause of this cartilage breakdown is unknown. In a few people, there seems to be a link between cartilage breakdown and other factors, including injury to a joint and a family history of osteoarthritis.

Can Osteoarthritis Be Prevented?

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Steps can be taken to help control the symptoms or to help prevent the progression of osteoarthritis. These include:

  • Weight control
  • Injury prevention
  • Exercise

What Are The Symptoms?

  • Pain most often in the spine, hands, hips, knees, and feet
  • Stiffness after inactivity that lasts less than 1 hour
  • Limited motion in joints
  • Tenderness and occasional swelling
  • Deformity of the joints
  • Crackling or “creaking” of the joints, usually painless.

Why Is It Important To Exercise When I have Osteoarthritis?

Joints and muscles need to be exercised to prevent stiffness and weakness. Also, exercise will make you feel better and help you maintain a healthy weight. Excess body weight places extra force and pressure on arthritic joints and causes osteoarthritis to progress more rapidly. Exercising will not “wear out” a damaged joint. Without exercise, not only will muscle strength be lost but osteoarthritis will progress faster. Stretching and strengthening exercises will help strengthen the muscles and ligaments surrounding a joint, which in turn will protect and reduce stress on the joint.

Please join us on October 17th at 1:30 pm in the PAC for our Smart Moves presentation on this topic.

Keeping Your Mind and Body Active

As we get older, the deterioration of the mind and body is unavoidable. It’s just part of the aging process. Some people, however, experience more severe symptoms of aging than others do. No matter how healthy your body is, your mind can still begin to have those “senior moments.” If you want to keep your mind healthy as you age, you have to keep it active. For seniors, staying active can not only help to prolong life, but it can offer a better quality of life as well. With exercise, the two go hand-in-hand. Whether you want to become more physically active or more mentally active, staying active, in general, will help both your body and mind feel energized and engaged.

Keeping ActiveHere are a couple ways to keep your mind and body active. Move your body. As mentioned before, exercising is not only good for your body, but for your mind as well. Exercise is a social activity for many, especially with all of the group exercises that are provided. This helps one stay motivated and engaged in the activity. Exercise also improves your mood by releasing mood-boosting endorphins, which can help lessen the feelings of depression. Exercise increases mental capacity, and physical activity has been directly linked to slowing the process of mental decline. When you are physically active, every part of your body, including the brain, receives more blood flow. Blood flow encourages cell growth. Exercise also improves healing. The healing process takes longer as we age, but exercise can help. Active adults have wounds that heal as much as 25 percent faster than those who do not exercise.

Eat Well at Kirby PinesEat well. Proper nutrition is incredibly important for seniors, for both physical and mental health. If you’re not eating enough of the proper vitamins and minerals, the lack of nutrients can affect brain function. If you’re not eating enough calories, you will have less energy with which to use your body and brain. Make sure you eat well – healthy and regularly. Engage your senses. Using all of your senses really helps exercise your brain in a variety of different ways, so try to use all your senses as much as possible. Stop to smell the flowers – literally – or try to pick out the ingredients of food by their smell.

Keep learning. You’re never too old to learn. Learning new things will help keep your mind active and sharp. Challenge your brain. Challenging your brain is extremely important to keep a sharp mind. Instead of just learning, you should also be challenging yourself to exercise your knowledge and problem-solving skills. Sleep well. For people at any age, sleep is essential for proper mental functioning. Be sure to get enough sleep at night, and make sure it’s quality sleep, too.

As you can see, there are plenty of simple ways to keep your mind and body active. It is interesting to know that the body and mind go hand and hand. Now as you exercise or do any of the activities above you know that you are keeping your mind and body active.

The Importance of Dental Health

Dental HealthAs we age there are some things that we tend to let fall by the wayside. Dental health seems to be one of the personal hygiene steps that can be forgotten. Since dental health is connected to whole-body health, it’s important to keep oral health a priority. Senior dental problems can be common and since oral health directly impacts the health of the rest of the body, these issues need to be taken seriously. Taking care of elderly teeth and gums is just as important as digestive or heart health.

Teeth Brushing Some reasons why senior dental health is so important are that research has shown a connection between gum disease and heart disease. Maintaining good oral hygiene is a powerful weapon against heart attacks, strokes, and other heart disease conditions. Poor oral health has been linked to pneumonia in older adults. By breathing in bacterial droplets from the mouth to the lungs, seniors are more susceptible to the condition. Good oral hygiene is a good way to combat these bacteria. Gum disease is caused by plaque and food left in our teeth, in addition to the use of tobacco products, unhealthy diets, poor fitting bridges and dentures, and diseases like anemia, cancer, and diabetes. Gum disease can instigate tooth loss and can be very serious for overall health as it has been linked to many problems in the body.

The Importance of Staying Hydrated

Staying Hydrated

As the July month comes our way, so will the hot and humid weather. It is extremely crucial to be safe and maintain your hydration levels. Hydration is maintaining a proper balance throughout the body. Water makes up 75% of the human body and can be extracted in many various ways. If you don’t replace the water that you have lost, dehydration is likely to occur. Some warning signs to be cautious of when becoming dehydrated are dry mouth, extreme thirst, headache, confusion, and dizziness. Don’t wait until you notice the symptoms before taking action.

Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help prevent dehydration. It has been recommended to consume 6-8 glasses of water a day. Simply drinking water is not the only way to achieve proper hydration. There are many different types of fruits and vegetables which have an adequate amount of water content. Watermelon has 90% water, which ranks as one of the highest, but oranges, melons, and grapefruit are also great contenders. Spinach, celery and broccoli are also good substitutes for vegetables.

Tips for Staying Hydrated:

  • Drink plenty of liquids
  • Watch the heat index
  • Wear appropriate clothing
  • Have a glass of water with each meal
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks
  • Urine color should be a pale yellow

Please join us July 25th at 1:30 pm in the PAC for our Smart Moves presentation on this topic.

Learning More About Alzheimer’s

Learning more about Alzheimer's at Kirby PinesAlzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the brain’s nerve cells, or neurons, resulting in loss of memory, thinking and language skills, and behavioral changes. These neurons, which produce the brain chemical, or neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, break connections with other nerve cells and ultimately die. For example, short-term memory fails when Alzheimer’s disease first destroys nerve cells in the hippocampus, and language skills and judgment decline when neurons die in the cerebral cortex. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, or loss of intellectual function, among people aged 65 and older. Although every case of Alzheimer’s disease is different, experts have identified common warning signs of the brain disease. Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging, and it is important to look for signs that might indicate Alzheimer’s disease versus basic forgetfulness. With Alzheimer’s disease, these systems gradually increase and become more persistent. If someone is exhibiting these symptoms, the person should check out his or her concerns with a healthcare professional. Awareness of these warning is not a substitute for a structured screening or consultation with a primary care provider.

Learning more about Alzheimer's at Kirby PinesTypical warning signs include: Memory loss, especially of recent events, names, placement of objects, new information, confusion about time and place, and struggling to complete familiar actions, such as brushing teeth or getting dressed. Also trouble finding the appropriate words, completing sentences, and following directions and conversations are signs. There are changes in mood and personality, such as increased suspicion, rapid and persistent mood swings, withdrawal, and disinterest in usual activities.

Learning more about Alzheimer's at Kirby PinesClinicians can now diagnose Alzheimer’s disease with up to 90 percent accuracy. But it can only be confirmed by an autopsy, during which pathologists look for the disease’s characteristic plaques and tangles in brain tissue. Clinicians can diagnose “probable” Alzheimer’s disease by taking a complete medical history and conducting lab tests, a physical exam, brain scans and neuropsychological tests that gauge memory, attention, language skills and problem-solving abilities. Proper diagnosis is critical since there are dozens of other causes of memory problems. Some memory problems can be readily treated, such as those caused by vitamin deficiencies or thyroid problems. Other memory problems might result from causes that are not currently reversible, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The sooner an accurate diagnosis of “probable” Alzheimer’s disease is made, the easier it is to manage symptoms and plan for the future.

Learning more about Alzheimer's at Kirby PinesAlzheimer’s disease typically progresses over two to 20 years, and individuals live on average for eight to 10 years from diagnosis. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease are likely to develop co-existing illnesses and most commonly die from pneumonia. Alzheimer’s disease is among the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S. It is estimated that as many as 5.1 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s disease. The numbers of people age 65 and older will more than double between 2010 and 2050 to 88.5 million or 20 % of the population; likewise, those 85 and older will rise three-fold, to 19 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

If you are experiencing forgetfulness with daily routines, please reach out to use in therapy. We have a dedicated team of Speech Therapists who specialize in this and may be able to help. Please join us Wednesday, June 18th at 1:30 pm in the PAC for our Smart Moves presentation on this subject.

10 Important Tips About Foot Care

Proper foot care is essential for older adults because it can help prevent injuries, falls, and complications from chronic diseases like diabetes. Learn how to properly care for your feet so they can continue to take you wherever you need to go.

    1. Be good to your soles. As you age, the muscle tissue in your feet can thin and your nerves may not work effectively. This can lead to loss of feeling in your feet (neuropathy). Use a long-handled mirror – it will extend your reach several inches – to see what you may not feel. Examine the soles of your feet and in-between your toes every day for cuts, blisters, sores or any areas of skin breakdown from moisture. This is especially important if you have diabetes.
    2. Choose the right footwear. Wearing the right footwear can help you keep your balance, prevent falls and reduce the risk of blisters and other injuries. Never purchase shoes that rub or slide around on your heel as you walk – this is a common way to develop blisters that can become more serious sores. Also avoid shoes that are too tight, slick on the bottom, have high heels or pointy toes.
      If you have diabetes or neuropathy, talk with your doctor about prescription orthotics (supports or devices worn in your shoes). You may be eligible for custom orthotics partially covered by Medicare.
    3. Get the right fit. Here are a few suggestions:
      • Visit the shoe store in the afternoon when your feet are slightly swollen from daily activities.
      • Have a sales associate measure your feet so you can select the correct size. It’s normal for your feet to change sizes slightly as you age.
      • Choose the shoe size that fits your larger foot (it’s common to have one foot that’s bigger than the other).
      • Always try on shoes before you buy them to make sure they fit. A good rule of thumb: your toes should be half an inch from the tips of your shoes when you are standing.
    4. Barefoot isn’t better. When going outdoors, always wear shoes (preferably closed-toe shoes) to prevent cuts, scrapes, and falls. It’s also best to wear shoes as much as possible while indoors to protect your feet.
    5. Keep your toenails in tip-top shape. Trimming your toenails correctly (straight across and no shorter than the tip of your toe) is key for preventing ingrown toenails. If you have diabetes or trouble reaching your feet, see a podiatrist (a physician who specializes in foot care), not a nail salon technician, for regular medical pedicures and nail trimming.
    6. Get the blood flowing. As you age, you may have decreased blood circulation to your feet. To promote healthy circulation:
      • Prop up your feet on a stool or couch when sitting down
      • Wiggle your toes when you sit for long periods of time
      • Stretch daily
      • Give yourself regular foot massages
    7. And, if you smoke, now’s the time to quit. Smoking can affect good circulation in the body.

    8. Keep your feet dry. Change your socks regularly and make sure your feet aren’t damp from sweat or a shower before putting on your shoes.
    9. But not too dry. Keep your feet moisturized to prevent cracking, itching and calluses. Stick with gentle soap and apply cream or lotion daily after your shower or bath.
    10. Fight fungal infections. Prevent athlete’s foot by wearing shoes that fit properly, changing your socks or stockings daily (or whenever they become damp) and applying foot powder each day. If you experience itching or burning, see your podiatrist for treatment.
    11. Visit your podiatrist regularly for foot checks. Your podiatrist can catch problems like bone spurs, hammertoe, neuromas, bunions, warts, ingrown toenails or wounds before they cause more serious problems.

    Please join us April 18th at 1:30 pm in the PAC for our Smart Moves presentation on this topic.

The Importance of Nutrition

Please join us March 21st at 1:30 pm in the PAC for our Smart Moves presentation on this topic.

Eating a well-balanced mix of foods every day has many health benefits. Eating well may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, bone loss, some kinds of cancer, and anemia. If you have one or more of these chronic diseases, eating well and being physically active may help you better manage them. Healthy eating may also help you reduce high blood pressure, lower high cholesterol, and manage diabetes. Eating well gives you the nutrients needed to keep your muscles, bones, organs, and other parts of your body healthy throughout your life. Eating well helps keep up your energy level by consuming enough calories. In order to get energy from food, the number of calories needed depends on how old you are, whether you’re a man or woman, your height and weight, and how active you are.

Eating well is important for everyone at all ages. Your daily food choices can make an important difference in your health, how you look, and feel. Older adults should choose foods rich in fiber; drink 8 glasses of water and other beverages that are low in added sugars. Carbohydrates are one of the main types of nutrients. They are the most important source of energy for your body. Your digestive system changes carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar). Your body uses this sugar for energy for your cells, tissues and organs. It stores any extra sugar in your liver and muscles for when it is needed.

We often think of fats as unhealthy, but your body needs a limited amount of certain kinds of fats. Fats give you energy and also help your body absorb vitamins. However, fat contains more than twice as many calories as protein or carbohydrates. Eating too many high-fat foods will add extra calories and lead to weight gain. Excess weight increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or other health problems. Excess weight can also make it harder to control these diseases if you have them.

Eating healthy at Kirby PinesEating is one of life’s pleasures, but some people lose interest in eating as they get older. They may find that food no longer tastes good or don’t enjoy meals because they often eat alone. Others may have problems chewing or digesting the food they eat. If you don’t feel like eating because of problems with chewing, digestion, or gas, talk with your doctor or a dietitian. Avoiding some foods could mean you miss out on necessary vitamins, minerals, fiber, or protein. Not eating enough could mean that you don’t consume enough nutrients or calories. One reason people lose interest in eating is that their sense of taste and smell change with age. Foods you once enjoyed might seem to have less flavor when you get older. Some medicines can change your sense of taste or make you feel less hungry. Talk with your doctor if you have no appetite, or if you find that food tastes bad or has no flavor.