Falls – Steps you can take now to prevent them

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Be proactive to prevent falls that could change your future.

I have been talking with a lot of groups and individuals about ways to prevent falls. Falls come out of nowhere most of the time. You don’t even think about them until they happen.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, there are over 2.8 million older adults seen in the emergency department for falls every year! Yes, 2.8 million!!!   And these are not always the obvious people who can just look at and tell they could easily fall. Many would consider themselves health, active, and not at risk.

You CAN determine your risks and take action now to lower them.

So, how do you determine if you have this falls risk?

The Center for Disease Control tackled that question and developed the Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries. They created a toolkit with several resources. Some of the resources are for your doctor or other healthcare provider. Others are for YOU to help find and minimize your personal risks.

You can find access to these tools on our Meds MASH website. Or you can follow this link: https://www.cdc.gov/steadi/patient.html. You will find information about falls, how often they happen, and many of the risk factors. You will also find tools to help you assess yourself and your home.

I especially encourage you to complete the Check for Safety checklist. It has you walk room to room through your house looking for specific risk factors. It also has several tips to help you avoid falls.

Next, I encourage you to complete the Stay Independent checklist. This will ask you a series of 12 questions. You will answer each with a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’. Then, take this list with you to your next doctor’s appointment. This will help you to have a very focused talk with your doctor about ways to minimize your falls risk.

Finally, read the What You Can Do to Prevent Falls brochure. This will give you even more tips to help you avoid a fall.

What can you do to lower your falls risk?

There are four different assessments in the toolkit that your doctor can use to better understand how to help you decrease your risks. One of these you can do yourself.

It is called a Chair Rise Exercise. It can help you gain strength in your thighs and buttocks. This will help you be more stable when you walk. Here are the instructions from the CDC STEADI guide:

How to do it: 

  1. Sit toward the front of a sturdy chair with your knees bent & feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Rest your hands lightly on the seat on either side of you, keeping your back & neck straight & chest slightly forward.
  3. Breathe in slowly. Lean forward & feel your weight on the front of your feet.
  4. Breathe out & slowly stand up, using your hands as little as possible.
  5. Pause for a full breath in & out.
  6. Breathe in as you slowly sit down. Do not let yourself collapse back down into the chair. Rather, control your lowering as much as possible.
  7. Breathe out.

What about medications?

There are so many medications that can increase your risk for falls. That’s one of our specialties at Meds MASH. We can take a thorough look at all of your prescribed medicines, your over-the-counter medicines, your vitamins, your herbal medicines, and any other substances. Even the doses you take, your kidney function, and your liver function will be assessed. We will also look at the timing of your medicines and your diet. All of these things work together to impact your falls risk.

For more information contact us at www.medsmash.com and 410-472-5078.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

One of the best ways to avoid falls is to know your risks and take steps to minimize them. You need to do some work, and usually get some professional input, to fully analyze those risks. Then, it takes personal motivation to do the exercises, change the shoes, use the assistive device, or work with your healthcare team to make the medication changes to lower your risks.

What are your risks to fall off the path of Christ? I’m thinking of the parable of the seeds found in Matthew 13.

Matthew 13:8 NLT

Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!

How do we avoid the thorns, the rocks, the birds, the hot sun, and the shallow soil that kept the other seeds from growing?

Jesus explains the parable later in the chapter.

Matthew 13:23 NLT

The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!

God’s Word and the value of our studying, understanding, and applying it are found throughout the Bible. It is throughout the Hebrew Bible, Proverbs, Psalms, and throughout the New Testament.

2 Timothy 3:16 ESV

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

Proverbs 4:20-22 ESV

My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.

Isaiah 40:8 ESV

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

Psalm 119:105 ESV

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

John 14:21 MSG

“The person who knows my commandments and keeps them, that’s who loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and make myself plain to him.”

What is your grasp of the Word of God? If that is the key to ‘letting our seed grow’, what is your growing potential? I know I have rocks and thorns and birds that try to snatch my seeds away in my life.

It takes motivation and discipline to stay in God’s Word on a regular basis. It takes discussion and study with others to really understand it from varying perspectives. And, it takes talking about it with other people to apply it.

People, instructors, pastors, mature Christians can help you gain the self-insight needed to really determine where your stumbling blocks are. Sharing and accountability help us stay focused and commit to the spiritual exercise, assistive devices, and work required to maintain ‘fertile soil.’

Psalm 1:1-3 ESV

Blessed is the man

    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners,

    nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 

but his delight is in the law of the Lord,

    and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree

    planted by streams of water

that yields its fruit in its season,

    and its leaf does not wither.

In all that he does, he prospers.

Blessings,

Michelle

Image source: National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services

U-Turn ahead – not too late to turn your health around

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Turn your health around. Make changes to improve your health.

Is it too late to turn your health around? Although we were raised certain ways we can still make a U-turn, or at least navigate a big curve. I was raised with dessert every day, lots of processed foods, little to no access to seafood, and limited fresh vegetables beyond summer. Meals were built around meat and potatoes. As for exercise, anyone who knows me can attest to my utter lack of athletic ability. So, should we settle for life-long habits and figure it’s too late to make changes now?

Actually, there is a LOT of evidence that changes, at all stages of life, still help you. Below are just a few of the most common habits/choices that can be changed in a way that really makes you feel better.

Changes to turn your health around

  • Quit smoking –
    • Just 20 minutes after you quit your blood pressure and heart rate decrease.
    • Your risk of a heart attack starts to go down at 24 hours.
    • Taste and smell start to improve at 48 hours.
    • After 1-5 years your risk of heart disease is cut in half.
    • After 10 years your risk of lung cancer is almost as low as a lifelong nonsmoker.
  • Weight loss – short and long term
    • Small weight loss can have big advantages.
    • If you lose 5-10% of your body weight, your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol all improve.
    • Your risk of heart disease goes down.
    • It gets easier to breathe.
    • Sleep apnea can improve helping you sleep better and be less sleepy during the day.
    • Your sex drive
    • Joint pain
  • Diet changes –
    • Decreasing your daily calories by 500-1,000 per day will decrease weight 1-2 pounds per week. [Faster weight loss is not as healthy and hard to sustain.]
    • Gradually add more interesting fruits and vegetables to your diet.
      • Sudden, drastic changes are not necessary and are hard to do.
      • More variety in fruits and vegetables will increase the types of vitamins and nutrients you get.
    • Change up your fat
      • Exchange some of your red meat meals for fish (your grocery store meat section will likely have instructions on how to prepare whatever is on sale or available in the meat section).
      • Try nuts for snacks over sugary snacks.
    • Sugar
      • Drink more water or unsweetened beverages in place of sugary soda or fruit juice.
      • Eat smaller portions of your dessert, as a starting point to cut back.
  •  Exercise
    • Get moving – it helps with more than just weight control.
    • Decrease joint pain and strain, especially your lower back.
    • Get stronger and be more resilient against small strains and sprains.
    • Be more flexible.
    • Decrease your risk of a fall that could injure you.
    • Stay healthy and independent longer through fitness.
    • Have more energy and stamina.
    • Exercise doesn’t have to mean joining a gym or playing a sport.
      • Get up and move around during commercial breaks on TV.
      • Park farther from the front door.
      • Go for a walk with a friend.
      • Window shop in all of the stores at the mall before making a purchase.

U-turns are allowed in your life. No matter your age and for how long you have been doing things a certain way, make a change. Turn your health around. See how much better you can feel with very small changes starting today.

For more information about healthy choices and making a U-turn, contact us at www.medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Are you drowning in your negative self-talk? Are you always striving to do better? Or, are you constantly making excuses and blaming others for your weaknesses?

These are such easy routes to take! They are such easy ruts to fall into.

Will you ever be at peace and feel that all is right in your world? What would that take?

My understanding of the Bible is that the peace and promise you’re seeking is available to you RIGHT NOW.

There is nothing you have done that God doesn’t already know about. You can’t hide. Rather than being terrified by that, realize you are loved. You are loved and accepted and forgivable. Absolutely nothing you have done could make God turn away from you.

1 John 4:18 ESV

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Grace, mercy, and forgiveness are right here waiting for you.

Romans 5:8 ESV

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

You could absolutely never do anything so terrible that would exclude you from the love and grace of Jesus Christ.

It was this love that led to Jesus’ death – all for your sins and mine. And because of that sacrifice, you are saved.

Let’s look again at 1 John 4:17-18 from The Message:

God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.

Not only can you take a U-turn in your daily physical health choices, you can take a U-turn in your spiritual health. Stop hiding. Stop beating yourself up. Embrace this love that is completely yours. You are forgiven as soon as you let go and give your all to God who loves you with no conditions.

Blessings,

Michelle

 

Four Components of True Health – Physical Health

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Physical health – one of four essential components of health

Physical health is the first of the four components of health. True health requires health in all four components. Over the next three weeks we will talk about each separately.

Physical health is the type that is usually thought of first when describing ‘health’. It relates to medical conditions, joint and muscle function, infections, bones, and organ systems. It is the primary reason we go to the doctor.

The main emphasis of health insurance has historically been physical health.

Most of the medications that are prescribed are for physical health. Medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, pain, asthma, etc. are prescribed to improve physical health.

Your physical health is often part of your decision-making. It is the main motivation to choose healthy foods, exercise, avoid smoking, and limit alcohol.

So what can you do to improve your physical health?

First, there are several things you can do to preserve your physical health. Prevention is key. To prevent heart disease and diabetes, diet and exercise are especially important. They help maintain a healthy weight. Lack of exercise and poor food choices lead to excess weight, which adds to risk for many medical conditions.

Avoid smoking. Quit if you smoke now. The negative effects on physical health are enormous.

Limit alcohol intake. An occasional drink is probably fine unless you are genetically at risk for alcoholism. Excess alcohol has many health risks.

If you have been diagnosed with a medical condition, be sure to ask plenty of questions to fully understand your diagnosis and treatment plan. Then, follow your treatment plan while keeping track of your response. Communicate your response and any medication side effects to your healthcare team.

If you have more than one medical condition and/or if you have more than one provider, keep everyone informed. You want healthcare providers who communicate with each other and take time to communicate with you. Each provider needs to know exactly what the others are doing.  Each also needs to know how you actually take each of your medications. It is only then that the safety of all your medications together can be assessed.

For more information about your physical health, contact us at www.medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

We learn in Genesis we were made in God’s image. Each cell, each hair, each component is specially designed. If you’ve ever experienced the birth of a baby and watched it grow, you have seen the astounding complexities of the human body.

Physical health allows us to perform our daily tasks. It also allows us to pursue the plans to which God has called us. There are several verses throughout the Bible that pertain to health. Here are a few:

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 3:17 ESV

If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

1 Timothy 4:8 ESV

For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

1 Corinthians 9:27 ESV

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

3 John 1:2 ESV

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.

Consider the steps to maintain your health and the role your health plays in your response to God’s call for your life.

Blessings,

Michelle

Medications and Falls

Did you know that taking some medications can increase your risk of falling?

Did you know not taking some medications can increase your risk of falling?

Did you know some medical conditions can increase your risk of falling?

Did you know not getting enough of some vitamins can increase your risk of falling?

Wow, fall risks are so complicated!

The Centers for Disease Control recently created and released a tool for healthcare providers and patients to help screen for and diminish fall risk. You can find it at http://www.cdc.gov/steadi/patient.html. I encourage you to use these tools to minimize your risks.

Some of the things addressed are clutter in your home that can trip you, the importance of exercise to stay strong, use/add grab bars, sturdy hand rails, wear shoes or nonslip slippers, improve lighting, and more.

In addition, have a medication expert review all of your medications to minimize the fall risk caused by drugs that you take.   This is an area where all of your healthcare team can work together to make sure your risks are minimized.

Some types of medication are more likely than others to make falls occur more easily. Then, if you take several of these medicines, your risk is even higher.

The vitamin associated with falls is vitamin D. If you have too little vitamin D your risk is higher. If your doctor has not checked your vitamin D level, request that be done at your next visit. Most adults have a deficiency.

If you would like a thorough fall risk assessment, please contact Meds MASH at www.medsmash.com.

Biblical Application

I have been struck lately by the words to a song sung by Jason Gray, “More Like Falling in Love”. If you have not heard it, I highly encourage you to check it out.

The lyrics say,

“More like falling in love

than something to believe in

more like losing myself

than pledging my allegiance.”

“It’s like I’m falling in love.”

I adore this description of meeting and giving it all to Christ.

If you’re going to fall, what’s better than falling in love? And what’s better than falling deeply in love with Christ?

Luke 10:27 ESV

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

1 John 4:18 ESV

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Psalm 85:10 ESV

Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.

May you be enveloped with this wonderful love!

Blessings,

Michelle

Clots lead to TROUBLE

Most strokes and heart attacks have something in common – CLclotOTS.

Normally blood whooshes right through veins and arteries with nothing blocking the way. The blood carries oxygen to all of the parts of the body to provide energy to keep everything functioning properly.

Sometimes a fatty diet and genes/family history and some medical conditions lead to fibrin (a protein in the blood) and fat lining the edges of the veins and arteries. Some of this can happen with no real danger.

Then other times, something occurs that takes that fat and fibrin and knocks out a chunk of artery lining or makes the surface rough. This allows platelets (a component of the blood) and fibrin to stick to the rough/injured area. As these continue to stick, the blood goes through a more and more narrow passage. Eventually, blood flow is completely blocked.

When this happens in the brain, a stroke results. When this happens in the arteries providing blood to the heart, a heart attack happens. When this happens in the legs, it is called deep vein thrombosis. When it happens in the lungs it is a pulmonary embolus.

What can you do to prevent these clots? There are several key things:

  • Stop smoking if you smoke
  • Exercise regularly
  • Lose weight if you are overweight
  • Avoid sitting for long periods of time (even if you travel, take breaks to move around)
  • After surgery or being sick in bed, get up and move as soon as possible and move frequently.
  • Lower high blood pressure
  • Eat a heart healthy diet

Take control of your future and make these positive changes so you can avoid clots.

For more information, contact www.medsmash.com.

Biblical Application

A clot often starts with some little thing going wrong. Either a tiny piece breaks off the fat lining of the artery or something roughs up the edge a bit. Then that small negative event grows and grows and grows until a major life-threatening event occurs.

How often does this happen in life and relationships?

Someone says something that hurts your feelings. It might be deliberate or a result of poor social skills or completely unintended. But, you take offense. Then, you start thinking about the words and you get more angry. Then you start recounting any other thing that person has ever done that could be interpreted negatively. Then you start watching this person and interpreting anything they say or do negatively. Maybe you even bring in other people to support your interpretation of the hurtful statement.

The next thing you know, that relationship stops receiving any sustaining positive input. It completely dies. Everyone walks away hurt.

Have you ever said or done something hurtful completely by accident? I recently was talking with a friend who plans to disown any relationships that didn’t reach out to support her when she lost a dear family member. I understand the hurt, especially at such a tender time. Did all of those people who didn’t reach out intend to hurt her? Or, was a mistake made? Did they not know how important that support could be? Did they not know how to support?

I’m not making excuses. I’m extending grace.

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 4:32 ESV

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

James 1:19-20 ESV

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Let’s all try to keep our focus on love, forgiveness, and grace to bring out the best in each other.

Blessings,

Michelle

I have hypertension – so what, I don’t feel any different

When your bSlide1lood pressure is elevated, most often you don’t feel anything. It is a silent condition. All medications have the potential for side effects. So many people have chosen to avoid the medications and ignore the hypertension.

So what?

If untreated, high blood pressure (hypertension) can lead to heart attacksstrokesheart failure, and other cardiovascular conditions. It really is a big deal.

So what can you do if you have hypertension?

First, take your medicine every day as prescribed! If you have side effects or problems taking it, tell your doctor or pharmacist right away.

Second, if you smoke, it is truly important that you stop. Smoking greatly increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Third, if you drink alcohol, limit yourself to 1 drink per day and let your doctor know that you drink. This way your medicine regimen can be chosen with that in mind to reduce any risks to you.

Fourth, limit your salt intake. Ideally stop using your saltshaker, rinse your canned vegetables and
cook them in fresh water, watch sodium content in foods.   Many quick and easy (heat and eat) foods are high in sodium. This can increase your blood pressure.

Fifth, maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight increases your risk for heart disease and makes your blood pressure harder to control. Losing weight usually requires a combination of healthier eating and exercise. Check with your doctor before you start an exercise routine to be sure it is a healthy one for you with your hypertension. (You can calculate your body mass index at this link.)

Sixth, control your diabetes. Many people with diabetes have hypertension and are overweight. Metabolic syndrome is a term to describe having hypertension; obesity, especially around your middle; high cholesterol; and diabetes. Having this syndrome is another risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

So, there are several healthy steps you can take to protect your heart and lower your blood pressure.

For more information, contact us at www.medsmash.com.

Biblical Application

Choices. We are faced with them every day. Sometimes the bad choices seem so much easier than the good choices.

Where can you find the strength and willpower to make good choices?

On your own, there are definite limits to what you can do. Temptations can be great. Life changes, whether your diet, your exercise, or a host of other areas, can be a source of great frustration. Words like procrastination, justification, avoidance, and defensiveness come to mind. Have you experienced any of these?

But you do have access to infinite strength and support.

Philippians 4:13 ESV

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Isaiah 41:10 ESV

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Deuteronomy 20:4 ESV

For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’

1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Rather than trying to make important changes with your own strength and willpower, turn to your true power source. Take that minute by minute journey with God leading you through.

Blessings,

Michelle