At VIPcare, we are a group of passionate healthcare professionals who believe theres a better way to practice medicine. We see a future where preventative medicine is valued over the traditional approach, which we refer to as sick care. Our goal is to get our patients healthy and to keep them healthy.
VIPcare is a patient-focused primary care network under the Better Health Group Services umbrella that has been serving senior communities for more than 16 years. We utilize a high-touch population health management approach that prioritizes spending quality time with the physician and focusing on preventative care. To us, its about quality, not quantity. And not only do we value quality time, but we pride ourselves on creating a quality experience for all our patients.
We practice kindness. Show empathy. Reach out in compassion. And every day, we partner with our patients on their journey to Better Health.
We settle for nothing less than 5-star service and strive to be 1% better every day. This allows us to always go above and beyond for our patients. We take great care of our team so they can take great care of our patients and achieve: Better Care. Better Outcomes. Better Health.
Four Locations to serve you throughout Lee County!
Bonita Springs-28811 South Tamiami Trail, Ste 13, Bonita Springs, FL 34134/239-429-0386
Cape Coral-2301 Del Prado Blvd S, Ste 890, Cape Coral, FL 33990/239-932-5506
Estero-19976 South Tamiami Trail ste 206, Estero, FL 33928/239-429-0581
Fort Myers-14131 Metropolis Ave, Suite 104, Fort Myers, FL 33912/239-880-2521
Fort Myers-20291 Summerlin Rd ste 105, Fort Myers, FL 33908/239-758-8564
At VIPcare, we are a group of passionate healthcare professionals who believe theres a better way to practice medicine. We see a future where preventative medicine is valued over the traditional approach, which we refer to as sick care. Our goal is to get our patients healthy and to keep them healthy. VIPcare is a patient-focused primary care network under the Better Health Group Services umbrella that has been serving senior communities for more than 16 years. We utilize a high-touch population health management approach that prioritizes spending quality time with the physician and focusing on preventative care. To us, its about quality, not quantity. And not only do we value quality time, but we pride ourselves on creating a quality experience for all our patients. We practice kindness. Show empathy. Reach out in compassion. And every day, we partner with our patients on their journey to Better Health.We settle for nothing less than 5-star service and strive to be 1% better every day. This allows us to always go above and beyond for our patients. We take great care of our team so they can take great care of our patients and achieve: Better Care. Better Outcomes. Better Health. Four Locations to serve you throughout Lee County!Bonita Springs-28811 South Tamiami Trail, Ste 13, Bonita Springs, FL 34134/239-429-0386Cape Coral-2301 Del Prado Blvd S, Ste 890, Cape Coral, FL 33990/239-932-5506Estero-19976 South Tamiami Trail ste 206, Estero, FL 33928/239-429-0581Fort Myers-1635 Medical Lane, Fort Myers, FL 33907 /239-880-2126Fort Myers-14131 Metropolis Ave, Suite 104, Fort Myers, FL 33912/239-880-2521Fort Myers-20291 Summerlin Rd ste 105, Fort Myers, FL 33908/239-758-8564
Red and orange colors, cool crisp air fall is knocking at the door. Along with those seasonal treats, the arrival of fall brings with it a cornucopia of seasonal fruits and vegetables. These season-specific produce are not only delicious but also packed with health benefits. From vibrant pumpkins to sweet apples, these autumn treasures offer a bounty of nutrients that can boost your well-being. Read on and explore why you should embrace fall seasonal produce for a healthier lifestyle.Abundant In NutrientsFall seasonal fruits and vegetables are bursting with essential vitamins and minerals that support overall health. They provide an array of nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and fiber, which are vital for immune function, healthy vision, and maintaining proper bodily functions. Incorporating these nutrient-dense foods into your diet can help bolster your immune system and keep you feeling your best throughout the season.Boosts Immune SystemAs the weather turns colder, the risk of colds and flu tends to increase. Fortunately, fall produce can help fortify your immune system. Fruits, such as apples and pears, are rich in vitamin C, while vegetables, like sweet potatoes and carrots, are loaded with vitamin A. These vitamins are crucial in supporting your immune function and can help you fend off seasonal illnesses.High In FiberMany fall fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of dietary fiber. Fiber aids digestion, helps regulate blood sugar levels, and promotes a feeling of fullness, making it easier to manage your weight. Something that is often a challenge during this time of year. Squash, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes are particularly high in fiber and can help keep your digestive system running smoothly.Heart-Healthy ChoicesEating a diet rich in seasonal fall produce can be heart-healthy. Many of these fruits and vegetables, including cranberries, beets, and Brussels sprouts, are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can reduce the risk of heart disease. They help lower cholesterol levels, maintain healthy blood pressure, and improve blood vessel function.Weight ManagementMaintaining a healthy weight is essential for overall well-being, and fall seasonal produce can play a significant role in weight management. Many of these foods are low in calories but high in fiber, which helps you feel full and satisfied. Additionally, they offer natural sweetness, making them a healthier alternative to sugary snacks and desserts.Antioxidant PowerFall fruits and vegetables are abundant in antioxidants, which help protect your body from oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Antioxidants like beta-carotene, found in sweet potatoes and carrots, and anthocyanins, found in berries, have been linked to improved health and a lower risk of certain cancers.Versatile And DeliciousOne of the joys of fall seasonal produce is its versatility in the kitchen. From roasted root vegetables to comforting soups, there are countless ways to incorporate these seasonal treasures into your meals. Their natural sweetness can even be harnessed for healthier desserts, such as apple crisps or pumpkin muffins made with whole grains.Nourish Your Body With Fall Seasonal ProduceAs you savor the flavors of fall, remember that the seasonal fruits and vegetables on your plate are doing more than just satisfying your taste budstheyre nourishing your body and supporting your health. The diverse array of nutrients, immune-boosting properties, and heart-healthy benefits make fall produce a valuable addition to your diet. So, this autumn, embrace the bountiful harvest and reap the health rewards that come with it. Your body will thank you for it.Not sure whats in season? Heres a list of fall seasonal produce to look for while searching for recipe ideas or grocery shopping.Fall Fruits:Apples: Crisp and sweet varieties like Gala, Honeycrisp, and Granny Smith are in abundance during fall.Pears: Bartlett, Bosc, and Anjou pears are at their peak flavor and texture in the fall.Grapes: Varieties such as Concord and seedless red grapes are harvested in the fall.Cranberries: These tart and vibrant berries are a quintessential fall fruit, often used in sauces and desserts.Persimmons: Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons are delicious, sweet fruits that are in season during the fall.Pomegranates: Known for their juicy, ruby-red seeds, pomegranates are harvested in the fall and make a great addition to salads and snacks.Fall Vegetables:Pumpkins: Beyond carving for Halloween, pumpkins are versatile for cooking and baking.Squash: Varieties like butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash are plentiful and perfect for roasting, soups, or casseroles.Sweet Potatoes: These nutritious tubers are a staple for fall recipes and are rich in fiber and vitamins.Brussels Sprouts: Small, cabbage-like sprouts are in season during fall and are often roasted or sauted as a side dish.Cauliflower: This versatile vegetable can be used in a variety of dishes, including cauliflower rice or roasted cauliflower.Beets: Earthy and vibrant, beets are great for salads, roasting, or making beet soups.Carrots: Sweet and crunchy carrots are widely available and can be used in salads, side dishes, or as a healthy snack.Turnips: These root vegetables have a mild, slightly peppery flavor and can be used in stews and roasted dishes.Kale: This hearty, leafy green thrives in cooler weather and is perfect for salads, smoothies, or sauted dishes.Cabbage: Cabbage is used in a variety of dishes, from coleslaw to sauerkraut, and is often harvested in the fall.Broccoli: Broccoli is available throughout the year but tends to be at its best quality in the cooler months, including fall.Leeks: These mild, onion-like vegetables are often used in soups, stews, and savory tarts.These fall seasonal fruits and vegetables not only add flavor and variety to your meals but also offer a wide range of health benefits, making them a delicious and nutritious choice during the autumn season.
Aging gracefully isnt always the easiest of tasks. With age, our needs start to change, including our healthcare needs. And because of this, you must have open and honest discussions with your healthcare provider.According to the National Council of Aging, 80 percent of adults 65 and older have at least one chronic condition, while 68 percent have two or more. Chronic conditions require specialized care so they can be appropriately managed to prevent further complications from developing. This makes it much more crucial for seniors to take a proactive role in their healthcare. And that starts by working with their provider.Here are some questions that you should be discussing with your healthcare provider:What screening tests do I need?Depending on your age, gender, and health history, your doctor may recommend specific screening tests to check for conditions like cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Prevention is key to Better Health.What medications am I taking, and are they still appropriate?As we age, our bodies may respond differently to medications, and some drugs can interact with others in unexpected ways. Your doctor can help you evaluate whether your current medications are still appropriate. Its vital that you let your primary care doctor know all of the medications you are taking, even if they didnt prescribe them.How can I manage chronic conditions?If you have a chronic condition like diabetes or arthritis, your doctor can work with you to develop a management plan that includes lifestyle changes, medications, and other treatments.How can I improve my overall health and well-being?Your doctor can provide guidance on healthy eating, exercise, and other lifestyle habits that can help you feel your best. Together, you can create a plan of action that will keep you healthy and active.Together, Youre A TeamRemember, your primary care provider is your partner in Better Health. They are there to help you maintain your health and well-being as you age. They want you to feel your best. These questions to ask your provider are important. Dont be afraid to ask them and share any concerns you may have. Thats what they are there for. With open communication and a collaborative approach, you can work together to ensure that youre getting the care you deserve and need to live a healthy and happy life.
Your primary care provider (PCP) is your go-to and first stop for all things healthcare. They act as the quarterback of your health, overseeing and coordinating with other providers and specialists. They can diagnose and treat most health-related conditions, from everyday aches and pains to complex diseases. Their goal is to help you achieve Better Health through prevention and maintenance. However, there are different types of primary care providers. And with that being said, how do you know which one you should see? Continue reading to learn moreTypes Of Primary Care DoctorsWhen it comes to primary care providers, there are a few different types. Some have the letters MD after their name, while others may have DO. Today, you even see NP and PA more frequently following a PCPs name.The four main types of primary care providers include:Medical Doctor (MD)Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)Nurse Practitioner (NP)Physician Assistant (PA)Medical DoctorMost people are familiar with the letters MD after a physicians name. Often referred to as MDs, medical doctors are medical professionals who have completed four years of medical school and at least three years of residency. Residencies are periods of training for medical school graduates in a field of their choice. It is designed to provide practical and supervised hands-on experience.Primary care MDs are typically specialists in family medicine or internal medicine. Family medicine specialists are trained in providing care and treatment to patients of all ages from babies to older adults. On the other hand, internal medicine specialists are specifically trained in treating adults.Medical doctors, both family medicine and internal medicine physicians, can provide complete primary care services, including:Preventative careChronic care managementWellness and Physical examsTreatment for various medical conditionsReferrals to specialistsPrescribe medicationDoctor Of Osteopathic MedicineA primary care provider with the letters DO after their name is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. They, like MDs, are fully trained and licensed doctors. The only difference is the type of medical school training they had.Osteopathic Medicine focuses on treating the patient as a whole rather than just treating symptoms. Most DOs tend to take a more holistic approach to medicine and incorporate some level of alternative medical approach, such as focusing on prevention using lifestyle changes.An MD and DO receive basically the same medical training, which includes four years of medical school followed by a residency of their choosing. Most primary care providers who become Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine specialize in general practice (equivalent to family medicine) or internal medicine.Nurse Practitioners And Physician AssistantsWhen visiting your primary care provider, you may occasionally be seen by a nurse practitioner (NP) or physician assistant (PA). Nurse practitioners provide services that go beyond what a regular nurse can do. Nevertheless, they are able to provide most of the same services other types of primary care providers can. However, many NPs tend to focus on delivering patient primary care as opposed to providing care for complex conditions.Physician assistants, like other types of primary care providers, are trained medical professionals skilled to diagnose and treat patients for a wide array of health conditions. For the most part, they can do everything a medical doctor and osteopathic doctor can do. The one main difference is that PAs cannot practice medicine independently. Instead, they must work in partnership and under the supervision of a doctor.What Type Of Primary Care Provider Should I See?When it comes down to which type of primary care provider you should see, it matters most on the chemistry and relationship you have with the provider. All of the above-mentioned primary care providers can provide you with the necessary medical care to get healthy and stay healthy. But you need to feel comfortable with whomever you see, regardless of the letters after their name.At VIPcare, we offer 5-star primary care to patients 65+. Our team of providers are all skilled and trained to care for the special needs of patients like yourself. If youre looking for a new primary care provider near you, call 866-926-3831 to start receiving the personalized care you deserve.
Hearing loss isnt just a sign of getting older. It could be a sign that youre suffering from something much worse than simply old age. Hearing loss has been linked to several health concerns, including Alzheimers and dementia.More and more studies show a conclusive link between untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline. According to a study published in Geriatrics and Gerontology International, older individuals with hearing loss were more likely to experience some degree of memory loss than those with normal hearing.Its estimated that one in three people older than age 60 have hearing loss. Age-related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis, is hearing loss that occurs gradually as we grow older. It is one of the most common conditions affecting adults.Presbycusis typically occurs due to changes in:Blood flow in the inner earNerves responsible for hearingHow the brain processes speech and soundCommon signs of hearing loss include:Asking people to repeat what they sayFeeling like others are always mumbling or not speaking clearlyDifficulty hearing and understanding speech in noisy environmentsMissing words or phrases on the telephoneTurning the volume up on the television or radio louder than normalEven though hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic health condition facing older adults, only 20 percent of individuals afflicted seek treatment. On average, hearing aid users wait over 10 years after their initial diagnosis to finally get fit with hearing aids. This lack of treatment can create many detriments to ones health physical and cognitive.Effects Greater Than DecibelsHearing loss and cognitive decline are beginning to go hand-in-hand. People with untreated hearing loss are susceptible to a decreased quality of life. And the impact of hearing loss isnt simply measured in decibels. Unfortunately, it is far greater than that. In addition to the inability to hear, hearing loss is often associated with depression, sadness, and poor social relationships. All of which are key factors contributing to cognitive decline. Hearing loss and cognitive decline are beginning to go hand-in-hand. Hearing loss and cognitive decline are beginning to go hand-in-hand.Individuals with difficulty hearing tend to withdraw from social settings. If you cant hear, you cant participate in ongoing conversations. This alone leads to the following:Anxiety And Depression:Not being able to hear can become stressful, especially for people trying to communicate and be productive, such as in a work setting. If left untreated, hearing loss can have a negative impact on your mental health, thus increasing levels of anxiety and depression. These mental health conditions not only affect your feelings but they also affect the way your brain works and processes information. For example, tasks that involve recalling information become much more difficult.Increased Isolation:Because socializing becomes challenging and stressful, many with untreated hearing loss begin isolating themselves from social settings and other people. This has an adverse effect on your brain as it is no longer exposed to the stimulation that occurs during socialization. Just as your body needs exercise to keep moving and functioning, so does your brain. Conversations and interactions are exercises for your brain. A lack of these activities can impair your memory function and cognitive performance. It can also lead to cerebral atrophy or loss of brain neurons (cells).In addition to the effects listed above, untreated hearing loss also makes it harder to concentrate. When you cant hear or have difficulty hearing someone, you put your focus and attention on trying to understand what they are saying. Although this seems fine, it has lingering cognitive effects. Struggling to understand makes your brain work harder unnecessarily and forces your brain to strain and attempt to fill in the gaps. This depletes your brain of energy. When you spend all your energy trying to hear, your brain isnt working on remembering what is being listened to.When To See An AudiologistIf youre struggling to make out speech or suspect that youre experiencing hearing loss, have an open and honest conversation with your primary care provider. They can assist you in finding a qualified audiologist that will examine your ears and perform a hearing test to determine what type and degree of hearing loss you may have.From there, you can work with your provider to find a treatment option that best fits your needs. Theres no reason to be embarrassed or worry about your appearance with hearing aids. The hearing aid industry has come a long way since the days when they used to wrap around the ears and be a sight for sore eyes. Now, you can discreetly place them inside your ears and even match them to your skin tone to where they are virtually invisible.Treating hearing loss not only gives you back your ability to hear. It gives you back your freedom to communicate with ease. And most of all, it helps to safeguard your brain and keep dementia and Alzheimers at bay.
As we age, our nutritional needs change, and making mindful choices about our diet becomes increasingly important. With so many types of diets, choosing the one that best fits your dietary and health needs can be confusing and complicated. However, one dietary option is gaining popularity among seniors: the vegetarian diet. This plant-based eating approach offers many health benefits for individuals in their golden years. Lets explore the numerous advantages of a vegetarian diet for seniors and how it can improve overall health and well-being.Cardiovascular HealthOne of the primary benefits of a vegetarian diet for seniors is its positive impact on cardiovascular health. This is primarily because plant-based diets are typically low in saturated fat and cholesterol, two contributing factors to heart disease. Vegetarians tend to have lower blood pressure and healthier cholesterol levels, reducing the chances of strokes and heart attacks. In addition, many plant-based foods and vegetables have an abundance of fiber, which can improve heart health by promoting better digestion and managing blood sugar levels.Weight ManagementMaintaining a healthy weight is essential for seniors to prevent chronic diseases and maintain mobility. Being overweight is a risk factor for many conditions, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Unlike the Western diet associated with prepackaged and processed foods high in sugar and fat, vegetarian diets tend to be lower in calories and saturated fats. This makes it ideal for weight management. The abundance of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in a vegetarian diet provides essential nutrients while helping seniors maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of obesity-related conditions.Digestive HealthAs we get older, its common to start encountering digestive issues. A vegetarian diet, rich in dietary fiber from fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, can help alleviate these problems. Fiber promotes regular bowel movements, preventing constipation and promoting overall digestive health. A plant-based diet can also help to reduce the risk of diverticulosis and colorectal cancer.Bone HealthBone health is a critical concern for seniors, especially women, as the risk of osteoporosis and fractures increases with age. A well-planned vegetarian diet can help to support strong bones. Many plant-based foods, such as leafy greens, tofu, fortified plant-based milk, and nuts, are excellent sources of calcium and vitamin D, crucial for bone health. Additionally, a vegetarian diet tends to be lower in acid-producing foods, which can help maintain a balanced pH level in the body and protect bone density.Cognitive FunctionCognitive decline is a natural part of the aging process, but diet can play a role in keeping it at bay. Vegetarian diets rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals are associated with improved cognitive function and a reduced risk of age-related cognitive disorders like Alzheimers. Adding foods like berries, leafy greens, and nuts to your diet can support brain health and memory retention.Reduced InflammationChronic inflammation is linked to numerous age-related diseases, including arthritis, heart disease, and certain cancers. Vegetarian diets are known to be anti-inflammatory due to their high intake of antioxidants and phytonutrients. This can help reduce inflammation and mitigate the risk of chronic diseases that often accompany aging.Improve Your Health By Going Meat-FreeA vegetarian diet can offer a multitude of health benefits for seniors. From cardiovascular health and weight management to digestive health and cognitive function, this dietary choice can significantly impact your overall well-being as you age. I like to talk to my patients about lifestyle changes towards better health, nutrition, and how to manage mild anxiety and depression by focusing on themselves, said VIPcare provider Dr. Janice Rodriguez. I am not a vegan, but I enjoy eating vegetables and think that vegan recipes do not have to be boring.Its essential to approach a vegetarian diet with careful planning to ensure that all necessary nutrients are adequately met. You should always consult your healthcare provider before making drastic dietary changes. And if you dont want to take the full plunge into vegetarianism, you can always adjust your diet to add vegetarian options on select days. Meatless Mondays has become a popular practice. With the right approach, a vegetarian diet can contribute to a healthier and more vibrant life for seniors.October 1st marks World Vegetarian Day. Cut the meat and enjoy a plant-based day!
As Halloween approaches, the allure of candy becomes nearly irresistible, not just for kids but for people of all ages, even us older adults. While indulging in the occasional sweet treat, such as that after-dinner cookie or slice of pie, is a delightful part of life, its important to recognize the potential risks of sugar consumption, particularly for seniors. Sugar consumption can wreak havoc on your body, head to toe. Lets explore the effects of sugar on seniors health, including the dangers of excessive sugar intake and the advantages of moderation.The Risks Of Excessive Sugar ConsumptionFor seniors, excessive sugar consumption can have several detrimental effects on their health, including:Weight Gain: Consuming too much sugar can lead to weight gain and obesity, which increases the risk of various health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and joint problems. Wed like to think we dont have to worry about such a vanity issue as we get older, but your weight affects far more than just your appearance. Maintaining a healthy weight is vital for your overall well-being.Dental Health: A diet high in sugary candies and treats can result in tooth decay and gum disease. As we age, we become more prone to dental issues, so adding excessive sugar to our diets can exacerbate these problems.Blood Sugar Control: As many of us have probably already found out, our bodies can become less efficient at processing sugar the older we get. Consequently, we become more vulnerable to insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance, making us more susceptible to type 2 diabetes. Excessive sugar intake can further complicate blood sugar control. Seniors who already have diabetes have to be extra careful with their sugar consumption to maintain blood sugar control.Heart Health: High sugar consumption has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Seniors should be especially cautious about their cardiovascular health, and excessive sugar intake can elevate risk factors.Cognitive Health: Some studies have suggested a potential link between high sugar intake and cognitive decline. Have you ever experienced a foggy brain and low energy following the indulgence of sweet treats? Seniors should be particularly concerned about maintaining cognitive function as they age, making the impact of excessive sugar consumption an important consideration.Benefits Of Moderate Sugar IntakeWe hear it time after time regardless of what our vice is. Moderation is the key to enjoying the occasional sweet treat without compromising your health. For seniors, there are still ways to savor the pleasures of Halloween candy without overindulging:Portion Control: Rather than devouring a whole bag of candy in one sitting, practice portion control. Enjoy a small, controlled amount of candy, and savor each piece to make it last longer.Healthier Alternatives: Some candies, such as dark chocolate, contain less sugar and may offer health benefits, including antioxidants. Choose these types of options when possible to satisfy your sweet tooth while minimizing sugar intake.Balanced Diet: Ensure that your overall diet is balanced and nutritious. Seniors need a variety of nutrients to support their health, so avoid filling up on empty calories from sugary candies.Oral Care: After enjoying Halloween candy or another sugary delight, remember to practice good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing to protect your teeth and gums.Strike A Sweet BalanceHalloween candy is a delightful part of the holiday season, but seniors should be mindful of their sugar consumption to maintain good health. Excessive sugar intake can lead to various health risks, including weight gain, dental problems, blood sugar control issues, heart health concerns, and cognitive decline.However, enjoying candy in moderation can still bring happiness without compromising your health. Strike a balance between indulgence and health to ensure you have many more sweet Halloweens (or holiday seasons) to come.
Theres nothing fun about urinary incontinence. Its stressful, embarrassing, and just downright challenging. Urinary incontinence in older adults can cause you to limit yourself, forcing you to miss out on things you once enjoyed doing, like exercise and working out. In fact, studies have shown that up to 20 percent of women have reported quitting their physical activities due to incontinence. But you dont have to give up activities you enjoy. There are ways to prevent bladder leaks in older adults to keep you dry and comfortable.Stress Urinary IncontinenceUrinary incontinence becomes increasingly more common with age. Its estimated that one in two women and one in three men have urinary incontinence. The most common form of urinary incontinence is called stress urinary incontinence (SUI). SUI is when you experience bladder leakage as a result of pressure being placed on your bladder, such as during exercise or when you sneeze or cough. This particular incontinence is due to a weak pelvic floor or sphincter muscle.Over time and due to pregnancy, hormonal changes, age, and genetics, the muscle responsible for keeping your bladder closed can become weakened and lax. This can happen to all ages but is much more common in older adults. And although it is common, its certainly not pleasant. Fortunately, there are ways you can manage and treat bladder leakage. You dont have to stop doing the things you enjoy just because of urinary incontinence. Here are some tips to prevent bladder leaks in older adults.Go To The Bathroom Right BeforeThe goal is to eliminate strain on your bladder, and the best way to do that is to completely empty your bladder. You should use the bathroom immediately (less than five minutes) before you begin any type of physical activity. Dont rush, however. You need to be able to sit and relax so you can void properly.Pick Bladder-Friendly ActivitiesAny type of exercise or movement that puts pressure on your bladder or pelvic floor puts you at risk of an accident. If youre prone to springing a leak, pick low-impact activities like walking or yoga. If youre looking for non-exercise activities, try anything that involves sitting and light movement, like reading or arts and crafts.Watch What You Eat And DrinkIf you will be out and about, be conscious of your fluid intake. You dont want to be dehydrated, but you also dont want to drink a lot of caffeinated beverages that will irritate your bladder. Limit your coffee or tea beverages before partaking in exercise or outings. Also, try to avoid spicy or acidic foods prior to engaging in activities. These, too, can irritate the bladder and cause you to go to the bathroom sooner and more often.Update Your WardrobeIt may not prevent urinary incontinence in older adults, but wearing black can help cover it up if an accident does occur. There are also several types of incontinence underwear available that help to absorb and protect from urine leakage. Incontinence underwear and liners are no longer bulky and uncomfortable. Many are now thin and discreet, helping to keep you dry and feeling comfortable without feeling embarrassed or ashamed. Just try to avoid those options that are scented or have additives.
s we age, our bodies undergo various and countless changes. Some good and others, unfortunately, not so good. Some can actually increase our risk for certain health conditions, including cancer. For older men, prostate cancer is one such concern that tends to become more prominent with age. Prostate cancer screenings in older men are an essential tool in detecting this disease early and ensuring it can be treated successfully and effectively for a better quality of life. Understanding Prostate CancerProstate cancer is the most common cancer among men, particularly for those aged 65 and older. About six out of 10 cases are diagnosed in men who are 65 or older. The prostate gland is a walnut-sized organ located below the bladder. It plays a crucial role in male reproductive health. While prostate cancer is often slow-growing and may not cause immediate symptoms, it can become more aggressive over time if left undetected. Why Prostate Cancer Screenings Matter For Senior Men Early Detection: Prostate cancer screenings, such as the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and digital rectal exam (DRE), are performed to identify potential issues before symptoms even appear. These tests are preventative measures that are key to early detection. Detecting cancer in its early stages is vital and significantly improves treatment options. It also highly increases the chances of successful outcomes. 2.Tailored Treatment Plans: Senior men who undergo screenings and receive an early diagnosis have the advantage of exploring a wider range of treatment options, including less invasive procedures. This can lead to a more personalized and effective treatment plan that considers your overall health and preferences. 3.Quality of Life: Early detection and intervention not only increase survival rates but also contribute to a better quality of life. Senior men who detect prostate cancer at an early stage often experience fewer complications and side effects during treatment, preserving their overall well-being and independence.The Screening Process Explained PSA Test: The PSA test measures the levels of a protein produced by the prostate gland in the blood. Elevated PSA levels typically indicate the presence of prostate cancer or other prostate-related conditions. It is important to note that a high PSA level does not necessarily guarantee cancer. It is a sign that you should have further testing done and take the necessary precautions. Digital Rectal Exam (DRE): During a DRE, a healthcare provider examines the prostate gland by inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum. Although this test may be uncomfortable, it is a quick and effective way to detect any abnormalities in the prostate. Discussing Results: If screening results raise concerns, you should engage in an open and honest conversation with your healthcare provider. A high PSA level or abnormal DRE may prompt further tests, such as a biopsy, to confirm the presence of cancer. Empowerment Through Knowledge Taking control of your health involves staying informed and being proactive. Heres how you can make the most of your prostate cancer screenings: Regular Screenings: You should adhere to your healthcare providers recommendations for regular prostate cancer screenings. These recommendations are based on factors such as your age, family history, and overall health. Open Communication: Establishing a strong rapport with your healthcare professionals fosters better understanding and allows you to ask questions or voice concerns about the screening process and potential treatment options. Lifestyle Choices: Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, can significantly reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer screenings in old men offer a crucial opportunity to detect potential health risks early and make informed decisions about their well-being. By prioritizing regular screenings and engaging in open communication with your provider, you can take charge of your health and increase your chances of a longer, healthier life. Remember, early detection through screenings is not just a medical practice; its a lifesaving act that empowers you to thrive in your golden years.
If youre one of the one billion people worldwide suffering from migraines, you know the difference between a migraine and a headache. Many use the words interchangeably, but they are by far anything but the same. Headaches can be unpleasant but are often short-lived. Whereas migraines, on the other hand, can be excruciating, debilitating, and linger on for long periods of time. Anything from weather to hormones can trigger a migraine. But did you know that your migraine may be a result of something to do with your teeth? Its true. There is actually a strong connection between dental issues and the onset of migraines. So, how can dental issues cause migraines? Read on to learn more about their relationship. What Is A Migraine?Before we dive right into what dental issues may be causing your migraines and why lets first discuss what exactly a migraine is. The Migraine Research Foundation emphasizes that a migraine is more than a powerful headache its a debilitating neurological disorder. Therefore, there are different symptoms and treatment approaches for migraines than other headache disorders. Symptoms vary by person but typically include: Severe or intense painPain may be on one side of the head or bothPain around the eyes and behind the cheeksThrobbing, pounding, or pulsating sensationPain gets worse with physical activity or any movementNausea and/or vomitingSensitivity to light, noise, and/or smellsPain prevents you from participating in regular, daily activities, such as workAttacks last anywhere from four hours to several days What Causes A Migraine?Many factors ranging from environmental to lifestyle, can trigger a migraine attack. One of the most common causes of migraines is genetics. If you have a family history of migraines, you are more likely to experience them yourself. Research has found that up to 80 percent of people with migraines have a family history of the condition. Hormonal changes are also believed to be a contributing factor to migraines. Women are more likely to experience migraines than men, and many women report that their migraines are linked to their menstrual cycles and/or menopause. Other potential triggers of migraines include stress, certain foods or drinks (such as alcohol or caffeine), and changes in sleep patterns. It is important to note that not everyone who experiences these triggers will develop migraines, and not everyone who experiences migraines will have the same triggers. Sometimes, your dental pain may even be mistaken for a migraine. When this occurs, its called referred pain. The Migraine-Tooth ConnectionReferred pain means that you feel a painful sensation in a different area of your body than the body part thats actually causing the pain. This occurs because of nerve connections, including from the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve is a cranial nerve responsible for controlling facial and eye movements and providing feeling to most of your face. Studies have linked the trigeminal nerve to the development of migraines. Orofacial refers to your head, neck, and oral cavity. All of those regions are closely connected and directly affect each other. One of the connections between your orofacial regions is the trigeminal nerve. Several orofacial conditions can trigger a migraine due to the trigeminal nerve connection. These conditions include: ToothacheA simple toothache caused by any number of dental issues, including untreated cavities, cracked teeth, or impacted wisdom teeth, can irritate the trigeminal nerve. This can lead to a migraine as the nerve can evoke intense sharp pains. BruxismBruxism or teeth grinding is a common culprit of a migraine. Often caused by stress or misaligned teeth, the act of grinding or clenching your teeth usually occurs at night and without you even realizing it. Headaches and migraines associated with bruxism typically cause a dull pain that wraps around the head and is also felt behind the eyes. A sore and tight jaw are also symptoms you may be grinding your teeth. In addition, the continuous grinding can cause nerve damage and irritation, thus radiating pain throughout your face and head. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, results when the ball and socket joint connecting your upper and lower jaw doesnt function correctly. The pain usually starts near the ear and moves toward the jaw, temple, or neck. Sometimes you can hear a popping sound when opening and closing your mouth; other times, your jaw may feel completely stuck. Alleviate Migraine Pain With Treatment And PreventionMigraines are no doubt painful and debilitating. For temporary relief, you should take an over-the-counter pain reliever and ensure you get enough sleep and drink enough water. If you suffer from migraines, discuss your symptoms with your provider in addition to your dentist if you think it could be related to your teeth. Tooth pain, jaw pain, and headaches are all types of pain that you should speak to your healthcare provider about, as they could trigger a migraine. Never just ignore pain, as its your body informing you something is going on and needs to be addressed. It may be helpful to keep a migraine diary to track your symptoms and identify any potential triggers that may be contributing to your condition. This information can prove helpful for your provider when determining a cause and treatment plan
We take our lungs for granted. They keep us alive, and we really dont have to give them much thought. Sure, we know we need oxygen to survive, but it isnt something we think about daily or even regularly. It just kind of happens on its own.Our body uses its own defense system to keep our lungs free of dirt, healthy, and functioning properly. And it usually isnt until we start to have difficulty breathing that we really pay them any attention. Our lungs are critical to our overall health. This is why we need to prioritize lung health and do all we can to keep them healthy.Aging LungsAfter about the age of 35, its normal for lung function to decline gradually with age. Just like other parts of our body, our lungs also change. This can include our diaphragm getting weaker and our lung tissue losing elasticity, causing our airways to become smaller. Another change can include our rib cage bones getting smaller, leaving less room for our lungs to expand. These changes affect lung capacity and can make breathing slightly more difficult as we get older.Lung disease also becomes more prominent as we age, making it even more important that we do our part to keep our lungs strong and healthy. Establishing these lifestyle habits can promote healthy lungs and help you breathe with ease throughout your lifetime.Quit Smoking Right NowProbably the most important thing you can do for your lungs is to abstain from smoking. If you currently smoke, stop now! And if you dont smoke, dont start! Smoking cigarettes is the number one cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Smoking leads to chronic inflammation and swelling of the lungs, which leads to chronic bronchitis. Smoking destroys lung tissue and triggers changes that can develop into cancer. Its never too late to quit smoking. Quitting usually takes several attempts. So, if you try and dont succeed the first time, dont give up on yourself. Its definitely worth it. By not smoking, you can lessen your risk for other chronic conditions, such as heart disease and stroke.Exercise, Exercise, ExerciseExercise and being physical are important for building muscle and keeping your body in shape, but its also important for strengthening your lungs and heart. Exercise is one of the best habits you can establish for healthy lungs. When you exercise, your lungs and heart work together to bring in oxygen and deliver it to the muscles being used. This improves circulation and strengthens tissue around the lungs. Aerobic exercise, like walking, running, or swimming, helps to exercise your lungs so they function more efficiently. Muscle-strengthening activities, such as weight lifting, build core strength, which helps to improve posture and breathing muscles, including your diaphragm.Prevent InfectionOver the past couple of years, weve learned a lot about how dangerous infections can be to our lungs. They can severely impact the function and capacity of even the healthiest lungs. Those who already suffer from lung disease, in addition to the senior population, are at a greater risk for infections.There are several things you can do to protect yourself from infections. The best way to prevent lung infections is to keep your hands clean. You should wash your hands often with warm soap and water. This helps to prevent the transfer of germs. You should also avoid crowds during cold and flu season. Getting vaccinated against influenza can help when youre out and about and in contact with other people. In addition, drinking lots of water and eating nutritious foods, like fruits and vegetables, can boost your immune system, helping to ward off infections.Avoid Exposure To PollutantsThe air quality indoors and outdoors can significantly affect the health of your lungs. You should try to avoid air pollutants, such as secondhand smoke, chemicals, and car exhaust, as much as possible. These are all toxic and can damage your lungs.Try not to go outside during peak air pollution times. You can check what the air quality currently is in your area and plan accordingly. If you exercise outdoors, avoid places where there is heavy traffic.When youre inside, open windows frequently to help with ventilation. Also, keep your house as clean as possible using natural cleaning products to prevent mold, dust, and pet dander. These irritants can get into your lungs and cause complications.Get Regular CheckupsThe best way to treat lung disease is through prevention. Regular checkups help to prevent and catch early signs of diseases and complications. Lung disease often goes undetected until it becomes serious. Even if you are feeling well, its important to have check-ups where your provider listens to your breathing and checks for any possible concerns. If caught early, your chances for recovery from lung disease, including cancer, are much greater.Dont wait until its too late. Adopting these habits for healthy lungs can help keep your lungs functioning in tip-top shape. And if you have any degree of difficulty breathing, discuss your symptoms with your provider. The more you and your provider work together, the better your care and outcome will be.
Chronic illnesses represent a significant healthcare challenge, affecting millions of Americans and contributing to a substantial portion of healthcare costs. With 85 percent of Americans over 65 years of age having at least one chronic health condition and 60 percent having at least two chronic conditions, Medicare introduced the Chronic Care Management (CCM) service to help address the healthcare challenge.This initiative aims to improve the quality of care for individuals with chronic conditions by offering enhanced care coordination and management in primary care clinics. This service is offered to patients through Medicare and coordinated by their primary care provider. Lets explore the benefits and impact of Medicares CCM service on patients wellness.What Is A Chronic Disease?Chronic diseases are conditions that last one year or more and require ongoing medical care. This includes heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. In most cases, chronic conditions can be controlled but not cured.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 90 percent of all healthcare costs in the U.S. go toward treating chronic disease and mental health. Thats roughly $3.7 trillion a year. This is why, in 2015, Medicare introduced a new service, Chronic Care Management, that provides comprehensive, coordinated care to patients, helping them manage their conditions.Understanding Chronic Care ManagementChronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension, require continuous and coordinated care. Medicares CCM service was established to address the fragmented care often experienced by patients with multiple chronic conditions. This service provides eligible patients with a dedicated care team that collaborates to manage their conditions effectively.With Medicares Chronic Care Management service, patients receive a personalized care plan outlining their health goals and strategies to achieve them. They have 24/7 access to this care team, ensuring quick responses to any health concerns they may have.The coordinated care team consists of primary care providers, specialists, labs, and other healthcare providers. This care coordination helps to ensure seamless treatment. They also work together to manage medications by reviewing and adjusting as needed to reduce the risk of adverse drug interactions.One of the most important aspects of Medicares Chronic Care Management service is its monitoring of health data. Patients vital signs and health data are regularly monitored, allowing early intervention and prevention of complications.Benefits For PatientsThere are many reasons why a patient with chronic conditions should consider enrolling in Medicares CCM service. More than anything, it enhances most patients quality of life. The program empowers patients to take control of their health and manage their chronic conditions more effectively, leading to a better quality of life.Most patients experience improved health outcomes. Regular monitoring and prompt interventions help prevent disease exacerbation and complications, reducing hospitalizations and emergency room visits. By preventing hospitalizations and emergency room visits, CCM can significantly reduce patient healthcare costs.In addition, regular monitoring helps ensure that patients are receiving the proper individualized care specific to their needs. No two patients are the same, and fostering a patient-centric approach to healthcare has proven to provide better health outcomes. Just having the peace of mind knowing they have a dedicated care team always available to them helps patients along their healthcare journey.Patients with chronic conditions often have multiple providers caring for them. CCM facilitates better communication and coordination among healthcare professionals, resulting in more efficient care delivery.Working Together To Achieve Better HealthMedicares Chronic Care Management service in primary care clinics represents a significant step toward improving the management of chronic conditions in the United States. By providing patients with enhanced care coordination and access to a dedicated care team, CCM is not only improving the quality of life for those with chronic illnesses but also reducing healthcare costs and burden on the system. As awareness and implementation continue to grow, we can expect to see even more positive outcomes for both patients and healthcare providers.If you suffer from multiple chronic conditions, talk with your VIPcare primary care provider about Chronic Care Management and see if you might be eligible and can benefit from this Medicare-approved program.
Your smile speaks volumes, even before you say a single word. It doesnt just express your emotions or reveal your pearly whites. It showcases your health. And not just your oral health but your overall health.Did you know that even your dentist can detect signs of health maladies such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer just by looking in your mouth? Oral health is a window to your overall health.Whats going on in your mouth can seriously correlate to the rest of your body.How Oral Hygiene Affects More Than Your SmileFrom a young age, were taught the importance of good oral hygiene brush twice a day, floss between your teeth daily, and visit your dentist every six months for a professional cleaning. Tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, and tooth loss can all result from poor oral hygiene.Underlying conditions and certain medications can also cause oral disease. Thats why a good oral hygiene routine is important for keeping further complications at bay.However, its not always just your teeth, gums, and overall appearance that suffer from poor oral hygiene. Depending on the severity, it could be life-threatening. More and more studies are finding a direct link between bad oral hygiene and major diseases, including oral cancer.The Larger Effect Of Poor Dental HygieneOral cancer is not a rare disease. Its one of the most highly prevalent cancers worldwide. According to the American Cancer Society, roughly 54,010 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year alone. And sadly, 10,850 will succumb to the disease.Oral cancer refers to cancer that develops on the lips, other parts of the mouth, and the oropharynx (part of the throat at the back of the mouth). It occurs when cells within the mouth begin to grow out of control and become abnormal. These abnormal cells start to attack the healthy cells and cause mutations that result in possible tumors or tissue damage.Its unclear what the exact cause of oral cancer is, but conditions such as gingivitis (gum disease), cavities, and loose or missing teeth have been found to contribute to the development.So, whats the link to oral hygiene?Bacteria The Good, Bad, And UglyResearch has found that bacteria resulting from poor oral hygiene could be a significant culprit to types of oral cancer. Your mouth contains about 700 microbes, or germs, such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Gross, right?! However, not all microbes are harmful. There is good bacteria that helps with digestion and fights off harmful germs, and then there is bad bacteria that can wreak havoc on your entire body.Your mouth is a gateway not only to your digestive tract but also to your respiratory tract. Every single day, you are constantly swallowing bacteria that travels into your gut and throughout your body. Bacteria can also creep into your bloodstream with transportation via your gums.Every time you eat, brush, and floss, you push germs into your gum tissue. That doesnt mean stop brushing and flossing. It just means that if your gums are tender, inflamed, or recessed due to gum disease or another periodontal disease, its only opening the door further to harmful bacteria.Other contributing risk factors for oral cancer include:HPV (human papillomavirus) InfectionAge (average age of most people diagnosed with oral cancer is 63)Gender (more than twice as common in men as in women)Family history of cancerTobacco useAlcohol consumptionHow To Prevent Oral CancerWhen it comes to oral cancer, prevention is key, which means lowering your risk factors. Although oral hygiene is not the sole contributor to oral cancer, its one factor you can control. Its imperative, especially with age, to continue to take good care of your teeth, gums, and mouth. As we age, our teeth can weaken and experience wear and tear, which makes us more susceptible to other issues.Ceasing or limiting tobacco and alcohol consumption is another risk factor you have control over. Moderation is always best if you choose not to stop consumption and use altogether.Dont skip your dental exams. By visiting your dentist for regular checkups, they can keep an eye out for any possible changes or symptoms occurring in your mouth. Its also important to note if you see any changes between your scheduled dental appointments.Contact your dentist and primary care provider if you notice any of the following oral cancer symptoms:Mouth sores that wont healWhite or red patches on the gums or elsewhere in the mouthChanges in the fit of your dentures or implantsLoose or shifting teethDifficulty swallowing or chewingA lump or mass in the back of the throatMouth swelling or painAny of these oral cancer symptoms can be a red flag and can help to detect abnormal cells before they develop into cancer. These are signs you dont want to ignore or pass off as being something else.Diagnosing Oral Cancer With Oral ScreeningAlong with prevention, early detection is vital for oral cancer. Currently, 63% of oral cancer diagnoses are found in late stages (stage III, IV), resulting in a 5-year survival rate of less than 50%. The 5-year oral cancer survival rate increases to 80-90% when detected early.During your 6-month dental exam, you should ask your dentist to perform an oral cancer screening. This is a simple visual exam where your dentist looks for any signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in your mouth. They will also feel oral tissues for any possible lumps or growths.In addition to a clinical exam, some dentists now use supplemental methods for detecting abnormal areas.According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, oral cancer claims the life of one American every single hour. Catching oral cancer early can prevent you or a loved one from becoming a statistic.The thought of oral cancer is scary, but by having regular oral cancer screenings, you can feel at ease knowing you are taking control of your oral health and overall well-being.
As we age, it becomes increasingly important to take care of our health and well-being. One way you can ensure you do just that is by finding a primary care physician who specializes in treating seniors. Senior-focused primary care offers a range of benefits that can help older adults, such as yourself, lead happier, healthier lives.Care Tailored To Your NeedsOne of the key benefits of senior-focused primary care is that it is tailored to the unique needs of older adults. Think about it. We take children to pediatricians who specialize in treatment specifically for them, so why wouldnt older adults go to a specialized doctor as well?As we age, our bodies and health concerns change and a primary care physician who specializes in treating seniors will be better equipped to address these changes. They will understand the specific health issues that seniors face, such as chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis, and will be able to provide more effective treatments and care.Focus On PreventionAnother advantage of senior-focused primary care is that it focuses on prevention. Preventative care is essential for older adults, as it can help detect health issues before they become serious and require more extensive treatment. Senior-focused primary care physicians will work with patients to develop a personalized prevention plan that addresses their specific health needs and concerns. This not only helps you achieve Better Health, but it will also help you save on healthcare costs.Provides Care CoordinationIn addition to providing specialized care and preventive services, senior-focused primary care physicians also offer comprehensive care coordination. This means that they will work with other healthcare providers to ensure that seniors receive the best possible care. They will also help patients navigate the healthcare system, providing guidance and support as needed.Achieve Better Health With Senior-Focused CareSenior-focused primary care is an important aspect of maintaining good health and well-being as we age. By working with a primary care physician who specializes in treating seniors, you can receive the personalized, comprehensive care you need to stay healthy and active for years to come.VIPcare specializes in providing primary care for seniors. We take a comprehensive approach that focuses on prevention and maintenance to help you achieve Better Health. Learn how VIPcare can help you live a happier and healthier life. Call 866-926-3831.
We all know that getting a good nights rest is important. It helps keep our immune system healthy and allows us to function properly throughout the day. However, weve all experienced those days after either a late night or a restless night in bed where we dont feel as sharp, and our brain is a little foggy.Sometimes that sleep debt, or the total amount of sleep lost due to poor sleep, can be harder to make up than you think. And in addition, that sleep deprivation might be having serious effects on the brain and could be doing unrepairable damage. Just as the rest of our body needs sleep to stay healthy, so does our brain.What Is Sleep Deprivation?Simply put, sleep deprivation is when you do not get enough sleep. The number of hours of sleep a person needs varies from person to person. However, most adults require seven to nine hours of good-quality sleep every night.Sleep deprivation occurs when you dont get that many hours, whether due to an underlying health condition or another extenuating circumstance, such as work or stress. There are two main types of sleep deprivation: acute sleep deprivation and chronic sleep deprivation.Acute sleep deprivation is when there is a short-term interruption in your sleep. For example, if you stay up late binge-watching your favorite television show, that is considered acute sleep deprivation. Chronic sleep deprivation occurs when you suffer from inadequate sleep for a prolonged period weeks, months, or even years.Symptoms Of Sleep DeprivationThe most significant telltale sign that youre sleep deprived is the overwhelming feeling of exhaustion and fatigue. If youre struggling to stay awake or are having difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly, theres a good chance youre not getting enough sleep.Other symptoms include:Diminished sex driveIrritabilityFatigueMemory issuesDepressionLack of motivationPoor judgmentIf youre experiencing any of these signs of sleep deprivation, you should have an honest conversation with your provider. Your symptoms could just be related to lack of sleep, or they could be signaling youre suffering from an underlying health condition.Its important that you address your sleep deprivation to prevent long-term damage. Because regardless if your sleep deprivation is acute or chronic, its affecting your brain and quality of life.How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your BrainSleep is vital for the health of your brain. Without good sleep, you cant focus or learn properly, as poor sleep affects a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is key for making new memories. Lack of sleep also drops your ability to learn new things by 40 percent.Contrary to what you may believe, your brain is still very much active when youre asleep. Its during your slumber when brain waves are produced that help transfer memories from the hippocampus to the prefrontal cortex-where long-term memories are stored.In addition to storing and making memories, research has found that sleep, particularly deep sleep when youre not dreaming, is integral in reducing your risk of Alzheimers. Poor sleep is a hallmark of Alzheimers disease in that during your deep sleep stage (non-REM), your brain is busy cleansing and washing away toxins and waste that have formed throughout the day. And one of those wastes is beta-amyloid a precursor protein that is known to contribute to the onset of Alzheimers.So, with that theory, if you dont get enough sleep, your brain will accumulate more and more beta-amyloid until a plaque is formed. In a brain with Alzheimers, abnormal levels of plaque begin to collect between neurons and disrupt cell function, thus leading to memory loss and dementia.Give Your Brain The Sleep It NeedsTheres no way around it. Sleep is essential to brain health. And its important to note that the sleep debt you build up now may not be able to be paid back later. Sleep deprivation can ultimately come with some costly effects on your brain. So you have to do all you can now to protect your brain and health for the future.You can accomplish this by establishing a good sleep schedule and nightly routine that promotes a healthy sleeping environment. For example, dont sleep with lights on or lights in the dark, such as a nightlight or a clock light, that will distract you and keep you from sleeping. Instead, create an environment conducive to a good nights rest. Because quality is just as important as quantity when it comes to sleep!
As the crisp autumn air settles and the days seem to get a little shorter, were reminded that the end of Daylight Saving Time is just around the corner. For many of us, gaining an extra hour of sleep sounds like a dream come true, but for seniors, adjusting to this shift in time can be a bit more challenging. Here are some helpful tips to assist seniors in adapting to the fall time change while maintaining their health and well-being.Make Gradual AdjustmentsOne of the simplest ways to cope with the end of Daylight Saving Time is to start making gradual adjustments to your daily routine a few days before the clock changes. Try going to bed and waking up 15 minutes earlier each day, moving closer to the new schedule. By the time the time change arrives, your body will have already begun to adapt, making the transition a little bit smoother.Maximize Natural LightExposure to natural light plays a crucial role in regulating our internal clocks. You can benefit from spending time outdoors during daylight hours. Take morning walks, enjoy a cup of tea on the porch, or simply sit by a window to soak in the natural light. This helps reset your circadian rhythms and promotes better sleep. Studies also show it can help improve your overall attitude and mental state.Maintain A Consistent Sleep ScheduleThis is a big one. Seniors often thrive on routine, so maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is vital. Even when youre not dealing with Daylight Saving Time, you should try to go to bed and wake up at the same times every day, even on weekends. This practice helps stabilize your bodys internal clock and reduces the impact of the time change.Limit Caffeine And AlcoholCaffeine and alcohol can disrupt sleep patterns. And when you add in a time change, it just makes it that much harder to adjust. To help combat sleep disruptions due to caffeine or alcohol, limit your intake of these substances, especially in the afternoon and evening. Opting for herbal teas or warm milk before bedtime can be a soothing alternative.Create A Relaxing Bedtime RoutineWhat you do leading up to bedtime can have a real effect on your body and sleep. Establishing a relaxing bedtime routine will help to signal to your body that its time to wind down. Activities like reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing gentle stretching exercises can promote better sleep quality.Adjust Home LightingInvest in adjustable lighting solutions for the home. Dimmable lights and smart lighting systems can help you create a cozy and soothing atmosphere in the evening, making it easier to unwind and prepare for bedtime. To prevent disruption, keep lighted clocks and nightlights dimmed or away from the room.Stay Physically ActiveRegular physical activity can improve sleep quality and overall well-being. Engage in age-appropriate exercise routines during the day. However, avoiding vigorous physical activity too close to bedtime is essential, as it can be stimulating and counterproductive.Evaluate MedicationsCertain medications can affect sleep patterns. Consult your healthcare provider to discuss whether any medications you take need to be adjusted to accommodate the time change.Take Advantage Of The Early Morning LightThe end of Daylight Saving Time may seem like a minor inconvenience, but for seniors, it can disrupt their sleep patterns and daily routines. By following these tips and being mindful of your needs, adapting to the fall time change can be a breeze. The days may be getting shorter, but you can still make the most of these beautiful autumn days.
Medicare is a federal health insurance program that provides coverage to millions of seniors and individuals with disabilities. Since its inception in 1965, it has evolved into a multifaceted system with several complex and often confusing components. Each part covers specific healthcare needs. Lets break down the parts of Medicare and what all they entail.Part A: Hospital InsurancePart A is often referred to as hospital insurance. It primarily covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, home health services, and hospice care. When you first sign up for Medicare at the age of 65, youre usually automatically enrolled in Part A. To be eligible for Medicare, you or your spouse must have paid Medicare taxes while working. Part A coverage typically does not require a monthly premium if you or your spouse paid enough taxes during your working years.Key services covered under Part A include:Hospitalization: Coverage includes hospital stays, critical access hospitals, and inpatient care.Skilled Nursing Facility Care: Medicare covers skilled nursing care after a hospital stay.Home Health Services: Limited home health services are covered, such as skilled nursing care and therapy.Hospice Care: Part A covers hospice services for terminally ill patients.Part B: Medical InsurancePart B is known as medical insurance. It covers outpatient services and preventative care, including doctor visits, laboratory tests, medical equipment, and some preventative services. Unlike Part A, however, Part B does require a monthly premium, which the federal government sets but can vary based on your total income.Key services covered under Part B include:Doctor Visits: Coverage includes visits to physicians, specialists, and other healthcare providers.Outpatient Services: Part B covers outpatient surgery, medical tests, and preventive services.Durable Medical Equipment (DME): This includes items like wheelchairs, walkers, and oxygen equipment.Ambulance Services: Emergency and non-emergency transportation when necessary.Preventative Services: Many preventative screenings, like mammograms and prostate cancer screenings, are covered, as well as preventative services, such as vaccinations and Annual Wellness Visits.Part C: Medicare Advantage PlansPart C, also known as Medicare Advantage (MA), is an alternative to traditional coverage. It allows beneficiaries to receive their Part A and Part B benefits through private insurance companies that contract with Medicare. Its almost like a two-in-one plan. But in addition to having Part A and B benefits, MA often includes prescription drug coverage (Part D) and may offer additional benefits like dental, vision, and fitness programs. MA plans usually have their own costs, such as premiums and copayments, in addition to the Part B premium. However, many Medicare Advantage plans have a $0 or lower monthly premium as well as a limit on out-of-pocket costs, helping to control your healthcare spending.Key Features of Medicare Advantage Part C:Comprehensive Coverage: Medicare Advantage plans may offer a broader range of services than Original Medicare.Prescription Drug Coverage: Many Part C plans include Part D prescription drug coverage.Additional Benefits: Some plans provide extra services like dental, vision, and hearing care.Simplicity of One Plan: All healthcare needs are covered under one plan.Part D: Prescription Drug CoveragePart D is a standalone prescription drug plan that helps cover the costs of prescription medications. These plans are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. You must enroll in this plan separately if you receive Original Medicare. Part D coverage requires a monthly premium, which varies depending on your chosen plan.Key Features of Part D:Medication Coverage: Part D plans cover a wide range of prescription drugs, including brand-name and generic medications.Formulary: Each plan has a formulary, which is a list of covered drugs.Cost-Sharing: Beneficiaries pay copayments or coinsurance for prescription drugs in addition to the monthly premium.Coverage Gap: There is a coverage gap, often called the donut hole, which has specific cost-sharing requirements.Medigap (Supplemental) PlansMedicare Supplement Insurance, commonly known as Medigap, is a type of private insurance that helps cover the out-of-pocket costs associated with Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). These plans fill the gaps in coverage left by Medicare, such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.Key features of Medigap include:Cost Reduction: Medigap plans help reduce or eliminate your out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare-covered services.Standardized Plans: There are several standardized Medigap plans labeled by letters (e.g., Plan F, Plan G), each offering different levels of coverage.Guaranteed Issue Rights: There are specific enrollment periods and guaranteed issue rights to sign up for Medigap plans without medical underwriting.Get The Medicare Coverage You Need And DeserveUnderstanding the different parts of Medicare, including Part A, Part B, Part C (Medicare Advantage), Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage), and Medigap plans, is crucial for making informed healthcare decisions. Its important that you understand what your options are and what exactly they will provide you. Your health is a priority, and by exploring the specifics of each part, you can choose the coverage that best meets your unique healthcare needs.
Neuropathy is a condition that affects the peripheral nervous system. It can have a profound impact on your quality of life. Characterized by nerve damage, neuropathy can show up in various ways. Its crucial that you take note of symptoms and seek timely medical attention so the condition can be managed effectively. Here are some of the most common warning signs of neuropathy and how you should address them. Understanding NeuropathyNeuropathy, often referred to as peripheral neuropathy, is a term used to describe a group of disorders that result from damage to the peripheral nerves. These nerves are responsible for transmitting signals between the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and the rest of the body, including the limbs, skin, and internal organs. When these nerves are damaged, they send abnormal signals to the brain, leading to a wide range of symptoms. The leading cause of neuropathy is diabetes. Poorly managed diabetes (blood sugar) accounts for roughly 60 percent of the total number of people with neuropathy. Most of the patients develop symptoms after 10 years of being diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, said VIPcare primary care provider Dr. Richard Santiago. All depends on how well the diabetes is controlled.Common Warning Signs Of NeuropathyNeuropathy can be displayed in a variety of ways and symptoms. This often leads to neuropathy being mistaken for some other condition, such as fibromyalgia. However, there are specific warning signs of neuropathy you should take notice of if present. Almost all the symptoms are on lower extremities, said Dr. Santiago. The symptoms that Im looking at are pain, burning sensation, tingling, numbness, and unbalance. Numbness and Tingling: One of the earliest and most common signs of neuropathy is a sensation of numbness or tingling, often described as a pins and needles feeling. This can occur in the hands, feet, arms, or legs.Burning Sensation: Individuals with neuropathy may experience a persistent burning or electric shock-like sensation in the affected areas.Loss of Sensation: As neuropathy progresses, some individuals may notice a decreased ability to feel temperature changes, pain, or touch in the affected areas.Muscle Weakness: Neuropathy can lead to muscle weakness or a feeling of heaviness in the limbs, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks.Balance Issues: Nerve damage can affect proprioception (the sense of body position), leading to balance problems and an increased risk of falls.Pain: Neuropathic pain can range from mild discomfort to severe shooting pain. It may be constant or intermittent and can significantly impact a persons daily life.Difficulty Walking: As neuropathy progresses, some individuals may experience difficulty walking or have an unsteady gait.Changes in Reflexes: Neuropathy can affect reflexes, leading to abnormally brisk or diminished responses.Sensitivity to Touch: Some individuals may become hypersensitive to touch, experiencing pain or discomfort even from gentle contact.Digestive Issues: Neuropathy can affect the nerves controlling the digestive system, leading to symptoms such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or difficulty swallowing.When To Seek Medical AttentionIf you experience any of the above warning signs of neuropathy, its essential to seek medical attention immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent further nerve damage and improve overall outcomes. Diagnosis And TreatmentDiagnosing neuropathy involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests such as nerve conduction studies and electromyography. Identifying the underlying cause of neuropathy is crucial for effective treatment. Treatment options may include:Medications: Depending on the cause and severity of neuropathy, providers may preseribe pain relievers, anticonvulsants, and antidepressants to manage symptoms.Physical Therapy: Physical therapy exercises can help improve muscle strength, balance, and coordination.Lifestyle Modifications: Lifestyle changes, including managing blood sugar levels (for diabetic neuropathy), maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding alcohol, can help slow the progression of neuropathy.Pain Management Techniques: Techniques such as acupuncture, massage, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) may provide relief from neuropathic pain.Underlying Condition Treatment: Addressing the underlying cause of neuropathy, such as diabetes or vitamin deficiencies, is essential to prevent further nerve damage. Its very important to start in the early stages of the diagnosis, said Dr. Santiago about neuropathy management. Keep A1c levels at seven or less. Fasting blood sugar at least at 130 mg/dl. Do exercise. Healthy diet. Keep a good weight and take B complex with folic acid. Also, its very important to keep regular follow up with your PCP. Neuropathy is a complex and often debilitating condition that can have a significant impact on your well-being. By recognizing the warning signs of neuropathy and seeking medical attention as soon as you develop symptoms, you can take proactive steps to manage the condition and improve your quality of life. Prevention and early intervention are key to better outcomes and Better Health. Contact your primary care provider for proper evaluation, diagnosis, and guidance on managing your neuropathy.
As we age, the number of pill bottles in the medicine cabinet just keeps growing, which makes medication management much more important. Even though people 65 and older make up only 12% of the population, they are responsible for 34% of overall prescription medication usage and 30% of over-the-counter medicine usage, according to Medscape.With such a large percentage of medication usage and a smaller proportion of the overall population, its not surprising that adverse drug events, or when someone is hurt by medicine, are a major problem. The CDC says those events lead to about 1.3 million emergency room visits every year. If youre in the group of people that have several prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, and vitamins or supplements to keep track of, its imperative that you start keeping a thorough record of all the medicines you are taking and when you take them. Heres why.The Dangers Of Medicine MistakesThe regular use of 5 or more medications, known as polypharmacy, can cause many different problems if not closely monitored. Increased Healthcare CostsThe increased cost comes at the expense of both the patient and the healthcare system as a whole. The obvious part of this is the simple fact that the more medications a patient takes, the more that person is spending on medications. The less obvious aspect is more of a snowball effect. Heres the scenario:You, the patient, end up going to the emergency room for an issue caused by your medication. You get treated at the emergency room, but your case is severe enough that you have to be admitted to the hospital for a day or two. Just mistakenly taking an extra dose of one of your prescriptions ended with potentially thousands of dollars worth of medical bills.Adverse Drug Events (ADE)An ADE is when you have a reaction to a medicine or combination of medicines that result in harm. This could be caused by things like accidentally taking an extra dose of one medicine or having a reaction from taking multiple medications at the same time. Adults who are advanced in age have a higher risk of drug interaction because people who live longer suffer from more health conditions to manage, which leads to more drug therapy.An ADE could also be caused by non-adherence. Thats to say, it could be brought on by not taking your prescription as directed or continuing to take it after your doctor or pharmacist advises you to stop using it.FallsSome medications can make you more prone to falling down, which is associated with injury and sometimes death in seniors. Studies show that as the number of medications a patient takes goes up, the risk of experiencing falls goes up, too.Tracking Your MedicationsIt will take a little bit of work up front, but making sure youre taking your medications at the right times of day, not taking them too often, and not taking medicines that arent supposed to be mixed will make it less likely you experience an adverse drug event.Before Taking A New MedicationHave a thorough discussion with your healthcare provider before you start taking something new. Youll need to talk through all your symptoms, allergies, or other problems you may be having to make sure youre getting the right prescription. This is the part where youll mention any other medications you take regularly. It will help your physician confirm there wont be any adverse reactions among them. Here are some questions you should ask the doctor:What is the name of the medicine and why am I taking it?How often should I take it, and how much do I take?How long will this medicine work, and will it cause problems with any of my other medications?Is it safe to drive while taking this?Are there any side effects?What should I do if I forget to take my medicine?Ways To Track ThemThere are several things youll need to do to track what youre taking. Start by making a list of all the medications youre taking. You can use a simple worksheet to ensure youve got the correct name of the medicine along with all of the pertinent information about it, such as pill size/shape/color, the dosage, and how often youre supposed to take it.When it comes to keeping up with the daily regimen, using a simple pill dispenser could be all you need. Using the dispenser will take out that moment of doubt when you ask yourself, wait, did I take that pill today? Its also a good way for a family member or caretaker to help you stick to your medication regimen. You can even get automated dispensers, too.Theres also the option of pill packs. This service will allow you to receive all your medications in a special packet, all separated by the time of day youre supposed to take them. This would be the most convenient way to do things, and its a great option if youre worried about filling up a pill dispenser incorrectly on your own.Using your medication worksheet in conjunction with a pill dispenser or pill packets will have you on autopilot when it comes to medicine tracking.As a backup, you should create a file and keep all of the paperwork that comes with your prescriptions. Keep it somewhere easily accessible just in case you need to look them over for any reason.Make Things Easier And SaferTaking medicines safely will eliminate one of the common reasons older adults end up in the emergency room. Medication management will help keep you safe, and it will make your life a little easier by having all your daily pills divvied up ahead of time.Be sure youre following all the instructions of the medicine labels and taking them as directed. If you start experiencing any problems, call your doctor right away. There may be another medication you can take or some other tweak to your treatment plan.Patients and caregivers can talk to a doctor or pharmacist about why they are prescribing medication or make use of any medication management services that might be available.
Breast cancer is a challenging and scary health issue, affecting millions of lives worldwide each year. In seniors, the stakes can be even higher due to their increased vulnerability. However, like we always say at VIPcare, early detection remains your number one weapon against this disease. Recognizing early signs of breast cancer in seniors is vital to treatment and survival. There is a 100 percent survival rate of five years when caught early.Every two minutes, a woman in the U.S. is diagnosed with breast cancer. It is the most common cancer among women worldwide, regardless of age. In fact, age is one of the most significant risk factors for breast cancer in women. Roughly two out of three invasive breast cancers are found in women 55 or older. This, alone, poses its own sets of challenges. Seniors, in particular, face unique challenges when it comes to diagnosis and treatment. Our aging bodies may not respond as well to treatment, making early detection much more crucial.Here are some of the early signs of breast cancer in seniors that, if caught early, could just save your life.Early Signs Of Breast Cancer In Seniors Changes In Breast TissueOne of the earliest signs of breast cancer in seniors is a change in breast tissue. While aging can naturally alter breast tissue, seniors should remain vigilant in watching for any noticeable changes such as lumps, thickening, or changes in size and shape.You may feel embarrassed or hesitant to discuss these changes if you notice them. However, its essential to have open and honest communication with your provider. VIPcare is a safe, non-judgmental space for you to express your concerns.Unexplained Pain Or DiscomfortBreast cancer can sometimes manifest as pain or discomfort in the breast or nipple. It can be easy to quickly attribute such discomfort to aging, but persistent or unexplained pain should never be ignored.Dont downplay your discomfort or dismiss it as a minor issue. Seek medical advice right away to determine what is causing your pain.Nipple ChangesChanges in the nipple, such as inversion or unusual discharge, can be early signs of breast cancer in seniors. You should be aware of these subtle changes and report them promptly to your healthcare provider. Its important not to panic and not fear the worst if you notice any of these types of changes. By seeking medical advice early, it can significantly impact your outcome.Skin AbnormalitiesSkin changes in the breast area, including redness, dimpling, or puckering, can also be a sign of breast cancer. Its easy to overlook such skin abnormalities or pass them off for something else, but you should always discuss them with your provider. Even if it turns out to be nothing more than an innocent rash, its still better to be safe than sorry.Swelling In The Armpit Or CollarboneLymph nodes in the armpit or collarbone can become enlarged if breast cancer has spread. Seniors should be vigilant for any swelling in these areas. Again, if you notice this particular sign, dont panic. Schedule an appointment with your provider to assess. Its easy to become overwhelmed by the possibility of cancer, but you need to stay calm and collected to make rational and informed decisions.Recognizing early signs of breast cancer in seniors is crucial in ensuring your treatment and overall wellness. By fostering open communication and active listening with your provider, you can increase your chances of early detection and successful treatment.Ultimately, early detection offers seniors a fighting chance against breast cancer. In addition to watching and checking for early signs of breast cancer, you should continue to receive annual mammograms to ensure early diagnosis, improved treatment options, and better outcomes.
It Is Time To Take Charge Of Your Health!Health tests and exams are very important as slight prevention can go a long way. Through these tests, you will be able to find problems even before they arise or find medical complications in their early stages when the chances for treatment are doubtlessly better. With screenings, treatments, and health services, you will improve your chance to live a healthier and longer life, so do not neglect the need to consider a physical examination.What Is A Wellness Exam?Once you have had Medicare Plan B for 12 months or more, you are an eligible candidate for an annual wellness visit. The point of the Medicare annual wellness visit is to keep you in good health and reduce your overall medical costs through assessment of risk factors and early detection of diseases. The difference between a general wellness exam and a problem-oriented visit is the latter visits are used to diagnose a current health problem. A wellness exam is used to diagnose a problem in its early stage. The problem visits are done by request of the patient because they have some type of health issues and want to find out the cause. For instance, if you want to have a test because you are having certain problems, that is diagnostic care. If your doctor wants you to do a specific test due to your family history, that is preventive care.After you complete a health risk assessment, your doctor will create your personalized prevention plan. Based on your current health, this plan will improve your engagement, help you prevent illness, and promote preventive healthcare.The annual wellness exam helps in drawing a picture of how healthy you are and creating directions for future care.Is An Annual Wellness Exam The Same As An Annual Physical Exam?An annual physical exam is more extensive than a wellness exam. The annual wellness exam includes only the health assessment. It does not involve routine measurements where the doctor physically examines you.In addition to the aforementioned services that are included in the wellness exam, the physical exam also includes services such as a check of your reflexes, a head and neck exam, neurological exam, abdominal exam, lung exam, and a vital signs check.What Is Done At A Wellness Exam?Before your appointment, you will be asked to answer a questionnaire about your health, called Health Risk Assessment. The questionnaire should not take you more than 20 minutes to complete. The answers will provide your doctor with important information that will be discussed during your annual wellness exam. At this phase, the doctor will also collect information about psychosocial risks, behavioral risks, self-assessment of health, demographics, and activities of daily living like walking, bathing, and medication management.During the exam, the doctor will review your medical and family history through:Medical events of your children, parents, siblings including diseases that place you at increased risk or diseases that are hereditaryPast medical history including allergies, injuries, treatments, operations, hospitalizations, and illnessesCurrent medications and supplements you are takingYour doctor will ask questions about your weight, height, blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), and discuss your health choices and current lifestyle. The visit may also include different types of screening depending on your gender, risk, and age. At the end of the exam, the doctor will develop or update a list of current prescriptions and providers. Your physician will also create a list of risk factors and treatment options and offer you personalized health advice.To your annual wellness exam, you should bring:Medicare card or another insurance cardYour Medical recordsYour familys medical recordsA list of your health care providersA list of medications and supplements you takeHow Much Does A Wellness Exam Cost?If you have had Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) for longer than 12 months, you get an annual wellness visit once every 12 months. However, you may have to pay coinsurance if your doctor does some additional tests during your visit. Some tests are not covered under the preventive benefits.Medicare also covers some other preventive services like flu shots, bone density measurement, and preventive cancer screenings at no cost.Schedule Your Wellness Exam At VIPcare!Use your annual wellness exam to gain more focus on your physical and mental health and overall well-being. Most insurance plans fully cover the wellness exam, so these services may be available to you free of charge.You will get more time to take advantage of your benefits if you schedule the annual wellness visit early. The sooner you know what kind of treatment you need, the sooner you can start minimizing your expenses.Schedule an appointment for a wellness exam with our doctors at VIPcare, and make the most out of your one-on-one visit with our doctors.