Improving Your Health

5 Interesting Facts About Vision Therapy

Vision therapy has been shown to be an effective form of treatment for those with strabismus, amblyopia, eye movement disorders, binocular vision deficits, focusing disorders, and even vision problems from a traumatic brain injury. If you’re considering vision therapy for you or your child, but you’re still on the fence about it all, here are five interesting facts about this treatment that will make you see it in a whole new light. Can Assist In The Treatment Of Learning Disabilities There are many children who struggle with learning on a daily basis due to vision problems. As a matter of fact, it’s been estimated that about 20% of all school-aged kids may be afflicted by a learning problem caused by vision deficits. Vision problems can make reading difficult, cause eye strain and headaches, and make sitting in the classroom and learning a painful struggle in which they become frustrated and want to give up. While vision therapy isn’t recommended as a sole treatment for a learning disability, if your child is suffering from visual perception problems, then incorporating this form of therapy with their overall treatment plan can help tremendously. Can Help Correct What Glasses Can’t Glasses work wonderfully for correcting certain vision problems. And if your eye doctor has prescribed them, you certainly should be wearing them. But there are certain things vision therapy can accomplish that glasses simply cannot. Your therapy will include the use of special instruments and tools that help your brain control your eye’s alignment, improve your ability to focus and track, and assist with visual processing. Many professionals use filters, prisms, and highly specialized optical and computerized devices to help you achieve your goal. Can Sometimes Be Used In Place Of Surgery 95% of the time, strabismus is due to a problem with the brain, not the muscles that control the eyes. What this means is that the brain, for whatever reason, is neglecting to control the muscles that surround the eye. This can usually be determined by covering the good eye and noting if the turned eye is able to move in all directions. Fortunately, vision therapy can be used in place of surgery when the eye is turned only part of the time, and success rates are about 80%. Additionally, if surgery was done in the past but didn’t fully correct the strabismus, and the patient is still experiencing an eye turn, vision […]

2 Key Features To Look Into When Choosing An Assisted Living Facility To Move To

If you can no longer drive and are living alone at home, you might find that it is hard to do the things you need to do and get to the places you need to go to. If you can relate, a move to an assisted living facility might be a wise move to make. Assisted living facilities offer freedom to residents, yet they also offer services that can be very useful to seniors that cannot drive or do all the things they need to do. If you are considering making a move like this, here are two important things to look into before you select a facility. The Services They Offer Assisted living facilities usually offer a large variety of different services, and the residents are usually free to choose which ones they would like to have based on their individual needs. Here are some of the services offered at most assisted living facilities, and you should choose a facility that offers the ones you need the most: Meals – If it is hard for you to get to the grocery store or prepare meals on your own, you should look for a facility that offers meals. These meals might be delivered to your room so you can eat alone, or you might have to go to a common area in the facility where you will eat with others. Therapy – For seniors that struggle with mobility issues from arthritis or anything else, finding an assisted living facility that offers on-site therapy services might be a good choice to make. On-site therapy would make it a lot easier for you to get the therapy you need, and this could help you feel better. Medication – If you experience problems with taking your medications properly, you should look for a facility that offers medication services. With this service, a nurse or aid would come to your room to give you your necessary medications each and every day. House cleaning and laundry services – When cleaning your own home becomes too hard to do, finding a center that offers house-cleaning services and laundry services is a good idea. You may only need one of these services or you may need them all, and you should look for the best facility for your needs by discussing these services with each facility you visit. Transportation Services A second very useful thing to look […]

5 Factors That Increase Your Risk Of Developing Skin Cancer

Eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, and visiting your doctor for routine exams are all necessary tasks to live a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, even when following these rules for a healthy life, you still may develop certain medical conditions. While surprising to learn, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. In some instances, skin cancer can lead to death, so proper understanding of this disease is imperative. Although treatment is possible, learning how to prevent skin cancer is smart. With this guide on surprising risk factors of skin cancer, you will have a better understanding on how to prevent this disease. You’re a Ginger Gingers, or individuals with red hair, are most likely to have skin that is light or fair. Unfortunately, a combination of red hair and light skin makes you more prone to developing skin cancer. Redheads have a decreased level of melanocortin 1 receptors. Also known as MC1Rs, these proteins protect the skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. MC1Rs are found in higher levels in people with darker hair and skin tones, so they will have more protection against UV rays and less risk of developing skin cancer. You’re a Smoker If you are a smoker, you probably know that this habit increases the risk of developing heart disease or lung cancer. However, smoking is also a common factor in the development of skin cancer. Scientists believe that smoking may damage the DNA in your skin, which can directly affect the development of your skin cells. Over time, this can lead to the growth of cancerous cells in the skin. Smoking can triple your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma, which is a common form of skin cancer. You’re a Commuter Commuting to work, school, or through town running errands will require you to spend more time inside your vehicle. Your face and neck will have a higher exposure to the sun through your vehicle’s windshield. Plus, your arms will be in direct sunlight if you prop them on the window’s ledge. Unless your vehicle’s windows offer specialized tint that protects you from the UV rays, an excessive amount of commuting is a factor that places you at risk of skin cancer. You’re a Dude A large majority of women place importance on their skincare routine, cleansing, moisturizing, and applying SPF protection to their skin. Unfortunately, most men do not make skincare a […]

3 Surprising Ways That Pregnancy Can Affect Your Eyes

When you get pregnant, you expect some things to change. For example, you probably expect to gain weight, crave strange food combinations, or feel sick in the morning. What you may not expect is to experience eye problems and vision changes. But pregnancy really is a full body experience, and that means that your eyes may be affected too. Take a look at a few of the surprising ways that pregnancy may affect your eyes. Your Contact Lenses Can Get Uncomfortable If you have been wearing contacts daily or occasionally for any length of time, you’re probably used to putting them in and wearing them without thinking much about it. So you may be surprised when one morning you discover that you’re having trouble putting your contacts in, or that they feel uncomfortable once you get them in. However, this is more common during pregnancy than you might think. There are a few reasons why your contacts may feel uncomfortable, or just more trouble than they’re worth, when you’re pregnant. For one thing, hormonal changes, especially around the end of the first trimester, can cause you to experience dry eye syndrome. If your eyes are dry and scratchy, the contacts may further irritate the situation. For another thing, the same swelling that makes your feet grow a bit during pregnancy may also make your eyes swell too, which changes their shape and can make your contact prescription a less-comfortable fit than it usually is. The good news is that these changes are almost always temporary. You may have to use extra eye drops or switch to glasses for awhile, but your eyes should return to normal within a few months of giving birth (although if you breastfeed, the symptoms may persist a little longer.) Your Vision May Get Blurry Even if you don’t wear contacts, or don’t notice a change in their fit, you may notice a change in your vision. The swelling that can affect how well your contacts fit can also affect how well you see. This is because the fluid buildup that causes the swelling actually changes the curvature of your eye. The result? Blurred vision. The blurry vision will probably be most noticeable at certain times of day – for example, if you notice that your hands or feet swell up at night, that’s probably when you’ll notice vision problem too. You probably don’t need a […]

Features To Look For When Selecting A Memory Care Facility For Your Parent That Has Alzheimer’s

If your parent’s Alzheimer’s is getting worse, your number one concern might be safety. As a person’s mind begins experiencing difficulties, the person may have trouble doing normal daily activities, and he or she might begin doing things that are abnormal or even dangerous. If you have these types of concerns, moving your parent to a memory care nursing home is probably the best decision you could make. As you begin looking for the right facility, here are several important factors to look for. 24-Hour Care For anyone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, 24-hour care is a necessity, and this is how most memory care facilities are. The difference is that you may run across assisted living facilities or nursing homes in your area that may not offer services 24 hours a day. As you compare these facilities, you will need to make sure that there are staff members working around the clock to provide care for your parent. This is the only way to make sure your parent is safe at all times. Locked Door System In addition, finding a facility that has a locked door system is also vital. People with Alzheimer’s tend to wander, and this can include wandering off outside if they have access to get out. A common system used in memory care facilities involves bracelets or ankle bracelets. One of these is placed on each resident in the facility, and when a person wearing one of these goes near an exit, the door will automatically lock to stop the person from leaving. This type of system is designed strictly to stop residents from leaving the facility, yet it offers freedom for them to walk around the hallways in the building. Therapy Options Therapy is something that comes in many forms, but one type that can be soothing and helpful for people with Alzheimer’s is music therapy. A person with Alzheimer’s might not remember his or her name, but there is a good chance the person will remember all the lyrics to a song he or she knew many years ago. Music therapy is designed for many purposes, but one purpose is to trigger memories like this. If your parent doesn’t know who you are but could sing you the lyrics of an entire song, it might put a smile on your face. In addition, some facilities offer other types of therapy too, and each type […]

What Every Parent Needs To Know About Strep Throat: Mono, Amoxicillin, Rash, And PANDAS

You are likely familiar with Murphy’s Law—if anything can go wrong, it will. And it usually happens at the worst time, such as when your child complains of a sore throat and has a fever, indicating strep throat, but the pediatrician’s office is closed. Fortunately, there are urgent care clinics available so you can get your little one the medical care they need. However, there are a few important things to understand if your child is treated for strep throat. Here’s what you need to know. Rule Out Mono & Avoid Amoxicillin Sometimes, healthcare professionals opt to give a clinical diagnosis for strep based on symptoms alone, without running tests to determine whether or not the symptoms are caused by a strep infection. However, a sore throat and fever are also symptoms of infectious mononucleosis, which is more commonly known as mono, and is determined by a blood test. Keep in mind that even if your child is given a clinical diagnosis for strep or the diagnosis is determined through a rapid antigen test or throat culture, you’ll also want to rule out mono as another cause of the symptoms if there’s a chance that your child has been exposed to it. If no mono test is ordered, be sure to ask the healthcare professional to prescribe an antibiotic other than Amoxicillin to your child. The reason for this is because Amoxicillin can cause a rash to develop when the person has mono. This rash, which is not an allergic reaction, would be bright red and in small patches. It would have defined edges and be extremely itchy. Since it’s not a true allergic reaction, antihistamines might help but may not entirely relieve the itching. Obviously, your child would have to discontinue the antibiotic, which would likely cause their strep infection to continue. If so, a return trip to the urgent care clinic would be necessary. This is why Amoxicillin should be avoided from the beginning.  Watch for Signs of PANDAS Another thing to be watchful for is pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections. Since that’s quite a mouthful, it’s shortened to PANDAS. This is a disorder that is caused by the autoimmune system attacking the brain’s molecules in addition to the strep bacteria itself. This happens because strep bacterium hide by transforming to look like a molecule in the body. The autoimmune response gets confused and attacks […]

Natural Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Relief – Adding Turmeric To Your Diet

If you have a chronic pain condition and a degenerative disease like rheumatoid arthritis, then you may have a fairly strict treatment regimen that you need to follow. If your antirheumatic drugs and your antinflammatory medications do not seem to reduce pain as well as they should, then you should start adding some natural pain relievers to your regimen to help control pain. Keep reading to learn about turmeric and how it can help you.  What Is Turmeric And How Can It Help? Turmeric is a popular Asian spice that has been used for centuries to add heat, flavor, and color to curry. The spice is often used in a wide range of other foods to add flavor as well, and it can be found in your local supermarket or Asian food store. Turmeric has a bright and unique yellow tone, which is created by an ingredient called curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to reduce inflammation in clinical trials, and it reduces the pain of certain conditions like ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, diabetic neuropathy, and rheumatoid arthritis. It reduces swelling by stopping the body from releasing enzymes that trigger inflammation. Curcumin may also block the neuron pathways throughout the body that tell the body to release inflammatory chemicals and proteins. This helps to reduce the unnecessary and harmful swelling that occurs around the joints when you have rheumatoid arthritis. Not only can this reduce your pain, but it can also cut down on the amount of cartilage that is damaged around the joints.  How Can You Add Turmeric To Your Diet? To add turmeric as a pain reliever and inflammation-reducing supplement, use the spice when cooking. Curcumin will add heat to dishes. The spice does not have a lot of taste, so you can add a tablespoon or more to soups, sauces, marinades, and dressings without noticing a huge difference in taste. You can use the spice as part of a rub for meat as well. Turmeric is also one of the ingredients in mustard, so adding mustard to your hamburgers and hot dogs is a good way to include the spice to your diet.  You can also create or purchase some South Asian, East Asian, and Indian foods that traditionally contain the spice. Any food dish that contains curry will have turmeric and so will a number of meat dishes. Turmeric is sometimes used to create sweet biscuits and cakes. Look for the telltale yellow color if you want to purchase […]

3 Physical Fitness Tips For Allergy And Asthma Sufferers

Living with allergies or asthma can make your life difficult at times, and one of the times when it seems most difficult is when you’re trying to get in shape. It’s tough to exercise outdoors if the pollen count is giving you a runny nose or making you wheeze, and it’s tough to exercise anywhere if physical activity triggers an asthma attack. However, you really shouldn’t allow allergies and asthma to stop you from living your life, and that includes getting in shape. Take a look at some tips that will help you stay physically fit without triggering an allergy or asthma attack. Know When There Are More Allergens in The Air If a treadmill doesn’t do it for you and you want to participate in an outdoor exercise like running or jogging, your best bet is to time the exercise appropriately. Pollen counts tend to rise and fall with the temperature, and people with severe outdoor allergies are often advised to stay indoors between the hours of 10am and 3pm. Time your run for early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when the temperatures are a bit lower and the pollen counts aren’t as high. Also, check the weather reports – if you see rain in the forecast, see if you can squeeze in a run as soon as the storm is over. After a storm is a great time to run if you have pollen allergies, because the rain washes away the pollen temporarily. Nighttime runs can also be a good option, unless you’re allergic to mold. Mold spores are more likely to be present in the air at night, so if you do have a mold allergy, plan on being inside once the sun goes down. Make Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs A Priority One of the most difficult things to deal with when you’re trying to get in shape is asthma, especially if you suffer from exercise-induced asthma (EIA). However, EIA doesn’t meant that you can never exercise at all. Many athletes suffer from asthma, including Olympic medalist and track star Jackie Joyner-Kersee. The first thing that you have to do is make sure that your asthma is controlled – you should be taking any medications as prescribed by your asthma specialist, and you should have your doctor’s OK to participate in strenuous exercise. If your asthma is well-controlled and you have your doctor’s blessing, the […]

4 Tips For Dealing With Foot Changes Due To Inflammatory Arthritis

Inflammatory arthritis can cause significant changes in the joints throughout your body, and your feet are no exception. Since your feet are weight bearing, you may find it is more difficult to ease symptoms. There are several changes you can make to lessen the impact of inflammatory arthritis on your feet. Accommodate For Swelling Even small amounts of time on your feet may increase swelling. When purchasing your next pair of shoes, choosing the right size can be difficult since your feet will swell more or less from one day to the next. When possible, try sizing up one half-size. Walk around to make sure the size difference does not cause your shoes to rub against your heels or that it does not cause you to trip. Additionally, chose styles that are available in wide widths. The combination of choosing a wider and slightly longer shoe is often enough to accommodate day-to-day swelling. Unless you are required to wear steel-toe boots or other harder shoes, try limiting your shoes to a softer, more malleable fabric. As your feet change in size throughout the day, a softer fabric is less likely to become constricting, irritating, or to exacerbate swelling. Consider Your Toe Box Steer clear of shoe styles with pointed or significantly rounded toe boxes. These are not appropriate for feet in general and are even worse when you have foot problems. One concern when inflammatory arthritis affects your feet is the increased likelihood of deformities, such as claw toe. Since your feet are prone to deformities, you never want to add additional pressure on your toes from constricting toe boxes. Slightly rounded toe boxes with plenty of “wiggle” room for each toe can give you the best compromise between comfort and aesthetic appeal (if this is important). Another option is a square toe box, which is less common in shoes, but typically allows additional toe room. Pay Attention To Pressure Points Pressure points and friction are the foundation for corns and calluses, but with inflammatory arthritis, you have more pressing concerns. If you notice increased friction or pressure at the base of your great toe or on the knuckles of your other toes, this could be an indication that deformities are occurring. For example, as bunions develop, you will likely experience more pain and inflammation at the base of the great toe. You may even notice shoes become more irritating […]

3 Tips For Managing Finger Deformities Due To Underlying Inflammatory Arthritis

In most cases, finger deformities are caused by acute injuries and can be easily corrected with surgery. When the underlying cause of deformities is inflammatory arthritis, the treatment can be more complex. There are several short- and long-term management strategies to reduce pain and increase functionality. Address Problems Early When you start to notice changes in your hands, such as the inability to completely stretch or flex finger joints, now is the time to speak with your doctor. Early intervention can help you maintain joint function longer. The options at this stage are usually splinting the fingers and physical therapy. In early stage deformities, the finger can usually be extended or flexed passively, such as by your doctor. Your doctor will likely want to refer you to a physical therapist for further evaluation. The way your fingers need to be splinted will depend on the type of deformity. In most cases, a simple splint can be used, such as a firm piece of material placed on the palmar or dorsal side of the finger and held in place with tape. Ring splints are an excellent alternative, since they resemble a piece of jewelry and simply slide off and on between uses. It can be difficult to maintain adequate function of the fingers during splinting, so your physical therapist will likely recommend wearing a splint for specific amounts of time throughout the day. Keep Moving Additionally, while deformities are in their early stage, keeping the finger mobile is important through the use of physical therapy and at-home exercises. You may have weekly sessions with your physical therapist designed to maintain or increase range of motion in the affected joints. After a few weeks of therapy, you may only need additional therapy sessions if there are new changes in your fingers or if your at-home exercises are no longer effective. Your therapy sessions may include extending and flexing the affected joint on your own or with the help of the physical therapist, in addition to simple exercises, such as grasping objects. Another part of physical therapy may be adapting to the changes in your fingers by learning to rely on your other fingers more or using assistive devices. For example, you may learn techniques for grasping objects that rely more on a combination of your unaffected fingers and palm to adequately secure objects. Consider Surgical Repairs In many cases, even when hand […]