Category Archives: Neurology

Alzheimer’s Disease and Brain Awareness Month

Introduction

This post discusses Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.

Do you have a normally functioning brain? Are you concerned about subtle or obvious changes in your mental capabilities? Do you have a loved one in the grasp of Alzheimer’s Disease? In all of these circumstances, you would do well to know a bit about basic brain function. Also, you want to learn how to optimize your brain’s function. Additionally, we offer information on dementia and Alzheimer’s for your information. Finally we offer a self-assessment tool.

Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month

Click on the below links for any and all of these Straight, No Chaser posts.

Brain Awareness Month - Vivica Fox

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American Stroke Awareness Month

Introduction

May is American Stroke Awareness Month! Here is information to keep you better informed, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. Accordingly, it is a major cause of serious disability for adults. About 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year. This represents one every 40 seconds.  Get more quick facts about stroke.

Stroke is preventable. You may be able to prevent stroke or lower your chances of having a stroke.

Stroke Awareness Facts

Stroke is treatable. Learn the signs of stroke, and call 9-1-1 right away if you think someone might be having a stroke. Getting fast treatment is important to preventing death and disability from stroke.

Straight, No Chaser Supports Stroke Awareness

Spot a Stroke

Read the following posts for additional information on strokes.

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Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

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Sleep Awareness Week Logo

Your Guide to Sleep and Sleep Disorders

Introduction

It’s National Sleep Awareness Week, and this Straight, No Chaser is all about sleep and sleep disorders.

sleep disorders

It’s amazing how many of us suffer through disruptions of sleep without having an understand of what constitutes normal sleep. Furthermore, we’re not that good at knowing what to do to facilitate normal sleep. You don’t have to just suffer through it or count sleep! This guide contains explanations and tips on many aspects of sleep and sleep disorders. Dive in, and get the information you need. Our posts will help you get some sleep, but we won’t put you to sleep while your reading them!

Straight, No Chaser Posts On Sleep and Sleep Disorders

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Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Lead Poisoning

Introduction

lead_poisoning1

Medically speaking, it really wasn’t long ago when dozens of cases of lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan occurred. Of course, this was a result of elevated levels of lead in the city’s drinking water supply. This followed inadequate preventive treatment of the water supply, which is a necessary step in the provision of public health. The water had become contaminated from aging pipes in the Flint river, which became relevant after the city switched its water supply from Detroit sources in 2014. It’s hard to fathom that the number of poisonings was so high the city declared a state of emergency. It’s even harder to accept the suboptimal response that occurred to the emergency.

In case you’re wondering, yes, this could happen to you. If you read on, we’ll tell you how to minimize your exposure. Let’s review some frequently asked questions.

What is lead poisoning? Why is it dangerous?

Lead is a chemical element (“mineral”) that is quite poisonous in humans. Swallowing or breathing lead dust can cause major health problems, both immediately (with a very high exposure), or more commonly, over time with ongoing exposures to low levels. The particular concern is in exposure to children. As is the case with head injuries or most any other type of insult to a developing child’s brain and nervous system, a significant risk to one’s mental development occurs apoteksv.se. The younger the child, the more dangerous the exposure is; the highest risks are in the unborn.

lead

How does one get poisoned? What are the risk factors?

Lead used to be very common in gasoline and house paint in the U.S., but lead based paint was banned in 1978. It is estimated that approximately 4 million Americans are still significantly exposed to potentially toxic levels of lead, because lead basically is everywhere, including old house paint, new toys, dust, dirt and gasoline. Children living in cities with older houses are more likely to have high levels of lead.

Most common exposures

Here’s a quick list of lead exposures (there are many other potential exposures):

  • Homes, toys and furniture painted in the US before 1978 and any toys made outside the US (no, the paint doesn’t have to be peeling);
  • Plumbing, pipes, faucets and the water flowing through them;
  • Soil contaminated by car exhaust (think near expressways or busy streets) or house paint scrapings (think old abandoned buildings); and
  • Storage batteries

Take these exposures seriously, because lead exposure comes from swallowing, touching and/or breathing objects containing lead particles. Once in the body and bloodstream, it spread, causing damage throughout. Two notable areas of concern are the effects of lead on blood cells (causing anemia) and on bones (preventing healthy, strong teeth and bone function due to reducing the absorption of calcium.

Lead-Poisoning

How does lead poisoning get identified? What are the signs and symptoms?

Lead poisoning can affect many different parts of the body, and symptoms can range from nothing obvious to dramatic mental impairment. Symptoms are more prominent as blood lead levels get higher.

Lead is much more harmful to children than adults because it can affect children’s developing nerves and brains. The younger the child, the more harmful lead can be. Unborn children are the most vulnerable.

It’s important to reiterate that many with lead poisoning won’t have signs of illness early on. If you believe your environment poses a risk, you should ask to be checked. Symptoms are often nonspecific, but if you can remember groupings of symptoms, you’d be on the right track.

Early Symptoms

  • Behavioral problems may exist such as irritability, difficulty concentrating, sluggishness or fatigue.
  • Digestive tract problems may exist, such as loss of appetite, a metallic taste in one’s mouth, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, constipation and/or abdominal pain.
  • Neurologic problems may exist, such as headaches, muscle and joint weakness or pain, seizures.
  • Pale skin from anemia is also often a prominent finding.

Longer Term Health Problems

  • damage to the nervous system (such as poor muscle coordination, speech and language problems), kidneys, and/or hearing
  • decreased bone and muscle growth
  • developmental delay

The next Straight, No Chaser will address prevention and treatment strategies.

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Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

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Low Back Pain

Introductionlow-back-pain-image

For many, low back pain begins with a slip and subsequently becomes a slippery slope that never seems to end. This Straight, No Chaser will help you understand why you’re having pain.
Lower back pain is a tricky subject for an emergency physician, and it’s seen everyday. In fact, over 40 million Americans suffer from various forms of chronic low back pain. The lower back is a source of many life threatening emergencies, which I’ll discuss in a separate post, but for now, as always let’s give you some information to help prevent and address your routine back problems. Let’s start by understanding what the back’s trying to accomplish and how you help or hinder that process by your actions.
Remember the back is the major weight-bearing apparatus of the body and it connects the upper and lower body. It twists, turns, pulls and bends. It contains many vital nerves and muscles.
lower-back-pain-causes-2

Let’s point at four situations that produce or exacerbate your back pain.

Bad form (born with or otherwise acquired)

  • Spinal problems you were born with can predispose you to and outright cause all manner of back difficulties. Any machine works better if well-built.
  • Obesity puts a significant strain on your back in various ways. Given that most people don’t build up their back muscles, sprains and chronic pain are quite easy when you’re front-loaded. Pregnancy produces a similar strain on your back.

Strains

Have you ever heard that it’s easier to lift with your legs than your back? Well, I’d never think so based on the habits of many patients, but it’s true. The lower extremities are much stronger than your back. One of the problems with back strains is once it gets weak, it gets worse. Muscle spasms, pain, more strains and protruding discs all become more likely.

Fractures

A broken back is no fun. A weakened back bone (vertebrae) may collapse on its own if diseased (e.g. cancer, age, arthritis, infection), it may become fractured or may be injured with significant trauma. Those with osteoporosis have this happen more commonly. These broken bones may compress spinal nerves. You may even get shorter.

Arthritis and Normal Deterioration (aging)

There are other forms of arthritis beside degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis, which we all get as we age), but the resulting pain, warmth, redness, swelling and limitation in motion all forms lead to reduced function and pain that can continue for the remainder of one’s life.

Here are a few clues to help you hone in on whether your back pain requires emergency attention:

  • Direct blow to your back
  • Fever and new onset back pain
  • Loss of control of your bowel movements or bladder function
  • New onset back pain after age 65
  • Numbness and tingling in both of your legs
  • Nighttime back pain
  • Sudden sexual dysfunction
  • Weakness and/or loss of motion or sensation in your legs
  • Weight loss and new onset back pain
  • Work related back injuries

What can you do to prevent or reduce the pain at home?

  • Learn and practice good posture. Sit when you can. Keep your back straight and shoulders back. When you stand, find something upon which to prop one of your feet, like a stool (think Captain Morgan).

CaptainMorgan

  • Learn the correct way to lift (bend at the knees, not at the back – every time). If you have pain, avoid bending, stretching and reaching if avoidable.
  • Wear low-heeled shoes whenever you can, ladies!
  • Learn how to stretch your back.

LBP exercises

  • Maintain a healthy weight, and exercise to strengthen your abdomen and back (your core)
  • Sleep on your side. Try a pillow between your knees.
  • Walk. Did you know walking is the best (and easiest) exercise for your back?

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Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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What is a spinal tap, and why is it done?

Introduction

A spinal tap (lumbar puncture) induces a lot of angst. Although the reason for the procedure should, the procedure itself really shouldn’t.

spinal tap lumbar puncture

What is a spinal tap?

A lumbar puncture (spinal tap) is performed to obtain cerebrospinal fluid (CSF – the naturally occurring fluid that bathes the spinal cord) from the spinal column. It most typically evaluates the presence of infection (as in meningitis). However, it can also detect other conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre syndrome or cancer involving the spinal cord. In some instances, a lumbar puncture is a treatment. Medicines and anesthetics can be placed in the cerebrospinal fluid via lumbar puncture. Also, it can be used to lower the pressure in the brain caused when too much fluid is present.
Here’s a video that would be helpful to view before you or a family member has a lumbar puncture. It is provided courtesy of Cure Search for Children’s Cancer.

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Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Domestic Violence Abuse – How to Get Out of an Abusive Situation

IntroductionDomestic Violence Abuse Situation

Remember: You are not to blame, and you need not face domestic violence alone.

How would you escape eminent domestic violent abuse?. This is the third post in a Straight, No Chaser series on domestic violence. The first post focused on the scope of domestic violence. The second post focused on risk factors and identifying whether your situation places you at risk.

There has been a lot of recent attention in the news on domestic violence and debates about responses and responsibility. Hence, this post aims to refocus attention on where it needs to be. Better conversations on domestic violence start with getting the abused individual safely out of harm’s way.

When it comes to domestic violence, it is the immediate danger that can make it difficult for you to figure out the safest next move. Thus, it becomes important to know in advance the how and where of your escape plan.

Escaping Imminent Domestic Violence Abuse

If you are in a crisis situation, first make sure you and any other family members (e.g., children, parents) are safe. Leave the scene immediately. Find safe haven wherever it exists, such as an emergency shelter or the home of a friend or family member. You can find a shelter by calling (800) 799-SAFE. Call the police if you think you can’t leave home safely or if you want to bring charges against your abuser. If possible, take house keys, money and important papers with you. The staff members at emergency shelters can help you file for a court order of protection.

Be advised: Do not use drugs or alcohol at this time, because you need to be alert in a crisis. Even while you do what you feel you must do, be aware that use of weapons (even in a life-saving defense) will likely complicate and confuse matters.

If you can, just in  case, plan your escape. Establish escape routes and a safe haven. Secure important documents.

Where Do I Go If I’m Mentally or Physically Hurt?

Talk to a physician or get to an emergency department. We are prepared to check you for any life-threatening consequences to your abuse, treat any medical issue, provide mental health support and make referrals. Should you find an emergency shelter, counseling and support groups are available for you and your children. 
domestic violence abuse man

Dealing With Your Abuser

Your primary focus should be on finding help for yourself and escaping the danger.

  • First of all, call the police if you believe that you are in danger.
  • Also, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), your state domestic violence coalition and/or a local domestic violence agency. Furthermore, seek out and speak with a family law advocate at your local crisis center. He or she can help you press charges against the perpetrator, file a temporary restraining order and advise you on how to seek a permanent restraining order.
  • Don’t keep your circumstances hidden. Discuss them with a physician, nurse, therapist, friend, family member or spiritual advisor when you first believe yourself to be in a dangerous environment. Be careful to avoid advice that attempts to place you back in harm’s way or to do anything that is not best for you or your family. Don’t let someone talk you into doing something that isn’t right for you.
  • Document any attempts at contact by the perpetrator. Save any new messages (especially threatening ones).
  • Keep photographs that show any injuries you received. You will need this should you pursue legal action (e.g., press charges or file a restraining order).
  • While it’s best to avoid the abuser completely, if you must meet to exchange documents or personal effects, do it in broad daylight where plenty of people are around, particularly those you know. Due to safety concerns, it is preferable to have someone else make those exchanges, if possible.

national domestic violence hotline
After You’ve Escaped

You need to remain detached from your former situation as much as possible and implement changes in your life. Consider these following tips:

  • Establish a new routine because someone looking for you will search places you’ve frequented in the past.
  • Maintain an escape plan in your new location. It may seem counterintuitive, but avoid a route that takes you through areas with potential weapons – your attacker may end up with them instead of you.
  • Change your mobile or home phone number immediately after you’ve escaped the situation.

Being subjected to repeated domestic violence can extract a devastating psychological toll. Although many domestic violence survivors do not need mental health treatment, and many symptoms resolve once they and their children are safe and have support, for others, treatment is a major component of their plan for safety and recovery.

Again, the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). You should definitely memorize it, but I hope you never have to use it. Unfortunately, the odds reveal that many of you probably will.

I hope you have found the information in this series helpful. Be safe!

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Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Also, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Receive discounted pricing with bundled orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Chronic Pain – What You and Your Physicians Can Do To Really Help

The notion of a pain awareness month is an odd thing; probably even more so to those suffering from chronic pain. Typically the idea with these periods of recognizing diseases and conditions is to create sensitivity among the general public toward one’s condition. In this and the next Straight, No Chaser, we will not only do that but will build upon that and provide those sufferers of chronic pain some better tools to make those emergency room visits more productive.
chronic-pain
I’d begin by asking you to get more in touch with your “you sensitivity” and learn to differentiate between different types of pain. It’s important for you to know the difference.

  • Clearly there’s acute pain from injury. You break a jaw or twist an ankle, you’re going to hurt.
  • There’s acute exacerbations of pain from disease. You have sickle cell anemia? Cancer? Lupus? Sciatica or other low back pain? Arthritis? Migraines? You will have acute flare ups.

Then there’s chronic pain. Remember, sometimes pain happens without injury or disease. Pain is simply a signal communicated from your body to you through your brain. Acute pain is normal and is meant to alert you to somehow protect yourself or get help. Chronic pain is different. Those signals coming from your nervous system can be sporadic or haphazard, and they may be more reflective of dysfunction within the nervous system than a disease or injury. It can even be psychogenic (due to matters of your mind). Regardless of the cause, chronic pain is well, a pain.

There are many established conditions that cause chronic pain, such as the following:

chronicpain-circle3

Maybe the point of this post isn’t to tell those of you who suffer from chronic pain things you don’t already know as much as it is to organize your thoughts and approach to your pain. After all, it’s not like there are cures for chronic pain besides eliminating the underlying condition (which reminds me to remind you not to fall for the many medical scams promising instant and permanent relief to these medical conditions). The first step really is to help you appreciate the need for becoming better sensitized to your condition.

Many patients with chronic pain suffer horrible outcomes because they become desensitized to pain, learn to ignore it, and misinterpret a new, unrelated pain condition (maybe with a few similarities), failing to get evaluated before it is too late.

If you suffer from chronic pain, it’s key to know the things you can do to improve your quality of life. Strengthening your mind to reduce stress and avoid fixating on your medical condition is very important. Learning to relax actually is treatment; your body has pain-reducing chemicals, including those that directly treat pain and promote healing, and others that prevent release of internal pain producers. Find someone with whom you can discuss relaxation and stress reduction.

chronicpain2

Engage the fight to get better within your physical limitations.

  • Exercise remains key. Depending on your situation, walking, running, biking and/or swimming can dramatically improve your situation. Be advised that the extremes (not exercising at all or doing so too much) can actually worsen the situation.
  • Stretching and strengthening similarly produce benefits to those with chronic pain. This should sound like a good reason to become involved with a personal trainer or have a physical therapist.
  • Regular sleep and avoidance of nicotine (stop smoking!) will also help.

Your physician may discuss multiple other possible treatment modalities, such as the following:

  • Acupuncture
  • Behavioral therapy can reduce your pain and decrease your stress through methods that help you relax, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga. Give it a try. It works for many people.
  • Brain stimulation therapy
  • Local electrical stimulation
  • Occupational therapy teaches you how to perform routine activities of daily living in a way that reduces your pain and/or avoids reinjuring yourself.
  • Osteopathic manipulation therapy (OMT)
  • Psychotherapy

Regarding medication, for many people use of medication (especially narcotics) becomes a crutch and a slippery slope. Over the counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen are quite effective for many causes of pain. Use of narcotics should be measured and part of an overall plan, not a tool for a quick fix or to get you out of your doctor’s face. It is part of reality that even if you are not a drug-seeking patient, with enough exposure to narcotics you will develop tolerance (less effectiveness at the same dose) and become addicted. You should want to avoid this fate.

The pain, mental duress and reduction in quality of life associated with chronic pain can be lessened with you learning how to approach and understand your pain, taking appropriate steps to reduce things you do to exacerbate the pain, increasing the things you do to lessen the pain, and working with your health care team to provide you with appropriate support and treatment.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Fibromyalgia – Facts and Controversies

fibromyalgi

Previously, Straight, No Chaser has discussed the frustration of uncertainty some patients have with having symptoms and not being given a diagnosis (much less a cure). Imagine if that uncertainty arose in the context of excruciating pain lasting for what seems like all day. There was a time when this was the case to a much greater extent, and then several medical conditions gained recognition and/or prominence. Some of these include chronic pain syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ syndrome), endometriosis, inflammatory bowel disorder, vaginismus, vulvodynia and still other conditions. Today we will address one such condition, fibromyalgia.

 Fibromyalgia_pain

The symptoms of fibromyalgia include muscle pain and fatigue. This pain may take one of several typical forms, including headaches, painful menstrual periods and – most interestingly – “tender points.” Tender points are specific places on the body that hurt when you apply pressure. These can occur most anywhere but usually involve the extremities, neck, back, hips and shoulders. Other symptoms include numbness and tingling in your hands and feet, difficulty sleeping and morning stiffness. In some cases a condition called “fibro fog” occurs, in which clouding of thinking and memory occurs. It shouldn’t be a surprise that these other symptoms often result in clinical depression.

Unfortunately, fibromyalgia is a condition, not a disease that we can attach to a specific cause. However, there are several diseases to which fibromyalgia has been linked. In short, many stressful life conditions and events can serve as triggers for this disorder. Some of the more notable conditions and triggers include ankylosing spondylitis (aka spinal arthritis), motor vehicle crashes, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (aka lupus). So many such triggers exists that now over 5 million Americans have been labeled with the diagnosis. Interesting, 80-90% of those so diagnosed are women, most during middle age.

Given the absence of an identified cause, treatment is mostly symptomatic, attempting to address the pain and other things that disrupt one’s activities of daily living. More importantly, once affected, you need to implement the lifestyle changes that have been shown to help, including improving diet, exercise, getting enough sleep, changing one’s work and home environments, and taking medications as prescribed.

I would be remiss if I didn’t address the controversies surrounding fibromyalgia. Given the absence of a defined cause, many patients suffering from fibromyalgia and similar disorders are often perceived to be drug seeking, particularly in emergency departments. It is very frustrating for physicians to care for patients they can’t “fix.” Although drug seeking patients do exist, multiple medical studies have shown that inadequate treatment of pain remains one of the great faux pas of medicine. It is an equal disservice to give in to a patient’s request for pain medication as a routine matter without the benefit of a full evaluation. There are many defined medical conditions that present with pain. More deliberate and vigorous evaluations can not only put a more definitive name to the pain but can lead to better outcomes for those patients.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Concussion, Part II

concussionboxing_facial__4_

Your son is a star in Friday Night Lights (actually football, not the TV show) and has been concussed.  Amazingly, the most common question I get asked is not “Will he be ok?”, but “When will he be able to get back on the field?” My answer, coming out the ER, is never going to be less than two weeks, and I won’t be the one who provides medical clearance.  It’ll either be your family doctor or preferably, a neurologist.  Don’t just take my word for it.  Consider the following Quick Tips from the Center for Disease Control and Preventions.
CDC’s Discharge Instructions

  • You may experience a range of symptoms over the next few days, such as difficulty concentrating, dizziness or trouble falling asleep.  These symptoms can be part of the normal healing process, and most go away over time without any treatment.
  • Return immediately to the ED if you have worsening or severe headache, lose consciousness, increased vomiting, increasing confusion, seizures, numbness or any symptom that concerns you, your family, or friends.
  • Tell a family member or friend about your head injury and ask them to help monitor you for more serious symptoms.  Get plenty of rest and sleep, and return gradually and slowly to your usually routines.  Don’t drink alcohol.  Avoid activities that are physically demanding or require a lot of concentration.
  • If you don’t feel better after a week, see a doctor who has experience treating brain injuries.
  • Don’t return to sports before talking to your doctor.  A repeat blow to your head-before your brain has time to heal-can be very dangerous and may slow recovery or increase the chance for long-term problems.

Finally, there are two particularly impactful consequences about which you should be aware.

Impact-Syndrome616x314new

  • The ‘second impact syndrome’ is irreversible brain injury triggered by a fairly routine second head impact after a prior concussion.  You must take the time off needed for the brain to heal.  I care more about your child’s mental future than the upcoming playoff game.
  • The ‘post-concussive syndrome’ represents long-term neurologic and psychologic consequences of the head injury.  It includes such symptoms as inability to sleep, irritability, inability to concentrate, headache, dizziness and anxiety.

Post Concussion Syndrome 3D cube Word Cloud Concept with great terms such as brain, injury, trauma and more.
There are no definitive treatments for concussions other than prevention of an additional injury, and that fact should be chilling to you.  Be mindful of the risks involved in choosing to engage in activities putting the brain at risk.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber,  we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

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Concussions, Part I

tbi basics

It’s probably not a coincidence that National Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month occurs at the same time as the onset of the NFL season in the U.S. However, it’s also important to appreciate that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) don’t only occur in the setting of professional sports. Regarding sports, the really interesting thing about concussions these days is many individuals seem to have convinced themselves that the risk of a concussion or even continuing in football, wrestling, boxing, or MMA type activities after having had concussions won’t deter them from pursuing the glory, fame, and fortune to be obtained in putting themselves at risk. That’s a fascinating but very flawed concept, as evidenced by the increasing suicide rate among concussed former athletes.

concussion

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by a blunt or penetrating head blow that disrupts some aspect of normal brain function. TBIs may produce changes, ranging from brief alterations in mental status or consciousness to an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia. (It’s important to note that not all blows to the head result in a TBI.) For the purposes of this discussion, the majority of TBIs that occur each year are concussions. In terms of societal impact, TBIs contribute to a remarkable number of deaths and permanent disability. Every year, at least 1.7 million TBIs occur in the US.

tbi traumatic-brain-injury-chart

Healthcare professionals may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because concussions are usually not life threatening. Even so, their effects can be serious. Concussive symptoms usually fall in one of four categories:

  • Thinking/remembering
  • Physical
  • Emotional/mood
  • Sleep

tbi brain-injury-awareness

Red Flags
Here’s what you need to know today. Get to the ER right away if you have any of the following danger signs after any type of head injury, no matter how minor it may seem:

  • Any difficulty waking
  • Any loss of consciousness, confusion, or significant agitation
  • One pupil (the black part in the middle of the eye) larger than the other
  • Loss of ability to identify people, places, the date, or self
  • Loss of motion or sensation, weakness, numbness or loss of coordination
  • Persistent, worsening headache
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Slurred speech or difficulty with expression
  • Seizures
  • Kids will not stop crying and cannot be consoled
  • Kids will not nurse or eat

We’ll continue the conversation about concussions in part two.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following SNC! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Self Assessment for Signs of Early Dementia or Alzheimer’s

Introduction

This post offers tools for self assessment for signs of early dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer's and Dementia

Each of us has elderly family members for whom we may be concerned about their memory or other possible signs of dementia. You don’t have to stand by powerless and let them dwindle away. Early detection of dementia gives the best chance for a higher quality during the rest of one’s life. Isn’t that how we’d all want our loved ones to spend their golden days? This Straight, No Chaser post adapts information provided by the Alzheimer’s Association. Any positive responses can suggest an issue warranting further investigation. The goal here is straightforward. If any concerns arises after completing this, you should print out the sheet, and take it to your physician, requesting an evaluation.
early dementia or alzheimer's

Self Assessment Questions

_____ 1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life.

One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially in the early stages, is forgetting recently learned information. Other signs include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own. Typical age-related changes involve sometimes forget names or appointments, especially if you remember them later.

_____ 2. Challenges in planning or solving problems.

Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before. Typical age-related changes include making an occasional error when balancing a checkbook.

_____ 3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.

People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game. Typical age-related changes include occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show.

_____ 4. Confusion with time or place.

People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there. Typical age-related changes include occasionally getting confused about the day of the week, especially if s/he figures it out later.

_____ 5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.

For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not recognize their own reflection. Typical age-related changes of vision changes are related to cataracts and do not indicate Alzheimer’s.

_____ 6. New problems with words in speaking or writing.

People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a watch a “hand clock”). Typical age-related changes involve sometimes having trouble finding the right word.

_____ 7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.

A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time. It’s more typical to displace things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control.

_____ 8. Decreased or poor judgment.

People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean. It’s less concerning for anyone of any age to make a bad decision once in a while.

_____ 9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.

A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced. It’s more typical for anyone of any age to sometimes feel weary of work, family and social obligations.

_____ 10. Changes in mood and personality.

The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone. It’s more typical for people as they age to develop very specific ways of doing things and to become irritable when a routine is disrupted.
It is worth restating: early diagnosis provides the best opportunities for treatment, support and future planning. For more information, call the Alzheimer’s Association at 800.272.3900 or your SterlingMedicalAdvice.com expert consultants.

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Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Dementia – When Brain Health Goes Bad

Introduction

This post discusses dementia.

dementia-brain eraser

In case you didn’t pick up on it, the posts regarding brain health served two purposes. First of all, we want you to give yourself the best opportunity to live a healthy, happy mental life. The second is to stave off the point in your life when you develop dementia. In this and the next post on brain health, we focus on dementia, which occurs when the brain becomes a certain type of unhealthy. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for approximately 60-80% of cases.

Look at the below chart for a stunning illustration of the scope of dementia.

Dementia facts

Dementia is Not Just a Disease

As opposed to being a single disease, dementia describes a range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other mental skills. As such, it’s more helpful to describe functions lost instead of symptoms you may experience. Dementia is associated with a reduced ability to perform routine activities of daily living. It can be associated with significant impairment of other mental functions, including the following:

  • Memory
  • Communication and language.
  • Ability to focus and pay attention
  • Reasoning and judgment
  • Visual perception

Practically this could range from problems with remembering appointments or names, engaging in unnecessarily dangerous activities for no reason, or keeping track of items.

demenetia brain map

Causes of Dementia

Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells. It’s the type of damage that could occur from a poor diet, age-related or other causes of poor blood circulation to the brain (e.g. a stroke). Depending on the involved area of the brain, various levels of loss of function may be seen. Accordingly, based on the most common patterns and sites of brain damage, the mental deficits described above are those most likely to be seen. Also, it is of note that the center of memory and learning (the hippocampus) is often the first area damaged. This corresponds to those deficits that define early dementia/Alzheimer’s.

Take Home Messages

My messages to you regarding dementia are pretty simple.

  • You don’t want it. Dementia is the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end. It is progressive. The symptoms will be more and more pronounced with time.
  • You need to address it. Maybe you haven’t been forward thinking enough to engage in brain health. Know the early signs! Also, get checked out as soon as possible. Fortunately, the good news is all dementia isn’t Alzheimer’s. Therefore, some cases represent a treatable cause. Even when it doesn’t, steps to temporarily improve symptoms can be instituted.
  • Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

    Follow us!

    Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

    Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

    Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

    Copyright ©2013- 2019 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: You’re Way Too Comfortable With Fainting

Don’t faints seem mysterious?  It’s as if your computer crashed and had to reboot.  Although we never seemingly figure out why computers are so crazy, fainting (syncope) is reducible to a common denominator: something causes a decrease in blood flow to your brain.  Recall that oxygen and other needed nutrients are carried in blood, so even a temporary stoppage or shortage of blood flow shuts things down.  Now extrapolate that to strokes and comas, which are often due to serious and prolonged causes of blockage to the blood vessels supplying the brain.  This is a prime example of why good blood flow and good health are so important.  The brain is a highly efficient, oxygen and energy-guzzling organ.  Shut it down for even a few seconds, and bad things start to happen.  Consider fainting a warning sign.

I’m going to start by offering some Quick Tips to help if you find yourself around someone who has fainted.  Then, I will get into the weeds of why these things happen for those interested.  I’m doing this so you can check these and determine where your risks may be.

  • Call 911.  Make sure the person is still breathing and has a pulse.  If not, start CPR.
  • Loosen clothing, especially around the neck.
  • Elevate the legs above the level of the chest.
  • If the fainter vomited, turn him/her to the side to help avoid choking and food going down the airway (aspiration).
  • A diabetic may have been given instructions to eat or drink something if s/he feels as if s/he is going to faint.  If you know this, a faint would be a good time to administer any glucose gel or supplies advised by a physician.  Prompt treatment of low blood sugar reactions is a life-saver.  Discuss and coordinate how you can perform this effort on behalf of your friends and family with their physicians.
  • If it’s possible that the faint is part of some heat emergency (heat exhaustion or heat stroke).

Actually, faints are caused by all kinds of medical problems.  I list a few notable causes below, but whether the front end difficulty is with the heart pumping, the nerves conducting, or the content of oxygen or energy being delivered, the end result is the same.

  • Decreased nerve tone (vasovagal syncope): This is the most common cause of faints, and contrary to what you might think, it happens more often in kids and young adults than in the elderly.  Understand that your nerves actually regulate blood flow (analogous to a train conductor telling the heart to speed up or pump harder or not).  Changes in nerve tone can result in errant signals being sent, transiently resulting in low flow.
  • Diseases and conditions that affect the nervous system and/or ability to regulate blood pressure: Alcoholism, dehydration, diabetes and malnutrition are conditions that may depress the nervous system.  Alternatively, coughing, having a bowel movement (especially if straining) and urination may abnormally stimulate the system.  In the elderly and those bedridden, simply standing can cause fainting due to difficulty regulating blood pressure.  In this case, standing causes a sharp drop in blood pressure.
  • Anemia: A deficiency in blood cells can lead to a deficiency in oxygen delivery to the brain.
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heart beats): Inefficiency in your heartbeat leads to unstable delivery of blood to the brain.
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia): Low energy states can deplete the body of what it needs to operate effectively, leading to low blood flow.
  • Medications (especially those treating high blood pressure): anything that lowers the heart’s ability to vigorously pump blood around the body can leave the brain inadequately supplied, leading to a blackout.  Let’s include illicit drugs and alcohol in this category.
  • Panic attacks: Hyperventilation caused by anxiety and panic upset the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the brain, which can lead to fainting spells.
  • Seizures: Here’s a chicken and egg scenario.  A prolonged faint can lead to a seizure, and seizures lead to periods of unconsciousness, during and after the seizure.  The lack of oxygen is a common denominator.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Amnesia and Severe Memory Loss

In a previous post, we discussed forgetfulness and mild memory loss. We’ve also discussed Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. If you noticed and remember (no pun intended), we didn’t discuss amnesia. Amnesia is unusual memory loss. Normal aging does not lead to dramatic memory loss. This is qualitatively different.
It is normal to have forgetfulness associated with the aging process. Many of us will notice learning new information requires more time and seems more difficult.

 amnesia2

This is not the memory loss of amnesia. In amnesia, you’ll likely not remember new occurrences and/or some past memories. You may forget recent or new events (or periods of time). You may forget memories within an event and compensate by creating “new memories” (this is called confabulation). You may have difficulty forming new memories or learning new information. Interestingly, amnesia may be transient, otherwise temporary or permanent.
Allow me to reiterate. Amnesia is not part of a normal aging process but is part of a disease in one or more severe areas of the brain responsible for creating, storing and retrieving memories. If you see or think you are experiencing this level of symptoms, you need to get medically evaluated.

 amnesia

Courtesy of the National Institutes of Health, here is a partial list of causes of memory loss. Many of these causes have Straight, No Chaser posts related to them. If you have questions, type the topic into the search box for more information or feel free to ask your www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com or 844-SMA-TALK expert consultant any questions you may have.

  • Alcohol or use of illicit drugs
  • Not enough oxygen to the brain (heart stopped, stopped breathing, complications from anesthesia)
  • Brain growths (caused by tumors or infection)
  • Brain infections such as Lyme disease, syphilis, or HIV/AIDS
  • Brain surgery, such as surgery to treat seizure disorders
  • Cancer treatments, such as brain radiation, bone marrow transplant, or after chemotherapy
  • Certain medications
  • Certain types of seizures
  • Dementia
  • Depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia when symptoms have not been well controlled
  • Dissociative disorder (not being able to remember a major, traumatic event; the memory loss may be short-term or long-term)
  • Drugs such as barbiturates or benzodiazepines
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (especially if it is long-term)
  • Encephalitis of any type (infection, autoimmune disease, chemical/drug induced; this is inflammation of a certain part of the brain)
  • Epilepsy that is not well controlled with medications
  • Head trauma or injury
  • Heart bypass surgery
  • Illness that results in the loss of, or damage to, nerve cells (this is called neurodegenerative illness), such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, or multiple sclerosis
  • Long-term alcohol abuse
  • Migraine headache
  • Mild head injury or concussion
  • Nutritional problems (vitamin deficiencies such as low vitamin B12)
  • Permanent damage or injuries to the brain
  • Transient global amnesia
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

Finally, if you are supporting an individual with such challenges at home, you already know they need a lot of attention and support. Here are a few tips to assist.

  • Show familiar objects, music, or photos.
  • Get in the habit of writing things down. Write down when the person should take any medication. Write down any important tasks needing to be completed.
  • Show patience with the situation and avoid the tendency toward anger and frustration.
  • When it gets to the point when help is needed completing the activities of daily living, or safety or nutrition is a concern, you may want to incrementally consider home health care, then extended care facilities, such as an assisted living facility or a nursing home.

Your job is to remember to be attentive to changes in your or your loved ones’ behavior. The earlier you get assistance, the better one’s quality of life will remain.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Self-Assessment for Signs of Early Dementia or Alzheimer’s

Dementia Not Human

Each of us has elderly family members for whom we may be concerned about their memory or other possible signs of dementia. You don’t have to stand by powerless and let them dwindle away. Early detection of dementia gives the best chance for a higher quality during the rest of one’s life. Isn’t that how we’d all want our loved ones to spend their golden days? This Straight, No Chaser post adapts information provided by the Alzheimer’s Association. Any positive responses can suggest an issue warranting further investigation. The goal here is straightforward. If any concerns arises after completing this, you should print out the sheet, and take it to your physician, requesting an evaluation.
dementia loss
_____ 1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially in the early stages, is forgetting recently learned information. Other signs include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own. Typical age-related changes involve sometimes forgetting names or appointments, especially if you remember them later.
_____ 2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before. Typical age-related changes include making an occasional error when balancing a checkbook.
_____ 3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure. People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game. Typical age-related changes include occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show.
_____ 4. Confusion with time or place. People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there. Typical age-related changes include occasionally getting confused about the day of the week, especially if s/he figures it out later.
_____ 5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not recognize their own reflection. Typical age-related changes of vision changes are related to cataracts and do not indicate Alzheimer’s.
_____ 6. New problems with words in speaking or writing. People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a watch a “hand clock”). Typical age-related changes involve sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
_____ 7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time. It’s more typical to displace things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control.
_____ 8. Decreased or poor judgment. People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean. It’s less concerning for anyone of any age to make a bad decision once in a while.
_____ 9. Withdrawal from work or social activities. A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced. It’s more typical for anyone of any age to sometimes feel weary of work, family and social obligations.
_____ 10. Changes in mood and personality. The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone. It’s more typical for people as they age to develop very specific ways of doing things and to become irritable when a routine is disrupted.
It is worth restating: early diagnosis provides the best opportunities for treatment, support and future planning. For more information, call the Alzheimer’s Association at 800.272.3900 or your SterlingMedicalAdvice.com expert consultants.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Questions About Memory Loss and Forgetfulness

memory puzzle

Are you the type that has a bad memory? Is your memory good when you “want it to be?” Do you just have problems paying attention? Are you concerned about elderly family members suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease? This Straight, No Chaser may have some answers to your common questions. Feel free to ask any others you may have.
Am I forgetful, absent-minded or do I have a serious memory problem?
You tell me. It’s not memory loss if you never paid attention to begin with (there’s a joke about husbands and sporting events in here somewhere). It’s certainly the case that the more you focus on remembering whatever it is, the more likely it is that you will.
Ok then, what’s the difference between normal forgetfulness and serious memory loss?
To understand this distinction, think about functionality. We all forget things. It is a clear concern when the things being forgotten involve items needed for activities of daily living (your name, your address, your birthday, etc.).
Why do we forget? 
This is a very complicated question and the cause is often multifactorial, include one or several of aging, medical and emotional considerations.

memory-loss alcohol

So what about health-related causes of memory loss?
If this refers to non-aging causes, there are several. There’s a phenomenon called state-dependent learning that’s pretty fascinating. For example, if you learn something while intoxicated, you may not remember it while sober, and you may remember it again once intoxicated again. Alcoholism itself causes conditions (e.g. Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakoff’s psychosis – these aren’t esoteric; these are out there) in which memory loss is a component. Chronic alcohol use and other conditions that involve vitamin deficiencies (e.g. Vit D, Vit B12) also produce memory loss and deficiencies.
Is it true that stress can cause memory loss?
Yes, both stress and depression can cause memory loss, both emotionally and physiologically.

memoryloss ahead

Should I worry about Alzheimer’s?
No. Alzheimer’s happens whether you “worry” about it or not. What you should do is be concerned about memory loss and trying to prevent premature dementia. First, take steps to protect and build your memory. Second, if you are experiencing memory loss, discuss it with your physician. He or she will know what to do from there.
Ok, then how do I work on my memory?
An active brain is a healthy brain. Of course diet and exercise will keep all of you healthy, including your brain. There are untold numbers of memory games and problem-solving exercises you can perform to train and keep your brain sharp. Learn a new skill or dabble in a new language. In general, socializing and engaging your mind in activities is most of what you need. Alternatively, you can also protect against your bad memory (or inattentiveness). Make a habit of placing your keys, purse/wallet and other needed items in the same place, so when something’s lost, instead of remembering what you did, you can ask yourself “what was I supposed to do?” And yes, guys you can pay better attention to your wives.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Emergency Room Adventures – The Risk of Rabies

Rabiesdog
Depending on the circumstances of your life, sometimes risks are theoretical, and other times risks become occurrences…
You can’t make this stuff up. It’s another busy night in the ER, and back-to-back patients come in, not related but dealing with the same issue. One’s a child bitten over the eye by a family dog with no shots. The next is a teenager attacked by a possum, which he decided to kick in the mouth, and of course he ends up being bitten. Both of these situations hold a certain risk of rabies exposure.
Rabies is a viral disease transmitted to humans through the bite (or scratch) of an infected animal. It infects the central nervous system, initially producing a multitude of symptoms that resemble the flu (fatigue, headaches, fever, malaise) and then progressing to exotic symptoms (including fear of water, increase in saliva, hallucinations, confusion and partial paralysis) culminating in death within days.
There is no cure for rabies once symptoms appear, so prevention is critical.
Animals that are especially likely to transmit rabies include bats (the most common culprit in the U.S.), foxes, raccoons, skunks and most other carnivores.
rabies1

Bites from these animals are regarded as rabid unless proven otherwise by lab tests.

These animals must be killed and tested as soon as possible.

Animals that have been reported to transmit rabies also include dogs, cats and ferrets.

  • If bitten from one of these animals, and it appears rabid, treatment must begin immediately.
  • If the biting animal appears healthy and can be observed for 10 days, then do so, but the animal must be euthanized at the first sign of rabies.

Others bites in which rabies should be considered include those from rodents (woodchucks, beavers and smaller rodents), rabbits and hares; these almost never require post-exposure prophylaxis unless the area is a high rabies exposure area.  In these instances decisions will be made in consultation with local public health officials.

bat

So what should you do if bitten?

  • Remember, there will be no immediate symptoms, so you can’t trust that you’re ok just because you’re feeling ok.
  • Make every effort to secure the animal.
  • Even if the animal isn’t available, go to the nearest emergency room as soon as possible after contact with a suspect animal.

What can you expect?

  • Vigorous wound cleaning
  • Assessment for and possible administration of two different types of vaccinations. These regimens can prevent the onset of rabies in virtually 100% of cases, one of which needs to be administered in five separate doses over a month’s time.
  • Additional vaccination for tetanus, if appropriate
  • Antibiotics if appropriate.

racoon

Remember, rabies is a fatal disease.  It is meant to be avoided, but if you can’t avoid it, you need to get assessed as rapidly as possible. I hope this information helps you make correct decisions if you’re ever confronted with a rabies prone animal, and for goodness’ sake, please get any house pets all appropriate vaccines.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Lou Gehrig’s Disease (aka Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)

ALS icebucketchallenge

There’s no longer an ice bucket challenge, but the disease known as Lou Gehrig’s disease still is around. However, I have to ask… Do you have any idea what the disease is? In the overwhelming likelihood that you do not, this Straight, No Chaser is going to provide you with a few facts about ALS, so you can at least know why you were getting all wet. ALS is actually a very complicated disease for the layperson to understand (and it’s even worse for the 12,000 or so Americans with definitive diagnosis), so I’ll break it down in five questions.

 ALS Lou

What is ALS? 
The medical description of ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects those nerve cells in the brain and in the spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement and power. Decomposing that medical jargon, this disease
1) creates a dysfunction of certain areas of the brain and nervous system and the associated nerves and muscles controlled by them,
2) worsens over time, and
3) it often culminates in irreversible deterioration and loss of function in the affected organs or tissues.

 als hawking

So what’s the dysfunction?
Remember that the brain controls the activities of the rest of the body. If nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are dying, your functions associated with those cells go away. In ALS, based on the type of cells affected (motor neurons), what is affected results in a loss of the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement.
Does ALS involve all muscles?
No. There are organs and tissues of the body (most notably the heart and digestive system) that aren’t under voluntary control. These areas are spared from the effects of ALS.

 ALS symptoms

What are the symptoms?
Since the brain can’t control those muscles under your voluntary control, symptoms are somewhat predictable and include the following.

  • Early symptoms often include increasing and widespread muscle weakness. This can include the arms and legs and also those muscles allowing you to speak, swallow and breath.
  • Additional symptoms include thinning of the arms and legs resulting from lack of muscle use.
  • Eventually, paralysis can occur. Paralysis of muscles involved with swallowing and breathing can lead to a rapid death.

What’s the treatment for ALS?
There is no cure for ALS. There is also no treatment that halts or reverses progression. However, there is a drug named riluzole that modestly slows the progress of ALS. The remainder of treatment efforts involves providing episodic relief of symptoms.
This is why your contributions are of value. There is ongoing research that is promising. Even if you didn’t take the ice bucket challenge, you can still make a difference. Go to www.alsa.org  to learn more.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Do’s and Don’ts of Treating Electrical Injuries

Introduction

This post is about treating electrical injuries. In a previous Straight, No Chaser, we discussed the “what” of electrical injuries and lightning. In this post, we discuss the “what-to-do” and “what-not-to-do” if and when you find yourself shocked or caring for someone else who was.

Prevention

Let’s begin with prevention. It is easier for you to avoid a hazardous situation than to have to deal with it while injured. Let’s start with the children.

 electrical-outlet-child-proof

  • Talk to your children about electricity. Review hazardous and safe behaviors.
  • Use child safety plugs in all electrical outlets. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone anymore.
  • Take the next step and keep all electrical cords out of children’s reach.
  • Keep children away from electrical devices, especially those plugged in.
  • Intermittently check electrical cords, and make sure they aren’t cut or split with loose, exposed wiring visible and accessible.
  • Take the extra step of reading and following manufacturer’s safety instructions when using electrical appliances. Learning the right places to plug live wires on the fly is not the best idea.
  • Stay away from electrical devices while wet. This includes touching faucets or pipes while using them. Take the time to take the extra step.
  • Learn where the power boxes are in your house. If you ever need to turn them off, the first step is knowing the correct location for them.

Lineman_Rescue

Steps Not to Take in Treating Electrical Injuries

Now, let’s review steps NOT to take if you’re electrocuted or near someone who was.

  • Don’t touch someone still in contact with the source of the electricity. The body is an excellent conductor of electrical current, and you’ll become part of the link.
  • Not only should you not touch, you shouldn’t even get close. Stay at least 20 feet (about three to four body lengths) away from someone being electrocuted until the power is turned off. The high-voltage current of power lines can dance their way onto you if given the opportunity.
  • Regardless of the distance, don’t try to rescue someone near an active high-voltage power line.
  • Don’t play doctor. If the power does get shut off, don’t move the victim. You’re likely to cause more harm than good. The force associated with electrical injuries often cause injuries, including to the head or spine. The exception to this would be the presence of a fire or the risk of an explosion.
  • Don’t play doctor, part two: Forget what you’ve heard. Please don’t slather the burns with butter or apply ice, ointment or any other medications. In fact, avoid placing any type of adhesive dressing or big bulky dressings. Your best move is to spend that time on the phone with emergency medical services.
  • You’re still not a doctor! Avoid the urge to break open burn blisters or peel off dead skin. Sometimes don’t-do-something-just-stand-there is the best course of action.

Safe, Reasonable Steps to Take in Treating Electrical Injuries

Ok, you really want to do something to help?

  • First things first: Ensure your own safety, whether from the electricity, any fire or possibility of an explosion. If there’s any water on the floor while this is occurring get out while you can.

shut off powerbox

  • Take advantage of your being smart enough to have learned how to cut off the power and do so. I’d recommend working backwards in this order: turn off the circuit breakers, remove the fuse from the fuse box, and unplug the cord. Remember, appliances can still allow for electrical current flow even in the off position. Simply cutting it off might neither be safe nor effective.
  • Call your local emergency medical service number (e.g., 911) at the first safe opportunity.

treating electrical injuries electrocution

  • If the current can’t be turned off, and you determine it is safe to do so, find something made of rubber or another non-conducting material, such as a broom, chair or rug to push the person away from the source of the current. Don’t even think about using metal or something wet. Whenever you’re doing whatever you’re doing, stand on something rubber.
  • Do you know CPR? You may need it here. If the victim is no longer near the source of electricity, take needed steps. One very simple yet effective step is to raise the legs about the level of the heart. Again, avoid movement of the head, neck or lower spine.
  • If the person has a burn, remove any clothing that comes off easily without disturbing the rest of the body. Rinse any burns in cool running water until the pain subsides, and if possible give first aid. Do not go to great lengths here. The ambulance is likely to arrive before you get to do much here.
  • Stay with the victim until medical assistance arrives, unless the situation demands a quit exit.

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Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright ©2013- 2019 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

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