WEATHER ALERT

Health

The ABCs of Health

 

 

Dr. KJ Williams, Agrace HospiceCare

Carla Durst, RN administrator, All Saints Assisted Living and Memory Care

Dr. Michael Shapiro, Anderson & Shapiro Eye Care 

Dr. Jeremy Bufford, allergist, Meriter

Dr. Richard Parfitt, Parfitt Facial Cosmetic Surgery Center

Tom Moreland, CEO, St. Jude Hospice

Carmela Mulroe, activities director, St. Mary's Care Center

Drs. David Olive and Elizabeth Pritts, Wisconsin Fertility Institute

 

face beyond a certain age," says Richard Parfitt. "A combination of both gives the best results." Parfitt performs facelifts, eyelid surgery, injectibles, laser and light treatments, chemical peels and more.

Wisconsin Fertility Institute is also an international center for Asherman syndrome, or scar tissue within the uterus. Olive and Elizabeth Pritts specialize in patients with endometriosis, fibroids, chronic pelvic pain and anomalies of the vagina, cervix and uterus. "Even some gynecologists aren't aware there are corrective measures for some of these conditions."

Hospice is increasingly embraced as an essential end-of-life tool, and for most the cost is covered, freeing up families to make choices based on individual needs. Anyone with a prognosis of six months or less is eligible, and care is "healing-focused rather than cure-focused," says St. Jude's Tom Moreland.

Pulmonary care is often overlooked in hospice because the decision to shift from chronic to terminal diagnosis is difficult. St. Jude Hospice now offers the Hospice Pulmonary Program, providing education and visits from a respiratory therapist. "We keep them out of the hospital and safe at home without air hunger and pain, and with their family," says Moreland.

Bufford says seasonal allergies are often mistaken for the common cold, but allergies last several weeks and do not make you feverish. Skin rashes may actually be allergic reactions; chronic dry, scaly or itchy skin may indicate allergic contact dermatitis triggered by metals, fragrances, rubbers or chemicals.

As St. Mary's Hospital turns one hundred, staff can't help reflecting on the healthy habits of the centenarians in their care. What are the shared traits of those who live long, fulfilling lives? Sign up for "Living to 100," a free presentation at St. Mary's Hospital on September 11 at 6 p.m. (stmarysmadison.com/100years).

Some of the most prevalent aging-related diseases and conditions are related to memory, including Alzheimer's and other dementias. "Look for an assisted living facility that offers specialized memory care services," says All Saints' Carla Durst, "and ask them what makes their programs special."

Despite infomercial claims, aging is inevitable; at All Saints, the focus is on "optimal aging." When choosing an assisted living facility, "Try to look past the glitz and glimmer and focus on the health care provided," says Durst, who recommends registered nurses available twenty-four hours a day and a lively social calendar as key starting places.

"We see a trend in those that live to be one hundred," says St. Mary's Care Center's Mulroe. "People gravitate toward them." Health setbacks happen, but people who look beyond the setbacks fare the best. In addition to eating well and exercising, they have an inner drive, stay social, think of others and cultivate hobbies.

If you're considering plastic surgery, view dozens of before-and-after photos. Ask about a facility's infection rate and what type of anesthesia is used. "For facial plastic surgery, general anesthesia is not only unnecessary, it adds a quantum increase in risk," says Parfitt, advising patients to wait two years before trying any new technique. "Worthless surgical techniques and nonsurgical treatments come and go every year."

"Often the media highlights a seventy-five-year-old marathoner and that's nice, but that's not the majority," says St. Mary's Mulroe. "If a resident learns how to knit or paint, that opens up a new avenue and life becomes more meaningful. And the capability of living closer to one hundred becomes a reality."

Some want religion kept separate from health care, but for many Catholics, the opposite is not only true, it's a critical fusion. St. Jude Hospice just received a formal canon decree from Bishop Robert Morlino so Catholic patients can rest assured that their end-of-life plans will align with their beliefs.

Superior care results when experts gather to focus on an individual person. At Agrace HospiceCare, each patient is assigned a team of care providers made up of medical professionals, social workers, grief counselors and chaplains. They also have access to companionship from volunteers and complementary therapies such as massage and nutritional consultation.

UV rays are as harmful to eyes as to skin, increasing cataract formation and speeding macular degeneration. Shapiro says when you're outside, even on cloudy days, wear UV-rated sunglasses. Regular eyeglasses may be fitted with clear UV filters, and newer contact lenses and cataract implants also contain UV filters.

"A lot of people think you have to wait a year to be classified as infertile," says Wisconsin Fertility's Pritts. "That's not true if you've got an obvious problem, such as stopped periods or chemotherapy treatments." If you're having difficulty getting pregnant, seek out a physician for preconception counseling and pin down a plan.

Protect with physical blocks and sunscreen, but if skin is already damaged, a prescriptive exfoliant and tretinoin (Retin-A) topical cream, lotion or gel will make it look and act younger. "A good prescriptive skin lightener with hydroquinone 4% will also prevent age spots and other pigmentation problems," says Parfitt.

"Seniors and their families sometimes think assisted living is the end of the road," says All Saints' Durst. "That shouldn't be farther from the truth if done correctly." Don't give up the right to live with independence, choice and dignity; look for a facility that offers new friends, delicious food, engaging social opportunities and round-the-clock care.

Avoid your allergic triggers. Pets, dust mites, molds, pollens, food allergens, stinging insects and drugs are all culprits. "People and allergens can coexist as long as people obtain the proper diagnosis, recognize and respect their allergic triggers and practice avoidance measures," says Bufford. 


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