Health
October 18, 2019
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Prepareness plan to protect seniors Time for the yearly flu vaccine Avoiding spooky smiles this Halloween Seven ways seniors can interact with pets Turn the page Five best pet types for seniors Prosthetic joints and dentistry When hard things happen Are you stressed out? The spirit of Alzheimer’s learning Part II Pets and seniors make the perfect pair Halloween pirate’s gold Fall risks are sometimes simple, yet fatal Is multi-generational living for you? Five ways our self-talk may be hurtful Natural disaster threats call for preparedness plan to protect seniors The spirit of Alzheimer’s learning  Winter sun safety: What to know about protecting yourself during colder months Tending to spiritual distress with aging and illness Blood pressure control a focus of American Heart month Home your own way March is colorectal cancer awareness month Safety at home for seniors Suicide - Are there answers? 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A message from the heart Using anxiety to your advantage Youth, women and dementia The long-reaching impact of dementia Children’s dental health month Ten tips for healthy aging Planning for aging at home Thirty-four years as a dentist Tooth friendly Easter tips Feeding my hungry heart How to keep older adults cool during the heat of the day Invisible braces work wonders Senate passes Alzheimer’s and dementia research funding October’s most celebrated event Our Feelings Come From Our Beliefs Making sense of the season for seniors Cultures differ on what makes a beautiful smile! How to have a better year Falling in love is easy, but staying in love is very special A confession Women in dentistry Plan for where you want to age Three ways a senior can fund a home remodel Cannabis as medicine-Changing the face of aging May is skin cancer awareness month A brain is a reason to join the Alzheimer’s fight Recognizing and reporting elder abuse Dental technology- computers have changed our lives Create your personal Medicare account Understanding the aging brain Two ways to get your Medicare taken care of How to know if you are in danger of compression fractures Psychology Today The Art of Resilience: I Have I Am…I Can The advantage of dental implants Too much of a good thing for seniors and the holidays What families’ caregivers need to know about Recommendations for screen time Resolutions for your oral health Super Bowl, Joe Montana and blood pressure Open heart surgery – Thoughts from the other side Chewing gum - Helpful or harmful? Five tips for a healthy smile I will– I should– I can– I’ll try Rightsizing for seniors doesn’t have to be painful The Joy of Sadness Human Touch: The role companionship plays in aging at home Becoming who we really want to be How to fail well Back to school with healthy teeth Five ways to manage caregiver guilt Senior dating – Mom’s new relationship is heating up... Should you be concerned? Aspirin relieves mild pain Fighting osteoporosis and preventing fall-related injuries Un-retiring in a changing economy Coping with the unpredictable life of caregiving Double duty tools: toothbrush and floss Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Tips for living with low vision  Keep your Medicare costs down The freedom and choice to again place at home Put dementia on the agenda for 2019 Free app shows what Medicare covers The reason “Four” is the magic number? Preventing tooth decay in children Laughter is the best medicine Sports mouth guards-keeping teeth safe  Help your senior loved one avoid preventable hospitalizations Tips for keeping calm in the midst of crisis  Five cybersecurity tips for older adults Preparing kids for first dental visits Dental treatment concerns with patients taking blood thinners Home Health Care vs. In-Home Care: What you need to know Three ways to lessen negative thinking Amazing results with Arestin Navigating the aging journey Smoke and stress maintenance and recovery How to lower your surgery costs Know your pharmacist… Know your medicine as drug prices will jump in 2019 Influenza activity is increasing throughout California Show your kids’ teeth some love this Valentine’s Day! New life and stormy weather Your Medicare rights and protections Summer snacking and your child’s teeth Back to basics 10 summertime activities for seniors Three ways to boost your self-esteem Increasing West Nile Virus activity in Ca. Why are seniors targets for scams? Summer’s sun damages the skin Abscess gives warning 8 tips to minimize the behaviors of “Sundowning” Keeping your relationships fresh What are dental sealants? Healthy eating habits can benefit you and your teeth How does the body heal? Apply or renew Covered Ca. Health insurance by Jan. 15 Guilt from holiday eating Toothbrush tips Three reasons for a root canal Seniors: Say no to “free” genetic tests Yoga for relaxation & healing What causes sensitive teeth to hurt All of us make mistakes  Heat and older adults Five tips to cope with caregiver anger Back to school health Real decisions and moderation Three gifts you can give yourself Don’t stress, clench or grind! Gratitude and positivity can inspire caregiver self-care Medicare helps seniors use opioids safely Is it elder abuse or neglect? Dental scanning technology improves dental care Using Medicare when on foreign land I slept in last Saturday! Always being bright may not be so bright Trying to save a knocked out permanent tooth What happens to our teeth and gums as we age? Reduce wear and tear As Autumn begins, a reminder flu season can hit seniors hard Overcoming fears surrounding End-of-Life care Important: women and periodontal health Americans unaware of potentially life-threatening skin cancer Sun protection tips for young children Cannabis symposium Sept. 19th The importance of immunization Returning home is bittersweet Osteoporosis, osteonecrosis and dental health How dentistry handles gastric reflux disease Use it or lose it- Muscle mass as you age  A free cheek swab test Twice a victim Finding a path forward after an accident Use it or lose it- Muscle mass as you age  If it is not broken, don’t fix it! Managing your mental health with or without insurance coverage Why gardening is the most recommended exercise for seniors

Living with Lupus Erythematosus

By: Irene Hilsendager
June 28, 2019

I am writing about lupus this week as I have encountered people that have no idea what lupus is. I have been told you don’t look ill, what is it and is it contagious? I may not look sick, but you don’t know how I feel on the inside. Some days I am hurting so bad that I don’t want to be touched. Skin burns, muscles cramp and joints sometimes just won’t work.  Having lived with this since 1975, there are some good days, but more hurtful days than the good. No, lupus is not contagious. I get very annoyed when people talk about being contagious. Energy is sometimes at a minus ten. I could sink through the floor and not know it.

Lupus Erythematosus is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the connective tissues and can appear in two forms. Discoid lupus erythematosus which affects the skin and systemic lupus erythematosus which usually affects multiple organ systems, as well as the skin and can be fatal. I have the systemic lupus and it has been hanging over my head for forty-four years come July 13. Medical doctors have told me I am one of the very lucky ones. I have known people that were 14 years old and many in their forties and have unfortunately passed away due to renal failure or infections. It is very easy to pick up infections even from just a simple scratch. The fourteen-year old boy died from having a blister on his heel from shoes that did not fit properly. Some of my boo boos take up to a month to heal when it should only take a week.

The exact cause of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) remains a mystery, but three theories have been postulated. The first holds the SLE is an abnormal reaction of the body to its own tissues, caused by a breakdown in the autoimmune system. According to theory, the body produces antibodies, such as antinuclear antibody (ANA) which form antigen-antibody complexes and “poison” cells, suppressing the body’s normal immunity.

The second theory suggests that certain predisposing factors make a person susceptible to SLE. Physical or mental stress, streptococcal or viral infections, exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet light, immunization and pregnancy may all affect the development of this disease. Because SLE has been found in certain families for several generations, genetic predisposition is also suspected. Stress is what flairs up my lupus and I have learned to stay calm most days. So if I don’t speak sometime when you meet me on the street, it is because I am concentrating on myself.

The third theory proposes that SLE may be triggered or aggravated by certain drugs such as procainamide, hydralazine, anticonvulsants and less frequently penicillin or sulfa drugs. I am very allergic to medicine and dyes so having to take something for migraines is extremely difficult. Usually the emergency room is my relief.

There are many signs and diagnosing SLE is far from easy. SLE often mimics other diseases and sometimes symptoms may be vague and vary greatly from patient to patient.  When going to the doctor for two years and always being told that it was all in my head-it sure was but the body was hurting also. I had to find a doctor that had just been out of medical school.

Some symptoms and signs of SLE include non-deforming arthritis, a charactistic “butterfly rash” and sensitive to sun. Joints may show redness, warmth, tenderness and muscle weakness. The most distinctive feature of SLE is the “butterfly rash” that appears in a malar distribution across the nose and cheeks. This is the most terrible rash any person can have on their face. It started on the bridge of my nose and spread to under the chin. It was disturbing to even have to look at it with open sores and oozing skin eruptions. I suffered eight months with disgust. I did not go out in public due to the stares of other people. It itched, it was a brutal hurt and it became worse when water touched it. After months of crying and feeling sorry for myself, I took a stiff nail brush, got into the shower and absolutely scrubbed my face until it bled. But after that, my skin started to heal but it took me 30 years to get rid of all of the scars-I didn’t get rid of them the fish scale like just shrunk.  Some other symptoms are oral ulcerations, alopecia, pleuritic or pericarditis, Raynaud’s phenomenon, convulsions or psychoses. 

Other symptoms of SLE includes aching, malaise, fatigue, low-grade or spiking fever, chills, anorexia and weight loss.  Sometimes you have enlarged lymph nodes, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation. Women may experience irregular menstrual periods or no period at all. I have to be warm in the winter and cool in the summer as heat aggravates the lupus. I am very fatigued at times and there is never a morning I don’t get up and hurt.

About 50 percent of SLE patients develop signs of cardiopulmonary abnormalities such as pleuritic, pericarditis and dyspnea. Sometimes pneumonia may occur. Headaches, irritability and depression are especially common.

After years of being bedridden or on crutches, I decided life had to be better. I changed my diet, I take supplements, stay active and keep my brain running at all times. I never feel sorry for myself, as I know there are others worse off than myself and volunteer to make the community a better place.