Seven Things Everyone Should Know About Sudden Cardiac Arrest

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb and The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. It is an article from June, but still contains valuable information. Please share your thoughts below…..

didyouknow?The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation dispels common myths about sudden cardiac arrest and urges the public to learn CPR and how to use automated external defibrillators during the first week of June, National CPR-AED Awareness Week.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death in the U.S., affecting about 326,200 people of all ages outside hospitals every day. Dave Goldberg, CEO of Survey Monkey and husband of Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, was one of its recent victims.

During this week alone, about 6,250 unsuspecting victims will suffer SCA, most of them (70%) at home. Their hearts will unexpectedly stop beating and blood will no longer flow to the brain and throughout the body. They will collapse, breathe abnormally or not at all, and may appear to be having seizures. In essence, they will be dead—and they will stay this way unless bystanders work to restore their heartbeats by starting CPR and defibrillation immediately.

Unfortunately, only one-third of SCA victims receives CPR from bystanders and fewer than five percent are treated with automated external defibrillators (AEDs) before EMS arrives at the scene. But for every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, the chances of survival decrease by 7-10%. As a result, only 11 percent of victims typically survive. Yet survival rates could double or triple if more people knew what to do when SCA strikes. In fact, as many as 30,000 additional lives could be saved each year.

Why don’t more people know and use these fundamental lifesaving skills? For one thing, not enough schools include CPR-AED instruction as a requirement for high school graduation. In addition, seven common myths may be barriers to bystander action, according to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, which counters with the following facts.

Myth No. 1: SCA is rare. Fact: The number of people who die from SCA each day is equivalent to the number who would die if two jet planes crashed every single day killing nearly everyone on board.

Myth: No. 2: SCA is the same as a heart attack. Fact: Heart attack is like a plumbing problem. When people have heart attacks, they are awake and their hearts are beating. SCA is like an electrical problem. When people have SCA, they are not awake and their hearts are not beating. Heart attacks can lead to SCA, but there are many other causes, usually related to heart rhythm disorders.

Myth No. 3: SCA only happens to the elderly. Fact: SCA happens to people of all ages, including more than 6,000 people under the age of 18 each year.

Myth No. 4: SCA only happens to people with a history of heart problems. Fact: SCA is often the first indication of a heart problem.

Myth No. 5: Victims are better off waiting for professional help to arrive. Fact: Time is of the essence. Immediate bystander intervention can mean the difference between life and death.

Myth No. 6: Only trained personnel are allowed to use AEDs. Fact: Despite antiquated signage that sometimes accompanies the devices, AEDs may be used effectively by anyone who can follow visual and voice prompts.

Myth No. 7: AEDs can hurt people by shocking them inappropriately. Fact: SCA victims are dead. Rescuer actions can only help. AEDs are safe and effective and will not shock the heart unless shocks are needed to restore a healthy heartbeat.

Given the facts and the tremendous opportunity to save so many more lives, the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation urges the public to seek CPR and AED training during National CPR-AED Awareness Week. “Our growing national survivor network is a testament to the fact that immediate CPR and defibrillation really does save lives,” said Mary Newman, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation president. “Since most cardiac arrests occur in the home, taking a few minutes now to learn CPR and how to use an AED could mean the difference between life and death for a loved one.”

Here’s what to do when SCA strikes:

1. Call 9-1-1 and follow dispatcher instructions.

2. Start CPR. Press hard and fast on the center of the chest at a rate of 100 beats per minute (e.g., to the tune of “Tears on My Guitar” by Taylor Swift).

3. Use the nearest AED as quickly as possible.

For information on training resources or to join the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Network, visit For information on the AED Readiness Project, click here. To support the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, click here.

About the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation

The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation is a national community benefit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to raising awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and saving lives. Programs include educational campaigns for secondary schools and colleges and the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Network, an online community that provides peer support and opportunities for survivors and family members to participate in awareness, advocacy, and research initiatives.

Facts You Should Know About STDs

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By Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC

teensApril is STD awareness month so there is no better time to remind adults of the facts about sexually transmitted diseases, and to inform teens about the facts. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections occur every year in the U.S. according to a 2014 report. That’s more than 54,000 new cases each day, so the chances of getting infected are high. In a recent survey with Planned Parent, 95% of women surveyed rarely or never used protection during oral sex, and 58% of them had sex without the use of a condom. This is especially alarming when you take into account that these are not monogamous couples.

The importance of educating women and men to have the sex talk with their partner before sex ever begins cannot be overlooked, and it all begins with straight talk. Women surveyed were more reluctant to bring up the topic of condom use, and taking the pill or using a barrier to prevent pregnancy does nothing to protect from an STD.

According to the American Social Health Organization, one in four teens in the U.S. becomes infected with an STD each year. By the age of 25 half of all sexually active young adults will get an STD this especially scary since not all STDs can be cured.

How to prevent an STD:

* Practicing abstinence is the only sure way to prevent STDs. Don’t have sex until you are ready to deal with every possible consequence that may happen.

* Talk about sexual health with your partner before you have sex.

* Use a condom.

* Practice monogamy. This means you agree to have sex with only one person and they mutually agree to only have sex with you. If you don’t trust them, why are you sleeping with them?

* Get checked for STDs if you have any concerns. Don’t risk giving the infection to someone else.

* Don’t use alcohol or drugs before you have sex as it distorts your thinking and decreases your ability to make healthy choices.

How to stop the spread of STDs:

* If you have an STD, stop having sex until you see a doctor and are treated.

* Follow your doctor’s instructions for treatment.

* Return to your doctor to get rechecked and don’t resume sex until you are cleared of your STD.

* Be sure your sex partner or partners are notified and get treatment.

* Always insist and be adamant that your health is first and listen to your doctor instead of your partner.

If you are concerned about having an STD, the best thing you can do for your health is to ask your healthcare provider for an STD screening. It may be embarrassing but it may also save your life. Many STDs can be easily diagnosed and treated. If either you or your partner is affected, you will both have to be treated at the same time to prevent getting re-infected. Your health must never take second place to your feelings of embarrassment or fear of losing your partner.

Please review this site for more information about STDs:

– Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC, is a licensed psychotherapist and co-author with Janine J. Sherman, of Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom About Health, Sex or Whatever. Read more about the book at and more about Rapini at

9 Dangerous Kids’ Health Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

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By Julieane Hernandez

groupkidsChildren are such fragile beings in terms of health, and with good reason, too. Since their bodies are still developing, any slight cough or sneeze could be an indication of a much larger sickness, like asthma or bronchitis. But as the sickness continues in the body, its resistance are strengthened so when the same strain attacks again, the body can easily fight if off.

In most cases, this doesn’t mean that you should let the child suffer without any medicine for cough and cold. You should definitely bring them to a doctor for a prognosis and prescription. But if you don’t know how to notice these things, here are 10 dangerous kids’ symptoms you should never ignore.

1. Coughing
As common as this may sound, coughing could be an indication of either an irritation in the throat (which could lead to choking, or a bacterial or viral infection. If it’s a phlegm-y cough, check the color. White means it’s possibly viral; any hue of green means it’s bacterial.

2. Colds
Any kind of sniffling should be immediately looked at. Aside from the fact that there might be something lodged in the child’s nose, phlegm build-up in the nasal passages could also be an indication of a bacterial or viral infection. Cough and colds almost always go hand. It’s nearly impossible to separate the two.

3. Fever
When a child’s body temperature goes up, it means that his/her body is fighting an infection. Immediately bring to your child to the pediatrician when this happens.

4. Intense headaches
If a child is suffering from a powerful headache that keeps him/her from opening their eyes, bring them straight to the doctor. You need to rule out the possibility of meningitis.

5. Diarrhea and 6. Vomiting
Any expelling of fluids from the mouth or watery stool are symptoms that should not be left ignored. Dehydration will occur and cause more complications. Rush your child to the hospital. It might be a sign that he/she needs IV fluids or medication to stop these symptoms.

twokidsun6. Loss of hearing
We live in a media-abundant generation, where kids as young as 5 can have access to a plethora of devices such as tablets, iPods, smartphones, computers, etc. The use of these machines early on can contribute to early hearing loss during the teenage years.

If your child complains about hearing loss during these formative years, immediately bring them to a doctor and minimize the use of such devices for your child’s sake.

7. Breathing problems
Difficulty breathing could mean that a child is suffering from croup (an illness that results in noisy inhalation), asthma, or a lodged piece of food in their throat or lung. Proceed by immediately calling your doctor to get an idea of how to proceed. A piece of food stuck inside a lung must be removed via surgery.

8. Unnatural thirst
It is quite normal for children to ask for water after a long day out with their playmates. However, if their thirst has become very insatiable, immediately go to your doctor to rule out the possibility of diabetes. An increased thirst is one of the many symptoms of diabetes.

9. A rash
Rashes are usually harmless skin irritations that go away. Sans symptoms, they can be ignored. But, if other signs show up like swelling in the face or lips, it might be an allergic reaction. Your doctor may be able to prescribe an antihistamine or allergy shot to keep it at bay.

Then next time you see any of these symptoms, remember this article and always check with your doctor to take the necessary steps. Sound off in the comments section below I you know other child symptoms to look out for.

– Julieane Hernandez is a freelance writer and a hotel and restaurant management graduate turned designer. She’s an advanced tri-athlete during weekends. She’s been in the industry for about 6 years now and She’s learned so much from all the experiences she’s been through. Follow her on twitter and google+.

Menopausal Women Should Visit Dentist More Often

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By Dr. Piero

womanarmupMore is not always better, but in the case of professional dental cleanings and menopausal women, visiting the dentist four times a year may assist in keeping bones healthy.

Women who are going through or have completed menopause are more at risk for osteoporosis. A recent study reported in Menopause – The Journal of the North American Menopause Society found that those at risk of osteoporosis are also at risk of periodontal disease. The word osteoporosis means porous bones. As aging occurs, the body loses minerals, especially calcium. The bones become weaker and are more susceptible to breaking. Although osteoporosis is usually associated with backs, hips and wrists, the jaw is also a bone affected by osteoporosis.

Bone anchors the teeth and there is a loss of bone density with aging. With osteoporosis, loss of bone density may affect the bone surrounding teeth causing them to become loose. Osteoporosis is only one factor in healthy jaws. Menopausal women, according to the study, showed abnormal dental plaque (a precursor to periodontal disease).

Periodontal disease is another factor in healthy jaws. The cause of periodontal disease stems from the plaque-producing bacteria, found among the almost 500 species of bacteria in the mouth. The body recognizes the bacteria in the mouth as a chronic infection. The body sends blood cells via capillaries to the infected area and cytokines are released which in turn causes the body to produce more blood cells to physically fight the infection. Chronic infection results in messages or cytokines being continuously sent out and blood cells being continuously produced. This is stress on your entire body, taxing your immune system and now an association has been found with cytokines and osteoporosis.

dentistThe premise of the study in Menopause magazine was that the cytokines stimulate osteoclasts which degrade bone. The cytokines in periodontal disease are degrading the bone. So if you can treat the periodontal disease, this will lower the cytokines and slow down osteoporosis.

In the presence of cytokines in the blood stream a red flag should go up for physicians that there is an infection somewhere in the body. It has been now known for some time that this marker is as important for heart disease as cholesterol. This new study highlights the importance of cytokines and how it affects bone density.

Treating osteoporosis with long-term bisphosphonate seems to protect against some of the bone loss in the body including the jaw. And getting professional dental cleaning four times a year may be a good combination for keeping jaws and teeth healthy, especially for postmenopausal women.

– Dr. Piero, a Holland, MI dentist for over thirty years, is the inventor of Dental Air Force®. Articles published are on periodontal health related to heart disease, respiratory health, diabetes, strokes, and other systemic diseases. He is the Executive Editor for Journal of Experimental Dental Science, a contributing author to Hospital Infection Control: Clinical Guidelines

What Should You Do If You Think Your Child Has Vision Problems?

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groupkidsAs a parent, your primary goal is to ensure that your kids have the assistance and guidance they need to become successful, independent adults. You’re driven to look after them, keep them safe and treat any problems that may crop up along the way. Treating the occasional flu or a bout with chicken pox is one thing, but how do you treat a problem if you’re not quite sure that it exists? One of the more difficult issues for parents to accurately identify, especially in very young children, is problems with vision. Unless your child is actively squinting when she tries to focus on an object or is holding a book too close to her face for comfort, you may not be able to spot the signs of vision problems if you’re not well-versed in the symptoms. Knowing what to do in terms of treatment, prevention and correction isn’t always easy, but there are a few things you can keep in mind to make the journey a bit less complicated.

Know the Symptoms

Classic symptoms of vision issues, like squinting and sitting too close to the television, are red flags for parents, but what many don’t realize is that there are a host of other, subtler signals that can indicate a struggle to see clearly. For newborns, it’s even more difficult to discern any problems because their eyes are not fully developed. In older infants, however, the warning signs can be easier to spot. Irregular movement, one eye that stays stationary while the other moves normally, one eye that’s consistently closed or the failure of mobiles, lights or movement to catch her attention can be cause for concern and should be discussed with her pediatrician at the next well child exam. Toddlers and older babies may bump into furniture or walls when they’re crawling or learning to walk, rub their eyes frequently when they’re not sleepy, cover one eye to see things better and lose their balance when standing from a seated position.

Schedule an Appointment with an Eye Doctor

Around preschool age, even if your child is not exhibiting any signs of vision problems or difficulty seeing, it’s wise to make an appointment with an eye doctor. Even if he can’t yet read, there are still vision tests that can be performed on a young child that are capable of diagnosing many common sight problems. Rather than trying to diagnose a vision problem yourself, it’s important that you make arrangements for your child to visit the eye doctor for a check-up and full exam.

Prepare Her for Glasses

cutekidsIf you suspect that your child is having trouble with her vision, it may be a good idea to start talking about what glasses are used for, how they help people who have trouble seeing and how important they are to people whose sight is compromised. Your child may leave her first ophthalmologist’s appointment with nothing more than a sticker and a pat on the back, but she may leave with a brand new pair of glasses that she’s less than thrilled about. If you have reason to suspect that your child might be suffering from some vision issues, the best course of action is to ensure that she’s prepared for the possibility of corrective measures.

Rethink Harsh Punishments

Kids who can’t see clearly at school may suffer a drop in academic performance, become less active participants in the classroom and show a negative change on their next report card. Because a good education is so important, many parents are quick to treat academic neglect with a zero-tolerance policy, but it’s best to rethink things if your child is also showing other signs of having trouble seeing. The last thing you want to do is punish a child who’s already struggling for doing badly in school. Before flying off the handle when kids act out in school or return home with bad grades, stop to consider whether or not having difficulty seeing could be the motivating factor behind these behaviors.

Stress Compliance

Your child may not be eager to wear her new glasses, but failure to do so can lead to worsening vision problems down the road. After the diagnosis comes and corrective steps are taken to manage a vision problem, it is your job to ensure that compliance with ophthalmologists’ and pediatricians’ orders continues at home. Work with your child, his eye doctors and his teachers to find a plan of action that stresses cooperation and provides a supportive environment for your youngster.

– Submitted by Anne Laurie of

5 Medications Kids Should Never Take

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pillsWhen you pick up a bottle of over-the-counter medication to treat symptoms of an illness in your child, you do so with the belief that anything you can purchase from a pharmacy shelf is probably safe for use. While over-the-counter medications may be marketed to kids, not all of them are actually safe for every child, and some can even cause severe adverse reactions. Despite the rigorous testing involved in the approval process before a drug hits the shelves, there are some medications that simply aren’t safe for young children. Before you reach for a box or a bottle to treat your sick child, make sure that the substance you’re planning to use isn’t one of these dangerous drugs.

* Aspirin – For adults, aspirin can be a helpful medication. It has fever-reducing and pain-relieving qualities, and can be of assistance in a wide range of situations. For kids under the age of 19, however, aspirin can be the cause of a rare but serious health condition that can be fatal. If your child is suffering from a fever, you may want to treat it with acetaminophen or ibuprofen, but make sure that you’re administering only age-appropriate doses and following the directions carefully. Also, be sure that you look for an “aspirin free” listing on the label of any medicine you purchase over the counter, because some kids’ medications still contain aspirin despite the associated Reye’s Syndrome risk.

* Cough and Cold Medicines – When your child is suffering, you want to do anything you can to alleviate her pain. While you may seek to treat the symptoms that are causing her discomfort, it’s important to note that the American Academy of Pediatrics specifically warns against using over-the-counter cough and cold medications for toddlers because their research indicates that they don’t actually have an effect on cold symptoms and can even be harmful if a dose is slightly miscalculated. Rapid heart rate, convulsions, hives and even death can result from overuse of a cold medication, so it’s best to contact a physician or pharmacist if your child has a severe cold or cough, rather than attempting to treat it with OTC drugs.

groupkidswbg* Ipecac – Once a staple of the home medicine cabinet, syrup of ipecac has been used in the past to induce vomiting when poisoning is suspected. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend use of this folk remedy, as vomiting has not been shown to be effective in the treatment of poison ingestion cases and can actually cause more harm. If you do have syrup of ipecac on hand, it’s advised that you throw it out and prevent accidental poisoning by locking up potentially harmful substances instead.

* Medications Meant for Another Age Group – Giving your child a larger dose of medication intended for infants can be just as dangerous as administering a small dose of one intended for an adult, which means that neither practice is safe or recommended. Medications intended for infants are more highly concentrated than most people realize, making it easy to inadvertently over-dose your child with them. Instead, find an age-appropriate treatment or contact a medical professional for advice.

* Anti-Nausea Medication – In cases of dehydration caused by excessive vomiting, your child’s doctor may recommend an anti-nausea medication or write a prescription for one. Otherwise, you should never administer them to your child. There are risks involved when your child takes any medication, and episodic vomiting is rarely severe enough to warrant taking that risk with your child’s health.

Some of these medications may be recommended by a physician or pediatrician. Generally speaking, this is the only time when it’s safe to administer them to your child. Unless you’re under direct instruction from your child’s primary care physician, it’s just not a good idea to take the risk and administer them to your little one.

– Submitted by Kevin Thompson of Back Up Care

10 Reasons Why Parents And Kids Should Exercise Together

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obese childWith childhood obesity rates on the rise and more kids than ever experiencing what were once considered adult health problems, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the sedentary lifestyle promoted by a glut of video games, television and electronic entertainment that is frequently paired with a fast food-centric diet is taking its toll on even the youngest members of the population. In addition to instilling good dietary habits in kids, however, one of the most important things a parent can do for their children is encourage a healthy level of physical activity. Here are 10 of the reasons why parents and kids should make a point of exercising together, both for fun and for fitness.

* Modeling Healthy Behavior – In order to truly show kids how important exercise is, you must be willing to put in the same amount of effort that you’re expecting. This is one area in which taking a “do as I say, not as I do” approach simply won’t work, so be sure that you’re willing to practice what you’re so eagerly preaching.

* Making Sure That You Get Enough Exercise – Between juggling the demands of work and home, it’s not always easy to fit in a fitness routine. Exercising with your kids not only allows you to spend a bit of quality time with them while doing something you both enjoy, but also helps you to stay on schedule with your workout.

* To Ensure Safe Exercise Habits – Kids haven’t yet developed proper impulse control, and may be less capable of fully understanding the possible outcomes of risky behavior. As a result, it’s not uncommon for kids to attempt daredevil feats of strength or agility during active play. When you’re making a point of exercising together, however, you’ll be there to supervise and prevent some of their riskier impulses.

* Turning Family Fun Time into Family Fit Time – Everyone knows that spending time together as a family strengthens emotional bonds, which is why structured family game nights and family dinners are recommended. Instead of sitting down to a board game, why not try out one of the new group video games that promotes fitness? You’ll all be spending time together and enjoying a bit of activity that gets you out of your seat and onto your feet.

* Cutting the Competition Out of Fitness – When kids’ main source of physical activity is competitive sports participation, it’s not uncommon for them to equate working out with competition. When you exercise together, you can stress the importance of activity for fun and enjoyment, rather than an exclusive end goal of winning.

* Defining “Normal” For Young Children – Making a point of engaging in physically active play with your children from the time they’re very young is a way to effectively define “normal” for them and for your family. When exercising is simply part of the daily routine, kids are more likely to stick to their active habits as they get older.

* Forging Bonds With Older Kids – It’s not always easy to find common ground with a tween or teen, which is where a shared love of a particular sport or activity can come in handy. Spending time with your older child doesn’t have to be a struggle, especially when you’re sweating it out together.

* Building Discipline and Dedication – Kids need to learn the value of dedication and discipline from a young age in order to become successful, independent adults. Setting fitness goals and working together to achieve them helps kids understand the importance of hard work and making a concerted effort to reach the goals they’ve set for themselves.

* Providing Kids With Incentive and Direction to Exercise – While kids do need plenty of unstructured active play, working out as a family can provide kids with a bit of much-needed direction and an incentive to get moving. When you’ve established a routine of exercising together, you’ll also have an incentive to continue along your own path to fitness.

* Achieving Goals as a Family – It’s often said that the family who plays together stays together, but there’s also something to be said for working towards a shared goal and making that goal a reality. Working out with your kids is a great way to not only help them understand the importance of making an effort to achieve your dreams, but also the sweetness of a shared victory.

– Submitted by Emma Roberts of Summer Nanny

5 Nutrients You Should Stock Up On In Summer

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By Romayne Warner

sunJust as the scenery around you changes with the changing of the seasons, so too do your nutritional needs. The nutrients you need in summer are a little different from those you need in winter, spring or fall, mainly because of the increased sunlight your skin will be exposed to. Taking in larger quantities of certain nutrients can make your skin less susceptible to sunburn, and may even accelerate healing in skin that has already been sunburnt. Here are five nutrients you should consider stocking up in next summer.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E appears in many skincare products for a good reason. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and a key ingredient in many moisturisers, and has been shown not only to make your skin more resistant to sunburn but also to accelerate healing in sunburnt skin. The best way to consume Vitamin E is by eating more avocadoes, sunflower seeds and almonds.

Vitamin C

Another vitamin you should aim to get more of in summer is Vitamin C. This power-packed nutrient is essential for the building of strong, healthy skin. Getting enough Vitamin C before going out in the sun can help your skin to avoid sunburn, and if you do get sunburnt, Vitamin C can help to hasten the healing process. Oranges, bell peppers and broccoli are all rich in Vitamin C.


Selenium is a mineral most people don’t pay too much attention to, but is actually very important in helping the skin to protect itself from harmful UVA rays. Getting enough selenium will not only cause your skin to become less sensitive to the sun, but will also help your skin become healthier and stronger overall. Brazil nuts, fish, shellfish, liver and sunflower seeds are rich in selenium.

Beta carotene

Beta carotene, which is most famously contained in carrots, can increase your skin’s natural resistance to sunburn. In addition, carrots are rich in Vitamin A, which itself can promote skin health and hasten healing. People who are extremely sensitive to the sun may even be prescribed beta carotene supplements. Other than carrots, beta carotene can be found in pumpkin, sweet potatoes and spinach.


Lycopene, a substance found in tomatoes, can protect your skin from the ravages of sun damage. Interestingly, raw tomatoes aren’t the best sources of lycopene. Cooked tomatoes and tomato sauces and pastes actually contain more lycopene in a form usable to the body, so add some sun-dried tomatoes to your diet and enjoy a little ketchup with everything else.

While a broad spectrum sunscreen is a must during the summer months, your diet can play a large part in how well your skin holds up under the sun. Subsisting on ice cream and beer all summer long, as tempting it might sound, will do your skin no favours, so opt for a nutritious diet that supplies you with all the nutrients you need in summer and enables you to enjoy the warm months to the fullest.

– Romayne Warner is a full time self-employed blogging fanatic. Obsessed with finding small ways to save money every day, she enjoys sharing her frugal lifestyle tips and tricks with the world, she regularly writes about healthy living.

Hearing Loss In Seniors Should Be Taken Seriously – Part 2

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By Mardy Chizek, RN, FNP, BSN, MBA, AAS

Continued from part 1 of this article…..

humanearSudden deafness is a medical emergency that may be either totally or partially reversible if treated in time. See an otolaryngologist, audiologist or your family physician right away.

The most common way to address hearing loss is use of a hearing aid. Hearing aids are electronic, battery-run devices that make sounds louder. There are many “hearing aid stores”, so it is best to see an audiologist, a professional who has expertise in hearing, hearing loss and hearing aids. The quality of hearing aid devises vary by manufacturer, so consult with an audiologist to help select a hearing aid that addresses the hearing loss and enhances acceptance of the device.

A hearing aid is not a panacea for hearing loss. Many hearing aids are lying in drawers rather than sitting in ears to assist with hearing. A hearing aid takes time to get used to. The hearing aid amplifies all sounds and the loudness and sounds may be overwhelming to the senior who has had gradual hearing loss. The ear mold may not fit properly and may need to be modified. The hearing aid is an electronic device and may need to be readjusted. Do not give up. Often a gradual process of getting accustomed to the new tool improves the success.

Worsening hearing can often be attributed to a hearing aid malfunction. The malfunction may be as simple as deterioration of the plastic tube leading from the ear mold to the hearing aid. Hearing aid batteries need to be replaced and a dead battery can be the culprit. Disengaging the battery from the hearing aid device when not in use will prolong the life of the battery.

Hearing loss is more than an inconvenience. There are many reasons for the senior and their family to work on options to improve hearing.

There also are assistive devices, which are products that can help you hear better, such as telephone amplifying devices, or TV and radio listening systems that can let you hear the TV or radio without being bothered by background noise or needing to turn up the volume. An Internet search can help you find a distributor in your area. Other handy devices that can help make the senior’s life easier and safer are vibrating alarm clocks and door bells that light as well as sound.

Finally, with a diagnosis from a healthcare or audio professional, a cochlear implant may be prescribed. A part of these electronic devices are surgically implanted under the skin. Most senior hearing loss cannot be improved with cochlear transplants, but a professional can tell you whether you are a candidate for the procedure.

Take hearing loss seriously

Hearing loss is more than an inconvenience. There are many reasons for the senior and their family to work on options to improve hearing. The social isolation caused by hearing loss should not be minimized. The hearing aids available today are smaller and more powerful and the stigma of wearing a hearing assistive device is less profound.

If you suspect a loved one’s hearing is compromised, get it checked out as soon as possible.

Mardy Chizek, RN, FNP, BSN, MBA, AAS is the president of Westmont’s Charism Elder Care Services. For more information on depression and dementia visit Charism Eldercare Services at

Hearing Loss In Seniors Should Be Taken Seriously – Part 1

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By Mardy Chizek, RN, FNP, BSN, MBA, AAS

seniorcoupleexercisesmallAlthough it can be frustrating for seniors and for their families when conversations are impaired by hearing loss, hearing loss can signal more serious problems. According to a study published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association, hearing-impaired seniors were also 36 percent more likely to have prolonged stretches (more than 10 days) of illness or injury and 57 percent more likely to have extended episodes (more than 10 days) of stress, depression or mood disorders.

Hearing loss affects as many as 27 million Americans over age 50, including two-thirds of men and women aged 70 years and older. It can contribute to falls, traffic accidents, social isolation, being taken advantage of, and depression.

In the study, researchers analyzed data from more than 1,100 American men and women aged 70 and older with hearing loss, and found that over a four-year period they were 32 percent more likely to have been admitted to the hospital than more than 500 adults with normal hearing.

Caregivers and families should recognize that hearing loss should not be considered an inconvenient part of the aging process, but rather a health issue that deserves intervention. Hearing loss in itself may not lead to serious health conditions, but it can be associated with other unrelated problems as noted above.

Presbycusis (loss of hearing due to aging) is the most common type of hearing loss in seniors. It comes on gradually as a person ages and often the senior does not recognize the loss. High pitched sounds are the most prevalent loss. It occurs in both ears, but not necessarily at the same rate or significance. The hearing difficulty is often noted when a senior is in a group setting or in noisy settings.

Work life environmental exposures contribute to presbycusis. Exposures from guns, power tools, loud music and industrial machinery have a major impact on loss of hearing in later life. There is a family connection in about half of the cases. About one third of people between 65 and 75 and half of those over 75 have hearing loss related to aging.

Presbycusis (loss of hearing due to aging) is the most common type of hearing loss in seniors.

Another ear-related condition seen in young and old is tinnitus. It is commonly called “ringing in the ears.” While it is called ringing, it may manifest as a hissing sound, a motor running, roaring, pulsing, clicking or buzzing. It may be consistent or vary in intensity.

While tinnitus is bothersome, it is treatable and not life threatening. It may or may not be connected to hearing loss. It can be a symptom of other medical conditions or medication. New onset should be reported to your doctor or healthcare provider immediately.

Ear wax in the external ear canal or fluid build-up in the inner ear may also block sounds causing hearing loss. Do not put anything into your ear until you know what the problem is. After assessment, if ear wax is the problem, the healthcare practitioner may recommend products that soften the wax for easier removal. Hearing aids may actually worsen an ear wax problem so have the ear checked routinely.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article shortly…..

Mardy Chizek, RN, FNP, BSN, MBA, AAS is the president of Westmont’s Charism Elder Care Services. For more information on depression and dementia visit Charism Eldercare Services at