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1109, 2019

Mental Health in Senior Citizens

By |September 11th, 2019|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , , |0 Comments

According to the World Health Organization, the population of people over the age of 60 years will grow from 12% of the population to 22% by 2050. This means that senior health issues are of growing concern to the world health community. As mental health is discussed more openly by the public, it is important that people aged 60 and older also receive a similar education.

This week, we explore how mental health issues impact older adults, as well as ways to help.

Older Adults Experience Serious Mental Health Risks

Living as a human in the modern world is indisputably a stressful experience. These stressors pose a significant risk to mental health, and older adults experience additional facets of life that increase their stress levels.

Additional stressors that older adults may experience at a higher rate than other age groups:

  • Decline of physical ability: including reduced mobility, chronic pain, or other health problems. This may lead to dependency on medical personnel or family members.
  • Bereavement, or serious loss.
  • Drop or stagnation of socioeconomic status due to retirement.
  • Isolation or loneliness. 
  • Elder abuse, particularly financial abuse. Current studies suggest that 1 in 6 people aged 60 or older experience elder abuse.

It is important that people understand how physical and mental health impact one another. As physical condition deteriorates or someone deals with chronic illness, it negatively impacts mental state. Physical incapacity leads to complex feelings such as embarrassment, denial, and frustration. If these feelings are not addressed, they can develop into mental illness. Oftentimes, this leads to depression and anxiety in older adults.

How To Help

The good news is that, as a society, we are more educated and publicly aware of mental health issues than ever before. This broad education means that we are given more opportunities to spread the awareness to older adults. 

If you are an older adult, and you believe you may be dealing with depression or anxiety, the best thing you can do is reach out. Mental health issues are taken much more seriously than they used to, and doctors realize that psychology is an important part of a person’s overall health. You can reach out to a trusted family member or a doctor. Most insurance agencies cover psychologists and psychiatrists now, so treatment is affordable.

 If you are a family member or caretaker of an older adult who may have mental health problems, it is important to reach out. It is essential that when you reach out, you are not condescending. It is easy to believe that because of past misconceptions about brain function, that an older adult may not know how to look after their themselves. Mental health is, much like any other medical issue, ultimately between an individual and their doctor. 

The best thing you can do is offer support and encouragement. Offer to be a person they can vent to if you are able. Sometimes, all it takes to strengthen mental health is a listening ear.

409, 2019

Optometrists, Ophthalmologists, and Opticians – Oh My!

By |September 4th, 2019|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

As we get older, our eyes age too, and we need help with our eyes. But who should you see when you need that help? Join us as we explain the difference between optometrists, ophthalmologists, and opticians.

Optician

An optician has an Associate of Science (A.S.) in opticianry, which can be earned at a state college. In certain states, an optician can bypass a formal education by completing an apprenticeship. They are technicians who often work alongside an optometrist or are employed at vision stores.

Opticians’ main responsibility is designing, checking, and fitting eyeglass lenses and frames. They also help people fit contact lenses, and other vision correction devices. Opticians use prescriptions from optometrists or ophthalmologists to complete their duties. Opticians are not licensed to diagnose or treat eye diseases. 

Optometrist

An optometrist has an optometry degree (O.D.) that takes four years to complete after finishing an undergraduate degree. They are healthcare professionals, but not medical doctors (M.D.). 

Optometrists are responsible for providing primary vision care, primarily this involves providing eye exams and vision tests. Their responsibilities also include prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses, detecting and diagnosing eye abnormalities, and prescribing medication for more common eye diseases. 

Optometrists may refer you to an ophthalmologist. If you need surgery or other intensive treatment, an optometrist will not be able to treat you.

Ophthalmologist

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (M.D.) who specializes in eye and vision issues. Ophthalmologists complete many years of school: they must attain an undergraduate degree, then at least eight years of medical school. Some ophthalmologists choose to subspecialize in subjects such as glaucoma, retina, cornea, pediatrics, and neurology. To gain this additional knowledge, they must complete a one- to two-year fellowship. This means that many ophthalmologists spend a total of 14 years in school.

This additional training means that ophthalmologists are licensed to practice medicine, as well as perform surgery. Essentially an ophthalmologist can provide a full range of vision care from testing and diagnosis, to treatment, to surgery, to prescribing and fitting corrective lenses. A ophthalmologist is the best option for you if you have multiple vision issues or a complicated history with your eyes.

In addition to all of the responsibilities of a practicing ophthalmologist, many eye doctors are making strides in the field via research. Practicing ophthalmologists are often responsible for cutting edge developments in the field. Many times this happens because it is easy for them to see the parts of the vision care system that do not work or are becoming outdated.

So Who Should I See?

It depends entirely on what your needs are and your personal history with your vision.

If you have more than one issue with your eyes, or think you will need an unusual treatment, or surgery, you should see an Ophthalmologist. An Ophthalmologist may recommend you to another Ophthalmologist who has a different subspecialty or more experience with a certain issue that you are experiencing.

If you are simply developing vision loss that is typical to aging or another more common vision issue, an Optometrist may be a better option. An Optometrist may refer you to an Ophthalmologist if your problems are more complex than they initially believed. They may also refer you to an Optician so you can acquire corrective lenses. 

If you already have a prescription from an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist, then you can go to an Optician.

2908, 2019

Your Food Is Healthy, But What About Your Kitchen Tools?

By |August 29th, 2019|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: |0 Comments

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You work hard every day to make sure your food is healthy and sanitary. You shop for the best food; you make sure your chicken is cleaned and your vegetables are scrubbed. But what about your kitchen tools? Do you ever wonder how clean they truly are, or if just a quick cycle in the dishwasher is enough to get them spotless? Everything from forks to ladles comes into contact with your food at some point, so isn’t it only logical to question their level of sanitation?

Your kitchen is home to an abundance of bacteria. Some of the most common species include Salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli), and Staphylococcus aureus (commonly known as Staph).

Researchers at the University of Georgia have found that kitchen utensils can spread this bacterium to your food – and then to you! These can lead to a hefty doctor bill that can cause a great financial burden without insurance. There’s no reason to fear, however! Here is a list of kitchen utensils most commonly infected, and what you can do about them.

Sponges

Sponges are easily the grossest item in your kitchen. In fact, next to the human intestinal tract, kitchen sponges have on the highest densities of bacteria in the world. Sanitization isn’t effective on the bacteria that inhabit the sponge and trying to kill these bacteria can actually cause them to before more resistant. If you’re not willing to give up your sponge, try replacing it at least once a week.

Knives

Think of all the stuff you do with your knife. You cut meat; you slice and dice vegetables. It’s easy to see then why cross-contamination is such a huge issue with knives. Luckily, however, unlike your kitchen sponges, you don’t need to throw away your entire knife kit away after one use; you just need to take the extra steps to sanitize it.

Start by washing the knife in warm, soapy water. Taking extra precautions so you don’t cut yourself, wipe the blade on both sides and where it meets the handle. When you’re done, rinse and dry it – preferably with a clean paper towel. In a separate container – one large enough to submerge the knife completely – mix together 1 quart of water and 1 teaspoon of bleach; soak the knife for one minute and allow it to air dry. And, just like that, your knife is perfectly sanitized and ready to get back to work.

Graters

As someone who bakes regularly with citrus zest, I understand cleaning graters is difficult. However, all those micro bits of food that get trapped in the grooves become the perfect place for bacteria to grow and infect your food in the future.

The best way to prevent this is to clean it immediately. Run the grater under water and wipe with the blade. Using a toothbrush to scrub it can also be very helpful. When all else fails, run it through a cycle in the dishwasher.

Final Thoughts

Being mindful of these kitchen bacteria “hotspots” will go a long way in ensuring the health and safety of you and your family. If you do find yourself with any type of food poisoning, be sure to consult your doctor right away.

2208, 2019

What to Expect When You Start Taking Probiotics

By |August 22nd, 2019|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: |0 Comments

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Many individuals begin taking probiotics for a variety of reasons. If you’re considering taking probiotics, but are a bit unsure of what to expect, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we will discuss the most typical and common expectations when it comes to taking probiotics. Be sure to consult your health care provider before making any decisions related to your diet and ensure that this course of supplementation is right for you before beginning.

 

What To Expect

Each individual is unique in how they respond to different stimulants and food. This is no different when it comes to the consumption of probiotics. Some individuals feel fantastic, full of energy with a brighter mood and complexion with a comfortable stomach. On the other end, others may feel worse in the beginning.

The most common outcome of taking probiotics, however, is that you won’t really feel any differently when you begin. As your body is just starting to develop a strong and diverse microbial community.

Will I Get Sick?

Many individuals wonder if things will get worse before they get better when it comes to taking probiotics. As you are introducing an array of beneficial strains of microbes into your digestive tract, this is a valid question. As these helpful florae begin multiplying and battling the bad types of bacteria, you may feel a bit ill as toxins are released. Your body will eventually flush them all out, and your immune system will work to help detoxify your digestive tract. In the meantime, you may experience some minor and temporary discomforts, including:

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Minor cramping
  • Skin irritation
  • Change in both frequency and texture of bowel movements

This is all part of the normal cleansing period of probiotic implementation into your body. We recommend keeping an eye on yourself and to call your health care provider if things appear to be getting out of control, as the saying goes when in doubt, consult a professional.

Will I feel any differently?

As stated above, sometimes when first starting out, if you’re like most individuals you won’t notice any differences at all. For many of us, it takes a while for the microbial communities to become established, and this is okay. The best routine is to relax and know that your probiotics are doing their thing. Much like vitamins, probiotics take time to build up in your system and can take several weeks or months before you begin to feel any different. Ensuring you have selected a high-quality and time-released probiotic will help ensure you are getting the right stuff for your gastrointestinal tract.

If you’re unsure of which probiotic to use, be sure to consult with your health care provider. They will be able to provide recommendations on the right probiotic for you and will be able to help monitor your overall health during the colonization process of the healthy microbial bacteria.

 

Final Thoughts

Probiotics are a great first step in becoming healthy. As we have stated multiple times throughout this article, be sure to contact your health care provider before beginning any supplements.

1508, 2019

Why is Dental Insurance Important?

By |August 15th, 2019|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: |0 Comments

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If your eyes are the window to your soul, then your teeth are the window to your health. The CDC says the overall condition of your dental hygiene and health are directly related to the holistic health of your body. When you consider that significant fact, it’s easy to see why visiting the dentist regularly is so important for your health.

Going to the dentist is not free, however. Sure, you only need to visit the dentist around twice a year, but when you add in other costs outside of your exam – such as x-rays and treatments – the price quickly increases. Having dental health coverage is important; yet, most adults opt out of paying for dental insurance. When you look at the costs, it easy to see then why people without insurances are also not visiting the dentist nearly as much. If you’re wondering if dental insurance is right for you – hint, it is! -here are the top five reasons that owning dental health insurance is so important.

Helps Pay for Expensive Healthcare

Healthcare, in general, carries a hefty price tag, and dental healthcare is not exempt from this. The most important aspect of having dental insurance is that it eases the finical burden of visiting the dentist. More and more people are skipping out on regular dentist visits in order to save money, and it is causing an increase in many health issues including gum disease. By purchasing dental insurance, you will be able to regularly visit the dentist without the financial burden.

Maintains Dental Health

Once the price tag disappears, and you are able to visit the dentist more often, your dental health will improve. By purchasing dental health insurance, you will be able to attend the visit required for maintaining your dental health. Biannual dentist visits are recommended, but, based on your current dental health and your lifestyle, your dentist may suggest more.

Many Options

Insurance is not a “one size fits all” product. Your lifestyle and health are unique to you, and your health insurance should be too. If you’re not sure where to start, you can contact a professional to get a free quote and see what type of insurance will be best suited for you.

Great Savings

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, over 200 million productive hours are missed each year because of dental illnesses. By visiting the dentist regularly, you will be able to fix these issues before they become true illnesses – allowing you to save time in the future. Being able to save not only money but time, is one of the greatest benefits gained by purchasing dental health insurance.

Insurance Encourages You to Visit the Dentist

If you pay for a hotel for a month, you’re more likely to go on vacation at that time, right? Dental insurance works the same way. When you’re paying for dental insurance, you are much more likely to take the time to make use of your insurance by visiting the dentist. Owning dental insurance helps you stay responsible for your dental health.

408, 2019

What Is Tuberculosis?

By |August 4th, 2019|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , |0 Comments

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Tuberculosis which is often referred to by its acronym TB is an infectious disease that primarily attacks the lungs and is caused by a bacterium known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This disease is spread via the air and has been around for thousands of years. It is best known for the TB epidemic in Europe and North America in the 18th and 19th centuries.

It wasn’t until the 1940s when the development of the antibiotic streptomycin was able to effectively cure TB, thus drastically reducing the number of infected.

 

How Is TB Spread?

As stated above, TB is spread through the air. It cannot survive on solid surfaces and is contracted directly from individuals who already have the bacterium via sneezing, coughing, and speaking.

 

What Are The Stages Of TB?

The first TB infection stage is when an individual first comes into contact with the bacteria and contracts it. Many individuals don’t immediately show symptoms, however, others may experience fever or even pulmonary symptoms. Most individuals with a healthy immune system are able to combat the infection, however, in others, the bacteria will remain dormant. During the dormant phase, TB can be diagnosed with appropriate testing however is not transferrable to others.

When TB becomes active, meaning the bacteria are actively multiplying, those infected will not only feel ill but be contagious as well. It is imperative that those infected receive treatment right away to avoid health complications and disease spread. Normally, a human body will be able to fend off TB with a strong immune system. Those who are immunosuppressant or have a compromised immune system will be at higher risk.

During active stages of TB, affected individuals may experience the following symptoms:

  • A general sense of being unwell
  • Coughing sometimes with blood or phlegm
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Weight loss with little to no appetite
  • Night sweats
  • Intermittent fever
  • Generalized body aches
  • Fatigue

 

Is TB Common?

While we may not hear much news about TB, it is still present and has not been fully eradicated. Most cases of TB take place in Africa, Asia, and the Western Pacific regions. When looking at worldwide statistics, TB is one of the top 10 causes of mortality and is one of the leading causes of death for those with HIV.

Most common risk factors for TB include:

  • Poverty
  • HIV infection
  • Homelessness
  • Being in jail or prison (where close contact can spread infection)
  • Substance abuse
  • Kidney disease and diabetes
  • Organ transplants
  • Working in healthcare
  • Air pollution
  • Cancer
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Pregnancy

Many of the above risk factors are revolved around individuals who have had their immune system compromised or weakened in some manner. As such, age is also a common risk factor for very young children and the elderly.

Final Thoughts

As stated above, TB only really affects those individuals who are immune compromised. Healthy adults don’t have anything to worry about, however, if you do find yourself experiencing these symptoms and have recently traveled outside of the country then contact your health care provider immediately.

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