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(BPT) – The longer you live the more likely you will develop a medical condition that requires surgery or a procedure. In fact, half of all people 65 and older will have at least one surgical procedure in their lifetime. And along with common potential side effects from anesthesia during surgery such as nausea, chills or muscle aches and itching, older patients are at risk for confusion or short-term memory loss. But, rest assured, there are steps seniors can take to minimize these side effects.

“The aging brain is more vulnerable to anesthesia and surgery, but there is research that provides guidance to decrease these risks,” said James D. Grant, M.D., M.B.A., FASA, president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). “Older patients should talk with their physician anesthesiologist prior to surgery about their entire medical history and any memory problems they’ve had in the past, so an anesthesia plan can be developed that ensures their safety and reduces the chance of side effects or complications.”
Two anesthesia-related surgery risks more common in older people include:

Postoperative delirium – This is a temporary condition that causes the patient to be confused, disoriented, unaware of their surroundings and have problems with memory and paying attention. It may not start until a few days after surgery, comes and goes, and usually disappears after about a week.

Postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) – This is a less well understood but more serious condition that can lead to long-term memory loss and make it difficult to learn, concentrate and think. Because some of these problems are already common in elderly people and may be the sign of an underlying long-term cognitive decline, the only way to determine if a patient actually has POCD is to conduct a mental test before surgery.

Researchers in anesthesia care continue to study and learn more about these conditions and how to prevent or reduce the effects.
During Patient Safety Awareness Week (March 11 to 17) ASA offers six tips for seniors to help limit confusion after surgery:

1. Ask your physician to conduct a pre-surgery cognitive test – an assessment of your mental function. The physician can use the results as a baseline for comparison after surgery.
2. Be sure your caregiver, a family member or friend stays or can visit with you as you recover, carefully observes your physical and mental activity after surgery and reports anything troubling to your physician.
3. Check with your physician before taking medications after surgery that can affect your nervous system, such as those for anxiety, seizures, muscle spasms or sleep aids.
4. If you wear hearing aids or glasses, ask that they be made available as soon as possible after the procedure.
5. Request a hospital room for recovery with a window if possible, so you can tell whether it’s day or night.
6. If you will be staying overnight in the hospital, pack a family photo, a clock and a calendar, or other familiar objects from home, to help you readjust.

In 2016, ASA launched the Perioperative Brain Health Initiative, which has engaged a multidisciplinary group to work with health care providers, payers and the public to create better access to care that minimizes the impact of pre-existing conditions that may impair mental thinking or intellectual abilities, and optimizes patients’ cognitive recovery and their experience before, during and after surgery for adults 65 and older.

To learn more about preparing for surgery, visit You also can download and print Preparing for Surgery: An Anesthesia Checklist to take with you to visit your physician anesthesiologist prior to surgery, as well as when you go to the hospital or outpatient clinic for the surgery. A brochure on seniors and anesthesia is also available for download. To learn more about the critical role physician anesthesiologists play before, during and after surgery, visit

The American Society Of Anesthesiologists
Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 52,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology.

ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves. For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit Like ASA on Facebook; follow ASALifeline on Twitter.
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Courtesy BrandPoint Content
(BPT) – World Salt Awareness Week is being celebrated this year from March 12 to 18 and is the perfect opportunity to recognize all the many benefits of salt. Salt, or sodium chloride, is essential for life. In fact, no mineral is more essential to human survival than sodium because it allows nerves to send and receive electrical impulses, helps your muscles stay strong and keeps your cells and brain functioning. However, sodium chloride (salt) is a nutrient that the body cannot produce, and therefore it must be consumed.

The other component of salt, chloride, is also essential to survival and good health. It preserves acid-base balance in the body, aids potassium absorption, improves the ability of the blood to move harmful carbon dioxide from tissues out to the lungs and most importantly, supplies the crucial stomach acids required to break down and digest the foods we eat.

Because the level of salt consumption is so stable, it is an ideal medium to fortify with other essential nutrients such as iodine. Iodized salt was first produced in the U.S. in 1924 and is now used by 75 percent of the world’s population to protect against intellectual disability due to Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD). Iodine is an essential element in healthy human life, enabling the function of thyroid glands to produce needed hormones for proper metabolism. When children in the womb don’t get enough iodine from their mother, fetal brain development may be impaired. Iodized salt remains one of the greatest public health success stories.

Salt is also essential in hospital IV saline, which is standard therapy and the fastest way to deliver fluids and medications throughout the body. This saline drip doesn’t just keep patients hydrated, it delivers a 0.9 percent solution of salt. Without this saline drip, patients can end up with low levels of sodium in the blood, resulting in a condition known as hyponatremia. This serious condition can lead to seizures, coma, permanent brain damage, respiratory arrest and death, and it is why the shortage of saline in hospitals is of such critical importance.

Salt is also a vital component of hydration. After exercise, it is critical to replace both water and salt lost through perspiration. That is why all athletes make sure they are consuming sufficient salt during and after a workout. Salt rooms are becoming increasingly popular around the globe to aid in the treatment of various pulmonary disorders as well as to promote relaxation and reduce stress. This is because the unique microclimate, containing ultrafine salt particles, helps clear the lungs.

The average American eats about 3,400 mg per day of sodium, according to The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and this may be on the low side of the safe range. A 2014 study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, tested sodium consumption in more than 100,000 people in 17 countries. The study found that the healthy range for sodium consumption was between 3,000 and 6,000 mg per day.

Seniors can be especially susceptible to the dangers of low-salt diets. In 2013 a task force of 12 professional medical, nursing and nutritional organizations assembled by the Pioneer Network published the “New Dining Practice Standards.” Their report concluded that low-salt diets were contributing to malnutrition and weight loss among a significant percentage of seniors in assisted living facilities. Low-salt diets can also cause seniors to suffer from mild hyponatremia, an electrolyte imbalance in the blood that can lead directly to walking impairment, attention deficits and a much higher frequency of falls.

Salt is the flavor of life, and this year we should all recognize its many benefits while we celebrate World Salt Awareness Week. To learn more visit
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The ability to see is one of our most precious gifts. Like most things in life, our vision may be impacted as we age. That’s why it’s important to learn about Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Prevalent among older Americans, it affects one in five adults age 65 and older, and is the leading cause of blindness for this population. While there is no cure for this condition, there are steps that you can take to help reduce the risk of progression, including:

1) Schedule routine eye exams. As early stages of AMD may not present any symptoms, you may not think to consult your eye doctor. Keeping routine eye exams that include eye dilation may help to identify the condition early, as well as help maintain overall eye health.

2) Address symptoms immediately. See your eye care professional right away if you experience sudden or gradual changes in vision quality. As AMD progresses, straight lines may appear distorted, central vision may look dark, blurry or white, or changes in color perception may become noticeable. If you have been diagnosed with AMD, you should also regularly check your eyes with an Amsler grid tool that helps track incremental vision changes.

3) Lead a healthy lifestyle. If you smoke, quit. Regular exercise can also help to maintain eye health and minimize the risk of progression. Other risk factors for AMD include obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

4) Eat right. A diet rich in green, leafy vegetables as well as healthy fatty acids may also help reduce the risk of progression. Foods that contain these nutrients include: spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, romaine and chard, and fatty fish such as salmon, sea bass, herring, whitefish, mackerel, anchovies and sardines.

5) Consider supplements recommended by the National Eye Institute. If you’ve been diagnosed with moderate to advanced AMD, The National Eye Institute recommends taking a specific nutrient formula based on the AREDS 2 study, that may help reduce your risk of progression. Talk with your doctor to see if an AREDS 2 formula eye vitamin is right for you.

To raise awareness of this public health issue, Bausch + Lomb, in collaboration with Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight, has launched the Why Eye Fight campaign.

To learn more about AMD, what steps you can take to help fight for your sight or to watch the patient stories or PSA, visit You can also join the online conversation and share your story using #WhyEyeFight on Facebook and Twitter.
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(BPT) – Figuring out what’s best for your skin can feel like solving a difficult mystery – everyone’s condition is unique, there are countless treatment options and people will do almost anything for a clear complexion.

“When it comes to your skin, there are many elements to consider,” says Dr. David Lortscher, board-certified dermatologist, CEO and founder of Curology. “Clogged pores, acne and other common issues can be a result of age, genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors. I often hear about common misconceptions that cause otherwise well-meaning people to make mistakes that trigger larger skincare problems.”

To help people better understand skincare and take control of their daily regimen, Dr. Lortscher shares the top misconceptions about skincare and acne.

Misconception: Exercise and sweat can cause acne.

Fact: Sweating while exercising doesn’t cause acne. The eccrine glands produce sweat and the sebaceous glands produce oil – so revving up the sweat glands doesn’t actually turn on the oil glands involved in acne breakouts. The truth is sweating and humidity can aggravate breakouts by giving the bacteria on the skin a better environment to grow.

Cleansing is key post-workout, but keep in mind vigorously cleansing your skin can also be a source of friction that aggravates acne. The best strategy is to splash comfortable-temperature water on your face and neck, then pat dry gently.

Misconception: Chocolate and greasy foods cause acne.

Fact: Many people have heard that chocolate and junk food are the worst foods for your skin, but modern science hasn’t found a direct link between acne and oily foods.

Diets are like acne treatments: highly individual. That’s not to say your eating habits can’t affect your skin. Eating simple carbs and sugar raises your blood sugar levels, causing your body to produce excess insulin, in turn stimulating oil production and leading to more inflammation and increased acne severity.

Misconception: DIY skincare and home remedies are good for your skin.

Fact: The DIY craze has extended to skincare routines, giving people ample ways to create their own remedies at home. However, it’s wise to be careful about the ingredients applied to your skin.

Some people try baking soda as a cost-effective scrub or mask. Baking soda is pH 9 and the pH of the skin is 4.5-5 or so. Therefore, scrubbing your face with a baking soda paste can be harsh and disturb your skin’s natural barrier, leading to red, raw and sensitive skin and leaving it susceptible to breakout.

Others suggest lemon juice as a home remedy for acne but it can cause significant dryness, redness and irritation. Lemon juice may have an exfoliating effect on the most superficial dead skin cells, but there are better ways to treat your acne.

If you’re fed up with DIY remedies and over-the-counter products just haven’t worked for you, you have options. Try custom prescription skincare like Curology, a service that gets you expert dermatology care from the comfort of your home. Just take a few photos and a skin quiz to get a prescription formula customized to your individual needs.

Misconception: You can make your pores smaller.

Fact: Most people want smaller pores, but in reality, you can’t change the size or force them “open” or “closed.”
Pore size is genetic; you can’t shrink them or make pores go away. To keep large pores from worsening, treat acne breakouts, don’t pick and use sun protection. Sun exposure breaks down collagen, which is the support structure surrounding the pores, so pores do appear larger as you age.

Misconception: You only need to wear sunscreen on sunny days.

Fact: It doesn’t matter if it’s sunny or cloudy; if you plan to spend time outdoors, wear sunscreen daily. It is estimated that damage caused by ultraviolet rays from the sun is responsible for up to 80 percent of skin aging.
SPF is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin. Most sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher do an excellent job of protecting against UVB. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
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By: John Boyle D.C.
The adult human body is made up of about 37 trillion cells. WOW, that’s a lot of cells! In fact, if you lined up all the cells in a human body end-to-end, you could actually circle the earth more than 2 times.

Cells communicate by sending and receiving signals. Signals may come from the environment, or they may come from other cells. In order to trigger a response, these signals must be transmitted across the cell membrane. Sometimes the signal itself can cross the membrane. Other times the signal works by interacting with receptor proteins that contact both the outside and inside of the cell. In this case, only cells that have the correct receptors on their surfaces will respond to the signal.

According to an article on by Dr. Peter Proctor, “redox signaling is the concept that electron-transfer processes play a key messenger role in biological systems.” This “redox signal” determines damage extent. Our cells are constantly under attack from bacteria, pollution, pesticides, chemicals, and even aging. Cells must be able to send a signal to communicate. Problems get worse when cellular communication goes wrong and the result is disease. In fact, most diseases involve at least one breakdown in cell communication.

For example, let’s look at diabetes. According to the University of Utah’s Health Sciences Department, “The food that you eat is broken down into sugar, which enters the blood stream. Normally, cells in the pancreas release a signal, called insulin, that tells your liver, muscle and fat cells to store this sugar for later use. In type I diabetes, the pancreatic cells that produce insulin are lost. Consequently, the insulin signal is also lost. As a result, sugar accumulates to toxic levels in the blood. Without treatment, diabetes can lead to kidney failure, blindness and heart disease in later life. Type I and type II diabetes have very similar symptoms, but they have different causes. While people who have type I diabetes are unable to produce the insulin signal, those with type II diabetes do produce insulin. However, the cells of type II diabetics have lost the ability to respond to insulin. The end result is the same: blood sugar levels become dangerously high.” (

When communication is restored, the problems can be solved and health improves. It is actually quite simple. Redox signaling is universal to every function and system in your body and naturally created within every cell. As we age, our cells make fewer and fewer of these molecules, and the body’s ability to combat everyday ailments decreases.

To meet this challenge, a number of physicians and researchers have been collaborating to see if there is a viable way to assist the body in restoring its own cellular communication system. More than sixteen years ago, a group of medical professionals, engineers, and researchers discovered a proprietary method for creating Redox Signaling molecules native to the human body, and have recently made it available to consumers. Hazel Green Chiropractic Clinic has added ASEA and RENU 28 to its line of services and products that we believe will improve the quality of life and health for our patients, in combination with chiropractic treatment.

We have found these products to be invaluable in strengthening our immune systems, fighting disease, and the effects of aging. It’s even proving to be remarkable for naturally enhancing stamina and decreasing recovery time for athletes of all types.

ASEA and RENU 28 are now available through Dr. John Boyle at Hazel Green Chiropractic. If you are interested in receiving more information on how regular chiropractic care in combination with ASEA and RENEW 28 can take your health and quality of life to the next level, contact us at or simply text your email address to 256-503-2276.
By: Dr. John Boyle, D. C.

By Rachel Clark, RN, BSN
It’s that time of year again: the dreaded flu season. We’ve all heard the stories on the news of the numbers of cases of the flu skyrocketing this year. We’ve heard that this year’s flu vaccine is already ineffective in preventing it, so much sooner than flu vaccines in years previous. The strain has mutated, according to researchers, and even if you received the flu shot this year, it may not be protecting you against the mutated strain.

This is not the first year that I have seen this as a nurse. It seems that it has been going on for at least the last 3 years. Each year, our hospitals have been full of patients diagnosed with the flu. Last year was one of the most concerning to me personally, as those who were coming down with the flu and being hit the hardest were people in my age group: their 20s and 30s. Young people across the country last year ended up in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and some even died as a result of getting the flu. Many of them had also been vaccinated against it. This year seems to be no different, except that the virus is less discriminate in who is being hit hard.

So, what can you do to protect yourself and your family if the flu shot you received this year is already ineffective, and may not prevent you from contracting this potentially life-threatening illness? There are many ways that you can help boost your immune system at home. Below you’ll find a few simple tips to help you this season as you make your health and your family’s health a top priority.

1. Get enough sleep. Sleep is very important to the healing process of the body. Though there is no “magic number” as far as sleep is concerned, researchers have long said that 8 hours is a good target to shoot for. That may not be the best number for each individual, so listen to your body. You may need more or less. When you are sick, your need for sleep increases, as sleep is the time when your body repairs and rejuvenates itself. As a protective measure, go to bed a little earlier than you normally would in order to give yourself a bit more time to sleep than usual.

2. Drink plenty of water. Yes, WATER! You can add things like lemon, lime, or other fresh fruit juices to it if you can’t stand the taste of plain water, but water is one of your body’s best defenses against getting sick. The average adult body is made up of 50-65% water. That of an infant is much higher, 75-78%. This is why children dehydrate much faster than adults. Women need about 9 cups of water (2.2Liters) and men need 13 cups (3Liters) of total water intake per day. This increases if you are sick, so stay on top of it before getting sick, to make sure dehydration isn’t as severe as it could be.

3. Eat your fruits and vegetables. I know this may sound simple, but it is some of the best advice out there. The US government now recommends that fully HALF your plate at EACH meal should be made up of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables. Most people are lucky if they eat one fruit or vegetable a day, let alone half their plate 3 times a day. Fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants, phytonutrients, and other components that are essential to building a healthy body. It’s true what Grandma used to say: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” That’s because of all the necessary things your body gets when it eats that apple, or other piece of fruit or vegetable. Your body can’t use fractionated vitamin supplements nearly as well as it can use whole food nutrition found in fruits and vegetables.

4. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Yes, another simple way to increase your immunity this flu season. Alcohol based hand rubs can be very drying to the skin and cause cracks. Any area of breakdown on your skin is a portal through which bacteria and viruses can enter and attack. Use these products sparingly. Whenever possible, use soap and warm water to wash your hands. Fully dry them to prevent cracking and drying of tissue.

5. Cover your cough/sneeze. If you or your family is sick, cover your cough/sneeze. Use tissues whenever possible and dispose of them into the garbage as quickly as possible to prevent the spread of bacteria from the tissue to other surfaces and people. If you don’t have a tissue available, use your elbow rather than your hands. Wash your hands immediately after coughing/sneezing to prevent spread of infection.

6. STAY HOME IF YOU ARE SICK! If you or your family is sick, especially if running a fever, stay home. Exposing others to the bacteria can be life threatening, especially in the very old or very young since their immune systems aren’t as responsive as that of a healthy adult. If you go to the doctor’s office, stay away from others even if they also appear sick, as you could cross infect each other.

These six simple steps, if heeded, may help keep you and your family a little healthier during this flu season.
By: Rachel Clark, RN, BSN

By: Rachel Clark, RN, BSN
It’s winter again, and the days are getting shorter. The skies seem cloudier, the air colder, and the wind has a bite to it that isn’t there in Spring and Summer. With the change of the seasons can come a change in mood for some people. This is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. According to the Mayo Clinic, SAD is a type of depression related to the change in seasons that begins and ends around the same time every year. For most, that happens in the winter.
How do you know if you’re “SAD?” Some common signs and symptoms include irritability, feeling tired or having less energy, issues getting along with others, hypersensitivity to rejection (real or perceived), oversleeping, heavy feeling in arms or legs, appetite changes (especially increased cravings for high-carbohydrate foods), and weight gain. As SAD as this all sounds, there are some simple, natural ways to combat this change in moods. So if you’re ready to get back to your usual self, and leave the grumpy, irritable you that comes in the winter behind, below are five simple ways to get started.

1. Scents can be used as a “pick-me-up.” Most people have scents that they personally associate with positivity and comfort. For some, that is the mingled scents of baking sugar cookies, with warm vanilla and sugar wafting through the house. For others it might be roses, cinnamon, or oranges. Diffusing essential oils can be a great way to help lift your mood, without side effects connected to anti-depressants and other chemical alternatives. A “recipe” of sorts that I can’t wait to try is as follows: 20 drops Sweet Orange oil, 20 drops Clove Bud oil, and 20 drops Cinnamon oil. Check out Pinterest or other social media sites for additional information on essential oils and blends that can help lift your mood this winter.

2. Let the sunshine in! The lack of available sunlight is a key factor in SAD. Open up your curtains, blinds, and doors on sunny days. Letting in the sun can lift your mood exponentially. Sit next to those open windows to maximize your sunlight absorption. You can also use phototherapy to help. This involves using lights that mimic natural sunlight. You can also surround yourself with imagery that is bright and sunny when the days are cloudy and dull. Set your screensaver on your phone or computer to something warm, inviting, and bright. This can also help elevate your mood.

3. Start listening! Music and mood have been linked for quite some time. Choose music that is uplifting rather than dark and moody. Christmas carols or summer themed choices are generally best for combating the blues. Who can be sad when the beat is happy? Also, schedule time to talk with your significant other, best friend, or someone else you care about. Consider an alarm clock that uses natural sounds and/or light to wake you rather than your usual methods. And enjoy the peace and quiet, get away from the noise and chaos that is everyday life.

4. Taste the joy! Many people gain weight when battling SAD. Choose foods that remind you of summer. Mix blueberries, chocolate, and nuts into trail mix and snack on it. Choose hot tea rather than coffee when you need to warm up on cold afternoons. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables as often as you can. When you can’t choose frozen options. Put them in salads, smoothies, or as dessert itself. You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make as far as your mood is concerned.

5. Be sensitive to TOUCH! Touch is one of the first senses to develop inside the womb, so it only makes sense that it can be a huge anti-depressant for some people. Clothing that is soft, breathable and comfortable can go a long way. Also, the same characteristics in bedding can be helpful. Get affirming touches such as hugs, cuddling, and other gentle affections from your spouse, significant other, or even your pets. You may also wish to consider getting regular massages from a licensed massage therapist.

Don’t be SAD this winter. Take some of the tips above and change the pattern that may have been going on for years. You’ll be glad you did.
By: Rachel Clark, RN, BSN

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(BPT) – With colder months arriving, there are a few things on everybody’s minds: festive treats, gift shopping and of course, time spent with family and friends. As many people look forward to the holiday season, asthma sufferers need to be aware and prepared for all the triggers this time of the year can bring. The change in weather, traveling or being in a relative’s home with new allergens can all trigger an asthma attack.

Charmayne Anderson has been living with asthma for as long as she can remember. Now, as Director of Advocacy at the Allergy and Asthma Network, she educates others on how to prepare for an asthma attack and enjoy life – and the holidays – unencumbered by their condition. After living with asthma through childhood, adolescence and now adulthood, she has witnessed an evolution of asthma medications and respiratory treatments firsthand.

“When I was diagnosed with asthma as a child, there were no inhalers or similar treatments for us to take home,” Anderson said. “My parents would have to take me for after-hours emergency care visits for an injection to help get my breathing under control.”

Anderson, along with the approximately 25 million asthma patients in the U.S., has more advanced and effective treatment options today to help manage symptoms and asthma attacks. For most people with asthma, having a rescue inhaler on-hand at all times is crucial, whether at home or on the go. Since asthma triggers may change frequently, it’s difficult to predict when an attack could strike. Particularly at this time of year, walking in the chilly winter air could be enough to cause wheezing and shortness of breath.

“For someone who has asthma, it can be a life-or-death situation. When you’re experiencing an attack, even if it’s minor, if you can’t get relief immediately it just escalates and becomes even greater,” said Anderson. “Having my rescue inhaler with me at all times and being able to check the dose counter is critical.”

One modern feature of asthma inhalers that has been especially helpful for Anderson and others areis dose counters integrated into rescue inhalers. For Anderson, dose counters serve as a forewarning that her inhaler is running low. Such a seemingly small reminder has certainly made a big difference; Anderson believes dose counters have helped her be more proactive in filling her prescription and being aware how much medication is left.

Every year, asthma accounts for 10.5 million doctor visits and 1.6 million emergency room visits in the United States. By utilizing dose counters and maintaining an asthma treatment plan, asthma sufferers like Anderson can help avoid emergency situations like these and travel with some confidence knowing they’re prepared.

Anderson said, “Prior to using a rescue inhaler with a dose counter built in, there were many times when I was away, out or not necessarily paying attention to how much medicine was in my inhaler. I’d get to a point when I would need it and I realized there was nothing in it, and I’d scramble to refill it.”

Now, when it comes time to travel for the holidays, the number one thing on Anderson’s to-do list is to make sure her and her children’s inhalers are filled.

“Before heading out of town I check everyone’s dose counter to make sure there is enough medication,” said Anderson. “Reaching out to a pharmacy while you’re traveling for the holidays is hard, especially when you’re experiencing an asthma attack and in an emergency situation.”

For additional information on the importance of dose counters, visit
Ms. Anderson has been compensated for her time in contributing to this program.

By: Rachel Clark, RN, BSN
Ironically, we kick off a month in which we are trying to cure diabetes immediately on the heels of a holiday celebrated by the majority of Americans that involves consuming massive amounts of sugar. This is sad to me on a number of fronts, but mostly because people do not realize the direct link between what they eat and what diseases show up in their body as a result of it.

Here are some statistics taken from

  • Nearly 30 million adults and children in the United States have diabetes
  • Another 86 million have prediabetes, thus at risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes
  • Total national cost of Diabetes care in the United States is approximately $245 billion
  • Those with diabetes are nearly twice as likely to be hospitalized for heart attack or stroke
  • Diabetes causes nearly 50% of kidney failure
  • More than half of all amputations in adults occur in those with diabetes
  • More than half a million Americans advanced retinopathy (disease of the retina in the eye) causing severe vision loss
  • One in 10 healthcare dollars is spent on diabetes care or that of its complications
  • One in 5 healthcare dollars is spent caring for people with diabetes

Even worse, Alabama ranks 47th in the nation for Diabetes and its complications. This means that only 3 other states are doing worse than we are in preventing and treating this deadly disease. In Alabama, 510,000 people have been diagnosed with Diabetes, and an additional 254,000 have prediabetes.

Let’s start with defining terms. Diabetes is a group of diseases that affects how your body uses blood sugar (or glucose). A diagnosis of diabetes means there is too much sugar in your blood. There are two types, 1 and 2. Type 1 is usually diagnosed in younger children and teens, previously called juvenile diabetes. Type 2 is usually seen in older adults, but has become more prevalent in teens and children in recent years. Prediabetes is when your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not yet high enough to classify as a diagnosis of diabetes. Gestational diabetes is developed during pregnancy when blood sugar levels are elevated.

Most of the following information is related to type 2 diabetes, as this type is most prevalent.

Risk Factors for Diabetes:

  • Obesity/overweight
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Over age 45
  • Race (increased in Hispanic/Latino, African American, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders)
  • Family history of Diabetes
  • Smoking

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Urinating often
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry even if you are eating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Cuts/bruises are slow to heal
  • Tingling, pain or numbness in the hands or feet


  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Foot complications
  • Eye complications
  • Neuropathy
  • Skin complications
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)

As with most diseases, changes in diet and lifestyle can make a difference. It can prevent disease, reverse some of the effects, improve overall health, and decrease the complications. The same is true of diabetes when it is caught early enough. After a certain point, even changes in diet and lifestyle may not reverse the disease itself, but it will certainly help prevent the complications of it. Type 2 Diabetes can often be prevented or delayed by losing only 7% of your total body weight. For someone who weighs 250 pounds, that means you would only need to lose 17.5 pounds!

How can you do that? By making one simple change at a time. Increase your physical activity. Go for a walk. If you can walk for 5 minutes, walk for five minutes. Increase that amount of time little by little, working your way up to 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Make small simple changes in diet, such as decreasing sweets and sodas, and increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet. The United States government recommends that fully HALF of your plate at EVERY meal should be fresh, raw, fruits and/or vegetables, or 9-13 fruits and vegetables every day.

Some fun ways to make those changes are recommended bye the American Diabetes Association include:

  • Get Moving Mondays
  • Tasty Tip Tuesdays
  • What’s Cooking Wednesdays
  • Get Together Thursdays
  • Fact Check Fridays
  • Weekend Challenge

For more information, please visit
By: Rachel Clark, RN BSN

By Rachel Clark, R.N.
As a young woman in my 20’s, I’ve asked myself this question many times. I am a young, vibrant, and healthy individual that doesn’t participate in risky behaviors. So why would I need a medical power of attorney? The answer is simple: should anything happen to me and I not be able to express myself, any and all decisions about my health and life could legally be made by two medical doctors. These would be people who likely do not know me, my values, or necessarily have my best interest at heart. Two medical doctors could decide to do anything they wanted to me without my consent, including but not limited to, invoking a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order and withholding food and/or water should they think that my “quality of life” would be compromised by prolonging my life.

What exactly is a Medical Power of Attorney? It is a document that allows an individual to name delegates to make healthcare decisions on that individual’s behalf should they become unable to make them for themselves. These delegates named by the signer are then able to make any and all healthcare decisions for the signer, such as giving consent for surgical or other procedures. Before signing such a document, it is critical that you are familiar with your state’s laws in regard to requirements for a medical power of attorney.

It is also important to be aware of the fact that there are multiple options out there for this document. As I’ve been researching, I’ve found that the best option for me is something called the “Will to Live.” The “Will to Live” is a legally binding document that is also a pro-life alternative to traditional living wills. It lays out the signer’s wishes in clear, explicit terms so that should the signer become “incompetent” to make decisions, their “healthcare agent” has the authority to carry out those wishes. Be sure to discuss your standard of care choices with your “agent(s)” to ensure that your choices are carried out. That way, when and if the time comes for the document to be used, there is no question as to what you would want.
There are specific documents for the state of residency of the signer. In order to obtain the correct “Will to Live” for you, visit After downloading the document specific for your state, sign it and make copies for yourself and those named as your “agent” and “alternate agents.” Most states require that a “Will to Live” be notarized by a public notary, making it an official legal document. Each copy should be notarized before being given to those named as “agents.”

There are trying times coming up in the American healthcare system. It will become more and more common for doctors to participate in activities that are against the oaths they took when becoming physicians. It is your responsibility to protect yourself from being acted upon in ways that are against your conscience. In my career as a R.N., I see too many people who have not named anyone to make these hard choices for them should they become unable to do so themselves. It is my sincere hope that you will download and sign your copy today to ensure that your wishes are made clear and carried out, should the need ever arise.
By: Rachel Clark, RN BSN