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RI ARA HealthLink Wellness News

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Epilepsy Affects People of All Ages, Including Seniors The neurological condition starts more often in old age than in middle age. IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE are experiencing epilepsy for the first time after age 65, you're not alone. Among seniors, epilepsy is one of the top three most common neurological conditions. In fact, epilepsy starts more often in old age than in middle age, reflecting the parallel increase over time of some of its causes – such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease and brain tumors. Epilepsy poses special challenges for seniors. The first may be receiving the correct diagnosis. Gathering a clear description of the epileptic seizures may be difficult for seniors who live alone or in a residential care facility. Even if

the seizures are witnessed or recorded on a smartphone, it may be difficult to recognize the signs, because seizures tend to look different in seniors than in younger people. They may be easily mistaken for other conditions that are common in seniors, such as stroke, dizziness and memory lapses. A neurologist can help uncover the problem and will likely perform an electroencephalogram, or EEG, and a brain MRI. Once epilepsy is diagnosed, the next step is treatment with medication. For seniors, this also raises some special issues. As we age, our liver and kidneys become less efficient at eliminating drugs from the body, and we require lower and more

frequent doses and more careful monitoring for side effects. Seniors with balance problems, fatigue, confusion, slow thinking or tremor may be especially sensitive to drug side effects. It's important to communicate any concerns to your doctor so that the medication can be adjusted as needed to keep side effects at bay. Many seniors experience multiple health challenges at the same time, and this further complicates the epilepsy management. Some seizure medications can aggravate conditions such as kidney stones, thinning of the bones, blood clotting disorders or depression, and care must be taken to choose the best seizure

medication for each individual. In addition, people with multiple conditions usually take multiple medications, each of which must be carefully managed to avoid harmful drug interactions. Close communication with every caregiver on your health care team is the key to early identification and correction of any drug-related problems that may emerge. If seizure control remains imperfect despite everyone's best efforts, you may wish to consult with an epilepsy center to consider whether specialized surgery could be beneficial. The good news is that with careful management, seizures can be completely controlled for most seniors who experience epilepsy.

Vitamin B-3 may treat and prevent acute kidney injury New research suggests that taking vitamin B-3 orally might soon become an effective way to treat or even prevent acute kidney injury. In acute kidney injury, the kidneys suddenly stop functioning — usually as a result of complications during hospitalization. Approximately 10 percent of

adults who are hospitalized in the United States reportedly develop it. Though temporary, the condition can be fatal. In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) say that 9.5 percent of the adults who had the condition in 2013

died as a result. Acute kidney injury occurs when waste products accumulate in the blood and the kidneys struggle to maintain a good balance of fluids in the body. Seniors, people already hospitalized, and patients in intensive care units are particularly vulnerable to the

condition. New research led by Dr. Samir M. Parikh — a kidney specialist at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston, MA — suggests that a form of vitamin B-3 may be used to prevent acute kidney injury in vulnerable people….Read More

When to See a Doctor About That Weird Chest Tightness When you suddenly experience chest tightness, it’s easy to jump to the most extreme conclusion: This is it, you’re having a heart attack. But there are plenty of conditions that can make it feel like an elephant’s sitting on your chest, some of which are as serious as a heart attack while others are nowhere near that dire. Here’s some information about what might be causing your chest tightness, plus when you should see a doctor.

In order to know when chest tightness is an emergency, you have to understand a little bit about the conditions most likely to bring on this symptom. Here are some of health issues that often cause chest tightness to alert you that somethings up.  Acid reflux  Asthma  Panic attacks  A collapsed lung

 A pulmonary embolism  A heart attack or angina Again, if you’re healthy and young, it’s unlikely that your chest discomfort is due to a serious heart problem. That doesn’t mean you can just put off persistent chest tightness, though. You should talk to your doctor about chest tightness, no matter how it presents, but there are a

few red flags that you need to seek help immediately. “I always tell people that, no matter what, if you are having chest tightness you need to see your doctor. It’s never really normal,” Dr. Haythe says. Of course, these are loose guidelines. No matter when your chest tightness happens or how intense it feels, seek medical help if you’re concerned. A few of your most important organs are packed in there, so it’s OK to play it safe. ...Read More

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RI ARA August , 2018 E-Newsletter  

RI ARA August , 2018 E-Newsletter  

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