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How to Know if You Have Pre-Diabetes & What You Can Do About It

professional Phoenix caregivers If you were at risk for a serious chronic illness like diabetes, chances are you’d know it, right? Turns out, you might not. According to the CDC, one in three Americans has pre-diabetes, and most, 90% in fact, don’t even know it. Because November is National Diabetes Month, our professional Phoenix caregivers want to give you the heads up on how to know if you have pre-diabetes and what you can do about it if you do.

What is pre-diabetes?

Because it often doesn’t present with any symptoms, many people don’t know that pre-diabetes exists or how serious it is to their health. In fact, pre-diabetes frequently goes undetected for years until a person experiences a major health problem caused by elevated blood sugar levels that put the person at increased risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. So, how can you know if you’re at risk for pre-diabetes?

It’s important to talk to your doctor about your risk for pre-diabetes, but certain lifestyle and hereditary factors can increase your risk, including:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being 45 years or older
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Having a close family member (parent or sibling) with type 2 diabetes
  • A previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
  • Being of African American, Hispanic/Latino American, Native American, Pacific Islander, and/or Asian American race

What can you do now to prevent diabetes?

If you have pre-diabetes or are at risk for the disease, there is good news. The steps for prevention are basic, healthy lifestyle choices that you can start making now.

Step 1: Start exercising. A simple thirty minutes a day, five times a week of brisk walking or a similar activity is recommended to help increase your physical activity.

Step 2: Reduce your weight if you are overweight. A modest weight loss of five to seven percent can make a significant difference.

Step 3: Eat better and smarter to help lower blood sugar. Eat a variety of foods—particularly whole grains and fruits and vegetables, limit serving sizes so you don’t overeat and eat regular meals and small snacks.

Step 4: Find support. Making lifestyle changes to support your health, while important, can often feel daunting, so it’s vital to find support to help keep you on the healthy path. Nightingale’s professional Phoenix caregivers can help support your healthy lifestyle changes by shopping for and preparing nutritious meals that meet your unique dietary needs and encouraging and supporting you in exercise programs recommended by your doctor.

Additionally, our Pathlink Chronic Disease Management program is known for improving outcomes and decreasing re-hospitalizations for patients with a wide variety of chronic conditions, including diabetes, through improved health literacy, self-management skills, and more.

If you or a loved one has pre-diabetes, our dedicated Phoenix caregivers can help. Call us at (602) 504-1555, or contact us online to let us know how we can help, and we’ll be in touch with you as soon as possible.

Tracking Cancer Treatment Side Effects May Increase Longevity

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Learn the benefits of tracking cancer treatment side effects.

Technology continues to amaze us with new developments available seemingly on a daily basis. The latest fascinating technological advance that has caught the eye of our Phoenix home care team at Nightingale Homecare is the ability to track cancer treatment side effects, allowing patients to remain proactive in their care and enhance their overall wellness – and even live longer.

There are several new apps available, with varying levels of engagement required on the part of the user. For instance, the app Breast Cancer Ally includes questions for patients to answer related to the severity of any side effects experienced. Based on answers provided, the app offers solutions for the patient to try, or if symptoms are too severe, advises contacting the person’s doctor.

Dr. Michael Sabel, University of Michigan professor of surgical oncology, who developed the app, explains, “The goal is to intervene early and to keep these patients out of the emergency room.

Another physician, Dr. Ethan Basch, conducted research on cancer patients who either utilized an app to report their side effects or who did not, and discovered that the app users achieved an increase in longevity of as much as five months over the other patients.

A different approach was taken in another new app that requires even less participation from cancer patients to track their symptoms, utilizing a Fitbit to collect information on the patient’s behaviors, such as number of steps taken, calls and texts made, and other details. The information can then be reviewed for any patterns, and ensure steps are taken for more effective symptom management. Dr. Carissa Low, who created the study, believes that, “…there might be changes in behavior that are detectable even before the patient is aware that they’re having more fatigue. So, it might be like an early warning system.”

And the results of the study were astounding; a full 88% accuracy in determining the symptom severity level in cancer patients who simply wore the device.

With all of its amazing benefits, however, technology will never rival the one-on-one care provided by professional home health care experts, like those at Nightingale Homecare. We provide the compassionate, highly skilled, individualized care for those with cancer from diagnosis through treatment and beyond, ensuring that any concerns are addressed immediately with the patient’s physician.

Contact the Phoenix home care professionals at Nightingale Homecare any time to learn more about our specialized cancer care, or any of our other in-home care solutions, by calling (602) 504-1555. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have, or to schedule a free in-home consultation at your convenience.

What Happens When a Caregiver Has a Chronic Illness?

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Learn how to care for the caregiver with chronic illness.

Chronic illness has become a major issue in the U.S. in recent years. According to the National Health Council, approximately 133 million Americans, representing more than 40% of the total population of the country, are currently affected by chronic disease, and that number is expected to grow to an estimated 157 million Americans by 2020. When it comes to caregiving, we’re often concerned with how to care for seniors who are living with chronic conditions, like diabetes, COPD, dementia, etc., but what happens when it’s the person providing the care who has the chronic illness?

Caring for a loved one is demanding and stressful, but can be even more challenging when the family caregiver has a chronic illness too. Chronic conditions like diabetes and COPD are also stressful and demanding in their own right, and family caregivers who are living will these types of conditions need to take extra measures to ensure they are caring for themselves.

The following are ways in which caregivers with chronic diseases can keep up with their loved ones’ care and their own health:

  • Practice self-care. The stress of caregiving coupled with the stress of caring for a chronic illness can take a big toll on a family caregiver’s mental, emotional, and physical health. Practicing self-care is incredibly important for caregivers with chronic illness as it helps them relax and regain balance. Small things like taking a hot bath, meditating, taking a yoga class, or sitting down for coffee with close friends can help caregivers relieve stress and feel refreshed.
  • Keep up with doctors’ appointments. Just as a caregiver strives to ensure his senior loved one is going to her doctors’ appointments, the same needs to happen for the family caregiver, especially if he suffers from a chronic illness. Keeping up with doctors’ appointments and taking prescribed medications on time and correctly are essential for the caregiver’s health and wellbeing.
  • Have a backup plan. As a senior’s care needs progress, so do the demands of the family caregiver. For example, a senior who falls and injures herself may now need lifting and transferring assistance, which can be difficult, if not impossible, for a family caregiver with rheumatoid arthritis. It’s important to have a backup care plan for the progressing care needs of your loved one, and for the times when you as the caregiver need to take a break for your own health needs. Respite care services, like those offered by Nightingale’s Phoenix home care professionals, can help family caregivers take time off to care for themselves while ensuring their loved ones get the care and attention they need.

While caregivers are amazing people, they aren’t super human, and it’s vital to ensure they keep their own care needs in check as well as their senior loved ones’. If you’re caring for a senior loved one and could use a helping hand, contact the professional Phoenix home caregivers at Nightingale Homecare to learn how we can be there for you.

Breathe Easier with These Oxygen Safety Tips

senior care Phoenix AZ

Enhance oxygen safety with these tips.

Most of us seldom give much thought to oxygen. It’s an invisible, harmless gas that is all around us, ready to take in with our next breath. Even though it surrounds us in the air we breathe, concentrated oxygen delivered to those with health conditions can be dangerous, for two main reasons:

  • Oxygen can potentiate fires. Oxygen is itself not “flammable,” but it causes other things to catch fire at lower temperatures and burn hotter and faster.
  • Oxygen is considered a medication and it is possible to overdose.

Because of these two major dangers, special oxygen safety measures need to be followed closely. At Nightingale Homecare, we provide senior care Phoenix AZ families trust, and we assist those using prescribed home oxygen in staying safe by educating on and adhering to the following safety considerations:

  • Do not smoke around oxygen and keep away from open flame (candles, gas stoves).
  • Place “No Smoking” signs throughout your house.
  • Do not use appliances that could produce sparks while wearing oxygen (electric razors and hair dryers).
  • Do not cook while wearing oxygen.
  • Store cylinders on an appropriate stand and secured to the wall, or on their side on the floor to prevent tipping.  If they fall over and the valve comes loose, they can become a dangerous missile.
  • Store cylinders at room temperature, away from heat or direct sunlight.
  • Keep oils/petroleum products such as Vaseline away from oxygen.
  • Use cotton bed sheets and clothing to prevent static electricity and sparks.
  • Keep your oxygen equipment at least ten feet away from open flames and heat sources.
  • Keep at least 5 feet away from electric stoves or heaters.
  • Keep the service number for your oxygen equipment nearby, in case something breaks.
  • Do not store oxygen in an enclosed area, such as a car or closet. When traveling in a car with oxygen, always have a window slightly opened.
  • Do not store oxygen cylinders in the trunk of a car.
  • Do not cover oxygen tubing with bedding, carpet or furniture.
  • Do not allow children or untrained individuals to handle or operate oxygen equipment.
  • Make sure your smoke detectors are tested regularly.
  • Have a fire escape plan.
  • Do not leave oxygen on while not in use.
  • Do not use oxygen without a doctor’s order.
  • Don’t change your dose, except when prescribed by a doctor, since using too much or too little can cause serious health problems.
  • Regularly clean and maintain your equipment as instructed by the supplying company.

For more oxygen safety tips, or to arrange for a free in-home assessment to learn more about how our professional home health care team can enhance overall safety, comfort, and wellbeing for your senior loved one, call on Nightingale Homecare. As the top providers of senior care Phoenix AZ families rely on for expert, compassionate assistance, we’re available to help with a wide variety of needs. Contact us at (602) 504-1555 to learn more.

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