Senior Healthcare Tips - Taking Care of Your Feet

The aging of the human body brings with it common aches and pains. Some of these are debilitating, while others are simple nuisances. Regardless, it is important that we do everything we can to ensure our body remains healthy and strong. As we rely on our feet for basic movement and transportation, it is critical that they are taken care of. Here are a few senior healthcare tips for taking care of your feet.

1. Regular Check-Up

As aches and pains become more commonplace, it can be easy to overlook potential warning signs. Receiving regular medical check-ups can help prevent potential injuries and diagnose any issues that may be present. An experienced medical professional can pinpoint problems that may have gone unnoticed by untrained eyes. This can save seniors from unnecessary pain or future injury.

2. Comfortable Shoes

Another critical component of caring for your feet is to invest in comfortable shoes. The right pair can offer proper stability and support. Furthermore, comfortable shoes can decrease any pain that may be experienced while walking. In terms of picking the right shoes, adding a sole that addresses any specific issues your feet have can be a wise choice.

3. Increase Blood Flow

Restricting blood flow from the feet by sitting too long can have negative effects. It’s important to stand up and move around at least a bit in order to increase circulation to the feet. This ensures that everything remains operating correctly by allowing oxygen to reach all parts of the foot. Since mobility issues may make it difficult to stand up, a similar effect can be achieved by simply straightening your legs.

4. Stretching and Exercising

This tip will be different for every individual depending on their age and ability. Stretching and exercising is a great way to keep your feet healthy. It may seem like this can increase the likelihood of injury, but not when done properly. Under the supervision of a trained professional, the proper amount of exercise can help to reinforce and strengthen an individual's feet. This extra strength can work to prevent against potential injury in the future.

Mobility is one of the most important aspects of a senior's life that needs to be protected at all costs. Additionally, feet are one of the primary movers that help us to get around. Therefore, steps should be taken to ensure their overall care and well-being.

5. Skin and Nail Care

Keeping the skin and nails below your ankles healthy is an important part of overall foot care. The best way to care for dry feet is with a moisturizer that includes lanolin or petroleum jelly as its primary ingredient. And for seniors who have difficulty trimming their own toenails, getting a pedicure (even if it doesn’t include the application of any polish) can help prevent issues like ingrown toenails.

Because senior healthcare is one of the areas we focus on at Kaner Medical Group, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us if you’re experiencing problems with any aspect of your health.

Advice for Dealing with a Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis

If you're diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, it's important to know that you're not alone. Although receiving a MS diagnosis can feel scary, the fact that there are over two million people around the world with this condition means your treatment doesn't have to start from scratch. Instead, you can take advantage of what others have learned as they've gone through their journey with this disease:

1. Reduce Stress

Even for someone without MS, completely eliminating stress from their life isn't a realistic goal. However, managing stress to increase energy and improve one's overall sense of well-being is an attainable goal for people with and without MS. The first step in this process is identifying key areas of stress. Once you do that through a technique like journaling or speaking to a counselor, you'll be able to focus on getting your stress under control with the help of strategies like meditation exercises. Just make sure you don’t turn to smoking to deal with stress. In addition to the long list of other reasons not to smoke, continuing to smoke once you have MS seems to increase the damage to your brain.

2. Stay Active

In addition to the standard benefits of exercise, some of the key reasons it's especially important for those with MS is because it helps keep sleep patterns consistent, regulate bowel movements and keep appetite in check. Exercising on a regular basis also means you won't have to worry about the variety of complications that can arise from inactivity. Depending on your starting strength and condition, the exercise you choose can be anything from walking to Tai Chi. You can also initially work with a physical therapist to pinpoint the exercises that are going to work best for you.

3. Be Aware of Vitamin D

Research has shown that there is some relationship between low vitamin D and developing MS or worsening MS symptoms. You may be able to increase your energy and lower pain symptoms by getting enough vitamin D. Eggs, fortified milk and cod liver oil are all rich sources of this vitamin. You can also consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement or using a light therapy box.

4. Put the Right Equipment to Use

Orthotics, walkers, canes, leg braces and wheelchairs are the five most common types of medical equipment used by people with multiple sclerosis. These assistive devices can help you overcome common symptoms like impaired vision, weakness and fatigue.

5. Pay Attention to Nutrition

Although there's not an official MS diet, people with this disease who focus on eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as lean sources of protein, report the highest overall quality of life. Certain supplements like oleic acid and vitamin C can also be very helpful. There's anecdotal evidence that the former reduces the frequency of MS attacks, while the latter can reduce the likelihood of urinary tract infections. Recent published by Expert Review of Clinical Immunology has also suggested that diets that which are low-fat but include omega-3s hold promise as a way to manage MS symptoms. 

What Are the Best Options for Successfully Managing Type II Diabetes?

If you or a loved one are diagnosed with type II diabetes, the good news is there are proven options for managing this condition. The most effective options include:

Fully Understanding This Condition

Although over twenty-five million people in the US have diabetes, that doesn't mean this is a condition you should take lightly. On the contrary, if this disease isn't properly managed, it can lead to blindness, stroke, heart disease or even death. As a result of its severity, it's important to learn as much as possible about treatment options, daily management strategies and the effects it has on your body and lifestyle. In addition to upfront learning, you'll also significantly benefit from ongoing personal education.

Getting the Right Care

Not everyone with type 2 diabetes needs to be on medication. But since many people in this position do benefit from one or more diabetes medications, you should talk to your doctor to find out if any options are right for you. Additionally, it's a good idea to at least have a few sessions with a nutritionist. Since diet plays a significant role in diabetes management, getting a personalized plan to follow is very useful.

Actively Tracking

It's important to use a glucose monitor to consistently check and record your levels. It's also a very good idea to do the same for your blood pressure. Not only are there a number of medical devices that can help with this task, but there are also a lot of apps and similar gadgets that make it possible to take control of your tracking.

Utilizing the Right Equipment

Supplies like diabetic socks can help ensure that your quality of life isn't negatively impacted by diabetes. Spending some time reading about what has helped other people can be a very useful activity. It’s also helpful to work with a knowledgeable medical provider who truly understands this condition and can make expert recommendations based on your specific needs.

Learning How to Avoid Complications

Nerve damage, eye problems, kidney damage, and heart disease or stroke are some of the most common complications associated with diabetes. However, the risk of these complications can be greatly reduced with the right management and healthcare. For nerve damage, it's important to let your doctor know if you experience any feelings of burning, tingling or numbness.

With eye problems, don't ignore episodes of blurry vision or eye pressure. When it comes to kidney damage, have your doctor check your blood pressure 2 to 4 times a year. You'll also want to have an annual urine protein test. Finally, not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight are the two best ways to reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke.

Eating Well and Consistent Exercise

What you put in your body and the amount of exercise you get each week can have a huge impact on your quality of life with type II diabetes. You should avoid foods that are heavy in saturated or trans fats, along with processed meats, shortening, processed snacks, sugary drinks and fried foods. And over time, your goal should be to get around thirty minutes of exercise a day.

5 Health Resolutions to Think About for 2017

Now that 2017 has officially arrived, it’s time to think about what you want to accomplish during the next twelve months. For many people, one or more of the resolutions they set are related to health. Although getting serious about health is something we always support, the success rate of resolutions related to health is unfortunately quite low. Even if you’ve experienced this type of issue yourself, you may be wondering why that’s the case.

Some of the most common pitfalls of resolutions related to health are being unrealistic, not being specific enough and trying to sprint instead of running a marathon. These issues are heightened by the fact that even though it’s easy for humans to change our attitudes towards health for the better, taking action and sticking with that action is an uphill battle.

So, what can you do to avoid falling into this common trap? The key is to set one or more manageable resolutions for yourself. To help you get inspired, we’ve put together five well-optimized health resolutions for 2017:

1. Snack Smart

Snacking is often viewed in a negative light. That’s because people tend to snack on things that are low on nutritional value and high on calories. Instead of eliminating snacking, you can help keep your hunger under control by resolving to snack smart. Make a list of acceptable snack foods like fruits and veggies that you can eat guilt-free whenever you start to feel hungry.

2. Start An Exercise Class

Instead of trying to put together a multi-day workout, simply commit to attending an exercise class. Choose something you enjoy, and even if you only go once a week, you will have at least fifty workouts under your belt by the end of the year!

3. Run 30-Day “Experiments”

Committing to something for twelve months can create a lot of pressure. An alternative resolution is to do one 30-day experiment every month. This will give you the ability to try a number of new health initiatives over the course of the year. Then you can stick with any that benefit you and not feel bad about dropping ones that simply aren’t the right fit.

4. Set a Sleep Goal

Sleep is essential for good health, which is why we recommend setting a sleep goal like getting in bed or turning off all your electronic devices at a certain time every day.

5. Make a Bet

Think of this as a way to upgrade your resolutions. By making a bet with at least one other person, you’ll up the stakes for the resolution you set and also build accountability into what you want to accomplish.

Whether you use one of the exact resolutions we covered above or simply use our examples to inspire your own resolution, we wish you a very healthy 2017. If you want professional help with any aspect of your journey to better health this year,scheduling an appointment with Kaner Medical Group is a great way to get started.

Planning to Start Taking Blood Thinners? Read This First

Blood thinners are a common form of treatment for people who are at increased risk of stroke or blood clots. The millions of people who take these drugs include those living with with atrial fibrillation, which is a heart rhythm disorder. Although blood thinners can prevent very dangerous conditions, it’s important to understand that they can carry significant risks. The most notable risk is life-threatening bleeding.

According to the FDA, close to thirty-five thousand reports were submitted about blood thinners last year. This huge number of adverse drug event reports included close to three thousand deaths, along with a little less than ten thousand cases that required hospitalization. A common theme among the cases that required hospitalization was hemorrhaging in the head.

More Information About Blood Thinners

Warfarin is the most common type of blood thinners, which are also known as anticoagulants. This pill is commonly marketed under the brand names of Jantoven and Coumadin. The way dosing is calculated for warfarin is through a blood test that’s usually conducted on a bi-weekly basis. By consistently doing this test, the dose of the drug can be kept low enough to minimize the risk of bleeds but high enough to ensure the drug is still effective at preventing stroke and clots.

According to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, which is the organization that analyzed all of the adverse drug event reports from the FDA, blood thinners are the outpatient drug treatment with the highest risk for older patients. While blood thinners are a category of medication that has been around since the 1950s, the report specifically noted that this risk has increased over the last six years due to the approval of four new anticoagulants.

The generic and brand names of those four drugs are edoxaban (Savaysa), apixaban (Eliquis), rivaroxaban (Xarelto) and dabigatran (brand name Pradaxa). The upside to these drugs is they’re easy to use. The big downside is unlike warfarin, they don’t require blood tests on a regular basis to guide dosing.

What’s interesting is the ease of use and fact that these drugs carry a higher risk is directly related. In the case of rivaroxaban (Xarelto), it’s only taken once a day. The problem with this is the single dose is initially quite high. That can play a direct role in increasing the likelihood of bleeding. The other problem is that initially high dose drops in the blood, which then decreases the drug’s ability to actually protect against stroke.

Be Proactive About Your Health

Blood thinners can be an important treatment option. The big takeaway is to discuss risks and benefits with your doctor before finalizing any decisions about medications. If you’re in Bedford or Euless and want a medical team that will work with you to choose the rightheart treatment, you can count on Kaner Medical Group for truly excellent care.

The Flu Vaccine - Everything You Need to Know

Since December 4th through 12th is National Influenza Vaccination Week, we want to use this opportunity to cover everything you need to know about the flu vaccine. Before we dive into this topic, it’s worth mentioning that Kaner Medical Group hasemployer-sponsored health programs which include an annual flu shot. Contact usonline or by calling 817-857-6565 for more information about this program. 

Is the Flu Vaccine Really Worth It? 

The short answer to that question is yes! Even if you aren’t in a group that’s considered high risk for the worst effects of getting influenza, this condition can be quite unpleasant to go through and cause you to miss important events during what’s supposed to be a very enjoyable time of the year.

How Does This Type of Vaccine Work? 

The two main types of flu vaccine are trivalent and quadrivalent. The way both vaccines work is once injected, antibodies are encouraged to develop in the body over the course of about two weeks. It’s the antibodies which provide protection against the viruses that can cause the flu.

Should Anyone Avoid This Vaccine? And When Is the Best Time to Get It?

For the last six years, the CDC has recommended that everyone over the age of six months should get an annual flu vaccination. Taking this action is especially important for people who are considered high-risk for developing the worst complications related to the flu. Groups who fall into this category include children 2 to 5, adults over 65, women who are pregnant and individuals who live in any type of long-term care facility. Other high-risk groups related to specific medical conditions include individuals with asthma, chronic lung disease, heart disease, blood disorders, kidney disorders, liver disorders or weakened immune systems. 

In terms of anyone who should avoid the vaccine, there are very few exceptions to the general recommendation to receive it. Those with an egg allergy do need to bring this issue to their provider’s attention prior to vaccination. And while it’s generally best to get the vaccine as close to when it becomes as available as possible, getting it in December or even January is still better than not having it administered at all.

What Side Effects Are Associated with the Flu Vaccine? 

The most common myth about this vaccine is it can give you the flu. While that’s simply not true due to vaccines either not containing the virus or having a virus that’s attenuated, there are some potential side effects of the shot or nasal spray. They range from low grade fever to sore throat. The good news is in almost all cases, any side effects will begin soon after vaccination and are short-lived.

We hope this gave you a better and more accurate understanding of why flu vaccination is so strongly recommended. And if you have any additional questions about this topic, don’t hesitate toget in touch with us.

How to Stay Well and Enjoy the Christmas Season

Now that December has arrived, there are a lot of fun things related to Christmas going on all month long. Because this is such a busy and special month, the last thing you want is to be put out of commission by getting sick. However, given that colder temperatures outside mean warmer temperatures inside (which is exactly what viruses need to thrive), staying well can be a challenge.

Although there’s no guarantee that you can avoid getting hit by any type of sickness in the coming weeks, the good news is there are steps you can take to minimize the likelihood of that happening. Since Kaner Medical Group believes that being proactive about health is important for family care of any age, we want to share five tips to help you enjoy the Christmas season by staying well throughout it:

1. Start With a Flu Shot

Given that a flu shot can cut your risk of this illness by at least half, it’s a smart starting point for winter wellness. If you have any hangups about needles, be sure to look into the quadrivalent vaccine, which is available as a nasal spray for healthy individuals between 2 and 49.

2. Use Your Own Pen

It may sound silly, but much of the viruses that spread during this time of the year do so through contact of shared objects like pens. So if you want to eliminate that possibility, all you need to do is buy a pack of pens now and then you’ll never have to worry about being stuck without one that you know is clean.

3. Don’t Be Shy About Hand Sanitizer

While hand sanitizer isn’t a replacement for fully washing your hands, soap and water isn’t always easily available when you’re on the go. That’s why it’s worth always having a bottle of hand sanitizer with you. And if you can’t remember whether or not you washed your hands, it’s better to be safe by using sanitizer instead of sorry when you get hit with something like a stomach bug.

4. Take a Deep Breath

Even though there are a lot of fun things about this time of year, there are also plenty of opportunities to get stressed. From a packed schedule to anxiety about hosting in-laws, there’s a lot that can come up. When you find yourself in this type of situation, do your best to stop and take a deep breath. Not letting stress overwhelm you will ensure your immune system doesn’t get overly taxed.

5. Keep Exercising

Getting motivated for a workout can be hard when the weather outside is less than ideal. But not only can keeping up with exercise help you stay well this season, it can also help a lot with weight management.

By starting with a flu shot, always using your own pen, not being shy about hand sanitizer, taking a deep breath and continuing to exercise, you can stay well this Christmas season and enjoy all the great things about it to the fullest!

Gestational Diabetes - What Happens After Pregnancy?

Close to ten percent of all women develop gestational diabetes during the course of their pregnancy. Even though there are a number of factors that affect how much weight women gain while they’re pregnant, recent research has found that close to half of all women gain too much weight during this experience. When that happens, women risk conditions that include pre-eclampsia.

Gaining too much weight while pregnant is also the main cause of around twenty percent of all cases of gestational diabetes. One of the key factors of this condition is that a woman's blood sugar levels get too high. Not only will we discuss how gestational diabetes can affect a woman’s health after pregnancy, but it puts babies at risk of hypoglycemia, jaundice and breathing problems after they’re born.

Although hearing about everything that goes along with gestational diabetes can be scary, the good news is it’s something the medical community understands quite well. While this is an issue that needs to be taken very seriously, once it’s identified via a glucose screening test, steps can be taken to control it and minimize the likelihood of complications during pregnancy.

Another positive note about gestational diabetes is once a mother delivers her baby, it’s most common for her blood sugar levels to return to normal. That being said, this isn’t an issue women should completely put out of their mind.

Gestational Diabetes Does Increase the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

The reason women shouldn’t assume that making it through a pregnancy that includes gestational diabetes without any complications is the end of this issue is having this condition does increase the future risk of Type 2 diabetes. Several studies have been done on this subject. Depending on the exact one, the risk for a women in this position to develop Type 2 diabetes in the five to ten years after her pregnancy is between 35% and 60%. That puts a woman with a history of gestational diabetes at being around seven times more likely to develop diabetes than someone who didn’t have this issue.

So, what should a woman do after her pregnancy? It’s standard practice to be screened six to twelve weeks postpartum. Then from that point, women with this increased risk should be proactive about getting screened at least once every three years. In addition to staying on top of the issue via screenings, standard recommendations for reducing the risk of diabetes apply. Those recommendations include consistent exercise, working to maintain a healthy weight and eating a well-balanced diet.

Get Expert Help During and After Your Pregnancy

Kaner Medical Group offers
pediatrics care, as well aswomen’s healthcare services. So whether you’ve just found out that you’re pregnant or are dealing with some issues after a pregnancy, you can count on our caring team to help you. Scheduling an appointment with our Bedford or Euless office is as easy as submitting your basic contact informationthrough our website or calling us at 817-484-0353.

The Best 5 Tips for Combating the Winter Blues

From spending time with family to enjoying lots of delicious food, there’s a lot to like about the winter months. However, not everything is always a breeze during this time of year. Not only can harsher weather conditions make driving and travel a challenge at times, but these seasonal changes affect many people in a negative way. For some, the winter blues take the form of feeling a little less energetic or sad without any specific cause. And for others, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may rear its head. SAD is a form of depression that’s triggered by the shift to winter.

Since these types of problems can make it difficult to enjoy all of the joy that the holidays are supposed to bring, we want to cover five different tips for boosting how you feel during the coldest and darkest months of the year:

1. The Sun is Your Friend

A common reason that people feel down during the winter is they don’t get as much sunlight as normal. Although staying out in the sun during the summer without any sunscreen isn’t the best thing for your skin, a healthy dose of consistent sunshine is important for a number of functions in your body, including your circadian rhythm. Supplementing Vitamin D or using a light therapy box are two options you should consider discussing with a medical professional.

2. Stay Active

When the weather is cold and wet, it’s very tempting to stay inside and enjoy watching Netflix. However, getting less activity can definitely contribute to feeling worse during the winter, which is why it’s important to find a way to consistently be active for at least 20-30 minutes a day.

3. Be Smart About Your Diet

There’s nothing wrong with indulging a few times throughout the holidays. But during the rest of this season, try to eat a healthy balance of foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables.

4. Try New Things

Another reason people fall into a funk during the winter is they get stuck in the same routine all the time. By making a point of trying new things, you can avoid that trap. Whether it’s taking a fun class or exposing yourself to different types of music, this type of positive stimulation can be very helpful.

5. Get a Checkup

If you try some of the tips we covered above and are still feeling blue, there may be an underlying issue that’s causing you to feel this way. Whether that issue is a vitamin deficiency or you are dealing with a more challenging problem like SAD, the only way to know for sure is to get checked out by a medical professional.

At Kaner Medical Group, we pride ourselves on offering great health services to men, women and children. We also care about making the process of visiting us as simple and stress-free as possible. That’s why we offer the ability toschedule an appointment online. By coming in for a visit with an experienced member of our team, you’ll be able to figure out if there’s something specific bringing you down this winter and what steps you can take to remedy the problem.

5 Ways to Reduce Insomnia and Sleep Better

For many years, there was a culture in the work world that celebrated surviving on as little sleep as possible. However, over the last few years, more people than ever are realizing just how critical quality sleep is to both productivity and overall health.

There is a long list of problems that can arise from not getting enough sleep on a consistent basis. Those problems include weight gain, greater risk of heart disease, increased risk for Type 2 diabetes, higher likelihood of depression, increased inflammation and decreased immune function. Since those are just some of the problems that not getting enough sleep can create, it’s easy to understand why sleep needs to be a priority in everyone’s life.

However, for people who struggle with getting enough sleep, there is often a big gap between acknowledging the importance of sleep and being able to get enough. While improving your sleep habits is generally an ongoing process, we want to share five proven ways to reduce insomnia and start sleeping better:

1. Stay Out of Your Bedroom Until It’s Time to Sleep

Between the declining costs of TVs and the prevalence of laptops, many people use their bed as a secondary couch. Although people who don’t have trouble sleeping can get away with this bad habit, it’s a behavior that anyone with sleep problems needs to end.

2. Get Out of Bed If You Can’t Sleep

One of the most frustrating aspects of insomnia is getting in bed and then not being able to fall asleep. When this happens, you should actually get out of bed after approximately twenty minutes and go to a different room. However, that doesn’t mean you should turn on your TV or pull out your laptop. Instead, either read a book in paper form or listen to relaxing music until you feel tired.

3. Be Conscious of Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption

Caffeine has a long half-life, which means even one cup of coffee later in the day can stick with you late into the night. That’s why a common recommendation is to cut caffeine consumption after 2PM each day (some people go as early as noon). And contrary to popular belief, alcohol can lessen sleep quality instead of improving it, which is why you’ll want to monitor how it affects your sleep.

4. Limit Bright Light Exposure in the Evenings

Computer, phone and similar screens emit what’s known as blue light. This can signal the brain to wake up. Try to avoid these screens during the last couple of hours of the day. And if you are going to look at them, use a solution like Flux or Night Shift to reduce a screen’s blue light by warming its color temperature.

5. Be Active During the Day

Whether it’s going to the gym or simply getting out for a walk, engaging in at least thirty minutes of exercise each day can be a very effective way to improve your ability to fall asleep at night and stay that way.

If sleep is a major challenge in your life, we encourage you to look at our sleep medicine offerings that can help you understand clinical conditions that occur during sleep and find the best solutions for those issues.