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Signs and Symptoms of Pre-eclampsia

Pre eclampsia  signs and symptoms of pre eclampsia

The nine months of pregnancy may be accompanied by several pleasant as well as undesirable events. More commonly, women complain of issues such as severe nausea and vomiting during the early periods of pregnancy, and stomach acid reflux all throughout their gestational time. These troubles are relatively minor events and can easily be dealt with using specific medications and remedies.

However, certain fatal conditions may also arise anywhere within these 37-38 weeks of pregnancy, like the one we are about to discuss here- Pre-eclampsia.

What is pre-eclampsia?

A mother-to-be shall experience fluctuating blood pressure several times a day. Blood pressure during pregnancy may fall below the optimum range or may rise up to fatal limits. Pre-eclampsia is a condition which is designated as a ‘pregnancy complication’ identified by high blood pressure and excess protein in urine. This complication mostly arises in the third trimester of pregnancy and tends to worsen if not controlled immediately.

Note: raised blood pressure in pregnancy is said to occur if a woman experiences blood pressure ranges greater than 140/90 mmHg, at two separate times, at least four hours apart from each other, more preferably at the 20th week of her gestation.

Who can develop pre-eclampsia?

Pre-eclampsia may be followed by certain risk factors in a lot of the cases, nevertheless, it may also develop without any specific influence. Following are the conditions which make a pregnant person prone towards the development of pre-eclampsia:

  • If she is obese
  • If she is has primary hypertension
  • If she has a positive family history of hypertension
  • If she has a positive family history of pre-eclampsia
  • If she is affected with diabetes mellitus
  • If it is her first pregnancy and is bearing twins
  • If she is facing some abnormalities with the placental development

Testing for pre-eclampsia becomes routine in the third trimester even if the last two trimesters remained uneventful. Blood pressure and urine tests are mandatory to keep a check for the developing condition.

What are the signs and symptoms of pre-eclampsia?

Edema:

Edema is referred to a condition when fluid from within the cells shift in the extracellular environment. It forms an important diagnostic sign of hypertension. During pregnancy, excessive swelling of hands, face and feet may indicate towards an increasing blood pressure, which could ultimately develop into pre-eclampsia if not controlled.

Proteinuria:

Presence of large amounts of protein in urine is known as ‘proteinuria’. It is also an important symptom of pre-eclampsia. Women going through pregnancy are tested for protein in urine at every clinical visit.

Severe headache, disturbed vision, nausea, vomiting, difficulty in  breathing, and pain in the upper abdomen are also signs and symptoms of pre-eclampsia

How is pre-eclampsia managed?

Someone that develops pre-eclampsia and is near to her term is recommended to have her child delivered as soon as possible.

Anti-hypertensive medications are prescribed to control the rising blood pressure.

If the symptoms exceed and hypertension is causing damage to the organs, then corticosteroids may be prescribed under an expert’s supervision.

Women with pre-eclampsia are recommended to take a bed rest.

15/11/2016 / by / in
Choosing a Care Home

If you or a loved one is elderly and/or disabled then you may have given consideration to residential care. Often seen as a last resort, residential care can be wrongly discounted with many people choosing to rely on inadequate domiciliary care (care provided in service users’ own homes). While remaining in your own home is understandably desirable it may be worth looking into whether residential care could increase quality of life now or in the future.

It is widely accepted that remaining in our own homes for as long as we can is a common goal. Local authorities endorse this and only support residential care when the disabled or elderly person (or their carer) would have an unacceptable quality of life should they remain at home.

Sheltered housing – otherwise known as Warden Assisted Housing, is suitable for people who are more physically independent but welcome the security of knowing that somebody is available in emergencies.
Sheltered housing residents have their own self-contained room or flat with communal gardens and living areas provided. There is a call system (usually a red emergency chord or button) provided in each flat, and an on-call warden available 24 hours a day. Some developments also offer extra levels of care and the opportunity to arrange care at home provided by an outside domiciliary care agency, so make sure you check exactly what each accommodation provides.
Wherever possible, each individual should be involved in all decisions about their own life, but when diminished mental capability makes that impossible their family needs to consider whether domiciliary care can adequately meet all their specific needs.
Issues surrounding safety, cost and carers’ wellbeing are all important things to consider. Once these questions are raised it is worth taking the time to research if residential care can offer more stability and better quality of life.
There are several types of care home available, offering different levels and categories of care.

Residential care homes
These homes provide accommodation and care assistance to all residents. The type of care is usually personal (non-medical) and domestic care including help with bathing, dressing, meals and laundry. Most care homes are able to assist with dispensing medication. They all have carers available around the clock and most offer organised activities although this will vary with each home.

Residential nursing homes
Nursing care differs from residential care in as much as qualified nurses are on hand to carry out more complex medical procedures, such as peg-feeding, managing a ventilator and injecting medications. There are also homes that specialise in offering care for residents with dementia. If you are considering a home for a loved one with dementia then make sure all staff are specifically trained in dementia care.

When an elderly or disabled person lives at home with the help of a spouse, friend or family member there often comes a time when both parties need a break from the usual routine. In these cases respite care (where the individual moves into residential care for a short period of time) is offered by some care homes.

Establishments that offer respite care will often offer a temporary stay for those who are considering a permanent move into residential care. Each home has varying facilities for temporary care so contact them directly for more information.
If you are not sure which type of care home you need then you can ask for a needs assessment from your local social services. If you are not sure who your local authority is you can find out at http://local.direct.gov.uk/LDGRedirect/index.jsp?LGSL=209 using your address and/or postcode. If you don’t have access to the Internet then you can find a telephone number in the phone book for your local social services and they can put you through to the relevant adult care services department. You can also speak to your GP about health and social care issues.

As the UK population average age has increased so has the number of care homes. Faced with so many choices it can be a daunting challenge finding the right one. Once you have identified the type of care you need then there are several ways to find a home that suits.

· Local authorities

Your local social services may be able to provide a list of care homes, although it is important not to assume any implied recommendation.

· The Care Quality Commission (CQC

The CQC is the body that regulates all care homes in the UK to make sure they are providing quality care to all residents. They can provide up-to-date information on care homes in your area, as well as copies of recent inspection reports. For more information you can contact them at http://www.cqc.org.uk or telephone them on 03000 616161 during office hours.

· Internet search

Care homes are increasingly advertising their services online where you can contact them directly for more information. There are also a number of independent websites that assist with finding the best care home, including Find Me Good Care at www.findmegoodcare.co.uk which is run by the Social Care Institute for Excellence. Always check sites for details on who runs them to gauge their impartiality.

· Yellow Pages

The Yellow Pages and/or local telephone directory will contain some of your local care homes and their contact details.

Visits

The best way to get a sense of what a care home offers is to visit it yourself, talk to the staff and residents and ask questions. For example:

· Are you registered with the CQC and can I have a copy of your last inspection report?

· When and how often can I visit/have visitors?

· What organised activities do you offer?

· How flexible are you with dining? Can residents choose when and what they eat?

· Can residents bring their own possessions with them?

· Do you have single and/or double bedded rooms?

· What time are residents helped to get up and go to bed?

· Is there a private telephone line for residents’ use? Can they bring mobile phones?

If you familiarise yourself with the home before you commit then you will be able to get a sense of how happy the residents and staff are there. Trust your instinct – if it ‘feels’ wrong then keep looking, but don’t let yourself be frightened off by negative news reports. Sadly, only the minority of poor care homes make the news and the many excellent care homes around the UK remain overlooked by the media.

·         Residential care homes

These homes provide accommodation and care assistance to all residents. The type of care is usually personal (non-medical) and domestic care including help with bathing, dressing, meals and laundry. Most care homes are able to assist with dispensing medication. They all have carers available around the clock and most offer organised activities although this will vary with each home.

·         Residential nursing homes

Nursing care differs from residential care in as much as qualified nurses are on hand to carry out more complex medical procedures, such as peg-feeding, managing a ventilator and injecting medications. There are also homes that specialise in offering care for residents with dementia. If you are considering a home for a loved one with dementia then make sure all staff are specifically trained in dementia care.

Please contact us and make use of our service
Our overall purpose at Care Homes Today is to help the care seeker find the right solution for their particular care needs and we also wish to make our contribution towards encouraging and publicising the better care providers and to highlight concerns about others where it is appropriate.
For more information please do feel free to contact us directly either by email or telephone. We will be very happy to see what we can do to help you and remember our service is free of charge.

14/11/2016 / by / in
Care Funding Advice

Advice on Paying Care Home fees
One issue you can’t get away from when you have decided to send your elderly parent into a care home is payment. You may be wondering if your parent has enough money and assets to afford to live in a care home, or if you will have to help meet your parent’s regular payments.
Before all else, remember that your parent may be entitled to some government benefits that will help to pay for the cost of home care. These payment benefits will be determined by your local council. It is vital that your elderly parent receives all the benefits he or she is entitled to. As the adult child, you must know the basis of the local council’s computation of benefits to be given to your parent. You must know ALL the benefits that your parent is entitled to, and you should double check their computation personally. What follows below is the process of assessment of benefits:
1. Local council assessment. Your local council will assess whether your elderly parent can get financial assistance for home care fees, based on your parent’s assets (home, land, etc.) and income. If they decide that your parent qualifies for financial help, they will then determine how much financial help your parent will receive.
The national basis for determining your parent’s financial aid is CRAG 2013, (Charging for residential accommodation guide). For more information, look up CRAG at the Gov.uk website. If you live in Wales, look up CRAG in www.wales.gov.uk. For Scotland, refer to www.scotland.gov.uk.
2. Assessment of savings and assets.
The following is considered when the local council assesses your parent’s savings and assets:
a. Capital or threshold limits. The local government has threshold limits against which they will compare your parent’s savings and assets. The limits change in April every year. There is a lower and upper limit for Scotland and England; Wales has a single threshold limit.
b. Comparison of income to threshold limits. If your parent’s savings and assets exceed the threshold limit in Wales, then he or she must shoulder full payment for home care. In Scotland and England, if your savings and assets fall between the upper and lower limits, then you are entitled to some financial assistance (as determined by your local council). If your savings and assets fall below the lower limit, (or below the threshold limit in Wales), then you will receive full financial home care support.
c. Your Parent’s Income and assets. The local council only considers your elderly parent’s income and assets. It does not consider the income of the spouse, nor of any relative. Personal possessions are also not considered.
d. Deliberate deprivation of assets. If you have access to income and/or capital that you deliberately decide to deprive yourself of, (so that you will be free of paying any home care fees), the local council still has the authority to render its computation inclusive of the income and capital, even if you have not accepted or received it.
3. Income determination. The local council will consider the ff. as income:
a. Money received monthly. This includes money from savings, pension, (Whether occupational, personal, or State), Pension Credit and/or other state benefits.
b. Income not considered. The local council will not include some benefits such as the DLA (Disability Living Allowance), PIP (Personal Independence Payment), and AA (Attendance Allowance; which is only included if you live in Scotland). WDP (War Disablement Pension) is partly included. Half of your parent’s occupational or personal income will not be included if it is passed onto your spouse or civil partner.
4. How long will the payments be given? If you move into a care home that receives partial funding by the local council, then any beneficial payments that your parent gets from AA, PIP, DLA, Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance will only be provided for four weeks. In Scotland, the local council will provide a weekly fund if your parent is assessed to require nursing care.
The decision to place your parent in home care is bound to be a lifetime decision that you or your elderly parent is making. For this reason, it is important that you keep the long-term in mind. Knowing about all the possible benefits that your parent can avail of is part of this long-term, lifetime plan.

For further Care Funding advice follow these links:

http://www.careaware.co.uk/ (free advice on care fee funding for elderly) 0161707 1107

http://www.age-exchange.org.uk/ (free advice on care funding for elderly)

http://www.independentage.org/ (free and confidential advice) 0207 605 4200

14/11/2016 / by / in
Advice on finding a suitable care home

Finding the Right Care Home for Your Parent

There comes a time when your elderly parent may realise that he or she can no longer live independently. The decision to move into a care home is a difficult one, but once that decision is made, this is a journey that your parent should not have to take alone.
You can help support your parent and offer reassurance by working together with him/her in surveying the care home options available, and determining which one is best suited for your parent. You also must make sure that the care home has a good reputation, and you must see for yourself that they are always consistent in the quality of home care that they provide. Some ways to do this are:
1. Determine what your parent cares about. If your parent is very close to his or her pet, you will want to make sure that the care home is pet friendly. You also may want to consider proximity so that it’s easy for you and your parent’s friends and relatives to visit regularly. Also, will the care home allow your parent to bring personal possessions, furniture and the like?
2. Level of care needed. Some care homes are adequate only for a specific level of care. Can you parent move about with a degree of independence, for example with the use of a cane or a wheelchair? Or is your parent completely bedridden? Will your parent need oxygen regularly? Is your parent currently intubated? Make sure that the services provided by the care home will match the needs of your elderly parent.
3. Quality care. You want to make sure that the care home is consistent in terms of the quality of care that your elderly parent receives, and that the atmosphere is cheerful and pleasant, even when nobody is watching. Some ways to determine this are:
a. Find out if the staff turnover is high.  This would be a reflection of whether the care home is being managed well or poorly. A quick turnover indicates instability inside the facility, which creates an atmosphere of unpredictability that can be upsetting for the residents.
b. Make a surprise visit. By visiting unannounced, you can determine what the true general atmosphere is like in a care home. How are you received? Tour the facility to see whether it is kept clean, and to determine the general mood of people who are staying there.
c. Try to talk to people who are staying there. Ask them if they like the care home, and take time to listen to them talk about the way things are being run in the place.
4. Your personal needs. Would it be easier for you to visit your parent if he or she is in a home care that is near you, friends and family?  Consult with relatives and your parent’s friends and ask their advice regarding what area they think would be best for your parent. It is possible that your parent would not like being in a new area where the local shops are unfamiliar. Also, the more frequently your parent can be visited, the better. Make sure that the care home is easily accessible to all.
5. Is the care home close to restaurants, shops and churches? This will be more convenient for your parent and also for those who visit.
6. Ask friends and family about your short list. It is possible that your parent’s friends and family will know something about care homes in your short list, whether it has a good or a bad reputation in general.
7. Check records.  Try to access recent Care Quality Commission inspection reports of the home cares on your shortlist.
8. Trial period. Ask if the care home allows a trial period so that your parent can decide if he/she wants to stay there or not. If your parent has chosen a home care but later decides he/she doesn’t like the place, what will be the requirements of the care home be for leaving?
These are some tips you can consider when you are looking for the most appropriate place for your parent to stay in. Remember that sharing the journey of finding the place is only half of the job required. You also want a place where your parent will really be happy, as stability is most important for elderly adults, and having to move from one home to another can be stressful and worrisome for both of you.
In our  section ‘Care and Support Care Advice’ we have sourced together some information  to help you in deciding the best Care Option for you. 

 https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-health/

http://www.diabetes.org.uk/

http://www.which.co.uk/

http://www.ageuk.org.uk/ 

http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/

http://www.ageuk.org.uk/cymru/

http://www.careaware.co.uk/

http://www.age-exchange.org.uk/

14/11/2016 / by / in
Depression and the Elderly

Depression and the Elderly

Clinical depression among the elderly is very different from depression in young adults. This is because the elderly are dealing with many things that young adults may never have faced, such as retirement, isolation, health problems, the loss of friends and relatives their age, a lack of a support system, and body changes. All these can make the impact of depression among the elderly more keenly felt, and the depression lasts longer.

Perhaps you have a mother who, all her life was very strong and domineering. Suddenly, you see behavior changes, and you tell yourself that she is merely experiencing senility. A part of you is in denial, just as much as your mother may be. You may be in denial that your powerful mother is growing older and weaker. Your mother may not want to face the stigma of depression that is more strongly felt in her generation.

And yet, if you fail to spot the possibility of clinical depression in your beloved elderly parent, that is most unfortunate, because it is treatable and it can give your loved one a better quality of life in his or her old age.

About six million elderly Americans (65 and older) experience elderly clinical depression, but only 10 percent of cases are treated. When your elderly parent has a number of illnesses, perhaps a disability and uses different medications for other illnesses, you may not spot clinical depression as an added illness.

 Added risks of elderly depression

Elderly clinical depression carries added risks. It can lead to risk of other illnesses such as cardiac disease and heart attack. If your beloved elderly parent has other illnesses, elderly depression can bring down the immune system and exacerbate these other illnesses and slow down rehabilitation. Because of this, the risk of death is increased, including death by suicide.
The elderly are particularly susceptible to clinical depression. This is the stage where you see your friends and relatives your age die. The reality of death cannot be ignored, unlike when you are young and death is rare among your friends and your support system.
The elderly tend to lack a support system because at this stage they are retired, may have changed residence, and lost a number of their community of friends through death, health changes, or change of location.
Elderly women are more prone to depression, especially if the woman is widowed, divorced, or single. If she is experiencing a stressful life event, for example, the death of a spouse or a sudden disability or physical illness, she is very much at risk of elderly depression, more so if she does not have a supportive community to rely on.

 Possible signs of elderly depression

If you suspect that your much-loved elderly parent, friend or relative may be experiencing depression, here are some signs that you can look for.
1. Insomnia. This usually is a sign of elderly depression.
2. Medicines. If your elderly parent is taking several different medications, depression may be a side effect.
3. Bodily change. If your elderly parent has had a bodily change such as an amputation, a heart attack or cancer surgery, she or he will be at risk of depression in dealing with this change and feeling a sense of loss and possible mortality.
4. Family history. People with a family history of major depression have a predisposition to attaining the same illness themselves.
5. Isolation. Living alone, with no friends to talk to regularly, or even living among people who don’t care or love you can make you feel very lonely. In the case of the elderly this is more keenly felt because their bodies are weaker, and they may be less independent to do things that normal people can do. If the elderly person lacks love and care, he or she may feel like a burden to those around him or her. Isolation, whether it is physical or keenly felt in a house of people, can be a cause for clinical depression. If you care for your elderly parent but do not live with them, make sure that they are in a caring environment.
6. Past suicide attempts. This is a red flag. Just one attempt should already signal that you should have your elderly parent consult a doctor for possible clinical depression.
7. Fear of death. Conversely, it is possible that your elderly parent is always thinking about death and is fearful of it. Such toxic thinking can be indicative of depression.
8. Chronic or severe pain. Physical pain is depressing and when it is uncontrollable, it can signal depression. The feeling of loss of control of one’s body and one’s pain can be both physically painful and mentally and emotionally demoralizing. This combination can lead to depression.
9. Substance abuse. If your elderly parent has been taking too much alcohol, or chain smokes, or takes drugs like marijuana (more than what is clinically prescribed), or non-prescribed pain medication (or more than what is described), these are all signs of self-medicating and can perhaps be blamed on depression.
If you suspect that your elderly parent may be depressed, bring him or her to the doctor immediately. The doctor may possibly do a brain scan to see if the brain is receiving enough blood flow. Chemical changes in the brain can also cause depression.
Otherwise, the doctor can prescribe medications to alleviate depression. Either way, it will be an empowering experience for your elderly parent to know that depression is something that they don’t have to live with. Once they feel better about themselves and their lives, they can pursue rehabilitation, and even better, have the quality of life that they deserve.
08/03/2015 / by / in
Key to blocking Alzheimer’s

Key to blocking Alzheimer’s progress discovered

Alzheimer’s disease is caused by naturally occurring protein molecules folding into the wrong shape then sticking together with other protein molecules to create amyloid fibrils.

British researchers have identified a molecule that can block the progress of Alzheimer’s disease at a crucial stage in its development. They have found a molecular chaperone that inhibits a key stage in the development of the disease and breaks the toxic chain reaction that leads to the death of brain cells.

Scientists at Cambridge University have shown that a type of molecule “Brichos” which occurs naturally in humans, can play the role of an inhibitor during the molecular process that is believed to cause Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists believe that this breaks the cycle of events leading to the disease. Research has provided an effective basis for finding molecules that could be used for treating the condition.

Brichos clings to threads of malfunctioning proteins called amyloid fibrils, which are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. In doing so, the molecules stop the threads coming into contact with other amyloid proteins, thereby helping to avoid formation of highly toxic clusters which enable the condition to grow rapidly in the brain.

One of the most critical stages in the development of Alzheimer’s in sufferers is considered to be – where fibrils made up of malfunctioning proteins amyloid assist in the formation of toxic clusters. Scientists have moved closer to identifying a substance by finding a molecule that could prevent the disease and eventually treat it. A range of options for future drug development could be made possible through this discovery.

This research was carried out by an international team of academics from the department of chemistry at the University of Cambridge, the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Lund University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Tallinn University.

Lead author Dr Samuel Cohen, University of Cambridge, and lead author said “Our study shows, for the first time, one of these critical processes being specifically inhibited, and reveals that by doing so we can prevent the toxic effects of protein aggregation that are associated with this terrible condition.”

18/02/2015 / by / in
Why do we need our eight hours sleep?

Why do we need our eight hours sleep?

For decades, scientists have been baffled with this question, but now researches mayhave discovered what makes us fall asleep, why a long sleep feels good and why lack of it reduces our thinking power and can lead to dementia. People who have Alzheimer’s have been found to have an excess build up of beta-amyloid. This is a protein that clumps together and causes plaque in the brain and also in the blood vessels to the brain. Longer- term build up of amyloid are linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Hence, the process of eliminating these harmful toxins in the brain may reduce risk of Alzheimer’s. Researchers found that the conscious brain cannot spare the energy to eliminate the “toxic waste” it accumulates during the day and when the waste reaches a potentially damaging level, it triggers a powerful urge to sleep. During sleep the brain is able to reconfigure itself, opening up channels between its billions of cells and flushing them with cerebrospinal fluid.  This clear colourless fluid from the brain bathes the brain and spinal cord. Besides being a transporter of nutrients and a filter of chemicals, it helps pad the brain as a shock absorber. Dr Maiken Nedergaard, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Rochester believes that the flow of cerebrospinal fluid greatly increases during sleep. This flushes away damaging waste like the harmful protein beta-amyloid, which builds up while we are awake and alert. Dr Nedergaard said “one of the greatest mysteries in biology is why sleep is restorative and conversely, why lack of sleep impairs brain function. Sleep deprivation can reduce learning, impair cognitive performance, and is a common cause of seizures. In humans, fatal familial or sporadic insomnia is a progressively worsening state of sleeplessness. This can lead to dementia and death.   The restorative function of sleep may be a result of the enhanced removal of potentially neurotoxin waste products that accumulate in the awake central nervous system”. The research was prompted by observations that concentrations of waste in the human
brain decrease during sleep and increase after waking. The same phenomenon was observed in mice. Dr Nedergaard understood this by studying mice and related this process to “a dishwasher”. Researchers injected dye into the cerebrospinal fluid of mice and watched it flow through their brains while simultaneously monitoring brain electrical activities. They found that the dye flowed rapidly when the mice were unconscious, either anaesthetised or asleep. However, the dye barely flowed when these mice were awake.
Dr Nedergaard said “we were surprised by how little flow there was into the brain when the mice were awake”. “It suggested that the space between brain cells changed greatly
between conscious and unconscious states”. By inserting electrodes into the brain to directly measure the space between cells, researchers found that the space between the
cells increased by 60 % when the mice were asleep or anaesthetised. Dr Nedergaard said“we need sleep”. It cleans up the brain
Dr Maiken Nedergaard told the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in San Jose “prior to this finding, no one really understood how the brain exports its waste”. It had been thought that the cells broke down and recycled their own waste.
Moreover, researchers found that waste flushing can become less efficient with age, providing insights into why the onset of dementia is associated with accumulation of toxic proteins.
16/02/2015 / 2 Comments / by / in