Senior Health

Empowering seniors to take charge of their health and wellness.

Understanding Hand Pain And How To Treat It

heidi Active Senior Living Comments Off on Understanding Hand Pain And How To Treat It
hand pain

Don’t let hand pain get in the way of your favorite activities. See your doctor for treatment and pain management options.

Pain in the hands can be debilitating, so much so that it makes the activities of daily living uncomfortable or downright unbearable. The discomfort may be the result of an accident and come on quickly. Or it may be the symptom of a chronic condition, like arthritis, that gradually makes its presence known and worsens over time.

Here are 5 causes of hand pain and recommended treatments from WebMD:

De Quervain’s Tendinitis

This causes pain on the thumb side of the wrist. The pain may develop gradually or start suddenly. It can travel the length of the thumb and up the forearm. It can be painful to make a fist, grasp or hold objects, or turn your wrist

The pain results from irritation or inflammation of the wrist tendons at the base of the thumb. Repetitive activities and overuse are often responsible for de Quervain’s.

Pain relief treatments include:

Surgery may be an option if symptoms remain severe after you have tried other treatments.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

This is one of the most common nerve disorders of the hand. It causes pain in the:

  • Palm and some fingers of the hand
  • Wrist
  • Forearm

Often the pain is worse at night than during the day. Carpal tunnel syndrome can also cause:

You may especially feel it in your thumb, index finger, and middle finger. This can make it hard to grip objects.

The carpal tunnel is a structure made up of bones and connective tissues that is located at the base of the hand. It is in this narrow space that the median nerve is pinched by inflamed or irritated tendons or other swelling.

Common treatments include:

Your doctor may suggest surgery if your symptoms last for 6 months or more.

Fractures

A fracture, or a break in a bone, can cause a great deal of hand pain. Besides pain, after a fracture you may have:

  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Loss of movement

Fracture treatment depends on the type of the break. Casts or splints are often used for simple breaks. You may need pins, wires, or plates to treat more complicated fractures. Surgery might also be needed to set the broken bone completely.

Arthritis

This is a leading source of hand pain. It causes joints to lose the cartilage that allows them to move smoothly against each other. As the cartilage deteriorates, painful, sometimes debilitating, swelling begins to occur.

In the hand, the areas where this most often occurs are the:

  • Base of the thumb
  • Middle joint of one or more fingers
  • End joint, which is closest to the finger tip

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It causes progressive degeneration of cartilage. It can happen with aging or following an injury, such as a fracture or dislocation. When it affects the hand, it causes:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness

Bony nodules may also form at the middle or end joints of the fingers. Osteoarthritis can also cause deep, aching pain at the base of the thumb. The hand may also become weaker, making everyday activities difficult.

Treatment depends on the severity of the pain and disability. Treatment includes:

If these treatments do not provide relief, surgery may be recommended.

Trigger Finger

Doctors call this stenosing tenosynovitis. It causes fingers or the thumb to lock in a bent position. It can be painful, especially when you bend or straighten the affected finger or thumb.

Doctors don’t know what causes trigger finger. You’re more likely to get it if you have:

Rest, sometimes while wearing a splint, may fix the problem. Over-the-counter pain medications can ease the pain. Corticosteroid injections (steroid shots) often can help relieve symptoms. Your doctor may recommend surgery if other treatments fail.


What Causes Excessive Hair Loss?

heidi Active Senior Living, Resources for Seniors Comments Off on What Causes Excessive Hair Loss?
From a traumatic life event to the way you style your hair, there are many causes of excessive hair loss. Here's what to do.

From a traumatic life event to the way you style your hair, there are many causes of excessive hair loss. Here’s what to do.

It’s normal to shed hair every day, however some people experience excessive (more than normal) hair loss. So what causes this? And when should you consult a doctor for it?

Many conditions and diseases can result in hair loss. So can improper hair care. The most common cause of hair loss is hereditary thinning or baldness. While daily shedding is normal, people who notice their hair shedding in large amounts after combing or brushing, and those whose hair becomes thinner or falls out, should consult a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment, reports the American Academy of Dermatology.

Common Causes of Excessive Hair Loss, according to SeniorHealth365.org:

Medicine

Some drugs such as gout medication, hormone pills, antidepressants, or anticoagulants (also known as blood thinners) can cause thinning in the hair. This is usually due to the hair follicles being negatively impacted by these medicines, which disrupts their growth cycle. If medicine is the likely cause of hair loss, your physician should be contacted to try to lower dosage or change to a different medication.

Health

In senior people, there are common health conditions that can be directly related to hair loss. Such problems include thyroid dysfunction, any infections in the scalp or skin, or alopecia areata (autoimmune disease which results in hair loss). Iron deficiency is another factor that can lead to baldness. As studies have shown, individuals with a poor diet that is deficient of iron are more likely to have hair loss. These problems can be diagnosed and treated for by a doctor. After treatment, your hair loss will be reduced and with return to its normal growth cycle over a period of time.

Hormones

The changing of hormones are we age is likely the most common cause of hair loss in elderly people. Sex hormones typically cause male or female pattern baldness. Hormone imbalances caused by menopause are another cause of hair loss. Consult a doctor for treatment, but know that these causes are often inevitable and something everyone will have to resolve at some point in their life.

Certain Hairstyles

There are also some various hairstyles that can lead to hair loss. Some include pig tails or cornrows that involve tight hair rollers, which can cause “traction alopecia”, where your scalp will scar due to the pulling. If the pulling on your hair is stopped before the scarring occurs, the hair loss won’t be permanent.

In addition, hair loss can also result from:

Radiation therapy to the head. The hair may not grow back the same as it was before.

A trigger event. Many people experience a general thinning of hair several months after a physical or emotional shock. This type of hair loss is temporary. Examples of trigger events include sudden or excessive weight loss, a high fever, surgery, or a death in the family.

A number of factors can increase your risk of hair loss, including:

  • Family history
  • Age
  • Poor nutrition
  • Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and lupus
  • Stress

Hair loss can appear in many different ways, depending on what’s causing it. It can come on suddenly or gradually and affect just your scalp or your whole body. Some types of hair loss are temporary, and others are permanent.

Signs and symptoms of hair loss, according to the Mayo Clinic, include:

  • Gradual thinning on top of head. This is the most common type of hair loss, affecting both men and women as they age. In men, hair often begins to recede from the forehead in a line that resembles the letter M. Women typically retain the hairline on the forehead but have a broadening of the part in their hair.
  • Circular or patchy bald spots .Some people experience smooth, coin-sized bald spots. This type of hair loss usually affects just the scalp, but it sometimes also occurs in beards or eyebrows. In some cases, your skin may become itchy or painful before the hair falls out.
  • Sudden loosening of hair. A physical or emotional shock can cause hair to loosen. Handfuls of hair may come out when combing or washing your hair or even after gentle tugging. This type of hair loss usually causes overall hair thinning and not bald patches.
  • Full-body hair loss.Some conditions and medical treatments, such as chemotherapy for cancer, can result in the loss of hair all over your body. The hair usually grows back.
  • Patches of scaling that spread over the scalp. This is a sign of ringworm. It may be accompanied by broken hair, redness, swelling and, at times, oozing.

 

How is hair loss diagnosed?

If you suspect that you may have excessive hair loss, talk to your doctor, suggests FamilyDoctor.org. He or she will probably ask you some questions about your diet, any medicines you’re taking, and whether you’ve had a recent illness, and how you take care of your hair. If you’re a woman, your doctor may ask questions about your menstrual cycle, pregnancies, and menopause. Your doctor may want to do a physical exam to look for other causes of hair loss. Finally, your doctor may order blood tests or a biopsy.

What you can do

  • List key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you’re taking.
  • List questions to ask your doctor.

How Super Agers Live Longer And Better

heidi Active Senior Living Comments Off on How Super Agers Live Longer And Better
Of course exercise and healthy eating play a role, but there are other things that may be even more important.

Of course exercise and healthy eating play a role, but there are other things that may be even more important.

Scientists have been studying the lifestyles and healthy habits of “super agers” (seniors who live extremely well into old age) for insight on how we can increase our health span, or the amount of time we’ll live in good health.

While genes only account for about 20%-30% of our longevity researchers say, lifestyle plays a key role in the majority of our aging. So exactly what can we do to live longer and better? According to an article from WebMD, eating healthy and exercise are likely to impact how well we age, but they are far from the only things involved, and they may not even be the most important ones.

Here is an excerpt from the WebMD article:

Lessons From the ‘Blue Zones’

Author Dan Buettner has researched people who live to be 100+ since 2000. He worked with National Geographic to identify five “Blue Zones” that have the highest percentage of the world’s longest-lived people. People in these zones also lived relatively free of diseases common to aging, such as heart diseasediabetes, and cancer.

The U.S. has only one Blue Zone: the Seventh-day Adventist community of Loma Linda, CA. Other communities include Ikaria, Greece; Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; and Nicoya, Costa Rica.

Here’s what they had in common:

  • A plant-based diet— beans, whole grains, veggies
  • Opportunities for natural movement, like walking, herding, and gardening
  • Having a sense of purpose
  • Belonging to a faith-based community
  • Taking a daily nap or finding some other way to “downshift” daily
  • Not overeating and not eating after sunset

 

Read the entire WebMD article.