Sleep Apnea – What Your Doctor Might Ask To Determine IF You Need A Sleep Study

As I mentioned in the earlier post, there are several different things your doctor will look at to determine whether he/she wants to test you for sleep apnea.   Some BUT NOT ALL are:

Weight  – If  your BMI (body mass index) is higher than 25, you are at a greater risk of sleep apnea.   This is not always the case as slender people have been know to have it.

Age – Although sleep apnea  happens at any age, it is more common among adulthood to middle age.

Male versus Female – Men have a higher chance of having sleep apnea but the risk increases in women during and after menopause.

High Blood Pressure – This is another thing the doctor will take into consideration as it is common in people with sleep apnea.

Does someone in your family have it? – Believe it or not, this is a heritable condition.  However, that is possibly due to inherited traits like weight and physical features.  Of course, some of this could be due to chosen habits like exercising and/or eating.

Family history – Sleep apnea is a heritable condition. This means that you have a higher risk of sleep apnea if a family member also has it. Inherited traits that increase the risk for sleep apnea include obesity and physical features such as a recessed jaw. Other common family factors – such as physical activity and eating habits – also may play a role.

Headaches – Another possible hint is headaches, especially morning headaches.

If you go in for any surgeries, they will go through a sleep apnea questionnaire which checks on most of the top symptoms.  Naturally they will want to know about snoring, waking up tired, gasping during sleep, etc.

If you have several of the above, your doctor may order a sleep apnea test.  There are a couple basic ways to test for sleep apnea.  In the next post, we will look at the differences between them.

Sleep Apnea – Is It Serious? What are the symptoms?

 

 

I have heard someone say that sleep apnea is not an actual medical condition.  THEY ARE WRONG!  I know for a fact that this condition is a killer and it is not just older people. I know someone who died in his early twenties.  His new wife woke up beside him to discover him dead.  He had not wanted to wear his machine because it was uncomfortable.

I agree that in the beginning those machines suck.  At least to me, mine did.  I did not like having something on my face at night.  I hated being connected to the hose so that when I turned over I had to drag it along with me.  It just plain sucked.  BUT, I am still here to complain about it!

There are many varieties of sleep apnea.  There are many different symptoms your doctor might consider including:

1,  Snoring – this can be as dramatic as the kind when you stopped breathing for a few seconds and then snort awake.  I think most of you have seen/heard this happen. The person is basically snoring, gasping and almost choking.  But, it doesn’t have to be that dramatic to still be sleep apnea.

2.  Sleep problems – either having trouble going to sleep or staying asleep.  Insomnia can be caused by stress but it can also be sleep apnea.  It is possible that the person’s brain is aware that they are not breathing right while asleep so it keeps waking them up.

3.  Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat.  People with sleep apnea may be mouth breathers in a effort to get enough air in.

4.  Weight gain or excessive weight.  Sleep is critical for weigh maintenance (or loss) as our bodies produces leptin which tells us to quit eating.  So, when we are not sleeping, we are not getting enough Leptin so we tend to eat more.

When we don’t get enough deep sleep, our bodies produce an excessive amount of a hormone called ghrelin.  Ghrelin tells our bodies that they need to eat.

Not enough sleep also cause problems with insulin.  It makes our bodies insulin-resistant, which  then causes additional insulin production.  When too much insulin is produced, the body craves unhealthy foods.

So, lack of sleep hits us with too little ghrelin,  not enough leptin an insulin-resistance causing us to want to eat.

However, not all people with sleep apnea are heavy set.

5.  Being sleepy during the day or waking up exhausted.

6.  Being forgetful or not being able to concentrate.  Sleep apnea makes it hard to focus.  It can be extremely hard to learn in school or on the job.

7. Not sleeping can lead to depression, irritability, and impatience.,   Chronic fatigue that people with sleep apnea  experience can develop into full-blown depression.  Irritability and impatience are also common symptoms because the mind is unable to focus on everyday tasks.  An inability to focus initially leads to feelings of frustration, which later morph into short, but powerful, bouts of irritability and impatience.  There are studies that have proven a direct link between sleep apnea and mental problems.

Of course, there are many other symptoms and you do not have to have all of these.  If you have any of these it might be time to talk with your doctor.  There are also several other things your doctor will look at but that is for another post.

I will make more posts to explain what the doctor may do to help decide if they want to do a sleep study (home or in the hospital).  I will also discuss how the tests goes in either place.

 

DO IT NOW!

do-it-now

 

I have been struggling with thinking time is short lately.  No, I don’t think I am dying or being depressed but I need to get moving on things i want to accomplish NOW.  So, I am making some serious changes and will be documenting the successes and failures here.  I hope they might inspire some of you to do the same.

Young Living Essential Oils – Ningxia Red – Drink To Your Health

Here is my daily health routine. Ningxia Red….a shot in the morning. I have had bad winters the last several years with colds, etc. so decided to give this a try. Several friends have said it has prevented them from getting sick along with better concentration. I can use both! As you can also see, I do have a few oils but my morning oil is lemon in my ice bottle. I should mention the white tube looking things are filters for my diffuser I hook to my USB port.

It is much cheaper to buy Ningxia Red than all the over the counter and prescriptions I have had to take! Very anxious to see if it works as good for me as it does for others!

https://www.youngliving.org/lifesalesson

Add a daily shot of NingXia Red® to your diet to enjoy the benefits of this powerful, whole-body supplement. This sweet and tangy drink’s formula includes wolfberry, which is touted for its health benefits. Also featuring plum, aronia, cherry, blueberry, and pomegranate juices and extracts, Young Living’s NingXia Red is packed with superfoods to support overall wellness.

In addition to these antioxidant ingredients, NingXia Red’s formula includes pure vanilla extract and Lemon, Orange, Yuzu, and Tangerine essential oils for a great-tasting, healthy treat.*

Young Living NingXia Red benefits include support for energy levels, normal cellular function, and whole-body and normal eye health. A daily shot of 2–4 ounces helps support overall wellness with powerful antioxidants.*

750-ml bottles of NingXia Red are Halal and Kosher certified.

NingXia Red Uses
Blend NingXia Red into your smoothie, acai bowl, or morning juice as part of a quick, convenient breakfast.
Chill and serve NingXia Red to family and guests at gatherings and celebrations when you’re looking for a healthy alternative to sparkling drinks.*
Treat children to this tasty drink instead of sugary sodas or juice cocktails.
Combine with NingXia Nitro for a nourishing drink that also supports cognitive wellness.*
Add a drop or two of your favorite dietary essential oil for an extra flavor boost! Try Peppermint, Thieves®, Cinnamon Bark, or Grapefruit.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Young Living products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Ningxia Red (PDF)

How to Use
Drink 1-2 ounces 2 times daily. Best served chilled. Shake well before use. Refrigerate after opening and consume with in 30 days. Do not drink directly from the bottle. Do not use if the seal is broken.
Ingredients
Proprietary NingXia Red Blend 29g Ningxia Wolfberry Puree (Lycium barbarum), Blueberry Juice Concentrate (Vaccinium corymbosum), Plum Juice Concentrate (Prunus domestica), Cherry Juice Concentrate (Prunus avium), Aronia Juice Concentrate (Aronia melanocarpa), Pomegranate Juice Concentrate (Punica granatum) Proprietary Essential blend 50mg Grape (Vitis vinifera) seed extract, Orange EO (Citrus sinensis), Yuzu EO (Citrus junos), Lemon EO (Citrus limon), Tangerine EO (Citrus reticulata) Other ingredients: Tartaric acid, natural blueberry flavor, pure vanilla extract, malic acid, pectin, sodium benzoate/natural stevia extract.
Supplement Facts:

Serving Size:: 1 fl ounce (29.5 ml) Servings per container:: About 25 Calories: 20 Total Carbohydrates: 5g Dietary Fiber: <1g Sugars: 2g Sodium: <5mghealth-routine

That Dreaded “D” Word – DIET

When I use to hear that word, I just shuddered.  You mean eat all that stuff that had no flavor, no sugar, no fun?

But, diet is now a way of life for a lot of people.  If you stop to think of it, our ancestors did not eat like we do and they had a much more active life than we do.  So, basically, we are going back to the way it was when life was simpler.

There are so many diets out there that I wouldn’t even think of saying what the right one was.  Some people do the no carb one, some do the vegan one, some do the one where nothing can come out of a box.  You have to research and pick the best one for you and your lifestyle.

I recently went through several of my fast food store’s websites so that I could pick the least harmful thing to eat.  It might really surprise you what sandwiches are actually less calories than that salad you were going to eat.  I made some notes in a little book I keep in my purse and then when I know I am going somewhere I can check it out and make a wiser decision.  I can’t wait until I am in line and then hold the line up while I am trying to read the calories on the order board.

Another thing that just stunned me was portion sizes.  I thought we had been eating somewhat healthy until my nutritionist showed me plastic models of what 1 serving was.  I think everyone would be shocked.  Just google it some time.  I think we were eating at least 2 – 3 times more pasta than what we should have been.

I am not going to sit here and tell you that we have made all the life changes we need and now are down to the correct weights.  That would be a BIG lie.  We are making small changes which include portion control.  I even bought one of those sets off Amazon where it gives you different size and colored containers so you know how much of each type of food you should eat.

But, bottom line, we probably all could stand to lose some weight.  We all have different reasons.  For me it is about the fear of someone having to take care of me at my current size.

Losing weight gets harder the older you are. So, for us, the time is now.

So, if you pass that overweight woman walking or riding a bike while you are driving your car, just remember, at least she is off her tush and trying to do something about it.

 

What diets of lifestyle changes have you made to become healthier?  Share with us your knowledge so we can all become healthier.

 

Just do it – Having the talk with your parents about their wishes during aging

Hopefully, many of you still have your parents living. One of the biggest gifts you can give them is to make sure you will be able to take care of them in the event they can’t take care of themselves. This can be a very hard thing to do.

Most people do not want to face the fact that we all do not live forever. Aging is something we all do but when it is our parents it is especially hard to face. They are supposed to live forever, right? Each family is different so you might be able to skip over a lot of this. Or you may have to add many steps. You just have to tailor this to your situation.

Let me share with you why I feel this is an important one, even though my parents are both gone. I have a friend who is going through a hard time as her parent has consistently refused to let her do anything that might help with this. She has tried over the years and now that her parent is having problems, she is powerless to help without getting the legal system involved. Although she does not want to have to do this, she has to for the safety of her parent.

Her parent will not tell her any financial information – “I have taken care of myself all these years and I do not need you to tell me what to do” but her taxes are not being paid on her home. She has no control over her parent’s medical care and needs it badly as her parent is obviously not taking her medication. Her parent will not let her even take her shopping for groceries.

Naturally, this is causing a lot of stress. What is actually concern on her part is being seen as a control issue by the parent. This could be dementia setting in but watching a love one go downhill with no way to step in and help is devastating when it could be avoided.

My mother was one of the people who wanted to make sure that things were taken care of. She also is the one who use to tell me to “get off your duff and do it”. Keep in mind that even though you try to do this, it may not work. But, you will feel better for having tried.

  1. Figure out why you are avoiding it.
    1. I can think of several reasons. First you may not want to accept that you need to do this. After all, we all want our parents to live forever.
    2. You do not want to hurt your parents. This is valid but it might hurt worse to see your parents in a situation where you cannot step in to help.
    3. Your siblings may think you are sticking your nose in where it doesn’t belong.
    4. You don’t know where to start.
  2. Break it into small steps.
    1. Accept that this has to happen. I could tell you horror stories of families that do not do this and then their parent’s wishes were not followed.
    2. Think of the way to approach it. If you have a plan, it will be much easier and helpful than just blurting it out one day.
    3. Do some research for your state as to the legal steps needed. This can be as simple as going onto the internet to see what is required. Of course we all know that just because it is on the internet does not mean it is true. Another place to check is with your friends that may be going through the same process.
    4. Talk to your siblings. This is especially important if they do not live close and it will be your responsibility to physically take care of your parent.   Maybe you are the one they talk to about financial matters. Maybe someone else is more into the medical part of their lives.
    5. Work the subject in to the conversations slowly instead of just sitting them down one day and say “we are going to do this”. That approach usually won’t work and may make them just shut down the whole subject.
    6. Work up to the point of discussing each point. Things I would suggest are end of life decisions, power of attorney for both medical and financial transactions, funeral arrangements, will, etc.
    7. Make sure it is done through an attorney. Even though you may know what your parents want, it if it not written down in a legal manner, you may not be able to make it happen.
  3. Get the materials together.
    1. I covered this in step 2 but basically it is researching your state’s laws, discussing with family members, etc. You could also talk to an estate lawyer, read different books or articles on the subject and many other steps but do not let this be a stopping place or a place to get bogged down.
  4. Just do it.
    1. Get off your duff and do it!

 

While you are at it, think about this for yourself. No matter what your age, you should have these legal matters taken care of. I would like to live forever but I won’t. We have this taken care of and my children are well aware of what I want to happen. There will be no fighting about anything as it is all taken care of. This actually gave me peace of mind as I don’t want them to have to guess at what I wanted.

Medicare and nursing homes – who pays?

It is hard enough to be dealing with a personal who is either sick or injured without having to deal with the financial end of things.  I had a friend call this morning in a panic.  She had just found out that Medicare does NOT pay for nursing homes.  She has to pay over $600.00 per day for her father.  She asked what I knew about nursing homes and Medicare so I thought I would write this post.

Here is what I believe to be true from an official AARP website:

Q. I read that Medicare doesn’t pay for staying in a nursing home. But my friend is in a nursing home, and she says Medicare’s picking up the tab. Who’s right?

A. Both are right. Medicare doesn’t normally cover “custodial” care for people who live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. Custodial care means help with daily living activities, such as eating, getting in and out of bed, washing and bathing, going to the toilet and moving around. Paying for this type of care is your own responsibility, unless you have long-term care insurance that covers it or you qualify for Medicaid benefits from your state.

But there’s one exception. Medicare’s skilled nursing facility (SNF) benefit covers a temporary stay in a nursing home in certain circumstances.

How to qualify for the SNF benefit:

* You must have Medicare Part A hospital insurance.

* You must have spent at least three days as an admitted patient in the hospital. Days spent “under observation” in the hospital do not usually count toward the three days.

* Your doctor must order that you need skilled nursing services as a result of the same illness or injury that put you in the hospital, or because of a new one that developed while you were there. For example, you may need continuing intravenous injections or physical therapy.

* The services your doctor ordered can be provided only on an inpatient basis at a Medicare-certified SNF (either a nursing home or hospital).

What you get:

Medicare covers up to 100 days in a skilled nursing facility. This includes medical and nursing services, custodial care, semiprivate room, meals and prescription drugs. (Any drugs you need while receiving the SNF benefit are paid for under Medicare Part A hospital insurance, not under Medicare Part D drug coverage.)

What you pay:

* Days 1 to 20: You pay nothing. Medicare pays 100 percent of the cost.

* Days 21 to 100: You pay a daily copayment—$137.50 in 2010—and Medicare pays the rest. (If you have medigap supplementary insurance, long-term care insurance or are in a Medicare Advantage health plan, some or all of this cost may be covered, depending on your policy or plan.)

* Beyond 100 days: You pay the full costs and Medicare pays nothing. (Long-term care insurance may cover part of the costs.)

Do not take this as the hard rule as it seems like different people have different rules.  Mom was lucky enough to have a secondary insurance that paid what Medicare would not after the first 20 days.  However, Medicare only pays if the person is improving daily.  At the point where they decide the patient isn’t, they cut off the money.

I would strongly suggest anyone that can to get a supplemental insurance.  However, these insurance plans vary from state to state and can be very expensive.

Emergency Preparedness for Natural Disasters

Emergency Preparedness for Natural Disaster

With recent events, I wanted to stress the importance of planning for a natural disaster.  I am in an area where we are having tornados.    Caregivers have the responsibility to be able to provide emergency care for their loved ones, even in a tornado.

The best way to do this is to figure out what you would do in the type of natural disaster for your area.  This is a broad guideline that you will have to tailor to your area.

1.  Find out about individual assistance that may be available in your community. It is possible that in your area there are agencies that you can register so that they know you have someone who needs special care.  I would talk to the Red Cross to begin with and they can tell you what agencies you might be able to register with.

2.  As you prepare, consider all everything you use for your loved one with a disability on a daily basis. You may need medications, certain medical equipment and supplies, service animal, etc.

3.  Talk to those around you so that they know your plan.  Involve them in the plan if you are planning on using them as backup to help.  Make sure they know how to use any equipment you use with your loved one.

Keep your caregiver manual up to date and make sure you take it with you. This will help anyone that has to provide emergency care know doctors, diagnosis, medications, emergency numbers,etc.

You might have to explain to emergency people why you need to evacuate first in order to protect your loved one.  Some shelters are hesitant to take service animals but legally they have to.

4.  Make a bag up that you can grab if you have to evacuate quickly.  Here is a list of a few thing but not all you may need.  Some of it should be in your caregiver binder already.

List of medications, doctors, emergency numbers, allergies, etc.

Chargers and batteries for any devices you use daily that you can take with you

If you have a service animal, food for it.  Documentation that it is a service animal.

If you have to use a device to communicate with your loved one, you need to be                    able to grab it and go!

Any medical supplies you use regularly like bandages, insulin, needles, catheters,             depends, portable oxygen tank etc.

5.  Try to think of what you would need if you ended up in a shelter to take care of your loved one.  There is no way you can pack everything but you should take what is essential to keep your loved one alive.

Make a list and stick it on the fridge so that you use it so that you don’t forget something in your haste to move to safety.

Of course, if it is necessary, just grab your loved one and go!  The Red Cross and other organizations can usually get supplies but if you can take it with you, you will feel better.

Depression – We all have it.

I apologize for the lack of posts lately.  This time last year, my Mom was in the final stage of her life.  My time was consumed by visits to the nursing home, hospital and preparing my home to bring her home for as long as I could safely keep her here.

Mom did not want to die in a nursing home and we had discussed it many times.  Towards the end, Medicare decided mom’s rehab was doing no good so they were going to move her once again to a different wing of the home.  Moving people with dementia is extremely hard on them.

The home told me mom was getting very agitated when I wasn’t there so they wanted to drug her more.  It was time to make a decision.  We decided as a family to bring her back to my home and take care of her here.  We knew it would not be for a long period of time but wanted her at home as long as we could make her comfortable.

There was a whirlwind of activity.  My son came and built a wheelchair ramp in two days.  We had to empty my kitchen of all furniture as mom’s hospital bed and lift would not fit in any of our bedrooms.  Luckily, I had great friends who just appeared and we toted up a lot of things so that we were ready.  My brother’s and their family would have been here if they could have.

I will write a later post about everything we should have done differently.  I just wanted to let you all know that I am still here and will start posting again.

To MOM, I love you and miss you everyday.  See you someday!

What a respite worker HAS to know!

After you have hired your worker, you have to give her/him all the tools necessary to do a great job.  They need to know as much as possible about the care of your loved one but of course, will not be able to read your mind.

With this in mind I will point you back to the post I made earlier about the binder with all the information in it.  It is great for anyone stepping in, whether respite workers, family, or neighbors.

It is important to keep it up to date.  I realize that you have a lot of your plate but keeping this binder up to date will insure that you can leave at anytime and the person replacing you will have access to the correct information about medications, doctors, appointments, etc.

Updating it might be a thing you can do when you are doing your test run with the respite worker.  That way you can have peace and quiet and be able to really look it over.

I know mom’s medication changed a lot due to her being on blood thinners.  It seemed like every blood test meant a different dosage and the prescription bottle didn’t change so I had to keep on top of it.

Also it is great to include any information about how your loved one acts.  Mom liked country music so I tried to keep it on.  She had favorite tv shows she liked to watch. Favorite food and drinks should be included. Anything quirky about your loved one should be discussed.  Basically anything that would make the transition easier on your loved one and the respite worker.

What other information do you think should be in the binder?