Kansas City Home Care Topics

If you have heart disease, you probably already know you’re at risk for a heart attack. Especially if you have other heart attack risk factors, such as:

  • Age >65
  • Male gender
  • Family history of heart attack
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Stress

Even if you do have other heart attack risk factors, certain lifestyle changes can greatly reduce your risk for heart attack. Here are some examples:

Eat right. Choose foods that are low in sodium and low in saturated and trans fats. Eat lean meats, low-fat dairy products, lots of fruit and vegetables, and whole grains. Limit portion sizes. Avoid sugary drinks (e.g., soda).

Exercise. Aerobic exercise (e.g., walking, swimming, riding a bicycle) can help you lose weight, reduce blood sugar, improve your cholesterol, and control your blood pressure. All of which can help decrease your risk of heart attack. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least five days per week.

Stop smoking. Smoking can raise your blood pressure and increase your heart attack risk. If you need help to quit smoking, ask your Kansas City cardiologist or primary care physician.

Control your diabetes. Checking your blood sugar periodically as ordered, taking medications as prescribed, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet can help you keep your diabetes under control. If you’ve just started a diet or exercise program, let your doctor know so he or she can monitor you regularly and adjust your medications, if necessary.

Reduce stress. If you’re under a lot of stress, reducing your stress level can decrease your risk for heart attack. Exercise, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises are all methods of reducing stress.

Limit alcohol intake. Too much alcohol can increase your blood pressure and your cholesterol. It can also contribute to obesity. Men should have no more than two drinks per day. Women should limit alcohol intake to one drink per day.

Tips for Success in Reducing Your Heart Attack Risk

Here are a few tips to help you be successful in your quest to manage your heart disease and reduce your risk for heart attack:

Make one change at a time. Trying to make all of these lifestyle changes at once can seem rather daunting. So try setting goals or timeframes for tackling each task. It may help to include friends or family members in goal setting. They can help cheer you on, which will improve your likelihood of reaching your goals.

Reward yourself. Once you’ve reached a goal to improve your heart attack risk, allow yourself a reward. If you’re trying to lose weight, it might be best to avoid food items and either buy something nice for yourself or do something fun instead.

Help for Kansas City Area Residents 

If you live in the Kansas City area and need help making lifestyle changes to reduce your heart attack risk, enlist the help of a company that provides Kansas City home health services. A good home care agency can help you with exercise, heart-healthy meal preparation, stress reduction, and diabetes control.

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There are currently 30 million people in the U.S. who have diabetes. And 25% of those people don’t even know they have it. Could you be one of them? If not, is there a chance you’re at risk?

Types of Diabetes and Risk Factors

There are two main types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes: Thought to be an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the cells that produce insulin. Risk factors for Type 1 diabetes may include:

  • Family history of Type 1 diabetes
  • Certain viruses
  • Environmental factors

Type 2 diabetes:  A condition in which your body doesn’t produce insulin or doesn’t use insulin effectively. Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes may include:

  • Obesity
  • Age (>45)
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Family history of diabetes
  • A history of gestational diabetes
  • Being African American, Native Alaskan, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian, or a Pacific Islander
  • A history of polycystic ovary syndrome.

Reducing Your Diabetes Risk

If you think you may be at risk for diabetes, talk to your Kansas City doctor. He or she may recommend you make some lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Losing weight
  • Exercising regularly (at least 30 minutes a day, five times per week)
  • Eating a healthy diet with lots of fiber and whole grains

Get Help If You Need It

If you’re having a tough time exercising or preparing healthy meals due to other health issues, you may want to get some help from a Kansas City home health agency. Your home health provider can help you with exercise and meal preparation, thus reducing your diabetes risk.

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If you’ve been looking through clouded lenses, it may be time to start thinking about cataract surgery so you can see clearly again. And Kansas City is a good place to be if you need cataract surgery. It’s boasts some top notch eye surgeons.

Need help getting started? Follow this simple plan:

Step 1: See your ophthalmologist. Not all cataracts require surgery, so you’ll want to make sure you and your eye doctor are on the same page. Surgery is usually recommended when cataracts begin to interfere with your everyday life.

Your eye doctor may (or may not) refer you to another Kansas City specialist for surgery. Or you can get recommendations from friends and family.

Step 2. Ask questions. Here are some things you may want to ask:

  • What type of cataract surgery do I need? Not all cataracts are alike. Some cataract surgeries are done with lasers; others require manual removal.
  • What tests do I need before surgery? You’ll need a clear artificial lens, known as an intraocular lens (IOL), to replace your clouded lens (cataract). Your doctor will need to take eye measurements for your IOL, and may also want to run additional eye tests.
  • What are the risks of cataract surgery? Although cataract surgery is relatively safe, all surgeries come with some risks (e.g., infection, bleeding).
  • What are my IOL options? There are several options from which to choose; your eye doctor may have a specific type in mind for you.
  • What do I need to do before surgery? You should be given some pre-operative instructions.

Step 3. Make an appointment. If you have cataracts in both eyes, you’ll need two separate appointments, at least four weeks apart. You should also arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery.

Step 4. Follow your preoperative instructions. Preoperative instructions for cataract surgery may include:

  • Stopping certain medications that can increase your risk of bleeding
  • Using prescription eye drops to prevent infection and reduce swelling
  • Not eating after midnight

Step 5. See more clearly. Of course, you’ll have to show up for your scheduled appointment first. You can expect some itching and mild discomfort for a few days after your surgery. Make sure you follow your post-operative instructions.

Need help?

If you feel like you may need some assistance before or after your cataract surgery, contact a Kansas City home care agency.

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), is a lifelong medical problem. However, there are medical treatments, and also lifestyle changes, that can help improve your quality of life if you have COPD (e.g., chronic bronchitis, emphysema). Here are some things you can try.

  1. Avoid pollutants. COPD is most often caused by smoking cigarettes, but you can also get it from long-term exposure to secondhand smoke, air pollution, or chemical fumes. If you’re still smoking, it’s time to quit. Your Kansas City primary care physician (PCP) can help. If you work in a place where you’re exposed to chemical fumes or other types of air pollution (e.g., dust, lead, asbestos), ask your supervisor about respiratory protective equipment.
  2. See your Kansas City pulmonologist on a regular basis. If you don’t have a pulmonologist, ask your PCP for a referral. Your pulmonologist can prescribe medications that will help you breathe easier. Or adjust your medications if the ones you’re taking now aren’t working.
  3. Take your COPD medications regularly. Some COPD medications may take up to two weeks to start working, so give them time. Some people also find COPD medications challenging to use. If you don’t get the results you were hoping for after two weeks, call your pulmonologist.
  4. Go to pulmonary rehabilitation. Pulmonary rehab can help improve your breathing and your quality of life. It consists of things like:
    • Exercise training
    • Nutrition counseling
    • Education on managing your COPD
    • Breathing exercises
    • Psychological counseling
  5. Watch your weight. Being overweight can make it more difficult for you to breathe. On the other hand, severe COPD can cause you to use so much excess energy on breathing, you can’t keep the weight on. In either case, ask your doctor for help maintaining an appropriate weight.

Uncontrolled COPD can lead to other health issues like pneumonia, lung cancer, heart disease, pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the arteries to your lungs), and/or depression. So taking measures to control your COPD can decrease your risk of developing other potentially debilitating diseases.

If you’re having difficulty controlling your COPD and you need help with things like meal preparation, light housekeeping, transportation, exercising, or running errands, contact a Kansas City home health agency.

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