Welcome to the Family Library. This is an area that was crafted to help family members find information on different medical issues that affect the aging individual. We hope these articles will answer questions that you may have. We have included a bit of information about the medical issue, the symptoms, risk factors for the medical problem, and things that family and friends can do to help their loved one.
We will continue to add to this library, and we welcome your suggestions. Please click on this link at [email protected], and we will add your recommendation(s) to our Family Library list.
In good health,
The CE Solutions Team
About Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (a-mi-oh-TROH-fik LAT-ur-ul skluh-ROH-sis), (ALS), sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease named after the famous baseball player who was stricken with the disease in the early 1940s, is a rapidly progressive neurologic disorder that attacks the nerve cells (neurons) responsible for controlling voluntary muscles. The disease belongs to a group of disorders known as motor neuron diseases, which are characterized by the gradual degeneration and death of motor neurons. Click on the link HERE to learn more about ALS.
COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is an incurable disease that gets worse over time. COPD can cause coughing that produces large amounts of mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Most people who have COPD smoke or used to smoke. Long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust, also may contribute to COPD. Click on the link HERE to learn more about COPD.
About Influenza (flu)
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose. Click on the link HERE to learn more about Influenza.
Pneumonia is a disease of the lungs that is caused by viruses, bacteria, and sometimes fungi or other organisms. In up to 65% of cases, the organism, such as bacteria or virus that is causing pneumonia, is not identified even with testing. It usually starts when a person inhales infected air particles into the lungs. Viral pneumonia usually comes on more slowly than bacterial pneumonia and is less obvious. It may not be detected initially because the person may not appear very ill. Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia are usually more severe. Click on the link HERE to learn more about Pneumonia.
Dementia is the loss of thinking skills and memory to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. It is more a collection of symptoms rather than a disease in and of itself. The most common cause of dementia in older adults is Alzheimer’s disease, although there are other diseases that can also cause symptoms of dementia. Even though dementia is common in very elderly individuals, it is not a normal part of aging. Young adults may also exhibit dementia. Causes of dementia in younger adults include traumatic brain injury, stroke, AIDS, and brain tumor. Click on the link HERE to learn more about Dementia.
Diabetes is caused when the body has a problem in making or using insulin. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas and is needed for the body to properly use carbohydrates. In diabetes, the pancreas does not secrete enough insulin and sugar builds up in the blood. This means the body cells do not have enough sugar for energy and are unable to function properly. Click on the link HERE to learn more about Diabetes.
Understanding Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which certain nerve cells in the brain become damaged and die. These nerve cells normally produce a chemical called dopamine which is important in controlling movement. Parkinson’s disease is a slowly progressive disease with symptoms developing gradually, usually over a fifteen to twenty year time frame. Approximately 1.5 million adults in the United States are thought to have Parkinson’s disease. Males tend to be affected more often than females. The majority of people affected are usually over the age of 50, but Parkinson’s disease can affect people even as young as 18-20 years of age. Click on the link HERE to learn more about Parkinson’s disease.
A stroke, sometimes called a “brain attack,” occurs when the blood flow to the brain is interrupted in some way. Brain cells in a specific area of the brain begin to die because they are no longer receiving the oxygen and nutrients needed to function. The blood supply to the brain can be suddenly interrupted by a blood clot that blocks a blood vessel, called an ischemic stroke, or when a blood vessel bursts, called a hemorrhagic stroke, causing sudden bleeding into or around the brain. An ischemic stroke caused by a blood clot is the most common type of stroke. Click on the link HERE to learn more about strokes.
Aphasia is a condition that robs people of the ability to communicate. Aphasia can affect the ability to express and understand language, both verbal and written. Aphasia typically occurs suddenly after a stroke or a head injury. But it can also come on gradually from a slowly growing brain tumor or a degenerative disease. The amount of disability depends on the location and the severity of the brain damage.
Once the underlying cause has been treated, the primary treatment for aphasia is speech therapy that focuses on relearning and practicing language skills and using alternative or supplementary communication methods. Family members often participate in the therapy process and function as communication partners of the person with aphasia. Click on the link HERE to learn more about Aphasia.
Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure (CHF), or heart failure, means the heart can't pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. Over time, conditions such as narrowed arteries in the heart (coronary artery disease) or high blood pressure gradually leave the heart too weak or stiff to fill and pump efficiently.
Many conditions that lead to heart failure cannot be reversed, but heart failure can often be treated with good results. Medications can improve the signs and symptoms of heart failure and help one live longer. Lifestyle changes, such as exercising, reducing the salt in one's diet, managing stress, treating depression, and especially losing weight, can improve quality of life. Click on the link HERE to learn more about congestive heart failure.
Depression is a medical illness that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Depression can cause physical symptoms, too. Also called major depression, major depressive disorder and clinical depression, it affects how people feel, think and behave. Depression can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. People with depression may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and depression may make one feel as if life isn't worth living. Click on the link HERE to learn more about depression.
Swallowing disorders, also called dysphagia, means it takes more time and effort to move food or liquid from the mouth to the stomach. Difficulty swallowing may also be associated with pain. In some cases, one may not be able to swallow at all. Occasional difficulty swallowing usually isn't cause for concern, and may simply occur when one eats too fast or doesn't chew their food well enough. But persistent difficulty swallowing may indicate a serious medical condition requiring treatment.
Difficulty swallowing can occur at any age, but it's more common in older adults. The causes of swallowing problems vary, and treatment depends on the cause. Click on the link HERE to learn more about swallowing disorders.