Happy May, CDEL followers! It’s finally getting nice here in Chicago, though a little rainy! We’re just happy for it to finally be warm! It’s a new month, which of course means that it’s time for another rundown of all of the different awareness campaigns that are kicking off this month! We’re also only a few days away from Mother’s Day, so be sure that you’re getting ready for that!
According to the Administration for Community living,
“When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. About a third of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet their needs. Interest in older Americans and their concerns was growing. A meeting in April 1963 between President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens led to designating May as “Senior Citizens Month,” the prelude to “Older Americans Month.”
Historically, Older Americans Month has been a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons to our country, in particular those who defended our country. Every President since Kennedy has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. Older Americans Month is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs, and other such activities.”
The theme of the 2015 Older Americans Month is Get into the Act.
Learn more at: http://www.acl.gov/newsroom/observances/oam/index.aspx
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a term that refers to join disease or pain, and includes a variety of syndromes. These include: degenerative arthritis, which includes osteoarthritis (OA), and is caused by the wearing away of cartilage in the joints over time; inflammatory arthritis, where the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, and includes both rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriatic arthritis; infectious arthritis, where a bacterium, virus, or fungus causes inflammation and infection in the joints; and metabolic arthritis, when uric acid builds up in the joints and creates needle-like crystals that cause intense pain with movement. Almost 53 million adults in the United States have some form of arthritis, making it an incredibly common, though not well understood, condition.
How is arthritis treated?
The treatment of arthritis is very individuals and depends on its type, its cause, and the person. With degenerative arthritis, the best approach is actually prevention, which includes keeping a healthy weight, staying active, and avoiding risk behaviors, such as injury and repetitive movements. Assistive devices, hot and cold compresses, rest, and over-the-counter pain and inflammation relievers are also used. To treat inflammatory arthritis, environmental risk factors, such as smoking, should be avoided, and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD’s) are also used. Antibiotics are used to treat the root causes of infectious arthritis, though arthritis symptoms may continue on beyond the resolution of the infection. For metabolic arthritis, surgery may be necessary.
Famous people with arthritis
- Lucille Ball, actress – RA
- Pierre-Auguste Renoir, artist – RA
- Tiger Woods, athlete – OA
- Hank Aaron, athlete — OA
Where can I learn more?
Resources in Chicago
What is a stroke?
A stroke is a medical emergency where the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off or severely reduced, stopping the flow of oxygen and nutrients and resulting in the death of brain cells. Strokes can be caused by several different events, including the blocking of an artery (known as a ischemic stroke), the bursting or leaking of a blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke), or a short, temporary disruption in blood flow (known as a transient ischemic attack, or TIA). Ischemic strokes are by far the most common, though TIA are being recognized for what they are far more often than they once were.
Signs and symptoms of a stroke
- Trouble speaking and understanding
- Paralysis or numbness of the face, arm, or leg, on one of both sides
- Vision troubles in one or both eyes
- A sudden, severe headache
- Trouble walking
What to do if you think someone is having a stroke
- Face – Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop? Also ask them to stick out their tongue. Does it twist to one side?
- Arms – Ask the person to lift both arms. Does one arm drift downward, or not raise at all?
- Speech – Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is his or her speech strange or slurred? Are the unable to understand, or do they use incorrect words?
- Time – If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately
How is a stroke treated?
One of the very first treatments used for ischemic stroke is emergency medications, given as soon as possible. These include aspirin, to try to reduce the risk of having another stroke, as well as clot-bursting medications such as tissue plasminogen activator (TPA). The sooner these drugs can be administered, the better the outcome is likelier to be, and the higher the chance of survival. Other emergency procedures will probably be needed, including medication introduced directly to the brain or mechanical clot removal.
For hemorrhagic strokes, treatment is different. If the person is on blood thinners, drugs or transfusions will be needed to counteract the effects of those medications. Drugs to reduce blood pressure may also be used. If there is a high volume of blood in the brain, called a hematoma, surgery may be needed to remove that and to let the body absorb the blood and heal on its own. Surgery might also be necessary to repair blood vessels.
Once the person is stabilized, treatment focuses on making them comfortable and promoting the body’s own healing. Other medical professionals, beyond medical doctors and surgeons, may be used in the healing process, depending on the symptoms of stroke and the damage done to the brain. These include physical therapist, occupational therapists, speech therapists, dieticians, and psychologists or psychiatrists.
Famous people who have had strokes
- Dick Clark, entertainer
- Zsa Zsa Gabor, actress
- Bret Michaels, singer
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, president
Where can I learn more?
Resources in Chicago
According to the Nation Mobility Month’s website:
“National Mobility Awareness Month is dedicated to showing the world how people with disabilities can live active, mobile lifestyles.
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association and our over 600 members are committed to bringing people living with disabilities the mobility solutions they need to live Life Moving Forward. Each year, we enlist the help of our extensive NMEDA Dealer network and our industry partners and spokespeople to celebrate National Mobility Awareness Month. Together, we reach out to communities across the United States and Canada to raise awareness of handicap vans, trucks and specialty vehicles, hand controls and steering aids, transfer seats and seating solutions, wheelchair tie downs and other adaptive mobility equipment available and give Local Heroes the chance to win their very own Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle.
- Over 18 million people in the U.S. and Canada have mobility issues
- People with disabilities constitute the largest minority group in the United States and the only group anyone can become a member of at anytime
- One in five elderly have mobility issues
- There are mobility equipment manufacturers, dealers and certified driver rehabilitation specialists in your community dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities
- Automotive mobility solutions are available for people with disabilities, enabling them to enjoy active, mobile lifestyles”
Learn more at: http://www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com/
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that affects the muscles and soft tissues, and is commonly characterized by chronic pain. Fatigue, sleep problems, and painful muscle trigger points are also common symptoms of fibro, though there are dozens of other symptoms that are associated with the condition. There is no one test for fibro, so it must be diagnosed by ruling out as many other conditions with similar symptoms as possible.
How is fibromyalgia treated?
Fibromyalgia cannot currently be cured, as doctors still do not know what actually causes it. Medications are commonly the first line of treatment, though there are only three that are currently approved (Cymbalta, Lyrica, and Savella). These medications also come with many different, sometimes debilitating side effects. Other methods of treatment, such as lifestyle changes and physical therapy, are also used when possible.
Famous people who have fibromyalgia
Where can I learn more?
Resources in Chicago
Other Holidays, Condition, and Awareness Issues in April
- Mother’s Day!
- ALS Awareness Month
- Asthma Awareness Month
- Celiac Awareness Month
- Lupus Awareness Month
- National Skin Cancer Awareness Month
What can you do?
- Educate yourself! Find out everything you can about these disorders – what they are, who they impact, what can be done about them.
- Get to know someone with a disability! Often, there are stigmas and stereotyped with individuals who have some of these disorders, stigmas that need to be torn down. Take the time to get to know someone with one of the disorders mentioned. You’ll find that they’re people just like you, making the best of what they have!
- Volunteer or donate! There are hundreds of different organizations who are committed to help people with these diseases and disorders and who conduct research on treatment and prevention, to stop these conditions from affecting others. Check some of them out! Do they need volunteers for an event? Are they fundraising for research and treatment of the condition? What can you do to help them out?
- Spread the word! Do your part for spreading awareness – educate others!