Healthy & Happy
February, 2017 - Issue #148
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courtesy of Shutterstock

When to Go to the ER Versus the Urgent Care
Visit the Emergency Room (ER) for chest pain, complex fractures, confusion, fainting, fevers in newborn infants, ingestion of obstructive objects and poisons, major head injury, palpitations, pneumonia, seizures, severe abdominal pain, severe burns, severe headache, shock, significant trauma/injury, snake bites, unconscious or catatonic state or uncontrollable bleeding.

Drop into Urgent Care for allergies, minor asthma attacks, bronchitis, colds/flu/fever, cough, dehydration, dizziness, ear infections, insect bites, migraines, minor cuts and burns, minor head injuries, nausea, pink eye, rash, simple fracture, sore throat, sprains and strains, stitches and urinary tract infections.

Of course, always dial 911 immediately for any medical problem that appears to be life threatening. For urgent care wait times, log onto www.
Henry Mayo Urgent Care 200-2500

City of Hope Joins Forces with TGen to Bring more Firepower to the Fight Against Cancer
It's an exciting alliance and one that will shape the future of precision medicine. City of Hope is joining forces with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) to accelerate the speed with which scientists and medical staff can convert research discoveries into cures for patients.

The alliance is based on a simple premise: City of Hope will provide a state-of-the-art clinical setting in which to advance the scientific breakthroughs made by TGen.

It's all part of the organizations' efforts to augment their expertise in precision medicine, an important emerging approach for both disease prevention and the treatment of complex conditions.

The ability to effectively fight cancer depends on three critical factors: discovering the genetic causes of disease, understanding why individuals respond to different therapies and translating this understanding into new therapies. Taken together, these factors comprise precision medicine.

"Precision medicine is the future of cancer care," said Steven T. Rosen, MD, provost and chief scientific officer for City of Hope. "Together, City of Hope and TGen will cover the bench-to-bedside continuum. Our complementary strengths will propel us to the forefront of personalized medicine."

The alliance plays to the strengths of each organization. City of Hope is a pioneer in the fields of bone marrow transplantation, hematologic malignancies, select solid tumors and diabetes. TGen, meanwhile, is a leader in applying genomic analysis and bioinformatics to cancer drug development. Together, they will bring their expertise to bear on destroying a common enemy: cancer.
City of Hope has three locations in our community. 799-1999

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Want to be Happier in 2017? Try a Hearing Test
When you're evaluating your list of New Year's resolutions and to-dos for 2017, be sure to put this one near the top: a hearing test.That's right. Research shows that when people address hearing loss it improves their quality of life in many ways. Ignoring a hearing loss and leaving it unaddressed can be exhausting, lead to isolation and has been tied to an assortment of health conditions including depression, diminished cognitive function and an increased risk of falling. But when people get a hearing test and use professionally-fitted and individually-programmed hearing aids - when recommended by a hearing care professional - most say they're happy with the improvements they see in multiple areas of their lives.

Your spirits may brighten. People with hearing loss who use hearing aids are less likely to feel down, depressed or hopeless, BHI research shows.

Your relationships may benefit. Most people with hearing loss who use hearing aids say it has a positive effect on their relationships. Research also finds that they're more likely to have a strong social network.

You may start to see life's sunny side a little more. People with hearing loss who use hearing aids are more likely to be optimistic, feel engaged in life and even get more pleasure in doing things.

Taking the reins on life might become easier. BHI research shows that people with hearing loss who use hearing aids are more likely to tackle problems actively.

It may lighten your cognitive load. Experts say that effortful listening due to unaddressed hearing loss is associated with increased stress and poorer performance on memory tests. If you don't have to put so much effort into listening due to untreated hearing loss, more cognitive resources may be available for other things like remembering what was said or enjoying the conversation with friends.

In 2016, Nola Aronson's Advanced Audiology reached their goal of providing 1,000 hearing screenings. Now, for their 30th anniversary year, they have a goal of providing 1,500 free hearing screenings. Call for details. 425-9330

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Dementia Defined
Dementia is a general term that describes a group of symptoms like loss of memory, judgement, language, complex motor skills and other intellectual function caused by the permanent damage or death of the brain's nerve cells or neurons.

Several diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, can cause dementia. Other types include alcohol dementia caused by a sustained use of alcohol, trauma dementia caused by head injury and dementia caused by stroke or a blockage of blood supply. Symptoms can include personality changes like withdrawal and irritability; psychotic symptoms including hallucinations and delusions; psychotic symptoms; and memory loss.

Dementia, when treated, can be managed with many patients safely aging at home. Consult with a dementia home-care specialist for advice and assistance in creating a care plan.
Visiting Angels 263-2273

Heart Health & your Eyes
As you probably know, the benefits of exercising and eating healthy are endless. Yet another reason to lead a healthy lifestyle is preserving your vision. The photoreceptors of the retina depends on tiny microcirculation of blood vessels to function. Atherosclerosis, or the build up of plaque on arterial walls, can impact the small but very important blood supply of the retina. Entire quadrants of vision can be wiped out when this happens. Similarly, strokes that impact vessels in the visual cortex can lead to substantial vision loss.

A sedentary lifestyle has also been implicated in macular degeneration, which can lead to devastating losses of the central vision. A 15 year study involving 3,874 men and women up to the age of 86 showed that, "Increased walking of more than 12 blocks daily decreased the incidence of exudative AMD by 30 percent over 15 years," - just another reason to get out there and treat your heart well.
Resource: Klein R, Klein BE, Knudtson MD, Meuer SM, Swift M, Gangnon RE. 2007. "Fifteen-year cumulative incidence of age-related macular degeneration: the Beaver Dam Eye Study." Ophthalmology. Feb 114(2):253:62
Helm Vision Group 259-3937

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"Fishing For Friends"
a poem by Dona Alsover, 84; Friendly Valley resident

Meeting people is a lot like setting out on a fishing adventure.
Plan well if you are a beginner in Santa Clarita.
Our area is a collection of ponds, streams and lakes,
so take care where you wade!
Fishing tackle must be chosen to attract certain fish.
Fishing with lightweight tackle attracts small fish - just acquaintances.
Begin by deciding exactly which fish you really like.
Want to meet Giant Tuna? Try country clubs, go golfing!
Want to meet friendly fish who like warm, inviting waters?
Join a writing or computer club where thinking people gather.
Little theater groups need new faces whether
you perform or work behind the scenes.
Retirement developments are natural places to meet other seniors;
activities are free and often well attended.
And there are swimming and therapy pools
where the waters are inviting.
Whatever your choice, take the plunge as your very best self.
Wear your hearing aids, glasses and use a walker, if needed,
because they will enable you to join in the fun.

Dona Alsover is a client of Home Instead Senior Care for Santa Clarita and the Antelope Valley. She attends a writing class weekly, with transportation provided by her Home Instead caregiver. 254-8701
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