Forgetfulness or dementia? How to tell the difference in elderly loved ones

If you’re spending time with elderly friends and family members this holiday season, be aware of noticeable changes in their memory and behavior, as these can be early warning signs of dementia.

“If you haven’t seen your elderly loved one in a while, you might be more likely to notice changes in their memory and behavior that worries you,” said Dr. Gregory Jicha of the University of Kentucky Sanders-Brown Center on Aging.

Here are some early warning signs of dementia that you might notice in an older friend or family member:

  • It’s normal for someone to forget a date or a name but suddenly remember it later. However, pay attention if they ask for the same information repeatedly, or struggle to recall important dates (like their own birthdate).
  • Are they having trouble following a recipe? Problem-solving skills can deteriorate in someone with Alzheimer’s.
  • Do they get lost when driving to a familiar location? If they have difficulty completing familiar tasks, it might be a sign of AD.
  • Healthy people occasionally struggle to find the right word, but using the wrong word  ̶  particularly if they call something by the wrong name  ̶  merits further scrutiny.
  • Poor judgment: are they giving lots of money to telemarketers or charities?
  • Poor hygiene.
  • Personality changes: are they suddenly irrational, fearful or suspicious?

Memory infographic

If you see any behavior that worries you, talk to your doctor. To make an appointment with a UK HealthCare doctor, visit our Appointment page or call 800-333-8874 today.

More information:

The Memory Disorders Clinic at the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute

 

Coworkers rally to support UK occupational therapist in wake of tragedy

Heather Ellis began her shift at UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital on Nov. 4 like normal, but just a short time later she received the news that her brother-in-law, a Richmond, Ky., policeman, had been critically wounded while on duty.

“In a matter of a few hours into my workday, I literally went from my normal day of being an occupational therapist and treating patients at bedside, to a distressed family member hoping and praying for a miracle of my own,” Heather said.

Heather’s brother-in-law, Daniel Ellis, was shot while searching an apartment for a robbery suspect. He was transported by ambulance to Chandler Hospital, where he was cared for in the ICU. Daniel passed away early in the morning two days later, leaving behind his grieving family and a shocked community.

Several UK HealthCare employees joined together to support Heather and her family in the wake of Daniel’s tragic death.

“From the moment Daniel came into the ED to when he took his last breath, the UK staff was nothing but outstanding,” Heather said. “I’m so grateful that he was at UK, knowing that he would receive top-notch care.”

To show support for Daniel’s loved ones, the inpatient rehab department staff purchased T-shirts designed and sold in Richmond. The money from the T-shirt sales was given to the Ellis family. On the day of the funeral, employees from Heather’s department wore either the T-shirts they had purchased to support the family or blue under their uniforms as a sign of support and remembrance.

“The professionalism and compassion shown for myself and my family went above and beyond anything I could have ever imagined,” Heather said.

“The nurses, critical care team members, physicians and my rehab family showed endless amounts of love, kindness and empathy from the very beginning and still continues on. Having this strong support system from the UK HealthCare staff made the unbearable heartbreak as bearable as possible.”

 

Circle of Love benefits more than 800 Kentucky kids.

Circle of Love benefits Kentucky children in need

Thanks to the generosity of UK employees, volunteers and students, hundreds of Kentucky children in need will have their holiday wish lists fulfilled this year.

The Circle of Love gift drive, coordinated by the UK HealthCare Volunteer Services Office, will benefit more than 800 kids in nine Kentucky counties this holiday season.

Following the month-long gift drive, Santa Claus and volunteers from UK HealthCare joined forces last Friday to help load school buses and vans with wrapped gifts for local children and families.

Volunteer Services Manager Katie Tibbitts said this year’s drive was a success.

“The gifts here today may be the only gifts these kids receive for the holidays,” she said. “It is absolutely wonderful what our UK HealthCare employees have done for these children.”

Check out photos from Friday’s event!

What women need to know about stroke

Commonly thought of as a problem primarily affecting older men, stroke is a woman’s disease. Approximately 60 percent of deaths related to stroke in the United States occur in women, and the lifetime risk of stroke is higher in women (about one in five) compared to men (about one in six) for those aged 55 to 75 years.

The good news is that stroke can often be prevented.

Although men and women have several modifiable stroke risk factors in common such as high blood pressure (normal less than 120/80 mmHg), diabetes, cigarette smoking, overweight-obesity, atrial fibrillation (an irregular beating of the upper chambers of the heart), excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet or lack of regular exercise,  several risk factors are unique to women.

Stroke risk can be increased during pregnancy, in part leading to a higher stroke risk among women of childbearing age compared to similarly aged men. Migraine with aura (neurologic symptoms such as seeing sparkling or zigzag lights) is also associated with a higher stroke risk, particularly among women who smoke or use oral contraceptives. Women who have had eclampsia or pre-eclampsia associated with pregnancy (high blood pressure, protein in the urine, and in the case of eclampsia, seizures) are at increased risk of stroke up to 30 years later.

What can women do to reduce their stroke risk?

  • Follow a healthy diet such as the DASH or Mediterranean diet.
  • Get regular exercise such as walking at a brisk but comfortable pace for 20-30 minutes most days of the week.
  • No more than one alcoholic drink per day (no alcohol during pregnancy)
  • Don’t smoke and avoid exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Have your blood pressure checked regularly

In addition, talk to your health care provider about reducing your stroke risk if you:

  • Have migraine, particularly migraine with aura
  • Have ever had eclampsia or pre-eclampsia

Memorize some common stroke symptoms using the FAST acronym:

  • Facial droop
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech slurring
  • Time call 911 – Stroke is frequently preventable and treatable, but you need to get help quickly

Larry B. Goldstein, MD

 

Larry B. Goldstein, MD, FAAN, FANA, FAHA, is the Ruth L Works Professor and Chairman of the UK Department of Neurology and Co-Director, Kentucky Neuroscience Institute.

 

 

This column appeared in the Dec. 6, 2015 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

How to talk to your kids about terrorism

Helping kids cope with violence, terrorism

Whether it is the local evening news or a 24-hour cable news channel, images of violence and terrorism inundate our homes. These scenes can be disturbing and stressful, especially for children. It is important to manage distress and take appropriate steps in helping your children and adolescents following terrorist attacks.

Take advantage of the teachable moment by starting a dialogue about the event. 

Questions such as:  “What do you think about what you just watched on TV?” “Do you have questions about terrorism?” or “What are kids at school saying about terrorist attacks?” create the space for conversation about what the event means to the child. Avoidance of the topic may increase anxiety and send the message that the event is too horrible to talk about. As the conversation unfolds, listen carefully for what the child knows, what they believe to be true and where they are getting their information.

Correct any misconceptions or inaccurate information.

Age and stage of development can greatly impact the way situations are perceived. Children may unduly personalize the situation, or have an exaggerated sense of danger.

Tailor the amount of media exposure to the needs of the child.

A good rule of thumb is no child under age six needs to be exposed to media accounts of terrorist events. The replaying of graphic images and scenes of distress are confusing to young children who do not have the ability to keep events in temporal sequence and who may feel the event is ongoing. Even if young children do not appear to be listening, they may pick up on the sense of chaos and danger created by adult conversations and repeated media accounts. Parents should limit the amount of exposure in young children and for those who are distressed by the event.

Model good coping. 

Children take their cues on how to respond to events based on the lessons learned from their caregivers. If parents are worried, talking a lot about the event, highly anxious or over-reactive, children will mimic this behavior. It is normal and expected to have a response to tragedy, but an expression of worry or anxiety should be accompanied by solution focused language. This might include describing ways adults in the child’s life take action to keep them safe, pointing out the quick response of law enforcement, and examples of the benevolence of strangers. This sends the message to the child that while bad things happen, there are good people in this world and adults that are there to keep them safe.

Know when to refer.

If children have symptoms of anxiety, worry, sleep disturbance, sadness or preoccupation with the event that lasts beyond two weeks, a referral for a trauma assessment at a community mental health center, a faith-based organization or the UK Center on Trauma and Children is recommended.

Ginny Sprang

 

Ginny Sprang, Ph.D., is the executive director of the UK Center on Trauma and Children

Tips for a safe holiday trip

November marks the beginning of heavy travel as families and friends gather for the holidays. Whether you and your family are going by plane, train, boat or automobile, remember to keep safety in mind for each member of your family.

The facts

  • Holiday travel is a time when there is a risk of injuries in a variety of areas.
  • Road injuries are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children.
  • Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent.

Top 10 holiday tips

  1. Check your car seat before holiday travel. Be familiar with the child safety restraint laws in the state you will be traveling to (or through).
  1. Bulky coats and car seats don’t mix. If it’s cold outside, cover babies and young children with a thick blanket to keep them warm, after they’re strapped securely into their seat. Bulky winter clothes and coats can keep a car seat harness from doing its job.
  1. Use booster seats and the backseat. Kids who have outgrown a forward-facing harness seat are not ready for a seat belt or front seat yet. They are safest in a booster seat that enables the adult seat belt to fit properly. Even when children have transitioned from booster seats, they should remain in the back seat until they reach the age of 13.
  1. Have an exit strategy for fussy kids. When you hear the all too familiar howl that means “I want food” or “change my diaper,” don’t worry about making good time. Instead, get off at the next exit and find a safe area to feed or change your child.
  1. Remember the car seat for air travel. If traveling by air, use a car seat that is labeled “certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.” For babies and toddlers, this is the safest way to travel.
  1. Keep medicines and small objects out of sight. Before arriving at your destination, talk to friends and relatives about being extra careful to keep small objects away from young kids. This includes medications, which can look like candy, button batteries, and other objects that are small enough for children to swallow.
  1. Engage older kids in cooking. It can be fun to get kids involved holiday meal prep. It’s also a great chance to teach them kitchen safety tips.
  1. Double check fireplace screens. Check to see if the home you’re visiting has any fireplaces and make sure they’re protected by a sturdy screen. Keep little ones away from this area.
  1. Plan for safe sleep and more. Make sure your baby has a safe place to sleep such as a portable pack-n-play. It’s a great time to check that where you’re staying has a working carbon monoxide alarm and smoke alarm.
  1. Wear proper gear for winter sports. Send kids outside in the cold with proper gear such as helmets when they’re skiing, snowboarding or playing ice hockey.
Wesley Burks, executive dean at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will speak at UK's medical campus as an EVPHA candidate.

UK HealthCare earns ‘Top Performer on Key Quality Measures’ recognition from The Joint Commission

UK HealthCare has been recognized as a 2014 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures in seven categories by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in the United States.

UK HealthCare — which includes the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, UK Good Samaritan Hospital and Kentucky Children’s Hospital — was recognized as part of The Joint Commission’s 2015 annual report “America’s Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety,” for attaining and sustaining excellence in accountability measure performance for:

  • Heart Attacks
  • Heart Failure
  • Pneumonia
  • Surgical Care
  • Children’s Asthma
  • Stroke
  • Perinatal Care

UK HealthCare is one of only 1,043 hospitals out of more than 3,300 eligible hospitals in the United States to achieve the 2014 Top Performer distinction.

The Top Performer program recognizes hospitals for improving performance on evidence-based interventions that increase the chances of healthy outcomes for patients with certain conditions. The performance measures included in the recognition program including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, children’s asthma, inpatient psychiatric services, stroke, venous thromboembolism, perinatal care, immunization, tobacco treatment and substance use.

To be a 2014 Top Performer, hospitals had to meet three performance criteria based on 2014 accountability measure data, including:

Achieve cumulative performance of 95 percent or above across all reported accountability measures;
Achieve performance of 95 percent or above on each and every reported accountability measure with at least 30 denominator cases; and
Have at least one core measure set that had a composite rate of 95 percent or above, and within that measure set, achieve a performance rate of 95 percent or above on all applicable individual accountability measures.
“Delivering the right treatment in the right way at the right time is a cornerstone of high-quality health care. I commend the efforts of UK HealthCare for their excellent performance on the use of evidence-based interventions,” said Dr. Mark R. Chassin, president and CEO, The Joint Commission.

“Quality and safety is vital to our success at UK HealthCare in providing the best care for patients across the Commonwealth and beyond,” said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. “This recognition is an acknowledgement of the commitment and dedication of our staff working hard day in and day out.”

For more information about the Top Performer program, visit www.jointcommission.org/accreditation/top_performers.aspx.

Learn more about binge-eating disorder

When most people hear the term “eating disorder,” they usually think of anorexia or bulimia nervosa. While anorexia and bulimia are more commonly recognized, doctors are concerned about a different kind of eating disorder that is on the rise.

Binge-eating disorder, or BED, is a disorder characterized by excessive overeating. Though it is common to overindulge occasionally, especially around the holidays, those with BED are plagued with insatiable cravings that lead to recurrent episodes of intense overconsumption. Unlike the binge and purge aspect of bulimia, those with BED do not try to compensate for the caloric intake by excessive exercise or induced vomiting.

Symptoms of binge eating disorder include:

  • Eating unusually large amounts of food in short periods of time
  • Feeling like your eating behavior is out of control
  • Eating when full or not hungry
  • Frequently eating alone or in secret
  • Feeling guilty about binge episodes

BED is quickly becoming the most commonly diagnosed eating disorder in the United States, affecting one in 35 people. More than six million people have been diagnosed with BED since the American Psychological Association first recognized it as a disorder in 2013. BED is what doctors call an ‘equal opportunity’ disease. Unlike anorexia and bulimia, which more commonly affects women, or body dysmorphic disorder, which is seen more in men, binge eating disorder tends to occur equally among the sexes.

Causes

Though doctors and psychologists are unsure of what triggers binge eating disorder, they have noticed increased prevalence in those with a history of depression or dieting and weight fluctuation, and/or a family history of eating disorders. Young adults are also more likely to suffer from eating disorders.

Treatment

Since binge eating disorder is treated as a mental illness, other psychiatric disorders are often linked with BED. The most common are depression and anxiety. Obesity is also frequently associated with BED and can cause other medical conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

If you or someone you know shows signs of binge eating disorder, encourage them to talk to a physician or psychologist. BED is very treatable through medication, lifestyle changes, and/or psychotherapy.

Lori Molenaar

Lori Molenaar

 

Lori Molenaar, APRN, is a member of the Eating Disorder Treatment Team at the University of Kentucky’s University Health Service.

Gluten intolerance requires a significant change in your diet, but doing research and asking questions can help you stay gluten-free while dining out.

11 diabetes-friendly cooking tips

November is American Diabetes Month and a great time to learn more about the disease that affects more than 500,000 Kentuckians.

If you have pre-diabetes or diabetes, a healthy diet is crucial in properly managing your symptoms. Eating well can help you stay at a desirable weight, control your blood pressure, and prevent heart disease and stroke.

Here are 11 cooking tips for healthy diabetes management:

  1. Use nonstick cooking spray instead of oil, shortening, or butter.
  2. If you do use oil, use olive, corn, peanut, sunflower, safflower, vegetable or flaxseed oil.
  3. Season foods, like meats and steamed vegetables with herbs and spices (like pepper, cinnamon, and oregano), vinegar, lemon juice or salsa instead of salt, butter or sugary sauces.
  4. Use low- or no-sugar jams instead of butter or margarine on breads.
  5. Increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Try to get at least two servings a week of omega-3 rich foods, like salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, rainbow trout and albacore tuna. Walnuts, flaxseed and soy products are other omega-3 rich foods that can be added to a healthy diet.
  6. Eat whole-grain, high-fiber cereals or oatmeal with skim or 1-percent milk.
  7. Use low-fat or fat-free dairy products like milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream in place of full-fat versions.
  8. Drink 100 percent fruit juice that has no added sugar and limit your serving size.
  9. Trim excess fat off meats and eat chicken or turkey without the skin.
  10. Always buy lean cuts of meat and choose a healthy cooking method, like broiling, roasting, stir-frying or grilling.
  11. Buy whole-grain breads and cereals instead of processed, refined grains like white flour.

We’ve also compiled a list of 41 diabetes-friendly recipes. Check it out!

Support the American Diabetes Association

UK HealthCare Chief Administrative Officer Ann Smith and 10 other Lexington-area community members are campaigning to raise funds for the American Diabetes Association’s Kiss a Pig event.

Discovered in 1921, insulin was originally derived from the pancreas of pigs and is a vital tool in the treatment and care of people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association honors the pig for saving millions of lives.

The fundraising candidate who raises the most money has the honor of kissing Dolly, a 5-week-old piglet, at the Kiss a Pig Gala.

Every dollar raised helps the ADA provide diabetes advocacy, education programs, research and outreach support for the people of Kentucky. To donate to Ann’s campaign, visit www.diabetes.org/kissapigann.

8 tips to beat cancer-related appetite loss

8 tips to fight cancer-related appetite loss

Patients receiving cancer treatment need to meet their nutritional requirements in order to maintain energy for treatment completion, healing and recovery.

Coping with cancer-related treatments and their side effects, however, can make maintaining good nutrition a challenge for even the most health-conscious patients.

One of the most common side effects during cancer treatment is experiencing loss of appetite, and this loss of appetite is the most common cause of malnutrition, which can delay treatment, lead to hospitalization and poor health outcomes.

Appetite loss can occur for many reasons, including the presence of disease, pain, stress, fatigue, surgery and such side effects of chemo and radiation treatments as nausea, vomiting or change in taste.

Appetite loss can occur during any cancer stage, as well as throughout the duration of treatment. The patient may eat significantly less, does not have a desire to eat or feels full very quickly, resulting in the inability to achieve enough calories throughout the day.

Regardless of the cause or type of appetite loss, it is essential to begin management right away.  Some of the following nutritional tips can help manage or alleviate poor appetite:

  1. Eat five to six small meals throughout the day to avoid feeling too full too quickly.
  2. Keep your favorite foods handy for snacking when you do feel hungry.
  3. Go for a walk to get light exercise to boost your appetite.
  4. Sip your liquids at mealtime and drink more fluids between meals so you don’t fill up early and end up consuming less calories.
  5. Try more nutritionally dense food choices such as peanut butter, nuts, eggs, chicken salad, avocados, cheese, smoothies or milkshakes when it is difficult to eat.
  6. Eat meals in a relaxed environment with family and friends.
  7. Have ready-to-eat or pre-made meals convenient for when your appetite has increased.
  8. Talk to a dietitian for nutrition and meal planning advice.

The following recipe offers calorie-dense and nutritious foods – before, during or after your treatments. Feel free to share it with a friend!

Pink breakfast smoothie

Total Time: 5 minutes

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup oats
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. almonds
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup milk (almond, soy, or cow’s)
  • Handful of ice

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients to a blender. Cover with lid and blend until ice is broken up, smooth, and at desired consistency.
  2. Serve and enjoy!

337 calories, 33g carbohydrates, 19g fat, 9g protein, 209mg sodium, 19g sugar

Smoothie recipe retrieved from:

http://www.sian-robinson.com/2013/05/yummy-stuff.html?m=1

By Guest Blogger, Rachel Flanery, University of Kentucky Dietetics and Human Nutrition student