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Get ready for a hospital stay with these simple tips

Here are or top tips for preparing yourself for a hospital visit, to ensure your stay is safe and as comfortable as possible.

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If your doctor told you today that you needed to go to a hospital, would you be ready? The chances are that you wouldn’t – it’s not something the vast majority of people even consider, let alone prepare for. But as with everything in life, the more you are ready, the better the outcome.

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So here are or top tips for preparing yourself for a hospital visit, to ensure your stay is safe and as comfortable as possible.

THINK ‘FIT’

Whatever the reasons for your stay in a hospital, the fitter you are, the faster you will recover. As a rule, you will know about your admission weeks or even months in advance, so you should have time to get yourself in better shape. Ask your doctor about the level of exercise you should be doing, and also take care of what you are eating. If you smoke, stop – it’s that simple – as it will help your lungs, heart, and ability to recover from wounds or illnesses much faster.

QUESTION YOUR DOCTOR

If you are worried about your treatment pathway, now is the time to ask questions. Your doctor will be happy to share everything they know, and it is essential that you understand what they are suggesting. You can also ask for a second opinion on your treatment. Again, doctors will be happy for this to happen – in fact, they expect it. It’s vital that you have a thorough understanding of your illness, the procedure, and what to expect – it will help give you the confidence you need to have a more comfortable stay in a hospital.

BE HONEST

If you are going to a hospital for a procedure, it is essential that you are honest and open about your current health situation. Hold nothing back – from your drinking habits through to any other medical conditions, no matter how embarrassing. In an operation environment, you have to remember that your life is in the hands of the medical team, and the more they know about you and your body the better your outcome will be. Yes, it can be uncomfortable to reveal your private details, but there is nothing you can say that will shock a doctor – they will have seen everything before.

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PRE-OP ASSESSMENT

If you are having a surgical procedure, you will need to attend a pre-operative evaluation. It might be an appointment with a doctor or nurse that takes place in person or on the phone, and it’s at this point that you will get all the vital information you need. The doctor or nurse will give you instructions about when to stop eating and drinking, and may also tell you to stop taking any of your regular medication.

PACKING

After your assessment, you should have a good idea on the length of your hospital stay. Depending on the number of nights you expect to be in, you will need a whole variety of clothes and belongings, from comfortable bed wear and day clothes through to books and magazines. You should also make sure that you understand your hospital’s rules on electronic devices – some may not allow them if they interfere with specialised hospital equipment.

FASTING AND HYGIENE

Most hospital procedures will require you to fast, and it’s vital that you take these instructions seriously. The importance of an empty stomach and bladder is essential when you undergo a surgical procedure, as anaesthetic could cause you to be sick while the operation is taking place. It’s also important to go into hospital as hygienically as possible. Make sure you are well showered and clean, and also remove any piercings or makeup that you are wearing.

GET SOME SUPPORT

It’s also a good idea to prepare your friends or relatives. Hospital stays can be a lonely experience, and the more visitors you have, the better. Make sure that you have someone willing to look after your home while you are away, too – feeding the cats or dogs and picking up post, for example. There will be a few things that you might have to let slide, of course, but try not to worry about issues like mowing your lawn, for example. Ultimately, your health and wellness take priority over everything else.

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ARRANGING TRAVEL

Depending on your condition, you may need to arrange travel both to and from the hospital. Bear in mind that most car parks will charge you for using them so it might be better for you to arrange for a family member or friend to give you a lift if the hospital doesn’t arrange an ambulance.

ARRIVING AT HOSPITAL

It’s important to be ready for anything when you go into hospital, and as scary as it might be it is always best to know how the land lies. Find out who is in charge, and introduce yourself to your care team. Take notes, too – in some cases, however unlikely, there may be occasions when you need evidence for medical negligence claims. If you have a relative or helper with you, they can take notes on your behalf. Hospital staff certainly aren’t out to hurt you, but sadly, mistakes do happen on occasions. You can ensure that you avoid many of these incidents by looking out for yourself – monitor your medication, guard against infection as much as possible, and always ask questions about what is happening.

SPEAK UP

If you feel uncomfortable or worried at any point, don’t be afraid to speak out. For example, a lot of patients report that their pain relief wasn’t enough after their operation, so don’t settle for ‘just enough’ – always be clear about what you are experiencing.

GET UP

After your procedure, the quicker you get up and start moving, the better. Most hospitals will encourage you to start light physical activity as soon as possible, so try to avoid feeling sorry for yourself. There are good medical reasons for you to get up and move around, too – blood clots are more likely to form when you are motionless, and you could also develop bedsores.

Being admitted to a hospital is never going to be a pleasant experience – but you can make your trip a lot more comfortable with these simple tips. We wish you good health and a successful procedure.

A registered nurse, “Ching” – as many fondly call Rachelle Grace – believes that a holistic approach to health and wellness is what everyone should aim for. She is, therefore, always on the lookout for what could help achieve this. And yes, she shares them openly, believing “knowledge about what works won’t be much use if it’s not known by as many as possible”.

Fitness

6 Exercise safety tips

Now, as social restrictions ease, you may find yourself stepping up your workouts, whether you’re training for an event or working to improve your game in a recreational league.

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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans are more aware of their health and wellness. Now, as social restrictions ease, you may find yourself stepping up your workouts, whether you’re training for an event or working to improve your game in a recreational league.

Sprains, strains and injuries can happen to even the most seasoned athletes. When you’re testing your limits, even a minor injury can alter your performance. Consider products and supports like these from the CURAD Performance Series product line, available at Walmart and Amazon, to help you get back in the game quickly and safely.

Find more resources to support your fitness journey at CURAD.com.

Keep Dirt and Germs Away

The more active you are, the harder it can be to find a bandage that stays with you all day or all game long.

Spray Away Sore Spots

Controlling mild pain can help keep you at the top of your game, and a topical analgesic works fast to heal common pain brought on by fitness and exercise, such as pain in knees, feet, shoulders and backs.

Put Pain in the Past

When recovery becomes the name of the game and pain relief is needed after daily workouts or bodily injuries. Cold packs work to heal bruises, reduce swelling and relieve headaches and general pain points while microwavable heat packs provide satisfying heat therapy to address sore and stiff joints, muscle cramps and tension.

Reduce Impact of Knee Strain

Weak, injured or arthritic knees can come from many sources, including tendonitis and a wide range of conditions that result in strain or overuse. An adjustable band can provide support for on-field sports and during workouts or everyday activities.

Manage Pain and Relieve Pressure

If you participate in endurance and strength exercises or certain sports, you may ask a lot of your joints. Kinesiology tape can be configured a multitude of ways to help reduce pain and improve blood circulation, as well as relieve tension and pressure.

Control Back Strain

When your back is strained, your body and performance can suffer. A mild or moderate sprain can benefit from strong support and compression.

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Fitness

Exercise can provide relief for dry, itchy eyes

A significant increase in tear secretion and tear film stability after participating in aerobic exercise can be another remedy for relieving dry, itchy eyes.

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Photo by Quinten de Graaf from Unsplash.com

A team led by researchers from the University of Waterloo discovered that a significant increase in tear secretion and tear film stability after participating in aerobic exercise can be another remedy for relieving dry, itchy eyes. 

Every time we blink, our eyes are covered in tear film—an essential protective coating necessary for maintaining healthy ocular function. Healthy tear film comprises three layers–oil, water, and mucin–that work together to hydrate the ocular surface and protect against infection-causing irritants like dust or dirt.

When any part of the tear film becomes unstable, the ocular surface can develop dry spots, causing eye symptoms like itchiness or stinging and burning sensations.

“With so much of our activity tied to screen usage, dry eye symptoms are becoming increasingly common,” said Heinz Otchere, a PhD candidate in vision science at Waterloo. “Instead of having to use eye drops or other alternative treatments, our study aimed to determine if remaining physically active can be an effective preventative measure against dryness.”

Fifty-two participants were divided into two groups—athlete and non-athlete—to participate in an exercise session. Participants in the athlete group exercised at least five times per week, while non-athlete participants exercised no more than once per week. Researchers, which included experts from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, performed visual examinations before and five minutes after each exercise session, where tear secretion and tear break-up time were assessed.

While participants in the athlete group showed the largest increase, Otchere says all participants experienced a meaningful boost in tear quantity and tear film stability after the exercise session. 

“It can be challenging for people to regularly exercise when the demand is there to work increasingly longer hours in front of screens,” Otchere said. “However, our findings show physical activity can be really important for not just our overall well-being, but for our ocular health too.”

The study, Differential effect of maximal incremental treadmill exercise on tear secretion and tear film stability in athletes and non-athletes, was co-authored by Otchere, the University of Cape Coast’s Samuel Abokyi, Sekyere Nyamaah, and Michael Ntodie, and Ghana’s Our Lady of Grace Hospital’s Yaw Osei Akoto. It was recently published in the Experimental Eye Research journal.

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Fitness

Late-life exercise shows rejuvenating effects on cellular level

Late-life exercise mitigates skeletal muscle epigenetic aging.

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Photo by Caley Vanular from Unsplash.com

For people who hate exercising, here comes some more bad news: it may also keep you younger. Not just looking younger, but actually younger, on an epigenetic level. By now, the benefits of exercise have been well established, including increased strength of bones and muscles, improved mobility and endurance, and lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

But younger?

A study recently published in Aging Cell, “Late-life exercise mitigates skeletal muscle epigenetic aging,” suggests this could be the case. The paper was written by a team of seven researchers across three institutions, including Kevin Murach, an assistant professor in the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation at the U of A. Murach’s grant from the National Institute of Health funded the study, and he was one of three co-first authors.

Bootcamp for Mice

While the paper is dense with data, reflecting the use of several analytic tools, the experiment that generated the data was relatively straightforward. Lab mice nearing the end of their natural lifespan, at 22 months, were allowed access to a weighted exercise wheel. Generally, mice require no coercion to run and will do so voluntarily. Older mice will run anywhere from six to eight kilometers a day, mostly in spurts, while younger mice may run up to 10-12 kilometers. The weighted wheel ensured they built muscle. While there isn’t a direct analogue to most human exercise routines, Murach likened it to “a soldier carrying a heavy backpack many miles.”

When the mice were studied after two months of progressive weighted wheel running, it was determined that they were the epigenetic age of mice eight weeks younger than sedentary mice of the same age — 24 months. Murach noted that while the specific strain of mice and their housing conditions can impact lifespans, “historically, they start dropping off after 24 months at a significant rate.” Needless to say, when your lifespan is measured in months, an extra eight weeks — roughly 10 percent of that lifespan — is a noteworthy gain.

Methylation, My Dear Watson

The science behind this, while complicated, hinges largely on a biological process known as DNA methylation. A recent New York Times article discussing Murach’s work on muscle memory described methylation “as a process in which clusters of atoms, called methyl groups, attach themselves to the outside of genes like minuscule barnacles, making the genes more or less likely to turn on and produce particular proteins.”

As the body ages, there tends to be increased DNA methylation, or even hypermethylation, at promoter sites on genes in muscle. “DNA methylation changes in a lifespan tend to happen in a somewhat systematic fashion,” Murach explained, “to the point you can look at someone’s DNA from a given tissue sample and with a fair degree of accuracy predict their chronological age.” Due to this, researchers can use one of a number of “methylation clocks” to determine the age of a DNA sample.

DNA Methylation, Aging and Exercise

While the paper strengthens the case for exercise, there is still much that needs to be learned. Though the connection between methylation and aging is clear, the connection between methylation and muscle function is less clear. Murach is not yet prepared to say that the reversal of methylation with exercise is causative for improved muscle health. “That’s not what the study was set up to do,” he explained. However, he intends to pursue future studies to determine if “changes in methylation result in altered muscle function.”

“If so, what are the consequences of this?” he continued. “Do changes on these very specific methylation sites have an actual phenotype that emerges from that? Is it what’s causing aging or is it just associated with it? Is it just something that happens in concert with a variety of other things that are happening during the aging process? So that’s what we don’t know.”

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