Diabetes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetes is a condition in which the body does not properly process food to use as energy. When we eat, the food is turned into glucose (sugar) for our bodies to gain energy. The pancreas makes insulin which works with the glucose to enter the cells of our body where it can be used to make energy. When a person has diabetes, the body either does not make enough insulin needed or the insulin is not working as it should, which in turn causes sugar to build up in the blood. There are two main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes: With this type, the body makes little or no insulin. This type typically occurs in children and young adults.
  • Type 2 diabetes: In this more common type, the body makes insulin but does not use it properly. Type 2 diabetes most often occurs in adults, but can affect children.

The risk of developing type 2 diabetes is much higher if there is a family history, or the person is overweight or inactive. Native Americans, in particular, are nearly twice as likely as whites to become obese and more than twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

We at HealthStar Home Health see firsthand how diabetes affects our patients and their families, especially when working with the Native American population in Minnesota and New Mexico.  According to a report by the Shakopee Mdwakanton Sioux Community, the rate of obesity and diabetes among children is on the rise and will soon reach 50%. Karen Moses, RN Case Manager in our greater Minnesota branch location says that 90% of her clients have diabetes and 99% of them are Native American. Alarming statistics like this show the epidemic will continue to grow amongst Native Americans in Minnesota. Here are some risk factors to look for:

  • Obesity: Gaining as little as 10 pounds over 15 years can double your insulin resistance and increase your risk of diabetes.
  • Poor Nutrition: Over the generations, wild rice and grains have given way to flour, processed cheese & pasta and low fat meats such as fish, deer and rabbit was replaced by beef and pork
  • Sedentary Lifestyle: Long ago, Native Americans lived off the land which kept them active with fishing, trapping, gathering and harvesting, but that is not the lifestyle today.
  • Genetics: Some genetic markers and certain body types can indicate a genetic predisposition to diabetes.
  • Alcoholism: The rate of alcoholism among Native Americans is six times the U.S. average.

Understanding the risk factors involved is important as well as working to prevent diabetes with available treatment options such as medication, healthy nutrition programs and a regular exercise routine.

HealthStar Home Health’s culturally-relevant programs offer services that address the unique needs of the Native American population. First Nations Home Health is Minnesota’s premier provider of home health services for Native American communities in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area as well as Duluth and Bemidji. By offering home health care services on the Red Lake, White Earth, Leech Lake, Bois Fort, Fond du Lac and Mille Lacs Reservations, our HealthStar Home Health nurses see the effects of diabetes each day and work to empower patients and their families to be active participants in their care.

Circle of Life Home Care is a home health care initiative offering personal health care services in the ten-county area of northwestern New Mexico and in Arizona. Through both of these programs, HealthStar Home Health is committed to providing culturally sensitive care to the Native American population both on and off the Reservations.

With services such as life and health management, mental health, home health and home help, we at HealthStar Home Health help make families and communities strong by enabling individuals of all ages to live longer, more independent and fulfilling lives. Call us today at 651-633-7300 for more information or to schedule a no-charge consultation.

The Magic of Music in Alzheimer’s Disease

Have you ever heard a song playing on the radio and found yourself transported to a time and place from the past? Have you ever had a song stir your deepest emotions – and bring back memories as if those experiences were happening in the present? Have you ever been comforted, stimulated, saddened, elated, or experienced some other powerful emotion just because of a song? Most of us have had such experiences and the power of the “remembering” elicited by music can catch us “off guard” when the song evokes emotionally charged memories. Music has the same power with individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and knowing this provides one more tool to help family, as well as paid caregivers, to manage challenging behaviors, to reach someone who appears to be lost in the disease, to calm an agitated individual, to encourage cooperation in activities such as bathing that might otherwise be met with resistance. Some research even indicates that music can help restore lost memories and bring those afflicted with the disease back into the present – if only for a short period of time.

These facts about the power of music seem to fly in the face f the progressive loss of memories associated with Alzheimer’s disease, starting with the most recent and steadily erasing long-ago memories going back in time. However, it is important to know that memories of music are “wired” differently in the brain than other memories; it is almost as if the brain is made to contain music. Whereas short-term memories are stored in the hippocampus, music is stored every­ where in the brain, and music with all of its emotional meanings continues to be accessible to people with Alzheimer’s. Even when they have lost the ability to speak, many can still sing!

What a powerful idea this is! If caregivers fully appreciated the significance of music they would use it all the time to facilitate many activities of daily living. Caregivers have shared that they engage the person with Alzheimer’s in singing while the individual is bathing and dressing. Nurses sometimes use music while they are performing a painful procedure such as dressing a wound or drawing blood. They know that music can distract, soothe, and engage the person with Alzheimer’s disease.

Thirty-two Alzheimer’s patients participated in a research study conducted by Brandon Ally, an assistant professor at Boston University who examined the power of music and found that these subjects were able to learn more lyrics. when the words were set to music than when they were spoken. Ally believes that the results of the study suggest that those with Alzheimer’s could be helped to remember things that are both necessary to their independence and well-being. For instance,creating a short ditty about taking medications or the importance of brushing one’s teeth might help those with Alzheimer’s to maintain the abilities to perform these necessary skills. This was the first study to demonstrate that using music can help people with Alzheimer’s to learn new information through the use of music.

In a famous YouTube video, Man In Nursing Home Reacts To Hearing Music From His Era, we see Henry, a man who was almost totally unresponsive, begin to respond with sound, movement and facial animation when he uses an iPod programmed with “Henry’s music. “After the iPod is removed, Henry is not only quite spirited but totally involved in the ensuing conversation. He is able to discuss his favorite musician, Cab Calloway, and when asked “What is your favorite Cab Calloway song?” Henry begins to sing ‘Tl! be home for Christmas.” Not only is his speech perfectly clear, his face is expressive and he uses his hands in explaining the emotional power of music. The interviewer inquires of Henry “What does Cab Calloway’s music mean to you?” And Henry talks about what music does for him: that the good Lord changed him through music and made him a “holy man.” Henry’s transformation is nothing short of miraculous and raises questions about why music is not used in every home where someone with Alzheimer’s is cared for, in every assisted living facility and in every skilled nursing home.

Music should be a routine part of care. Not only does it bring joy to the person with this terrible disease, it allows for continuing connections between the caregiver and the person with Alzheimer’s. It diminishes the lonely isolation that is part of the disease when the afflicted person appears to be locked in a world that is isolated and isolating to others.

One more story about the power of music. A gentleman named Ben shared this story about his wife who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and was well into the middle stage when he placed her in a facility for care. Ben visited often and one of the techniques he used to stay connected to his wife and to make the visits pleasant and meaningful for both of them was to draw on his wife’s past history with music. She had sung for many years with the Sweet Adelines worldwide music group, and she retained her lovely singing voice despite the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. Ben loaded music that his wife had sung throughout her years with the Sweet Adelines, he attached two sets of earphones – one set for his wife and one set for himself – and they would sing together. Music was a powerful connection between them that remained until his wife passed away.

Music is so important that we will revisit it again in other columns. The power of music to maintain connections, relationships , and joy in life can hardly be covered in one short column. More to come!

Reference:
1. Seligson, S, June 15, 2010 http://www.bu.edu/today/2010/music-boosts-memory-in-alzheimer%E2%80%99s/ Accessed July 8, 2012
2. Man In Nursing Home Reacts To Hearing Music From His Era (April 2012). (http:// www.yourube.com/watch?v=fyZQfOp73QM) www.youtube.com Accessed July 8, 2012

About the Author: Verna Benner Carson
P.D., PMHCNS-BC, is president of C&V Senior Care Specialists and Associate Professor of Nursing at Towson University in Baltimore, MD. Dr Carson can be reached at vcars10@verizon.net