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Is it a bladder problem or your prostate?

If you are a man over 50 and are having difficulty urinating, have the sudden urge to “go”, or wake up often at night to urinate, you may have bladder issue;  but it could also be a sign of a problem with your prostate.

The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland that sits below the bladder and surrounds the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine out of the bladder. As men get older then the prostate gland tends to get larger. If the prostate gets too large, it can cause blockage of the urethra  and this can cause problems with urinating.

How do you know what’s causing the enlarged prostate?

The most common prostate problem in men under 50 is prostatitis. This is sometimes caused by bacterial infections and can be treated with antibiotics. Symptoms include fever, chills, and aches, along with pain while urinating, or the inability to urinate, going frequently, or leaking urine. If you have sudden onset of any of these symptoms or cannot urinate at all, seek immediate medical treatment.

Unfortunately, the cause of prostatitis isn’t known. This is known as Chronic prostatitis, or chronic pelvic pain syndrome. About 10–15% of the U.S. population has this condition that comes and goes. Chronic prostatitis can cause pain or discomfort in the groin or lower back. Treatment may require a combination of medicine, surgery, and lifestyle changes.

The most common prostate issue for men older than 50 is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This is shown in nearly half of men over 50 and about 90% of men over 80 years old. In more extreme cases, BPH can lead to urinary tract infections, bladder stones, or kidney failure if left untreated. In most cases, prescription medication or surgery can relieve symptoms.

A third cause of an enlarged prostate is cancer. Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer in men in the United States. It is the second leading cause of death from cancer in men (second to lung cancer) and is more common in African-American men than in white men. About 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Most men with prostate cancer are older than 65 years and do not die from the disease.

Prostate cancer grows very slowly. In fact, it may take 10 or more years before a tumor gets big enough to cause symptoms. Advanced prostate cancer can cause men to urinate more often or have weaker urine flow. But, like you’ve read above, these are the same symptoms as benign prostate conditions.

Once a tumor becomes large enough to cause symptoms, they may includes:

  • A frequent need to urinate, especially at night
  • Difficulty starting or stopping a stream of urine
  • A weak or interrupted urine stream
  • Leaking or urine when laughing or coughing
  • Inability to urinate standing up
  • A painful or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation
  • Blood in the urine or semen

Symptoms of advanced prostate cancer include:

  • Dull, deep pain or stiffness in the pelvis, lower back, ribs, or upper thighs; pain in the bones of those areas
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue, nausea, or vomiting
  • Swelling of lower extremities
  • Difficulty walking
  • Weakness or paralysis in the lower limbs, often with constipation

There are a few studies of thought in terms of testing for prostate cancer. Some doctors may recommend an active surveillance approach. This approach usually includes a visit to the doctor and regular prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and a digital rectal exam (DRE) every six months. The doctor will monitor the results and if they change, the doctor would discuss treatment options.

Some doctors prefer observation of symptoms rather than performing tests. If symptoms change, then treatments can be determined.

The good news is that the drugs to shrink the gland are inexpensive. So, it’s important to have your yearly physical, and talk with your doctor if you have problems urinating or feel discomfort. Letting him know of any changes in your body or symptoms you may be experiencing, will help determine if you will need surgery, or if treating with medications will be your best option.

Sources: National Institute of Health, WebMD, and Cancer.org.

Symptoms and Treatment Options for Psoriasis

World Psoriasis Day is Saturday, October 27, and we want to shed some light on this disease. Psoriasis isn’t just a rash that affects your elbows, knees, and scalp, it’s also associated with other serious conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and depression. If you develop a rash that won’t go away with over-the-counter medication, you should contact your doctor for a diagnosis so you can begin necessary treatment.

What is it and what causes psoriasis?
Psoriasis occurs in people whose skin cells grow at an abnormally fast rate, which causes the build of a psoriasis lesions. You can’t “catch” psoriasis and it’s not something that you can spread to others. Though, we don’t know what causes it, but do know that it’s an autoimmune disease and that genetics play a major role in its development.

Some young people report the onset of psoriasis following an infection, particularly strep throat, earache, bronchitis, tonsillitis or a respiratory infection.

Who does psoriasis affect?
Men, women, and children of all ages can all develop psoriasis, though it’s rare in infants. About 10-15% of people with psoriasis develop the disease before age 10, but it most often it develops between the ages of 15 and 35. If you have a family member with the disease, you are more likely to develop it, too. If one parent has the disease, there is about a 10% chance of a child contracting it; and if both parents have it, then the chances increase to 50%.

What are the symptoms of psoriasis?
Psoriasis is often misdiagnosed because it’s confused with other skin diseases, but here are some things to look out for:

  • Red, inflamed skin cover in silver-colored scales
  • Pitting and discoloration of the nails
  • Scaling of the scalp
  • Small areas of the bleeding where the involved skin is scratched

Psoriasis can show up anywhere—on the eyelids, ears, mouth and lips, skin folds, hands and feet, and nails. The skin at each of these sites is different and requires different treatments.

What are the types of psoriasis?
Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of the disease and appears as raised, red patches covered with a silvery white buildup of dead skin cells. These patches or plaques most often show up on the scalp, knees, elbows and lower back. They are often itchy and painful, and they can crack and bleed.

Guttate psoriasis appears as small, dot-like lesions. Guttate psoriasis often starts in childhood or young adulthood, and can be triggered by a strep infection. This is the second-most common type of psoriasis, after plaque psoriasis.

Inverse psoriasis shows up as very red lesions in body folds, such as behind the knee, under the arm, or in the groin, especially in men. It may appear smooth and shiny. Genital psoriasis requires careful treatment and attention.

Pustular psoriasis is characterized by white blisters of noninfectious pus surrounded by red skin. The pus consists of white blood cells. It is not an infection, nor is it contagious. Pustular psoriasis can occur on any part of the body, but occurs most often on the hands or feet.

Erythrodermic psoriasis is a particularly severe form of psoriasis that leads to widespread, fiery redness over most of the body. It can cause severe itching and pain, and make the skin come off in sheets. It is rare, occurring in 3% of people who have psoriasis. This form of psoriasis can be life-threatening. If you experience these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

How is psoriasis treated?
Like other diseases, treatments for psoriasis is customized for each person to reduce or eliminate your symptoms. This requires working with your doctor and trying different options until you find the right treatment for you.

Some treatment options include:
Biologics: Usually prescribed for moderate to severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis that have not responded to other treatments. They are given by injection or intravenous (IV) infusion.

Systemics: Prescription medications that are taken orally or by injection, and they are usually used for individuals with moderate to severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Phototherapy (light therapy): involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet light on a regular basis and under medical supervision.

Oral treatments: improve symptoms of psoriatic disease by helping control inflammation. Unlike biologics, which are derived from living sources and must be administered via injection or infusion, these treatments can be effectively delivered as tablets taken by mouth.

Topical treatments: applied to the skin, these are usually the first treatment to try when diagnosed with psoriasis. Topicals can be purchased over the counter or by prescription.

For more information about psoriasis ask your doctor, your pharmacist, or visit psoriasis.org.


Prevent Falls at Home

We are pleased to offer the complete line of Nova Medical Products at our pharmacies. Their home safety products can prevent injuries and make mobility a bit easier for our senior customers who
want to remain independent.

Did you know that over 60% of falls occur at home, and the majority of those falls occur in the bathroom? And, one in three adults aged 65 or older fall each year. Every year, 235,000 people over age 15 visit the emergency room for injuries suffered in the bathroom. Being proactive can keep you safe and prevent injuries.

Here are some helpful tips and tools to guide you:nova

  • Never lock your bathroom door. It could prevent help from reaching you promptly. Instead, use a Do Not Disturb sign.
  • If you have trouble getting on and off a chair, then you are also having trouble getting on and off a toilet. An elevated toilet seat and handrails can make all the difference.
  • Getting in and out of the tub or shower can be tricky, and holding on to the sink or towel rack isn’t safe. Using grab bars is a much better option.
  • A bath bench with back provides comfort and safety when bathing or showering. This should be used with an 84″ long hand held shower.
  • Use a non-skid bath mat in the bathtub and the shower floor to prevent slipping.
  • Set water heater thermostats at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to avoid scalds.
  • Use shower gel instead of bar soap that can slip out of your hands and onto the floor.
  • Install a night light that comes on automatically in dim light.
  • Mark water faucets clearly with “hot” and “cold” labels. Replace faucet handles with easy to use levers.

We have several Nova Products in stock including:

  • Walkers and accessories
  • Canes
  • Crutches
  • Back cushions
  • Back sponges
  • Bath seats and cushions
  • Grab bars
  • Shoe horns with extended reach arm
  • Hand exercisers
  • Reachers
  • Hand held shower

The Groove walker comes standard with two seat heights, locking hand brakes, padded seat, under seat pouch, flip-up back, 8” wheels and it’s fold-able/collapsible to make it easy to take with you. You can also get several accessories for it including a flashlight, cane holder, bag holder, and basket to name a few.

Available with and without arms, our Nova bath seats are all standard with aluminum frames, sturdy plastic seats with drainage holes, skid-resistant rubber tips and some models can accommodate up to 500 pounds of weight.

Our Nova canes come in a large selection of colors and patterns to meet the unique tastes and styles of our customers. All canes are made with high-quality, lightweight aluminum and are easy to adjust.

Our wide selection of Nova cushions, pillows, and wedges are available to help you sit and sleep in comfort. Gel-foam, memory foam, egg crate foam, and adjustable air foam cushions let you select the seat that’s perfect for your needs. All cushions either washable, or have removable and washable covers. Get a good night’s sleep by using leg wedges, knee supports, neck, shoulder and back supports.

Stop by and check our all of these products for you or a loved one. We want to help keep you independent and safe at home.

Thanks to Nova Medical Products for the great information!

The Dangers of Antibiotic Overuse

Ever since the introduction of Penicillin in the 1940’s, millions of lives have been saved from infections. Fast forward 70 years and now we are in a crisis. Bacteria that once was destroyed with antibiotics is making a comeback and no longer resistant to the medicine that was meant to kill it.

How did that happen?

Antibiotic resistance is not new. Penicillin was successful in controlling bacterial infections among soldiers during World War II. However, resistance to was noticed in the 1950s. New antibiotics were discovered and developed and confidence was restored. Unfortunately, resistance has eventually been seen in nearly all antibiotics that have been developed. Through the 1980s the pharmaceutical industry introduced antibiotics to help stay ahead of the resistance problem. However, with fewer new drugs being introduced, bacterial infections have again become a threat.

Used properly, antibiotics can save lives. They either kill bacteria or keep them from reproducing. Your body’s natural defenses can usually take it from there.

What don’t they do?

Antibiotics do not fight infections caused by viruses, such as:

  • Colds
  • Flu
  • Most coughs and bronchitis
  • Sore throats, unless caused by strep

If a virus is making you sick, taking antibiotics may do more harm than good. Using antibiotics when you don’t need them, or not using them properly, can add to antibiotic resistance. This happens when bacteria change and become able to resist the effects of an antibiotic.

Carefully follow the directions when you take antibiotics.  It is important to finish your medicine even if you start to feel better. If you stop treatment too soon, some bacteria may survive and re-infect you. Never save antibiotics for later or use someone else’s prescription.

Taking antibiotics for viral infections will not:

  • Cure the infection
  • Keep other individuals from catching the illness
  • Help you feel better

Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them will:

  • Increase your risk of getting an antibiotic-resistant infection later.
  • Kill the healthy bacteria in your gut, allowing more harmful bacteria to grow in its place
  • Cause 1 out of 5 emergency department visits for adverse drug events.
    • Antibiotics are the most common cause of emergency department visits for adverse drug events in children under 18 years of age

It’s important to only take antibiotics for bacterial infections as prescribed by your doctor. Please don’t pressure your doctor to write you a prescription for medications that you don’t need. They can put you or your child at risk for harmful side effects and antibiotic-resistant infections.

Survival Mode: How to help women fighting breast cancer

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month we see a lot of pink. We see men in pink gloves, and football and baseball jerseys. Companies lighting up their buildings at night with a pink glow and many fundraising events are planned. These are great ways for the community comes together to support these strong women, and help find a cure. While these are all great ways to raise awareness let’s also remember that to those women (and some men too) this is a battle they fight every day, and not simply one month out of the year.

We all have friends and relatives who have battled or who are battling breast cancer. For them, the pink ribbons are merely a reminder about the disease they face every single day. Their perspective is quite different. Once you have this terrible, life-changing, and body-changing disease, you see the effects on a daily basis. When they lose their hair. When they lose a breast. When they lose both breasts. When they are no longer able to have children due to the effects of chemo.

If you do have a friend or family member who is fighting breast cancer, there is not a one-size-fits-all way to support her. However, there are some things you can do that may provide some comfort:

  • Be a good listener. Don’t give advice, but just listen to your friend and acknowledge what she’s going through.
  • Go with her to as many doctor’s appointment as you can.  Your friend may not be able to process what the doctor is saying, so offer to take notes on her behalf.
  • Share phone numbers and emails of fellow survivors. Perhaps your friend has just been diagnosed, but you have another friend who is a survivor. Connecting those women may help so they can pick up the phone and have a relatable conversation about what they are going through.
  • Distract her. Make her a funny cake before chemo about kicking cancer, give a book to read or a movie to watch during treatment.
  • Offer help over and over. Even if they want to be private, at some point, they are going to need help. So don’t stop offering.
  • Bring her groceries instead of a meal. Taste buds may change when someone is on chemo, so bringing groceries may be a better option. It would be best if you knew their preferences, so if you have access to their fridge and pantry, take a look and see what they like before shopping.
  • Leave her messages. She may not want to talk, but leave a message anyway. She will appreciate the words of encouragement and just knowing that you care.
  • Be a taxi for her kids. Moms who are fighting cancer are still selfless when it comes to their children. They want their kids to have a normal life, but that may require help from friends. Offer to take their children to school, piano lessons, sports practice so your friend can rest.
  • Have a hair-cutting party. Of course, this depends on the person, but this could be a light-hearted way to cheer your friend on as she begins her journey.
  • Pamper her. Buy her a fabulous scarf or blanket, her favorite perfume, or high-end chocolate.
  • Send her cards. Emails are good, but who doesn’t love getting good news in the mailbox.
  • Don’t expect a thank you note. When taking food, etc, take it over in disposable containers that you don’t need back and tell her that you don’t expect a note of thanks and that you just want to help.
  • Don’t tell her how to feel or assume how she feels. Simply ask her how she’s feeling.
  • Don’t forget about her. As treatments go along, or ever at the end of treatment, she’ll still need to know that people care and that you’re thinking of her.
  • Provide financial support. Cancer is expensive. Medical bills can pile up quickly and leave people with crippling debt. If your friend has set up a GoFundMe page, consider giving her a financial contribution and sharing the link with friends to help pay for those expenses.

For those who are not fighting breast cancer, this is the month when we are supposed to remember to make an appointment for our annual mammogram. But that’s not enough. We should be aware EVERYDAY about our breasts. We should give ourselves breast exams every month. It’s not enough to just get a mammogram every year.

So, let’s all make a promise to mark a date on the calendar every month to perform a breast self-exam. You hormone levels fluctuate each month during your menstrual cycle and this causes changes in breast tissue. The best time to perform a self-exam is usually a few days after your period ends. If you notice any new lumps or texture change, contact your doctor right away.

So wear those pink socks and the hats with the pink ribbons, and be aware of your own breasts and any changes that occur. But let’s also be a friend, cheerleader, listener, and gift-giver to our friends and neighbors who fight to get well everyday.