Diabetes and Your Teeth

Caring for Your Teeth with Diabetes

We’re taught the importance of brushing and flossing from a young age. Although we no longer brush with bubble gum-flavored toothpaste and a vibrating cartoon toothbrush, it’s still just as important. In fact, it’s more important as your teeth age. Caring for diabetes and your teeth and gums at the same time needs even closer attention.

Diabetes and Your Teeth

High blood glucose promotes germs’ growth. When bacteria constantly attacks your teeth and gums, you can get red, sore, and swollen gums that bleed when you brush or floss.

If you have diabetes, you may have trouble keeping your blood sugar levels steady. High levels are not only bad for your health, but also your teeth. Teeth and gum problems occur more often when your levels stay high.

Smoking also makes it more likely for you to get a bad case of gum disease, especially if you have diabetes and are 45 or older.

If you have one or more of these problems, you may have tooth and gum damage from diabetes:

  • Red, sore, or swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Gums pulling away from your teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Your dentures no longer fit correctly

Caring for Your Diabetes and Your Teeth

To avoid permanent damage to your smile:

  • Keep your blood sugar as close to normal as possible.
  • Use dental floss at least once a day. Using a sawing motion, gently bring the floss between your teeth, scraping from bottom to top several times.
  • Brush your teeth after each meal or snack using a soft toothbrush.
  • If you wear false teeth, keep them clean.
  • Get your teeth cleaned and your gums checked by your dentist twice a year.

When you do to the dentist, it’s important to plan ahead. If you’re taking a diabetes medicine that can cause low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, talk with your dentist before the visit about the best way to take care of your blood sugar during long procedures. You may need to bring some diabetes medicine or food to the dentist’s office.

If your mouth is sore after dental work, you might not be able to eat or chew right away. Talk to your doctor about how best to adjust your normal routine while your mouth is healing.

ADHD - Like Changing Channels

Can Adults Have ADHD?

Remember that boy in second grade? The one who couldn’t sit still? Who the teacher was always disciplining for not listening and distracting others? Chances are, he had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

If so, chances are also good that ADHD is still a part of his everyday life.

Most people don’t outgrow ADHD. The good news? Once the disorder’s been recognized and treated, adults can learn to adapt. When managed with the appropriate combo of meds, therapy, education, and support, adults lead productive and successful lives.

Doctors once thought that ADHD only affected children, and boys, twice as much as girls. Now, we know that its symptoms continue into adulthood for about 60% of those kids. That’s about 4% of the U.S. adult population, or 8 million adults. Because ADHD is likely a genetic, inherited disorder, adults are often diagnosed when their son or daughter is.

You may have been un-diagnosed as a kid if:

  • School report cards showed comments about behavior problems, poor focus, lack of effort, or underachievement.
  • Teachers brought up behavioral issues with your parents.
  • You had problems with peers, bed wetting, school failure, or suspensions.

ADHD affects the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the part of the brain which lets us control thoughts and actions. Its symptoms include being:

    • Easily distracted
    • Forgetful
    • Disorganized
    • Restless
    • Reckless
    • Careless

And these symptoms can cause further struggles, like:

  • Lateness
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Anger problems
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Impulsiveness
  • Substance abuse or addiction
  • Procrastination
  • Frustration
  • Boredom
  • Trouble concentrating with reading and listening

Adults with untreated ADHD have trouble following directions, planning ahead, and finishing work on deadline. When not managed, this can lead to job loss and unhealthy relationships.

Talk to your doctor today if you think you or your child have ADHD.

Pharmacy Pro Protecting You

Pharmacy Pro Helps Members Make Smart Choices

Tamara Migut has spent the last 14 years in pharmacy helping people understand their prescription drugs and how to take them safely. She now works closely with the Health Alliance drug formulary, so she’s able to explain it in simple terms.

“The formulary lists common covered generic and brand-name prescription drugs. It’s not a complete list,” she says. “It helps you and your doctor choose the best drug for your health needs, first, as well as your budget.”

Tamara spends a lot of time doing research to help members and doctors with their prescription questions. After reading health lingo all day, she likes to unwind (when time allows, she’s a mother of three!) with a science fiction book.

Maybe that’s because she’s married to a science teacher. Her husband has taught chemistry at Urbana High School for 12 years.

Tamara also helps members save money by telling them about cost-saving pharmacy programs like Rxtra.

“You can save based on where you have your prescriptions filled,” she says.

She also tells people about generic drugs, which work just as well as brand-name ones but cost a lot less.

Hoarding Warning Signs

Warning Signs of Hoarding

What Is Hoarding?

Lately, it seems like almost every cable TV channel has a show about hoarding and people who live in less-than-great conditions because they can’t let go of anything, even trash.

While these people represent extreme cases, even mild hoarding can be a problem. As we get older, we tend to hang onto things. This often creates dangerous living areas, especially for seniors who have issues with balance and falling.

Clutter can also lead to other problems. It makes it harder to keep track of things you need like bills, meds, keys, and contact info for your friends and loved ones.

People with hoarding disorders usually save things because they believe these things will be needed in the future, they have emotional significance, and because having these things makes them feel safer and more secure. Because of this, it’s very different than collecting, when people careful find and display special items, like stamps or model cars.

Hoarding animals is one of the most dangerous forms of hoarding. Pets in these situations often aren’t cared for properly, which is dangerous for them and for you because of the unsanitary conditions this can lead to.

Signs of Hoarding

    • Cluttered living spaces, especially when it stops you from being able to use rooms for their intended purposes, like not being able to cook in the kitchen.
    • Extreme attachment to unimportant objects.
    • Letting trash build up to an unhealthy level.
    • Keeping stacks of newspapers and junk mail, or collecting lots of useless items.
    • Moving items from one pile to another without ever throwing anything away.
    • Trouble making decisions about and organizing your stuff.
    • Having a hard time letting others touch or borrow your things.
    • Embarrassment over your home.
    • Limited social interactions.

Getting Help

But hoarding is a treatable mental illness. Therapy where you talk with a doctor and certain drugs, usually ones used for depression, can help. Sticking to a treatment plan made with your doctor and support groups can also help you avoid hoarding.

You can also get help cleaning out your home with organizers, local assistance, or your friends and family. And you may find you have a lot of great things that you could donate to make someone else’s life better.

If hoarding affects you or someone you love, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. They can help you find a therapist who can work with you to make a treatment plan and recommend resources to help you clean up the clutter.

Using Your Brainpower

Boost Your Brainpower

Challenging yourself mentally raises your brainpower and function, which is shown to reduce the risk of mental decline and dementia in old age. What can you do to keep your brain in amazing shape?

Never Stop Learning

Learning new things in school or classes, at work, and in your spare time all help you challenge your mind, no matter what your age.

As we get older, we get comfortable doing the things we’ve always done. But your brain will benefit from tackling something new. Learning keeps life stimulating, especially during retirement.

Community colleges and park districts offer a variety of courses that allow you to interact with others while challenging your mind. You can try a new sport, learn a new language, take up painting, or learn a skill you’ve always been interested in picking up.

Activities that use your hands, like woodworking, sign language, or knitting, are also great because focusing on your hand-eye coordination works multiple parts of your brain.

Not only will it help you stay sharp, you’ll also feel accomplished. Never stop challenging yourself to learn new things!

Memorize

Learn a new word a day, take up local theater where you learn a small part, learn your favorite poem by heart, or learn all the words to your latest favorite song. Writing things down as you go can also help. This careful listening and learning can help you sharpen your thinking.

Get Involved

Volunteering with a local organization offers you the chance to interact with others, which also stimulates your brain. You can meet new people who are both working and being helped in the community.

Help your church, local library, animal shelter, or even a branch of a larger organization like the Alzheimer’s Association to meet people, work events, and even get active with 5ks.

Eat Antioxidants

Foods like blueberries and dark chocolate are full of antioxidants, which help fight age-related diseases. They can also help delay or prevent cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s, and lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

And they’re delicious! Win-win!

Get Moving

Dancing with a partner or in a group may be one of the best physical activities you can do that is also good for your mind. When you dance the salsa, a waltz, or even the electric slide, your brain whirls to keep up with the steps, all while you interact with others around you. Dancing is also shown to help slow the progress of dementia.

Try Something New

Break out of your routine and see something new, like an art show. Taking pictures for social media, writing about it, and making scrapbooks to show your family and friends are all great ways to train your brain to remember the details about your new experience too.

There are many brain games on the market you can try to stay sharp. Lumosity is one online tool you can try, for a fee. You can also try more traditional methods, like chess, sudoku, or puzzles. While they’re not proven to fight dementia, they can help you maintain critical thinking skills.

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