Helpful information from repuatable sources about caring for yourself or a loved one who has a debilitating condition.

Planning Your Doctor Visit:  A Partnership

How well you and your doctor talk to each other is one of the most important parts of getting good health care. Unfortunately, talking with your doctor isn't always easy. In the past, the doctor typically took the lead and the patient followed. Today, a good patient-doctor relationship is a partnership. You and your doctor can work as a team.

Creating a basic plan before you go to the doctor can help you make the most of your visit. The tips in this article will make it easier for you and your doctor to cover everything you need to talk about.

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What Is Long-Term Care?

Long-term care involves a variety of services designed to meet a person's health or personal care needs during a short or long period of time. These services help people live as independently and safely as possible when they can no longer perform everyday activities on their own.

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urinary incontinence

What Is Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence means a person leaks urine by accident. Urinary incontinence is a common bladder problem as people age. Women are more likely than men to leak urine. If this problem is happening to you, there is help. Urinary incontinence can often be controlled. Talk to your health care provider about what you can do.

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pelvic floor muscle exercises

Pelvic floor muscle exercises can help both men and women who leak urine by making the muscles that hold urine in the bladder stronger.

Here’s how to do pelvic floor muscle exercises.

  1. Tighten the pelvic muscles that you use to prevent gas from escaping.
  2. Continue tightening the muscles going to the front of the pelvic area.
  3. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds before releasing. (If 5 seconds is too long, hold for as long as you can. Over time, try to hold longer until you reach 5 seconds.)
  4. Repeat 5 to 10 times. (If you can’t do 5 sets, start with 1 or 2. Over time, try to increase to 5.)

Also practice contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles quickly for 10 seconds. (If 10 seconds is too long, start with less time.) Do this 5 to 10 times. (If you can’t make it to 5 sets, start with fewer sets.)

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There are steps everyone can take to improve bladder health.

Drink enough fluids -- especially water.

Drink enough fluids so that the bladder needs to be emptied every 3 to 4 hours. Most healthy people should try to drink six to eight, 8-ounce glasses of fluid each day. Water is the best fluid for bladder health. At least half of fluid intake should be water. 

(Some people need to drink less water because of certain conditions. For example, if you have kidney failure or heart disease, you should not drink this much fluid. Ask your health care provider how much fluid is healthy for you.)

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shingles vaccine

 

Shingles, a painful skin disease, affects about half of older adults by the time they are 80 years old. A vaccine is now available to protect against shingles. Who should get the shot?

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