Monthly Archives: April 2017

Kerri

National Stop Snoring Week: A nuisance or a health problem?

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In March, we celebrated Sleep Awareness Month on our My Identity Doctor United States blog, and the importance of sleep on our health. Now that we have reached the last week of April, it’s National Stop Snoring Week here in the UK! Often, we see (or hear!) snoring as just another nuisance—after all, it is irritating when your partner or hotel roommate is a snorer, isn’t it? However, snoring can be a sign of other medical issues—or, nothing at all—so it is important to get checked out!
I have two stories of people in my life who have seen a doctor about snoring, and each hpillows-1031079_640ad different results—this is why snoring is nothing to brush off, however, also nothing to lose sleep over! (Okay, bad pun!)
A couple years ago, a friend was at a tournament sharing a room with other athletes and his coach. The coach was also a doctor, and he told my friend that during the night it had sounded as if his breathing was stopping, and that he should see someone to get evaluated. My friend had a sleep study done, and it was determined that his snoring and breathing issues were caused by sleep apnea. For about two years now, he has used a CPAP machine at night, and no longer has scary attacks when he wakes up after not breathing. A bonus to this? He also does not snore anymore—I was surprised as well, just how very quiet his CPAP machine is! It is even quieter than a central heating or cooling system kicking in!
Several years ago, someone I know finally went to the doctor about her snoring after years. She was referred to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist (ENT), who after a quick physical examination of her throat, simply informed her that she has an enlarged uvula (which hangs down from the top of the “soft palate” in the mouth—if you reach your tongue back you may be able to feel your soft palate!). This is not in itself dangerous, but it means that her airway becomes narrower during sleep causing snoring. The doctor said that there was no guarantee surgery would help, and sent her on her way—simple as that!
Other causes of snoring include sinus issues which may be easily treated with nasal sprays, or even simply your sleeping position, in which case your doctor may recommend a mouth guard of sorts or a jaw strap to keep your jaw better aligned to prevent snoring. So, snoring may not always be a sign of something sinister, which means it is important to get things checked out! If you have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, medical ID jewelry can be important—but in all cases, it is important to get snoring checked out, for peace of mind and a better night sleep!
Kerri

National Pet Month: Is a pet good for your health?

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Around here, we’re big fans of Burton the shop pup! Burton helps us to ensure our medical ID bracelets, necklaces and all our products get sent off to our customers in great shape—he’s been known as the “quality control pup” at times! Not only can a shop pup be important to keeping you feeling less stressed at work, having a pet can also help you stay healthy (even if they aren’t allowed to come to work with you like Burton is!)
Exercise is important, and for many of us, we simply don’t get enough! Having a pet, especially a dog, can be an easy way to motivate yourself to keep active—after all, having those big eyes staring back at you is a pretty easy sell! If you have a medical condition, consider wearing a medical ID bracelet while out and about
For older adults, and those of us with ADHD, routine is important. Pets help keep our minds sharp as we have to care for them, as well as making us stick to a routine, which can make us more productive and be a positive contributor to our mental health and providing a sense of purpose to be responsible for another life.

burton

Finally, pets can lower blood pressure through the act of petting them and giving—and receiving—affection. The difference may be small, but it can make all the difference when trying to stay healthy! Pets also may lower your risk of developing asthma, eczema, or allergies, when introduced to children at a young age—this in particular applies to dogs. [1]  More research is needed, but if you want an excuse to get a dog, this is a pretty good one, right?
Some pets also have special medical needs. Remember that many of our dog tag necklace charms can double as great medical ID pet tags for your pet, so not only can they find their way home if lost, their special medical needs will be attended to as well!
Kerri

What is Parkinson’s Disease? Parkinson Awareness Week

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Most people have heard of Parkinson’s Disease (or Parkinson Disease), but often, we may know one or two facts about a particular disease or condition, and not a lot else—I know that’s where I stand right now about my Parkinson Disease knowledge!
April 10 to 16 in the UK is Parkinson Awareness Week. April 11 is World Parkinson’s Day, and the 200th anniversary of when Parkinson’s Disease was identified as a medical condition by doctors. [1] In the UK, 127,000 people, or 1 in 500, have Parkinson’s Disease, so while you may not know anybody who has it personally, chances are there will be someone in a friend or family member’s life who will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s. [2]
 
What is Parkinson’s?
Parkinson’s Disease is different for each person. It is a neurological disorder, which most often causes movement problems, specifically and most notably causing tremor (shakiness of muscles, most noticeable in arms/hands and legs), rigid (stiff) muscles, and slow movement. [2] Often people with Parkinson’s experience fatigue, body pain, and depression, among other issues. [2]
 
How is Parkinson’s Treated?
Parkinson’s patients often take medicines, physio and occupational therapies, and sometimes have surgery to help with symptoms. Often, people with Parkinson’s will require carer support as their disease progresses. [2]
 
Should People with Parkinson’s Disease wear medical ID jewelry?
Absolutely! Depending on how severe tremors are, they may be mistaken by those with little knowledge for seizures. Speech can be impacted, which means it may be difficult for someone with Parkinson’s to communicate their needs in an emergency. [3] As well, people with Parkinson’s may have memory problems, are at increased risk of dementia, hallucinations, anxiety and depression. [3] These are all reasons that make medical ID jewelry important. A necklace may be a better choice for a Parkinson patient, as skin irritation may develop from a bracelet rubbing against the wrist during tremors—if a bracelet is preferred, a sport band may be a good choice.
 
Learn more.
Parkinson’s UK provides a wealth of easily understood information about Parkinson disease. Consider learning more this week to recognize Parkinson Awareness Week. 
Kerri

Autism Awareness / Autism Acceptance Day

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April 2nd is Autism Awareness Day, also known as Autism Acceptance Day to autism self-advocates. Autism has in the past been seen as a mysterious developmental condition, but as time goes on, we are learning more and more about what a diagnosis on what is now known as the “autism specWorld Autism Awareness Day trum” really means.
Autism can range wildly form person to person. Some people with autism do not speak, and use other ways to communicate with others, such as pictures, communication devices, sign language, or gestures. Some people with autism may take longer to gain language, but may speak later in life, or they may not. A person’s verbosity is not at all an indicator of their intelligence. Most people with autism are very intelligent, however, not all people with autism are “savants”—those who know an immense amount about a particular subject or have an innate ability to memorize certain things (like having a “calendar in your head”). People with autism may have very specific interests, which may change over the course of their lives, or may remain the same. Most people with autism benefit from and enjoy routine, and these interests are simply a part of their routine. People of all ages with autism may have trouble with sleep, certain environments that are loud, bright or overstimulating, and have very specific food preferences. Anxiety and attention deficit disorder, as well as depression, are common co-existing conditions with autism.
People with autism may take part in a variety of therapies to help them to interact with the world in ways that work for them individually. No two people with autism are alike—some are verbal, some are non-verbal, and like all of us, are all interested in different things and have unique strengths. Many but not all people with autism are sensitive to physical contact, it simply depends on the person. Some people with autism will be able to live completely independently, while others will need assistance with certain aspects of life. “High functioning autism” is a term used to describe those with autism who can, with some accommodation and support, or education, adapt to be independent and self-supporting. Many people with autism are self-advocates, and assist the world in understanding autism how they see it as someone living with the diagnosis (which they often see as a personality trait and not a disorder!). Many adults with autism choose to embrace the title of Autistic rather than “person with autism”—this is a personal choice that should be respected. Person-first language (person with autism) is more “socially correct”, however, I personally have chosen to use person first language until an individual has told me that they prefer being referred to as autistic instead. Go with what the person prefers, and don’t be afraid to ask!
For people with autism, wearing a medical ID bracelet can be important, in case of a stressful emergency situation that makes it difficult to communicate. Adults or children with non-verbal autism should wear a medical ID bracelet stating autism – non-verbal and an emergency contact number, as well as any other medical needs.
I have had the opportunity to coach, work with, and be friends with several people of different ages with autism. There is absolutely no “box” to put people with autism in—just like anyone, people with autism are unique, and it is important to get to know them, while understanding that their autism may be the reason they approach some things differently than others!
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