Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

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Friday, 09 August 2019 00:22

The Family Medical History: An Important Diagnostic Tool

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When you or your loved one first sees a doctor, you will typically be asked for a family medical history. This is no stroll down Memory Lane: a family medical history contains a wealth of information that can help guide clinicians in caring for their patient.

Why are family medical histories important?

Many diseases, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, blood clots, arthritis, and certain types of cancer, “run in families.” Diseases and chronic conditions can also be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and families share both.

By informing medical practitioners of health conditions that affected any of your relatives, you enable them to recommend ways to reduce your own risk of the condition. It also alerts them to keep an eye out for symptoms of specific problems, should they begin to appear.

What information is included in a family medical history?

In order to give the fullest, most helpful medical history, it is important to know:

  • If any of your blood relatives, including siblings, parents, grandparents, and aunts or uncles have or had chronic conditions, such as diabetes, or serious illnesses, such as cancer or stroke
  • The age of onset of any problems, if applicable
  • The age and cause of death, if appropriate

How can I get all the information required for my family medical history?

Most people don’t have all the pertinent health information about their families at their fingertips, so it’s important to do research, particularly if you suspect there is a family history of medical problems. This research might be a simple as asking family members —especially older family members, who are usually treasure troves of family history — or it might require researching family medical records and death certificates.

How do I store my family medical history in the most useful form?

The Surgeon General has released a web-based tool, My Family Health Portrait, that helps you collect and store family history. One of the benefits of this tool is that it allows you to send your partially completed medical history to other family members, who can fill in some of the blanks. The information is not shared with anyone other than the people you choose.

You can access this tool here.

Whether a condition that runs in your family is caused by nature or nurture, you share much in common with your family, and it’s in everyone’s interest to have as complete a family medical history as possible. Taking the time to gather accurate information is an important part of keeping yourself, and your loved ones, healthy.

At the Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, we offer the very best of care in the most appropriate and patient-centered environment. This means always listening to our residents and patients and respecting their capabilities, while helping them to achieve maximum functionality and independence. And always maintaining the highest professional and quality standards in our staff and our facilities. Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.

Contact us by clicking here to see which of our three facilities will best meet your needs or the needs of your loved one.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019 01:44

6 Causes of Nonhealing Wounds in Seniors

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Our skin is the largest organ in our body. And as anyone who has seen their first wrinkle knows, our skin ages as we do. While some may fret over smile lines, there are far more serious issues with ageing skin. Thinning skin, decreased circulation, and diminished immune function leave seniors vulnerable to nonhealing wounds and skin infections.

For tips on everyday skin care, see our blog post on elderly skin.

In addition to the usual issues that affect older skin, such as thinning and loss of elasticity, seniors are also more likely to have medical conditions that affect their skin. Diabetes, which affects a staggering 25% of seniors, is associated with nonhealing foot sores, an issue so serious it is the leading cause of lower leg amputation in the US. Hypothyroidism, another common condition in older people, also leads to impairment of the skin. If a senior is bedridden, skin issues are exacerbated.

All these factors make wound care an essential part of caring for the elderly.

The following 6 issues prevent wounds from healing, and can decrease a senior’s quality of life:

1. Immobility

If a senior is bedridden, or even if they just lead a sedentary lifestyle, friction and constant pressure can cause bedsores.

2. Poor Diet

A diet that lacks essential nutrients, particularly protein, vitamin C, and zinc, will cause wounds to heal more slowly, or even to worsen.

3. Dead Skin

Dead skin surrounding a wound, known as necrosis, can interfere with the body’s ability to heal the wound.

4. Infection

An open wound is vulnerable to bacterial infection, at which point the immune system turns to fighting the infection rather than healing the wound.

5. Moisture

In order to heal, a wound needs a certain level of moisture. Too little or too much moisture impair healing. Proper wound care requires frequent changing and monitoring of dressings and bandages.

At the Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, we offer the very best of care in a patient-centered environment, understand the importance of wound care for our residents This means following our residents’ health carefully, listening to them, and respecting their capabilities, while helping them to achieve maximum functionality and independence — and always maintaining the highest professional and quality standards in our staff and our facilities. Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.

Contact us by clicking here to see which of our three facilities will best meet your needs or the needs of your loved one.

Friday, 19 July 2019 14:17

Help Your Heart by Taking Care of Your Teeth

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately half of all adults in the United States suffer from gum disease. Without consistent care and attention, a person's gums will become swollen and infected. Swelling and infection will in turn lead to a buildup of plaque and bacteria, a condition known as gingivitis. Left untreated, gingivitis will cause the structures supporting the teeth to weaken, leading to the condition known as gum disease or periodontitis.

The effect of proper oral hygiene on our overall health is only now being fully understood. Numerous research efforts have shown that there is a clear statistical link between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. However, the mechanism underlying this connection is not fully understood.

Two basic mechanisms are currently being studied which scientists hypothesize are the basis for the connection between gum disease and cardiovascular disease.

  1. As mentioned above, gum disease is associated with inflammation and infection. Scientists believe that the bacteria associated with infection are able to enter the bloodstream via the diseased gums themselves. In other words, gum disease is both the cause of infection and the doorway which allows bacteria to enter the bloodstream.

Once in the bloodstream, bacteria can reach multiple destinations, where it will cause inflammation, infection and destruction in susceptible areas. The heart, in particular, and the cardiovascular system, in general, are highly susceptible to damage caused by infection.

Included in the evidence for this hypothesis is the fact that researchers have shown that the most common bacteria found in the coronary arteries is P. gingivalis. Combined with the fact that more than half of all adults in the United States suffer from some form of gum disease, it is not surprising that this particular bacteria is the type most commonly found in the coronary arteries.

  1. Generally speaking, inflammation is a protective mechanism which occurs as a response to pathogens. However, chronic inflammation often leads to illness or disease. In the case of gum disease, it is hypothesized that chronic inflammation and infection lead to inflammation of the cardiovascular system. Eventually this cardiovascular inflammation will itself becomes chronic, causing cardiovascular disease.

As mentioned above, researchers have shown that the most common bacteria found in the coronary arteries is P. gingivalis. This bacteria is a known cause of inflammation.              

So, in other worlds, don’t be surprised if your cardiologist reminds you to be consistent and careful about taking care of our teeth and gums. Proper oral hygiene may allow us to prevent or slow the devastating effects of the nation's number one killer, heart disease.

Regency Jewish Heritage has partnered with the area's leading cardiologists and pulmonologists to form The NJ Heart and Lung Center™

Our program:

  • Reduces hospital readmissions and patient length of stay
  • Maximizes ability for patient to regain ADL skills and independence
  • Offers 24/7/365 physician coverage through on-site staff and advanced telemedicine program
  • Has an on-site sleep study program to unlock Medicare benefit for Bipap utilization upon discharge
  • Offers STAT availability of Labs, X-Ray and other diagnostic tools

Our Outcomes & Capabilities include:

  • Cardiologist and pulmonologist on site daily for immediate intervention
  • Specialized rehab & nursing protocols developed in partnership with leading cardiologists & pulmonologists
  • A plan proven to prevent readmission to the hospital and improve patient independence and functionality
  • Regular Communication Between Patient, Family, Staff & Physicians
  • Collaborative care planning with other physician & therapy specialists
  • Advanced staff education & training
  • Transitional care nurse & enhanced discharge-to-home process
  • Follow-up home visit within 24-48 hours
  • Educational material provided to patients & families

We offer the very best of care in a patient-centered environment. This means always listening to our residents and patients and respecting their capabilities, while helping them to achieve maximum functionality and independence. And always maintaining the highest professional and quality standards in our staff and our facilities. Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.

Contact us by clicking here to contact us.

Friday, 05 July 2019 00:40

The Facts about Congestive Heart Failure

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What is Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition in which the heart cannot beat strongly enough to supply the body with blood.

What Causes Congestive Heart Failure?

Any condition that overworks the heart can cause congestive heart failure. It can happen in an instant, as after a heart attack, or very slowly, after years of untreated high blood pressure.

What Are the Risk Factors for Congestive Heart Failure?

While genes play a role in heart health, many of the risk factors for CHF are related to unhealthy lifestyle choices, including obesity and smoking.

Certain medical conditions also increase one’s risk. These include:

  • Abnormal thyroid function, including overactive and underactive function
  • Anemia, an inadequate number of red blood cells
  • Amyloidosis, a condition in which the body accumulates abnormal deposits of proteins
  • Arrhythmias, abnormal heart rhythm. If the heartbeats too quickly, it can overtax the heart; if it beats too slowly, it may not be able to pump blood to all parts of the body
  • Emphysema, a chronic disease, often caused by smoking, that makes breathing difficult
  • Hemochromatosis, a condition in which iron accumulates in the body
  • Lupus, an autoimmune disease
  • Myocarditis, a condition in which the heart muscle is inflamed
  • Type II diabetes

What Are the Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure?

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Unusually rapid heartbeat, even when resting
  • Shortness of breath, especially when lying down
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Dry cough
  • Water retention

How Is Congestive Heart Failure Diagnosed?

A variety of tests can determine whether a person has congestive heart failure. These include:

  • Blood tests check for B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP), a heart hormone released into the blood when the heart is being overtaxed; red blood cell count; and live and thyroid function.
  • Urine tests give indications of kidney function.
  • An electrocardiogram (EKG), which records the heart’s rhythm and electrical activity.
  • A chest x-ray will show enlargement of the heart, as well as a build-up of fluid in the lungs
  • An echocardiogram, an ultrasound measurement of how much blood is being pumped with each beat of the heart, yields a called ejection fraction. The lower the measurement of ejection fraction, the worse the congestive heart failure.
  • Cardiac MRI or CT scans allow visualization of the heart’s arteries and valves, as well as measure ejection fraction.

How Is Congestive Heart Failure Treated?

While the damage to the heart caused by CHF cannot be reversed, treatment is available to relieve symptoms, and keep the condition under control. The choice of treatment will be guided by the conditions that cause the heart failure.

Common medications for congestive heart failure include:

  • ACE inhibitors, which relax the arteries, making it easier for blood to flow through the body.
  • Beta-blockers, which improve the heart’s ability to pump blood.
  • Diuretics, which relieve water retention. Diuretics will also relieve the shortness of breath caused by fluid in the lungs.

CHF does not always respond to medication, however. In some cases, surgery is required.

Common procedures for CHF include:

  • Coronary artery bypass grafts (CABGs), in which healthy arteries are grafted to provide new pathways for blood flow.
  • Heart valve surgery, which repairs damaged valves.
  • Heart transplants are the treatment of last resort for CHF. A person may receive an implantable left ventricular assist device (LVAD) to keep their heart working while waiting for a new heart to become available. The LVAD requires the person to remain hospitalized until the transplant.

At the Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, we offer the very best of care in the most appropriate and patient-centered environment. This means always listening to our residents and patients and respecting their capabilities, while helping them to achieve maximum functionality and independence. And always maintaining the highest professional and quality standards in our staff and our facilities. Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.

Contact us by clicking here to see which of our three facilities will best meet your needs or the needs of your loved one.

It is well-known that physical activity has a direct, positive effect on an individual's physical and emotional health. In recent years there have been numerous research studies designed to quantify and qualify the ways in which exercise decreases an individual's risk of mortality and determine the amount and intensity of physical activity required to have these positive effects.

Several years ago, it was reported that 30 minutes of physical activity three or four times a week directly lowered the risk for a variety of illnesses and diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and cancer. But the truly striking result of this research was that it made no difference regarding an individual's decrease in their risk of mortality whether an individual worked out for 30 minutes straight or worked out 3 times a day for 10 minutes at a time.

This research was both surprising and important. To have the discipline to exercise for 30 minutes straight requires commitment. But a 10 minute walk? Not so much.

Now, new research in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reveals an even more astounding result. The scientists showed conclusively that even low-level, leisurely physical activity, such as walking or gardening, protects both cognitive function and cardiovascular health.

More importantly, the researchers confirmed that individuals who engaged in any leisurely activity for at least one 10 minute session a week had an 18% lower risk of death from all causes. This was an astounding result, as requires neither vigorous activity nor a large investment of time.

It was true, however, that as the amount of time and the intensity of the activities increase, overall mortality rate decline further. People who engage in leisurely physical activities for 150 minutes a week lowered their overall risk of death by 31%. And those involved in physical activity for 1500 minutes or more per week saw their overall risk of mortality declined by more than 46%.

The researchers also noted that when given the choice of more time or more vigorous exercise, the statistics clearly indicated that more intense physical exercise caused a greater reduction of mortality, as well as a series of other positive physical and emotional benefits.

The good news for us is that however sedentary we might be, it is difficult to say that we cannot find 10 minutes a week to take a leisurely walk or do some pleasant physical activity. To add to this good news is the fact that once a person begins with 10 minutes of physical activity a week, they will find that within a month it will be easy to add more.

And finding more leisurely activities is itself a fun activity that will improve both our physical life and the pleasure we derive from life. We just need to find an activity we enjoy, whether it’s dancing slowly to a song we like, planting a garden, or going window shopping are all easy and pleasant.

At the Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, we offer the very best of care in the most appropriate and patient-centered environment. This means always listening to our residents and patients and respecting their capabilities, while helping them to achieve maximum functionality and independence. And always maintaining the highest professional and quality standards in our staff and our facilities. Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.

Contact us by clicking here to see which of our three facilities will best meet your needs or the needs of your loved one.

Friday, 07 June 2019 12:49

Respite Care: Caring for the Caregiver

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It’s almost summer. Your friends are planning summer vacations, but you’re not because you’re taking care of Mom. You’re hardly alone. According to an AARP report, nearly 40 million Americans act as caregiver for an older adult, usually a relative.

Caregiving is not an easy job. Nearly half of family caregivers consider themselves “somewhat stressed,” and over one-third say they are “highly stressed.” The care their loved ones receive might be free, but caregivers themselves often pay an unexpectedly heavy price: burnout.

Caregiver Syndrome is only an “unofficial” diagnosis, but it reflects a very real problem. Caregivers, often caring for an older relative while also being a spouse and parent, often find that they neglect their own care. This leaves them subject to burnout, a condition that includes a high level of stress, and high incidence of depression and chronic illness.

How can you prevent Caregiver Syndrome? The Cleveland Clinic recommends respite care. By allowing your loved one to have a short stay in a well-run facility, you give the time you need for to recharge your own batteries.

Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, we offer the very best of care in the most appropriate and patient-centered environment. Our respite program includes three delicious, healthful meals a day, stimulating and entertaining recreational programs, and the opportunity for your loved one to enjoy social interaction with their peers. Allow us to give you the opportunity to tend to your needs at the same time that your loved one is receiving everything they need in a warm and compassionate environment.

We offer a comprehensive and stimulating array of programs is designed to appeal to a variety of tastes, interests and levels of ability, seven days a week. With an emphasis on empowering the residents, our recreational programs encourage patients and residents to fulfill their potential and remain engaged and involved. Individually tailored activities and programs include live entertainment, lectures, trips and events that encourage socialization and participation.

Regency care centers also offer a full continuum of care, including exceptional short-term rehabilitation, sub-acute care, long-term nursing, a range of specialty programs and complex clinical services, and hospice care, as well as temporary respite care. Our compassionate, personalized approach has established our long-standing and unparalleled reputation for excellence.

Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.

If you are a caregiver, remember that you also need to take care of yourself. So, make those vacation plans. Mom will be fine with us!

Contact us by clicking here to see which of our three facilities will best meet your needs or the needs of your loved one.

Friday, 24 May 2019 14:11

FDA Warns about Unapproved Genetic Testing

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The humble fruit fly, drosophila melanogaster, is not merely a kitchen pest. Its short lifecycle and large number of offspring have made it a favorite for genetic research, including the massive Human Genome Project (HGP).

The fly’s genes were studied and mapped in the early 1900s, but it was not until the 1990s that international collaboration allowed the mapping all human genes, collectively known as the human “genome.” The project was completed in 2003, with over 20,000 human genes identified.

Since 2003, this new data has allowed the blossoming of genetic research and genetic counseling. It has also produced a new industry: “over-the-counter” genetic testing. With just a small sample of genetic material, usually obtained through a swab of saliva, a variety of companies are ready to sell you a “genetically-based prediction” of your response to a variety of medications. There’s just one problem: the tests are not necessarily accurate.

While genetically tailor-made treatments for various conditions are currently in the research phase, and perhaps one day we truly will be able to find out useful information about our health at low cost, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that today is not that day.

The FDA published an alert to consumers and clinicians that the agency has not reviewed many of the claims made by genetic laboratories, and that those claims may not be backed by scientific evidence. The FDA warns of the “inappropriate treatment decisions and potentially serious health consequences” for people who rely on these tests, and recommends that no one change their medication based on an over-the-counter genetic test.

The FDA also announced that they are investigating developers who use misleading advertising to sell genetic tests. The agency requests that anyone who has a problem with any laboratory test files a report via Medwatch, the FDA’s Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program.

At the Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, we embrace innovation, but do not fall prey to trendy promises. We care for our residents with clinically-proven programming, nutritious and delicious meals, and, of course, compassionate care from specially trained caregivers and therapists.

We pride ourselves on offering the very best of care in a patient-centered environment. This means always listening to our residents and patients and respecting their capabilities, while helping them to achieve maximum functionality and independence. And always maintaining the highest professional and quality standards in our staff and our facilities. Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.

Contact us by clicking here to see which of our three facilities will best meet your needs or the needs of your loved one.

Friday, 24 May 2019 14:11

FDA Warns about Unapproved Genetic Testing

Written by

The humble fruit fly, drosophila melanogaster, is not merely a kitchen pest. Its short lifecycle and large number of offspring have made it a favorite for genetic research, including the massive Human Genome Project (HGP).

The fly’s genes were studied and mapped in the early 1900s, but it was not until the 1990s that international collaboration allowed the mapping all human genes, collectively known as the human “genome.” The project was completed in 2003, with over 20,000 human genes identified.

Since 2003, this new data has allowed the blossoming of genetic research and genetic counseling. It has also produced a new industry: “over-the-counter” genetic testing. With just a small sample of genetic material, usually obtained through a swab of saliva, a variety of companies are ready to sell you a “genetically-based prediction” of your response to a variety of medications. There’s just one problem: the tests are not necessarily accurate.

While genetically tailor-made treatments for various conditions are currently in the research phase, and perhaps one day we truly will be able to find out useful information about our health at low cost, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that today is not that day.

The FDA published an alert to consumers and clinicians that the agency has not reviewed many of the claims made by genetic laboratories, and that those claims may not be backed by scientific evidence. The FDA warns of the “inappropriate treatment decisions and potentially serious health consequences” for people who rely on these tests, and recommends that no one change their medication based on an over-the-counter genetic test.

The FDA also announced that they are investigating developers who use misleading advertising to sell genetic tests. The agency requests that anyone who has a problem with any laboratory test files a report via Medwatch, the FDA’s Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program.

At the Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, we embrace innovation, but do not fall prey to trendy promises. We care for our residents with clinically-proven programming, nutritious and delicious meals, and, of course, compassionate care from specially trained caregivers and therapists.

We pride ourselves on offering the very best of care in a patient-centered environment. This means always listening to our residents and patients and respecting their capabilities, while helping them to achieve maximum functionality and independence. And always maintaining the highest professional and quality standards in our staff and our facilities. Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.

Contact us by clicking here to see which of our three facilities will best meet your needs or the needs of your loved one.

According to recent estimates, approximately 35% of adults in the United States suffer from sleep deprivation. For some individuals this difficulty is caused by physical or emotional problems.

It is well-known that sleep deprivation causes numerous health problems, ranging from cognitive impairment, an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and even an increased risk for cancer. The reason for this increased risk is simple: sleep is the time when the body repairs damaged cells and processes the brain's activities. Consequently, chronic sleep deprivation results in both physical and emotional damage.

However, a new study led by Dr. Matthew Walker, professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, added another item to the list of negative consequences caused by insufficient sleep: increased sensitivity to pain. Dr. Walker and his colleagues published their findings in the Journal of Neuroscience.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 20% of adults in the United States are living with chronic pain. Dr. Walker and his research team began their study by testing the pain thresholds of a group of individuals without sleep difficulties. The participants' brains were scanned using a functional MRI machine while increasing levels of heat were applied to their legs in order to determine each participant’s pain threshold.

After pain thresholds were determined, the same study was repeated after the participants were kept awake for an entire night. The research revealed that the participants sensitivity to heat, as well as their pain thresholds, occurred at lower temperatures, demonstrating. that sensitivity to pain increases when there is inadequate sleep.

More specifically, the research team determined via functional MRI scanning that the brain's somatosensory cortex (a region of the brain associated with pain), was hyperactive when the participants had an inadequate night's sleep. This confirmed the hypothesis that sleep deprivation interferes with the neural circuitry involved in pain processing.

The team also showed that the specific part of the brain responsible for releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine, was less active after an inadequate night's sleep. Since dopamine increases pleasure and relieves pain, Dr. Walker explained that, "Sleep loss not only amplifies the pain-sensing regions in the brain but blocks the natural analgesia centers, too."

The scientists replicated their findings in a second study involving approximately 250 adults with a wide variety of sleep patterns. Initially, each participant’s sleep pattern and pain sensitivity level was determined. The participants were monitored for several days in order to collect a sufficient amount of data to make statistically valid inferences. An analysis of the data collected showed that even small changes in the participants sleep patterns affected their sensitivity to pain.

Dr. Walker pointed out, "The optimistic take away here is that sleep is a natural analgesic that can help manage and lower pain. [...] Yet ironically, one environment where people are in the most pain is the worst place for sleep — the noisy hospital ward. Our findings suggest that patient care would be markedly improved, and hospital beds cleared sooner, if uninterrupted sleep were embraced as an integral component of healthcare management."

The take away message for us is clear: ensuring a good nights sleep is one of the simplest steps we can take to improve our overall health and to experience less pain in our day-to-day lives. In order to achieve this goal, it is important to turn off all electronic devices 1 to 2 hours before going to bed, and make sure to allow ourselves a sufficient amount of time to sleep, approximately eight hours. Pleasant dreams!

Regency’s Heart & Lung Center has an on-site sleep study program. In addition to unlocking Medicare benefits for Bipap utilization when discharged home, it allows us to ensure our residents can optimize their crucial sleeping hours to achieve optimal health.

It’s one of the ways that Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, offers the very best of care in a patient-centered environment. It also includes listening to our residents and patients and respecting their capabilities, while helping them to achieve maximum functionality and independence. And always maintaining the highest professional and quality standards in our staff and our facilities. Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.

Contact us by clicking here to see which of our three facilities will best meet your needs or the needs of your loved one.

According to recent estimates, approximately 35% of adults in the United States suffer from sleep deprivation. For some individuals this difficulty is caused by physical or emotional problems.

It is well-known that sleep deprivation causes numerous health problems, ranging from cognitive impairment, an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and even an increased risk for cancer. The reason for this increased risk is simple: sleep is the time when the body repairs damaged cells and processes the brain's activities. Consequently, chronic sleep deprivation results in both physical and emotional damage.

However, a new study led by Dr. Matthew Walker, professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, added another item to the list of negative consequences caused by insufficient sleep: increased sensitivity to pain. Dr. Walker and his colleagues published their findings in the Journal of Neuroscience.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 20% of adults in the United States are living with chronic pain. Dr. Walker and his research team began their study by testing the pain thresholds of a group of individuals without sleep difficulties. The participants' brains were scanned using a functional MRI machine while increasing levels of heat were applied to their legs in order to determine each participant’s pain threshold.

After pain thresholds were determined, the same study was repeated after the participants were kept awake for an entire night. The research revealed that the participants sensitivity to heat, as well as their pain thresholds, occurred at lower temperatures, demonstrating. that sensitivity to pain increases when there is inadequate sleep.

More specifically, the research team determined via functional MRI scanning that the brain's somatosensory cortex (a region of the brain associated with pain), was hyperactive when the participants had an inadequate night's sleep. This confirmed the hypothesis that sleep deprivation interferes with the neural circuitry involved in pain processing.

The team also showed that the specific part of the brain responsible for releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine, was less active after an inadequate night's sleep. Since dopamine increases pleasure and relieves pain, Dr. Walker explained that, "Sleep loss not only amplifies the pain-sensing regions in the brain but blocks the natural analgesia centers, too."

The scientists replicated their findings in a second study involving approximately 250 adults with a wide variety of sleep patterns. Initially, each participant’s sleep pattern and pain sensitivity level was determined. The participants were monitored for several days in order to collect a sufficient amount of data to make statistically valid inferences. An analysis of the data collected showed that even small changes in the participants sleep patterns affected their sensitivity to pain.

Dr. Walker pointed out, "The optimistic take away here is that sleep is a natural analgesic that can help manage and lower pain. [...] Yet ironically, one environment where people are in the most pain is the worst place for sleep — the noisy hospital ward. Our findings suggest that patient care would be markedly improved, and hospital beds cleared sooner, if uninterrupted sleep were embraced as an integral component of healthcare management."

The take away message for us is clear: ensuring a good nights sleep is one of the simplest steps we can take to improve our overall health and to experience less pain in our day-to-day lives. In order to achieve this goal, it is important to turn off all electronic devices 1 to 2 hours before going to bed, and make sure to allow ourselves a sufficient amount of time to sleep, approximately eight hours. Pleasant dreams!

Regency’s Heart & Lung Center has an on-site sleep study program. In addition to unlocking Medicare benefits for Bipap utilization when discharged home, it allows us to ensure our residents can optimize their crucial sleeping hours to achieve optimal health.

It’s one of the ways that Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, offers the very best of care in a patient-centered environment. It also includes listening to our residents and patients and respecting their capabilities, while helping them to achieve maximum functionality and independence. And always maintaining the highest professional and quality standards in our staff and our facilities. Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.

Contact us by clicking here to see which of our three facilities will best meet your needs or the needs of your loved one.

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