Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

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As the population ages, more effort is directed into research about one of the most frightening diseases associated with the elder years: Alzheimer’s Disease. A variety of risk factors, including cardiovascular disease, depression, diabetes, and smoking, have already been identified as risk factors for Alzheimer’s. But now a large study has uncovered a new risk factor: loneliness.

The study, published in The Journals of Gerontology, followed over 12,000 people aged 50 and over for ten years. Researchers, controlling for other known risk factors, found that loneliness was associated with an increased Alzheimer’s risk of 40% over the course of the ten-year period. The increased risk was unrelated to gender, race, ethnic city, or education.

Interestingly, the increased risk provided by loneliness was also independent to whether the study participant was socially isolated. “Social isolation” is an objective measure of how many social contacts a person has on a regular basis. “Loneliness,” however, is a purely subjective experience. The study demonstrated that if a person feels lonely, they have an increased risk of Alzheimer’s, regardless of the number of friends they have.

The study reinforces our understanding that risk factors are not simply objective measurements, but also the subjective interpretation a person has of their situation.

The good news, according to Dr. Angelina Sutin, lead author of the study, is that loneliness “is a modifiable risk factor.” How can you modify this risk factor for your loved one? By ensuring that someone is looking out for your loved one, taking note of their emotional state, and taking action to ensure they are healthy, emotionally as well as physically.

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.

Because an active, involved and rewarding lifestyle is vital to our residents’ total well-being, at Regency, our recreation staff is much larger than a typical facility of similar size.

A comprehensive and stimulating array of programs is designed to appeal to a variety of tastes, interests and levels of ability, and is offered 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 offers 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, hospice care and temporary respite care. Our compassionate, personalized approach, has established our long-standing and unparalleled reputation for excellence.

We always maintain 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.

Loneliness is Associated with Alzheimer’s Disease

As the population ages, more effort is directed into research about one of the most frightening diseases associated with the elder years: Alzheimer’s Disease. A variety of risk factors, including cardiovascular disease, depression, diabetes, and smoking, have already been identified as risk factors for Alzheimer’s. But now a large study has uncovered a new risk factor: loneliness.

The study, published in The Journals of Gerontology, followed over 12,000 people aged 50 and over for ten years. Researchers, controlling for other known risk factors, found that loneliness was associated with an increased Alzheimer’s risk of 40% over the course of the ten-year period. The increased risk was unrelated to gender, race, ethnic city, or education.

Interestingly, the increased risk provided by loneliness was also independent to whether the study participant was socially isolated. “Social isolation” is an objective measure of how many social contacts a person has on a regular basis. “Loneliness,” however, is a purely subjective experience. The study demonstrated that if a person feels lonely, they have an increased risk of Alzheimer’s, regardless of the number of friends they have.

The study reinforces our understanding that risk factors are not simply objective measurements, but also the subjective interpretation a person has of their situation.

The good news, according to Dr. Angelina Sutin, lead author of the study, is that loneliness “is a modifiable risk factor.” How can you modify this risk factor for your loved one? By ensuring that someone is looking out for your loved one, taking note of their emotional state, and taking action to ensure they are healthy, emotionally as well as physically.

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.

Because an active, involved and rewarding lifestyle is vital to our residents’ total well-being, at Regency, our recreation staff is much larger than a typical facility of similar size.

A comprehensive and stimulating array of programs is designed to appeal to a variety of tastes, interests and levels of ability, and is offered 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 offers 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, hospice care and temporary respite care. Our compassionate, personalized approach, has established our long-standing and unparalleled reputation for excellence.

We always maintain 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’s a difficult question, one most people would rather avoid, but will likely find they cannot: How do you ensure that your loved one, when nearing the end of their life, gets the care they need and want?

Surely, Dr. Atul Gawande would know. After all, in addition to being a professor at both Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, a practicing surgeon at Harvard’s second-largest teaching hospital, and heading two public health organizations, he thinks deeply about the human aspects of medicine. That thinking has made him a staff writer for The New Yorker, the author of several best-selling books, and the recipient of a slew of awards, including the prestigious MacArthur fellowship.

If anyone would know what to do when approaching end-of-life decisions, Atul Gawande would.

And yet, he found that he did not. Not when it came to guiding his patients, and not even when it came to caring for his own ailing father.

So he did what most of us cannot: he spent three years researching the issue. The result was a series of articles, culminating in a book called Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.

What did he find out? Shockingly, it was that one should simply talk to the patient, honestly and compassionately, about what they want the end of their life to look like. It’s a conversation — or a series of conversations — that happens far less frequently than it should.

Being Mortal is a book every mortal should read, but for the sake of expediency, we will distill Gawande’s into the short list of “a few important questions,” as enumerated in an adaptation of his book, printed in The New York Times as an op-ed entitled “The Best Possible Day”:

1. What is patient’s understanding of their health or condition?

Too often, it is too little. This may be because of cognitive decline, or because the family simply does not have the heart to tell the full truth to their loved one.

2. What are their goals if their health worsens?

Who could be blamed for trying to avoid this question? But if the patient is not cognitively impaired, it must be asked. Sometimes, the patient has already written an Advance Directive, colloquially known as a Living Will, stating what measures they want taken in a situation in which they are not able to speak for themselves.

But end-of-life decisions are vexing and complex. Simple wishes, stated long before they will ever be implemented, may not be relevant in the patient’s current condition.

3. What are their fears?

Another question that is hard to ask — and often hard to hear the answer to.

4. What are the trade-offs they are willing — and not willing — to make?

If the patient is of sound mind, the answers to this and all the other questions must be honored.

The questions are hard to ask, but by asking them, Gawande says, the family can “often unlock transformative possibilities.” Dr. Gawande also suggests that all these questions be repeated as the patient’s health condition evolves.

Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers prides itself on ensuring its residents have everything they need to design the life they want. 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.

High blood pressure, known medically as hypertension, is known as “the silent killer” for good reason. Silent, because it has no symptoms as it ravages the arteries, the heart, the brain, the kidneys, and even the eyes. A killer, because approximately half of adults with untreated hypertension will die of heart disease, and approximately one-third will die of stroke.

Older adults are at most risk: hypertension is the most common chronic medical condition in seniors, with a whopping 60% currently in treatment.

Why is hypertension dangerous?

Hypertension refers to an increase in the force with which blood flows through the blood vessels. This extra force not only damages the arteries, but also increases the amount of work the heart is forced to do, thus damaging the heart as well.

What are the causes of hypertension?

There are many risk factors for hypertension. Some are uncontrollable, such as a family history of the condition and older age. Other risk factors, however, can be controlled. These include:

  • Smoking, including exposure to secondhand smoke
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Overweight
  • High cholesterol
  • Stress

Certain diseases also increase the risk of hypertension. These include:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Kidney Disease
  • Diabetes

What are the symptoms of hypertension?

Because you cannot feel the movement of blood through your veins, hypertension has no symptoms. The only way to find out if you have this “silent killer” is to have your blood pressure checked regularly.

Can hypertension be treated?

The answer to this is an emphatic Yes! One of the best ways to treat — and, even better, to avoid — hypertension is to address the risk factors mentioned above. In addition, salt increases blood pressure; reducing sodium intake is a helpful step in controlling hypertension.

If high blood pressure cannot be managed by lifestyle changes, a healthcare provider may recommend one or more blood pressure medications. Someone diagnosed with hypertension should see their healthcare provider monthly until their blood pressure is under good control.

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.

Caring for someone at the very end of their life can be exhausting, both physically and emotionally. The goal of hospice care is to make that time easier, for both the patient and their family. The modern hospice movement was created in the late 1960s. It began to gain general acceptance in the late 1970s, and in 1986, it was made a benefit of Medicare.

Who is eligible for Medicare coverage of hospice?

There are two requirements for hospice eligibility:
1. the patient must be entitled to Medicare Part A, and
2. they must be certified by their doctor to have a life expectancy of six months or less, given the normal course of their illness.

That does not mean, however, that the hospice benefit ends after six months. Once the six-month period is over, the patient is eligible for additional hospice care. The extended benefit lasts 60 days, and is renewed automatically, as long as the prognosis remains 6 months or less. That means that people can remain in hospice for years, if they still have a life expectancy of six months or less. Others might leave hospice if they go into remission, with the ability to reenter it if their prognosis ever changes.

What does the Medicare hospice benefit cover?

Medicare covers all care offered by a Medicare-approved provider that is reasonable and necessary to make the patient more comfortable. This care includes:

  • Medical services provided by doctors and nurse practitioners
  • Nursing care
  • Social work services
  • Medication for management of symptoms and pain
  • Medical supplies
  • Short-term inpatient and respite care
  • Home health aide services
  • Psychological counseling
  • Spiritual counseling
  • Bereavement counseling

Two important benefits are:

  1. Therapies, such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy, which are provided for comfort or symptom relief
  2. Coverage of all medication related to the illness, for no more than a $5 co-pay. Since pain medication is often extremely expensive, this benefit alone can remove a tremendous amount of stress from the family.

Caring for a loved one at the end of their life is painful enough; hospice exists to make it lessen that pain for everyone.

The compassionate, personalized approach of the Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers has established our long-standing and unparalleled reputation for excellence. But perhaps nowhere is this compassion more on display than in our hospice care.

Hospice is part of our full continuum of care, which also includes exceptional short-term rehabilitation, sub-acute care, long-term nursing, a range of specialty programs and complex clinical services, and temporary respite care. Our compassionate, personalized approach has established our long-standing and unparalleled reputation for excellence.

Our 25 years of excellence 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 discuss hospice or other types of care. You and your loved one deserve the most sensitive care, especially at the most sensitive times.

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.

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.

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.

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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