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Professional Development Foot Care Conference

Posted by Laura Bolton RPN on March 31, 2017 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

On Saturday March 25, I attended the first annual Professional Development Foot Care Conference in London, Ontario. This conference was a one day conference held at the Best Western Lamplighter. To say there is much to learn about foot care is an understatment. This conference included topics on diabetic foot care, infection control, nail bracing and reconstruction, responsive behaviours, building a business and biomechanics.


All in all, the speakers that presented were exellent. However there were 3 that really stood out for me and they happenened to be the last three speakers of the day - Dr Peter DeShane, Lisa Joworski and Al Ladhani D.Ch.


Lisa, who is a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, spoke about dementia and responsive behaviours. What i picked up from Lisa is to care for someone who has dementia, regardless of what stage they are at in the disease process, is to learn who the individial is behind the disease - what are their likes, their dislikes, what they did for a living, if they hae children or grandchildren, etc. When you get to know who the individual is behind the disease, it is easier to care for them as it is easier to recognize their triggers and know when something is bothering them - can come across as a responsive behaviour. When someone is experiencing a responsive behaviour, having "tricks" to help calm/reassure the individual can help the situation but what may have worked one time, may not work the next. So it is important to try different things.


Dr DeShane, a chiropractor, spoke about building your practice. In his speech, he emphasized when building any business, it needs to be a reflection of who you are - your values, beliefs. he explained to have a successful business, you first need to learn who you are. Once you learn who you are and begin living your life according to your values and beliefs, your business will begin to represent that and will be successful. 


Al, owner of Step by Step Foot Care, gave us a brief introduction of biomechanics (how your body moves). I honestly believe he could have talked all day long about biomechanics. The amount of knowledge he has is incredible. The one thing he stressed throughout his presentation is to really understand biomechanics, you need to have a thorough understanding of human anatomy and physiology. When you have a good understanding of anatomy and physiology, it is easier to understand biomechanics. 

Villagia in the Glebe

Posted by Laura Bolton RPN on March 22, 2017 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)

On February 23, 2017, I started working at the Villagia in the Glebe to provide them with nursing foot care services. It was a slow day at first, but as the residents slowly started to wake up, they began to come upstairs to the salon to say Hi. At first, I did not know how many people would come up but by the end of the day, I had 6 residents come in for appointments and had 2 others booked for another day. Many of the staff stopped in to try the treats from Strawberry Blonde Baking and Metro.


All in all, I think it was a successful day, and I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds at the Villagia in the Glebe. Everyone is welcome to come by the Villagia in the Glebe at 480 Metcalfe Street to say hi. I will be there every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. I look forward to seeing you there.


By: Laura Bolton RPN

 

Heart Basics Part 2

Posted by Laura Bolton RPN on February 13, 2017 at 9:50 PM Comments comments (1)

With February upon us, it is a time to acknowledge and celebrate the month of love and friendship as Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, but it’s also a month to take a look at what it means to have a healthy and happy heart. Yes, I am a Foot Care Nurse, but at the end of the day I am a nurse first and foremost and I think it’s important to take time to really take a look at what I consider to be one of, if not the most, important organ in the human body – heart.


We hear about heart related diseases all the time and ways to prevent them, but why is it so important to take about the heart when talking about overall health? The biggest reason is that it is the main organ that pumps blood to the rest of the body. This means that it helps to regulate circulation, which as we all know, can affect other areas of the body, like the feet. So it’s clear to see how having a healthy heart can make a difference when it comes to taking care of your feet as well.


We have talked before about how the human body is an incredible and interconnected thing with parts and systems that relate to each other in an almost magical kind of way – bones heal after they break, the liver can regenerate itself, a muscle in your hip can be connected to a tendon in your shoulder, the intestinal tract extracts nutrients from the food we eat – the list is endless and for as much as we know about the body, it’s still a mystery in a lot of ways. We are constantly learning new techniques to help it heal itself and new ways the systems connect. One thing is for sure though; nothing would function without the heart.


So, how do we care for this little organ with big personality? Maintaining an active lifestyle and eat a well-balanced diet are a great way to start. Don’t smoke and finding ways to manage one’s stress are also beneficial for all aspects for your body, not just the heart. However, one of the best things we can do for ourselves and our hearts is to learn the signs and symptoms of the various heart conditions because regardless how healthy we aim to be, it helps to know what to look for in case things don’t go as planned. Prevention is key, knowledge is power.


Here are some known and common heart related diseases and their signs, symptoms and treatment methods.


Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) and Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)


What is it?


o Refers to disease of blood vessels outside the heart and brain, often a narrowing of vessels carrying blood to legs, arms, stomach or kidneys. There are two (2) types:

 Functional PVD doesn’t involve blood vessels structure – blood vessels are not physically damaged but have symptoms related to spasms that come and go.

 Organic PVD is caused by structural changes in blood vessels such as inflammation.

• Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is a type of organic PVD caused by fatty build up in inner walls

• PAD is dangerous as it can cause blockages and restrict blood flow mainly in arteries leading to kidneys, stomach, arms, legs and feet; can lead to gangrene and amputation in limbs; if blockage in carotid artery can cause a stroke; higher risk of death from stroke and heart attack.


What are some symptoms?


o Early stages of PVD and PAD have common symptoms such as poor leg circulation and cramping, fatigue, heaviness, and pain/discomfort in legs/buttocks during activity.

o Symptoms of PVD and PAD are also related to poor kidney circulation and can include sudden high blood pressure – or blood pressure that is hard to control with medications. Severe blockages can result in loss of kidney function or failure.


How is it diagnosed?


o Diagnosis begins with a full medical history or exam. Your doctor may do an Ankle brachial index (ABI) or other tests such as doppler or duplex usltrasound imaging, Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA), Computed Tomography Angiogram (CAT/CT Scan), or a regular catheter-based angiogram.


What are the treatment methods?


o Lifestyle changes are the biggest factor in finding ways to treat and manage PVD and PAD as well as the use of some medication.

 Lifestyle changes include stopping smoking, finding ways to control diabetes and blood pressure, physical activity, eating a well-balanced diet, the use of high blood pressure medicine or cholesterol lowering medicine, antiplatelet agents to prevent blood clots, or surgery (if medication and lifestyle not enough).


Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)


What is it?


o CHD ia also referred to as atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, hardening of the arteries, heart disease, narrowing of the arteries, or ischemic heart disease.

o Some of the risk factors for bringing the onset of CHD are smoking, high levels of certain fats and cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and/or insulin resistant diabetes, and blood vessel inflammation.

o Plaque builds up in areas where arteries are damaged and over time the plaque can harden or rupture. Hardened plaque narrows the coronary arteries and reduces the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart and this can this can cause angina (heart pain or discomfort).

o If plaque ruptures, blood cells can stick to damages area forming clots which can further the narrowing of the vessel


What are some symptoms of Angina, a heart attack, heart failure and Arrhythmia?


o Signs of Angina include indigestion, pressure or squeezing in chest, shoulders neck, jaw, or back. Emotional stress can trigger pain as well and pain gets worse with activity and better with rest.


o What is a Heart Attack?


 A heart attack can occur when the blood is blocked from getting to a particular area that is usually due to a clot. If this is not treated quickly the area that is blocked off can die.

 Signs and symptoms include chest pain or discomfort (generally centre or left of heart) that lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back, pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain (mild or severe) can feel like indigestion or heart burn, discomfort in one or both arms, back neck jaw or upper part of stomach, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, light headed or fainting, cold sweats, lack of energy, sleep problems, and fatigue.

o Heart failure is condition where the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs

 Signs and symptoms include shortness of breath, trouble breathing, fatigue, swelling in ankles/legs/feet/stomach/veins in neck – symptoms are a result of fluid build-up in body from a lack of circulation.

o Arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of heartbeat (skipping beats or beating too fast)

 Signs and symptoms can include a fluttering feeling in the chest (palpitations) and some arrhythmias can cause the heart to suddenly stop (sudden cardiac arrest), which can cause death if not treated within minutes.


How is it diagnosed?


o A doctor will most likely perform an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) test that records hearts electrical activity to show how fast the heart is beating and rhythm. An EKG also records strength and timing of electrical signals through the heart.

o Stress testing is when you exercise to make your heart work hard and beat fast while you are connected to monitors to show possible signs and symptoms of CHD such as abnormal changes in heart rate or pressure, shortness of breath or chest pain, abnormal changes in rhythm or electrical activity.

o Echocardiography (echo) uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the heart (shape and size and how well chambers/valves are working) to see if there are any holes in the walls of the chambers that could be causing the abnormalities.

o Chest XRays are also a form of diagnosis where a small dose of radiation is used to take pictures of organs in the chest and can reveal heart failure, lung disorders and other causes of symptoms not related to CHD.

o Blood tests can be performed to checks levels of certain fats, cholesterol, sugar, and proteins as abnormal levels may mean at risk for CHD


What are the treatment methods?


o Treatment and prevention methods are interchangeable as prevention of CHD is the number one form of treatment. Healthy eating, maintaining a healthy weight and finding ways to manage stress help to reduce risk factors. Physical activity and quitting smoking are also suggested as prevention methods. If all else fails, medicines control cholesterol, medical procedures/surgery, or cardiac rehab are options as well.

 

Heart Basics

Posted by Laura Bolton RPN on February 10, 2017 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (0)

The human body is an incredible thing – bones heal after breaks, the lungs exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide, the female body can create new life – it’s like magic. However, too often, we tend to forget to take care of our body. With February being heart month, let's take a little time to talk about this amazing organ works and what can happen to it. In order to understand some of the heart complications, a basic understanding of the cardiovascular system is needed.

 

Our cardiovascular system is comprised of our heart, arteries, veins and capillaries. The heart is responsible for pumping the blood around our body, the arteries carry blood away from the heart, the veins carry blood to the heart and the capillaries connect the arteries and veins together.

 

The human heart is located in the center of the chest, between the 2 lungs. An adult heart is approximately 12 centimeters from top to bottom, about the size of your fist. Crazy right? Imagine, something the size of your fist is responsible from pumping blood throughout your entire body!?!

 

The heart is divided into 4 chambers – 2 upper and 2 lower chambers. The upper chambers are known as the right atrium and left atrium. The lower chambers are known as the right and left ventricle.

As I mentioned earlier, the heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body. So how exactly does it do that? Good question.

 

Blood enters into the right atrium - here the blood is known as unoxygenated blood (blood without oxygen). The blood then gets pumped through a valve and into the right ventricle. From here, the blood is pumped ‘into’ the lungs to become oxygenated (with oxygen). Once the blood is oxygenated, it enters into the left atrium, pumped through a valve into the left ventricle then pumped throughout the body. This cycles continues throughout our lifespan. As the blood goes through our bodies, it delivers oxygen and nutrients to every part of the body.

 

When our cardiovascular system begins to fail, we can experience a wide variety of complications - some can be controlled, but sometimes they can't. My philosophy is prevention is key. Learning how to care for your body while it is still healthy can help you care for your body when our body starts to deteriorate.

 

So, how do we care for this little organ? Stay tuned for some more blog posts.

 

By Laura Bolton RPN



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