Symptoms of Heart Failure

Symptoms of Heart Failure

By Mackenzie Distad, EP-C, BS 

ACSM  Certified Exercise Physiologist/Exercise Specialist

Heart Health Month at ExercisAbilities

We’re right in the middle of Heart Month 2018 at ExercisAbilities and still striving to raise awareness on all things heart health related. Earlier this month, I wrote about the signs of a heart attack. Heart attack and heart failure are both heart related but two different things. Today, I want to talk to you about heart failure and the signs you may see as the heart muscle weakens.

Heart Failure is the term used to describe a heart that can no longer keep up with the needs of the body. The heart muscle is weakened and is not pumping out as much blood (or oxygen) as the rest of the body needs to function.

Symptoms of heart failure include:

  • Shortness of breath (even at rest)
  • nausea or loss of appetite
  • chronic fatigue
  • lightheadedness
  • confusion
  • chronic coughing/wheezing
  • high heart rate
  • build-up of fluid in body tissues (edema)

 

If you are noticing any particular symptoms of heart failure, take action and contact a healthcare professional. Certain tests and scans can be used to determine if you have heart failure and what stage it might be in.

Though heart failure is a chronic condition, the symptoms can be managed and you can live a full and enjoyable life with it. Along with medications, lifestyle changes such as eating a heart-healthy/low-sodium diet and getting regular exercise, can help to control symptoms and progression of heart failure.

For more information on heart failure, visit the American Heart Association website at www.heart.org where you will find additional, valuable resources such as the Self-check Heart Failure Management Guide.

 


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Pediatric Therapy Program at Exercisabilities

Pediatric Therapy Program at Exercisabilities

Why a specialized pediatric program is important when a child needs therapy.

 

Tessah Skoog, PT,DPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Beginning in January 2018, Exercisabilities now offers a pediatric program to meet the needs of the children in our community.  This new program creates a continuum of care from infant to adulthood in one location.  Your child can grow with their therapy program instead of growing out of it.  With a team just for kids, we now provide speech, occupational and physical therapy. We your child to be as independent as possible!

Similar Goals, Different Paths

Treatment for our pediatric program is not significantly different than that of our adult population. However, there are many things to consider when treating a pediatric client:

  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are the parents’ goals for their children?
  • How can we get a child to actively participate in “play” that is therapeutic and purposeful?
  • What if a child won’t do what I want them to? Can I alter each activity to make it skilled and appropriate?

With the adult population, it is easier to make a plan at the beginning of your session and follow it straight through. For example, you might have an adult who has a diagnosis of post stroke. The session will focus on stretching, cardiovascular training, functional activities with sit to stands, reaching or gait training. At the beginning of the session, the client is educated on how the course of the session is likely to go, they agree, and the session is over before you know it.

Pediatric Program Takes Creativity and Passion

With the pediatric population, we need a different approach. There needs to be a variety of activities planned for therapeutic play and the child often does not cooperate the entire time. It takes creativity, energy and passion to treat a pediatric client. With ages ranging from 0-18 (and sometimes older) the pediatric population can provide challenges with how to facilitate functional activities. If you want to get a child to roll, how can you activate the appropriate muscles on the floor, on a stability ball? Use of a variety or resources is needed. It takes more than just telling the child to roll; it involves play, demonstration, and clapping when the activity is completed appropriately.

Consider a child that needs to strengthen their calves.   You want them to reach over head and go on to their tippy toes. Well, you need a mirror, a shelf or something for them to reach for. It then becomes an activity that they don’t even realize they are doing! They are on their toes reaching for their favorite toy above them because they want it so bad! A pediatric session waxes and wanes, it’s a rollercoaster. You don’t spend 15 minutes on one activity, you’re lucky to get 5 minutes!

Team of Therapists

It also takes a team.  The needs a developing child can be very different from that of an adult.  Things like learning development, speech development, social interaction, and ability to play can be impacted by trauma, cognitive or physical impairments.  Exercisabilities has an experienced pediatric team of occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy to work on all aspects of recovery and development.

But what about school therapy, isn’t that enough or doesn’t the school have an obligation to provide therapy to all children in need.  Yes, school-based therapies are important.  The goals of school-based therapies are to insure that all children get equal access to and benefit from school education.  Often, it is not enough.  For recovery and improved development to occur, frequency of intervention is key.  Accessing an outpatient skilled therapy program in addition to your periodic school-based therapies is often essential for success to occur.

Early Intervention

The overall benefit of a utilizing a separate and specialized pediatric therapy program with early intervention is to promote a higher level of independence lifelong for your child. We want each child to do as much as they can! With regularly scheduled therapies available at younger ages, strength can develop earlier, contractures can be prevented, speech can be improved, social interaction will excel, strategies for families and school can be made, and necessary equipment discovered.  As the child grows, adjustments need to be made often to make for a successful overall plan.  Pediatric therapy is IMPORTANT! Exercisabilities wants to be a place that makes all things POSSIBLE for children (and adults)!

At the end of the day, pediatric or adult, the goals are the same: to help each person reach their full potential and to improve. How we reach our goals and get to our final destination looks VERY different. Age is a number, but we need to be mindful how we meet the needs of our patients at all ages.

 


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Safe Snow Shoveling

Safe Snow Shoveling

Tips for Safe Snow Shoveling in the Winter

By Mackenzie Distad
Exercise Specialist / Exercise Physiologist
Exercisabilities, INC.

The cold weather we experience in Minnesota, along with the physical exertion of shoveling snow, can put strain on the heart. Snow shoveling is a known trigger for heart attacks, and can be more strenuous than exercising “full throttle” on a treadmill. If you need to clear away the snow this winter, here are some tips for keeping your heart safe!

  • Consult a doctor ahead of time. Before you start shoveling, talk with your doctor if you have a medical condition, do not exercise regularly or are middle-aged or older.
  • Don’t eat a big meal before or soon after shoveling. Eating a large meal can put an extra load on your heart.
  • Do not drink alcohol before or immediately after shoveling. Alcohol can increase a person’s sensation of warmth and may cause you to underestimate the extra strain your body is under in the cold.
  • Give yourself a break. Take frequent breaks to avoid overstressing your heart. Pay attention to how your body feels during those breaks.
  • Use a small shovel or a snow thrower. The act of lifting heavy snow can raise blood pressure during the lift. It is safer to lift smaller amounts. When possible, simply push the snow.
  • Learn the heart attack warning signs and listen to your body. Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out. Carry your cellphone in your pocket and call 911 immediately if you experience any signs of a heart attack.
  • Check the weather. Besides cold temperatures, high winds, snow and rain also can steal body heat. Wind is especially dangerous, because it removes the layer of heated air from around your body. Similarly, dampness causes the body to lose heat faster than it would at the same temperature in drier conditions. If the weather conditions are becoming dangerous, try to stay inside – shoveling might need to wait.
  • Be aware of the dangers of hypothermia. Heart failure causes most deaths in hypothermia. To prevent hypothermia, dress in layers of warm clothing, which traps air between layers forming a protective insulation. Wear a hat because much of the body’s heat can be lost through the head.
  • Cover your face. Breathing in cold air can cause constriction of the airways in the lungs and also constriction of the blood vessels – increasing blood pressure. Use a mask or scarf to cover your mouth and nose if you are out in the cold to warm the air you inhale.
  • Find someone to help or do it for you. If you are worried about the physical exertion or your heart’s safety, find someone to help. A family member, friend or maybe a teenage neighbor could remove the snow safely for a few bucks!
References

Patrick J. Skerrett. (2016, June 20). Protect your heart when shoveling snow – Harvard Health Blog [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/protect-your-heart-when-shoveling-snow-201101151153

Snow shoveling heart risks, tips to stay safe – News on Heart.org [Web log post]. (2016, January 22). Retrieved from https://news.heart.org/snow-shoveling-heart-risks-tips-to-stay-safe/

 


You can help with our 2018 Goals: 200 Twitter followers and 800 Facebook followers!

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Forever Strong – Post Rehabilitation Program

Forever Strong – Post Rehabilitation Program

Forever Strong

Post-Rehabilitation Exercise Therapy

 

So you’ve been to rehab. “Been there, done that” as they say. What’s next? Nothing? It can’t be nothing. Your rehab needs aren’t gone. You know you haven’t maximized your recovery ability.  There must be more.

Relax, there is.

Physical Therapy at ExercisAbilities

Continuum Health Care

The Forever Strong Program at ExercisAbilities is a one-of-a-kind program in Rochester MN, created to provide post-rehabilitation fitness and recreational services when the need for full rehabilitation services are over or no longer available to you. It is a continuum rehabilitation healthcare program.

Post-Rehabilitation

Your rehabilitation needs may never end, however, “skilled” insurance paid therapy by an occupational, physical, or speech therapist may end.   It may end because your insurance coverage for rehabilitation ends. It may end because the therapist determines your rehabilitation has plateaued and believes you may not see significant improvement going forward. At ExercisAbilities we know that your long-term health and wellness goals likely require ongoing treatment with assist by skilled practitioners, which we call Post-Rehabilitation.

Post-Rehabilitation may be the next step for you. Post-Rehabilitation allows you to continue with a healthcare program specifically designed for you, your needs, your medical condition and your fitness level. This may mean more rehabilitation or a transition to exercise therapy, recreational therapy and exercise classes. The post-rehabilitation program we design will be customized for you.

Forever Strong Post-Rehabilitation Program

At ExercisAbilities, the Forever Strong Program is our unique approach to your long-term wellness. This program provides a lifelong approach to your wellness in relationship to your medical diagnosis or physical limitation. After an initial assessment of your ability level, our staff will determine the next steps in a program specially designed for you. Your program will be modified to accommodate your physical and cognitive abilities and will focus on providing safe and effective post-rehabilitation recovery interventions. We have specially trained exercise specialists and therapeutic recreation staff to serve you and the program is provided in consultation with onsite licensed physical and occupational therapists.

Your individualized program may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, exercise therapy (specialized medical fitness), diagnosis specific exercises classes and more. Our services range from group therapy classes, such as our Stroke Recovery classes, to specific and individualized exercise therapy.

 

Who needs Forever Strong?

The Forever Strong Post-Rehabilitation Program will be advantageous for a large variety of situations and diagnosis. Physical Therapy at ExercisabilitiesIf you have graduated out of a recovery or rehabilitation program but know you need on-going treatment to reach your maximum potential, then this program is for you. If your insurance coverage is maxed out, no longer paying for your rehabilitation, this program is for you. If you want to be Forever Strong, despite your physical limitations, this program is for you. If you want to find the ability in your disability, this program is for you. Wheelchair users, Parkinson Disease, Stroke Recovery, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy clients and more will benefit from this program.

How Do I Get Started with Post-Rehabilitation?

Getting started is easy. Every new client at ExercisAbilities receives a free, individual health fitness assessment. New clients meet with an Exercise Specialist or Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. Our staff will assess your ability level and review your specific history to help them understand your needs and goals. Together, you will plan your Road Map to Health which will include recommended classes and services to meet your individual needs. Staff will also give you a free orientation of our facility, so you can see the available equipment and exercise rooms.

To get started, stop by our front desk to schedule your New Client Assessment or call 507-259-7570.  We do not require a medical provider referral.

How Much Does Post Rehabilitation cost?

The Forever Strong Post-Rehabilitation Program is customized per client, allowing us to design individualized post-rehabilitation programs for each client. Your custom program may include a variety of our services and thus there isn’t a set cost for the program.

As part of your New Client Assessment, you will meet with our business office staff to explore your payment options. This may include self-payment, waiver assistance with state funding programs, a sliding-scale payment or subsidized payments made possible by community donations to ExercisAbilities as we are a non-profit organization.

Because this is a post-rehabilitation program, most often used after prescribed rehabilitation or insurance payments have ended, it is unusual for formal medical insurance programs to cover the costs but check with your insurance company.

Forever Strong – A Lifetime of Health and Fitness

Being well is not a luxury, it is a need to which each person should have access. Massive amounts of research now point to activity and fitness as the primary factor in living a longer, healthier life. Don’t let your rehabilitation journey stop and risk going backward in your progress.

Call 507-259-7570 or stop by our office at 2530 N. Broadway to get started.

Keep gaining strength by joining our Forever Strong Post Rehabilitation Program today!


You can help with our 2018 Goals: 200 Twitter followers and 800 Facebook followers!

Follow us on  Twitter @Exercisabilitie and  Facebook @Exercisabilities

You can help with Fundraising for Exercisabilities programs in one easy step on Facebook

RAF Grant for new Pediatric Program
Ten Thousand dollar grant received from Rochester Area Foundation

You can help to fundraise for EA with a few easy steps on Facebook!  Start today!

  • Do you have a Facebook account?
  • Have you liked @exercisabilities on Facebook?
  • Have you wondered how you could help join in on helping EA with fundraising efforts to support our programs and help to grow our scholarship program, but not sure how?
  • We have the easy fundraising answer – a facebook fundraiser

Here’s the scoop

Facebook has created a new program to assist nonprofits to raise fee-free money and to assist friends of nonprofits to assist with peer to peer efforts. Here is how you can help.

On your phone: Below the donate tab, there are tabs that read home, about, etc. that scroll from right to left.  Scroll to the end to find FUNDRAISERS tab and click.  Follow the instructions.

On Computer:  You will find the fundraisers tab on the left on the main page.  Click and follow instructions.

The instructions are very easy, you can write a story of why you want to help EA, select contacts who you think will like to donate, and ask them to share your post.

Donating is so easy for your contacts!  They can use a credit card and all funds go straight into our bank account without any fees from Facebook!  This is the best fee free fundraising that you can do to help EA reach our nonprofit goals of access to ALL!  Thank you for considering assisting in our fundraising efforts at EA!  You can help us make a big difference in many lives!