Never Ignore Your Doctor's Advice About Your Blood Pressure

I have always been in pretty good health, so I was surprised one day when my doctor told me my blood pressure was a bit high. She told me to begin watching my salt intake, start exercising, and to try to relax. Well, I intended to follow her advice when I left her office, but the next day I was back to my same habits. I kept using the salt shaker and didn't begin an exercise routine like I had planned. When I went for my next check-up, she told me that my blood pressure was even higher and approaching a dangerous level. I had to begin a blood pressure medication to manage it. I wanted to create a blog to share my story and remind people to listen to their doctors' advice. If a few lifestyle changes can improve your health, then you should make them.

3 Things You Didn't Know About Palliative Care


The term "palliative care" may have ominous overtones, but if you're suffering from terrible pain or other symptoms that make daily existence a nightmare, it can literally be a lifesaver. Palliative care is a treatment regimen aimed at calming severe symptoms of all kinds, helping you tolerate your medication, cope with your condition and generally enjoy a higher quality of life -- and for some patients with life-threatening illnesses, it may even help prolong survival. Here are three exciting considerations that just might change your mind about this form of relief.

1. You Don't Have to Be Dying

Some people automatically associate palliative care with hospice care since it's so commonly offered in that environment. As a result, you might assume that you have to be in an end-of-life situation before you can receive relief for your symptoms.This misconception could cause you to suffer needlessly, so strike it from your mind right now! 

It's true that hospices offering palliative care generally accept only those individuals believed to have 6 months or less to live. But hospices are only one source of this form of treatment. Palliative care can benefit anyone, of any age, struggling with severe pain, nausea, fatigue and other debilitating issues. It doesn't matter whether your misery stems directly from a health condition or from the methods used to combat it, such as chemotherapy or radiation. Better yet, you can obtain palliative care for temporary or curable conditions as well as chronic, non-curable ones. Once you're feeling better, simply discontinue the routine and get on with your life.

2. You Can Get Both Physical and Emotional Relief

The symptoms that accompany a serious illness or injury may go beyond physical discomfort or disability. Emotional problems such as anxiety and depression are strongly associated with painful chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic headaches, neuropathy, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), spinal pain and other ongoing agonies. In fact, it appears that depression and pain make use of the same neurological pathways, meaning that the connection is physical as well as emotional. A comprehensive palliative care program addresses these issues alongside your physical pain.

Palliative care also includes a spiritual component for those who take comfort from their beliefs in times of trouble. This has become an increasingly common element of multi-disciplinary programs in which doctors work side by side with other kinds of specialists. You may enjoy access to social workers, chaplains and other skilled counselors who can help you cope with the daily stresses of your situation.

On the other end of the scale, many of those stresses may be financial or logistical. If you're overwhelmed by legal questions, insurance paperwork and medical information, you'll be relieved to know that palliative care can help you in these areas as well. Your palliative care program can connect you with various counselors and advisors who can simplify the mountain of details and help you streamline your life during this challenging time.

3. Your Long-term Care Insurance Might Cover It

Perhaps you've resisted looking into palliative care because you're worried that you can't afford the full range of services you need. Medicare's "long-term" care coverage only extends for 100 days, after all, with 100 percent coverage for a mere 20 days -- and the items covered are only those deemed medically necessary. But if you bought your own long-term care policy years ago to provide yourself with "nursing home insurance," dust it off and take a close look at what it really provides. You may find that your long-term care coverage includes palliative care as long as your doctor states that you're having trouble with any two of the following activities of daily living:

  • Using the toilet
  • Eating
  • Bladder/bowel control
  • Dressing
  • Bathing
  • Transferring (from bed to chair, et cetera)

Bear in mind most long-term care policies are more likely to specific hospice care as opposed to general palliative care -- but there are exceptions. It could be well worth it to go over the fine print of your policy just to see whether you've already purchased the necessary financial support for this form of care!

Don't let suffering set the tone for the rest of your life. Talk to your doctor and insurance provider or a palliative care facility, such as Corner Home Medical, about the possibility to pursuing palliative care, either now or as needed in the future. A life worth living is worth living well!


22 February 2016