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Living With Chronic Disease

Diseases such as congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and diabetes are among the most prevalent, costly, and preventable of all health problems.

Living With Chronic Disease Care in Morristown, TN

One of every ten Americans, over 25 million people, suffer every day with chronic, disabling conditions that cause pain and major limitations in their activity.

At Interim HealthCare of East Tennessee, we care about our patient's quality of life.  We strive to help them understand their conditions. We teach them to take action to prevent complications and slow the progression of the disease, thus providing the individual with a sense of control over their condition. Home care for patients with chronic disease has also been shown to reduce hospitalization rates.

Our home care professionals are specially trained to help people suffering from COPD, CHF, Diabetes and other chronic conditions, we will work with you or your loved one to understand what causes their symptoms and to take actions that have been proven to improve the quality of life for others suffering from these chronic diseases.


Living with C.O.P.D.

What is C.O.P.D.?
In people who have COPD, lungs are damaged and the passages that carry air in and out of the lungs are partially blocked, making it hard to breathe. Most people who have COPD have a combination of the two conditions that form the disease. Chronic bronchitis is a long-term cough with mucus, which can further block the narrowed airways, and emphysema is the destruction of the lungs over time, making it more difficult for surface area there to exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide. Smoking is the leading cause of COPD, and the more the person smokes, the more likely they are to develop it. Other risk factors include exposure to certain chemical fumes in the workplace, heavy exposure to secondhand smoke and frequent use of cooking fire without ventilation. Dust and other air pollution may also play a role.
C.O.P.D. Stages
The signs and symptoms of COPD can vary, and most do not appear until significant damage has been done to the lungs because the disease develops over a long period of time. Most people are at least 40 years old by the time they start to notice symptoms. The majority of people with COPD will experience shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness and chronic coughing. If no action is taken to slow or stop it - whether by quitting smoking or beginning medical treatment - the disease gets progressively worse.
C.O.P.D. Treatment
Although there is no cure for COPD, there are many things you can do to relieve symptoms and keep the disease from getting worse. Once diagnosed, a doctor will order the patient to stop smoking, because this is the best way to slow down lung damage. Inhalers may be prescribed to open the patient's airways, and inhaled steroids may be used to reduce lung inflammation. Anti-inflammatory medications are sometimes used, and in severe cases or symptom flare-ups, patients may need steroids by mouth or intravenously, oxygen therapy, bronchodilators through a nebulizer or assistance from a breathing machine. Doctors may also recommend that people with COPD start or maintain an exercise regimen that can help maintain muscle in the legs, which may require the use of a physical therapist who can teach the patient how to breathe correctly while walking and help them increase their distance.
Home Care Services for C.O.P.D.
Interim HealthCare has extensive expertise in helping individuals and their families live with COPD. In addition to transitioning home after a hospital stay, Interim can also work with you, your physician and family to customize a program that:
  • Provides medication reminders, assistance, administration and reconciliation, as well as oxygen therapy at home if necessary
  • Teaches an individual how to recognize early changes in how they feel, and to take appropriate action to decrease episodes of serious illness
  • Assists with physician follow up including transportation
  • Helps with the daily activities of living such as bathing and dressing and ensuring the home is free of factors that may worsen the condition, such as very cold air, smoke or other air pollution.

Living With Diabetes

Diabetes is a widespread disease that affects people of all ages, races and genders across the U.S. According to the American Diabetes Association, about 25.8 million Americans have diabetes, which makes up 8.3 percent of the country's population.
Interim HealthCare can customize a program that helps you:
  • Understand your disease and what causes it to have greater or lesser impact on your health and well-being.
  • Know how to monitor the disease and what to do when levels aren't where they should be.
  • Manage your medications - all of them, not just your insulin.
  • See the impact of behaviors on your diabetes. We’ll cover nutrition topics as well as other lifestyle items.
  • Learn how to exercise in your zone.
  • Learn to watch for signs that your diabetes might be having a negative impact on skin or nerve feelings.
  • Help you communicate effectively with your physician.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the levels of glucose, or sugar, in the blood are higher than they should be, and there is not enough insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, to control it. The disease can be caused by too little insulin, a resistance to insulin or both. There are three major types of diabetes - type 1 can occur at any age, but is most often diagnosed in children, teens or young adults whose bodies make small amounts of insulin or none at all. Type 2 diabetes is the most frequently diagnosed, typically during adulthood. However, it is being increasingly diagnosed in teens and young adults because of high obesity rates. Gestational diabetes refers to the development of high blood sugar in pregnant women who did not previously have the disease. In all cases of diabetes, patients may experience similar symptoms, such as blurry vision, excess thirst, fatigue, frequent urination, hunger and weight loss.
Diabetes Treatment

While there is currently no cure for diabetes, the disease can be effectively managed with medications and a change in diet and exercise. An important part of treatment is maintaining a healthy weight. Although there is no typical or strict "diabetes diet," it is recommended to eat foods that are high in nutrition and low in calories - like fruits, whole grains and vegetables - instead of fatty, sugary foods. Physical activity is also a must to manage weight, lower blood sugar levels and increase the body's sensitivity to insulin. People with diabetes should aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity most days of the week. Medications and monitoring of blood sugar levels will be a part of life for people with diabetes. Depending on the condition, blood sugar should be monitored several times a day or several times a week. In addition, many people need insulin therapy throughout the day or may need to take other oral or injected medications to manage the condition.
Home Care Services for Diabetes

At Interim HealthCare we understand that living with diabetes may be challenging. From establishing a healthy lifestyle to managing blood sugar and insulin levels, the disease may require extra care outside regular visits to the doctor or after a stay in the hospital. Interim HealthCare has experience in helping individuals and their families live with diabetes. Our home healthcare professionals can visit people with diabetes in their homes or at assisted living communities to provide care or supplement a healthcare regimen.

Living with Heart Disease (C.A.D.)

Coronary artery disease (C.A.D), also called coronary heart disease, or simply, heart disease, is the No. 1 killer in America, affecting more than 13 million Americans.
Interim HealthCare has experience in helping individuals and their families live with C.A.D. We can customize a Home Care program for Heart Disease Patients that:
  • Provides medication reminders, assistance, administration and reconciliation
  • Teaches an individual how to recognize early changes in how they feel, and to take appropriate action to decrease episodes of serious illness
  • Develops and/or prepares a heart healthy diet (including shopping and meal preparation, if necessary)
  • Assists with physician follow up including transportation
  • Helps with the daily activities of living such as bathing and dressing
What is C.A.D?
Coronary artery disease is atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries, which may produce blockages in the blood vessels which nourish the heart muscle itself. Atherosclerosis is a condition in which fatty material collects along the walls of arteries. This fatty material thickens, hardens (forms calcium deposits), and may block the arteries to different organs in the body, including the heart, brain, kidneys, male sexual organs or legs.

When atherosclerosis blocks the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart, it is called coronary artery disease (C.A.D).

As the coronary arteries narrow, blood flow to the heart can slow down or stop. This can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, heart attack, and other symptoms, usually when the person is active. The most common symptom of Coronary Artery Disease is angina. Angina is chest pain that occurs when the heart does not get enough oxygen-rich blood.
A risk factor for heart disease is something that increases your chance of getting it. You cannot change some risk factors for heart disease, but others you can change.
  • The risk factors for heart disease that you cannot change are:
  • Your age. The risk of heart disease increases with age.
  • Your gender. Men have a higher risk of getting heart disease than women although after menopause, the risk for women is closer to the risk for men.
  • Your genes. If your parents or other close relatives had heart disease, you are at higher risk.
  • Your race. African Americans, Mexican Americans, American Indians, Hawaiians, and some Asian Americans also have a higher risk for heart problems.
People with C.A.D may need help with daily tasks, such as fixing food and getting dressed, and with other activities, such as running errands and housekeeping. At some point, there may also be a need for health care support, such as managing medications, coordinating physician visits or transitioning to home care after a stay in the hospital.
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I cannot begin to express how much the kindness and support from Interim HealthCare helped us during a truly difficult time.
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