Tuesday, 17 November 2020

November is Fall Prevention Month

Every year, 1 in 3 Alberta seniors will fall.

Take action to reduce your risk.

Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults. The older we get, the greater the risk of falling becomes. Our bodies naturally change with age, and these changes affect the way we feel, move, and behave. 

  • Older adults with muscle weakness are 4-5 times more likely to fall.
  • Try to do 30 minutes or more of physical activity at least 5 days each week.
  • Walking, dancing, Tai Chi, and cross-country skiing are a few great ways to be active.

A fall can have a devastating and lasting impact on an individual resulting in injury, chronic pain and a reduced quality of life. Even without an injury, a fall can cause a loss in confidence and a reduction in activities for older adults.

  • Older adults with low vision are 2.5 times more likely to fall.
  • A comprehensive eye exam will test your vision and look for issues like glaucoma and cataracts.
  • Alberta Health Care covers the cost of eye exams for adults 65 and older.

Some medications can also put you at risk of a fall.

  • Seniors taking more than 3 - 4 medications are at a higher risk of falls.
  • Some prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements can increase your risk of falling.
These actions can help you prevent a fall and stay independent:
  • Learn more about how to lower your fall risk to prevent yourself from falling or falling again.
  • Talk with a physiotherapist to get the best walking aid for your needs.
  • Exercise to improve your strength and balance.
  • Talk with a physiotherapist or our PCN Exercise Specialist about exercise to improve your balance.
  • Talk to your health care provider if you are worried about falling, especially if it stops you from being active.
  • Do 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week strengthening your muscles can reduce your risk of falling - our PCN Exercise Specialist can provide guidance and exercise routines.
  • Keep active to improve strength and balance. 
  • Talk with your doctor or health care provider about managing the need to rush to the toilet. Rushing could increase your risk of a fall. 
  • Talk to your podiatrist or doctor if you have numbness in your feet; numbness can cause a fall.
  • Review your medications, vitamins, and supplements with your pharmacist or doctor yearly or if  your prescription changes or new medications are added. 
  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about medication side effects or causes of light-headedness. Sometimes an adjustment of dosage or type of medication can help.
  • Are you sad or have concerns about anxiety or depression? Talk to your health care provider or doctor about how you are feeling.
  • Visit an eye doctor yearly to check your eye health. Poor vision or a change in vision can increase the risk of a fall.
  • Wear proper shoes, especially outside. Take extra care when walking on snow or ice-covered sidewalks or parking lots. Learn the "Penguin Walk".

Take this online assessment quiz to see if you are at risk of a fall.

Health care providers can print paper copies of this quiz, here.

Learn more at https://www.fallpreventionmonth.ca/

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

November is Diabetes Awareness Month! 

Did you know that 1 in 3 Canadians are living with diabetes or prediabetes? So many lives are touched by this chronic disease, yet so few Canadians know they are at risk for developing diabetes. 

What is Diabetes?

It’s a chronic disease where the body cannot make enough insulin or cannot use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps to control blood sugars. A high amount of sugar in the blood over a long period of time can damage organs, blood vessels, and nerves.  

Are you at risk?

Not much is known about definite risk factors for Type 1 Diabetes, but there are quite a few risk factors for developing Type 2 Diabetes. Some we can have some control over, but some we cannot. 

Here’s a list of risk factors for developing Type 2 Diabetes:

• Have a parent, brother, or sister living with diabetes.

• Member of high-risk group (Indigenous, Hispanic, South Asian, Asian, African descent)

• Have given birth to a baby weighing more than 4kg or 9lb

• Have had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)

• Prediabetes diagnosis

• Have high blood pressure

• Have high cholesterol  or high blood fats

• Have extra weight around abdomen, overweight

• Have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) diagnosis

• Have acanthosis nigricans diagnosis

• Have obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis

• Have diagnosed psychiatric disorders: schizophrenia, depression

Ask your doctor to test if you have diabetes if you are over 40 years old or if you have several risk factors after taking this risk test: https://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/en/canrisk

Don’t have a doctor?  Find one here: www.albertafindadoctor.ca

Fight the Risk

Here are some healthy habit ideas that can help lower your risk of diabetes:

• Eat a high fibre breakfast everyday

• Eat 1 cup of vegetables at each of your meals

• Eat 2-3 servings of fruit each day (1 serving =0.5 cup or tennis ball size piece of fruit)  

• Go for a 10-15 minute walk at lunch everyday

• Try deep breathing or visualization technique to manage your stress or check out other stress management techniques at https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/tests-treatments/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=rlxsk&

Your Team

You have a team of Registered Dietitians, Exercise Specialist, Registered Nurses, Behavioural Health Consultants and Mental Health Therapists that can support your health journey through the Team-Based Care program at the PCN.  You can access this team for support by asking for a referral from your family doctor.  

Monday, 9 November 2020

Nurse Practitioner Week

It's Nurse Practitioner Week!
Nurse Practitioners (NPs) first appeared in Canada in the 1960s. There are currently 7136 licenced NPs working in Canada with 640 of them in Alberta and TWO at our PCN!
Our Nurse Practitioners, Marilyn and Michelle, provide patient-centred, high quality care in the communities of Calmar, Thorsby and Warburg. See our website to find out more about Nurse Practitioners and how they support their patients.

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Overview of the 24-hour Movement Guidelines for people ages 18-64 from the Leduc Beaumont Devon PCN Exercise Specialist

 24-hour Movement Guidelines for people ages 18-64: An integration of physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep.

As an exercise physiologist who practices in the field of chronic disease management, I often have conversations with patients about increasing daily physical activity. Although beneficial overall, and depending on the individual, simply adding some physical activity to their day is not enough to truly produce the ideal level of heathy change for that person. These guidelines created by the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology (CSEP) are now available to help provide specifics to answer that question for patients.

The guidelines themselves can be broken down to a few specific categories to ensure a “healthy 24 hours”. These include physical activity, sleep, and sedentary behaviours, or time spend inactive or sitting.

Physical Activity

Beginning with physical activity, the recommendations continue to include 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity added up throughout your week as well as muscle strengthening exercises for your major muscle groups two times per week. It is important to keep in mind these recommendations are for an individual that does not have any medical conditions or disabilities that would prevent their ability to reach these activities levels. If an individual is not able to reach these guidelines from a medical standpoint, they should consult with their health care team to determine appropriate levels of physical activity. This also includes several ours of light physical activity such as standing, which I will speak more on later.


The 24-hour Movement Guidelines recommends 7-9 hours of sleep, which includes regular wake and sleep cycles. This continues to follow the current guidelines and remains the gold standard for sleep goals.

Sedentary Behaviour

This is the time spent being inactive such as sitting at a desk, watching TV or sitting in front of a screen. CSEP currently recommends limiting sedentary behaviour to 8 hours or less per day with goals of less than 3 hours of screen time a day, and breaking up long periods of sedentary positions as much as possible; I always tell my patients to try not to sit for more than an hour at a time.

It is important to discuss how people can implement these guidelines and why the recommendations are what they are. Sleep is self explanatory, but I believe these guidelines truly shine when reviewing the recommendations for physical activity and sedentary behaviour.

The get the biggest benefit from the guidelines, people should try and create a goal of turning more sedentary time into beneficial light activities such as standing, walking, moving, and progressing times you may be performing these light activities into more moderate of vigorous activities. Progressing these activities in your day increases the amount of time you spend moving each day, the calories that you burn, and helps your body adapt to being more physically active. When progressing sedentary time to light activity times such as standing, it helps increase what is called NEAT which stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, NEAT is defined as the energy spent for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. It ranges from the energy spent walking to work, typing on a computer, performing yard work, doing yard work or gardening, and even fidgeting. The more you can move outside of planned times for physical activity, the higher your NEAT and the more calories you will burn and the greater, overall likelihood of positive health outcomes.

It is important to realize these are 24-hour movement guidelines and not physical activity guidelines. These new guidelines help to promote a greater range of activities per day, while emphasizing sleep and reducing sedentary behaviour and continuing to support the previous physical activity guidelines as provided by CSEP.

~ Adrien DeGroot BHK, CSEP-CEP, R.Kin, CSEP - High Performance Specialist, is an Exercise Specialist at the Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network. To access his services, please ask your PCN family doctor for a referral.

To view and participate in Adrien's at-home workouts, please check out our LBD PCN YouTube channel.

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Thorsby Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic now open!

Last week, we held a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the Thorsby Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic.
The Thorsby Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic is open Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9am - 4pm and is co-located with the Thorsby Public Health Centre. Pictured are:
Shawna Ofstie - Leduc County Committee Member
Kyla Pastushuk – Clinical Administrator, Thorsby and Warburg Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics
Lori Briggs – Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network (PCN) Manager, Clinical Operations
Michelle Williams – Thorsby & Warburg Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics
Glenn Belozer - Leduc County Deputy Mayor
Roy Raymond - Thorsby Mayor
Jocelyn Tews – Alberta Health Services, Registered Nurse, Public Health - Rural
Cliff Richard – PCN Executive Director
For more information on the services the Nurse Practitioner provides and how to access these clinics, please visit: http://lbdpcn.com/Programs/Pages/Nurse-Practitioner.aspx

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

World Heart Day

 September 29th is World Heart Day!

Created by the World Heart Federation, World Heart Day informs people around the globe that cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke, is the world’s leading cause of death claiming 17.9 million lives each year, and highlights the actions that individuals can take to prevent and control CVD. It aims to drive action to educate people that by controlling risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided. 

The term ‘cardiovascular disease’ (CVD) refers to any disease of the heart, vascular disease of the brain, or disease of the blood vessel. 

There are many risk factors associated with coronary heart disease and stroke. Some risk factors, such as family history, cannot be modified, while other risk factors, like high blood pressure, can be modified with treatment.

You will not necessarily develop cardiovascular disease if you have a risk factor. But the more risk factors you have, the greater the likelihood that you will, unless you take action to modify your risk factors and work to prevent them compromising your heart health.

Risk factors that you can change include:

  • Physical inactivity
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Tobacco use
  • Cholesterol
  • Obesity and being overweight

Risk factors you can't change include:

  • Family history
  • Diabetes

Other common risk factors include:

  • Age: simply getting old is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease; risk of stroke doubles every decade after age 55.
  • Gender: a man is at greater risk of heart disease than a pre-menopausal woman. Once past menopause, a woman’s risk is similar to a man’s. Risk of stroke is similar for men and women.
  • Ethnicity: people with African or Asian ancestry are at higher risks of developing cardiovascular disease than other racial groups.
  • Socioeconomic status: being poor, no matter where in the globe, increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. A chronically stressful life, social isolation, anxiety and depression also increase the risk.
Know your risks and learn the warning signs at the World Heart Federation website.

Information from the World Heart Federation.

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

September Newsletter now available!

Our September newsletter has just been released! Included you will find:
- a link to our patient experience survey
- masking policy at our PCN
- upcoming workshops and classes
- updates for a couple of our programs
- Thorsby Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic now open! - much more!
Read the newsletter here and please subscribe.