Older & Wiser

Why Main Street Hospital Is The Smart Choice for Seniors

When it comes to aging, we’re all headed in the same direction.

Growing older is a natural part of life. Unfortunately, it’s also a time when many people face new health concerns, from osteoporosis and joint problems to an increased risk for heart disease and cancer. At Main Street Hospital, we provide seniors with the medical services, technology and expertise to meet their health challenges, so they can make the most of their golden years. Here’s a brief overview of some of the services we provide.

Joint Replacement and Orthopedic Services
If you’re a senior adult, your hips and knees have been working hard for 65 years or more, giving you the mobility to enjoy life. But over time, the cartilage in these joints can either wear out or be severely damaged by arthritis, causing pain, swelling, stiffness and lack of mobility.

Fortunately, joint replacement surgery is today a common medical procedure. For example, over 400,000 hip or knee replacements are performed in the United States each year. If you’re having difficulty walking or find it painful to perform daily activities such as climbing steps, you may want to consider having joint replacement surgery. A first step is to talk to your primary care physician and make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. In many cases, an X-ray or other imaging device is first used to determine the severity of damage to the injured joint. Arthroscopic surgery is another option. A small lighted tube is inserted into the joint to inspect the area and determine the extent of the damage.

Joint replacement surgery for a knee or hip normally takes about two hours or less. Physical therapy usually begins at the hospital and continues after the patient returns home. Within a few weeks or even days, the vast majority of patients are enjoying much greater mobility and living far more active lives.

Bone Density Test for Osteoporosis
It’s estimated that 28 million Americans (80 percent of them women) already have osteoporosis or are at risk for the disease. Osteoporosis occurs when your body loses bone mass more quickly than it can rebuild it. It’s often known as the Silent Disease because it can go undetected and progress until a bone fractures.

A bone density test uses X-rays to measure the amount of calcium and other minerals that keep your bones strong. Every man age 70 and older and every woman 65 and older should have a bone density test. Men under the age of 70 and post-menopausal women younger than 65 should talk to their physician about testing earlier if they have any of the risk factors for osteoporosis:
1. History of bone fractures
2. Family history of osteoporosis
3. History of taking oral steroids for more than three months
4. Smoking
5. Small and thin body frame

Cardiac Services
It’s a hard fact of life: 83 percent of heart attacks occur after age 65. And heart disease is America’s most serious health problem, affecting approximately 84 million people. The first step in fighting heart disease is to schedule an annual physical exam. Your personal physician can check the four numbers critical for a healthy heart: your blood pressure (120/80 is optimal), your cholesterol level (anything higher than 200 puts you at risk for heart disease), your blood sugar (100 maximum) and your resting heart rate.

After completing this initial exam, your physician may believe further tests are required. Main Street Hospital has the expertise and the technology to give your heart a thorough examination, whether an electrocardiogram, chest X-ray, echocardiogram, stress test, CT-scan or MRI is needed. We can also recommend a customized program of diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of heart disease. If heart disease is detected, the surgical options available include:

Cardiac Catheterization: Used to correct or diagnose a heart problem.
A long thin tube is inserted in an artery or vein, then threaded through the blood vessels to the heart.

Angioplasty: A small balloon is inserted into the artery with a catheter, then inflated to open the coronary artery.

Cancer Care
The risk of cancer increases as you grow older: 80 percent of cancers are diagnosed after age 55. Detecting cancer early greatly increases the chances of a successful treatment. Thanks to new technology and better screening techniques, the death rate for cancer has decreased 20 percent since its peak in 1991. At Main Street Hospital, we provide a full range of diagnostic tools used to detect cancer, including ultrasound, MRI, CT Scan and X-ray. If an imaging test cannot make a definitive diagnosis of cancer, a biopsy is usually performed. Body tissue or a sample of cells is removed and then analyzed, using sophisticated laboratory equipment to analyze the blood, urine, or tissue for any abnormalities that may indicate cancer.

For a list of the cancer-screening tests recommended for seniors, please see the article “Senior Health Checklist” on page 5.

Sources: National Osteoporosis Society, webmd

For more information about the services available to seniors at Main Street Hospital, visit our website at mainstreethospital.com.