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As residents across Chattanooga and the surrounding areas continue to shuffle through the global pandemic, they're fortunate to have a host of experts and professionals to help them get the best care possible from every walk and field.

Knowledge about this strain of coronavirus seems to be increasing exponentially each week with information about how a person's body is affected while the virus is active and after the person has recovered.

Dr. Megan Johnson, audiologist and owner of Johnson Audiology, said, "Evidence continues to emerge showing the wide-ranging effects COVID-19 can have on the body's organs and systems, and it is looking like our ears and sense of hearing may also take a hit from this monster of a virus."

Preliminary research is beginning to suggest that COVID-19 may have lasting negative impacts on neural and auditory pathways, which in turn can lead to hearing loss.

Dr. Johnson said, "It is estimated that 48 million Americans have significant hearing loss with 22 million Americans exposed to dangerous levels of sound in the workplace. That's a little more than 14% of the total population who can't hear all of the sounds they once heard."

In addition, Americans wait an average of seven years before addressing hearing loss. Dr. Johnson continued, "That's seven years of a gradually decreasing quality of life, increased risk of harm and hospital stays because of falls since balance is linked to inner ear health, frustration, loneliness.

To learn more, visit www.johnsonaudiology.com/covid19hearing.

Seniors and those with disabilities deserve to live in dignity, but unfortunately, a variety of scams exist to harm the most vulnerable among us.

Kenny Higdon, the owner of 5 Star Home Care, said his company tries to educate clients about these scams and how to avoid becoming victims. 

"They're unlikely to fall for a scam they've been warned about," Higdon said. "Impaired memory and decision making skills can make seniors attractive targets for bad people. Stay vigilant and warn your older loved ones about these cons."

How does someone avoid these scams?

Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This includes "sure fire" investment opportunities pushed by persuasive types that are really just pyramid schemes or dishonest ploys to get retirement savings.

Only deal with reputable and credible institutions. Call a trusted organization directly (after looking up their number in the phone book or from a trusted website) if you don't feel safe disclosing your private information online. If you order something from dubious online sources, you are playing with fire.                

5 Star Home Care serves the Chattanooga, Cleveland, Knoxville, Johnson City, Nashville, and Cookville communities. If you are struggling with how to best care for an aging or disabled relative, visit www.5StarHomeCare.com or call 5 Star Home Care at 423-893-8181.

If you're facing kidney disease of any kind, especially during this pandemic, it can be difficult knowing where to turn and what to expect, but Chattanooga Kidney Centers offers a variety of services and strives to help ease patients' minds and meet their needs.

"We are committed to providing excellent care and support to all our patients through the latest patient care technology and continuous quality improvement with a focus on superior customer service in a safe, affirming environment," reads the company's mission statement on their website, and once you step inside of their six locations you can see it's true.

 

Services provided by all of the Chattanooga Kidney Centers located in Chattanooga, Cleveland, and North Georgia include:

         Staff assisted in center hemodialysis.

         Transient dialysis services.

         Evaluation, teaching, and support for home peritoneal dialysis (KCMR and KCC facilities only).

         Back-Up dialysis for home dialysis patients.

         Ongoing patient education in all aspects of ESRD therapy and treatment options.

To learn more, visit ckcdialysis.com to read on or set up a consultation.

While there are several causes for stroke, it is estimated that up to a third of cases are caused by carotid artery disease – the buildup of plaque in one or both of the arteries in the neck that supply blood from your heart to your brain. When plaque builds up in the carotid arteries, they begin to narrow and blood flow slows down, potentially causing a stroke if blood flow stops or plaque fragments dislodge and travel up to the brain.

USA Vascular was first in Chattanooga to use a breakthrough technology called TCAR to treat individuals with carotid artery disease who are too high risk for a traditional open procedure

TCAR, or TransCarotid Artery Revascularization, is a clinically proven, minimally invasive and safe approach for high surgical risk patients who need carotid artery treatment. While any repair of the carotid artery carries some risk of causing a stroke because of the repair itself, TCAR was designed to help minimize that risk by keeping potential stroke-causing fragments away from the brain.

"The goal of carotid artery surgery is to prevent stroke, and there are two types of people who benefit from this surgery. The first is someone who's had a stroke or mini stroke that's caused by a buildup of plaque in the carotid artery. Because they've already had symptoms, there's a pretty high risk of having a more serious stroke in the future," says Charles Joels, MD, board certified vascular surgeon with USA Vascular. 

To learn more about TCAR and vascular surgery, visit universitysurgical.com/TCAR. 

For families who have a loved one dealing with pulmonary disease, this pandemic can make even the simplest trip to the doctor quite a concern.

Fortunately, Alleo Health System offers their Clear Journey program for hospice and palliative care patients designed just for pulmonary disease patients and their families to help them stay in their home setting and reduce those uncomfortable and lengthy trips to the ER.

"Education and support are provided to the patient and/or caregiver regarding the medications, usage, and when to call for assistance with an emergency, when in pain, or support is needed in a situation," explained  Dr. Greg Phelps, CMO. "Clear Journey includes a specialty designed respiratory medication kit to keep in the home setting, and daily support calls and visits will be made based on patient/family preference for all patients on Clear Journey."

To put it another way, Clear Journey's mission is to keep the patient in their home setting, reducing avoidable hospital re-admissions and emergency room visits that could potentially expose patients to COVID-19. Clear Journey is offered to both Hospice and Palliative Care Services patients through Alleo Health System.

To learn more about the Clear Journey program and if it might be the right fit for your family, contact the Hospice of Chattanooga referral intake line at 423-892-1533, Palliative Care Services referral intake at 423-553-1823 or visit https://www.palliativecareservices.org/clear-journey or https://www.hospiceofchattanooga.org/clear-journey.

While it's no secret what you put it into your body affects it different ways, many may not realize just how much of an impact what some of their beverages of choice can have, especially when it comes to your oral health.

The professionals at Soddy Daisy Smiles are sharing some helpful insight on what's good, what's not, and what to do to help keep your teeth happy and healthy.

First up: sodas. While it's super easy to reach for that bubbly, cold and refreshing can, it may not be the best idea for your teeth.

"We all have good and bad bacteria in our mouth," explained Dr. Mandy Shearer. "The bad bacteria eat the sugar that we consume, and in that process they build energy and produce acid which causes all kinds of problems from cavities to erosion."

She said making a simple switch from sugary sodas to sparkling water and fruit is your best bet.

To learn more about what you drink and your oral health, contact the team at Soddy Daisy Smiles for an appointment today to come with a treatment plan that meets your needs. They can be reached at 423-332-5725.

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