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PTA Blog Talk

The Health Fringe

Published August 28, 2014 9:00 PM by Jason Marketti

Stay active, eat healthy, get plenty of sunshine and take colloidal silver. Okay, so don't take the silver, take something else, like, bitter cola. I think I could produce enough clinical evidence to promote either one though and patients would probably listen to me like I'm an authority on healthy living.

Isn't that part of what we do -- instruct patients on better lifestyle choices? And if I happen to have a fringe mentality on what exactly constitutes lifestyle choices, no one should judge me or my ideas. Would you tell a patient not to use a neti pot even though he has done so culturally for years? Would you have told George Burns not to smoke and drink? Think about it, he lived to be 100 years old.

When treating patients, we don't treat only the part that hurts, because of the interconnectivity of the body. If a patient has a TKA, I won't focus only on her knee but also gait cycle and sequencing, as well as hip strengthening, balance activity and safety with all aspects of transitional mobility. And in some instances, diet, nutrition and fluid intake, which is just as important as exercising and resting.

Healthy lifestyle choices vary in patient populations and we have to respect what some people consider healthy eating habits. Obviously we know potato chips and soda don't make a good breakfast, but cereals can often have high sugar content and some people don't like the consistency of oatmeal or their diet precludes its intake. Grainy bread is good but tell that to your patient who has dentures and the seeds get stuck between his gums and dental work.

For years I was told ice cream is a dessert, however, the high protein and calories can encourage weight gain in some residents. When mixing ice cream and a nutritional shake that tastes like chalk, it's a full meal and kind of good for someone who won't eat meat at meal time because it's hard to chew.

Being realistic with patients, whether it involves using an assistive device and exercises or offering commentary on healthy living, can go a long way. I've heard therapists berate patients when they consume a candy bar, but the therapists forget there are calories in that candy that the patients will need during their exhaustive 75-minute workout.

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About this Blog

    Jason J. Marketti
    Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant
    Setting: San Jacinto, CA
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