Maintaining independence: Don't overlook foot and ankle health

Foot and ankle health are crucial to maintaining mobility and independence. Weight-bearing exercise such as walking can make bones stronger and improve stability. Stretching the hamstrings, Achilles’ tendons, and calf muscles will keep muscles and tendons flexible and better able to do their job. Weight loss, if necessary, can reduce the strain and stress on the joint. Quitting smoking will increase oxygen delivery to the tissues of the feet and toes. Finally, shoes should be wide enough to accommodate the toes, with good arch support for people with flat feet. (Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: Glucosamine and chondroitin benefits?

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) offer more relief than glucosamine and chondroitin for people suffering from osteoarthritis of the hip and knee. However, NSAIDs also have adverse effects that glucosamine and chondroitin do not have. (Locked) More »

Exercise is an all-natural treatment to fight depression

Antidepressants aren’t the only solution for depression. Research shows that exercise works as well as antidepressants for some people, although exercise alone isn’t enough for someone with severe depression. Exercise releases the body’s feel-good chemicals called endorphins, and it also spurs the release of proteins called neurotrophic or growth factors, which cause nerve cells to grow and make new connections. The improvement in brain function makes people feel better. But exercise must be sustained over time to relieve depression symptoms. (Locked) More »

Meditation offers significant heart benefits

Meditation can be a useful part of cardiovascular risk reduction. It appears to produce changes in brain activity that can lead to less sympathetic nerve outflow from the brain to the rest of the body. It also can lower heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, oxygen consumption, adrenaline levels, and levels of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress. There are many types of meditation that can result in physiological benefits, such as guided meditation, transcendental meditation, and mindfulness meditation. It takes at least 10 minutes of meditation per day to get the physiological benefits. More »

Rethinking fiber and hydration can lead to better colon health

Certain foods and medications can cause digestion problems, and likewise low intake of fibrous foods can cause constipation. The most common diet shortfalls are water and fiber. To improve digestion, add more water and fiber to the diet: aim for eight to nine glasses of water and 35 grams of fiber from food per day. Other strategies include exercising more, drinking coffee in moderation, and using probiotics—colonies of good bacteria—from a supplement or from food such as Greek yogurt. (Locked) More »

Overcoming an overactive bladder

An overactive bladder (OAB, also known as urge incontinence) causes a sudden urge to urinate, even when your bladder isn’t full. OAB can be caused by something temporary, such as a bladder infection. It can also result from another condition, such as multiple sclerosis. Women are twice as likely as men to struggle with OAB conditions, because of the stress of childbirth on the urinary tract as well as the loss of estrogen after menopause. In men, OAB may occur as the result of an enlarged prostate. Treatment includes Kegel exercises and vaginal estrogen creams for women, and medications and Botox injections for both men and women. (Locked) More »

Top foods to help protect your vision

Certain vitamins and minerals found in food may play a role in preventing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. These include the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E; the antioxidant mineral zinc; the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin; and the omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Lutein and zeaxanthin are in most fruits and vegetables, especially yellow and orange fruits and vegetables and leafy greens. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in coldwater fish, flaxseed, and walnuts. Good sources of zinc include red meat and shellfish. Vitamins A, C, and E are in many vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. More »

Tips to help prevent and treat rosacea

16 million Americans struggle with rosacea, a skin condition characterized by flare-ups of reddened and sometimes bumpy facial skin. Over time, rosacea can reveal blood vessels under the skin’s surface. Treatments include topical medications such as gels, creams, and lotions that contain either metronidazole or azeleic acid; very low doses of antibiotics, such as doxycycline; laser therapy; and avoiding triggers, such as hot food. (Locked) More »

What you need to know about: Diuretics

Diuretics are usually prescribed as a first-line treatment for high blood pressure, though many people require additional drugs for blood pressure management, such as beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, or angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs). Diuretics help lower blood pressure by reducing the amount of sodium and water in the body. The three main types of diuretics are loop diuretics, thiazide diuretics, and potassium-sparing diuretics. Sometimes a combination of the drugs is prescribed. Side effects include frequent urination, lightheadedness, and fatigue. (Locked) More »