The top 5 tests you probably don't need

Certain health screenings are not needed routinely. Whole-body CT scans, routine ECG screening, coronary calcium scores, chest screenings, and tuberculosis skin tests are not recommended unless a person has symptoms or risk factors of disease. The screenings may expose people to radiation needlessly and may lead to further procedures that turn up nothing and do more harm than good. Harvard experts advise people to get a second opinion if a test is risky or expensive and makes them apprehensive. More »

The glaucoma you may be missing

Increased eye pressure isn’t always an accurate way to detect glaucoma. Sometimes you can have normal eye pressure and still have the condition. That’s called normal-tension glaucoma (NTG). Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve. That often results when pressure gets too high because of fluid buildup inside the eye. But nerve damage may occur without high pressure or fluid buildup, although doctors aren’t sure why. NTG is treated the same way as regular glaucoma: by trying to lower eye pressure using eye drops, laser therapy, or surgery. (Locked) More »

Depression: Is it just a slump or something more?

It’s normal to feel sad sometimes, but symptoms of depression should not be ignored, especially if you suspect you are depressed. Classic depression symptoms include feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, apathy, sadness, and despair; difficulty concentrating, making decisions, sleeping, or eating; thoughts of suicide; and a loss of interest in activities. These may be accompanied by physical symptoms such as aches and pains, fatigue, and changes in sleep or appetite. Waiting to see if symptoms pass can make depression worse. (Locked) More »

Could your joint pain be bursitis?

Joint pain is a common complaint in aging, but the cause isn’t always arthritis. Sometimes the culprit is bursitis. It occurs when fluid-filled sacs near the joints called bursae become inflamed, most commonly at the shoulders, hips, knees, elbows, or even the buttocks. Treatment may include using ice, resting the area and relieving pressure on it, using anti-inflammatory medicines for a short period, exercising and stretching the muscles that support the joints, or getting a shot of corticosteroid into the inflamed bursa. (Locked) More »

Getting your protein from plants

When it comes to getting protein in the diet, meat isn’t the only option. Mounting evidence shows that reducing animal-based proteins and increasing plant-based proteins is a healthier way to go. Sources for plant-based proteins include whole grains, nuts, nut butters, legumes, and soy products. Substituting even one serving of red meat with a plant-based protein can help reduce the risk of heart attack. Harvard experts advise a gradual shift toward more plant-based protein over a six-month period. (Locked) More »

Get to know your food labels

Nutrition Facts labels can help people make better choices about the food they eat. To read a label, consumers are advised to take note of serving size and calories per serving; to ignore calories from fat, which has no direct relationship to health; to ignore total fat and instead look at the types of fat; to note sodium and cholesterol content; to disregard total carbohydrate counts; to pay attention to protein and nutrients; and to ignore percent daily values and pay attention instead to individual calorie needs. (Locked) More »

Bad mix: Blood thinners and NSAIDs

Use of blood thinners requires caution with other drugs, especially painkillers called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Taking blood thinners and NSAIDs together can raise the risk of bleeding. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be used as an alternative, but it comes with the risk of increasing the effect of blood thinners. When painkillers are needed, it’s best to use the lowest dose that reduces symptoms, and to stop taking them if the symptoms subside. Doctors should supervise the use of the two drugs. (Locked) More »