Easy ways to protect your mobility

Loss of mobility is common among older adults, and it has profound social, psychological, and physical consequences. Common risk factors include older age, low physical activity, obesity, impaired strength and balance, and chronic diseases such as diabetes and arthritis. The key to avoiding immobility is determining risk and taking steps to head off problems. Some research suggests that doctors can check mobility risk by asking if a person has difficulty climbing up 10 steps or walking a quarter-mile. Someone who does might benefit from physical therapy, occupational therapy, and social support. (Locked) More »

Drug-free options to fight depression

Treatment for depression isn’t limited to drugs. There is good evidence that nondrug treatments and lifestyle changes can ease the symptoms of depression. Exercise and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may help with mild to moderate depression. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is considered a last-resort alternative for people with moderate to severe depression that hasn’t responded to treatment. While CBT is usually covered by insurance, rTMS is not always covered. A primary care physician can recommend a CBT therapist. A psychiatrist can recommend an rTMS practitioner. (Locked) More »

Great exercise that's easier on the joints

Exercising in water, also known as aquatic therapy, enables people to do many of the same exercises they would do on land without applying the same force on the joints. It has many benefits. Aquatic therapy takes pressure off the body, and that brings immediate relief to painful areas. Water provides resistance to the body, which helps build muscle and bone strength. The warmth of the water encourages one to move, which has a helpful side effect: repetitive movement pumps a natural lubricant called synovial fluid into the joints. (Locked) More »

5 simple steps that may help prevent colorectal cancer

There is no guaranteed way to prevent colorectal cancer. However, some steps may help. Screenings, such as a colonoscopy, can help find cancerous and precancerous tumors. A daily aspirin may reduce the risk for developing colorectal cancer by 20%. People with a blood vitamin D level greater than 30 ng/ml experience a lower risk of colorectal cancer. Eating red meat and drinking alcohol may increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Exercising may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. More »

Tips for healthy food on the go

Eating healthy food when one has a busy schedule requires planning meals and snacks ahead of time. It also helps to cook food in large amounts, so that extra servings can be frozen and then eaten at another time. It’s best to choose nutrient-dense foods for snacks and mealtime to better satisfy hunger. Smoothies are a great way to combine healthy ingredients in a single snack that can be stored. Simple snacks with one or two ingredients can be eaten on the run. More »

Get a better night's sleep by turning off electronic gadgets

Bright light in the late evening can delay the sleep period, making it harder to fall asleep at night and harder to get up early in the morning. To fight insomnia, reduce exposure to electronic devices and televisions after 9 p.m. A person who wakes during the night and wants to go back to sleep should resist the temptation to look at a computer, phone, or TV screen. Staring at a bright light will only increase wakefulness. That light rule applies to lamps as well.  (Locked) More »

Is this common blood pressure drug risky?

Taking calcium-channel blockers (CCBs) for high blood pressure may have some risks. Some research has shown that taking CCBs at the same time as the antibiotic clarithromycin (Biaxin) is associated with a small risk of kidney injury. Other research finds that women who take CCBs for 10 years or more have more than double the odds of getting breast cancer. People who are concerned should talk to their doctor to determine if the risks of CCBs outweigh the benefits. (Locked) More »