Technology and your health: A quick-start guide

Electronic devices such as computers and smartphones are now common tools used in health care. Doctors use them to access electronic medical records and health apps. The information can be shared with patients to help them understand their treatment. Doctors also use them to send information to other physicians and to communicate with patients. Patients and their families can use electronic devices to gain access to their health records, to communicate with their doctor, and to ask for prescription refills. (Locked) More »

How to avoid "holiday heart syndrome" this season

Holiday heart syndrome is a temporary irregular heartbeat that may result from consuming too much alcohol. It can be made worse by salty food and caffeine. Symptoms include palpitations, shortness of breath, or chest pain. Most commonly, it is a feeling that the heart is beating very quickly and irregularly. People who experience those symptoms should go to the emergency department, especially if the symptoms are accompanied by chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting,  (Locked) More »

How does cold weather affect your health?

Cold weather brings a number of health risks for older adults. Close indoor contact with other people puts one at risk for cold and flu. Prolonged exposure to even mild cold puts one at risk for hypothermia. A lack of moisture in the air can make skin dry. And cold weather, which can narrow blood vessels, can increase the risk of heart attack. To fight back against these risks, people can wash their hands frequently, bundle up when going outdoors, use an oil-based skin lotion, shower in lukewarm water, and avoid intense outdoor activity. More »

Surprising new ways to build healthy knees

Keeping the leg and hip muscles strong and coordinated helps prevent knee injuries and reduce pain. Some of the best ways to boost knee health include improving balance, losing weight, and strengthening the muscles above and below the knees. Weight loss is important to knee health because it reduces the amount of pressure in the joint. Balance requires your knees to work together with the other joints that enable you to stand—the hips and ankles. The quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles provide power to your knee and the ability to extend and bend your leg. (Locked) More »

Boost the health of your holiday buffet

Before going to a holiday party, it’s helpful to develop strategies to avoid drinking too much alcohol and overeating. Tips include eating before leaving the house, policing portion sizes, eating slowly, and leaving the table when the meal is over instead of lingering. Limiting alcohol intake to one drink, either before or after a meal, will also protect one’s resolve and limit calories. Enlisting the help of a buddy can also help someone resist temptation.  More »

Is that daytime sleepiness obstructive sleep apnea?

The American College of Physicians urges doctors to recommend overnight sleep tests for anyone with unexplained daytime sleepiness. That sleepiness may be the result of a condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The condition occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax too much during sleep. This lets the tissues around the throat close in and block the airway, causing a person to stop breathing for a few seconds. These stop-breathing episodes can occur dozens of times per hour.  (Locked) More »

2014: The year in health

2014 was filled with important health discoveries and developments. The Ebola virus arrived in the United States. Researchers found that the more time spent sitting—anywhere—the greater the odds of dying early from all causes, including heart disease and cancer. A major drug store chain became the first to stop selling tobacco products. Millions of people gained health insurance through the Affordable Health Care Act in 2014. And a number of new treatment guidelines were released in 2014.  (Locked) More »