Improve your balance by strengthening your core

Strengthening the core muscles can help improve one’s balance. The core muscles are located in the hips, back, and abdomen. A strong core also improves posture; reduces stress and pain in the lower back; and improves athletic performance, such as swinging a golf club. Strengthening usually includes strenuous exercises such as planks, sit-ups, push-ups, and crunches for younger people. For older people, core strengthening can be as simple as small, repetitive movements, such front and side standing leg lifts to strengthen the abs, shoulder blade squeezes to strengthen the scapulae, and a pelvic tilt to strengthen the abs. (Locked) More »

Protect your memory and thinking skills

Any increase in blood sugar levels is linked to an increased risk of developing dementia. Researchers speculate that this may be because high blood sugar levels are causing more vascular disease or because of insulin resistance. There’s no direct proof that reducing blood sugar level reduces dementia risk. However, there are many reasons to keep glucose levels lower. Excess blood sugar can lead to a variety of health problems including heart, eye, kidney, and nerve disease. Heart disease is linked to vascular dementia, caused by narrowed blood vessels in the brain. Shifting to a healthier diet can help. (Locked) More »

Don't let that heartburn go untreated

More people are being diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus. It’s unclear whether this represents a true increase in incidence or improved awareness. Barrett’s is a change in cells in the esophagus that results from frequent acid exposure caused by gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). People with Barrett’s esophagus have a small risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma (a type of esophageal cancer) because the Barrett’s esophagus cells can turn into cancer cells. Middle-aged white men who developed GERD at an early age and have had it for many years are at the highest risk for getting esophageal cancer.  (Locked) More »

Top 5 fixes for itchy winter skin

Dry winter air can suck moisture out of the skin and cause itching. To combat this, one can stop scratching; wear protective clothing when outdoors; use a humidifier; and limit bathing to five minutes in lukewarm water. Hot water and perfumed soaps can strip away the skin’s oily layer. Doctors also recommend moisturizing the skin frequently using a heavier ointment with an oil base and ingredients that block the evaporation of water, such as mineral oil and lanolin. Moisturizing should take place right away after every hand washing or shower. (Locked) More »

Save money on your prescription medications

Sometimes one can find better prices on prescription drugs by simply doing a little digging. Comparison shopping among pharmacies is helpful. So is taking advantage of big box stores that offer dozens of generic prescriptions for $4 each. Large drug makers such as Eli Lilly and Pfizer offer prescription assistance programs that may provide free medications or coupons for discounts on medications. Internet prescription price finders are also helpful when it comes to tracking down the best deal on medications. More »

Do you need a portable air purifier?

Portable air purifiers can eliminate or reduce several airborne allergens and pollutants such as dust mite allergens, mold, pollens, and pet dander. There are hundreds of styles and manufacturers of portable air purifiers, which range in price from $30 to $1000. But the big difference is in the filters. Doctors recommend high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, which are able to capture ultra-fine particles in the air. These filters must be replaced annually. It’s best to run an air purifier all day long in an area where one is exposed to air pollutants. (Locked) More »

Five easy ways to start exercising

For many people, exercising is a daunting chore. But regular exercise is medicine. It helps ward off dementia, heart disease, diabetes, depression, and many other health problems. To find motivation, doctors recommend thinking of exercise as fun, not work; using it as a means to get off medication; fitting exercise into daily routines such as walking in parking lots or volunteering; and trying short workouts of just 10 minutes at a time. (Locked) More »

News briefs: New statin guidelines: do they apply to you?

Statin use guidelines have changed for seemingly healthy adults. Statins are no longer recommended based on a person’s “bad” or LDL cholesterol level. Statins are now advised for people with a heart disease or stroke risk of 7.5% in the next 10 years. More »