Stay flexible to protect your mobility

People need flexible muscles in order to extend the arms and legs, walk across a room, and maintain balance. When muscles aren’t flexible, they lose cells that help them contract. A person becomes weaker and prone to falls. A program of daily stretching is recommended for people who’ve lost flexibility. Three days a week will do the job for someone in better shape.  (Locked) More »

Signs of early dementia

Several steps can help someone cope with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). One is staying physically and mentally active, which helps boost thinking skills and may even reduce MCI symptoms. Another is considering medication for MCI symptoms. Some medications may slow the rate of decline, and some may help the brain cells communicate better. Also helpful is making plans for the future now, before reasoning skills decline. This includes updating a will, getting an advance medical directive, and checking out independent living facilities.  More »

Avoiding afib hospitalizations

Atrial fibrillation (afib) is an irregular, quivering heartbeat that is associated with older age. Hospitalizations from afib are expected to increase as the baby boomer population ages. Part of the increase in admissions reflects the fact that people with afib often have other chronic conditions. However, many people are admitted to the hospital with afib as the only complaint. For most of those people, if afib is treated properly, it doesn’t require a lot of hospitalization.  (Locked) More »

Best ways to keep your bones healthy and strong

Keeping bones healthy in older age is crucial to protecting mobility and independence. One way to do that is with weight-bearing activity each week. That includes strength training or any activity that gets a person up and moving. Another way is meeting calcium requirements: 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams (mg) per day for men ages 51 and older, and 1,200 to 1,500 mg per day for women 51 and older. Vitamin D is helpful for calcium absorption, typically 800 to 1,000 IU daily for adults. Reducing risk factors for osteoporosis, such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, is also important.    (Locked) More »

Protein check: How much do you really need?

It’s unclear how much protein is essential as people get older. It’s best to follow the current Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein intake, which is 46 grams per day for women and 56 grams for men. As for the type of protein, mounting evidence shows that reducing animal-based proteins and increasing plant-based proteins is a healthier way to eat. A diet with any type of meat raises the risk of heart disease and cancer, when compared with a vegetarian diet.   (Locked) More »

Fall allergen alert

Ragweed pollen and mold spores are common causes of allergies during the fall months. Breathing them into the lungs may cause the body to overreact, leading to classic allergy symptoms of a runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing. The symptoms are similar to a cold. However, the hallmark of allergies is clear, watery nasal drainage that lasts for weeks, as opposed to more yellow or green mucus for a few days. Treatment involves over-the-counter or prescription medications, or possibly allergy shots.  More »

Understanding allergy medications

Treating allergies usually starts with over-the-counter products. If they’re not helpful, prescription medications and nasal sprays may do the job. Antihistamines block the production and efficiency of histamine, which is released during an allergic reaction. Decongestants can help shrink blood vessels in the nasal passages, but may cause problems in the long term or when used in combination with antihistamines. Steroid sprays reduce swelling and nasal congestion and are available in a prescription spray form. Nonsteroid nasal sprays are available over the counter and can be effective, but must be used several times a day. (Locked) More »

New food labels in the works

The FDA has proposed revising the Nutrition Facts label so it includes information about added sweeteners, potassium, and vitamin D; removes information about calories from fat; and updates recommended daily values for sodium and dietary fiber. (Locked) More »