Keep your shoulders strong to stay independent

In older age, the shoulders become vulnerable to health problems and pain that may curtail activity. Fortunately, most older adults can reduce pain and improve shoulder strength without surgery. Therapy typically focuses on three keys to restoring shoulder health: improving posture, strengthening the muscles that support the shoulder, and stretching. Posture exercises aim to reverse forward-shoulder positions. Strengthening focuses on the rotator cuff muscles and the shoulder blade muscles. The muscles that must be stretched for shoulder health are in the front of the body and on top of the shoulders. (Locked) More »

3 health strategies to help you get through the holidays

Mapping out strategies before the holidays helps to avoid health risks such as loneliness and depression, overeating, weight gain, falls in icy weather, foodborne illness, and heart problems brought on by eating and drinking too much. Strategies to combat some of these problems include socializing; volunteering at a nonprofit organization, doing errands for a neighbor, or offering a ride to a person who no longer drives; having a light snack before parties; wearing rubber-soled shoes in icy weather; staying away from food that’s been left out for more than two hours; and limiting alcohol and sodium intake. More »

Getting over the fat phobia

There are several types of dietary fat. Some fats are unhealthy, such as trans fat, found in packaged foods, and saturated fat, found in red meat and whole-fat dairy. Some fats are healthy, including polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat is found in most nuts, avocados, and many oils, such as olive, peanut, and canola. Polyunsaturated fats come in two forms: omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon, mackerel, sardines, and flaxseeds; and omega-6 fatty acids, found in corn oil, soybean oil, walnuts, and safflower oil. (Locked) More »

Tools to make your life easier

Many tools can assist people with everyday activities, such as bathing, dressing, eating, cooking, and taking medications. Helpful eating tools including weighted or curved eating utensils and skid-control bowls with high sides and rubber bottoms. Helpful cooking tools include jar openers and one-handed cutting boards. A long-handled tool with pinchers at the end allows users to grab something that’s out of reach. Long-handled and curved versions of hairbrushes and combs, toenail clippers, and shoehorns are helpful for personal grooming. And pillboxes, journals, and automatic pill dispensers help keep users on their medication regimens. (Locked) More »

The year in medicine

The year 2015 saw some significant developments in the medical field. One was the FDA decision to ban trans fats in food. The FDA also approved two new drugs: flibanserin (Addyi) to improve sexual function in premenopausal women, and alirocumab (Praluent), the first cholesterol-lowering treatment approved in a new class of drugs known as PCSK9 inhibitors. Results of several lifestyle studies also made headlines, including one study that found that women who had six healthy lifestyle habits were 92% less likely to develop heart disease than those who did not have these lifestyle habits. (Locked) More »

Should you rethink high blood pressure treatment?

Early results of the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial suggest that aiming for a systolic (top) blood pressure reading of less than 120 mm Hg may significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure. More »

Does hearing loss boost death risk?

It appears that hearing impairment is associated with a 21% increased risk of death, and moderate-to-severe hearing impairment is associated with a 39% increased risk of death, compared with people who don't have hearing loss. More »