The dollars and sense of long-term care

Most people will need some type of long-term care, but many people don’t plan for it. That pushes off decisions to family members, who might not make the decisions a person would have wanted. Types of long-term care include private-duty care at home, adult day care centers, assisted living, and nursing homes. It helps to work with legal and financial planners to determine now what type of long-term care will be wanted and how to pay for it. More »

Ask the doctor: Why am I getting shorter?

After age 40, people lose a little less than half an inch in height with each decade. One can try to avoid losing height by eating foods with calcium, getting enough vitamin D, and staying physically active. (Locked) More »

8 pill-free ways to lower your blood pressure

There are many ways to try to lower blood pressure without medication. Aerobic activity improves the blood vessels’ ability to open and close, which improves blood flow. Losing weight reduces the workload on the heart. Getting rid of refined grains, sugary foods, and saturated fats and replacing them with fresh vegetables and fruits, fiber, whole grains, and lean meats can reduce inflammation and damage to the blood vessel walls. Other ways to reduce blood pressure include smoking cessation, controlling underlying conditions, limiting alcohol intake, and meditation. (Locked) More »

Don't just sit there

Too much time spent sitting is linked to an increased risk for developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, and an increased risk of dying from any cause. Experts recommend reducing sedentary time by two or three hours in a day. One way to get more active is to stand up and move around for one to three minutes every half-hour. Suggestions for short bursts of activity include standing while talking on the phone, folding laundry, or using a laptop; and exercising during commercial breaks while watching TV. (Locked) More »

New concerns about diet sodas

There are growing doubts about whether diet sodas help people lose weight and avoid diabetes. Research has shown that sugar-free sodas may be linked to the development of metabolic syndrome—a condition that often precedes or accompanies diabetes. Many artificial sweeteners may actually increase the brain’s desire for sugar. Even the soda container may pose problems. Many cans are lined with a substance called bisphenol A (BPA). Research has shown that people with higher levels of BPA in their body are more likely to have high blood pressure and heart trouble. (Locked) More »

Should you take probiotics?

Probiotics can be helpful in some cases, but it’s unclear whether they are safe for all older adults. Preliminary information shows that some types of probiotics are safe for healthy older people, but it’s not known yet if probiotics prevent infections in the elderly. If someone has a health problem, especially an immune system weakened by illness or medication, that person could get sick from probiotics. People should not begin taking probiotics without talking to a doctor or pharmacist first. . (Locked) More »