Your blood work, on the edge of normal

There are several types of routine blood tests. Some are panels or series of tests, such as a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), which measures various chemicals in the blood, as well as blood levels of protein, potassium, sodium, and chloride. A complete blood count measures the types of cells in the blood, as well as hematocrit, hemoglobin, and other aspects of blood cells. A lipid panel measures the types of fat in the blood, including “good” HDL cholesterol, “bad” LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.  (Locked) More »

Is an underlying condition causing your fuzzy thinking?

Underlying conditions are often overlooked as causes of thinking impairment. Common causes of fuzzy thinking include obstructive sleep apnea, medication side effects, an underactive thyroid, low levels of vitamin B12, or anxiety and depression. Treating an underlying condition can often resolve fuzzy thinking. If not, a visit to a neuropsychologist may be necessary. Other ways to improve clarity include eating a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet; exercising; and getting more sleep. (Locked) More »

Our best balance boosters

Poor balance is a common cause of falls, which send millions of people in the United States to emergency departments each year with broken hips and head injuries. Many strategies can improve balance, such as physical therapy, muscle strengthening, and tai chi or yoga. Vision is key to balance, so it’s important to get a comprehensive eye exam. A cane or a walker can complement balance and give a person more stability. It’s best to get measured for such a device and then get physical therapy to learn how to use it. More »

Try the hot trend in whole grains

Ancient grains, such as teff and einkorn, have been grown the same way for centuries. Generally speaking, they offer more protein, fiber, and vitamins than modern grains such as wheat or rice. But all whole grains are better for health than refined grains. Many whole grains also contain plenty of fiber, which helps lower cholesterol, improves digestion, and controls blood sugar. When buying any whole-grain product, to ensure that that there’s an appreciable serving of that grain, one should make sure it’s among the first ingredients listed; ingredients are listed by quantity, in descending order.  (Locked) More »

Coping with statin side effects

PCKS9 inhibitors lower cholesterol and don’t have the same types of side effects as statins. However, there is no evidence that they decrease heart attacks and strokes the way statins do. PCSK9 inhibitors come with a very high price tag (about $15,000 per year). Some insurance companies, including Medicare, pay for the drug when treatment with statins is either inadequate or causes adverse effects. But it takes time to prove that a statin isn’t effective for an individual. (Locked) More »