Prescription bargain hunt

There are many ways to save money on prescription drugs. Ideas include shopping around or getting generic instead of brand-name drugs. There are also many kinds of prescription assistance programs, offered by state and local governments, Medicare, nonprofit groups, and even drug makers. The programs typically have income requirements. Updating a Medicare plan may also help save money, since the plans change from year to year, and the medications they cover or the required copays may change as well. (Locked) More »

Should I try a new blood thinner?

Newer blood thinners are more convenient than warfarin, but they also have some disadvantages, such as cost, duration of effectiveness, and lack of an antidote to stop an episode of major bleeding. (Locked) More »

Could that joint pain be rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a progressive disease that can affect the whole body, including the heart, lungs, and eyes. It may cause damage to the joints, tendons, and bones. Classic symptoms include persistent swelling in multiple joints, pain that is worse in the morning and better with movement, and persistent fatigue. It’s important to begin treating RA as soon as possible, because medication may help slow the disease process. Other therapies include exercise, splinting, weight loss, and smoking cessation. (Locked) More »

Easy ways to get stronger

There are easy ways to fit strength training into the daily routine at home. The only equipment necessary is small dumbbells (water bottles or soup cans can substitute) or resistance bands, and a sturdy chair. For back and shoulder strength, exercises include doing push-ups against a wall, and lifting a bottle of water or a dumbbell. Resistance bands are also helpful to strengthen back and shoulder muscles. Exercises to strengthen the legs, hips, and abdominal muscles include squats, leg lifts, and heel raises. (Locked) More »

New thinking about urinary tract infections

Treating a urinary tract infection (UTI) in an older adult can be complicated. Symptoms may include a burning feeling with urination, a sense of urgency to urinate, increased frequency of urination, and confusion. But some UTI symptoms are similar to those of other conditions in older age. Doctors say that anyone with new classic symptoms should probably be treated for a UTI. However, if the only symptom is confusion, considering other causes or waiting a day or two to see if the UTI resolves may be appropriate. More »

Power up your diet with plant-based meals

Two trends in restaurants can be applied at home for healthy eating. One is the veg-centric approach, which focuses on roasting, layering, caramelizing, and grilling vegetables to give them bold flavors and appeal. One can give this a try by pairing creative combinations of vegetables, spices, and even fruit. The other trend features meatless meals with plant-based proteins, such as legumes (beans, lentils, and peas), nuts and nut butters, seeds, whole grains, and tofu and tempeh (which both come from soybeans). Dietitians suggest eating more plant-based proteins gradually, starting with once a week. (Locked) More »

Dry eyes? Try this!

Dry eye syndrome has many causes, such as aging, underlying conditions, or medication side effects. For people who make enough tears but have dry eye symptoms, warm compresses and gentle eye massage can help. For people who aren’t making enough tears, it helps to use artificial tears or medicines that increase tear production. There’s even an in-office procedure to block tear drainage by inserting plugs into the tear drainage ducts. Caffeine may increase tear production, but too much caffeine may cause jitters and insomnia. More »

Blood pressure targets changing?

New guidelines recommend that for otherwise healthy adults ages 60 or older, high blood pressure treatment should begin when the systolic measurement is at or above 150 millimeters of mercury. More »