Avoid back pain and improve balance by strengthening core muscles

Strengthening the body’s core muscles reduces strain on the back and helps relieve or prevent pain. Strenuous core exercises such as planks, sit-ups, push-ups, and crunches can lead to serious injury for older people, especially those with back problems. However, gentle stretches and exercises can be just as effective at core strengthening. These include front and side standing leg lifts to strengthen the abs; shoulder blade squeezes to strengthen the scapulae; and a pelvic tilt. (Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: Restless leg treatments

Restless legs syndrome causes unpleasant sensations in, and sudden spontaneous movements of, the legs-typically during sleep or when at rest during the day. Exercises, heating pads, hot tubs, and several medicines may provide sufficient relief. (Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: The Mediterranean diet difference

Scientists continue to prove that the Mediterranean diet is good for your heart and brain. The diet is rich in olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish, and low in red meats and processed meats, with a moderate amount of cheese and wine. (Locked) More »

Migraines: Can dementia, stroke or heart attack be next?

Despite the association between migraine headaches and small brain lesions that can be a risk factor for cognitive decline, it appears that migraines will not hurt thinking skills. However, migraines with aura should be considered a factor indicating increased risk of cardiovascular disease. There is currently no evidence that treating or preventing migraine reduces future risks of heart attack and stroke. People who are concerned about the risk can reduce it by controlling blood pressure, quitting smoking, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight. (Locked) More »

Heart: Implantable defibrillators: Simple fix may save lives

Small changes to the setting of an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) can reduce inappropriate shocks and can lower the risk of death. This may help cut down on the problem of ICDs going off for heartbeats that aren’t dangerous or deadly. Unnecessary shocks can be painful, and there is some evidence that frequent inappropriate shocks weaken heart muscle and make a bad situation worse, increasing the risk of death. People with an ICD implanted in the past are advised to check with their doctors to find out if there is a need for the ICD settings to be adjusted. (Locked) More »

Some computer downloads for better health should be avoided

Health applications (apps) for mobile health are not yet regulated. That means there’s no way to know which apps are accurate and reliable and which are technological snake oil. Harvard experts warn against using cellphones to diagnose or treat any conditions. They recommend using health apps that act as a tracker or calculator. They also recommend checking to see who produces the app, how often the app is updated, and if it provides references for the information it offers. (Locked) More »

Easy way to stop knee arthritis from progressing

Soda appears to be associated with the progression of knee osteoarthritis in men. One explanation for this may be that soft drinks are taking the place of healthier food and drink choices such as milk and dairy products, fruit juice, fruit, and a variety of vitamins and nutrients. Another theory is that soft drinks may contain phosphoric acid, which has been shown to interfere with calcium absorption and to contribute to imbalances that lead to additional loss of calcium. People who have knee osteoarthritis are advised to reduce soda intake to less than five drinks per week.  (Locked) More »

Caution: Cancer risk elevated in women with dense breasts

The risk of dying from breast cancer does not appear to be greater in women with dense breasts who get breast cancer. That may be because women with breast cancer often are treated with medicines that lower estrogen levels and block the effects of estrogen. Women with dense breasts are advised to get a breast MRI in addition to a mammogram if they have a known hereditary cancer gene, a first-degree relative with the mutation, a history of radiation to the chest wall in adolescence, or a 20% to 25% or greater lifetime risk of breast cancer based on family history and other risks. (Locked) More »

Dodging skin irritations from problem plants

Many plants can cause rash, so it’s important to learn how to take precautions against them. The easiest way is to wear long sleeves and pants when gardening or spending time near potentially poisonous plants, as well as a thick pair of work gloves. Once inside, use soap and water to wash any body parts that may have come in contact with poisonous plants. If exposure to poisonous plants causes a rash, it will go away on its own in 10 days. However, prescription topical steroids and cool compresses can relieve rash symptoms. More »

Medication Manager: What you need to know about: Inhalers

Inhaled medications aim to reduce airway inflammation, improve airflow, and decrease or relieve shortness of breath. They are available as dry powders and as liquids that are delivered in metered doses in spray form. Some people require a short-acting medicine before exercise or during colds. Others require a long-acting medicine, which is usually taken twice daily. Finally, some people require a long-acting medicine once or twice daily, with short-acting medicines in between doses. (Locked) More »

Harvard study says yes to eggs

It appears that eating one egg a day is not associated with an increased risk of heart disease or stroke. Although eggs are high in cholesterol, researchers say the effects of dietary cholesterol on blood cholesterol levels are small. (Locked) More »

Brain scan shows best time to treat plaque

The best time to treat brain plaques may be the 15-year period when they are first developing. These plaques are found in Alzheimer's disease and are linked to a decline in memory and thinking abilities. (Locked) More »

Inflammation linked to vision loss

Inflammation may predict a person's risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. People who are concerned about this risk can help lower inflammation levels with weight loss and exercise. (Locked) More »