Is exercise really medicine?

The expression “exercise is medicine” has become a catchphrase to motivate people to move. But physical activity really is as effective as prescription medications in some cases. It can prevent the development of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer, depression, and falls. Physical activity improves sleep, endurance, and even sexual activity. And some scientists believe exercise is often as effective as drugs at preventing death from the most common killer diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  (Locked) More »

Start a walking program in 3 easy steps

Starting a walking program can seem overwhelming. The best way to begin is to start slowly and gradually increase the amount of steps taken each day. Before starting, one should get a doctor’s okay and map out a route. It’s important when walking to wear clothes that suit the weather: cotton shorts and tees in the spring and summer, and sweat pants and long-sleeved layers in the fall and winter. Walking sessions should be divided into three parts: a slower pace to warm up, a faster pace to get the heart pumping, then a slower pace to cool down.  (Locked) More »

Pill-free ways to improve your sex life

There are many reasons why sexual activity can diminish in older age. Sexual activity may slow down for men because of an enlarged prostate that results in difficulty attaining and sustaining an erection. Activity may slow for women because of the effects of menopause, such as decreased libido and vaginal dryness. But many sexual problems can be overcome with lifestyle changes such as exercise, smoking cessation, alcohol moderation, weight control, and eating a healthy diet.  (Locked) More »

Key minerals to help control blood pressure

Calcium, magnesium, and potassium are important for good blood pressure management. Potassium helps control the body’s levels of sodium, a well-known factor for hypertension. Magnesium and calcium help the blood vessels relax, and calcium also helps the blood vessels tighten. People who eat a healthy diet probably consume enough of these nutrients. People eating a diet of processed and canned foods might need to be concerned, as well as people taking certain medications. More »

New thinking on niacin use

There is new thinking on the use of niacin to treat people with low HDL. Doctors used to prescribe niacin in addition to a statin as a way to boost low HDL, even when LDL levels are under control. The theory has been that raising HDL could ward off heart attack and stroke. But mounting evidence has shown that raising HDL by taking niacin does not protect patients from cardiovascular events. However, niacin is still considered useful as an add-on therapy in people whose LDL is not lowered enough by statins alone.  (Locked) More »

Are your daily concerns a sign of an anxiety disorder?

Generalized anxiety disorder is the most common type of anxiety among older adults. This occurs when worry is present most of the time and interferes with a person’s ability to function normally, although the particular worry may change. Symptoms include persistent, excessive worry about different things for at least six months; fatigue, difficulty sleeping, or restlessness; trouble concentrating; and irritability. Treatment includes medications or cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps identify automatic negative thoughts and come up with ways to eliminate them. (Locked) More »