Can you, should you, have medically tailored food delivered to your home?

Many older adults who have chronic illness or have just come home from the hospital are unable to shop for or cook their own meals. The result is a diet that’s deficient in the nutrients essential for good health, or meals that don’t follow dietary restrictions, such as low salt or low potassium. A solution is having medically tailored meals prepared by friends and family, or prepared and delivered by a nonprofit organization such as Community Servings in Boston. (Locked) More »

Is chocolate heart-healthy?

People who eat more chocolate have lower rates of heart attacks, heart failure, and death from heart disease. However, chocolate products are often rich in saturated fat and sugar, so they should be eaten in moderation. (Locked) More »

Electronic screen alert: Avoid this vision risk

Looking at a computer or smartphone screen for long periods can lead to computer vision syndrome, which may include dry eyes or eyestrain. Symptoms include blurry vision, discomfort, or headaches. One solution is to take a break from electronic screens every 15 to 30 minutes, just for a minute. Using artificial tears and wearing the proper eyeglasses can also reduce symptoms. So can sitting a few feet away from a computer screen, using softer lighting to reduce screen glare, and using a larger font so it’s easier to see letters on a screen. More »

Should you try a home genetic test kit?

Direct-to-consumer test kits can help detect a person’s genetic predisposition or odds of developing certain medical diseases or conditions. They are simple to use and can be done in the privacy of home. The tests analyze markers in DNA to look for mutations or markers associated with common diseases, such as late-onset Alzheimer’s disease or particular cancers. Results can be used as a way to explore things people should already be doing to improve health and reduce the risk of disease, such as losing weight, exercising, and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. (Locked) More »

Don’t shrug off shoulder pain

Shoulder pain is common among older adults. Causes include arthritis, rotator cuff tears, tendinitis, impingement, and bursitis. The first line of treatment is typically a course of physical therapy. For impingement and tendinitis, treatment may include a cortisone injection first, and then physical therapy when inflammation has subsided. Physical therapy focuses on strengthening the rotator cuff muscles and the shoulder blade muscles, improving posture, and increasing range of motion with exercises that rotate the shoulder. (Locked) More »

What to do when medication makes you constipated

Many medications can contribute to constipation. Common offenders include antidepressants, opioids, calcium-channel blockers, and anticholinergics. Older adults can be more susceptible to the constipation side effect of medications. Constipation symptoms include having bowel movements fewer than three times a week; having hard or small, lumpy stools; having stools that are hard to pass; straining; having painful bowel movements; or having the sensation of incomplete emptying after a bowel movement. Long-term treatment options include prescription medications, over-the-counter remedies, fiber supplements, and an increase in dietary fiber. More »

Think twice before going gluten-free

It appears that gluten does not prevent heart problems. People who eat low amounts of gluten often have diets low in whole grains. Restricting whole grains may be bad for heart health. More »

A sober reminder about bicycle safety

Medical costs associated with adult bicycle crashes reached an estimated $24 billion in 2013. To prevent injuries, cyclists should wear a helmet and reflective clothing and ride on bicycle paths instead of streets. More »