Taking antibiotics for your cold: Just say no

Many older adults receive an antibiotic when visiting a primary care physician for a nonbacterial acute upper respiratory infection. But taking an antibiotic can help fight infection only when it’s caused by bacteria, not a virus. More »

4 tricks to rev up your memory

Forgetting things from time to time is probably related to either brain changes that come from aging or from underlying conditions. Treating underlying conditions can help boost memory. Other strategies can help, too. Tricks include repeating something out loud to increase the likelihood that information will be recorded and retrieved later when needed; creating a list of errands or appointments to give the brain additional hints to retrieve information; and making associations between old and new information, such as connecting a person’s first name to something familiar. More »

Should you increase HDL, and how?

People who are at increased risk for atherosclerosis, or already have significant atherosclerosis in the heart and brain, should try to increase HDL levels if they are low. Exercise, a healthy diet, and medication can help achieve that. (Locked) More »

Build a better cookout

Grilling meat over high heat may lead to the development of cancer-causing chemicals. To reduce the risk, one can keep food at least six inches from the heat source, flip food often, line the grill with perforated foil or cedar planks, or use smaller pieces of lean meat. Grilled fruits and vegetables pose a lower risk of developing carcinogens. Adding fruits and veggies to the cookout menu is also a simple way to squeeze more antioxidants and nutrients into the diet. (Locked) More »

Best ways to cope with hand pain

Hand pain is common in older age. It may be caused by many conditions, such as osteoarthritis, a wearing away of the cartilage in the joints; carpal or cubital tunnel syndrome, two different conditions involving the compression of nerves in the arm; or trigger finger, a type of tendon irritation that interferes with the ability of the finger to bend. It’s important to seek treatment for persistent hand pain before it gets so advanced that it’s tough to use hands for even the simplest jobs. More »

Tips to find a new doctor

It helps to turn to friends and Internet sources when searching for a new primary care physician. But it’s also important to ask a new doctor questions about his or her approach to care, how long it takes to get an appointment, and how to contact the doctor after hours. A prospective patient should note if it feels comfortable speaking with the doctor and if the doctor is answering questions clearly. If the doctor doesn’t seem to be a good match, one should keep looking. (Locked) More »

What’s your sleep IQ?

There are many ways to get more sleep. One way is to stop eating, drinking, or exercising too close to bedtime. Another way is to limit napping to about 40 minutes in the middle of the day. People who have signs of sleep apnea, such as gasping for breath during sleep, should report the symptoms to a doctor. There really is such as thing as a sleep debt, and the amount of sleep that is lost takes the same amount to restore the debt. (Locked) More »

Learn the risks of sleep aids

There are many ways to get more sleep. One way is to stop eating, drinking, or exercising too close to bedtime. Another way is to limit napping to about 40 minutes in the middle of the day. People who have signs of sleep apnea, such as gasping for breath during sleep, should report the symptoms to a doctor. There really is such as thing as a sleep debt, and the amount of sleep that is lost takes the same amount to restore the debt. More »