Breaking up with your favorite foods

Eating certain foods sometimes triggers indigestion or heartburn symptoms, particularly as people age. For example, consuming foods with certain natural sugars such as lactose may lead to cramping, diarrhea, bloating, and gas. Eating peppers, tomato sauces, and many other foods can worsen heartburn caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When one must remove trigger foods from the diet, there are alternatives that can also be satisfying, such as lactose-free dairy products. When removing a food isn’t possible, some tricks—such as adding a dollop of sour cream—can help reduce the heat in spicy dishes. (Locked) More »

What has the most impact on longevity?

Studies suggest that genes and lifestyle affect longevity. Harvard researchers found that injecting certain genes into mice protected them from becoming obese and from developing type 2 diabetes, heart failure, and a particular kind of kidney failure. A recent study of worms found that when worms exercise regularly (but not too much) early in life, their metabolism improves, their muscles and guts function better throughout life, they live longer, and they are protected against the worm version of Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists must now learn if the findings translate to humans. (Locked) More »

Tips to minimize the risks of anesthesia

Getting anesthesia as an older person has some risk, but less so than the risk from underlying health conditions, the surgical procedure itself, and the care that’s received after surgery. To cope with risks, one can ask a doctor if a delirium risk evaluation would be helpful before surgery; ask if delirium prevention approaches can be put into place after surgery; have family member or friend monitor recovery and watch for mental changes (and report them); and ask if the risks of anesthesia may outweigh the benefits of a procedure. (Locked) More »

Pickleball pleasures and pitfalls

Pickleball has some drawbacks for older adults. One is that the game is not a total aerobic workout, although it can help work the muscles. Another drawback is the risk of injuries, such as strains or sprains of the ankle and knees. Pickleball also has fall and fracture risks for older players. Players can prepare for pickleball by wearing the right clothing during a game (shorts, court sneakers, and goggles); warming up before the game; and stretching the muscles after playing. (Locked) More »

What’s causing bladder pain or burning?

Bladder pain and burning with urination affect more women than men. The symptoms can be caused by many conditions, such as upper or lower urinary tract infections, genitourinary syndrome of menopause, vaginitis, sexually transmitted infections, and interstitial cystitis (bladder pain syndrome). When symptoms occur, one should see a primary care doctor or gynecologist, and possibly a urologist or urogynecologist. Depending on the condition, treatment can include the use of antibiotics, vaginal estrogen cream, or bladder training. (Locked) More »

Quick-start guide to mental health professionals

Many types of trained professionals can help people with mental health issues. For example, psychiatrists can provide medical and psychiatric evaluations, treat psychiatric disorders, provide psychotherapy, and prescribe and monitor medications; psychologists can do psychological evaluations and testing and provide psychotherapy to treat mental disorders, but they cannot prescribe medication. The type of mental health care professional one seeks depends on his or her particular needs, including one’s condition, preferences, and the availability of clinicians in the area. More »

Genetic test kits don’t have all the answers

A report from British researchers, published in The BMJ on Oct. 16, 2019, warns that direct-to-consumer genetic test kits that predict the risk for developing certain diseases commonly produce misleading results. More »