Are you taking too many medications?

High pill burdens have numerous risks, such as medication errors or interactions, loss of interest in sticking to stick to a drug regimen, and a poor quality of life. The trend to eliminate unnecessary medications—a process called deprescribing—should be supervised by a doctor or pharmacist. During such medication transitions, it helps to maintain a pill schedule with a log or chart that notes the medication’s time and dose, and any new symptoms that develop. (Locked) More »

How does inflammation increase the risk for heart attacks?

We now understand why inflammation increases heart attack risk. As cholesterol invades the wall of the artery, the immune system treats it like it treats other invaders. Immune system cells infiltrate the artery wall, release inflammation-producing chemicals, and send signals for other cells to remove the cholesterol. Then a fibrous cap forms over the plaque. Inflammation inside the plaque can eventually eat away at that fibrous cap. If the cap ruptures, cholesterol and the inflammatory cells and chemicals suddenly spill into the artery, causing a blood clot to form and block blood flow. More »

Easy ways to fight pandemic-era inactivity

Two-, five-, or 10-minute breaks are all it takes to interrupt the unhealthy physiological processes percolating during long periods of sitting. Ideas for two-minute breaks include hula-hooping or stair climbing. Five-minute breaks allow enough time to walk around the yard or complete household chores. The best way to maximize a 10-minute break is to take a brisk walk outside or follow a 10-minute video designed specifically for a mini workout, such tai chi, yoga, or dance. (Locked) More »

Feel woozy? Do this first

People who’ve never experienced wooziness should call 911 if the symptom comes on suddenly or severely, especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms. However, a person who has experienced wooziness before or been unwell recently should sit down, have a drink of water or juice, and rest for 10 to 15 minutes. If the feeling of wooziness persists, if other symptoms develop, or if it’s hard to get up without feeling faint, one should call 911. More »

5 factors to help you gauge where COVID-19 risk is highest

To get an idea where COVID-19 risks are highest, one should consider if an environment has poor airflow, crowds, and low use of face masks. The amount of time spent somewhere and the ability to sanitize the hands should also be considered. The more risk factors that are present, the higher the risk. For example, spending an hour in a crowded, stuffy gym with low face mask use is a bad idea; it’s better to go for a walk and lift dumbbells at home. (Locked) More »

Are you healthy enough to age in place?

There are many health-related requirements for living independently in older age. For example, one needs sharp thinking skills in order to manage medications, pay bills, choose clothes for the day, and select and buy groceries; and one needs strength, balance, and flexibility in order to get up from a chair, cook, or clean. People with weakening aspects of health should talk to a doctor for potential solutions to improve or cope with health challenges in order to continue living independently. More »

Use topical painkillers for strains and sprains

A new guideline, published online Aug. 17, 2020, by Annals of Internal Medicine, recommends using topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat short-term pain from injuries in places other than the lower back, such as the ankle, neck, or knee. More »

Got a cold? Try some honey

A review of studies published Aug. 18, 2020, by BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine suggests that consuming honey appears to improve upper respiratory tract infection symptoms and in some cases shorten the duration of symptoms by a day or two. More »