Before dementia begins: What helps?

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a transitional stage before dementia. There is no treatment yet to stop MCI from progressing, but a healthy lifestyle and optimal medical care may slow it down and improve day-to-day function. This includes exercise and a heart-healthy diet and getting the best medical care for conditions that affect the arteries, like diabetes and heart disease. A special form of therapy called cognitive rehabilitation teaches strategies for working around memory loss and other impairments. There is no FDA-approved medication for MCI, but some doctors are willing to prescribe the drug donepezil (Aricept), which is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Dietary supplements do not help prevent MCI from getting worse, but new drugs are being tested in clinical trials that could lead to better treatments. (Locked) More »

Ensuring aspirin's benefit

The heart-protecting benefit of low-dose daily aspirin may vary between different people, although the reasons remain unclear. Taking an uncoated aspirin may help to ensure full absorption. Take the uncoated aspirin with food to prevent stomach upset. (Locked) More »

When to worry about a cough

A cough from the common cold can last from several weeks to two months. A persistent cough with worrying symptoms like coughing up blood, shortness of breath, or weight loss needs immediate medical attention. (Locked) More »

Arthritic knees: Exercise can help, but don't overdo it

Exercise to strengthen an arthritic knee reduces pain and stiffness and improves daily functioning. It is important to match the right type and amount of exercise to the arthritis condition. Those with arthritis behind the kneecap should avoid deep knee bends and other moves that require large amounts of flexing the joint. Severe knee arthritis limits the amount of exercise possible. It can help to work with a physical therapist to design an appropriate exercise program that strengthens the knee without causing excessive pain and swelling. (Locked) More »

Blocked arteries may be causing that leg pain when you walk

Daily walking is essential to treat leg pain that starts when you walk for a while but subsides when you rest, a condition called intermittent claudication caused by blockages that impede blood flow in the legs. Supervised exercise is helpful to many, but may not be covered by health insurance. Home-based walking works well if the person is able to sustain daily motivation. Medication can also help to improve walking distance, but daily walking should always be part of treatment. (Locked) More »

How to prevent kidney stones

Men prone to kidney stones can take basic steps to reduce the risk of kidney stones forming. It is important to drink plenty of water to dilute chemicals in urine that form stones. Also take in adequate calcium, preferably from foods. Limit daily sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day. Dietary restrictions may be necessary, depending on the type of stones that the person tends to form. These restrictions may include limiting animal protein and avoiding foods that could make kidney stones more likely to form, such as oxalate. More »

New evidence that a heart-healthy diet also helps fight prostate cancer

Heart-healthy nutrition helps prevent prostate cancer and may slow the progression of low-risk prostate cancer to a more aggressive form. A key element is replacing animal fats and refined carbohydrates with healthier vegetable fats from foods such as avocados, walnuts, and soybean, canola, and olive oils. These steps also fight heart disease, which remains the leading killer of American men. More »

Online Alzheimer's tests get "F" from experts

Online tests for Alzheimer's disease are unscientific and unreliable. Online testing can be harmful if a person with real memory problems "passes" the online test and decides not to seek a doctor's opinion. Discuss memory problems with a doctor. (Locked) More »

Panel backs HCV test for baby boomers

A national panel of experts on primary care, the United States Preventive Services Task Force, recommends that all baby boomers (people born between 1945 and 1965) should be screened at least once for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. (Locked) More »

Act quickly to stop stroke damage

In a large national study, it took over two hours for people having a stroke to receive a drug to break up the blood clot in the brain causing the problem. It is vital to get to a hospital as soon as possible after noticing stroke symptoms. (Locked) More »