Staying Healthy Archive

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What to do when driving skills decline

Many people experience a decline in their driving skills as they age. While some choose to stop driving, others resist. Whether it's you or a loved one, planning ahead can help you tackle fixable issues, make transitions easier, and avoid harming yourself or someone else.

A tough question: When should an older driver stop driving?

Navigating whether or when an older person should limit or stop driving is tricky. Whether these concerns are about a family member or yourself, it's helpful to be aware of red flags and to understand how driving abilities –– and risk for motor vehicle accidents –– change with age.

Health-savvy house hunting

When people house-hunt in their 50s and 60s, they should consider home features that enable them to age in place if they become less mobile. Such architectural details include fewer or no stairs, bright lighting, an open layout, cabinets that aren't too high, and bathrooms with step-in showers. Outside amenities are also important, including nearby health care facilities, stores, pharmacies, and parks. A vibrant community can expand people's social options and provide proximity to neighbors to call if needed.

Wrong-sized blood pressure cuff can throw off readings

Choosing the right cuff size for automated home blood pressure monitors can help ensure an accurate reading. A 2023 study found that using a "regular"-sized arm cuff with an automated device resulted in inaccurate blood pressure readings for people who needed a small, large, or extra-large sized cuff.

Simpler way to test for true penicillin allergy

A 2023 study found that an oral penicillin challenge in a doctor's office provides a simple method of determining true penicillin allergy.

Do more for your core

A strong core serves as the foundation for upper- and lower-body movements. It helps maintain a healthy posture and prevents back injuries and falls. Like all muscles, the core muscles weaken as people age, so it's important for people to do core exercises on a regular basis. The best core exercises are movements that activate as many of the core muscles as possible at one time. Some examples include planks, diagonal chops, and deadbugs.

Understanding new weight-loss drugs

A newer class of medications used to treat type 2 diabetes called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists has gained attention because of their impressive weight-loss results—in many cases, 10% to 20% of a person's body weight. Versions of two of these GLP-1 receptor agonists, liraglutide (Saxenda) and semaglutide (Wegovy), are FDA-approved for weight loss, even for people without diabetes. However, there isn't enough evidence to know whether these drugs might be beneficial or dangerous for people who are not diagnosed with diabetes or obesity.

Check out your skin

People should do a full-body skin check-up every three to six months to identify abnormalities that may be early signs of skin cancer or other skin problems. Write down the date of the self-exams, record any issues like new or questionable moles, sores, painful or itchy spots, raised or firm bumps, dark flaky patches, and unusual freckles. Include the exact locations of these skin issues and take photos for reference. After six to eight weeks, see a dermatologist if they have not improved, have changed color or size, have become painful, or easily bleed.

Cannabis use disorder may raise surgical risks

A 2023 study suggests that regular cannabis users have higher risks before, during, and after surgery, including the risk of heart attack, stroke, acute kidney injury, breathing difficulties, and blood clots.

Debunking common wellness myths

Many common wellness myths contain a grain of truth but are misleading over all. One wellness myth holds that being thin equates to being healthy, but people who are think can still be unhealthy. Another myth posits that detoxes and cleanses can help people be healthier, but these products don't help and can even be dangerous for some people. Another myth is that eating before bedtime leads to weight gain, but food choice matters more than timing.

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