November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month!
I am a huge supporter of hospice and palliative care, but I think it’s underutilized in our health care system.
My father, before he passed away two years ago, had the benefit of hospice care for a few weeks before his death. My husband’s family also received support from hospice when his father passed away four years ago.
I’ve found in my own experience that doctors often wait for the patient or the patient’s family to bring up the topic of hospice. That’s why it’s important for everyone to … Continue reading
And brain health awareness, too!
At this time, there is no drug or treatment to prevent Alzheimer’s or dementia. The best advice is that what is good for your heart is good for your brain, too.
Related post: Don’t buy supplements to prevent Alzheimer’s
Embracing a healthy lifestyle is our best chance to reduce the risk of developing dementia as we age.
That means moderate physical exercise every day, a calorie-appropriate diet full of a wide variety of nutrients, and lots of mental stimulation.
Related post: Do “brain games” prevent dementia?
Socializing and mental exercises help improve brain … Continue reading
HIIT for better health— and lower doctors’ bills
A few months ago my husband and I joined a local gym. We wanted to be a little more serious with our exercise routines.
Aging can be expensive. I believe one way to save money on health care as we age is to exercise. Exercise can help prevent diabetes, heart disease, some cancers and possibly dementia.
I also want to keep my muscles and bones strong, to prevent falls and fractures.
I’m no exercise fanatic (quite the opposite, in fact), but aging healthfully is important enough to me that I worked with … Continue reading
May is National Osteoporosis Month
I can’t let May and the NOF’s awareness campaign pass without giving a shout out to the best way to prevent bone loss or osteoporosis.
It’s not taking enormous calcium supplement tablets every day or occasionally choking down a couple of chalky TUMS.
It’s a combination of eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods and exercising every day.
Actually, no one can prevent bone loss altogether. That’s like saying you can prevent wrinkles. As we age our bones lose strength and flexibility. But we can slow the process down and prevent it from turning into significant … Continue reading
The wellness blog in the New York Times had an article about brain health that has strengthened my resolve to exercise every day.
Walk, Jog or Dance: It’s All Good For the Aging Brain
It turns out that regular walking, cycling, swimming, dancing and even gardening may substantially reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
The author is referring to a recently published study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The study looked at 10 years’ worth of lifestyle data, including exercise levels, on 900 men and women over the age of 65. Over the course of those 10 years, the … Continue reading
I don’t think anyone would be surprised to know that Americans are popping more pills than ever.
About 60% take at least one prescription medication. Even more take daily dietary supplements, herbal remedies or other over-the-counter drugs.
And the more drugs you take, the higher the risk of dangerous drug interactions.
A new study published this month in JAMA reports that close to 88% of older Americans over the age of 62 take at least one drug. Of those, the report estimates, 15% are at high risk of suffering from a major drug-drug interaction.
I read Dr. Richard Lehman’s response … Continue reading
For years I’ve heard that blueberries are good for brain health. Which is great, because I love blueberries and try to work them into my diet several times a week.
So I was happy to read the results of some new research that supports the connection between blueberries and the human brain.
Most blueberry studies to date have been performed on animals, but two recent studies—funded in part by the National Institute on Aging and the blueberry industry—used human subjects.
One study used adults over the age of 68. Half ate the equivalent of 1 cup of blueberries daily for … Continue reading
Just yesterday I posted about the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the fine line they walk between providing evidence-based recommendations for screening tests and making medical specialist groups happy.
Sometimes it just doesn’t happen.
The task force recently gave an “I” grade to vision screening in patients over 65. An I grade, or Insufficient evidence, means that the task force can’t definitively say that the benefits of vision screening in older adults outweigh the possible harms.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) doesn’t agree.
Specifically, the task force reviewed the evidence for primary care doctors screening for … Continue reading
I’ve previously posted that Nexium and similar acid-reducing drugs, the PPIs (proton pump inhibitors), have been linked to an increased risk of heart attack .
Now, a new study has confirmed a connection between PPIs and dementia.
The patients receiving regular PPI medication…had a significantly increased risk of incident dementia compared with the patients not receiving PPI medication…
The avoidance of PPI medication may prevent the development of dementia.
The study specifically looked at PPI use in patients age 75 and older, who are frequently taking several prescription medications.
This is an important study, because as the health news … Continue reading
I subscribe to the belief that no one should die alone or afraid, and death is a natural part of the life cycle that can be—should be—a sacred, deeply meaningful experience.
Sadly, too often that’s not the case. Our current health care system doesn’t do death well at all. Unless they qualify for hospice, patients and their families are left feeling helpless, confused and afraid. Sometimes angry.
No one expects us to be experts at childbirth if we’ve never had a baby. Why should we be experts at death if we or a loved one has never died before?
I … Continue reading