How to Stay Fit in Your Golden Years

Filed under Health & Wellness

When you re getting older and thinking of retirement, you ll want to consider the quality of your health during the golden years of your life. You don t want to have worked all those years getting ready for the life of your dreams and suddenly be bogged down by health concerns.

The best thing you can do for yourself starting right now is just some good old-fashioned exercise. As you age, there are four areas that can begin to deteriorate: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.

The good news is that if you take the right steps and research what areas you need to focus on, you can maintain these areas for many years to come. Just by getting up and being active, doing things like gardening and going for brisk walks, you can have a big impact on the quality of your health.

You might think that you have to jog or lift weights to get a real workout. Or, you may worry that you could end up hurting yourself by jumping into some strict exercise regiment.

The key is to start with baby steps and slowly work your way up. Your body will tell you how much you can handle. If you want to start running, go for a brisk walk for a few day or weeks until you feel confident enough to move a little faster. If you re a golfer, try playing half the course on your feet instead of using the cart.

Here are a few types of exercise you ll want to consider:

Strength exercises are very important. You will begin to lose muscle mass as you age and keeping those muscles strong and healthy will prevent this from happening. Even short and simple exercises can go a long way.

Flexibility exercises are key and easy to do. You don t have to do advanced yoga or turn yourself into a pretzel to do the job. Just some simple stretches each day will work in your favor. Doing these exercises will help you keep your balance and may help in preventing falls.

Endurance exercises will keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system in great shape. Just get your heart pumping in whatever way possible. It doesn t have to be a track meet; a brisk walk four times a week with friends can do wonders.

Balance exercises, like standing on one leg for a few minutes each day, can help a lot as well. These sorts of exercises maintain that vital mind-body connection.

The great thing about different exercises is that one will often complement the other. You can vary your regimen throughout the week and explore all the different and fun ways to exercise.

Easy Ways to Boost Your Brain and Memory

Filed under Health & Wellness

Do you ever find yourself at the grocery store struggling to remember what you came for? Are you forgetting birthdays and lunch dates? If these situations sound familiar to you, you’re not alone. Forgetfulness is one of the most common complaints of those in middle age and beyond.

Memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease rank high on the list of senior fears. Alzheimer’s was the No. 1 fear of aging, according to research conducted by Bankers Life and Casualty Company, a national life and health insurer that focuses on serving the retirement needs of the middle market. Similarly, a national poll by Research!America and PARADE magazine showed that adults were more than twice as likely to fear losing their mental capacity as their physical ability.

The good news is according to researchers at John Hopkins, most memory loss has nothing to do with Alzheimer’s disease. Nearly all of us, they say, take more time to learn and recall information as we age.

There are simple things that you can do in your everyday life to increase your ability to retain information and exercise your brain.

Engage your brain
Mentally stimulating activities strengthen brain cells and the connection between them. You can keep those cells in shape by giving them a workout. Instead of passively watching TV, try something that engages your brain: reading, writing, taking a class, doing a crossword puzzle or even learning a new game to play with family members. Stay in touch. Loneliness is linked to depression, a risk factor for memory loss. Try to keep your social network strong by volunteering or simply helping a neighbor. Make a conscious effort to stay connected with friends and relatives by visiting with them or keeping in touch by phone or e-mail.

Eat healthy
Maintaining a balanced diet, low in saturated fats is said to be better for cognitive functioning. In addition, the Alzheimer’s Association notes growing evidence that a diet rich in dark vegetables and fruits — which contain antioxidants — may help protect brain cells.

Stay active
Regular exercise can increase oxygen to the brain. It can also lower the risk for diseases that can lead to memory loss, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Your doctor can help you develop an exercise regime that’s best for you.

When to seek help
“It’s important to know the difference between normal forgetting and something more serious,” says Scott Perry, president of Bankers Life and Casualty Company, who serves on the board of directors of his local Alzheimer’s Association chapter.

Serious memory problems, according to the National Institute on Aging, are those that affect a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. For example:

• Asking the same questions over and over.

• Becoming lost in familiar places.

• Not being able to follow directions.

• Getting very confused about time, people and places.

• Losing interest in daily activities such as grooming and eating.

Article courtesy of ARA Content

Senior Health and Nutrition

Filed under Health & Wellness

As we age, our body obviously changes and it’s important that we get the nutrition our body needs based on our age. Surely you would not feed an adolescent baby food- They have/need different diets than a new born or toddler does. It’s equally important for a grown adult or senior to eat differently than they did when they were in their 30’s. Here are a few tips and commonly asked questions regarding Senior Nutrition:

A Few Facts Seniors And Caregivers Should Know:

1. As activity levels decrease muscle mass often diminishes and therefore reducing the body’s energy requirements. What does this mean? Well, if a senior does not adapt and continues to eat the way they did when their body required much more energy they run the risk of becoming obese.

2. On the flip side, many seniors also run the risk of not getting enough nutrients for the body due to appetite changes. It’s important to develop a portion controlled diet to ensure the senior gets all the nutrition their body needs. If they aren’t using up any energy and never feel hungry or tired, maybe plan some senior friendly exercises (based upon their ability) to get them more active and to build up an appetite.

3. Always check with your doctor before making any diet changes if you are on any medication. Different medicines can affect food intake in different ways; some can cause an upset stomach, some require you to take them with specific foods, while others cannot be mixed with some foods or beverages. Always check with your doctor first!

What Does Eating Healthy Mean?

Eating healthy is basically eating the right amounts of foods to provide the required nutrients to give your body enough energy for daily activities, ensure your body is functioning properly, and prevent illness and maintain longevity.

Specific Nutritional Recommendations for Seniors:

It’s helpful to periodically review your diet as you age, especially if you have any medical needs. You should schedule a visit to your doctor so he/she can assist you in creating a diet specifically for you and your individual nutritional needs.

Here are a few general guidelines:

• Monitor fat intake to maintain healthy cholesterol
• Consume more calcium and vitamin D for strong healthy bones
• Reduce your salt intake to prevent water retention and high blood pressure
• Cut back your intake of sugar and dry foods
• Increase your water intake
• Participate in regular physical activity

The Senior Food Pyramid!

Yes, indeed there is a food pyramid strictly for our senior citizens of the world! It’s very much like the food pyramid you should already be familiar with, only this one is adapted specifically for the different needs of older adults who have a slower metabolism and slightly different nutritional needs.

• Let’s start at the base. It is recommended that you drink 8 servings of water a day. (I sure hope you’re thirsty!!)

• Next, you should be getting six or less servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta. (This is less than the traditional food pyramid where it is recommended we get at least six or more servings in this group.)

• Then you should be getting no more than two servings from the fruit group and two – three servings from the vegetable group. (Again, this is less, in fact half, then the traditional food pyramid)

• Now we have the dairy and meat servings. Seniors should get less than two servings from the meat, poultry, fish, beans, and eggs group. And they should also get three servings of milk, yogurt, and cheese.

• As for your beloved sweets, fats and oils… use them sparingly. You’re better off making them just a little treat for yourself every so often rather than a staple part of your daily intake. (But then again, that one is true for all of us!)
• And lastly seniors should be getting calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B-12 supplements. (See your doctor for specific amounts)

Benefits to a Healthy Diet:

• Increased mental acuteness
• Resistance to illness and disease
• Higher levels of energy
• Stronger immune system
• Faster recuperation time

Everyone, young and old alike, should practice a healthy daily diet. But it seems seniors often suffer most from not changing their diet. As we age, our bodies get older while we often still feel young at heart! So be sure to stop and examine your diet and eat accordingly! You won’t regret it!

Article by Stacey Crevoiserat

Skin Care Secrets for Seniors

Filed under Health & Wellness

Caring for aging skin involves far more than fighting wrinkles and age spots. Skin health from protection against UV rays to proper wound care – plays a vital role in overall health for senior Americans.

Skin is the body’s first line of protection against harm. It shields us from infection, impact and the environment. “Age brings a number of changes that can compromise the skin’s ability to protect us,” says Cynthia Fleck, a registered nurse and vice president of clinical marketing for Advanced Skin and Wound Care at Medline, which manufactures skin care products and educational resources for seniors.

“As the skin ages it becomes thinner, less resilient and much drier,” Fleck explains. “The layers of skin can easily separate, tearing the paper-like upper-most area called the epidermis. The skin cells do not ‘turn over,’ or replenish themselves as quickly as when we are young. Therefore, the old skin cells become clumped and do not function as efficiently as young, healthy skin cells do.”

Fleck offers the following advice on how to care for aging skin:

• “Drying is the single largest skin problem among the aged,” says Fleck. She recommends avoiding a daily shower or bath, which can contribute to dry skin. Instead, opt for gentle cleansing with soap and surfactant-free (detergent-free) cleansers of the kind that do not need to be rinsed. These cleansers do the job of removing dirt and natural oils, but do not impact the natural acid balance of mature skin.

• Moisturizing on a daily basis is essential since older skin cannot retain moisture as well as young skin. “There are new, advanced skin care products that actually nourish the skin from the outside in, delivering amino acids (proteins), vitamins, antioxidants and ingredients that are gentle and soothing, making the skin more resilient and strengthening it,” says Fleck.

• Take care to avoid bumps that can tear the skin, or caustic substances that can disrupt the skin’s ability to protect. Immobile seniors who must use adult diapers should have special care taken to keep them clean and free of irritants. “Barrier products that contain protectants like dimethicone and other silicones, as well as zinc oxide, can help protect the skin from these issues,” Fleck says.

• Continue to protect your skin from the sun. Melanocytes, the skin cells that protect us from the sun, do not work as well as we age. As a result, older skin burns easily. Stay out of the sun as much as possible, and when out wear protective clothing, wide-brimmed hats and sun screen.

• Be aware of special skin care needs that often accompany some common diseases, such as diabetes. For example, diabetics need to take particular care in protecting their skin, especially on extremities.

• Avoid strong antibacterial soaps that may have high pH, which can further dry aging skin. Astringents and products that contain alcohol can also be too harsh and damaging for older skin.

“Many seniors may not know what products they need and often can’t get out of the house to get them,” Fleck says. “The Internet has made it easier to order products online and keep them handy for daily skin care, but not all seniors have online access or know how to use the Internet.”

“Health care professionals are a great source of information and can relay simple instructions for daily skin care and protection while suggesting new products that may help seniors in their routine,” she says.

Article courtesy of ARAcontent

5 Musts to Lower High Blood Pressure

Filed under Health & Wellness

As we mature, maintaining a healthy and physically fit body can decrease our risk for serious health problems. One serious health problem that so many adults face is high blood pressure. High blood pressure makes your heart work harder than normal. Both the heart and arteries are then more prone to injury. According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, eye damage, congestive heart failure and fatty buildups in arteries called atherosclerotic plaques. If you have high blood pressure, are obese, smoke, or have high blood cholesterol levels or diabetes, your risk of heart attack or stroke goes up several times!

If high blood pressure isn’t treated, your heart may have to work harder and harder to pump enough blood and oxygen to your body’s organs and tissues. So let’s look at some preventative measures to help lower high blood pressure:

1. Get Out And Move!

At any age, our weight has a direct correlation to the value of life. What’s the best way to maintain a healthy weight? Good old exercise! Exercise is a solid way to help prevent and lower high blood pressure. It is most beneficial when it is constant. Changing up routines and including a partner in your activities will help you both stay focused and motivated. A healthy 30 minutes a day will easily help lower your high blood pressure while releasing the feel good endorphins that energize us. Try focusing on these four areas of physical activity:

1. Muscle Building exercises
2. Cardiovascular exercises
3. Stretching exercises
4. Balance exercises

2. Eat Responsibly!

The food you eat can affect the way blood flows through your heart and arteries. A diet high in fat and cholesterol can gradually cause a buildup (called “plaque”) in your arteries. That buildup slows down the blood flow and blocks small arteries. If the blockage happens in an artery that carries blood to the heart muscle, a heart attack can occur. If the blockage happens in an artery that carries blood to the brain, a stroke can occur. The right diet helps keep your arteries clear and reduces the risk of heart problems and stroke. So, eat foods rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Avoid foods with a lot of salt, sugar and fat. We really only need about 1 teaspoon of salt each day. So beware! Read labels- most canned foods have a higher sodium content from preservatives.

3. Drink Alcohol In Moderation!

There is good evidence to show that if you drink alcohol in large amounts, it will cause your blood pressure to rise. However this does not seem to happen if you drink alcohol in small amounts. In fact, drinking small amounts of alcohol actually protects against heart disease and stroke. US guidelines recommend that men have no more than two alcoholic drinks per day while women are to have no more than one alcoholic drink per day to help lower high blood pressure.

4. Stop Smoking!

Research shows that smoking only increases your chances of developing a number of health complications such as: heart disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, and a few other cancers. If you goal is a longer healthy life with lowered blood pressure, it would be best to start weaning yourself off your cigarettes and cigars. The nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco products makes your body release adrenaline. Adrenaline causes your blood vessels to constrict and your heart to beat faster, which raises your blood pressure. If you quit smoking or using other tobacco products, you can significantly lower your risk of heart disease and heart attack, as well as help lower your blood pressure.

5. Monitor Your Blood Pressure

Measuring your blood pressure at home and keeping a record of the measurements will show you and your doctor how much your blood pressure changes during the day. Also, measuring your own blood pressure is a good way to take part in managing your health. To measure your blood pressure at home, you can use either an aneroid monitor or a digital monitor. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 or lower. High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 140/90, you have something called “prehypertension” (you are in the beginning stages and at risk of high blood pressure). Only your doctor can tell you whether you have high blood pressure. Most doctors will check your blood pressure several times on different days before deciding that you have high blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure or prehypertension, you need to check your blood pressure regularly and keep in touch with your family doctor.

Remember: Slow and steady wins the race. Remind yourself that life is not meant to be lived in one day so change will not occur overnight. Life is a beautiful process- we can only relax, take a deep breath and stay focused on our goals. Take personal responsibility for your health. Your future is your choice.

Article by Christine Abbate

Staying Healthy and Strong

Filed under Health & Wellness

Vibrant, vital, happy and healthy – this is the ideal state of life that virtually everyone wants to achieve, regardless of age. It’s doable, but the secret isn’t a cosmetic quick-fix. Rather, the best way to stay physically strong, healthy and full of optimism with each passing year is a daily investment in exercise that works with your body’s biological changes.

“There is no expiration date on physical fitness,” says Dr. Vonda Wright, a renowned orthopedic surgeon and author of “Fitness After 40: How to Stay Strong at Any Age.” “There is no level of sedentary that’s too sedentary to start exercising. There is no unwritten biological ‘law’ that says you have to get slower, less active and less fit as you grow older.”

Unfortunately, most of us get less and less exercise as we get older, and our bodies start to fail because we fail them. Yet a growing number of 40-plus athletes – like Olympic medalist Dara Torres – are successfully competing against people half their age. They’re living proof that fitness is achievable by anyone, at any age.

The key, says Wright, is to have a strategic plan. Just as you plan your retirement or social life, you need a plan for staying healthy. And a daily investment in physical activity should be at the heart of your strategic health plan.

“Age is not the true enemy of health,” Wright says. Rather, a sedentary lifestyle is the true obstacle to enduring health, fitness and strength. Many life-threatening chronic diseases are linked to inactivity, and can be helped by a daily dose of just 30 minutes of exercise.

Adults over 40 should engage in 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days per week, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ recommendations. A wide range of activities, including such mundane tasks as heavy gardening, provide the health benefits of vigorous physical activity. The main message behind the department’s physical activity recommendations is that what you do to get moving – and when you start – are less important than simply being active on a regular basis.

“Even if you’re currently living a sedentary lifestyle, it’s possible to become active and fit now,” Wright says. “No matter how many times you’ve celebrated your 39th birthday from the comfort of your armchair, you can still make dramatic fitness changes by investing 30 minutes every day in your body.”

In her book, Wright sums up the four critical components of a smart, well-rounded exercise regimen as: “F.A.C.E. – ing Your Future.” The acronym stands for:

F for flexibility – Stretching muscles for 15 minutes daily can help prevent ligament tears, muscle strains and tendonitis. Simple stretching exercises, like the warm-ups you used to do in high school gym class, can improve flexibility and prevent injury.

A for aerobics – Get your heart and lungs pumping moderately three to five times a week. Take a long and briskly paced walk, join a water aerobics class, mow the lawn, play ball with the kids or grandkids – virtually any moderate to vigorous physical activity can help improve your overall cardiovascular health. Just be sure to exercise safely.

C for carrying a load – Build strong bones and muscles with resistance training three times a week. Working out with resistance bands can be an easy, convenient way to build bone and muscle strength.

E for equilibrium – As we age, falling evolves from a minor mishap to a serious health risk. Maintain balance and avoid falls with a few simple, day moves. Wright recommends simply getting into the habit of standing on one leg while performing any task that requires you to stand for a while, such as washing the dishes.

These simple steps can help adult-onset exercisers become active, and already-active athletes become even better safely and healthfully.

As baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan writes in his foreword to Wright’s book: “Aging . . . is not a reason for slowing down.”

Wright agrees: “Staying as physically active as possible can help all Americans be as healthy and vital as possible at any age.”

Article courtesy of ARA Content

Cholesterol Matters to Your Heart

Filed under Health & Wellness

Everyone knows they should watch their cholesterol, but do you know why? If you have high cholesterol, you may have twice the risk for heart disease —  the number one health problem for both women and men in the United States.

High levels of cholesterol can lead to heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. Bad cholesterol, known as LDL, floats through your bloodstream, occasionally catching on the inside walls of the blood vessels. If enough cholesterol accumulates in one spot, the buildup — known as a plaque — can block the passage of blood. The resulting restriction of blood flow to the heart can cause a heart attack, while restriction of blood to the brain can lead to a stroke.

Luckily, you may be able to reduce your risk of suffering one of these life-threatening events by lowering your bad cholesterol levels. You can check your cholesterol level through a simple blood test. The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) recommends LDL cholesterol levels below 130 mg/dL for people without heart disease but at moderate risk for developing heart disease. For those people with heart disease or a disease that puts them at high risk (such as diabetes), the recommended LDL cholesterol levels are below 100 mg/dL. Further reductions to 70 mg/dL are optimal and may be beneficial for those at particularly high risk.

To control your cholesterol levels, you should limit your intake of foods that are high in saturated fats and cholesterol, such as fatty meats and whole milk. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and other high-fiber foods, and be sure to exercise as recommended by your doctor.

In some cases, however, lifestyle changes alone are not enough. In those instances, medications including statins might be prescribed to lower cholesterol levels further. Thanks in part to the availability of these medications, the average patient today is considerably more likely to reach their LDL cholesterol goals than they were just 10 years ago.

Because high cholesterol doesn’t cause day-to-day symptoms, it can easily go undetected. Many people don’t know they have high cholesterol until they develop symptoms of heart disease such as chest pain. As a result, it is important to monitor your cholesterol levels regularly. And if your doctor has prescribed a cholesterol-lowering drug, be sure to stay on your medication.

If you have high cholesterol, or if you do not know your cholesterol levels, here are some important questions to ask your doctor:

• Why should I keep track of my cholesterol levels?

• Am I at risk for a heart attack or stroke?

• What puts me at risk?

• What are my current cholesterol levels?

• What are my cholesterol goals?

• How often should I check my cholesterol?

• How can I lower my cholesterol through diet? Exercise? Medication?

• What are the possible side effects of cholesterol-lowering medications?

• How should I take my medication?

Talk to your doctor to see if you should be doing more to lower your cholesterol levels. Not all cholesterol-lowering medications are the same, so be sure you and your doctor choose the one that’s best for you.

Article courtesy of ARAcontent

Heart Failure Medications

Filed under Health & Wellness

Advances in medications have, over the past few years, made a big impact on the quality of life for heart failure patients. These medicines can help stabilize heart function, relieve symptoms, keep patients out of the hospital, even extend and improve quality of life.

But to be effective, patients must take an active role in understanding the medicines they are taking and foster open communication with their health care providers about how the medicines are affecting their health.

For example, some patients may be tempted to stop taking their medicine when they start to feel better. However, it is important to continue taking the medicine, as its purpose is not only to make the patient feel better in the short run, but also to treat the underlying disease and improve health in the long run.

Conversely, if a patient is taking medicine and feeling worse, or not feeling any better, it is important to discuss this with a doctor, as medicines may need to be changed or the dose adjusted to receive maximum benefits.

Most people with heart failure require several medicines for the best results. The list below describes the most common medicines available that may be prescribed for heart failure patients, courtesy of the Heart Failure Society of America. Patients should ask their doctor or their nurse for complete information on any medicines they are taking.

ACE Inhibitor Pills  These medicines work by blocking the effects of harmful stress hormones. They also control high blood pressure and prevent heart attacks. In most people, they do not usually cause a lot of side effects but for some patients they can cause cough, or rarely, swelling of the lining of the mouth.

• Beta-Blocker Pills  This group of medicines improve heart function. They also control high blood pressure, prevent heart attacks, and help regulate the heart rhythm. They work by blocking the effects of certain harmful stress hormones. Side effects include dizziness, fatigue, fluid buildup and wheezing.

• Diuretics  Also called water pills, these work by helping the body get rid of extra fluid. Less fluid in the lungs makes breathing easier and means less swelling in other parts of the body. Patients taking a diuretic should have their potassium levels checked periodically. Diuretics can also cause people to lose too much fluid and become dehydrated.

• Digoxin Pills  Improve heart function by making the heart beat stronger and also may help to correct hormonal imbalance that makes heart failure worse. Patients with heart failure breathe more easily and feel better as a result. Excessive amounts of digoxin may cause nausea or vomiting, blurred or colored vision or abnormal heart rhythm, which may cause palpitation or black outs. Digoxin should be used with care and close communication with a doctor’s office is required.

• Aldosterone Antagonist Pills  These work by blocking the effects of a stress hormone called aldosterone. One study shows that people with advanced heart failure who take aldosterone blocking pills live longer and stay out of the hospital. It can increase potassium levels and can cause breast enlargement or tenderness, especially in men. Again, close communication with a doctor’s office is required if this medicine is used.

• ARB Pills  These reduce the impact of certain harmful stress hormones. They have actions similar to those of ACE inhibitors and may be recommended for people who can not tolerate an ACE inhibitor. They can cause dizziness, decrease in blood pressure or problems with kidneys or potassium level.

• Combination Isosorbide Dinitrate and Hydralazine Pills This is a combination of two different vasodilators. These drugs work by relaxing blood vessels which eases the work of the heart. The combination may work particularly well in African Americans with heart failure but others are also likely to benefit. This combination can cause headaches, especially right after patients start taking the pills. Other side effects include dizziness, nausea, vomiting and feeling lightheaded or even fainting if patients drink alcohol or do not drink enough fluids.

Patients need to be sure to tell every doctor and nurse they see that they have heart failure and what medicines they are taking including over the counter medications, “nutriceuticals” or herbal remedies. Some of these can make heart failure worse or interfere with the prescribed medications from your health care provider. Heart failure patients should be particularly cautious about taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), calcium channel blockers and most antiarrhythmic medicines.

Article courtesy of ARA Content

Preventing Super Bug Infections

Filed under Health & Wellness

Each year more than a million patients in the United States develop infections caused by deadly super bugs that have developed resistance to the antibiotics normally used to treat them. The sources of these life-threatening super bug infections are from both hospitals and outpatient facilities. Now, patients can be proactive in their fights against super bugs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1.7 million people in the United States each year develop health care associated infections and more than 100,000 people die each year as a result of these infections.

The number of hospital patients stricken by an infection that can lead to gangrene, blood poisoning and even death increased by 200 percent between 2000 and 2005, according to the latest “News and Numbers” from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. This sharp upturn follows a 74 percent increase in the number of cases between 1993 and 2000.

“It’s clear that hospital and health care professionals need to do more to prevent Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus or MRSA, an antibiotic resistant staph infection, especially in radiology,” says Dr. Peter Rothschild, founder of Patient Comfort Systems — a company that strives to minimize the risk of biological contamination on patient exam pads. “While there are many things hospitals and diagnostic imaging centers can do, there are also many proactive steps patients can take to help protect themselves from healthcare acquired infections.”

The CDC reports that the number one action for preventing hospital acquired super bug infections is better hand hygiene by medical staff, their patients and visitors.

The following are a few important tips to keep in mind visiting a clinic or hospital:

If you are scheduled for an MRI and you are immunosuppressed, have HIV/AIDS, a chronic disease, have any type of compromised immune system or are elderly you owe it to yourself to demand to see a hospital or clinic’s infection control policy.

Visit the facility before your appointment to see their infection control. By the time you are lying on the table for your scan it is often too late.

Ask for the facility to fax or e-mail a copy of their infection control policy. If they are not willing to share it, it probably means they do not have one.

Wash your own hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Ask your health care provider to wash his or her hands and/or change their gloves prior to being examined.

Carry antibacterial wipes and wipe down wheelchairs, blood pressure cuffs, stethoscope diaphragms and the exam pad areas, or request that health care workers perform this simple sanitization before you are examined.

Pull back the white sheet, or paper, covering the pads in exam rooms. If the underlying pad is worn, torn or stained, ask for another exam room or new pads. Ask what the process is for disinfecting the pads and equipment you will contact. You can also carry a small portable black light to be used to check for biological contamination.

Ask for a report of infection rates from hospitals and clinics. Carefully choose a health care facility based upon its infection rates.

Five days prior to surgery, bathe each day with chlorhexidine soap, which is available without a prescription, to prevent dangerous bacteria from contaminating the skin. Ask that clippers be used instead of a razor to clear the surgical site. Razors can cause small nicks in the skin allowing bacteria to enter the body.

If an IV is required, make sure that the IV is inserted under sterile conditions. The skin area should be disinfected and the IV changed every three to four days. Also make sure that the person inserting or manipulating the IV washes his/her hands and wears sterile gloves.

Avoid touching your hands to your mouth and nose. Don’t leave eating utensils lying by the bedside, and always disinfect your hands before and after eating or touching your face.

Ask your doctor to test you for the MRSA super bug bacteria at least one week prior to going into the hospital. By taking these proactive steps you can considerably reduce the risk of exposure to these deadly super bug infections for you and your loved ones in any health care setting.

Article courtesy of ARA Content

Win the Battle Over Joint Pain

Filed under Health & Wellness

If you are one of the 27 million Americans who suffer with joint pain from osteoarthritis (OA), you are not alone. Eighty-four percent of OA sufferers report joint pain as an intrusive part of their daily lives, which prevents them from participating in activities including yard work, driving and household chores. Additionally, over half haven’t been able to participate in sports as much as they’d like, according to a new independent study funded by Elations, a fruit-flavored glucosamine and chondroitin drink.

These daily experiences of aches and pains can be attributed to “Boomeritis,” an increase of joint aches, pains, injuries and ailments experienced by older active adults as they reach their 40s, 50s and beyond. The term Boomeritis was coined in 1999 by Dr. Nicholas A. DiNubile, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

“This year marks the 10-year anniversary of Boomeritis, and it’s time to take action,” says Andrea Metcalf, nationally recognized baby boomer fitness expert and trainer. “Overcoming OA and battling the effects of Boomeritis means making the effort to exercise, supplement and practice small steps daily to help your body slow down the deterioration of joint and bone strength that naturally comes with aging.”

To win the battle over Boomeritis, Metcalf recommends six steps:

• Practice anti-inflammatory living. Reduce joint inflammation and discomfort by eating a diet that includes lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables and highly absorbable glucosamine and chondroitin supplements such as Elations. When taken daily it can help relieve joint discomfort in just six days.

Do two yoga poses. Tree pose and downward dog really help balance your body. Yoga in general helps calm the body. The tree pose (standing on one leg, place left foot on the inside of the right leg with hands in a prayer position at chest) helps strengthen the lower body and core while the downward dog (hands on ground out in front with hips high and heels down) helps stretch the hamstrings and lower back.

• Get moving. Try to move your body at least 10 minutes after each meal or three times a day. Everyone needs regular exercise, which helps keep your muscles toned and joints flexible.

• Stretch on all fours. The “pointer” is a move done on hands and knees involving one arm reaching forward and the opposite leg reaching back. Hold for at least four counts and repeat on the other side. This move helps strengthen the core and the back for better posture.

• Get your five-a-day. Make sure you are getting your five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.  They contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that may help protect you from chronic diseases and help you maintain your weight.

• Get at least six hours of sleep per night. Proper rest and recovery aids the body’s ability to rebuild and rejuvenate. Studies have shown that adults who sleep six to seven hours a night live longer.

Article courtesy of ARAcontent

Next Page »