Healthy Habits

A Guide to Healthy Aging

Posted by on Mar 4, 2014 in Aging Adults, Healthy Habits | 0 comments

A century ago only four out of every hundred people in the U.S. were age 65 or older. Today that number is 12 of every 100, and older adults make up the fastest growing part of our population. While growing older is inevitable, many people don’t realize that there are many things we can all do that will help keep us stay healthy as we age. The following is a guide to healthy aging that can help you enjoy better health and greater independence in later life. Make sure you’re not making medication mistakes ■ MANY OLDER ADULTS take prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and other supplements, such as herbs or home remedies, every day. Taking lots of different pills can cause side effects and problems. It is very important that your healthcare provider, pharmacist and others who care for you know every medication or pill you are taking. ■ BRING A LIST of each and every pill, vitamin or medicine you take—even if you buy it without a prescription—with you every time you see your healthcare professional. Make sure you write down the dose of the pill and how many times a day you take it. Your healthcare provider should check all of your pills to make sure they are safe for you to take. ■ ALWAYS CHECK with your healthcare professional, or your pharmacist, first before taking any new medicines of any kind. Take all medicines as directed, and tell your healthcare professional right away if a medication or pill seems to be causing any problems or side effects. Ask if there is any way to take care of your health problems without having to take pills or medicine. Never borrow or take any pills or medications that were meant for someone else. Stay on top of health problems ■ GET YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE CHECKED at least once a year: High blood pressure can cause heart disease, kidney problems, blindness and other health problems. ■ GET A CHOLESTEROL TEST at least every five years. Cholesterol is a fat in our bodies; when cholesterol levels are high, this fat can cause heart disease, strokes and other health problems. If heart disease or diabetes runs in your family, you should have your cholesterol checked more often. ■ GET CHECKED FOR DIABETES, especially if you are hungry or thirsty all the time, are overweight or find that you have to urinate often. These problems could all be signs of diabetes. Lower your risk of falling ■ HELP KEEP YOUR BONES STRONG by taking calcium and vitamin D every day. Most older adults absorb calcium citrate better than calcium carbonate, so read the labels on the calcium bottles carefully. Ask your healthcare provider how much calcium and vitamin D you should take. ■ IF YOU DON’T EXERCISE REGULARLY, START. Just be sure to talk with your healthcare provider first, so he or she can help you come up with an exercise plan that’s right for you. Walking is an ideal aerobic (“heart healthy”) exercise; gradually increase the amount of time you spend walking, aiming for at least 20–30 minutes a day. In addition to walking, or doing other aerobic exercises like cycling, lift weights to help strengthen your muscles—and help protect your bones. Learn to do yoga or tai chi, which can improve your balance and make you less likely to fall. Many local senior centers and Y’s offer exercise, yoga and tai chi classes. ■ IF YOU’VE ALREADY HAD A FALL, be sure to ask your healthcare provider about exercise programs in your community that include not only strength training...

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Why Severe Cold Weather may have you feeling Sick like the Flu more often

Posted by on Mar 1, 2014 in Flu, Healthy Habits | 0 comments

The Midwest and Chicago in particular has been victim to one of the coldest and snowiest Winters on record.  This may have many of you feeling sick or like you have the flu more often and/or actually catching every virus more readily.  So, why does this happen? The origin of the word “flu” comes from the Italian phrase Influenza di freddo which means Influence of the cold.  It’s not so much the cold itself that causes us to be sick, but what we do in response. In the winter, we close ourselves off like bears to in a cave and limit our exposure to the elements.  This often places us indoors in closed environments where germs are consistently blowing around through the same air space.  Schools, offices and closed transportation sources like buses, air planes and commuter trains are often the primary “germinating” centers for bacteria, microbes and viruses when we sneeze or cough, and then touch things with unclean hands afterward. DID YOU KNOW? At 41F, the flu virus is the most stable but at 86F it can’t be transmitted anymore.  It’s for this reason, we see cases of the flu and other viruses that thrive under these conditions as the weather turns colder. But we can’t avoid contact with all human beings.  So, what should you do? Basic Tips for Staying Healthy in the Winter: 1. Cover up when you sneeze or cough – This will cut down on the transmission of germs.  Sneezing or coughing into the elbow are of your sleeve has proven best. 2. Keep clean! – Clean your hands in particular as they are the largest transmission tools and receivers of germs.  Using anti-bacterial gel for keeping your hands clean on the go is fine, but good old fashion soap will do the trick. 3. Be disciplined about taking vitamins daily especially Vitamin D to replace your lack of exposure to sunshine.  This helps strengthen your immune system and give your body balance to see yourself through the day. 4. Get some fresh air – While I’m not recommending you go out for a walk in the middle of a blizzard, taking a walk 2-3 times per day and breathing in fresh air helps to revitalize your senses and positively stimulate the brain. 5. See your doctor at least 1x/year especially when really can’t shake symptoms like consistent fever, discolored drainage, changes in skin color (e.g. red rashes) and lethargy. All may be signs of a winter flu or virus. Best to come and see us to be...

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