Health Habits for 60 and Beyond

Elderly couple walkingDo you feel as good now as you did at 40 years of age? At 50?
If the answer is no, read on. You might be able to feel as good as you used to (or even better) by picking up a few new good health habits. Even small changes can improve your health. One small change you can make is to add some activity to your daily life. Another is to eat more fiber or to make sure you get plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet.

What if I’ve never been very active? Will starting now really make a difference?
Yes! Physical activity is good for people at any age. Among older adults, falls are a common cause of injury and disability. Physical activity makes your bones and muscles stronger. When your muscles are strong, you’re less likely to fall. If you do fall, strong bones are less likely to break.

Regular physical activity is good for your brain too. Recent studies have shown that people who do simple exercises (for example, walking briskly) on a regular basis are better able to make decisions than people who aren’t physically active.

I haven’t been physically active in a long time. I’m afraid I’ll get hurt when I start.
From diabetes to heart disease, many chronic (ongoing) health problems are improved by even moderate amounts of physical activity. For people who have these conditions, a lack of exercise is a bigger risk than an exercise-related injury.

Talk with your doctor about your plans before you get started. Your muscles will very likely be sore when you first increase your physical activity, but don’t consider that a reason to stop. Mild soreness will go away in a few days as you become more used to the physical activity.

What’s the best way to get physically active now?…

Click here to finish this article.

Written by editorial staff
American Academy of Family Physicians


Medical Myths From Mom and The Dr.

CEV0KECA9L4K23CA8BNWNOCAWAHRBGCAB0E0IFCAGFGLOSCABO3S77CAR0Z31XCAL9SPXICALEGL1DCAUJW489CA049419CAPE5T82CALF0ILWCAT4TCVLCAVJ0KVZCA1Y264RCAD5GMFCCAN9Y4CMCATP5DDBMom was right about lots of things: eating your vegetables, washing your hands and never running with scissors.

But some of her other medical advice — such as waiting an hour after eating before swimming — just doesn’t hold water, according to the authors of two new books about health myths.

But mothers shouldn’t get all the blame for dubious medical advice. Doctors dispense plenty of it, too, says Andrew Adesman, a pediatrician at New York’s Schneider Children’s Hospital and author of Babyfacts: The Truth About Your Child’s Health From Newborn Through Preschool (Wiley, $15.95).

The problem is that many important medical questions have never been answered, at least not with rigorous clinical trials. When in doubt, doctors often fall back on what their own mentors taught them, without questioning the evidence on which their advice is based, say Indiana University School of Medicine pediatricians Aaron Carroll and Rachel Vreeman.

“It’s amazing how often doctors will speak with a lot of authority when there’s no evidence that they’re right and, unfortunately, even when there’s some evidence to show that they’re wrong,” says Carroll, co-author with Vreeman of Don’t Swallow Your Gum! Myths, Half-Truths and Outright Lies About Your Body and Health (St. Martin’s Griffin, $13.95). “A frighteningly large amount of what we do is just our best guess.”

Carroll and Vreeman say patients should feel free to ask their doctors about the sources of their data. In their book, they go over some of the basic types of medical studies, noting which are the strongest.

So what can patients believe? Not these medical wives’ tales:

Sugar makes kids hyper. Parents insist this one is true, even though 12 studies have shown no effect between children’s behavior and the sugar in their foods.

You can prevent colds with vitamin C, echinacea or zinc. All colds eventually go away on their own after a few days, so people can be tempted to credit their recovery to something they did to find relief. But 16 studies show that echinacea is no better than a sugar pill. Thirty studies including a total of 11,000 people found vitamin C had no effect. Three of four well-done studies of zinc found no effect. But using zinc nasal gel can destroy the sense of smell for years.

Adding cereal to a baby’s diet will help him sleep longer. Parents and pediatricians alike are perpetuating that myth, perhaps because sleep-deprived parents are willing to believe anything that might help them and their infants get more sleep. But studies dating to 1974 show that babies who are fed cereal get no more sleep than other babies.

Iron in baby formula causes constipation. Studies actually have found no difference in baby’s bowel movements, whether infants received iron-fortified food or not. But babies who get iron-fortified formula are less likely to be anemic.

Teething causes a fever. Studies show that teething babies are no more likely to run a fever than others.

Going out in cold or wet weather makes you sick. Colds and flus are seasonal and tend to strike during the winter. But even when scientists put cold viruses directly into people’s noses, people who were chilled were no more likely to become ill than those who were warm and comfortable.

Click here to keep reading more medical myths.


Grill Out On Any Budget!

slidersSliders: Cost per serving: 78¢

24 Servings

4 slices bacon
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 pounds lean ground beef
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
24 small dinner rolls
In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Discard all but 2 Tbsp. bacon fat. Cook onion in bacon fat until translucent, about 3 minutes, then add garlic and cook 30 seconds longer. Remove mixture from pan and let cool. Crumble bacon when cool enough to handle.

In a large bowl combine beef, bacon, onion mixture, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper, and mix well. Form into 24 small patties and chill.

Preheat grill to medium; oil when hot. Cook burgers for about 7 minutes for medium rare, turning once halfway through. Serve burgers on rolls.

Nutritional Information
Fat:13g (sat 5g)

Click Here for more great summer grilling recipes.

All You, MAY 2008 –

Shocking Heart Attack Triggers

heart_attackBelow are some factors that may put people at risk specifically for heart attack, not just heart disease. Some—such as the link between calcium supplements and heart attacks in older women—are far from definitive. But this lists reinforces the idea that the heart can be put at risk by more factors than the dietary fat, obesity, and smoking that share the majority of the blame.

1. Low good cholesterol
A study of nearly 7,000 people led by a researcher at Indiana University analyzed the relationship between HDL, or good cholesterol, and major coronary events. The study concluded that low HDL was the third strongest predictor of coronary events, after prior heart disease and age.

2. Infection
If you are diagnosed with flu or another respiratory tract infection, your odds of having a heart attack are five times higher during the three days after diagnosis than it would be otherwise. The reason: Infections can bring on an inflammatory response, which can trigger a heart attack or stroke. A flu vaccine may help protect against infection-induced heart stress.

3. Kidney problems
A study of elderly patients in Rotterdam in the Netherlands found that having weak kidneys, even without full-blown kidney disease, can put you at a significantly higher risk for heart attack.

4. Urban living
Exposure to heavy traffic—whether you’re traveling by car, bike, or public transit—may double your risk of a heart attack, according to a German study. Another earlier study found that death from cardiopulmonary causes was nearly twice as high among people living close to a major road.

Read on- there are 5 more!