Category: Health

More precious than gold!

When should I see my Geriatrician vs my GP?

Geriatricians are generally family practice or internal medicine doctors that specialises in the care and treatment of older patients, generally those over 65. But many elderly persons already see their GPs or family doctors regularly – so why do they need to see an “old-age” specialist? For many, they may not. They can continue to go to their GP or family doctor for regular checkups and treatments. So when should you see a geriatrician?

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Does Growing Old Cause Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition that interrupts your breathing when you sleep – sometimes causing you to stop breathing anywhere from 10 seconds up to several minutes. The most common type of sleep apnea is known as “obstructive sleep apnea” or OSA for short. OSA happens when your airway become blocked when you are sleeping. A common symptom is snoring. Sleep apnea is dangerous because it is known to cause high blood pressure, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, weight gain and other health problems. But for drivers it may be worse — sleep apnea can cause drowsiness when driving and has been linked to road accidents.

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American Dietetic Association: Thumbs Up for Vegetarian Diets but …

You have heard that a vegetarian diet is healthier and can help you live longer – yes, it is true and there is ample scientific evidence. What is a vegetarian diet? There are two types of vegetarians – while both do not eat any animal meat — the more common group is known as lacto-ovo vegetarians who will also eat animal by-products such as eggs and cheese. The vegans do not eat any of the by-products.

An evidence-based review shows that a vegetarian diet is associated with lower risk of death of ischemic heart disease, lower risk of hypertension, diabetes and cancer compared to non-vegetarian. A typical vegetarian diet includes foods that are loaded with nutrients that are healthy for us. But just avoiding meat does not automatically make for a good diet plan and may even work against you. If you decide to do vegetarian, here’s how to make the best of your dietary choice.

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Study Finds That Loneliness Peaks in Your 20s, 50s and 80s — What Do Seniors Need to Know?

A study recently published tells us that while rising rates of loneliness is no surprise, there are three different ages where loneliness peaks: during the 20s, 50s and 80s. About 75% of the subjects surveyed has moderate to high levels of loneliness. The measure of loneliness is subjective and is defined as “subjective distress” between the social relationships that you want and the ones that you have.

Here are some findings in the study that was done in San Diego County, California, USA — with 340 participants ranging from 27 to 101 years old.

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Seniors, Beware of Herbal Supplements!

The benefits of herbal supplements are well publicised – from gingko nuts improving your memory to flaxseed helping to lower your cholesterol.  Most of the herbal supplements are available over the counter in pharmacies and supermarkets.  However, it is important to note that while there may be some regulations ensuring good manufacturing practices – most herbal supplements do not need FDA or regulatory approval to sell their products to the public.  Seniors should be cautious about using herbal supplements because some of them can have potent “medicine-like” effects on your blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar.  In severe cases, it may even result in damage to your liver or kidney.  

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Help. I Can’t Fall Asleep At Night!

You are not alone.  Study done by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine recently published showed that 1 in 4 Americans experience acute insomnia defined as “difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep for as little as three nights per week for at least two consecutive weeks up to three months.”  Good news is that 75% do recover without their condition becoming persistent or chronic.  Many believe that as we grow older, we need less sleep and that our difficulty falling a asleep is a normal part of ageing.  It is not.  Survey has shown that seniors over 65 who are active and engaged gets about 7-9 hours sleep each night.  Here are some of the causes of insomnia and what you can do.

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The “Not-So-Fun-Must-Do” Colonoscopy

We all take pictures and brag about the wonderful things we have done and places we have visited.  But this is one topic we all probably try to avoid.  If you are reading this, chances are you are over 50.   This may be worthwhile reading for those who have tried every persuading argument not to go have a colonoscopy.  Let me tell why you why you should not procrastinate further.

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Artificial Sweetener: Should I Use It?

The FDA has approved 5 types of artificial sweeteners or scientifically referred to as “non-nutritive” sweeteners.  Most people are familiar with “Sweet n Low” (sacharrin), “Equal” (aspartame) and “Splenda” (sucralose) which are now commonly available in pink, blue and yellow sachets in most diners and coffee outlets.   Is it safe? Does it cause cancer?  If I take them to lose weight, does it work? Let’s separate the myths from the facts. Continue reading “Artificial Sweetener: Should I Use It?”

Walking Does Not Require A Gym Membership

The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends walking as a great way to get enough activity to reap the health benefits as we age.  Why walking? One, it does not require any great skill nor does it require any equipment (other than a good pair of walking shoes) or a health club membership. And it is something that you are already doing every day.  The only question is whether you are walking enough to derive the benefits of decreasing your risk for chronic diseases often associated with ageing such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. Continue reading “Walking Does Not Require A Gym Membership”

New Study: Lifelong Exercise May Be A Fountain of Youth

A new study published by the Journal of Applied Physiology in August entitled “Cardiovascular and Skeletal Muscle Health with Lifelong Exercise” done by Ball State University (Indiana USA), had some surprising conclusions about the effects of lifelong exercise.  The researchers looked at 3 groups; the lifelong aerobic exerciser (LLE), old healthy non-exercisers (OHNE) and young exercisers (YE).  They compared indicators of aerobic capacities such as the level of aerobic enzymes and muscle capillarization between the different groups.  And what they found surprised them. Continue reading “New Study: Lifelong Exercise May Be A Fountain of Youth”