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10 Reasons to Keep Fit as You Age
10 Reasons to Keep Fit as You Age A lot of us don't get the kind of day-to-day physical activity we need, so are physically "unfit." "Physical activity" means any movement of the body that is made by skeletal muscles – and requires energy to accomplish. "Physical fitness" means the ability of a person to do physical activity. Physical fitness can be measured by determining endurance, power and flexibility. How physically independent you are depends on how well you can function physically. That is one of...
11 Ways to Raise a Healthy Child
11 Ways to Raise a Healthy Child As a parent, you are an important teacher of health care and health information for your child. Here are 11 recommendations to help you succeed at this important job. 1. Choose breast over bottle. Breast-feed and you will give your baby a health advantage from day one. Breast milk provides all the nutrients a newborn needs. It also has important antibodies that help babies fight infections. Research shows that breast-fed babies have fewer ear infections and allergies and...
5 Exercises to Prevent an Aching Neck
5 Exercises to Prevent an Aching Neck One of the things many of us take for granted is a pain-free neck. It's only when we have a stiff or painful neck that we wish we had taken preventive measures. The exercises discussed below are to strengthen and stretch a normal neck. If you have preexisting neck pain or a spine condition, check with your healthcare provider before doing these exercises. There are several causes of neck pain, including poor posture and soft tissue abnormalities due to injury or wea...
5 Key Mistakes Parents Make With Car Seats
5 Key Mistakes Parents Make with Car Seats You wouldn't think of not having a car safety seat for your infant or toddler, but are you using it the right way? Safe Kids Worldwide estimates that three out of four children are too small for seatbelts are incorrectly restrained in car seats or booster seats. Don't join the crowd; avoid these mistakes: Using a defective car seat. Don't buy a used seat; you don't know its history. Avoid old ones (more than 10 years old), especially with missing parts or crack...
8 Mistakes Heart Patients Make
8 Mistakes Heart Patients Make If you've already been through one heart attack, you're at increased risk for another, but with a few smart moves you can reduce that risk. Unfortunately, many heart patients have mistaken ideas about what's good for them. Mistake 1: Thinking all heart attacks are the same. If your Aunt Mary had a heart attack even after a lifetime of eating low-fat foods and jogging every day, you may think changing your own lifestyle is not worth the trouble. Or, your friend the construc...
A Checklist for Depression
A Checklist for Depression What's the difference between a bad case of the blues and the painful mental disorder known as depression? According to the experts, impaired functioning is usually a clear-cut indication of a major depression. Here's a quick checklist of depression symptoms. If the list sounds familiar, you may want to see a counselor or a psychiatrist. Depressive mood. Do you suffer from feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, or pessimism for days at a time? Sleep disturbance. Do you have ...
A Common Plastic Comes Under Scrutiny
A Common Plastic Comes Under Scrutiny Polycarbonate plastic is long-lasting, impact-resistant, and clear, making it a perfect material for baby bottles, refillable water bottles, sippy cups, and many other food and beverage containers. It is also found in eyeglass lenses, compact discs, dental sealants, and plastic dinnerware. And, as a resin, it forms the protective lining for metal food and beverage cans. But recent research has raised concerns over the health effects of a chemical used in the manufac...
A Guide to Common Medicinal Herbs
A Guide to Common Medicinal Herbs Here's a look at some of the more common medicinal herbs. Most herbs have not been completely tested for effectiveness or interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. Products added to herbal preparations may also cause interactions. Be aware that "natural" does not necessarily mean "safe." It is important to tell your healthcare providers about any herb or dietary supplement you are using. Chamomile (Flower) Considered by some to be a cure-all, chamomil...
A Guide to Eyeglass Lenses
A Guide to Eyeglass Lenses Eyeglasses can be prescribed for a number of conditions: myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism (a defect in the eye that causes blurred vision), or age-related presbyopia, which robs your eye's lens of elasticity and makes it tough to focus on nearby objects. Your vision problem determines the shape of the eyeglass lens. Nearsightedness can be corrected by lenses that curve inward (concave); farsightedness can be corrected by lenses that curve outwa...
A Heads-Up for Football Safety
A Heads-Up for Football Safety In school sports, football is the leading cause of sports-related injuries for children in the US. And, thanks to some changes, it is safer than it used to be--especially for younger, lighter kids. Thirty or more years ago, kids were often encouraged to block and tackle using their heads, a move called spearing. But that maneuver put youngsters at risk for potentially fatal head and neck injuries. Blocking and tackling with the head was the direct cause of 36 football deat...
A Positive Step Toward Fitness
A Positive Step Toward Fitness Are you having second thoughts about exercising? Good. Have some third thoughts, fourth thoughts, and fifth thoughts, as well, but make them positive thoughts. The way you think about exercise can be the crucial factor in sticking with your fitness program. If you look on it as a disagreeable chore, it becomes one. But if you develop an image as an active, dynamic person, you'll be more likely to stick to your fitness program. Some exercise advice: Find an exercise partner...
A Prescription for Health in Menopause
A Prescription for Health in Menopause The best approach to menopause is to follow a healthy regimen. That includes dealing with smoking, nutrition, exercise, weight management, and stress reduction. Smoking Smoking is a leading cause of preventable illness and premature death. It increases the risk for heart and lung disease and osteoporosis, as well as lung and cervical cancer. It increases the risk for Alzheimer's disease. Smokers also may experience menopause up to two years earlier than nonsmokers....
A Primer for Preschooler Safety
A Primer for Preschooler Safety Your little ones can learn a lot about safety if you take some time to teach them. Keep your lessons simple, say the experts, and even very young children can learn how to stay clear of danger. Here's an ABC rule that you and your children can recite together. 'A': Always ride in a car safety seat Automobile accidents are the number one cause of death for preschoolers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Teach your child to get into his or her saf...
A Quick Look at Reflexes
A Quick Look at Reflexes What happens when your healthcare provider taps on your knee with a rubber mallet? Your leg kicks forward, seemingly on its own. And in a sense, your leg has a mind of its own — in your spinal cord. When the mallet hits your knee, it stretches the tendon just below the kneecap. That causes a signal to travel along a nerve to your spine, where a waiting motor neuron sends out an automatic command to contract the muscle attached to the tendon. When the muscle contracts, your leg k...
A Red Face Could Signal Rosacea
A Red Face Could Signal Rosacea Most of us have seen someone with rosacea, a chronic skin condition that can cause facial redness, bumps, pimples, thick skin, and even bloodshot eyes. But we're often not sure just what we're seeing when we look this problem in the face. About 13 million Americans, mostly ages 30 to 50, have rosacea to some degree, the National Rosacea Society estimates. Many people mistake the flushing and appearance of pimples as a recurrence of a skin condition from their teen years. ...
A Safety Checklist for Parents
A Safety Checklist for Parents You can help keep your children safe by following these precautions and using common sense. General steps Safety tips include: Encourage your children to wash their hands often throughout the day, particularly after using the bathroom—and always before eating. Keep their immunizations up to date. Be sure you know where they are, who they're with, and what they're doing when out of your presence. Check the references of baby sitters or care givers carefully. In the home Man...
A Serious Look at Fainting
A Serious Look at Fainting It sounds like melodrama: People hear bad news or see blood, and the next thing you know they've fainted. But it's a reality for many Americans who are prone to fainting (called "syncope" by doctors). Fainting is a brief loss of consciousness, which leads to falling down or needing to lie down, followed by spontaneous recovery. In a young, healthy person, one episode of fainting is not usually cause for alarm, although it can be a sign of a serious health condition. It is usua...
A Warning on Medicinal Herbs
A Warning on Medicinal Herbs Herbal remedies may be popular, but just how many of the hundreds of herbs on the market act on the body isn't clear. Many herbal remedies come from folk medicine. Although many studies on herbs have been done over the years, few have been well designed by Western standards. For instance, although Saint-John's-wort is effective for mild to moderate depression, and doctors know the active ingredient, they aren't sure exactly how it works. Remedies such as chamomille, ginger a...
Ability to Concentrate Isn't What It Used to Be
Ability to Concentrate Isn't What It Used to Be When you are rolled into the operating room at the hospital, you want to know that the surgeon is ready to concentrate on your procedure. When you board a jetliner for your next vacation destination, you want to know that the tower crew is rested and ready to direct the pilot through dense airport traffic. Concentration is vital in some professions. Even in our everyday lives, though, we all need to concentrate — to avoid traffic accidents, to get the job ...
About Balance and Safety
About Balance and Safety Having good balance means you’re able to control and maintain your body’s position, whether you’re in motion or remaining still. Learning about the causes of balance problems can help you prevent falls and a loss of independence. Your medications Balance problems can result from taking certain medications. For example, some medicines that lower blood pressure can make you feel dizzy. Check with your health care provider if you notice a balance problem while taking a medication t...
Act Now to Cut Your Health Care Bills
Act Now to Cut Your Health Care Bills It's important to reduce your medical expenses. This is true if you are in a consumer-directed health plan, such as a medical savings account, or have more traditional health insurance. No matter what your plan, you pay at least a percentage of every health care bill you incur. Of course, the best way to keep your medical costs low is to stay healthy by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and making other healthy l...
Action Plan for Osteoarthritis
Action Plan for Osteoarthritis Stiff, painful joints are typical symptoms of osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease. Joint pain is caused by a breakdown and destruction of cartilage that allows the bones in a joint to glide over one another, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). With the cartilage no longer there, pain, swelling and loss of joint motion results. To relieve pain and increase function, joint replacement surgery is a...
ADHD Drugs Safe, Experts Say
ADHD Drugs Safe, Experts Say Parents of kids with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) face a tough choice: whether to medicate their children or not. And this affects a lot of families. Experts say 6 to 8 percent of school-age kids have ADHD. It's a touchy subject, and it got even thornier after recent reports linked popular ADHD drugs to increased health risks, especially risks for heart problems. But the top experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as at other professional gr...
Adjusting Your Attitude About Menopause
Adjusting Your Attitude About Menopause Baby boomers are handling menopause differently from earlier generations. Today when women reach menopause they can look forward to living another 30 or more years. That means a third of a woman's life may be lived after menopause. More women are talking about menopause, and more is being written about it than ever before. In the past, premenopausal women held divergent notions about menopause and aging. Some believed it was a natural transition that should be man...
After Rehabilitation: Here Are Some Tools
After Rehabilitation: Here Are Some Tools Seeking help for alcohol or drug dependency at a residential recovery unit is the first step toward beating addiction and regaining control of your life. And recovering people can use the tools they learned in rehab to begin the intense challenge of avoiding relapse. Patients can continue to use this support system after leaving the recovery unit to learn how to deal with daily stresses without drugs or alcohol. Below are some tips on how to continue with treatm...
Age Doesn't Matter for Yoga
Age Doesn't Matter for Yoga More than ever before, Americans older than age 65 are turning to yoga for exercise. What is yoga, and why is it so popular? Yoga is a series of stretches and poses done with breathing techniques. It offers the powerful benefits of exercise. And since yoga is gentle, almost anyone can do it, regardless of age or fitness level. Yoga's benefits Yoga can make you stronger and more flexible. It's a great way to stay limber and energetic. You'll also feel more focused and alert. A...
Aging Eyes and Glasses
Aging Eyes and Glasses As your eyes age, their lenses become less flexible, and they slowly lose their ability to focus on nearby objects. It's an ongoing, lifelong process called presbyopia, which you begin to notice between ages 40 and 45, when the condition starts to affect close-up tasks such as reading. It requires some attitude adjustment, especially if have to start wearing glasses for the first time. Presbyopia affects almost everyone over the age of 50. Until now, you could choose your own work...
Air Bags and Kids
Air Bags: Not for Children A car with an air bag is considered safer than a car without one. But for children under 13 years old, air bags can be dangerous. In fact, no child younger than 13 or under 65 pounds should sit in the front seat of a car equipped with passenger-side air bags, according to both the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The safest place for children is in the center of the back seat, using a lap-and-shoulder seat belt or a child'...
All About Blood Pressure Medication
All About Blood Pressure Medication Your doctor may prescribe antihypertension medication if your blood pressure is high. There are several kinds of medication commonly taken alone or in combination, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Types of medication Diuretics Thiazide diuretics are often the first medications your doctor will try to treat your high blood pressure. They help to lower blood pressure by eliminating excess fluid and salt that accumulate in the body. The excess fluid is ...
All About Child Passenger Safety
All About Child Passenger Safety Installing your child's car seat properly and using it every time your son or daughter rides in the car is one of the best ways to help keep him/her safe in case of an accident. As your baby gets bigger, you may wonder when it's time for a larger seat. Or, maybe you're unsure about when it's safe to face the seat forward. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about child passenger safety. When is it OK to switch a child to a front-facing car seat? Babies s...
All About Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs
All About Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs Making healthy lifestyle changes alone is enough to help some people reach the cholesterol goals prescribed by their doctor. Others, however, need to take a cholesterol-lowering medication, as well. According to the American Heart Association, there are five main types: Statins (atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin, simvastatin, pitavastatin). These drugs work mainly by lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol. They typically reduce LDL by 30 to 4...
All About Color Blindness
All About Color Blindness People often use the term color blind to describe trouble seeing certain colors. The medical term for this problem is color vision deficiency. Most people with color vision deficiency can see certain colors. Usually, the difficulty involves distinguishing between shades of red and green. Less often, the condition causes problems with blues and yellows. Very rarely, people with color blindness see the world in black, white, and gray. Facts about color vision deficiency In most c...
All About Kidney Stones
All About Kidney Stones A kidney stone is a solid piece of material that forms in the kidney out of substances normally dissolved in the urine. Each year, about 1 million people in the United States are diagnosed with the disorder. Kidney stones are more common in Caucasians than in African-Americans. They typically strike between age 20 and 40. Once a person gets one stone, he or she is more likely to develop others. Repeated stone attacks can affect kidneys. How stones form The urinary tract consists ...
All About Muscle Cramps
All About Muscle Cramps Most of us have experienced the pain of a muscle cramp or "charley horse." Muscle cramps--involuntary muscle contractions--are common. But even though they can be quite painful, they don't usually cause damage. Any muscle can cramp, but the muscles of the calf, back of the thigh, and front of the thigh are most commonly affected. Cramps are also common in the feet, hands, arms and abdomen, and along the rib cage. A muscle cramp can last from a few seconds to 15 minutes or even lo...
All About the Stomach
All About the Stomach Your stomach is as an organ needed for digestion. Digestion is the process of breaking down food into its smallest particles so your body can take in nutrients. The process of digestion involves the mixing of food, its movement through the digestive tract, and the chemical breakdown of the large molecules of food into smaller molecules. Digestion of food begins in the mouth. Teeth break the food into smaller particles. Next, an enzyme in saliva begins to break down starches into si...
All About Your Nails
All About Your Nails Did you know that fingernails grow faster than toenails? Or, that nails grow faster in the summer than in the winter? Nails are made of a protein called keratin that's also part of your skin and hair. Although the part of the nail you keep trimmed isn't living, the nail originates in living cells in the matrix, the area where the nail joins the finger or toe, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Nail problems Minor problems can be treated at home; more serious pro...
All Family Time Is Quality Time
All Family Time Is Quality Time Don't feel guilty about the amount of "quality time" you spend with your family. Some experts are beginning to reject the quality time movement for something much more basic. Here are some suggestions: Children want your undivided attention. When they talk, look at them and engage them in more conversation. Show your interest. Listen to their music. Who knows, you might begin liking it. Ask them what they want to do. Is baseball their love? Play catch in your backyard, or...
All Kinds of Problems Beset Your Nails
All Kinds of Problems Beset Your Nails Paronychia. Onychomycosis. Surely, these are the names of six-armed Greek monsters that might attack Jason and the Argonauts. In fact, they're microscopic monsters that will gladly attack your nails -- and may cause damage if you don't do something about them. Rarely do people hold forth about the condition of their nails while co-workers are gathered around the office coffeepot. But nail problems do cause considerable pain and embarrassment. As many as 10 percent ...
Allergies on Vacation
Allergies on Vacation If you or your child has allergies or asthma, planning can help you keep sneezes, sniffles, wheezing, and attacks under control while you're on vacation. Tips for travel The following steps can help you and your family travel safely: Meet with your doctor before you go. Let him or her know where you’re going and what medical care is available there. Work with your doctor to make sure you have what you need. Know what to do in case of an emergency reaction. Pack your allergy medicin...
Alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous
Alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous Although Alcoholics Anonymous and other abstinence-based 12-step programs are the primary form of treatment for alcoholism in the United States, many people are unable to stick with them and return to dependence on alcohol. Today there are alternatives to 12-step programs. Some treatment programs teach problem drinkers to reduce their drinking. This approach appeals to people who otherwise might not seek treatment. These programs are based on the belief that people c...
Alzheimer's Disease Quiz
What Do You Know About Alzheimer's Disease? Find out more about this degenerative disease of the brain by taking this quiz. 1. Alzheimer's is the most common form of which of these? You didn't answer this question. You answered The correct answer is It is a collection of symptoms characterized by decreasing intellectual and social abilities. A. Malnutrition B. Dementia C. Fatigue D. Psychosis 2. How is Alzheimer's diagnosed? You didn't answer this question. You answered The correct answer is No single t...
An Introduction to Chinese Medicine
An Introduction to Chinese Medicine The 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) showed that over a third of Americans (38 percent) have used an alternative therapy instead of—or in addition to—Western medical treatment for their conditions. Among these therapies are acupuncture and other Chinese-medicine practices that have been used for more than 3,000 years. Ancient Chinese healers envisioned the body as a garden in which the vital energy force, called we qi or wei chi, acts as a natural immune s...
Anemia Quiz
What Do You Know About Anemia? Anemia is a condition that affects the number of red blood cells in your body. A number of diseases and conditions can cause anemia. Find out more by taking the following quiz. 1. Anemia is a common condition. What happens when a person has anemia? You didn't answer this question. You answered The correct answer is These cells carry oxygen and iron to nourish all the cells in the body. Anemia isn't a single disease but a condition that has many different causes. A. The bod...
Anger Can Raise Cholesterol Levels
Anger Can Raise Cholesterol Levels When someone cuts you off on a busy highway, do you pound the steering wheel in fury and shout at the driver? Or do you swallow your anger and dwell on it later? Either way, you're not being kind to your heart, researchers say. If you respond to every anger-inducing situation by blowing your stack or by holding it in, you could be setting yourself up for serious heart problems. Why? It's simple. According to Ohio State University researchers, there's evidence that peop...