Sunday, December 31, 2017

10 Health Lessons Men Can Learn From Women

man switching off lamp

Catch More ZZZs

Women usually get more sleep than men. Many log at least 8 hours of shut-eye on weeknights. Both genders need between 7 and 9 hours a night. To help you nod off, make sure your room is dark and cool, and leave devices like phones, tablets, and TVs in another part of the house.
men playing cards

Keep Up With Your Buddies

Looking for a reason to get a group of guys together for poker night? How about this? It could add years to your life. Women tend to have more friends. Having a group of pals you can have fun with and trust can be quite healthy.
man stubbing out cigarette

Kick the Habit

About 20 out of every 100 adult men smoke, while only 15 of 100 adult women light up. Whether you go through a couple of packs a day or only smoke every once in a while, it’s time to talk to your doctor about how to stop.
man refusing beer

Back Away From the Bar

Ladies know when to say no better than guys do. They’re only half as likely to abuse alcohol as men. That’s not the only bad news -- dudes are also more likely to binge and to stay drunk longer.
man buckling seat belt

Play It Safer

Guess which gender takes more risks. Guys are usually the ones who don't wear seat belts, drive too fast, or make all-out war out of a friendly pickup basketball game. Slow down and think twice before you act -- and wind up in the ER.
man applying sun screen

Keep Your Skin Safe

Men spend more time in the sun. But they're less likely to use sunscreen correctly, if at all. Use enough to fill a shot glass, and reapply every 2 hours.
man chopping vegetables

Watch What You Eat

The healthy eating award goes to the gals. Guys eat more meat, while women eat more fruits and vegetables. Men are more likely to eat runny eggs, raw oysters, and nearly raw beef. The fact is, some guys just don’t want to eat their veggies. Don’t be that guy.
man washing hands

Wash Your Hands

Don't touch that bathroom door handle. Way more women wash their hands more often (and better) than men -- especially after they use a public restroom. That gets rid of germs that can cause disease. Plus, women are much more likely to use soap than men. Bottom line: If you don’t want to catch a cold, the flu, or something worse, scrub down!
doctor examining male patient

Get Checked Out

One way to stay healthy: Go to the doctor. Men are about twice as likely as women to say they haven't seen a doctor in the past year. Don’t tough it out. Ask the doc how often you should come in and what tests he suggests for someone your age. Then make an appointment and get it over with.
man in therapy

Keep Your Mind Healthy

While women may be more likely to get depressed, there's also a better chance they'll get help for it. Guys, the first step to shaking off the blues is to see a doctor or a mental health expert. The sooner you get started, the faster you’ll feel better.

These Habits Could Be Wrecking Your Health

cracking knuckles

‘Crack’ Your Knuckles

It doesn’t just annoy your friends and co-workers -- it may not be very good for you, either. A substance called synovial fluid keeps your joints moving easily. The sound your knuckles make when they “crack” comes when you pop tiny bubbles in that fluid. If you do it all the time, you’re more likely to have swollen hands and a weaker grip over time. It doesn’t seem to raise your chances of arthritis, though.
biting nails

Bite Your Nails

This can damage your teeth as well as the skin around your nail bed, which can lead to infection. You also may get more colds and other illnesses when you put your fingers, which often carry germs, into your mouth. It can help to keep your nails neatly trimmed or manicured. If stress could be the reason for your habit, you might try things like exercise to manage it. Talk to your doctor if you want help stopping.
up at night

Cheat Yourself on Sleep

If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re not just turning yourself into a daytime zombie -- you also could be more likely to have high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and depression. And it might be harder for you to learn and remember things. Set a regular sleep routine and stick with it. And do your best to get 7-8 hours a night.
girl dancing

Blast Your Headphones

Sound is measured in decibels -- normal conversation is about 60 decibels. It's best to keep the volume in your headphones below 75 (about as loud as a vacuum cleaner) to be safe. And don't listen for more than a couple of hours at a time. You're more likely to lose hearing as you age if you're around loud noise a lot. That happens with more than half of us by age 75. Hearing loss in older adults is linked to thinking problems and even brain tissue loss.
woman on cell phone

Surf Before Bed

Not waves -- the Internet. The “blue light” given off by electronic gadgets like phones, computers, and TVs can mess up your sleep. And some studies show that too much of any kind of nighttime light might be linked to cancer (especially breast and prostate), diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Calm yourself before bed. If you want to read something, open up a book. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet for better sleep.
man in office

Sit for Long Periods

Most Americans spend too much time in chairs. Part of the problem is the modern workplace, where you may hunker over your computer for hours on end. This slows down your metabolism, which means you could gain weight. It’s also linked to other health problems, including heart disease. There’s an easy fix, though: Just get up now and then and move around. Even a 10-minute walk each day can help.

Drink Too Much

Men who have more than 14 alcoholic beverages a week -- and women who have more than seven -- are more likely to have kidney disease, liver disease, digestive issues, heart problems, bone damage, and even some cancers. Studies have shown that moderate drinking -- up to a drink a day for women and two a day for men -- could possibly lower your chances of certain heart conditions. But if you don’t drink alcohol, that’s not a reason to start.

Eat Too Much

If you make a habit of it -- even if it’s healthy food -- you’re likely to gain weight. That can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, and it can raise your chances of certain kinds of cancer. Check portion sizes before meals and measure out snacks you have in front of the TV, so you know exactly how much you’re eating.
mouth full of pasta

Eat Too Quickly

It can leave you less satisfied -- and make you more likely to overeat over the course of the day. If you slow down, you could feel fuller with less, because your body has a chance to realize you’ve eaten enough. It can help to focus when you eat: Take small bites, and chew them well.
dental floss

Skip Flossing

You did a full brush, isn’t that enough? Nope, you need to clean between your teeth, too, if you want to do all you can to get rid of plaque, the sticky bacteria-filled film that causes cavities. Too much plaque also can lead to gum disease, a serious condition that’s linked to other health issues like stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
doughnut and coffee

Eat Junk Food

Soda, candy, and pastries have lots of calories and little nutrition, and all that sugar gets into your blood too quickly. Those kinds of things are linked to serious health problems like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. “Complex carbs” with more fiber and nutrition -- whole grains, fruits, and vegetables -- take longer to digest, satisfy your hunger, and give you steady energy. “Good” fats like nuts and seeds also can be part of a healthy diet.
woman alone

Spend Too Much Time Alone

It’s not how many people you know or how often you see them -- what matters is that you feel connected to others. If you don’t, you’re more likely to have high blood pressure, depression, brain issues (like Alzheimer’s), and inflammation. If you feel alone, join a social club, reconnect with family or friends, or start something new that involves other people -- join a book club or learn to play tennis or bridge, for example.

Smoke Cigarettes

This bad habit affects nearly every organ in your body. It can lead to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, bronchitis, emphysema, and other health problems. It also raises your risk of tuberculosis, eye problems, and immune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. And if you spend a lot of time around someone who smokes, you’re more likely to have asthma, heart disease, lung cancer, or a stroke. Talk to your doctor about quitting smoking.
tanning bed

Go to a Tanning Bed

It’s just not a good idea. Women with lighter hair and skin -- who get skin cancer more often -- are also more likely than others to use tanning beds, which can make the chances of it even higher. And the younger you are when you start, the more likely you are to get it. Topical sunless tanning products are generally considered a safer alternative to sunbathing as long as they're used as directed. Make sure not to inhale or apply to areas like the lips, nose, or mouth.

16 Ways You May Be Hurting Your Joints

women at gym

Carry Extra Weight

Your joints, which link your bones together, are sensitive to heavy loads. Every pound on your frame puts 4 pounds of stress on your knees. It also strains your back, hips, and feet. That causes wear and tear that can lead to damage, aches, and pain. Being overweight also triggers inflammation. That can make all your joints, including in your hands, stiff, painful, and swollen.
woman texting

Text Too Much

‘Texting thumb’ is a real thing. Your tendons can get irritated and lock your thumb in a curled position. All that looking down at your phone is just as bad for your neck and shoulders, too. Every inch your head drops forward raises the load on your muscles. If you bend your neck so far that your chin touches your chest, it’s as if your neck has to support the weight of 5 heads instead of just one.
high heels

Steep Price of High Heels

They might look fab, but the higher they rise, the more your weight tips forward. Your thigh muscles have to work harder to keep your knee straight, which can cause pain. When heels go up, so does the twisting force in your knees. If you wear them every day, you boost your odds for osteoarthritis. That’s when the bones and the cushioning between the bones break down.
playing basketball

Wear the Wrong Shoes

Worn-out shoes don’t support your feet and ankles enough. That’ll throw your knees, hips, and back out of whack. Also, make sure your sneakers are right for your sport. High tops for basketball, for example, can protect your ankles from sprains. But don’t go overboard. Too much cushion or arch support means your foot can’t move naturally, which could keep you in a cycle of pain.
cracking knuckles

Crack Your Knuckles

That satisfying pop comes from tiny bubbles bursting in the fluid around your joints. Or from ligaments snapping against bone. Despite what annoyed adults might have warned you, it doesn’t cause arthritis. Still, it might be smart to stop. One study showed that this habit may cause your hands to swell and weaken your grip.
stuffed backpack

Lug a Big Bag

Whether it’s a purse, backpack, or messenger bag, packing too much can cause neck and shoulder pain. Heavy weight on one shoulder throws off your balance and your walk. If you tend to carry things only on one side, the constant pull overstretches your muscles and tires out your joints. If you do that every day, your body’s going to let you know loud and clear.
moving sofa

Use Wrong Muscles for the Job

When you put too much load on little muscles, your joints pay the price. If you need to open a heavy door, push with your shoulder instead of your fingers. When you lift something off the floor, bend at your knees and push up with your strong leg muscles. When you carry something, hold it close to you in the palms of your hands instead of stressing your fingers.
sleeping face down

Sleep on Your Stomach

It might help with snoring, but not so much with the rest of your body. Lying on your tummy pushes your head back, which compresses your spine. Your head also will face in one direction for longer stretches than if you sleep on your back. All that puts pressure on other joints and muscles.
businessman stretching

Skip Stretching

You don’t need to be a yogi, but regular stretching can help strengthen your muscles and tendons. It also can make them more flexible. That allows your joints to move more easily and helps the muscles around them work better. That’s key to healthy and stable joints.
strength training

Skimp on Strength Training

Once you turn 40, your bones start to get a little thinner and more likely to break. If you build muscle with strength training, it slows bone loss and triggers new growth. So you not only get stronger muscles, but denser bones, too. Together, they stabilize your joints so you’re less likely to get hurt.

Smoke and Chew Tobacco

Here’s another reason to quit: Your joints will thank you. Nicotine from cigarettes and chewing tobacco cuts down on blood flow to your bones and to the cushioning discs in your back. It limits how much bone-building calcium your body can take in. It also breaks down estrogen, a hormone you need for bone health. And it slows new growth that thickens bones. All that makes your joints weaker and your hips more likely to break.

Don’t Get Quality ZZZs

You may wonder how poor sleep can affect your joints. One study found that people with arthritis felt more pain after restless nights. That made them take a closer look. One theory is that when you don’t sleep well, it triggers inflammation in your body. That might lead to joint problems over time. More research is needed, but in the meantime, it sure won’t hurt to get good shut-eye.
man waiting

Slouch and Slump

Your body’s at its best when you work with it, not against it. That’s why posture matters. When you slump in your chair, it puts more stress on your muscles and joints and tires them out. It’s like always jamming on your car brakes when you could just ease down on the pedal instead. So keep your back straight and those shoulders back and down.
elbow pain

Ignore Pain

When you work out, you might think you just need to power through it. After all, no pain, no gain, right? It’s true that some muscle soreness is OK. But not if it lasts for days or if your muscles are swollen or too sore to move or to touch. Joint pain isn’t normal, so pay attention to it. If you think you overdid it, ease up on your exercises. If the pain won’t go away, check with your doctor.

Too Much Computer Time

It can literally be a pain in your neck -- and your elbows, wrists, back, and shoulders. The problem isn’t just bad posture, but that you hold it for too long. That overworks your muscles. It also puts pressure on the discs in your back. If you’re in a soft chair, prop up your arms with cushions to take the load off your shoulders and your neck. Be sure to get up and move every hour.
tennis match

Repeat Poor Form

When you run, bike, or play tennis, you use the same motions over and over. But if your form is bad, you’ll stress your body in all the wrong places. If you overload your muscles, it puts more pressure on your joints, and you can end up with an injury like tennis elbow.

Inspirational Quote – December 31, 2017

“Our greatest battles are those with our own minds.”

Okay, I confess, I cannot make a decision! Being asked to decide between two, or several options, puts me in total panic and I usually seek the opinion of those nearest to me. There is so much goes on in our minds every day, not only while we are awake but also while we sleep. Continual battles rage in our heads daily. Having to make decisions, both minor and major, absorbing information, understanding it, dissecting it, and perhaps filing it away for future reference. This is the “hub” where everything is processed so there are bound to be times when our mind is a battleground, at odds with itself. However, we also possess the ability to bring the battle to an end to our own satisfaction if and when we choose, so all is not lost, is it?

Confronting Death with Pets, Music and Good Hair

What can you do for someone who has less than three months to live? Those who volunteer with Dover Park Hospice (DPH) come face to face with this question on a regular basis. Sounds grim, but it's not. The volunteers provide music, massage services, food and playdates with pets for the patients to enjoy, spreading happiness with a smile, a song, a touch. It doesn't take much, and yet it means a lot to the patients.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Sudden Symptoms to Watch for After 50

rear view of woman rubbing her sore neck

One Minute You’re Fine …

When you’re past 50, some ailments can announce themselves suddenly and painfully. And aches and ouches you might not worry much about when you’re younger could be a sign of bigger problems in middle age.
mans hands clutching chest

Heart Attack

This is the big one: 735,000 people have one every year. A 50-year-old man has a 1 in 2 chance of getting heart disease at some point. The most common signs are chest pain, shortness of breath, and pain in your back, shoulders, or neck. You might also feel sweaty, dizzy, or like you’re going to throw up. Your risk is lower if you’re at a healthy weight, don’t smoke, and get regular exercise.
scan of brain showing stroke injury


This is when blood doesn’t get to parts of your brain like it should, and those brain cells start to die. Get help right away if you have sudden weakness or numbness in your face, arms, or legs, you lose your bearings or get confused, and have trouble speaking. You can lower your odds if you keep your blood pressure in check, eat a low-cholesterol diet, manage your stress, exercise, and quit smoking.
angiogram of arterial aneurysm


Many of the lifestyle changes you make to lower your risk of heart disease and stroke can make you less likely to have this as well. An aneurysm happens when the wall of an artery gets weak and bulges outward. If that wall gives way, it can lead to serious internal bleeding or a stroke. Symptoms include pain, nausea, dizziness, clammy skin, and a rapid heartbeat.
gallstones illustration


These are hardened chunks of bile, a fluid that helps your body get rid of waste. They get stuck on the way out of your gallbladder, a small organ below your liver. They can range in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball and can cause severe pain in your upper belly or behind your belly button. You're more likely to get them if you’re obese, have diabetes or Crohn’s disease, or don’t exercise.
senior female patient with doctor

Acute Pancreatitis

Sometimes, gallstones can set this off. It’s inflammation of the pancreas, which makes enzymes and hormones like insulin that help with digestion. It causes severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and a fever, and can be life-threatening. Seek medical help immediately if you have these symptoms. It also can be caused by heavy drinking, high levels of calcium, or a kind of fat called triglycerides.
xray of broken hand

Broken Bones

These can happen at any age, but your bones may become brittle as you get older and be more likely to break. A loss of bone is known as osteoporosis, and it's especially common in older women. Calcium and vitamin D can help slow it or stop it from getting worse, and certain drugs can help you keep bone, or even help you rebuild it.
vertigo vision in dining room


If you suddenly find yourself dizzy, you might have vertigo. It can happen if tiny crystals in your inner ear, which help you control your balance, get moved around. You’re more likely to get it as you get older, probably because the crystals aren’t held in place as well. Your doctor can treat it with a series of head movements that move those particles back into place.
retinal detachment illustration

Detached Retina

Your retina is a light-sensitive layer in your eye that tells your brain what you see. If it pulls away from the outer wall of your eye, it won't get oxygen and other things it needs. You might see floating specks or flashes of light. You can permanently lose your eyesight, so see a doctor right away. It’s more common in people who are very nearsighted or have had cataract surgery or other eye diseases.
businessman with sore lower back

Kidney Stones

These are hard clumps, usually made of calcium, that form in your kidneys. They often pass harmlessly out of your body, but larger ones can be extremely painful and cause bleeding or infections or block the flow of urine. They’re more common in men than women. You can help prevent them by drinking plenty of fluids every day. Water is best.
doctor examining chest xray


People over 50 are at higher risk of the kind of pneumonia caused by bacteria, not the one caused by a virus. Called pneumococcal pneumonia, it can be life-threatening. Older people are more likely to get it because your body’s immune system gets weaker as you age. But there’s a vaccine for it, and the CDC recommends it for everyone over 65.
mri of spinal stenosis

Spinal Stenosis

This develops slowly, but it can make itself known suddenly. It happens when the channel in your backbone that holds your spinal cord and other nerves narrows, usually because of arthritis. The nerves can be pinched or squeezed, causing pain, numbness, or cramps in your lower back or neck. It can be treated with drugs or physical therapy, or, in some cases, surgery.
mans foot with gout


This condition shows up as a sudden pain and swelling in one of your joints, often a big toe. It’s a form of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in your body. If you take certain medications for high blood pressure, eat red meat and shellfish, and have more than two alcoholic drinks a day, you’re at higher risk. The soda sweetener known as fructose also raises your risk, and so does obesity.
pulmonary embolism illustration

Pulmonary Embolism

This is when a blood clot gets stuck in a blood vessel in one of your lungs. Your chances of having one go up after age 50, and it can be serious, so get medical help fast if you have chest pain, sudden shortness of breath, and dizziness. You also can have a bloody cough, leg pains, and clammy or bluish skin. The blood clot often starts in your leg, so an early sign might be swelling or pain in one of your calves.

Your risk goes up if you’ve had heart disease or recent surgery, or you were in a cramped position (like in an airplane or car) for a long stretch of time.