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

Stroke

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

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

Gallstones

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
       

Vertigo

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

Pneumonia

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

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.

12 Habits of Super-Healthy People


cereal flakes with fruit
       

Have Breakfast

It's important for a bunch of reasons. It jump-starts your metabolism and stops you from overeating later. Plus, studies show that adults who have a healthy breakfast do better at work, and kids who eat a morning meal score higher on tests. If a big plateful first thing isn't for you, keep it light with a granola bar or a piece of fruit. Just don't skip it.
       
woman taking notes in kitchen
       

Plan Your Meals

It'll help you save time and money in the long run. Block out some time, then sit down and consider your goals and needs. Do you want to lose weight? Cut back on sugar, fat, or carbs? Add protein or vitamins? Meal prep keeps you in control. You know what you're eating and when. A bonus: It'll be that much easier to skip those doughnuts in the breakroom at work.
       
woman outside drinking water

Drink Plenty of Water

It can do so many good things for you. Staying hydrated is at the top of the list, but it may also help you lose weight. Another reason to go for H2O? Sugary drinks are linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes. If you aren't a fan of plain water, add flavor with slices of orange, lemon, lime, watermelon, or cucumber.
       
businessman walking up stairs

Take an Exercise Break

Don't just grab another cup of coffee -- get up and move. Do some deep lunges or stretches. It's great for your body and mind. Just 30 minutes of walking five times a week may help keep the blues at bay. And if you can't do those minutes all at once, short bursts help, too.
       
woman relaxing with book
       

Go Offline

Checking your email and social media a lot? Sure, your friends' and family's latest updates are just a click away, but do you really need to see pictures of your cousin's latest meal? Let it wait until morning. Set a time to log off and put the phone down. When you cut back on screen time, it frees you to do other things. Take a walk, read a book, or help your cousin chop veggies for her next great dinner.
       
woman in dance class
       

Learn Something New

New skills help keep your brain healthy. Sign up for a dance class or a creative writing workshop. Better yet, master a new language. The mental work it takes can slow the signs of aging and may even delay the effects of Alzheimer's disease.
       
cigarette extinguished in an ashtray
       

Don't Smoke

If you light up, quit. It's a big move toward better health. Your body repairs itself quickly. As soon as 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your heart rate and blood pressure drop. Why wait? Kick the habit, today. Your doctor will be happy to help you get started.
       
couple asleep
       

Sleep Well

There are almost too many benefits to list. A good night's sleep keeps you in a better mood, sharpens memory and focus, and helps you learn new things. In the long term, it lowers your risk of heart disease and helps you keep trim. Aim to get 7 to 9 hours a night. For the best rest, do it on schedule -- turning in and waking up at about the same times every day.
       
woman dusing dumbbells

Train Your Muscles

Strength training helps your body trade fat for muscle mass. That means you'll burn more calories even when you're being a couch potato. But these workouts can also help you slim down, strengthen your heart, and build up your bones. Do strength-training exercises -- like push-ups, lunges, and weight lifting -- at least twice a week.
       
hikers feet on path

Head Outdoors

A few minutes in the sunshine raises vitamin D levels, and that's good for your bones, your heart, and your mood. Plus, being outside means you're more likely to move your body instead of parking it in front of the TV or computer. Choose nature over city streets, if you can. One study found that people who strolled in urban green spaces were calmer than people who walked in built-up areas.
       
woman doing tai chi
       

Keep Your Balance

If you're young and active, good balance will help you avoid injuries. If you're older, it will keep you active longer and lower the chances you'll fall and break a bone. No matter your age, good balance means better muscle tone, a healthier heart, and greater confidence. Yoga and tai chi are great ways to work on it, but just about anything that keeps you moving, even walking, can help.
       
man deep breathing
       

Be Mindful

It can mean meditating or simply stopping to smell the roses. However you do it, studies show mindfulness slashes stress, relieves pain, and improves your mood. And scientists are beginning to understand how. One study found that 8 weeks of regular meditation can change parts of your brain related to emotions, learning, and memory. Even washing dishes can be good for your brain, as long as you do it mindfully.

Inspirational Quote – December 30, 2017

“Depth of friendship does not depend on length of acquaintance.”

Have you ever met someone and formed an instant connection? I like to think of these as past life connections, a person we may have known long ago. I have a friend I met when we were five years old – over the decades, whether we talked once a month or once a year, the depth of the friendship has never waned. On that same note, I have a dear friend whom I’ve known less than a year, but it feels as if we are long lost sisters, and the connection between us was instant! When we meet a kindred spirit, a friendship can form almost immediately, in the most surprising of ways!

Susyn Blair-Hunt

The Montana Moms Who Welcomed Refugees Into Their City

"Our goal is not to convince people what we're doing is right and what they're doing is wrong," she says. "Our goal is just to create a more welcoming environment for refugees to call home." This is the goal of Soft landing, a non-profit organization in Missoula Montana. When seeing the now famous photo of Aylan Kurdi, the three year old boy who drowned during his family's attempt to flee Syria, required something deeper than emotional reactions; Mary Poole began a dialog, with herself and others, that has helped her community become more welcoming to and informed about international refugees. Read more about that journey in this article by Gabriel Furshong from YES magazine.

http://www.dailygood.org/story/1745/the-montana-moms-who-decided-refugees-will-be-welcome-in-their-city-gabriel-furshong/

Friday, December 29, 2017

How Steroids Fight Inflammation


syringe and medication

What Are Steroids?

The word has different meanings. Steroids are chemicals, often hormones, that your body makes naturally. They help your organs, tissues, and cells do their jobs. You need a healthy balance of them to grow and even to make babies. "Steroids" can also refer to man-made medicines. The two main types are corticosteroids and anabolic-androgenic steroids (or anabolics for short).
       
kidneys and adrenal glands
       

What Are Corticosteroids?

They're medicines that quickly fight inflammation in your body. These lab-made steroids work like the hormone cortisol, which your adrenal glands make. Cortisol keeps your immune system from making substances that cause inflammation. Corticosteroid drugs, like prednisone, work in a similar way. They slow or stop the immune system processes that trigger inflammation.
       
hands swollen from arthritis

What Do Corticosteroids Treat?

They help treat conditions that cause irritation and swelling. They can ease symptoms of:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)
  • Lupus and other autoimmune disorders
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Rashes and skin conditions like eczema

Your doctor may also suggest you take them for a short time to treat allergic reactions, like a severe poison ivy rash.
       
man using inhaler

How Do You Take Them?

There are many forms of corticosteroids. Which one your doctor recommends depends on why you need it and the part of your body that's affected. Your medicine might come in a:
  • Pill or liquid
  • Inhaler
  • Nasal spray
  • Shot
  • Skin cream
  • Tube that goes into a vein (IV)

       
forehead covered in acne

Corticosteroid Side Effects

These depend on the dose and how long you take the drug. Short-term use can cause weight gain, puffy face, nausea, mood swings, and trouble sleeping. You might also get thinner skin, acne, unusual hair growth, and spikes in blood sugar and blood pressure. Because corticosteroids turn down your immune system, taking them makes you more likely to get infections.
       
bone with osteoperosis

Long-term Effects

Taking high doses of corticosteroids for a long time can cause serious side effects. Using them for more than 3 months can cause brittle bones that break easily (osteoporosis). Kids who take them for a long time might grow more slowly. Other side effects are muscle weakness, eye problems (including cataracts), and a higher risk of diabetes.
       
testosterone patch

What Are Anabolics Used For?

They're man-made versions of testosterone, a male sex hormone that helps build bigger muscles. You take them by mouth or get a shot into a muscle. A doctor can legally prescribe them if your body doesn't make enough testosterone. An example would be boys with delayed puberty. Doctors also prescribe them to men with low testosterone and people who lose muscle mass because of cancer, AIDS, and other health conditions.
       
woman measuring bicep
       

Misuse of Anabolics

Their performance- and muscle-boosting powers have led to widespread misuse and abuse. Abusers tend to use extremely high doses. Some take 100 times the dose legally prescribed for health problems.
       
angry asian man
       

Side Effects of Anabolics

These steroids can cause bad acne and fluid retention. Long-term use can stop the body from making testosterone. In men, this causes smaller testicles, lower sperm counts, infertility, and breast growth. Women may have male-pattern baldness, facial hair growth, periods that change or stop, and a deeper voice. Teens who use them might stunt their bone growth and height. High doses can lead to extreme mood swings, anger, and aggression called "roid rage."
       
heart liver kidneys

Long-term Effects

Long-term anabolic use, especially high doses, can damage your liver, kidneys, and heart. Severe fluid retention can cause heart swelling and heart failure. These drugs can also raise your LDL "bad" cholesterol, which can make you more likely to have heart attacks and strokes at any age.
       
prednisone taper pack

How to Stop Taking Steroids

Stopping them abruptly is a bad idea. It can trigger mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, achy muscles, and depression. Halting anabolics may knock down your sex drive. If you were taking steroids to treat an illness, those symptoms may come back, too. It’s safer to slowly reduce, or taper, your dose. Your doctor can tell you how. Any symptoms you get as a result will be less severe.

11 Ways to Banish the Bags Under Your Eyes


salt shaker
       

Curb the Salt

Put down that salt shaker! Water will always find its way from parts of your body that are low in sodium to those that have the most. The area around your eyes is a prime example. That’s why a dinner loaded with salt often results in morning-after puffiness.
       
blowing nose
       

Manage Your Allergies

Allergy season and watery, puffy eyes go hand-in-hand. Here’s the good news: Those over-the-counter medicines that you take for your allergies, colds, or sinus infections can dry up your puffy eyes -- along with your runny nose.
       
neti pot

Use a Neti Pot

Try a neti pot. Use this gizmo, which looks like a small teapot, to pour salt water into one nostril and let it drain out the other. It sounds weird, but it might help flush out all that extra moisture in your sinuses from seasonal allergies, colds, or infections.
       
woman sleeping
       

Switch Your Sleep Position

Are you a side or stomach sleeper? Gravity causes fluid to collect under your eyes, which might explain those pesky bags. Try to sleep on your back and add an extra pillow under your head.
       
removing makeup
       

Take Your Makeup Off Before Bed

Don’t hit the hay with your eye makeup on. It can make your eyes water, and cause a case of morning-after puffiness. Wash off the gunk with soap and water, or use a remover every night.
       
drinking cocktail

Go Easy on the Alcohol

A glass of wine is fine, but don’t overdo it. Why? Booze can pull the water out of your skin. Once you weaken the delicate area around your eyes, it's more likely to sink into a pouch. If you do tie one on, drink water before you go to bed and use a moisturizer around your eyes.
       
sunscreen

Protect Your Eyes From UV Rays

You do a lot to protect your body from sunlight. Are you doing the same for your face? Too much sun can make the skin around your eyes sag or wrinkle. Use sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats to protect your face from harmful rays.
       
cigarette

Don’t Smoke

Want another reason to kick the habit? Smoking can dry and weaken the skin on your face. Say no to smokes and save yourself from wrinkled, droopy eyes.
       
cucumber facial
       

Give Your Eyes a Cooldown

Got swollen eyes? Chill them out! A cold compress can ease puffiness. Try chilled spoons, cucumber slices, or tea bags. What you use doesn’t matter -- the low temperature does the work.
       
face cream
       

Consider Eye Cream

Store shelves groan under the weight of creams and lotions made to reduce puffy eyes. Try them out to see if one works for you. Here's one product to avoid: Don’t use old-fashioned hemorrhoid cream. It can irritate the skin around your eyes. Try a retinol eye cream instead.
       
applying concealer
       

Cover Up

Are dark circlesa problem? You can often hide them with concealer. Choose one that matches your skin tone. Apply it by lightly patting it on -- don't try to rub it in.