Posts tagged ‘Conditions and Diseases’

When you see your doc, be sure to bring up family history of disease

9. pathophysiology-of-colon-cancer

9. pathophysiology-of-colon-cancer (Photo credit: TipsTimes)

When you see your doctor, it’s hard enough to figure out what questions to ask.  Should I get screened for this, or screened for that? I have emphasized throughout this blog the importance of getting screened for prostate cancer. Guys simply don’t like to visit the doctor. But colorectal health is also vital.  With proper and timely  screening, many men and women can avoid colon cancer.  But it takes a candid conversation with the doctor to set up a colonoscopy.

According to this HealthDay.com article, a new study suggests that a family history of the disease may be important for even more distant relatives.

In many cases, colon cancer may have no symptoms. And when symptoms appear, the disease could be advanced, so it’s important to talk with your doctor as you approach age 50….much younger if you have a family history of the disease.  This article tells me that it’s important to tell your doctor if any relative (even distant) may have had colon cancer.  Just one more thing to remember when you set up your next doctor appointment.

Studies show that for those of us getting older, even light exercise can boost our brain power

As we advance in our boomer years, we start worrying about where we left our car keys. We also know that this is the time in our lives to get lean and mean, so we have a fighting chance to ward off serious conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

There is now increasing evidence that even a light amount of activity can boost our brain power. In the New York Times, Gretchen Reynolds writes about a significant study that tracked a large group of elderly folks over a period of two to five years. Canadian researchers found that modest activity, such as gardening and walking, helped their cognitive functioning.

Another study showed light-duty weight training helped a number of older women improve their brain power.

The article cautions that there’s no proof exercise can prevent serious cognitive conditions, such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

For you baby boomers, try a little activity. It may cut down the number of times you look for your keys.

Exercise at work: Employers are seeing the plus side of work-site activity

Even if you’re a reasonably active guy or gal, sitting all day at the office can boost your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Not particularly encouraging news, but proof that obesity is getting out of control and office workers need to mix a bit of cardio with their mundane daily office tasks.

The Los Angeles Times has an article by Olga Khazan that says employers are offering fitness tools to keep their workers both productive and fit. Khazan’s article quotes endocrinologist Dr. James Levine as saying three-quarters of adults get little or no daily activity.

Next time you’re at work,  skip the elevator and take the stairs. Park your car a few blocks away. And why not ask  your employer to pay a portion of your workout costs (if you have a weight room nearby).  All he or she can say is NO.

A wrist watch-type device makes it easier to locate wandering Alzheimer’s patients — article by Scott Keith

You read about it in just about any city. An elderly man or women is suddenly missing. A  victim of Alzheimer’s Disease may have wandered away from his or her home or assisted care facility. It may take police and family members hours, perhaps days to locate the individual.

This is not just a fear facing older Americans. Occasionally, a young person suffering from autism may venture far from home, causing anxiety or panic in a family.

A firm in the outskirts of Dallas, Texas offers a device that makes it easier to locate missing persons; the device resembles a common wrist watch. EmFinders founder Jim Nalley says the EmSeeQ is the first and only cellular-based emergency locator device.

Nalley, in an interview with Men and Health: It’s a Guy Thing, recalls the time he got interested in helping find missing people. “I was just watching the news one evening and there was a women who was missing. She couldn’t call. She couldn’t use her cell phone…How do you protect them when they can’t dial?…That’s where this all started from.”

According to Nalley, the EmSeeQ has been on the market for about a year and a half. “It’s a product that is worn around the wrist or ankle. It’s a watch-like device,” says Nalley. If the missing family member is wearing the EmSeeQ, the first step is to call the police. “Then you call our center (open 24-7 every day of the year). We activate the unit. When it comes active, it automatically calls 911 by itself…when it presents itself, it has a latitude and longitude and police dispatch to that location and they bring your child, Mom or Dad home.” The system is more effective, says Nalley, because it uses 911, through the cellular network, and not GPS.  To prevent false alarms, there are no buttons on the device.

The EmSeeQ provides a longer battery life and indoor coverage. “If they wander into WalMart, we’ll find them in WalMart.”

Law enforcement agencies are benefitting from this technology. “From a law enforcement perspective, they get real cost savings on these things because these (missing person searches)  are unfunded, unplanned events that they don’t really have the budget for. Plus, we’re protecting their citizens,” says Nalley, noting that quite a few agencies around the country are showing an interest in the EmSeeQ.

According to a new Alzheimer’s report, ten million baby boomers are expected to die with or from this frightening cognitive disease. “It’s going to get worse,” says Nalley. “As folks age…the number of folks with Alzheimer’s is going to increase. What that means is they’re going to start to lose their short-term memory. They’ll remember 20-30  years ago, but they won’t have their short-term memory facilities.” That means, adds Nalley, an Alzheimer’s patient could, conceivably, walk away from his or her care facility in the direction of a home they haven’t lived in for decades.

This is a “sandwich generation,” according to Nalley. “We may be taking care of parents who are in that situation and we may also have children who are born with autism.”

EmFinders.com is the easiest way for consumers to learn about the EmSeeQ. The website, www.emfinders.com , provides cost, lease and payment-plan information.

Aspirin in an emergency — article by Scott Keith

You pop an aspirin when you experience a headache, a toothache or a sore body part. In a way, it’s a wonder drug, but you may not know that the bitter-tasting tablet could save your life if you start experiencing a heart attack.

Heart health is a major concern in medicine today, thanks in part to the growing obesity epidemic in the United States. Frank Alvino, president and chief operating officer of Advent Consumer Healthcare, LLC, is in the business of providing consumer products that help doctors and healthcare providers increase a patient’s awareness of potential health problems.

Alvino’s recent project is to bring an emergency aspirin dispenser, At Heart, to market. Alvino, in an interview with Men and Health: It’s a Guy Thing, says, “I’ve always maintained an interest in cardiovascular disease…there are about a million heart attacks a year. About half of the people do not survive a heart attack. Most of the heart attacks occur when someone is away from home and never gets to the hospital.” Aware that seconds count in a heart attack,  Alvino started thinking about providing an easy-to-use device that could provide the patient easy access to an aspirin tablet.

With At Heart, says Alvino, “You press a button. The button pushes out an aspirin, which is in a sealed pack within the dispenser.” Each dispenser contains two blister-sealed 325 mg aspirin tablets. The dispenser is easy to attach to a key chain, pocket or purse. He says At Heart, which is meant for emergency use (they are not refillable) only, is available nationally at all CVS stores and at  www.at-heart.com.   “We’re very pleased because it gives us a very broad distribution…we’ve gotten some incredibly good response to the product.” Alvino says good candidates for the product include men over 40, men with a family history of heart disease, men who don’t get regular physical activity, men who smoke, men who are obese and men who have diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. “Many of these people don’t recognize that they’re at risk, it’s just amazing,” says Alvino, noting that it’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor about these and other subjects.

Women can also benefit from At Heart. Alvino says heart attacks do not strike men only. “It affects women just as readily – people don’t assume women have heart attacks. Their symptoms are often different. They don’t have the classic chest pains…theirs are far more subtle, so, often times, they are ignored, even in an emergency room.”

Over the last several years, doctors have become more familiar with how aspirin can assist a heart attack victim. Alvino says around 1998, the Food and Drug Administration examined large blocks of international studies. It was shown that if you took an aspirin at the first sign of a suspected heart attack, you were able to increase your chances of survival significantly.

It’s vital to become aware of heart health, especially with obesity so prevalent in this country. Alvino says around 85 million people have some form of cardiovascular disease.  “More people die from heart disease than from any other disease.”

Learn more about At Heart at www.at-heart.com

A health check list for baby boomers

Collage of varius Gray's muscle pictures by Mi...

Image via Wikipedia

 

We all know the symptoms of advancing age: We can’t run as fast, our eyesight is challenged, aches and pains are routine. The list is long, but the encouraging news is that we can take steps to stay young.

Mayoclinic.com has a great article on aging, and what to expect as you get older. The piece explores the cardiovascular system, bones, joints and muscles, the digestive system, the bladder and urinary tract, eyes and ears, memory, teeth, skin and sexuality.

In each category, there are steps we can take to get healthier and minimize the effects of aging. Baby boomer years have their challenges, but with a little effort, we can glide through them feeling strong and focused.

Sleep deprivation: Be sure to catch your Z’s — article by Scott Keith

Imagine getting eight hours of quality sleep each night. You fall asleep, enjoy a few pleasant (you hope) dreams and wake up refreshed and eager to start the day. It’s a nice thought, and some may actually get this much-needed nightly rest. But in this frantic world, it’s getting increasingly tough to snooze your way to better health.

One doctor specializing in the mechanics of sleep is Michael Nolledo, Director of the Institute for Sleep Medicine at Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Browns Mills, New Jersey. In an interview with Men and Health: It’s a Guy Thing, Dr. Nolledo says many people don’t realize how much sleep they require. He says 90 to 95 percent of people are going to require somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. “What a lot of people say is, ‘yeah, I require maybe four or five hours…I seem to be doing pretty well,’ but what many of those folks don’t realize is that they’re probably not functioning at peak efficiency…they’re not giving themselves the best shot at performing the best that they could be during the day.”

Sleep deprivation is found in all age groups, according to Nolledo, a sleep medicine specialist. On the one hand, children, ages one to two, require an average of about 14 to 16 hours of sleep daily. Nolledo says this amount of sleep helps secrete substances, such as growth hormone, and helps toddlers incorporate their learning experiences. “For the elderly, the reason to get enough sleep is because your coping mechanisms are not going to be as sufficient. The effects of sleep deprivation are going to be more pronounced as one gets older, because we don’t have either the physical or mental ability that younger folks have in order to compensate and make up for sleep deprivation effects,” says Nolledo.

In this wild, multi-tasking world, we tend to give sleep low priority. “We have 24 hours in a day,” says Nolledo. “All of us have a lot of things we would like to do…we end up prioritizing things because there’s simply not enough time in the day to do everything we would like to accomplish…most people would probably put ten or fifteen things on top of the (priority) list before sleep.”

The benefits of a sound sleep are many. Nolledo says sleep is meant to mentally and physically restore us, adding that memory and learning improves with a good sleep. Without a good sleep, “Your ability to multi-task during the day is not going to be as good. You’ll end up, overall, being less efficient.” Regarding long-term health effects, Nolledo says a lot of the data focuses on conditions such as sleep apnea rather than sleep deprivation. Sleep apnea has been linked to high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart attacks and strokes.

If you think you’re suffering from sleeping disorders, you might want to see a specialist. Sleep medicine is a board-certified specialty. “There are a number of physicians who are specially trained to handle this sort of thing,” says Nolledo, noting that we spend one-third of our lives asleep.

Considering the amount of distractions we face in a world dominated by high-tech contraptions such as cell phones, computers and Blackberries, one should not forget the importance of sleep. “One should have a healthy respect for sleep,” says Nolledo. “It’s important to get the right amount of sleep. I think that (sleep) should not be something that should be sacrificed.”

Visit Dr. Nolledo at www.deborah.org