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Healthy Living: Osteoporosis Warning Signs

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Osteoporosis is one of the most common ailments of adults over the age of 50 and it is a problem that people do not want to live with.  Weak bones lead to fractures and many other scary problems that could leave you disabled. 

Before turning into full-blown osteoporosis, osteopenia – the process of thinning bones - precedes the ailment.  There are some warning signs to look for to determine if your bones are in fact thinning.

 

Here are some warning signs for osteoporosis: 

  • Warning Sign #1 - You have had more than one fracture in the past two years or a fracture that seemed severe considering the circumstances.
  • Warning Sign #2 – You are naturally a small or thin person.
  • Warning Sign #3 – You have an autoimmune condition that causes you to take prednisone or another corticosteroid.
  • Warning Sign #4 – You are a smoker and have been throughout your adult life.
  • Warning Sign #5 – You drink more than two alcoholic beverages a day.
  • Warning Sign #6 – You do not drink milk, or you have a lactose intolerance that prevents you from drinking milk.
  • Warning Sign #7 – You have an eating disorder.
  • Warning Sign #8 – You are an Asian or Caucasian female over the age of 50.Warning Sign #9 – You have a family member who had osteoporosis before the age of 50 or before menopause.

Fitness for All: 10,000 Steps a Day: Where did it come from?

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Whether you are an avid fitness guru or just your “Average Joe” you have no doubt at some point in your life heard that the key to being healthy is getting in your “10,000 steps” daily.

But have you ever wondered why 10,000 steps? And is it working? Or is it just causing us unnecessary stress?

Here is what the experts say…

Back in 1965, when the Summer Olympics was held in Tokyo, Japan, a local professor was working on coming up with the best way to fight obesity and heart disease. He calculated that walking 10,000 steps a day – or the equivalent of 5 miles – would translate into a 20% increase in calories burned for the average person.

The professor, Yoshiro Hatano, then came up with a pedometer-like device called the Manpo-kei, to encourage people to get up and moving during the Olympics when fitness was on everyone’s mind.

The popularity of the pedometer and taking 10,000 steps continued in Japan and has since spread to the U.S. and other countries, becoming the standard that World Health Organization (WHO), the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) still follow today.

While 10,000 steps a day might be an achievable goal for some, experts note that everyone’s fitness ability is different and their steps per day should be adjusted accordingly.

One way to figure out the number of steps that would work for you is to track how many steps you normally take in any given day, then set an achievable goal based on your baseline steps. If you are a person who typically gets in 5,000 steps a day, then shoot for 7,500. Already reaching 10,000 a day? Why not try for 12,500? Even though this theory has been around for decades, there is no need to stress yourself out about reaching this daily goal. Just take it one step at a time.

In the News World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month – Part II

Written by Lisa Jillanza

(Continued from part I…)

 

According to experts, the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is increasing age. Although age increases risk, dementia is not a normal part of aging. 

There are more than 20 genes which affect a person’s risk of developing dementia. The gene APOE was the first known to increases a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and it is still the strongest risk gene known. There are also genes which directly cause dementia, but these deterministic genes are rare – they are estimated to account for less than 1% of dementia cases and cause young-onset forms in which symptoms usually develop before the age of 60. 

Keeping active, eating well, and engaging in social activities all promote good brain health and may reduce your risk of developing dementia. Keeping your heart healthy, including by avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, can lower your risk of dementia and other diseases too.

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or for most other causes of dementia at present, the problems associated with dementia such as restlessness and depression can be treated. It may also be possible, especially in the early stages of dementia, to improve someone’s memory with medication.

It is also possible to help people with dementia in a variety of practical ways. These include ways of caring for people with dementia which build on the strengths and abilities of those affected. This ensures that people with dementia maintain a sense of well-being and individuality throughout their illness.

Although there is no known cure, there is always hope for a breakthrough. That's why it's so important to stay informed. World Alzheimer's Month is one big way to keep the conversation going.

In the News World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month – Part I

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Every September, Alzheimer’s Awareness is celebrated worldwide, and World Alzheimer’s Day takes place every year on September 21.

Understanding Alzheimer’s is important because Alzheimer’s disease is the “most common form of dementia, affecting about 6 percent of people 65 and older.”

In this two-part article, we will talk about this disease in depth and give you some ways to get involved in this important awareness event.

First some facts and figures associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. Dementia is an umbrella term for a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain and impacting memory, thinking, behavior and emotion, like Alzheimer’s. Symptoms include loss of memory, difficulty in finding the right words or understanding what people are saying, difficulty in performing previously routine tasks, and personality and mood changes.

Important facts about Alzheimer’s are:

  1. It's a killer

About one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer's or another type of dementia — more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.​

  1. ​Deaths are increasing

​Since 2000, deaths from Alzheimer's disease have increased by more than 120 percent.

  1. Alzheimer's will affect more and more Americans

​If current projections are accurate, by the year 2050, the number of Americans suffering from Alzheimer's disease will reach nearly 14 million.

  1. ​Women are most likely to be affected

​Statistics show that about two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer's disease are women.

  1. ​Hispanics are more susceptible

Statistics also show that ​Hispanics are about one-and-a-half times as likely to have Alzheimer's disease (or other dementias) as older, white, non-Hispanics.

 

(Continued in part II…)

Healthy Living: Bath vs. Shower – Which one is Better?

Written by Lisa Jillanza

It’s the age-old debate – bath or shower? Who doesn’t love a nice, hot soak in the tub to unwind? Or how about those steamy, relaxing showers? But which one is healthier? And why? 

First, we focus on the shower. Besides being timesaving and more efficient, here are some other benefits of taking a shower.

  • Reduces tension and improves circulation.
  • Gets rid of headaches and helps with sore muscles.
  • Massages your skin as the water falls.
  • Great for cleaning the body. 

Now for the cons of taking a shower. 

  • You must stand (most likely).
  • Relies on water pressure.
  • Your bathroom becomes a steam room. 

And now let’s take a look at the benefits of taking a bath.

  • Helps treat skin conditions like eczema.
  • Can improve sleep.
  • Good for muscle and joint protection and relief.
  • Helps regulate blood pressure.
  • May improve breathing.

And the cons of taking a bath.

  • Might not be clean (or as clean as a shower).
  • Can affect the body’s pH levels.
  • Strips the body of natural oils. 

So, who is the winner? Either way it comes down to hygiene. Both baths and showers have pros and cons, so it often comes down to a matter of preference and time.  As long as you are getting yourself clean, you are doing good for your body.

Happy Washing!