Warning: Diarrhea can Cause Serious Medical Problems



Oh no, not again!

Have you had days when your stomach rebels against you? It keeps on rumbling and makes you rush to the toilet more times than you want to?

Well, you are not alone. We all experience it once in while and the feeling is horrible. It puts you on the edge the entire day.

Part of aging, they say. Or is it?

Science says that people age, their stomach linings’ capacity to resist damage and elasticity decrease making it susceptible to gastrointestinal disorders like diarrhea.


What is Diarrhea?
Diarrhea is an abnormal watery bowel movement that comes frequently – more than three times a day


Among seniors, it is commonly caused by gastrointestinal disease, certain medications, food contamination, intolerance to lactose and gluten, artificial sweeteners and immune deficiencies.

If diarrhea comes with nausea, fever, and vomiting, it may be due to an infection which could last a few days. And it should not be taken lightly as it can be dangerous, even life-threatening, if not attended to.

Diarrhea, if untreated, can result to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and, in worst cases, weakness and death, says Anil Minocha, M.D., gastroenterologist and author of the book, “The Encyclopedia of the Digestive System and Digestive Disorders.”


How to ride out diarrhea:

Occasional diarrhea is no cause for worry, unless it becomes chronic (lasting more than a week). It creates inconvenience and can sap your strength. But by doing these simple “home” things you will, again, be fit as a fiddle after a day or two.


1.  Stay home:
Nothing is more horrifying than to feel the need for a toilet and the nearest one is a block away.

So stay home and rest. Diarrhea can sap your energy to the bone.


2.  Keep hydrated:
Dehydration is a dangerous dehydration risk among seniors. It can cause confusion, dizziness, low blood pressure and rapid heart rate.

Drink lots of liquids, particularly electrolytes (minerals that affect body functions like amount of water, and pH value of the blood) like Gatorade.


3.   Go on a diet:
Go on a diet when you have diarrhea.

Don’t eat fatty foods, milk, butter, ice cream, cheese, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, artificial sweeteners, and foods that produce excess stomach gas like cabbage, beans broccoli and cauliflower.

Eat lots of bananas. Its high potassium content will minimize loss of energy. For meals, stick to white rice congee or white bread with hard boiled eggs.

It’s tough. So is rushing to the toilet every hour.


4.  Take anti-diarrhea medications:
Most doctors would recommend bananas and electrolytic drinks to ride out a bout of diarrhea.

This approach is agonizingly slow. So if you want a fast relief, take some medications. Diatabs (Loperamide) and Lomotil (Diphenoxylate hydrochloride) are both effective. When we were kids, my Grandma’s favorite was Kaopectate (Bismuth subsalicylate).

Do not take more than necessary. They all result to constipation.


5.  Rest:
Diarrhea can be emotionally and physically draining. So don’t aggravate the situation by keeping to your daily routine. Give yourself a break. It might just be what you need to give you a better perspective in life; give you some lessons in self-care and food preferences.

About a hear ago, I had a serious bout of diarrhea. For almost twelve hours, I had to go to the toilet every hour on the hour. Though I was not dehydrated but I was beginning to tire.

In desperation, I had to call my daughter (who is a doctor). She promptly administered IV fluids to compensate for my fluid and nutritional loss. That did the trick.

Please share with other seniors so they can avoid the serious implications of diarrhea.

Image: www.livestrong.com





5 Cool Ideas to Keep You Busy and Happy

DIY things

I can do this!

Have you ever mowed your lawn using not a mechanized or motorized mower, but the old mechanical, push and pull type?

A week ago, I did. It is one of those “do-it-yourself” things I love to do. This time, however, there was nothing lovable about it  It was pure hard labor I almost quit several times during the two-hour ordeal.

The problem was not in the mowing but of the thick grass cover of my lawn. Each push and pull of the darn, old clickity-clank of the mower was pure agony.

My stubbornness paid off. Not only was I able to make my lawn look fresh – again – I also kept myself busy with what could have been another lazy Sunday.

It saved me a few bucks and kept boredom away. Though dead-tired afterward, my self-esteem was given a big boost.

Of course, you don’t have to mow your lawn to accomplish what I did. There are several ways of keeping yourself busy and your self-esteem happy. Here are five super cool ideas to choose from:


1.  Wooden toolbox:
You can make a simple, yet elegant, wooden toolbox from bits of wood, a few nails, and a small tube of wood glue.Then you must have a hammer, jigsaw and a planer.

Of course, you can buy one from Costco or any other hardware store, but making it yourself is more fun and satisfying.


2.  Bacon candles:
A bacon candle is a candle made from leftover fat after cooking bacon. It makes your home smell like sizzling bacon long after you have washed down your bacon-and-egg breakfasts with brewed coffee.

You can learn how to do this from a short video tutorial at diyjoy.com.


3.  Knife from used saw blades:
I am a recycle and reuse guy but I have not tried this one yet. It is difficult to lay my hands on discarded saw blades. If you can, recycling them into kitchen or utility knives.

Small knives like this will be good for cutting or dicing vegetables of pruning small branches from your garden plants.

Detailed instruction on how to make this is shown at artofmaniliness.com.


4.  Paracord recliner:
If you want a comfortable recliner in your garden or porch, don’t buy. Make one.

All you need are a few pieces of wood, carpentry tools, and a parachute cord. It’s lightweight, elegant and you can move it anywhere you want to.

You can refer to Instructables.com to help you build one.


5.  Signature camera strap:
No, I don’t mean a camera strap from Salvatore, but something more personal, something that shows your personality – your signature camera strap.

It is really quite easy and cheap. All you need are an old polo shirt, a frayed belt, belt and an old leather boot.

Detailed instructions are found at modcloth.com.

DIY things may require some effort, probably a stiff learning curve. But that’s the challenge – to flex your mental muscles a bit, test your resourcefulness and ingenuity.

But the feeling of having done something is very exhilarating; it makes you feel superb, gives you purpose.

I take pride in what I do. It is evident in my writing. Yes, writing keeps me busy. In fact, I wish I can stretch the hours a little more so I can do more learning and writing.

Try it. You will never regret it.

Please share to encourage other seniors the beauty of self-satisfaction one gets from DIY things.

Image: https://www.istockphoto.com/photos/senior-men-hobbies-carpenter-carpentry


Are You Growing Old

Celebrating life each day at 73!

Next year I will turn 70. Not only am I old, but I am getting old(er). LOL!

I don’t know what it would be like to be 70. What I know is that I will be doing the things I am doing now and keep on doing them as long as I can do them – just like this sidewalk vendor.

She’s 73 yr-old-widow with 9 children and as many grandchildren (some of her children are not married yet).

She has to commute more than 10 kms/day, lugging her basket of green mangoes to sell them on the same spot I met her in one day.

When asked why she’s still doing it at her age, with a toothless smile, she said, “Because I can still do it. I love doing it.”

She lives alone, despite the urging of her children to live with them, because she doesn’t want to get into their lives – as she puts it with a smile. 

“Aha!” I said to myself. Now I know how not to grow old. Or do I? Do you?

Notice my sleight-of-hand use of words – rather than “get old” I used “grow old” because they are different. To “get old” is an inevitability, while to “grow old” is a matter of perspective.


Getting Old vs. Growing Old
Getting old means having more years added to your life yet, at the same time, you lose some of your hair, some of your eyesight, hearing, balance, appetite and a lot of other things in exchange.

Growing old, on the other hand, is a way of thinking, a mindset.  You can be old even if you are young in years, or young even if born after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

It is how you look at life. And that’s what I would like to look at myself next year when I turn 70. And you should do the same.

Look at life through the eyes of your youth, your vigor, your thirst for excitement and adventure.

“Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years.” – Ausonius

I always believe that at this age, I have more freedom to do as I wish – even to be freaky at times. And I am not alone.

A new national survey done by the Pew Research Center shows that:

Most adults at 50 feel at least 10 years younger than their actual age…one-third of those between 65 and 74 said they felt up to 10 to 19 years younger, and one-sixth of people 75 and older said they felt 20 years younger.

In other words, if you start sucking a lollipop right now, there’s a good chance that some people of your age will start doing the same.

No, you don’t have to go that far to prove a point. But Paul Tayler, Pew Research Center’s executive vice president and author of the study said it succinctly, “…you are never too old to feel young…”

I never dwell on my age. Instead, I dwell on the experiences I’ve accumulated over the years, and the people who helped shape my life.

At my age, these things are worth celebrating.


To be Old is to Start Anew:
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16

Oliver Sacks, a New York University professor of neurology, upon turning 80, wrote a piece for The New York Times. In the first paragraph, he wrote:

“My father, who lived to 94, often said that the 80s had been one of the most enjoyable decades of his life. He felt, as I begin to feel, not a shrinking but an enlargement of mental life and perspective…”

So never let the effects of old age affect your vim and vigor of life. Rather make use of them to remind you that time is fast running out and you should make the most of what is left.

If you are like me, maybe most of the kids you grew up with are either dead, too sickly to hang out with the boys, or indisposed for one reason or another.

That your not one of them, isn’t that worth celebrating?

Nobody at this age hasn’t had his share of life’s problems, i.e., money, relationship, children, career, etc. They are very traumatic experiences; they scarred you for life, maybe even made you cynical and pessimistic.

But would things be any better if you dwell on them? They won’t. In fact, they will just make you miserable. They will put blinders over your eyes making you fail to see the beauty of being old and alive and experiencing things that we totally sci-fi during your time.

Discard your past, Put on fresh clothes, comb your hair, look your best and say, “Old age, here I come, the new kid on the block.”

Then just dig in and have fun.

I am sure you have not lived the kind of life this mango vendor has lived hers. Yet, her heart is fuller with joy and contentment than yours.

Please share with other seniors so they, too, will know how to grow old.








Health Secrets


Reasons Why Not Take Opioids to Ease Pain

Are you suffering from aches and pains? If you are well into your 60s and beyond, then you must have experienced them. They are awful, to say the least.

But before rushing off to your doctor for a painkiller prescription, you must give it a second or third thought. Here’s why:


What are prescription painkillers:
Prescription painkillers are mostly opioids – opium-based or opium-like compounds to relieve pain, i.e., Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Morphine, Codeine, etc.

They work by increasing the brain’s production of dopamine – the chemical responsible for creating feelings of pleasure, excitement; the Adrenalin rush.

Opioids inhibit the body’s ability to feel pain; they make you feel great (even if the source of pain still persists).

They are addictive because they force the brain to produce artificial endorphins (another feel-good chemical naturally produced by the body). When its effects wear off, and the brain cannot take up the shortfall, you will be in pain again and will be forced to ask for it and in heavier doses, too.

Current estimates show that 3 in 10 adults, between ages 57 to 85, use at least five prescription drugs  – putting them at high risk for drug abuse and addiction, according to the Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA).

Aside from being addictive, the following are other reasons to them away.


1.  It’s killing a fly with a sledgehammer:
Opioids are intended to relieve acute pain after a surgery or chronic pains like arthritis, lower back pains, or trauma pains.

Taking them for age-related aches and pains like a headache, occasional lower back pain, muscle strain, or a migraine is an overkill and risky.

Should you consult a doctor for chronic pains, ask for non-addictive drugs. If that is not possible, be sure it is pain-specific. Don’t go for a one-drug-cures-it-all approach. Chances are that it will not be as effective, forcing you to ask or more potent types.

Whatever you are prescribed with, take it per doctor’s orders. Your health will be at risk if you venture outside of its parameters.


2.  Unnecessary cost: 
The prices of opioids cover a wide range, depending on application and potency. Some are as low as less than $10 dollars, while others can go as high as more than $200.

They may seem cheap on a per unit basis, vis-a-vis its purpose, over the long haul, they are a huge cost item in your budget.

Bear in mind that there a lot of options to ease age-related aches and pains which are cheap or cost nothing at all. Look for them and try them out. Only when you run out of options will you think about opioids.


3.  Risky to your health: 
Opioids first affect the brain, making it block out the pain. But it will also make you feel sedated and dizzy putting you at risk for falls. In fact, seniors taking opioids have as much as four times the probability of suffering bone fractures than those who don’t. And 68% of those are hospitalized, and out of this number, 87% die from their injuries. – National Safety Council.

Then they affect the entire body (slowing it down at times), like the digestive system where they may experience “opioid-induced constipation.”

Other than the digestive system, opioids also affect the kidneys.

The kidney is the body’s filtration system. It filters blood circulating throughout the body, extracting liquids (disposed of as urine), and other solids (disposed of as fecal waste).

And when you grow old, it becomes so delicate and sensitive to foreign substances like alcohol and drugs.

A study done last year showed that opioid users are more likely to develop kidney failure than those who are not.

Is that the end of the ugly effects of opioids on your body? No! It can trigger dangerous and life-threatening side effects or reactions with drugs against high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

I believe in the body’s ability to heal itself (provided it is not subjected to too much abuse), and going for do-it-yourself management of minor aches and pains.

I never have a headache that lasts longer for comfort. If I do, I will just “will” it away. Though I take Tylenol before playing tennis to ease the osteoarthritis pains in both my knees, I keep away from anything stronger than that.

It is a tough call for a lot of seniors. but it can be done if you just put your mind and heart into it.

Please share with other seniors to spare them the risks of taking opioids for their aches and pains.