Warning: Are You Unknowingly Making Yourself Blind

vision loss

Don’t live in total darkness!

That got your attention, didn’t it? It made you think of how well are you taking care of your eyes.

We fuss too mush over the wrinkles on our face, hands, and tummy. We spend too much on health foods and supplements, and be concerned when we start forgetting things.

Yet, we hardly do anything about our eyes. For example, can you remember the last time you had your eyes checked? Your guess is as good as mine.

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Warning: Diarrhea can Cause Serious Medical Problems

 

diarrhea

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

~oOo~

 

 

 

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.

~oOo~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Avoid Health Problems from Reheated Foods

food

Food for the next meal

Do you recycle food leftovers?

I do as well as you. It is convenient and economical, especially if you are a live-alone senior living on a tight budget.

But there are trade-offs. Reheated foods taste differently and there are potential health risks if not done well.

Be Healthy by Doing Things Your Way

my way

Doing things my way!

Do you want to live a healthy life? Then don’t burn your midnight candle searching for ways from the Internet. You can’t find them there. Don’t fall for things like:

–  Foods that Lower Cholesterol Naturally,
–  Super Foods that Help You Live Longer,
–  Walking may Reduce Cardiovascular Disease by 50% and many others.

They don’t work any more than I become a Caucasian by dying my Asian hair black. Here’s why:

1.  Old age brings a lot of medical issues. Nothing in the world can make you healthy if you are afflicted with any of them. You can only cope with them if you want to enjoy life.

2.  But if you are healthy at your age, nothing can make you any healthier than you already are.

Don’t change anything, just temper them. Changing your lifestyle is stressful and restrictive. It will rob you of the pleasures and joy of old age.

 

Health is not purely about healthy eating:
Good health for seniors is not just about nutritious foods. There are more important things that make one healthy.

For example, the leading causes of deaths among people 65 years old and above are heart disease and cancer. While these figures are irrefutable, saying that improper diet is one of the major causes of these diseases is going to polarize the health community.

Some will insist that food is crucial to good health, while others won’t. And both sides will present voluminous data to support their stand.

Joshua Rosenthal, founder, and director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and author of the book Integrative Nutrition will not be on either side.

Mr. Rosenthal says,

“Eating well helps, but don’t expect it to work miracles. It can fill you, but it cannot fulfill you.”

Then he adds,

“If we are not physically starving, other dimensions of human experience are much more important than what we put in our mouths. The foods you eat are secondary to all other things that feed you – your relationships, career, spirituality and exercise routine. All that we consider today as nutrition is really just a secondary source of energy.”

To emphasize the point that nutrition, alone, cannot make you healthy, Dr. Mark Hyman, chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine and author of the book Blood Sugar chimes in by stating:

“95 percent of all illnesses are caused by or worsened by stress… it can disrupt almost all your body’s processes, making none of our organs immune to its effects. Heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, hypertension, depression, ulcers, headaches and chronic anxiety are all scientifically linked to chronic stress.”

Then he adds, “…the health of your mind and spirit and your sense of connection to your community has an immense impact on the health of your body, In fact…the biggest predictor of longevity is psychological resiliency – being able to roll with the punches life throws at us.”

My take on this…

Two weeks ago, I had chest pains in the evening which forced me to see a doctor the following day. After some examinations and questions, he said that it was not a heart attack.

However, he said that chest pains must not be taken lightly and told me to have some lab tests. He also cautioned me against my smoking – not for cancer because even non-smokers can get cancer. But it is a risk factor for heart attack or stroke at my age.

Towards the end of my consultation, I mentioned in passing that I regularly go for long drives or an overnight stay in beach resorts. He said, “That, too, contributes to good heart health.”

Nobody knows your overall health better than you. You, alone, know what is good or bad for you, what works or doesn’t work. And by this time you must have learned to do what is best for you and do things your way.

Note: All my lab tests were good, i.e., blood chemistry, ECG, and Treadmill.

Please share with other seniors to brighten their day – and do things their way!

~oOo~ 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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