Healthcare Focus

What your doctor wishes you knew about aging S

chool prepares us for a lot in life, but one thing none of the courses really covered is aging. What happens to

us as we get older? What will each stage feel like? What problems should we ex- pect, and how should we deal with them? Most of us simply blunder into it and take each change as it comes. Te good news is, your doctor can be

your best ally when it comes to living your best life. A yearly physical exam is a great opportunity to ask questions. In the meanwhile, doctors themselves are sharing what they wish all their patients knew about aging, right now: 1. Know what medications you're on

and what they're for — including how many pills you take daily and how often. 2. Be careful where you get your

health information. Websites, TV health talk shows and infomercials are no sub- stitute for you doctor, who knows your medical history. 3. Don't be embarrassed to share con- cerns, ask questions, or confide in your

doctor. Be completely honest. After all, it's their job to help you live your healthi- est life. Besides, doctors have seen it all, and they're bound by professional con- fidentiality not to discuss your concerns with anyone else. 4. Avoid the sun. While sunshine pro-

vides much-needed vitamin D, too much raises your risk of skin cancer. Always wear sunscreen when you're outdoors. 5. Do your utmost to prevent falls. A

bad fall can transform a healthy, active senior to an ill and dependent one. Te Government of Canada offers some ex- cellent tips on its website: www.canada. ca/en/public-health/services/health- promotion/aging-seniors/publications/ publications-general-public/you-prevent- falls.html 6. Tell us if you are having memory

issues. Dementia is only one cause; a faltering memory may be due to all kinds of other things, including depression, heart problems, medication, hormone abnormalities.

From medications, to health information and fall prevention, there’s a lot to know—just ask your doctor!

around after an injury or illness). Millions more suffer from short-term (acute) pain. Te good news is, knowing what aches and pains to

expect can help you prevent and treat them. Here are seven types of pain you need to know about, along with tips to manage them: 1. Lower Back Pain. Unless you've had a back injury,

sitting for long stretches is the most likely cause. Ar- thritis may also be the culprit. Te solution: strength training and cardio, which increase blood flow, build your core muscles, and reduce the pressure. Start slow! Consider physical therapy, too, and don't underestimate the power of the heating pad to ease the aches. 2. Headaches. They come in regular and extra

strength (aka migraines) and can be triggered by mus- cle tension, dehydration, menstruation, stress, weather changes, and the foods you eat (including chocolate, for many unfortunate souls). Te solution: massage the area that hurts or apply menthol cream on your forehead or the base of your neck. Pain meds can bring relief, but don't take them for more than 3 days without talking to your doctor. Prescription migraine medicine is also available. 3. Osteoarthritis. A common condition that happens when the cartilage between your joint and bone breaks

Aches and pains and aging, oh my! F

eeling sore? You’re in good company. Millions of Canadians suffer from some sort of chronic pain (chronic meaning the long-term kind that sticks

Some types of pain become are more common as you get older.

down. Wear and tear from age is one culprit; sport in- juries are another. Te solution: stay active to keep the blood circulating around the affected joints and take the pressure off. But talk to your doctor first about finding the best approach, especially if your arthritis is severe. Applying heat and ice can help, as well as medication. 4. Non-Arthritis Joint Pain. Te culprit is usually

tendinitis, an inflammation of the tissue that connects your muscles to your bones. Tendinitis is usually caused by repetitive motion. Te solution: rest, ice, compres- sion and elevation. A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication might also work, but talk to your doctor if

the pain doesn't ago away after a week. 5. Pelvic Pain. Tis mostly strikes women, and can

feel like a dull ache. Te culprit may be endometriosis or irritable bowel syndrome. Te solution: pain meds, but talk to your doctor if the pain persists for more than a few days. Further treatment will depend on the underlying cause. 6. Carpal Tunnel. Te nerve running from your arm

to your palm becomes pressed or squeezed, causing pain in your fingers and wrist, as well as numbness or tingling. Repetitive motion is again the cause, but fam- ily history and menopause-related hormone changes up your odds. Te solution: occupational or physical therapy, along with short-term use of pain relievers. Surgery may be needed to treat the worst cases. Talk to your doctor. 7. Muscle Strain or Pain. Tis soreness hits after per-

forming activities that used to cause no problem. Te culprit: muscle fibres that have become less dense—and therefore less flexible—with age. Te solution: prevent the pain in the first place, if you can. Get help lifting, pushing or pulling anything heavy. Stretch. Practice yoga or Pilates to keep your muscles long and limber. Tese activities also help after the fact, as does rest, ice, compression and elevation. Pain meds can offer relief. Talk to your doctor if the pain is too much. Source: tures/common-pains-of-age#1

Everyday tips on lowering blood pressure H

igh blood pressure, or hyper- tension, carries an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

But it’s called the silent killer for a rea- son: it often carries no symptoms, at first. Te damage to your blood vessels and heart progresses without you even knowing. There’s good news: simple daily

choices can bring your numbers down: 1. Watch your waistline. In general,

men should aim for 40 inches or less. Make that 35 or less for women. 2. Log 35 minutes of movement most

days. Strength training can also help reduce blood pressure. 3. Limit alcohol. No more than 1 drink a day for women or 2 for men (no

more than 1 a day for men over 65). 4. Make time to relax and enjoy. And

remember not to hurry through your "relaxing activities" at a stressful pace! 5. Cook dinner at home. Restaurant

meals can be dramatically higher in sodium (not to mention calories) than those cooked at home. 6. Buy more spinach. And bananas,

strawberries, and peas for potassium to lower blood pressure. 7. Practice gratitude. And reduce the

stressful thoughts that can raise your blood pressure. Source: www.newsnetwork.may- everyday-ways-to-lower-your-blood- pressure-2/

Winter 2018

Life.Times 7

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