Blog posts of '2011' 'September'

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Nutrition Needs in the Golden Years - 13 September 2011
Senior citizens exercising
Many a proverb has been dedicated to how our attitudes and expectations evolve as we pass through life's seasons, but far less has been written about how our nutrition needs change as we enter the golden years.
 
As we age, we need fewer calories - about 10 percent less per decade from age 50 onward - but not necessarily fewer nutrients. With our bodies' own natural antioxidant systems losing steam, we need to increase our intake of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables like artichokes, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cranberries and dried plums.
 
Because of this calorie-nutrient paradox, it's more important than ever to choose foods with care, opting for a nutrient-dense diet and avoiding empty-calorie snacks. Fiber, for example, is a macronutrient that too many seniors get too little of. In addition to lowering levels of "bad" cholesterol, fiber helps improve regularity at a time when gastrointestinal distress may become an issue. Top sources of healthy fiber include navy beans, oats, raspberries, oranges and green peas.
 
Protein is another macronutrient elders need but 60 percent fail to consume in adequate amounts. The body's ability to absorb vitamin B-12 declines with age, and salmon is a great choice as a two-for-one protein and vitamin B-12 source. As a bonus, salmon, sardines, albacore and flounder are good sources of omega-3 "healthy" fats that help boost memory power.
 
Another nutrient for your noggin is niacin. In a four-year study of 800 seniors, those with the highest intake of niacin - also known as vitamin B-3 - had an 80 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer's. Niacin sources include Portobello and button mushrooms, red potatoes, and once again, salmon - an all-around "superfood" for seniors.
 
Here's more "food for thought": Onions and apples are loaded with quercetin - an antioxidant that may be even more powerful than vitamin C when it comes to preserving brain cells. The anthocyanins found in berries, grapes and cherries also maintain mental acumen. Tufts researchers found middle-aged rats fed a berry-rich diet performed tasks as well as much younger subjects.
 
Of course, what's acuity without agility? Help reduce the risk and alleviate symptoms of joint pain by losing any excess weight; a mere 10-pound weight loss can reduce knee stress by 40 to 80 pounds. Those same fruits and vegetables that can help you manage your calorie budget also can reduce your risk of rheumatoid arthritis, according to Harvard researchers. Specific foods for joint health include cherries and pineapple, both of which contain compounds that may inhibit inflammation.
 
Diminished sense of taste and smell, also a part of aging, may incline you to coat your food with salt at the precise time when blood pressure concerns should suggest limiting sodium intake. Instead of reaching for the salt shaker, try herbs and spices to add extra flavor. Curcumin, a compound in curry, can serve as another weapon in your anti-Alzheimer's arsenal.
 
Finally, don't let advancing years become an excuse for sitting on the sidelines. Researchers at the University of California at San Francisco found that for every mile elderly women walk per day, the risk of cognitive decline drops by 13 percent. Such moderate aerobic exercise also improves heart function. Adding strength training can boost your metabolism, build bone density and even lift your libido. All in all, research suggests that those over 65 who exercise at least once a week have a 40 percent lower risk of premature death than their less-active peers.
 
So get out there, discover new activities, try new foods.
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Things You Should Know About Fibromyalgia - 12 September 2011

Fibromyalgia is a neurological chronic condition that affects the musculoskeletal tissues of the body. The disorder is mostly responsible for inducing discomfort, pain and fatigue in the muscles, ligaments, tendons and in the areas surrounding the joints. People who suffer from fibromyalgia are constantly confronted with intense pain that tends to reoccur on a regular time basis. The pain caused by the disorder is felt deep inside the muscles and in certain points called trigger points. A common feature to all people with fibromyalgia is the location of the pain; to all patients fibromyalgia pain occurs in the same trigger points. Although people with fibromyalgia perceive the pain at different intensities, they claim to permanently feel a different level of pain in their soft muscular tissues.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

An interesting aspect of fibromyalgia is that it can be very difficult to detect in some patients. The symptoms of fibromyalgia are common to many other conditions and therefore they can be misleading in establishing the appropriate diagnose. Although some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia may resemble those of rheumatoid arthritis, people with fibromyalgia seem to be in perfect health when they are examined by a physician, revealing no signs of muscular dysfunctions. Basic physical examinations and common laboratory tests usually don’t reveal the presence of fibromyalgia. This is due to the fact that pain, fatigue and discomfort are mentally induced to patients with fibromyalgia, as a consequence of abnormal activity of their nervous system. Although they show no physical abnormalities or dysfunctions, their experienced pain is real!

Abnormal brain activity is considered to be the main cause of fibromyalgia and there are two areas of the brain thought to be involved in the process. A high output of the mesencephalon (the upper region of the brain) accelerates the heart rate, increases blood pressure and raises the body temperature. People with fibromyalgia often experience sudden changes in body temperature and sometimes they sweat abundantly and even have fever. Also, a high activity of the mesencephalon is responsible for difficulties in falling asleep and inconstant sleep patterns. Most people who suffer from fibromyalgia have trouble sleeping and in some cases they even suffer from insomnia. Therefore, the cause for fibromyalgia lack of sleep is thought to be the abnormal activity of the mesencephalon. The permanent fatigue felt throughout the whole body by people with the disorder is amplified by inappropriate sleeping patterns, un-refreshing sleep or insomnia.

Another part of the brain that is considered to be responsible for inducing other fibromyalgia symptoms (anxiety, depression, lack of concentration, poor cognitive abilities, loss of short-term memory and confusion) is the cerebellum. A lower activity of the cerebellum is thought to be the cause of other fibromyalgia symptoms and the majority of people who suffer from the disorder reveal abnormal activity of both cerebellum and mesencephalon.

Fibromyalgia is considered to be a serious condition. Due to the chronic character of fibromyalgia, patients require ongoing treatment and therapy. If left untreated, fibromyalgia can cause other symptoms such as nausea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain and swelling, vomiting, internal distress. Many people with fibromyalgia also seem to become depressed as the disorder develops and sometimes they even indulge in suicidal acts. Therefore, it is vital to spot the presence of fibromyalgia in time and appropriate measures must be taken in order to prevent further complications and undesirable effects.

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Exercise and Hypertension - 08 September 2011
It seems as though many people in India are living a life that leads to high blood pressure or hypertension. As people age, the situation gets worse. This disease makes people five times more prone to strokes, three times more likely to have a heart attack, and two to three times more likely to experience a heart failure.
 
The problem with this disease is that nearly one third of the folks who have hypertension do not know it because they never feel any direct pain. But overtime the force of that pressure damages the inside surface of your blood vessels. 
 
However, according to experts, hypertension is not predestined. Reducing salt intake, adopting a desirable dietary pattern losing weight and exercising can all help prevent hypertension.
 
Obviously, quitting bad habits and eating a low fat diet will help, but the most significant part that you can do is to exercise. And just as exercise strengthens and improves limb muscles, it also enhances the health of the heart muscles. 
 
Heart and Exercise
 
The exercise stimulates the development of new connections between the impaired and the nearly normal blood vessels, so people who exercise had a better blood supply to all the muscle tissue of the heart.
 
The human heart basically, supply blood to an area of the heart damaged in a "myocardial infarction." A heart attack is a condition, in which, the myocardium or the heart muscle does not get enough oxygen and other nutrients and so it begins to die.
 
For this reason and after a series of careful considerations, some researchers have observed that exercise can stimulate the development of these life-saving detours in the heart. One study further showed that moderate exercise several times a week is more effective in building up these auxiliary pathways than extremely vigorous exercise done twice as often.
 
Such information has led some people to think of exercise as a panacea for heart disorders, a fail-safe protection against hypertension or death. That is not so. Even marathon runners that have suffered hypertension, and exercise cannot overcome combination of other risk factor.
 
What Causes Hypertension?
 
Sometimes abnormalities of the kidney are responsible. There is also a study wherein the researchers identified more common contributing factors such as heredity, obesity, and lack of physical activity. And so, what can be done to lower blood pressure and avoid the risk of developing hypertension? Again, exercise seems to be just what the doctor might order.
 
If you think that is what he will do, then, try to contemplate on this list and find some ways how you can incorporate these things into your lifestyle and start to live a life free from the possibilities of developing hypertension. But before you start following the systematic instructions, it would be better to review them first before getting into action.
 
1. See your doctor Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. If you make any significant changes in your level of physical activity - particularly if those changes could make large and sudden demands on your circulatory system - check with your doctors again.
 
2. Take it slow
 
Start at a low, comfortable level of exertion and progress gradually. The program is designed in two stages to allow for a progressive increase in activity.
 
3. Know your limit
 
Determine your safety limit for exertion. Use some clues such as sleep problems or fatigue the day after a workout to check on whether you are overdoing it. Once identified, stay within it. Over-exercising is both dangerous and unnecessary. 
 
4. Exercise regularly 
 
You need to work out a minimum of three times a week and a maximum of five times a week to get the most benefit. Once you are in peak condition, a single workout a week can maintain the muscular benefits. However, cardiovascular fitness requires more frequent activity.
 
5. Exercise at a rate within your capacity
 
The optimum benefits for older exercisers are produced by exercise at 40% to 60% of capacity.
 
Indeed, weight loss through exercise is an excellent starting point if you want to prevent hypertension. Experts say that being overweight is linked to an increased risk of developing hypertension, and losing weight decreases the risk.
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