Wise as Salamon/News Links
Suzanne Salamon, MD is chief associate of clinical geriatrics at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Email general questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Maureen: 617. 730. 2743. These are excerpts. Read the full post in this month’s newsletter (link on front page)
MAY: What vaccines do I need? Flu every year, pneumonia 23, prevnar 13, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (DTap), and the new shingrix for shingles; are all recommended if you’re over 65. If you have a cold or are on steroids, wait until you’re better. Keep a record of your immunizations.
APRIL: Is there such a thing as too much sleep? There is. Narcolepsy can cause sleepiness but it’s rare. Other causes: drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, no activity, obesity, depression, anxiety, boredom and some medications. Try to limit in bed time. Use an alarm, go to sleep before midnight, no alcohol before bed, wear an eye mask, eat breakfast soon after awakening with tea or coffee, exercise, keep to a schedule, and avoid sleeping pills.
MARCH: I can’t sleep. We think 7-8 hours help us think more clearly and improve memory. Non-medical ideas: take a short nap before 5 pm, no spicy foods, less caffeine, no alcohol 3 hours before bed, exercise, warm showers, read a book. If insomnia persists, speak with your doctor about a sleep therapist.
FEBRUARY: Highs and lows of blood pressure. High pressure is called hypertension. Older recommendations: 150/90 needs treatment. Newer studies suggest the top number be lower than 140 although side effects of extra medications may cause more problems than they solve. Some drugs like steroids, cold pills, ibuprofen and naproxen may contribute. High pressure predisposes to heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, eye problems and ED.
JANUARY: COPD Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asthma and bronchiectasis. Symptoms: shortness of breath, chronic coughing and wheezing. Causes: smoking, second hand smoke, chemicals, fumes, dust and air pollution. You may get help from exercise pulmonary rehabilitation which teaches techniques that may help breathlessness.
DECEMBER: Sleep. “I’m tired when I go to bed and then I cannot sleep.” As we get older, our usual sleep habits may change. We think the ideal amount is 7-9 hours. Possible sleep disorder: trouble falling asleep, trouble getting back to sleep, not refreshed, irritable, rely on sleeping pills or alcohol. Try: turn off TV and computer one hour before, read a book, block out snoring, aerobic exercise, melatonin, short naps, no alcohol or caffeine late in the day, chamomile tea.
NOVEMBER: Men’s Health Prostate health. Heart disease, the number one cause of death in the US. Men are affected earlier without the effects of estrogen. Risks for men and women are cholesterol, blood pressure, smoking, physical inactivity and weight. Depression and suicide: white men over 85 are more likely to commit suicide than Americans in any other age group. Possible signs: withdrawal from activities, negative thoughts, talking about death, impoverishment or physical decline, getting wills and finances in order.
OCTOBER: Osteoporosis describes bones that are weaker either because one loses too much bone or is not making enough bone. It is common. It’s diagnosed with a bone mineral density scan that’s painless. Prevention and treatment: calcium, vitamin D3, walking, stairs, dancing, tennis, yoga. Medication may be needed: pills, intravenous and injections.
SEPTEMBER: Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease that spreads mostly through infected blood. This can come from sharing drugs, needles, sex with an infected partner and tattoos. Most people have no symptoms; other have jaundice, abdominal pain, nausea and fatigue. It can lead to liver cancer and cirrhosis. Have a blood test if you had a transfusion/transplant before 1992, got a clotting drug before 1987, were born between 1945-1965, are on long-term dialysis, have HIV or abnormal liver tests.
AUGUST: Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by deer tick bites. Not all deer ticks carry Lyme disease. After the tick bites, it stays attached to the skin. Symptoms are often vague: fever, chills, sweats, fatigue, arthritis, headache and aches. Some people have a rash that looks like a bull’s eye. If Lyme is treated with antibiotics early, it is curable. Prevention is important: spray skin and clothes with repellent. Wear long pants and pull socks over pants. Check yourself for ticks and rashes after hiking and gardening.
JULY: Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes you to stop breathing. One symptom is snoring, long pauses in breathing, choking sounds and daytime fatigue. Risks: being overweight, a large neck, male, high blood pressure and family history. Some devices to treat can be fitted by a dentist like a mouth guard to pull the lower jaw forward and hold the tongue in place. A sleep physician or clinic can advise what’s best.
JUNE: The sun Too much can cause problems like photo aging (wrinkles, age spots). Use sunscreen of 15 SPF and higher. Between 10 am – 4 pm the sun is at its strongest. Skin cancer, melanoma, is often related to exposure. Some research suggests foods may help prevent cancer: carrots, squash, mangoes, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, collards, tomatoes, watermelon, guava, apricots, milk, eggs, mozzarella. Wear a hat and sunglasses.
MAY: Allergies Pollen from grass, trees and flowers bring hay fever with runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and coughing. Most symptoms resolve as the season goes on but asthma can be worse. We are seeing more allergies now because we’re “too clean.” Try air purifiers and after gardening, wash clothes and hands and remove shoes.
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Links from New York Times, Huffington Post, New Yorker
- Hoarder Dies After Floor Collapses, by Ed Mazza, Huff Po, June 16
First floor of CT home collapses, apparently under the weight of stuff
- Seven Grandparent Skills You Don’t Have, by Shelley Emling, Huff Po, June 16
They actually talk to people
- Judges With Daughters More Often Rule in Favor of Women’s Rights, Times, June 16
It turns out that judges with daughters are more likely to vote in favor of women’s rights than ones with only sons
- For Diabetics, Health Risks Fall Sharply, by Sabrina Tavernise and Denise Grady, Times, April 16
- Younger Skin Through Exercise, by Gretchen Reynolds, Times, April 16
- A Number That May Not Add Up, by Jane E. Brody, Times, April 14
- Beans and Peas Lower Cholesterol, by Nicholas Bakalar, Times, April 14
Beans, not Chocolate
- The Sixth Stage of Grief, by Joel Yanofsky, Times, April 11
Buying a Puppy
- Sex as Exercise, by Gretchen Reynolds, Times, December 5
Or a few jumping jacks
- Why a Brisk Walk Is Better, by Gretchen Reynolds, Times, December 4
Pick up the pace
- Palliative Care, the Treatment That Respects Pain, by Jane E. Brody, Times, December 2
The vast majority of patients who need palliative care are not dying
- The Power of a Daily Bout of Exercise, by Gretchen Reynolds, Times, November 27
Eat and run
- In the End, It’s Not About the Food, by Corey Mintz, Times, November 26
Just a little
- Think Like a Doctor, by Lisa Sanders, MD, Times, October 3
A Green Heart
- What’s your ‘Fitness Age’?, by Gretchen Reynolds, Times, October 31
Exercise more, eat less
- Dogs Are People, Too, by Gregory Burns, Times, October 5
What a dog thinks in an MRI
- The Icing on the Cake, by Karen Stabiner, Times, October 2
Let them eat cake
- A Youthful Glow, Radiating From Within, by Jane E. Brody, Times, September 30
You look mahvelous
- Dietary Report Card Disappoints, by Jane E. Brody, Times, September 23
Still a long way to go
- Living Apart Together, by Constance Rosenblum, Times, September 13
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
- Getting While the Getting Is Good, by Jane Gross, Times, September 10
If you read only one story: Don’t Wait for a Crisis
- The New Science of Mind, by Eric R. Kandel, Times, September 6
The Biology of Depression
- Manson Whitlock, Typewriter Repairman, Dies at 96, by Margalit Fox, Times, September 8
- Online Lessons in Dementia Management, by Judith Graham, Times, Sept 5
Caring and Coping
- Seeking Longevity? Eat Real Food, by Andy Bellatti, Huff Post, August 22
Fruit, vegetables, fermented, fiber
- High Blood Sugar Linked to Dementia, by Paula Span, Times, August 10
Even if you’re not diabetic
- On Becoming an ‘Orphan,’ by Paula Spahn, Times, July 1
- When Aggression Follows Dementia, by Paula Spahn, Times, July 12
- When Exercise Stresses You Out, by Gretchen Reynolds, Times, March 13
- Eat Your Heart Out, by Gretchen Reynolds, Times, March 7
- Postscript: Nora Ephron, by David Remnick, New Yorker, July 9
Greater than she knew
- The 20 Million, by Mark Bittman, Times, June 12
- Gross Ingredients In Processed Foods , by Sarah Klein, Huff Post, May 14
Eat no meat
- We Could Be Heroes, by Mark Bittman, Times, May 15
Eat less meat
- The Disconnect: Why are so many Americans living by themselves?, by Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, April 16
- Rise and Fall of Eight So-Called Healthy Foods, by Ryan Glasspiegel, thedailymeal.com, February 27
Red meat, eggs, butter, dairy
- Nutrition: Options Play a Role in Healthier Choices, by Nicholas Bakalar, The Times, February 13
- 70 Year-Old Enquirer Designs an App for Gossip, by Amy Chozik, The Times, January 15
Nominated for a Pulitzer
- The Fat Trap, by Tara Parker-Pope, The Times, December 28
“. . . The body continues to fight against weight loss long after dieting has stopped.”
- In the Body’s Shield Against Cancer, a Culprit in Aging May Lurk, by Nicholas Wade, The Times, November 21
“. . . if you purge the body of its senescent cells, the tissues remain youthful and vigorous.” Old story
- For Beginning Runners, Advice Can Be a Hurdle, by Gina Kolata, The Times, November 14
“There is nothing like starting your Saturday morning being beaten by 75-year-old men and passed at the finish line by 8 year-old kids.” Running story
- What Boomers Do Best (and how you can prosper after 50), by Julia Moulden, Huffington Post, June 12
- When the Roommate Has Four Legs, by Antoinette Martin, The Times, October 20
Buildings with pet-related culture in mind . . . Dog’s life
- Redefining the Hot Dog, a Cart at a Time, by Jeff Gordinier, Times, August 9 “There are children in New York who have never eaten a hot dog.” Very sad story
- When Are You Too Old to Exercise?, by Judith J. Wurtman, Huff Post, April 13
“The Miami Herald had a front page article about recreational baseball players who ranged in age from 69 (the baby) to 93.” Old story
- How to Save a Trillion Dollars, by Mark Bittman, Times, April 12
“And we could do that by preventing disease instead of treating it.” Now that’s real money
- The D Word, by Nora Ephron, Huff Post, 11/8/2010 “Of course, there are good divorces, where everything is civil, even friendly. . . In my next life I must get one of those divorces.” The D word