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Monday, 03 April 2017 13:55

Retiree Health Notes - Issue 1 - 2017

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Medications can cause balance problems

Many prescription medications, such as those used to lower blood pressure, can make a person feel dizzy. Other medicines have the potential to damage the inner ear and make you feel off balance.

If you take medication, ask your doctor if your medicine is ototoxic, or damaging to the ear. Ask if other drugs can be used instead. If not, ask if the dose can be safely reduced. Sometimes it cannot.

Medications and drugs to watch closely for how they may affect balance include antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, high blood pressure medication, sedatives, anti-anxiety drugs, diuretics, certain painkillers, and some anti-cancer drugs.

Consult your doctor for help get the medicine you need while trying to reduce unwanted side effects.

Source: National Institutes of Health


Brain scan test predicts fall risk in elderlyimage brain scan

New research suggests that measuring healthy older adults’ brain activity may help determine their future risk of falling, one of the greatest dangers to the elderly.

The lead author of the study published in the journal Neurology said studying older adults may even help prevent falls.

“Our findings suggest that changes in brain activity that influence walking may be present long before people exhibit any sign of walking difficulty,” said Dr. Joe Verghese, director of the Montefiore Einstein Center for the Aging Brain in New York City.

Brain scan tests like the one used in the study might someday be used to help predict and prevent falls in the elderly, and physicians may then be able to educate and counsel patients to reduce fall risk, experts say.

Source: HealthDays


Hour-long naps may boost brain functionimage naps

A one-hour nap may be one key to older adults improving memory and thinking skills, according to a new study.

The study by the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at Johns Hopkins University indicates that more than 57 percent of participants who took post-lunch naps of about an hour performed better in cognitive tests than non-nappers.

As people age, cognitive functions decline and memory problems may begin to increase. For some older people, the decline in cognitive functioning can be more severe, potentially leading to Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

Source: National Institutes of Health


Light weights can have heavy impactimage weights

Older adults lose muscle mass at a higher rate as they age. But there is good news for those who are looking for a way to offset the loss of muscle tone: weight lifting.

Lifting heavy weights has always been a problem for seniors and weight training. But research conducted at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, concluded that lifting lighter weights for more repetitions is beneficial regardless of age. This benefits seniors who want to find new exercises to stay fit.

What’s crucial, the researchers say, is to push muscles until they’re fatigued and can’t lift any more. Whether you do that with heavy weights after a few repetitions, or lighter weights after 25 repetitions, the benefits will be the same.

Seniors just starting out with weights should begin using relatively light weights and concentrate on proper form. Then they can increase the weight if desired.

Source: AARP



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