Hazard to the Elderly

The elderly needs to know more about their bodies more than ever to be able to identify certain disabilities or disorders. During these years, they are more susceptible to diseases and sickness that could harm their frail health. Today, it is not new for pharmaceutical companies to develop and come out with new medications for different treatments among the elderly. This scientific breakthrough of having new medications for different indications has the idea for better health, but with the growing number of differentiated symptoms, not all medications can work as effective as they can.

One common problem among the elderly would be having dementia, or the gradual death of brain cells. This leads to the elderly impairments in memory, planning, reasoning, and personality. Although most dementia patients are among the elderly, this disability is not related to being old. Causes of dementia would be of Alzheimer’s disease, followed by vascular or multi-infarct dementia.

This particular disorder is discussed mainly because of the possible dangers that medications do to the elderly. According to a Canadian study, prescribing antipsychotic medications to senior citizens may be dangerous. Such antipsychotic treatments are generally used for the management of behavioral problems (such as aggression), which is sometimes linked to dementia. These medications are commonly used for treating psychosis with conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, and delusional disorders, among others. According to the research study, the elderly patients that were given antipsychotic medications has an increased risk of having a life threatening event that can lead to hospitalization and even death, all within a month of starting the treatment.

From this study, there are almost 21, 000 older adults all aged 66 years and above who participated and is living in the community, all experiencing dementia. These sets of adults were compared to another 21,000 individuals, all living inside the nursing home. After a few years, the researchers looked at the increased risk of hazardous events that eventually led to hospitalization within thirty days of starting the treatment. According to lead author Dr. Rochon, this form of treatment needs caution even when short term therapy is prescribed, to ensure that the benefits of the medications outweigh the risks it brings to the individual.

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Vitamin D Helps Decrease Falls in the Elderly

According to international researchers in Amsterdam, they have concluded that a boost in vitamin D intake whether from diet, sun exposure, or from supplements among the elderly may lower the dangers of possible falls among old aged citizens. From the past studies that have already been conducted, Vitamin D from supplements may lower the risks of falls. However, not all these studies have been confirmed to be true with regards to their findings. This is because these tests have been subjectively small and only focused on institutionalized seniors, particularly old women.

In this specific study, published in the issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, a group of 1,231 men and women all aged over 65, was studied and followed for a year. On the start of the study, their serum levels of 25- hydroxyvitamin D, also known as 25 (OH) D, the non-active “storage” form of vitamin D, was documented at the start of the research, following prompted self-reports falls from the participants for the whole year.

Researchers of this study concluded the levels of 25 (OH) D, letting down ten nanograms per milliliter of serum, giving it an increase on the risk of falling at least twice by 78 percent, after compensating for sex, age, region, physical activity level, alcohol consumption, smoking, and education levels. According to lead researcher Dr. Marieke Snijder, the possibilities in preventing falls among the elderly by enhancing the Vitamin D levels by supplementation, increase in sun exposure, and even diet, must be further probed among the general elderly population.

Age had a major effect according to researchers, since the participants younger than 75 with low levels of 25 (OH) D were four times likely to fall at least two times compared to the participants older than 75. According to the study, since the population attributable percentage was even higher among individuals aged between 65 and 75 years, as compared to the participants that are older than 75, then Vitamin D supplementation could be relatively effective among the younger batch of the elderly population.

In addition, Mike Adams, a consumer health advocate and holistic nutritionist, said that contrary to popular belief, many elderly falls are preceded by the breaking of a hip caused by chronic vitamin D deficiency. He also added that everybody thinks that elderly falls and break their hip, but it is more often the other way around. The elderly breaks their hips while standing, and that alone causes them to fall. That would be one reason why Vitamin D supplementation can reduce falls among the elderly, simply because it avoids the standing hip breaks through boosting the density of the bone by an enhanced diet in calcium absorption.

Mike Adams also commented that vitamin D deficiency is causing an alarming spread among industrialized nations, and that this deficiency promotes breast cancer, prostate cancer, calcium deficiency, gum diseases, depression, and even schizophrenia. So for the elderly citizens reading this, they should remember that health is important in order to live life fully and enjoy to the fullest.

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Medical Information for Healthy Diet

There is one thing everyone agrees on when it comes to diets: every program has its good and bad points. What really makesa diet "good" is: can you maintain it—and better yet, should you?

The Sugar Culprit

For older people, "a good diet" is generally not one which gets them svelte, but one that keeps them healthy. Whatever your diet program, the odds are if you are age 62 or older, you should keep an eye on your sugar intake.

Sugar conveys particularly negative health consequences as we age. Older metabolisms tend to slow down in the production of the hormone known as insulin, which normally "soaks up" excess sugar. Most Americans know that insulin problems lead to diabetes, but they are also linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer.

Unfortunately, sugar isn’t always easy to spot. Most people recognize honey and maple syrup as sugar, but many people without diabetes education don’t realize fruit salads and pancakes are also "sugars aboteurs."

The Bad Carb Myth

The phrase "bad carbs" became the rage with the Atkins diet, which most people mistakenly believe labels all carbohydrates as unhealthy. That’s not true, as even one of Dr. Atkins’ chief opponents, Dr. Dean Ornish, admits.

Ornish wrote in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association that he and Atkins agreed "many Americans eat excessive amounts of processed foods high in simple carbohydrates." The difference is the Ornish diet advocates more of a balance between food groups: low in fat, moderate amounts of protein, and high in complex carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates as a food group provide fuel for the body. Simple carbohydrates have become known as "bad carbs" because they break down very quickly, causing quick peaks—and then drops—in sugar levels. They are found in sugars (including from fruit) and highly refined starches, mostly white flour products like regular pasta, white bread, white rice, and most cereals.

So I’ll Eat ‘Good’ Carbs

On the other hand, complex carbohydrates are generally seen as "good" carbs because they break down more slowly. So they generally provide a steadier, more reliable, source of fuel for the body.

But now scientists have another warning: the glycemic index (GI). It is a measure used to evaluate actual sugar levels in various foods; specifically how fast a food raises sugar levels. In a population where diabetes is a major health issue, this is understandably a key concern.

Unfortunately, even knowing a food’s GI isn’t always a reliable measure as to whether it is good or bad. There are some complex carbohydrates—white potatoes are the most common example—that can spike sugar levels quickly.

What DO I Do?

Ultimately, the main answers to healthful eating are rather boring. They are:

Don’t wait for diabetes to start looking for hidden sugars—Canned fruits in syrups, most cakes and cookies, even many containers of yogurt, can compromise your sugar levels.

Don’t splurge on fat—Do NOT bulk up on high-fat foods like bacon, butter, and hamburger, just because they are low carb. Two major studies have concluded that while highfat diets might help people lose weight faster, the weight loss isn’t maintained better than other diets. Besides, fat delivers about twice as many calories for the same number of grams as carbohydrates or proteins do—and study after study shows the disastrous impact of fat on health.

Balance "good" foods—There are "good" fats, like those found in salmon. Vegetable proteins, like tofu and beans, can be consumed healthfully in greater bulk than animal proteins, like steak. Look for "healthy" carbs in foods rich in whole grains, like oatmeal and whole-wheat pastas.

Resource: "Finding the Healthy Diet" By Wendy J. Meyeroff; THE ERICKSON TRIBUNE

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