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The Truth About Alzheimer's: Early Detection is Key

alzheimers, signs, symptoms, early detection
It's the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, affects more than 5 million Americans and one out of every three seniors will die from it. Yet misconceptions surround Alzheimer's disease.

Contrary to what many people think about Alzheimer's, it's not a normal part of growing older. And while there's not yet a way to prevent, cure or even slow the progression of the disease, people with Alzheimer's can benefit from detecting it early. During June - Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month - the Alzheimer's Association is encouraging everyone to learn the truth about Alzheimer's disease.

"Misunderstanding crucial facts about the disease can have consequences that can lead to stigma, delayed medical attention and inadequate support for caregivers," says Ruth Drew, director of family and information services, Alzheimer's Association. "Greater understanding of Alzheimer's is urgently needed given the dramatic impact of the disease. It devastates too many families for it to remain a mystery. We need everyone to know the truth about Alzheimer's so we can bridge current gaps and build greater support toward advancing treatments and finding a cure."



Five Important Questions About Pancreatic Cancer

pancreatic cancer, managingThis year alone, nearly 50,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the fourth highest cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S.

The statistics about pancreatic cancer are staggering because unlike some other cancers, diagnosis is difficult as there is no screening test, and symptoms can be subtle and mimic other conditions. It often goes undetected in the early stages, and in advanced stages, symptoms are present but non-specific — such as digestive issues, back pain, and weight loss.



Fresh Ideas for Adding More Steps to Your Day

sunlit-walk-with-childIt’s beginning to sound like a broken record: “Walk more! Aim for 10,000 steps a day!”  But taking the stairs instead of the elevator will only add so many steps. Grab a few fresh tips to help you rack up the miles:

1.     Pace the room while waiting at the doctor’s office.

2.     Go an extra lap around the perimeter aisles at the grocery store before checking out.

3.     Hide the remote so you have to actually get up to change the channel.

4.     Park several rows away instead of fighting other drivers for that single open spot near the door.

5.     Walk around the field while your grandchild is playing soccer or baseball.

6.     March in place while brushing your teeth (shut the door first if you’d like).

7.     Going to the mailbox? Take a lap around the house first—then take the time to say hello to that chatty neighbor who flags you down.



Good morning hypothyroidism: How more than 2-3 percent of Americans greet the day

Many of us have a morning routine. However, millions of Americans say “good morning” a little differently. For individuals living with the incurable condition of hypothyroidism, their morning routine is likely to include taking medication at the same time before breakfast each morning, as prescribed by their doctor.

According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, medication adherence is important for helping the body function when it comes to thyroid care. To help patients, AbbVie launched Good Morning Hypothyroidism (GMH), a program that focuses on creating a daily routine to help manage the life-long condition of hypothyroidism. When and how patients take their medication can affect the way the body absorbs it, so resources encouraging patients to establish and follow to a daily routine are important.


Five Myths and One Truth about Colds and Flu

pharmacist-patientSpring may be here, but colds and flu are still in season. Sometimes speaking with a doctor isn't convenient when you're sick, so many reach out to friends and family, desperate to find some way to feel better. More often than not, the home remedies they're given are nothing more than old wives' tales.

A better plan of action is to turn to your pharmacist for help. Often more accessible than a doctor, all you have to do is walk up to the counter and ask them for expert advice. If you've ever wondered how to prevent a cold or how to feel better when you do have one, registered pharmacist and health expert, Jim Morelli, is here to weigh in on some of the most pervasive cold and flu myths, and point you to what really works.


Take Your Medicine: 5 Steps to Make Sure You Don't Miss a Dose

pill reminder

Did you remember to take your medication today? If the answer is no, you're not alone. People all over the country make the same mistake every single day. Research shows more than 50 percent of prescription medication users fail to take their medications when they are supposed to. And if you're taking more than one type of medication, it gets even harder to remember.

As people's days have gotten busier than ever, it's not surprising regular medication doses are forgotten. At the same time, traditional helpers such as pillboxes, calendars, alarms and plastic bags simply aren't effective reminders. They just seem to add more stress.

"The entire system puts so much burden on the individual," says TJ Parker, co-founder of PillPack, a full-service, online pharmacy. "They're not only stressed about their condition but are also keeping track of multiple refills, calling their doctors, coordinating with their insurance companies, constantly having to remember to take their pills - it's a lot for anyone to have to manage. And then their chronic condition isn't just a life hurdle, it's all-consuming."


Five (Real) Reasons Grandma Won't Eat

reasons-grandma-wont-eatEvery parent knows good nutrition is critical for your kids, and getting them to eat well can be an on-going struggle. But what if you're also helping care for an aging parent? Ensuring older adults eat well can be even more frustrating than getting children to eat right, but it's every bit as important.

Malnutrition in seniors can lead to a host of health problems, including a higher risk of infection, weakened ability to heal, breathing problems, muscle weakness and depression, according to the Caregiver Partnership. Yet it's a prevalent problem in the U.S.

One 2014 study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine found more than half of the seniors studied were malnourished and more were at risk of becoming malnourished. While many studies have confirmed a link between poverty and malnutrition in many age-groups, lack of access to nourishing food isn't always the cause of senior malnutrition.

"Seniors who struggle to eat well or who seem disinterested in a good diet aren't just being stubborn," Kevin O'Neil of Brookdale Senior Living says. "A number of physiological changes can affect appetite for older adults."

Factors that influence appetite in seniors can include:

  • Caloric needs - A moderately active woman older than 50 needs about 1,600 calories a day, and a 50-plus man who is moderately active needs about 2,200-2,400, according to the Institute of Medicine. Sedentary seniors will likely require fewer calories, and those who are very active may require more.
  • Gastrointestinal changes - Age-related changes in the stomach and intestines can make seniors feel full sooner and remain feeling full for longer.
  • Loss of taste and smell - As people age, their ability to smell and taste can diminish. Medications may also affect how things taste and smell to seniors. Both senses are tied to appetite; seniors may say they don't want to eat because nothing tastes good to them.
  • Dental or oral health - Seniors who experience oral issues, such as mouth ulcers or ill-fitting dentures, may find eating to be uncomfortable or even painful. Dry mouth is very common and may be related to medications or an underlying medical problem.
  • Illness - Some diseases can cause a decrease in appetite, or medications to treat illness or chronic health issues may also affect the desire to eat.
  • Depression - Seniors who feel lonely or depressed may be less inclined to eat.
  • Dementia - If they're experiencing dementia or Alzheimer's, seniors may simply forget to eat meals.

"With patience and persistence, and empowered by knowledge, caregivers can help their elder loved ones improve their diets," O'Neil says.

First, he advises, talk to your loved one and his or her doctor about the possible source of appetite loss; it's important to rule out any serious underlying medical issues. If your loved one's poor nutrition is linked to one or more common age-related factors, consider these steps:

  • Encourage more flavorful but healthful food choices to combat a diminished ability to taste and smell. Adding herbs and spices to meals can help an elder more enjoy the taste of food. \
  • Drink plenty of water and fluids. Only take vitamins and supplements if you have a demonstrated deficiency and then with the guidance of a physician, nutritionist or dietician.
  • Be guided by the USDA's Food Pyramid when choosing healthy foods. Since seniors need fewer calories, the quality of calories they consumer is critical.
  • Seniors who eat less due to depression or loneliness may benefit from a senior living situation where they never have to eat alone, and professionals are on hand to offer guidance and nutritious meals.
  • Share meals with your loved one. No one likes to eat alone, and sitting down together for a meal - even if you only have a cup of coffee while they eat - can help seniors enjoy their food more.