Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Pillars of Health!

April 18, 2018

I recently read an article about health and police officers and discovered that a heart attack claims more that sixty (60) times the number of officers than any other kind of violent incident or attack.  These “pillars” are fairly sound advice for anyone (not just the law enforcement community).

Pillar #1 — Sleep (you need to get 7-8 good hours of sleep per night).

Pillar #2 — Food (what you eat [nutritious] and how much you eat [moderation] are important).

Pillar #3 — Exercise (get started doing something [don’t over do it] and get into a routine; consistency is the key, but remember, you can’t “outrun your diet”).

Pillar #4 — Supplements (a basic multi-vitamin is a great place to start to fill any nutritional gaps in your diet).



Trouble Sleeping?!

April 7, 2018

Did you know that certain houseplants promote drowsiness?  Here’s a list of plants that just may help you obtain better sleep.

Jasmine — eases anxiety and encourages sleep (very simlar to barbiturates).

English ivy —  cleans mold spores out of the air.

Lavender — sleep inducer (primarily lavender bouquets and essential oils, but give a lavender houseplant a try).

Aloe vera — sucks up unhealthy indoor chemicals (volatile organic compounds).

Boston fern — removes formaldehyde from the air.

Snake plant — an air cleaner (and very simple to care for).

Source: AARP, The Magazine, February/March issue, p. 13.

Binge Drinking!

February 3, 2018

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), binge drinking is defined as “a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above. This typically happens when men consume 5 or more drinks or women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours.”  When it comes to the “who” re: binge drinking, the CDC further identified the following groups (for the full report, check out this CDC Fact Sheet):

  • One in six US adults binge drinks about four times a month, consuming about eight drinks per binge.
  • Binge drinking is most common among younger adults aged 18–34 years, but is reported across the lifespan.
  • The prevalence of binge drinking among men is twice the prevalence among women.
  • Binge drinking is more common among people with household incomes of $75,000 or more than among people with lower incomes. However, people with lower incomes binge drink more often and consume more drinks when they do.
  • Over 90% of U.S. adults who drink excessively report binge drinking in the past 30 days.
  • Most people younger than age 21 who drink report binge drinking, usually on multiple occasions.

Here is the breakdown by percentage per state (highest and lowest) for adults 65+ who report chronic (more than 1-2 drinks per day) or binge (more than 4-5 drinks at a time) drinking.

Highest percentage:
1. Alaska (10.7%)
2. Wisconsin (10.4%)
3. Nevada (9.8%)
3. Washington, DC (9.8%)
5. Hawaii (9.5%)
6. Oregon (9.4%)
7. Washington (8.5%)
8. Montana (8.3%)
8. Michigan (8.3%)
10. Illinois (8.0%)

Lowest percentage:
1. West Virginia (3.3%)
2. Tennessee (3.8%)
3. Mississippi (3.9%)
4. Arkansas (4.2%)
4. Oklahoma (4.2%)
4. Utah (4.2%)
7. Kentucky (4.3%)
8. South Dakota (4.5%)
8. Alabama (4.5%)
10. Kansas (4.8%)

Source: America’s Health Rankings: Senior Report 2017, AARP Bulletin, Jan-Feb 2018, p. 48.

How to Fall!

January 27, 2018

Now that we are in smack dab in the of the winter season and the correspondingly treacherous conditions that could lead to accidentally falling down (snow, ice, etc.), do you know the rules that will allow you to “fall safely” (i.e., to hit the ground as softly as possible)?

Step One: try to keep your knees and elbows bent, you don’t want to become too rigid .

Step Two: protect your head at all costs; turn your face to the side (if falling forward) and tuck your chin into your chest (if falling backward).

Step Three: “land on the meat” (the muscles in your back, butt, or thighs) if possible and avoid landing on your bones (the knees, elbows, tailbone, and hips).

Step Four: keep falling.  If you “roll with the fall” and keep your momentum moving, as opposed to a quick stop, the safer you will be.

Of course, you can also prepare yourself well before any fall occurs (to help improve your footing).

  • Be mindful of your surroundings
  • Keep your eyeglass prescription up-to-date (to see what’s coming)
  • Work on your balance

Source: AARP: The Magazine, December 2017/January 2018, p. 21.

Plugged In!

January 25, 2018

In our modern world, electricity is king.  And for some seniors, relying on electricity to keep their home health equipment running is a life-preserving reality.  How many seniors would be at risk in the event of a power failure?  Here are the state comparisons of the percentage of Medicare beneficiaries who currently rely on electricity to keep their equipment running.  Oklahoma came in at 6.2% (middle of the pack).

Highest percentage
1. Wyoming (12.7%)
2. Colorado (11.9%)
3. Utah (11.1%)
4. New Mexico (9.8%)
5. West Virginia (8.2%)
6. Kentucky (7.6%)
7. Arkansas (7.3%)
7. Nevada (7.3%)
9. Idaho (7.0%)
9. Tennessee (7.0%)

Lowest percentage
1. Hawaii (2.1%)
2. District of Columbia (2.5%)
3. Rhode Island (2.6%)
4. New Jersey (3.1%)
5. Massachusetts (3.2%)
6. California (3.3%)
7. Maryland (3.4%)
7. New York (3.4%)
9. Connecticut (3.5%)
9. Wisconsin (3.5%)
9. Minnesota (3.5%)
9. Alaska (3.5%)

Sources: Pew Charitable Trusts’ Stateline; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; AARP Bulletin, December 2017, p. 34.

Are You Visiting Your Dentist?!

November 29, 2017

Most people would probably self-report that they do not enjoying going to the dentist. And, there is probably a good chunk of the population that fails to go for economic reasons.  When you look at the senior population (aged 65+) the percentage varies drastically from state to state.  Here are the states with the highest percentage of seniors visiting dental professionals as well as the states with the lowest percentages.

Highest percentages
1.  Hawaii (78.1%)
2.  Minnesota (75.6%)
3.  Connecticut (75.1%)
4.  New Hampshire (74.1%)
5.  Michigan (72.4%)
6.  Vermont (71.9%)
6.  Massachusetts (71.9%)
8.  Wisconsin (71.6%)
9.  California (71.3%)
10.  Utah (71.0%)

Lowest percentages
1.  West Virginia (48.6%)
2.  Mississippi (54.0%)
3.  Arkansas (54.5%)
4.  OKLAHOMA (55.4%)
5.  Kentucky (57.0%)
6.  Louisiana (57.2%)
7.  Alabama (57.9%)
8.  Tennessee (58.6%)
9.  Missouri (58.8%)
10.  Nevada (9.7%)

Source: AARP Bulletin, October 2017, p. 44 and 2017 Heath Rankings Senior Report.

Long-Term Care!

November 22, 2017

According to a study compiled by the AARP Public Policy Institute, the Commonwealth Fund, and the SCAN Foundation, “more than 9 in 10 Americans want to live at home or with a relative — rather than at a nursing home — for as long as possible.”  According to the study some states would be able to provide this to seniors better than others.  For the states that do it well, it is not only good for the person needing care, but it is generally less expensive to boot.  The states that do this the best include:

  1. Washington
  2. Minnesota
  3. Vermont
  4. Oregon
  5. Alaska

The states that don’t do quite as well include:

46.  Tennessee
47.  Mississippi
48.  Alabama
49.  Kentucky
50.  Indiana

Source: AARP Bulletin, September 2017, p 38.

The Narrows!

September 21, 2017

Zion_NarrowsFor the last several days I have enjoyed being in and around Zion National Park (Utah) where we had the opportunity to hike “the Narrows” as well as several other short hikes along some other trails in the park.  What an awesome experience!   We opted for the top-down hike from Chamberlain Ranch (16-mile trek); our planning began several months ago since we needed to arrange for permits to hike in this direction.  We also were hoping that by going in the fall, despite the possibility of slightly “higher” and colder water, that the weather would be a bit more stable — i.e., less rain and a lower chance of flash flooding hazards. From here we will be heading up to the north rim of the Grand Canyon to hike for a couple of days before returning home. Ah, the joy of being disconnected . . . a little therapy, courtesy of nature!

Are You in Good Health?!

August 20, 2017

Do you know where your state ranks on the percentage of adults 65+ who say that their health is either “excellent” or “very good?”  Based upon a “Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey” from 2014, here are the states with the “healthiest” seniors versus the “least healthy” (based upon self-reports, of course).

Healthiest States
1. New Hampshire (51%)
2. Maine (50%)
2. Vermont (50%)
2. Colorado (50%)
5. Minnesota (48%)
6. Connecticut (47%)
6. Washington (47%)
6. Oregon (47%)
6. Alaska (47%)
10. Idaho (46%)
10. Nebraska (46%)
10. Wisconsin (46%)
10. Massachusetts (46%)

Least Healthy States
1. Alabama (30%)
2. Arkansas (33%)
3. West Virginia (34%)
3. Kentucky (34%)
3. Mississippi (34%)
3. Louisiana (34%)
7. Tennessee (35%)
7. Oklahoma (35%)
9. Indiana (38%)
9. Texas (38%)
9. Georgia (38%)
9. South Carolina (38%)
9. Hawaii (38%)

Source: “”Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey,” 2014 and AARP Bulletin, July-August 2017, p. 46

Let’s Not Be Idle!

May 22, 2017

Physical activity has been shown to be beneficial for a variety of reasons . . .

  • Control Your Weight.
  • Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease.
  • Reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome.
  • Reduce Your Risk of Some Cancers.
  • Strengthen Your Bones and Muscles.
  • Improve Your Mental Health and Mood.

So, how active are you?  Here are the best and the worst states by the percentage of people who are over 50 years of age who engage in NO physical activity whatsoever . . .

States with the lowest percentage of non-active seniors:
1. Colorado (18%)
2. Oregon (20%)
2. Washington (20%)
4. Idaho (21%)
5. Vermont (22%)

States with the highest percentage of non-active seniors:
1. Arkansas (39%)
2. Mississippi (36%)
3. Oklahoma (35%)
3. Kentucky (35%)
4. Louisiana (34%)
4. West Virginia (34%)

Source: May 2017 AARP Bulletin; 2014 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; numbers are rounded; respondents reported activity level over the previous month.