Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

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.

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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.

Fatal Falls!

April 10, 2017

I’m sure you’ve heard the quip “have a nice trip, I’ll see you next fall” in reference to someone who trips or stumbles.  Unfortunately, for people who are 65 years old (or older) falls can have fatal consequences.  Here are the statistics on the number of fatal falls per 100,000 persons by state for 2015 (top ten states, most and least).  Oklahoma finished just outside the top-ten (#11) with 93.

Most Fatal Falls
1.  Wisconsin (135)
2.  Minnesota (126)
3.  Vermont (122)
4.  South Dakota (116)
5.  New Mexico (105)
6.  Colorado (103)
7.  Oregon (98)
7.  Iowa (98)
7.  Rhode Island (98)
10.  New Hampshire (96)

Least Fatal Falls
1.   Alabama (26)
2.  New Jersey (30)
3.  Delaware (36)
4.  California (39)
5.  Louisiana (40)
5.  Indiana (40)
7.  New York (42)
8.  Kentucky (43)
9.  South Carolina (45)
9.  Georgia (45)

Source: AARP Bulletin, April 2017, p. 44; 24/7 Wall Street (numbers are rounded).

So, Would You Like to Live Longer?!

March 23, 2017

No one knows exactly how long they will live, but who doesn’t want to maximize their time in this world?  Here is a list of fifty (50) ways that if put into practice, could help you extend your life (obviously any medically-related “advice” should be vetted through your personal physician).

  1. Consider extra vitamin D (but too much could also be bad).
  2. Cut back on pain pills (including over-the-counter types)
  3. Please go to bed (get more than six hours per night)
  4. But don’t always go right to sleep (ah, the benefits of sex)
  5. Get (or stay) hitched
  6. Ripeness matters (fully ripe = more benefits)
  7. Say yes to that extra cup (of coffee)
  8. Frozen is fine (fruits and veggies)
  9. Go green (as in tea)
  10. Don’t sweeten with sugar
  11. Eat whole grains
  12. Spice it up (chili peppers)
  13. Drink whole milk (dairy fat can be good)
  14. Just add water (stay hydrated)
  15. Be food safe (keep and store food correctly)
  16. Eat less (stop when you feel full)
  17. End the day’s eating by 9:00 PM
  18. Eat your veggies
  19. Eat like the Greeks (i.e., Mediterranean diet)
  20. Or live like the Amish (tend to live longer with less hospitalization)
  21. Drink less
  22. Save your pennies (higher income = live longer)
  23. Or move to one of these states (California, New York, Vermont)
  24. Ponder a ponderosa (experience a sense of awe; nature, music, art)
  25. Go nuts (10 grams a day)
  26. Find your purpose (have something to look forward to)
  27. Embrace your faith
  28. Vacation or else (take some time off)
  29. Consider mountain life (live in higher altitude)
  30. Get a friend with four legs (pet ownership)
  31. Keep watching lol cat videos (laughter is important)
  32. Get social (reduce lonliness)
  33. Watch your grandkids
  34. Try to stay out of the hospital
  35. Monitor yourself (don’t wait for annual checkup)
  36. Visit the hardware store (monitor carbon monoxide, radon, and lead levels)
  37. You need to read (30 minutes per day)
  38. Toss that rug (risk for fall)
  39. Practice home fire drills (know what to do in advance, have a plan)
  40. Find a woman doctor
  41. Make peace with family
  42. Take the stairs – every day
  43. Trade in ol’ Bessie (news car all have high-tech safety features)
  44. Beware the high-tech dash (distracted driving)
  45. And drive less
  46. Better yet, walk (exercise best prescription for long life)
  47. Just not in the street
  48. And go a little faster  (exceed one meter per second)
  49. Get fidgety (don’t “sit” too long)
  50. Read the AARP Bulletin (shameless plug)

Source: AARP Bulletin, March 2017, p. 23-30.