Heart study challenges conventional thinking

A study conducted in the US has challenged conventional medical dogma about heart care. The large study was presented at the American Heart Association conference in Philadelphia in November. The findings were reported in the Los Angeles Times.

The study questions standard practices in heart care and presented evidence that the extremely costly stent procedures and bypass surgery procedures are unnecessary or “premature” for people with stable diseases.

For non-emergency cases, the study showed that bypasses and stents could even cause harm. The study said that participants who had such procedures were more prone to heart problems or death in the year following the procedures than those treated just medicinally.

“If stents and bypasses did not carry risks of their own, I think the results would have shown an overall benefit from them,” said one of the study leaders, Dr David Maron of Stanford University. “But that’s not we found. We found an early harm and later benefit, and they cancelled each other out.”

Expect turning 100 as the new normal

We all know what to expect when we turn 90 because as we all know, people are living longer. As medical research progresses so too does lifespan and longevity. What we might have medically speaking when we turn 90 is another story, but there’s a ton of facts out there to know how to cope with most ailments at 90. Everyone fears Alzheimer’s or cancer and we might have either or both, but then on the other hand you may have neither.

Whatever curved ball life throws at you “is what it is”, as the saying goes, but chances are you will have an updated knowledge base of caring and treatment. More importantly, your caregivers will have that exact same base so treatment will be more efficacious. And meanwhile, as life continues so does research. What we know today may be different to what we know in 10 years’ time. What is a given is that we can expect a longer lifespan if you treat life with respect (exercise, eat healthily) and have regular check-ups.

Expect to be reading about how you are coping at 100 in a decade or so’s time. You may either groan or be delighted at the thought. It’s up to you, and those darn curved balls.

Artificial pancreas hope for diabetes

An artificial pancreas may be the answer to Type 1 diabetes, and you could well see the age of no more worrying about insulin shots and the like. The new technology will automatically adjust your levels and it will be like never having had diabetes in the first place.

At the onset of diabetes, the pancreas, which produces insulin, fails and hence the need for regular sugar level tests and insulin injections. The artificial pancreas has a timer that automatically tests sugar levels and adds insulin when needed.

This has been the findings of a group of researchers at Cambridge University in the UK and reported in the Huffington Post.

The good news is that the product will be available soon.

Helping autistic people keeps 84-year-old on her toes

One person who has never thought of retiring, and to whom the thought of stopping work entirely is a scary thought, is Beverley Ficon, an 84-year-old in the US.

A former teacher, she is involved with helping and teaching autistic children and young teens, of whom her granddaughter is one, develop skills to empower them to find a place in the normal working environment.

It’s a job that she loves, and to top that, it keeps her on her toes. She says that seeing her ‘brood’ becoming more independent is a delight. The cherry on the top, according to Ficon, is seeing students who were ‘unteachable’ graduate and go on to become mentors to others. She says it proves that no matter what the cost, or how impossible your task may seem, the solution is to persevere and try even harder.

Ficon is proving that to be continuously involved and to have a strong purpose adds to her well-being and longevity.

Be on lookout for significant memory loss

It’s commonplace to forget where you’ve put the keys, or to remember someone’s name or the title of the movie you watched last night – and you don’t have to be a senior for that to happen. However, to forget where you live is something else. This could signal the beginning of dementia and you need to voice your concerns to your doctor.

Dementia occurs when the nerve cells in the brain stop functioning. Normal skills such as language, focus and understanding become impaired.

Following tips on how to stay mentally alert as a senior could delay symptoms significantly. These include the control of cholesterol problems and keeping a low blood pressure. This results in better cognitive function. Don’t smoke and drink alcohol in moderation. Exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. Get involved in a remote training course. Learn a new language! You need to stimulate your brain – even doing crosswords every day helps! The more you do, the better your outlook.

Putting on the pounds dementia correlation

When it comes to older age, is there a link between the size of the waist and cognitive health? A 2019 study that was reported on in Medical News Today found a correlation between excess stomach weight and brain shrinkage.  

Another much larger study by Hye Jin Yoo, an associate professor at Korea University Guro Hospital in Seoul, followed 870 082 study participants aged 65 or older over a period, and involved alcohol intake, physical exercise, and smoking status. The study showed that waist size of 90cm for men and 80cm for women provoked risks of developing dementia. The risks stayed when considering body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, liver health, and several other lifestyle factors.

Oral health key to wellbeing, disease deterrent

Oral health can indicate a person’s wellbeing. It can be a precursor to other diseases that can manifest as oral health deteriorates. Studies have also shown that gum disease can be linked to increased risk of stroke.

There is also a link to cognitive loss. Results from 23 studies showed that memory and executive function can be affected with neglected oral health. In many cases, lack of financial support inhibits visits to the dentist and the fact that medical aid does not cover dental treatment (other than in-hospital surgery) also plays a vital role in financial distress outcomes.

Oral health is of key importance to general wellbeing and regular dental visits should be part of your planning. If finance is a key deterrent, you should investigate separate dental plans that you can afford.

To download this article, please click here.