Did you know that skin cancer is the most common commonly diagnosed form of cancer in the United States? The National Cancer Institute (NCI) says that 68,000 Americans are diagnosed with a melanoma each year and another 48,000 are diagnosed with an early form of the disease, involving only the top layer of the skin. Older people who expose their skin to the sun or have weakened immune systems are at risk. The NCI cautions that not enough studies have been done that prove that wearing sunscreen and staying out of the sun can prevent skin cancer but skin experts do recommend taking these precautions as they are likely to decrease the risk of harmful exposure to the ultraviolet rays that can cause the scaly patches of skin that can turn into cancerous lesions.
Although you likely know that seniors are at greater risk for developing urinary tract infections (UTI’s), you may not know that they often do not experience the burning and discomfort most commonly associated with UTI’s. This means that oftentimes patients do not know that they have an infection until they are feeling very unwell by which time they may have to be admitted to the hospital for intravenous antibiotics. If left untreated for an extended period, the patient may develop sepsis, a dangerous infection of the bloodstream. It is therefore very important to catch UTI’s early enough to be treated with oral antibiotics in the comfort of your own home. Unexplained incontinence, confusion or a sudden decline in your ability to do things you can usually do on your own are all possible signs of a urinary tract infection. If you or a loved one exhibits symptoms such as these, make sure to contact your health care provider immediately to rule out any serious condition and receive early diagnosis and treatment for any problems.
The benefits of exercise to our health and longevity have long been touted. In addition to helping maintain a healthy weight and heart, exercise keeps our bones and muscles strong which may contribute to our continued independence and mobility as we age. Many of us feel though, that if we haven’t exercised much in the past, there may be no benefit to starting in our golden years. However, medicinenet.com reports on an interesting study that was conducted recently at a nursing home in Boston. One hundred residents, both male and female, with an average age of 87, lifted weights with their legs three times a week for ten weeks. At the end of the study, muscle mass, walking speed and leg strength had all increased significantly! One 91 year old participant of the study reports that she is now able to do things she had not been able to do prior to the weight lifting sessions. These results seem to point to the fact that muscle can be restored even later in life. It is important, however, to consult with your doctor before embarking on an exercise regimen to reduce the risk of injury or other harm.
Has there been a change in the shape or color of your heart medication recently? HealthDay News is reporting that patients with heart conditions often stop taking their pills if they appear different from the pills they are accustomed to taking. However, says Dr. Kevin Marzo, chief of cardiology at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, NY, this could be dangerous. Patients who have survived a heart attack could be exposing themselves to a life and death situation if they stop taking their pills. It is not uncommon for generic drug makers to alter the appearance of their medications and patients should not assume a mistake has been made if they notice a change. To be on the safe side, call your pharmacy to confirm that you have received the correct medication but do not abandon your medication regimen. You could save a life – your own!