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Archive for November, 2013

Do This to Cut Your Dementia Risk in Half

November 29, 2013

New advances in medical treatments and better understanding of preventative care through screening have increased Americans’ lifespans, but every year additional year merely brings us closer to possible dementia. This was the thinking until recent studies confirmed a simple, foolproof way to cut your risk for developing dementia by 50 percent. Is it an expensive new drug or a doctor-developed brain training Nintendo game? Actually, it’s something much more attainable and significantly cheaper: exercise.

 

The Costs of Dementia

According to projections by the Alzheimer’s Association, the number of Americans with the degenerative condition will increase by 40 percent in the next 12 years. In 2010 alone, dementias (including Alzheimer’s) cost the nation’s families, insurers, and government $172 billion. As the population ages, those costs will only go up, with the figure ballooning to $1 trillion by 2050. Even worse than the financial expense is the impact on what should be one’s golden years; most baby boomers in America will spend their retirement struggling with Alzheimer’s or caring for a loved one who has it.

 

More Exercise = Bigger Brain

Fortunately, everyone can reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia with simple physical activity. Complex stretching routines or strenuous weightlifting regimens are not required to gain the brain-protecting benefit, either. According to the study published earlier this year, the best results were obtained among subjects who did little more than brisk walking.

How exactly does physical exertion guard against dementia? The most important parts of the brain for complex thinking and forming memories are the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. While their deterioration is a predictor for Alzheimer’s disease, they are also linked to physical exercise. Greater fitness levels correlate with an increase in size among both areas. We often think of growing brains as limited to children and teenagers, but even previously sedentary subjects in their 60s and 70s saw an increase in brain volume when they began exercising for the study.

 

Next Steps

While the study clearly proved the benefits of walking, some questions remain unanswered. Do the gains in cognition and mood persist if the subject stops exercising? What is the minimum of activity needed and is there an upper limit of intensity and frequency after which there is no additional benefit for the brain? Subjects in the study walked 3 to 45 minutes each day, so that’s the best starting point for anyone interested in dementia prevention.

Find more resources on Alzheimer’s and dementia prevention from Life Line Screening now:

 




Your Weekly Motivation: Growing Older is a Privilege

November 25, 2013

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,  life expectancy in the United States is 78.7 years. Many people are living to be 70, 80, even 90 years old. While this is positive news, our society often associates growing older with something dreaded, something negative, and something unfortunate. Instead, we should be looking at growing older as a privilege, because even though life expectancy in the United States is high, not everyone gets to live to a ripe, old age.

Heart disease, lung cancer and cerebrovascular disease are the highest causes of premature death in the United States. Despite a society filled with medical advancements, preventive health measures and disease awareness, so many people aren’t given the privilege of growing older. Remember this as you strive for healthy aging in your lifestyle. You are fortunate.

do not regret growing older




3 Steps to a Healthier Thanksgiving This Year

November 21, 2013

We all know that as an important part of healthy aging, we need to keep up with nutritious diets, regular physical activity and the necessary health screenings. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving can be a tricky time of year to stay on top of healthy lifestyles. With the assortment of delicious foods at our many gatherings with loved ones, it’s no wonder this holiday is often a major source of weight gain.

To help combat those pesky unwanted pounds during the holidays and maintain your healthy aging routines, here are three steps for a healthier Thanksgiving this year.

 

Step 1: Keep up with your exercise habits.

According to Health.com, one way to have a healthy Thanksgiving is to keep moving. People who exercise together as a group are far more likely to work off additional calories that can be packed on after a large Turkey-Day meal. While you might not be able to say no to all of the trimmings, you should say yes to family time that gets you moving. Suggest a post meal walk and the calories can be burned while still enjoying time together.

Step 2: Lend a helping hand.

The second step to healthy aging during the holidays is helping to clean up after dinner. This not only allows you to help out and be a helpful guest, it also keeps the body moving. Yes, it is tempting to simply lie down on the sofa and watch football with loved ones after a mouth-watering meal, but a healthier bonding activity is to clean up the dinner mess together.

 

Step 3: Listen to your body.

A third way to keep things healthier at Thanksgiving is to learn the body’s triggers. The human body is a remarkable machine that, much like a car’s gas tank, lets the person know when it is full. However, it can often take up to 15 minutes for the trigger to go off in the brain that signals the stomach is full. The key to avoiding overeating is to eat slowly. One trick many people utilize is talking to fellow diners. This allows them to eat slowly and also allows them to savor foods that may typically not be on their diet plan.

Each of these tips can be combined with other healthy aging methods to ensure you’re staying on track this Thanksgiving. In all things involving healthy aging, it’s all about moderation. Thanksgiving doesn’t have to mean tossing diets out the door. You can stay healthy this year. Those of us at Life Line Screening believe in you, and we wish you the best of luck.




4 Mistakes Men Make that Increase Prostate Cancer Risk

November 20, 2013

As you’ve probably figured out by now, November is Movember – the massive campaign to raise funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate and testicular cancer.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men, and the American Cancer Society estimates that about 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with the disease during their lifetime. About 6 out of 10 cases are diagnosed among men over age 65.

If you’re a man and you’re worried about prostate cancer, there are mistakes you could be making that aren’t helping to lower your risk. Learn what they are and why you should fix them now.

 

Eating too much red meat

Studies have linked eating large amounts of red meat and high-fat dairy products to an increase in a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer. One reason could be that many men who eat diets high in red meat and dairy tend to eat fewer healthy fruits and vegetables. To ensure you’re not raising your risk for prostate cancer through your diet, stick to more produce and less red meat.

 

Packing on the pounds

Research has shown that being obese or overweight can also raise risk of prostate cancer in men. The exact reason for this link is not yet known, but many studies have found that obese men have a higher chance of getting a more aggressive form of prostate cancer. Make some type of physical activity, such as walking or lifting weights, a regular part of your routine to keep the unwanted pounds off.

 

Smoking

While studies have not proven smoking is a risk factor for prostate cancer, it is well known that smoking raises disease risk overall. Cigarettes contain carcinogens that have been directly linked to the development of cancer. For optimal healthy aging, avoid smoking cigarettes altogether.

 

Not knowing family history

Having a family history of prostate or breast cancer increases risk of one day developing prostate cancer. Specifically, if you have a family history of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, a very strong family history of women with breast cancer, or a very strong family history of men with prostate cancer, you may be at increased risk. Make sure you’re aware of your family history so you can be proactive with screenings and prostate exams.

Are you taking part in Movember this month? Is raising awareness for prostate and testicular cancer important to you? We’d love to hear. Share your story with us in the comments.

 




Your Weekly Motivation: Strength, Bravery & Humility

November 18, 2013

Being strong isn’t just physical. It’s mental, too. Having strength when it’s much easier to be weak can be a challenge, and it’s one most of us have to deal with at some point in time. But it can be done. And it is worth it.

Strength allows you to persevere and pursue your goals. It allows you to overcome barriers and improve yourself. So while weakness may be easy in the short-term, it doesn’t pay off in the end. Strength does.

So, if you’re feeling weak or scared about matters of mental and physical health, take the following into consideration:

Willpower comes and goes. Habits stick with you. Make good ones.

  • Focus on small behaviors rather than life-changing transformations.
  • Develop a healthy routine.
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake; just get back on track as soon as possible.



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