Top Websites For Medical Information And Advice

There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to medical advice.  Recently, MarketingCharts.com put together a nice analysis of the top websites for medical information and advice.  They interpreted data from Experian Marketing Services which audited U.S. household desktop and personal computer Hitwise visits from 5 million internet visitors.  The data is very interesting noting that WebMD has almost 3 times the traffic of its nearest competitor Drugs.com.  Admittedly, there were a couple sites on here I’d never visited, but are nice nonetheless.  Sites like Everyday Health and HealthGuru are great if you haven’t visited, and they provide a lot of great information and advice.

top health information websites

It would be interesting to see if the chart changes at all when taking into account mobile (phone, tablet, etc.) visitors, but I’m guessing the trend stays aligned for the most part.  Also, there are a number of folks that use a good ole fashion search engine to lead them directly to what they’re looking for.  This is likely the case given that less than 40% of web traffic comes from humans.  (The rest comes from good and bad bots according to a number of sources out there.)  What websites do you use for medical information and advice?  Do you have a favorite or a top 3?  Let us know in the comments below!

Best Beach Towns In America For Retirement

Looking forward to retiring in the same community you slaved away in for 40+ years?  If not, you may be dreaming of life in a cozy beach community where the idea of fresh air, fresh fish, and fresh adventures await!  If that’s the case, here’s a list of the best beach towns in America for retirement.  Enjoy your golden active years near the many relaxing beach communities we have right here in our own backyard.

Top 5 Beach Towns In America For Retirement

#1 Manzanita (Oregon)Manzanita Beach

This sleepy little community boast a wonderful mix of full timers and part time residence.  With 7 miles of sandy beaches, Manzanita offers lots of room to run, walk, surf, or chill out.  The Oregon Coast Visitors Association maintains that “Manzanita possesses the third most photographed scenery in Oregon”.  Add in a local golf course, and a few nice restaurants/pubs and now you’ve got a full plate!  Located just West of Portland (and south of Cannon Beach) Manzanita has less than 1,000 full-time residence and at the time of the 2010 census just 315 households.  Median age in the city is 59.9 years young.  –photos courtesy of jamesonf via Flickr

Manzanita Beach Walk

 #2 Santa Cruz (California)

Santa Cruz CA

Santa Cruz is a throw back town.  Having just spent our spring break there this year, we loved every minute of this surfer’s paradise.  Looking for something a little laid back and dog friendly?  You just found it.  Add in a mix of fine dining, and local eateries (where the food is fresh and affordable), you won’t go home hungry.  2011 census pegged Santa Cruz at just over 60,000 residence with 32.1% of the population between the ages of 45 and older.  Median age in Santa Cruz is 29.9 (wikipedia).  Beach dwelling, wine tasting, museums, and a university add to the cultural appeal of Santa Cruz, and it’s a sure draw for those looking for an active retirement.  –photos courtesy of Thomas Hawk & Hudheer G via Flickr

Beach at Santa Cruz CA

#3 Beaufort (South Carolina)

Beaufort SC

Beaufort SC was named Coastal Living Magazine’s Happiest Seaside Town in 2013.  How’s that for an introduction?  Beaufort is located on Port Royal Island, in the heart of the Sea Islands.  Water, history and culture surround this area, and it’s about as friendly a town as you’ll ever come across.  “Chartered in 1711, it is the second-oldest city in South Carolina, behind Charleston. The city’s population was 12,361 in the 2010 census.  It is a primary city within the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort Metropolitan Statistical Area.” (Wikipedia)  As of the 2010 census there were just over 12,000 people residing in the city of Beaufort.  A full 30% of the people in Beaufort SC are over the age of 45.  –photos courtesy of scarter392 & Henry de Saussure Copeland via Flickr

Beaufort SC

#4 Friday Harbor (San Juan Island WA)

Friday Harbor WA

Friday Harbor is a gorgeous little island community available only by ferry service (or float plane).  With just over 2,000 residence, it’s not easy to get lost around Friday Harbor.  Census data notes that 44.8% of the city is 45 years old or older.  Lots of things to do on San Juan Island including hiking, biking, fishing, walking, kayaking and sampling the many local eateries and coffee shops around town.  Summertime brings in quite a number of tourists, but everyone is interested in fresh air and the active outdoor culture that abounds here.  –photos courtesy of Chase N. & Mike Kelley via Flickr

Friday Harbor ferry

#5 Steilacoom (Washington)

Steilacoom WA Sunset

Located 45 miles SW of Seattle, Steilacoom (pronounced “still-a-come”)seems to move in slow motion and that’s just how the 6,000 or so full-time locals love it.  The 4th of July celebration brings in over 18,000 visitors, and all come for good eats, good conversation, and fireworks over Sunnyside Beach.  This Puget Sound community boasts a median age of 45.4 (as of the 2010 census) and 39.3% of folks are 45 years of age or older.  –photos courtesy of L-M-E & camknows via Flickr

festival in Steilacoom WA

Physician Cures Her MS With Diet- Are You Eating Enough?

Eat Seven Fruits and Vegetables per DayI first learned about Dr. Terry Wahls this morning on my favorite radio station, Kink.fm.  The morning host had just finished her book and was remarking about this woman who had cured her multiple sclerosis (MS), discarded her wheelchair, and had done it all with food, not drugs.  In addition, she went on to say that a new study has been released that directly links the amount of  fruits and vegetables in a person’s diet to lifespan.

Eating at least seven portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day was linked to a 42% lower risk of death from all causes.

Yes, you read that right- seven portions, not the usual five we have heard about for the last several years.  As a self-proclaimed food-nut myself, I was very interested to read about Dr. Wahls and her health transformation from changing how and what she ate.

You can read about the Seven Fruits and Vegetables Study here.  Another interesting note from the study is that canned fruits and vegetables seemed to increase the risk of death by 17%!  Yikes!  Not surprisingly, the amount of sugar, especially in canned fruits seems to be to blame.

It may seem unrealistic (and can be expensive) to increase fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, but our takeaway is that some is better than none, at any age.  If you are getting  three servings,  try increasing it to four, then, five, and eventually up to seven.  I find that making a smoothie first thing in the morning helps me knock 2-3 servings out.  Here are some great recipe ideas for smoothies that I found helpful when I was just getting started.

Have you found easy ways to increase your fruit and vegetable consumption?  We want to hear about it!  Comment below!

US guidelines urge more cholesterol meds than Europe

US guidelines urge more cholesterol meds than Europe (via AFP)

US guidelines for prescribing cholesterol-lowering drugs to people over 55 call for many more to be taking the medications than in Europe, researchers said Saturday. The findings raised new questions about how popular drugs like Lipitor (atorvastatin…

[Read more...]

Top 10 Quotes About Growing Old

older adults on the beachFound a great quote about growing old this morning so I decided to scour the interwebs for a top 10 list.  Add your favorites to the list below!

Top 10 Quotes About Growing Old

  1. “Too many people, when they get old, think that they have to live by the calendar.” John Glenn
  2. “I have reached an age when, if someone tells me to wear socks, I don’t have to.” Albert Einstein
  3. “Do not try to live forever, you will not succeed.” George Bernard Shaw
  4. “None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.” Henry David Thoreau
  5. “Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to.” Bill Vaughan
  6. “The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.” Muhammad Ali
  7. “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Mark Twain
  8. “Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.” Author Unknown
  9. “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” Satchel Paige
  10. “You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.” Michael Pritchard

There are so many more out there that should be on the list of top 10 quotes about growing old!  What’s your favorite?  My mother always used to say “Growing old is just a state of mind…” and it’s so true!  (Not sure where that one originated but I certainly like it.)

Photo: Natasha Hirtzel via Flicker

Wrinkles by Mark Twain

Elderly Couple Took Photo In Same Place Each Season Until The Inevitable

Purportedly, journalist Ken Griffiths of The Sunday Times took a photo of the same couple, in the same place (outside their home), each season for 12 consecutive years.  There are many theories surrounding this series of photos.  Some say it’s Ken Griffiths’ parents and he chronicled their love for one another through their final 12 seasons together.  Others merely note the acclaimed photographer and journalist took the photos of some would be friends to be originally published in 1973.  The results no matter which way you cut it are amazing, and they are making their way around the web for all to ponder.

“When you’re young you prefer the vulgar months, the fullness of the seasons. As you grow older you learn to like the in-between times, the months that can’t make up their minds. Perhaps it’s a way of admitting that things can’t ever bear the same certainty again.”
― Julian Barnes, Flaubert’s Parrot

There is something magical about each season anew.  Each bring with it inevitable change, glory and even decay.  Spring brings with it eternal hope and each season unveils a new chapter.  The same holds true in our lives, and I love to think about the parallels between our mother earth… and each of us that share her for a brief moment in time.

Ken Griffiths Season 1

Ken Griffiths Season 2

Ken Griffiths Season 3

Ken Griffiths Season 4

Ken Griffiths Season 5

Ken Griffiths Season 6

Ken Griffiths Season 7

Ken Griffiths Season 8

Ken Griffiths Season 9

Ken Griffiths Season 10

Ken Griffiths Season 11

Ken Griffiths Final Season

10 Tips To Total Healing

10 Tips To Total Healing (via Honey Colony)

By Kathy Gruver, Buzzworthy Blog Though one of the most basic things our bodies do, healing is complicated by bio-individuality, our mental states and our environments. I believe we can enhance our healing using mind-body techniques, but we can’t…

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February is American Heart Month- What are you doing to care for your heart?

February is American Heart MonthFebruary is American Heart Month and I just celebrated by taking a brisk walk.  It’s important to show some love to your heart since Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the number one killer for men and women in the U.S. and is a leading cause of disability.  CVDs including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure can be prevented by healthy habits like diet and exercise and not smoking.  The CDC offers some great tips to improving heart health, check out their website for expanded information- remember each step in the right direction is a step closer to a healthy heart!

1. Work with your health care team- make sure you are seeing your doctor at least once a year for regular check-ups.  Even if you are feeling great, they can check for things that may otherwise go unnoticed (like diabetes and high blood pressure).

2. Check your blood pressure and cholesterol- I have to keep reminding my kids that the blood pressure machines at the drug store aren’t toys to play on while we wait!  High blood pressure typically has no symptoms, so check it regularly.  A blood test for cholesterol is recommended every five years.

3. Eat a healthy diet and keep a healthy weight- An apple a day….  Adults should be eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, foods low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium and high in fiber.  If you need help planning meals, selecting the right foods, physical activity ideas and exercise trackers, ChooseMyPlate.gov is a terrific resource.

4. Exercise.  Often.- You don’t have to run out and join a gym.  It’s easy to get your blood moving doing daily activities like taking the stairs, raking the yard, or parking at the far end of the parking lot.  The Surgeon General recommends that adults should have at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.  That’s less than 25 minutes per day to show some love to your heart.

5. Don’t smoke and limit alcohol-  If you smoke, quit.  Talk to your doctor about strategies and medications that can help you with the addiction.   Alcohol overuse can increase blood pressure.  Men should limit alcohol intake to two drinks per day and women to one.

6. Manage diabetes and take your heart medication- Work closely with your health care team to ensure your diabetes is being managed the best way possible.  If you are taking heart related medications, make sure you are taking the right dose and follow directions for the medication correctly.  If you are having any side-effects or concerns about the medication, bring this to the attention of your health care team right away.

If these recommendations seem overwhelming, take it one step at a time.  Ask friends and family to support you and share your goals with them.   For more inspiration, check out these Hearty Healthy Pins.

Making a Difference, One Wave at a Time

elderly woman waves to kids and they wave backIt’s not hard to find inspiration on the web, a few minutes spent on youtube or facebook is all it usually takes to make us tear up.  The waterworks get turned on when we see inspiration and seniors in the same story.  This delightful video has it all- smiles, humor, sweetness, and tears. Tinney Davidson is a widow who has impacted kids in a big way, with a small wave. This year, the kids decided they would show her how much her small daily act meant to them.  If this doesn’t melt your heart, you should probably see a doctor.  And speaking of your heart, did you know that February is American Heart Month?

 

 

Healthy Food Choices for a Longer Life

Healthy Food Choices May Help Us Live LongerIs it safe to assume that a person who maintains a healthy body weight is making better food choices and will live longer? Many people feel that making healthy food choices is more about achieving a desired weight than it is about longevity. Yet many of the same strategies used for weight loss also slow the aging process – making nutritious food choices more important than ever.

Here are some practices that increase your chances of living a long, healthy life:

Increase Antioxidants

Everybody knows that they should be eating more fruits and vegetables, but it is easier said than done. In our world of tempting fast foods, sugary treats and quick pre-packaged foods, fruits and vegetables can be easily forgotten. However, these are the very foods that are loaded with antioxidants which protect our bodies from harmful free radicals that can speed up the aging process. Many fruits and vegetables have been dubbed “super foods” and with good reason. Dark colored produce is loaded with disease fighting substances that you will not want to skip. Aim for having a fruit or vegetable at every meal and snack with a variety of colors, or try adopting a vegetarian diet at least once a week. Vegetarian diets are responsible for lower death rates that are associated with common critical health conditions according to Everyday Health.

Include Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The food we eat not only effects our physical body, but our mind as well. You know about omega-3′s for their role in lowering cholesterol. Did you know that they can help keep your brain healthy as you age as well? The Journal of Nutrition has published research to substantiate that omega-3′s found in cold water fish, walnuts, soybean oil and ground flaxseed can keep your brain sharp over the course of a lifetime. DHA is critical in fetal brain development, but the need for omega-3 fatty acids does not go away after infancy. It is just as important in the elderly population, since omega-3 levels can diminish with age – contributing to Alzheimer’s or strokes later in life. Omega-3 fatty acids help with routine memory function as well. Aim for at least two servings of fish per week, as well as an ounce of walnuts or ground flax seed each day.

Eat Less

Calorie restriction can be a key component in living longer. Until recently, it was not understood why this made a difference. A recent study in Nature Communications found that calorie restriction in mice can increase the good bacteria in the gut, boosting immunity. Additionally, mice who ate less calories and fat have less harmful bacteria in the gut, which can lead to reduced blood based bio-markers for inflammation. More research needs to be done to translate this information to humans, but it is safe to say that eating less is worth the effort. Stop eating when you are satisfied not stuffed. Try eating more slowly, as this will help you feel satisfied with less calories.

But Don’t Skip the Protein

Protein is packed with building blocks that are necessary for daily repair of almost every cell in the body. As you get older, protein becomes even more important, as cellular damage increases with age. Good sources of protein include skinless white meat chicken, turkey and pork, as well as fat free milk, egg whites and beans/legumes. Aim to get roughly 30% of your daily calories from lean protein.

Chances are, if you are making choices about what to eat in order to live longer, you will also naturally maintain a lower body weight. It’s a win-win strategy for a lifetime of health.

Jennifer Stinson is a contributor to Everyday Health and its healthy living and nutrition content and tools.