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…

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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, 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.