Tag Archives: Anti-Aging

How to Slow Growing Old

Businessman Suffering From Shoulder PainIf you’ve ever moaned, “Ugh. It’s tough growing old.”, you’re likely in pain or you can’t do the things you used to do. But all is not lost! You can control how well you feel and how fast you age. However, before laying out the foundation of youth, here’s why your body is aging in the first place.

Blame It On Blood Sugar

One of the key suspects in what causes your cells to deteriorate is your own circulating blood sugar (glucose). In a process called glycation, these glucose molecules cling to proteins, and a chain of chemical reactions take place in your body. The end result? Proteins clump together, known as crosslinked proteins, which accumulate over time and disrupt the normal functioning of your cells.

Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs)

These “crosslinks”, also known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs) or glycotoxins, seem to ‘stiffen’ tissues. A stiff body is an aging body. But remember my mantra: “Your age is a given. Growing old is an option.” So don’t throw up your hands just yet. Read on…

Why You Get Stiff

Collagen is the most common and longest living protein molecule in your body. Skin care companies spend billions of dollars trying to replicate it and sell it as their revolutionary secret to erasing wrinkles. Collagen provides structure and support to not only your skin, but to your joints and organs as well.

When glucose binds with collagen (part of the aging process), your collagen loses its suppleness and becomes less flexible. As a result, your lungs, arteries, tendons, and other tissues stiffen. Stiff = Less efficient. For example, when your arteries are stiff, they lose their contractility and can’t pump as much blood through them due to their limited inability to expand and contract.

Age-Related Diseases Linked to AGEs      

Continue reading

How “Old” Do You Sound?

Woman talking with alphabet letters coming out of her mouthSigns of aging include more than receding hairlines and gums, wrinkles, painful joints, and clogged arteries. As with everything else, your voice ages too, and most people don’t think about taking care of their “voice muscles” like they do their biceps. Have you ever talked to someone on the phone and determined the person is old just by the sound of his/her voice? You’ve likely heard an older person speak with that classic gravely, weak. raspy, wavering, hoarse, and/or breathless voice. With that said, how old do YOU sound?

Why Your Voice Makes You Sound Old

Over 30% of people over age 65 have voice problems. As you age, your larynx (a.k.a. voice box) changes. The following 12 reasons may be causing your voice to become hoarse and weak and thus, sound old:

  1. Your vocal cords are less elastic (just like aging skin and muscles) and are unable to work in the same way as when you were young. Your vocal cords move and vibrate to make sounds. When the surrounding muscles move, your vocal cords either tighten or loosen. To make higher sounds, your cords tighten.
  2. Your vocal cords and muscles in the larynx wear out and become more thin. As a result, your voice may sound higher.
  3. Thickened mucous increases the amount of mass that needs to vibrate and results in a lower pitched voice. This increase is thought to be due to a decrease in hormones that affect the mucous membranes of your vocal cords.
  4. Acid reflux can cause harshness, sore throat, cough.
  5. Weak abdominals – In order to form a sound, your abs and rib cage squeeze your lungs which make you exhale air.
  6. Decreased lung capacity – By the time you’re 80, you may have 50% less volume compared to when you were 20.Dr and Pt_Dollarphotoclub_59591195
  7. Rheumatoid arthritis – This condition can lead to hoarseness because your vocal cords cannot move well. The inflammation limits the ability of the joint near your windpipe (cricoarytenoid joint) to move.
  8. Messages from your brain to the voice box become inefficient and nerve endings die.
  9. Decrease in blood supply and number of lubricating glands which cause the vocal cords to dry out.
  10. Change in your tongue, lips and teeth making it more difficult to form words. As a result, your voice becomes thinner and wavers.
  11. Parkinson’s disease
  12. Diabetes

How to Keep Your Voice Younger Longer   

Here are some quick fixes to slow and minimize the aging of your voice.    Continue reading

Fit TV | Healthy Aging

Find out what you need to know for healthy aging, that is, how to sidestep “getting old”…. from low testosterone (and its effects on sex drive and belly fat) to prostate cancer, robotic surgery, and osteopenia. Emmy Award-winning news anchor John Kessler, and Karen Owoc address a range of medical symptoms and treatments with Dr. Neil Okamura and Dr. Mark Lollar of San Ramon Regional Medical Center/John Muir Health.

The #1 Biggest Mistake That Affects Blood Pressure Readings

Blood pressure_dollarphotoclub_15479127_600x400Have you ever had your blood pressure taken and were surprised to discover that it was higher or lower than you expected? Did you know that simple variations can cause your blood pressure reading to deviate between 5 and 50 points? Beware… the most common error when measuring blood pressure is improper blood pressure cuff size.

Whether you take your own blood pressure at home or rely on a clinician to do so, using the wrong size cuff happens frequently. Since your blood pressure reading predicts your risk of stroke, heart disease and renal failure and assesses your need for hypertensive medications, you want to be sure the reading isn’t artificially low or elevated.

Why Cuff Size Matters

An essential part of measuring a blood pressure involves compressing the artery, so that no blood flows through it. The “cuff” is the part that wraps around your arm and the bladder inside inflates to apply the compression. It is CRITICAL that the cuff is the right size.

When the Cuff is Too Small

BP Cuff_AdultWhen the cuff size is too small, your blood pressure will be artificially HIGH — and can deviate by as much as 50 mmHg. This happens because the undersized cuff may not be able to completely close off the artery. It has to inflate a lot and you’ll get a higher reading. The result: a false diagnosis and over-treatment. It’s not uncommon that some obese people are incorrectly diagnosed with high blood pressure when it is actually normal.

When the Cuff is Too Large

Large BP CuffWhen the cuff size is too big, your blood pressure will be artificially LOW — but may not deviate as much as from the error of using a cuff that’s too small. It will read low because the bladder in the cuff will overlap (covering more than 100% of your arm), so the cuff ends up inflating on itself. In other words, it will cut off the supply of blood too easily and you’ll get a lower reading. Taking your blood pressure with a cuff that’s too large is dangerous because you and your doctor may think your blood pressure is normal and not as high as it actually is.

NOTE: When you’re exercising, your blood pressure is expected to rise, but the wrong size cuff could produce a reading that’s low or too high which could be problematic and symptomatic of cardiovascular disease.

Why This Mistake Occurs So Frequently

Using the wrong size cuff is mainly due to a laxity in protocol and/or by the clinician or a lack of emphasis on proper blood pressure cuff sizing in medical training. As a result, neglecting cuff size becomes the standard practice in the everyday work environment, i.e., in doctors’ offices and in both outpatient and inpatient hospital facilities.

Measuring for Cuff Size

Measuring tape

Use a flexible measuring tape (not metal) and measure the circumference of your arm at about the midpoint between your shoulder and elbow. (Allow your arm to relax and hang down at the side of your body.) If you don’t have a measuring tape, you can also use a piece of string or ribbon. Your cuff size will be determined by your arm size.

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: After measuring your arm, MEMORIZE ITS SIZE! Whenever you get your blood pressure taken, ask the clinician the cuff’s range (it’s printed on the cuff).  Blood pressure cuffs do not come in uniform sizes, so you have to know your arm size. You may be an Adult Small in one cuff, but that could vary depending on the manufacturer.

Up Next! … “10 Factors That Can Affect Blood Pressure Readings(i.e., arm position, posture, and your bladder)

Testing for Alzheimer’s with Peanut Butter?

VIDEO: Here’s a brilliant use of peanut butter…. to diagnosis early stage Alzheimer’s disease. According to University of Florida Health researchers, all you need is a tablespoon of peanut butter and a ruler.

Why Test Your Nose for Alzheimer’s?

brain_content_600x386The ability to smell is associated with your first cranial nerve (the olfactory nerve) which is one of the first parts of your brain to deteriorate in Alzheimer’s disease. This nerve is located in your temporal lobe and that’s also where new memories are formed. Being unable to capture new information and remember it later is characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.

Why Peanut Butter?   

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Fit Minute | Check Cholesterol for Alzheimer’s Risk

cholesterol_dollarphotoclub_67703499_600x410

If you think getting Alzheimer’s disease is a just a consequence of bad genes or bad luck, think again. Researchers suggest you could have some control over your getting the disease.

A UC Davis study revealed that healthy cholesterol levels not only keep your heart healthy, but your brain too. It is the first study to specifically link cholesterol to amyloid plaques in the brain of living human participants. Deposits of amyloid plaque (detected by a brain scan) are indicative of Alzheimer’s disease.

What is Amyloid Plaque?

Amyloid beta (or beta amyloid) is a protein necessary for normal brain activity. But, in the early stages of Alzheimers, this protein forms deposits, known as amyloid plaques, which disrupt communication between nerve cells in your brain.    Continue reading

Thank you | Blog Post #201

Business woman with laptopOn Friday I crossed the 200 mark and published my 201st blog post. If you asked me on Day 1 if I thought I’d make it to this point, I would have said, “No way!” because it was inconceivable that I’d have that much to say. But here I am today.

Many thanks to all of you who follow The Health Reporter. I am honored that you “like” my posts, leave comments, share the info, ask questions, grow with me, and say, “Wow, Karen, I didn’t know that!”. You keep me motivated and inspired knowing you find value in this blog.

Again, thank you. I’m not promising another 200 posts, but for now, together let’s strive to live longer, stronger and happier lives.

Best regards,
karen_signature

 

Inflammation | Sorting Out the Omega-3’s

Plant-based and animal sources of Omega-3 acidsOmega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats and consist of three types: EPA, DHA and ALA. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are primarily found in certain kinds of fish. Another type of omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid  (ALA), is found in plants.

Certain types of fish are rich in EPA and DHA. These essential polyunsaturated fats reduce C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6, two inflammatory proteins in your body. A six-month study demonstrated that consuming 960 mg/day of EPA and 600 mg/day of DHA lowered CRP.¹

To lower your risk of mercury exposure from eating fish, be sure to choose the right fish*.

Swordfish_dollarphotoclub_75683664*Avoid larger, longer-living fish, such as shark and swordfish, as they tend to accumulate more mercury than the smaller fish like sardines, sole, and trout.

Per Consumer Reports, a 6-oz. serving of:

  • Salmon contains 4 mcg of mercury
  • Canned albacore tuna contains 60 mcg 
  • Swordfish contains 170 mcg 

Oily fish high in omega-3 fatty acids include:

How much: At least 3 to 4 ounces of fish, twice a week

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: If you don’t eat fish, you can actually drink it in the form of orange juice! Tropicana® Orange Juice Pure Premium Healthy Heart Orange Juice is fortified with actual fish (tilapia, sardine and anchovy). Also, grass-fed beef  is often higher in omega-3 fatty acids than conventional beef due to their diet of grass and foraged foods versus grains, such as corn.

Source:
¹Fish oil supplementation lowers C-reactive protein levels independent of triglyceride reduction in patients with end-stage renal disease. Nutrition Clinical Practice. 2009.

 Stay tuned! Up next… “Fish-Free Omega-3’s

Inflammation | Foods that Heal and Harm

Hello I have High Cholesterol Word CloudChronic, low-level inflammation might be the SILENT culprit behind your aging process. There is growing evidence that there’s a correlation between chronic systemic inflammation and chronic disease, such as:

  • Coronary atherosclerosis (plaque buildup)
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Macular degeneration (a common form of age-related blindness)
  • Asthma
  • Dementia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Some cancers
  • Depression

The Silent Killer   

Chronic, low-level inflammation is quite different from acute inflammation, the body’s healthy response to injury and infection. When you get a bug bite or sprained ankle and the area becomes swollen, warm, painful, and red, your body is trying to defend itself by sending immune cells and key nutrients to the area — this is an acute inflammatory response.    Continue reading

Do This and You’ll Be Happier

Skiing_catching air_istock_000002966698xsmallWhen was the last time you were totally immersed in the moment and not worrying, reminiscing or planning what you’re going to do next?

Live in the moment. Don’t multitask. In today’s high tech world where you can follow multiple browser tabs at once while tweeting and listening to your favorite playlist, you’ve been trained to fragment your brain into various compartments, scatter your attention, and demand instant gratification. Multitasking has become a way of life, addiction and/or survival. But that practice can lead you down a road to unhappiness.

Pets are great teachers of living in the moment

Pets are great teachers of living in the moment

Be Engaged

Immerse yourself in an activity and you’ll find greater happiness. Studies report people are happiest when they’re so focused on an activity that virtually nothing else exists. That is, they aren’t interrupted by extraneous thoughts and hours pass like minutes.   Continue reading