Dangers and Complications of Diabetes

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Over the years, I’ve written about the dangers and complications of diabetes, but I recently came across some staggering figures from the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention affecting the senior population. I know many seniors who are in the pre-diabetes stage, but many of them take it in stride and don’t seem to understand the consequences.

Here are the statistics that may be of concern to you:

  • Among U.S. residents aged 65 years and older, 10.9 million, or 26.9%,  had diabetes in 2010.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-limb amputations, and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States.
  • Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke.
  • Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Overall, the risk for death among people with diabetes is about twice that of people of similar age but without diabetes.

The estimated number of new cases in 2010 was also remarkable. For those between 45 to 54 it was 1,052,000 and for those 65 and over it was 390,000 making it a total of almost 1.5 million people. Medical expenses for people with diabetes are more than two times higher than for people without diabetes. People with diabetes are more susceptible to many other illnesses. Once they acquire these illnesses, they often have worse prognoses. For example, they are more likely to die with pneumonia or influenza than people who do not have diabetes.

People with diabetes aged 60 years or older are 2–3 times more likely to report an inability to walk one-quarter of a mile, climb stairs, or do housework compared with people without diabetes in the same age group. Diabetes is a lifestyle disease and can be reversed, but it takes a lot of work. If you need a partner to get started and hold you accountable, check out the Gracefully Age Program and grow out of being a diabetic statistic.

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Best New Products for Older Adults

George Mason University Science & Tech Bldg

Isn’t it amazing how a resource can be in your own back yard, and you not know about it? Finding out about the resource is like opening a surprise birthday gift on your birthday. It started with Steve Gurney’s blog post. Steve is well-known in the Washington Metropolitan Area as an expert and publisher of Guide to Retirement Living.

In his blog, he published a press release for the “Nana” technology competition at George Mason University located in Northern Virginia. It was the second annual New Product and Technology Awards sponsored by the Mature Market Resource Center. It’s a recognition for innovative products and services for older adults and their families. The winners have not been announced, but the entrants were in the categories of Internet and computer technologies; monitoring/detection devices; prevention/health maintenance products and services; housing and design; safety products; fitness/recreation/hobbies and more.

Unfortunately, by the time I had arrived, they were getting ready to shut down and there were very few products on display. But in speaking with one of the judges, he showed me a device that the judges liked — a very small phone that you’d wear, much like the alarm button that many seniors wear, but with a lot more features.

Perhaps in the next few weeks, when the winners are announced, I’ll be able to post a list of the winners and their products. But I encourage any creative folks out there to think about us senior folks and how you can help make our lives easier.

I also learned that not only was George Mason University named the number one national university to watch in 2009 by U.S. News & World Report, it also now has a major in Assisted Living/Senior Housing Administration. They have had a program in the area for a few years, but now they actually have a major — the first academic curricula in the nation dedicated exclusively to the senior housing and care industry. Click here to learn more.

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How to Lose Weight

Many  years ago, I had a primary physician who said the only way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more. I heard a doctor on Monday’s Dr. Oz Show say the same thing. Things have not changed. Many seniors continue to see their weight increase as well as their belly fat. In a study at Brigham Young University, middle-aged women followed over a three-year period showed that those who did not put on weight cut back on calories. Researchers said that dietary restraint might be more important than increasing exercise for fighting the middle-aged bulge.

As you might know from previous posts, I’m a huge fan of Dr. Oz and the Dr. Oz Show. He makes my one hour on the treadmill a most enjoyable hour. Here are his suggestions to boost your metabolism for under $5.

  1. Oolong tea:  contains polyphenols that help block fat-building enzymes. This young tea is low in caffeine so you can drink it throughout the day for continued results, but your metabolism will rise for 2 hours after every cup of Oolong.
  2. Black Pepper: contains the alkaloid piperine, which helps speed up metabolism. Add black pepper to tomato juice for a double metabolism boosting effect—tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that helps protect your mitochondria. Reach for the pepper mill when you’d normally use salt; you’ll boost your metabolism and reduce your sodium intake.
  3. Beans: full of soluble fiber to help lower insulin levels so you store less fat and also feel fuller. Eat 2 cups of red, white or black beans to get your recommended daily fiber intake of 25 grams.
  4. Ice Water: forces your body to burn calories by bringing your body temperature back to normal. Eight glasses of ice water a day works off 70 calories. Drink ice water before a meal to feel fuller quicker.
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Sticky: Sun Protection with Oral Supplements

We constantly hear about protecting our skin from the sun. But sun protection with an oral supplement? In a previous post on skin agers, it was mentioned that your sunblock/sunscreen should cover both UVA and UVB rays. Mark A. Stengler, NMD, also recommends that skin be protected from the inside as well. He says dietary supplements that contain beta-carotene or mixed carotenoids (beta carotene + lycopene and lutein) will help protect the skin from harmful UV radiation.

The dosage that Dr. Stengler recommends is as follows: 24 milligrams of beta carotene or 25,000 international units (IU) of a mixed carotenoid. Alternatively, he says you can take FernBlock, an oral supplement made from fern extract and herbs. The dosage is as follows: two capsules daily in the morning, 30 minutes prior to sun exposure and one capsule at noon.

Heliocare is another product that claims to help maintain the skin’s ability to protect against sun-related effects and aging. Read a review of FernBlock and Heliocare here.

Important: Supplements are not a replacement for sunscreen/sunblock.

Upon reading this in my Bottom Line Personal periodical, I went to check the ingredients in my vitamin supplement. VitaOne is my vitamin of choice when traveling because everything I need is conveniently packaged. When I’m at home, however, I take a vitamin designed for seniors … a heart vitamin to clean the arteries of plaque. Click here for more information.

If swallowing big pills is a problem, be sure to read this post. Click here.

As seniors, don’t you want to fool everyone with your age? I do. So don’t forget to protect your skin!

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DermaView — Facial Skin Analyzer

DermaView at the Seniors Fair

In my last post, I talked about skin agers. Last week I attended a “Seniors Fair” at a local hospital. They were offering several tests, one of which was DermaView, a machine that is a  facial skin analyzer. It shows you damage to your skin that you cannot necessarily see with the naked eye. For the most part, it’s ugly. Did you know that most people receive 80% of their lifetime exposure to the sun by the age of 18? By the time you’re a senior, chances are your face will have definitely suffered from sun damage. So imagine your face covered with brown splotches. That’s what you, as well as the technician on the other side, will see in the DermaView mirror.

I had this same test done about a year ago and I saw a vast improvement. I attribute it to a skin care system that I use. It’s a system that normalizes the skin and I am so pleased with the results that are definitely visible to the naked eye.

Skin cancer is very slow to develop. It is the result of sun exposure and sun burns over the years. Here is a test from the American Melanoma Foundation to determine your risk for skin cancer.

  • Hair color: 4=blond/red, 3=brown, 1=black
  • Eye color: 4=blue/green, 3=hazel, 2=brown
  • When exposed to 1 hour of summer sun you: 4=burn & sometimes blister, 3=burn, then tan, 1=tan
  • Freckles? 5=many, 3=some, 1=none
  • Where is your job? 4=outdoors, 3=mixed, 2=indoors
  • Has anyone in your family had skin cancer? 5=yes, no=1
  • Where in the US did you live most before the age of 19? 4=south, 3=midwest, 2=north

Results: 10-15 = below average risk; 16-22 = average risk; 23-25 = high risk; 26-30 = very high risk

A basal cell carcinoma, one of the most common...

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Although skin cancer may take a long time to develop, once you get it, it can spread. A former yoga classmate of mine has a son who started with skin cancer on his leg. By the time he decided to see a doctor, it had spread to his brain. I pray that he is recovering, but unfortunately, I no longer see her so I don’t know the outcome. Cheers to sun screen! Use at least an ounce to cover all exposed areas.

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Skin Agers

A Facial mask.

Image via Wikipedia

You don’t have to be a skin specialist to know that some people look far younger than their actual age while others look way beyond their actual age. Most seniors really care about eliminating their wrinkles and brown spots, but some don’t.  Have you noticed that low end cosmetics that you can find at drug stores and discount stores are jumping into the anti-wrinkle/anti-aging market big time?

How did we get the wrinkles and brown spots? There are the standard reasons such as stress, smoking, and lack of sleep. Recently, a short article appeared in Prevention magazine and was picked up by several online sources. They call it the three skin shocking skin agers:

  1. Driving
  2. Sipping from a sports bottle
  3. Eating too much sugar

What are the solutions? For driving, you need to make sure that you wear sunblock/sunscreen (at least SPF 30), move your visor to the left because the left side of the face and hands appears to be getting more wrinkles and brown spots. They also recommend wearing gloves. Of course, if you’re often a passenger in the front seat like I am, the opposite side of the face is affected. Sunblock/sunscreen needs to be re-applied every two hours if you’re in the sun. Your sunblock/sunscreen should also cover both UVA and UVB rays.

To avoid sipping from a sports bottle which causes vertical lip lines like smoking does, drink water from a glass or use a refillable travel mug.

Finally, limit your added sugar to no more than 100 to 150 calories or 6 to 9 teaspoons per day. Eating too much sugar will damage skin-firming collagen fibers when the sugar attaches to proteins to form molecules in your bloodstream.

Personally, I’ve tried many products, but am now getting great results with Natique. Click here for more information.

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Autism and Older Parents

University of Wisconsin logoAs a University of Wisconsin alumna, I receive a quarterly publication, On Wisconsin. In the Spring 2009 issue, an article caught my attention: “Age, Order, and Autism.” Is there a link between autism and older parents as well as birth order? I have given birth to two healthy sons, but I often worry about the children they might have, my grandchildren, particularly since they both live in California. California seems to have a higher incidence of autism, although one theory is that it’s because of the way the data are collected.

Bascom Hall

Bascom Hall

What is autism? Wikipedia defines it as a brain development disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs all begin before a child is three years old. The autism spectrum disorders (ASD) also include related conditions such as Asperger syndrome that have milder signs and symptoms.

The article cited a study led by University of Wisconsin pediatrics and population health sciences professor, Maureen Durkin. The study looked at 253,347 children born in 1994. They found that 1,251 showed signs of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), a broad group of social and communication impairments. Less that .5% were affected, but the following patterns emerged:

  • The children of fathers over 40 years of age were 60% more likely to show symptoms than those of younger fathers.
  • The children of mothers over 35 were 40% more likely than those of younger mothers.
  • First born children were 30% more likely than second borns and 70% more than those born third or later.
  • First born of two older parents were three times more likely to than those third born or later to mothers 20 to 34 and fathers under 40.

In another study cited in the Washington Post, “Children of fathers who were 15 to 29 years of age had a risk of about six in 10,000 of developing autism. Children of fathers in their thirties had a risk of nine in 10,000. Children of fathers in their forties had a risk of 32 in 10,000, and children of fathers who were older than 50 had a risk of 52 in 10,000.”

No study is conclusive, but starting this year, there is a longitudinal study of 100,000 children. This National Children’s Study will follow the children from birth to 21 to examine environmental influences on health and development. This probably won’t help my grandchildren, but should hopefully help a future generation.

At the moment, many believe that the cause may be a toxicity from several possible sources. It may be for that reason that products that remove toxicity have helped some patients. For more information, click here.

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