Posts made in January, 2015

Growing Old Isn’t for Sissies

Posted by on Jan 29, 2015 in News | 0 comments

A popular social media meme holds that “growing old isn’t for sissies.” Plenty of older women would probably agree with that sentiment as they cope with age-related issues specific to their gender, such as osteoporosis and increased risk of breast cancer. Yet the greatest health risk women face as they age is one society most often thinks of as predominantly affecting men: heart disease. “Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States,” notes Dr. Kevin O’Neil, chief medical officer for Brookdale, a leading senior living company that operates approximately 1,150 communities in 46 states. “Maybe one out of every 25 women may die of breast cancer, but one out of every two women will die from heart disease or stroke.” Heart disease takes many forms, O’Neil says, with coronary artery disease being the most prevalent. Plaque builds up in the arteries, constricting and sometimes blocking the flow of blood to the heart. This can damage the heart muscle over time and even contribute to a heart attack if a blockage occurs. Many risk factors for heart disease are particularly relevant to women. Because the onset of heart disease in women typically occurs a decade or more after men, many women may assume they’re safe. Yet other bodily and environmental changes related to aging can increase the risk, even among women who appear healthy. Risk factors of particular concern to women include: * Decreased estrogen after menopause – “Estrogen appears to have a protective effect” for heart health, O’Neil says. As estrogen levels fall, the risk of heart disease can increase. * Inactivity – Mobility and balance issues may make it difficult for senior women to maintain a healthy level of activity. * High blood pressure – As people age, blood pressure naturally increases. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a significant risk factor for heart disease. * According to the Mayo Clinic, diabetes also increases heart disease risk more for women than men. “Physicians recognize that diabetics are at much higher risk of coronary artery and vascular disease,” O’Neil says.  “Recent recommendations suggest statin therapy, even in diabetics with a normal cholesterol level, as statin medications have benefits above and beyond cholesterol-lowering.” Symptoms of heart disease and especially heart attack can be very different for women than for men, O’Neil says. “Heart disease symptoms in women are often what we refer to as ‘atypical presentation.’ They may or may not experience pain, but may instead feel short of breath, nauseated or fatigued,” he says. “Often, we hear heart attack symptoms described as a feeling of pressure instead of pain. Certainly any severe and persistent symptoms should prompt you to call 911.” In fact, women are more likely than men to experience symptoms such as indigestion, heartburn, nausea and vomiting, breathing problems, dizziness or light-headedness, or extreme fatigue, the Mayo Clinic says. When heart disease leads to damage to the heart and/or heart attack, the damage can be severe and irreversible, O’Neil says. “We know that 25 percent of people who have a heart attack, it’s their first and their last. And 75 percent of women who experience a stroke or heart attack will not be able to return to their previous lifestyle. That’s why we place such an emphasis on prevention. It’s better to prevent the problem from ever occurring.” Even if you have mobility and balance issues or other health problems, it is still possible to significantly reduce your risk of heart disease, O’Neil says. * If you smoke, quit. Smoking significantly increases your risks of heart disease and stroke, and quitting delivers immediate benefits –...

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Proper Nutrition and Eye Health

Posted by on Jan 27, 2015 in News | 0 comments

Eighty-three percent of U.S. adults believe their eyesight will worsen as they age, no matter what preventive steps they take, according to a recent DSM Nutritional Products survey. While genetics and lifestyle factors do play a role for some serious eye conditions that cause vision loss such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), years of proper nutrition may protect vision in the long term. More than 2 million Americans age 50 and older suffer from AMD, and it is especially prevalent among Caucasian women. “You don’t want to reach your 40s and realize that you’re beginning to have vision problems,” says Dr. Kimberly Reed, optometrist and Ocular Nutrition Society board member. “Following a few simple recommendations can help support your vision – and your family’s vision – now and in the future.” Reed offers these tips for maintaining eye health and supporting vision in the long term: 1. See your diet in color Many brightly colored fruits and vegetables contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two powerful antioxidants that research shows are beneficial in maintaining macular health. Intake of 12 mg per day of lutein and zeaxanthin offers the best protection, but only 10 percent of Americans are getting enough of these essential nutrients, according to the American Optometric Association. For weekly meal planning this year, choose colorful fruits and vegetables that provide these important antioxidants, like spinach, kale, and other dark leafy greens, as well as corn, peas, broccoli, and orange and red peppers. 2. Omega-3 fatty acids for eye health A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people with higher intakes of omega-3 fatty acids may experience a lower incidence of dry eye syndrome (DES). For patients who suffer regularly from dry eyes, omega-3 intake can significantly improve symptoms and increase quality tear production. Adults should get at least 1,500 mg per day of DHA and EPA either by consuming fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, or taking high-quality fish oil and algae supplements. Be sure to check with your physician if you are taking medications that affect blood clotting before increasing your intake of omega-3s to this level. For women who are pregnant or nursing, DHA is an essential nutrient to support infant visual development. 3. Remember your vitamins and minerals An array of vitamins and minerals also play an important role in maintaining eye health. For instance, A and B vitamins perform many complex and critical functions throughout the body, including the eyes. And, according to a study published in Ophthalmology, vitamins C and E, which function as antioxidants, are also essential to eye health and have been shown to impact the progression of certain forms of AMD. Finally, zinc helps deliver vitamin A from the liver to the retina in order to produce melanin, a protective pigment in the eyes. Get your fill of at least five servings of colorful fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts and legumes, per day to obtain these essential vitamins and minerals. Even when striving to follow an optimal diet, it’s difficult to get the recommended amounts of essential vitamins and nutrients from food alone, so nutritional supplements can play an important role in maintaining eye health. Several products specifically formulated to support eye health and vision are available, so ask your eye health professional at your next appointment....

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Everyone At Risk with Today’s Data Breaches

Posted by on Jan 22, 2015 in News | 0 comments

Amidst a digital age and the digitization of information, identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America. Recent studies show that every minute, 19 identities are stolen. Headlines have shown data breach after data breach taking place at major retailers. And as seen in the case of Sony Pictures, no matter how large the corporation is, or how much security is applied to personal information, with today’s data breaches, everyone is at risk. To help prevent theft from occurring, the American Consumer Credit Counseling organization advises taking these preemptive steps. 1. Be elusive on social media. Try to exclude specific, important information from your social media profiles. Minimize details in your “About Me” sections, and leave out phone numbers or addresses. This information is prime knowledge for hackers. Also, be sure to set all your privacy settings to create a secure profile. 2. Strengthen your online passwords. While it’s easier to remember passwords with our birthdays or hometowns in them, try to make your password a little more complex. Use punctuation and different capitalization. Also, veer away from using one password for all your accounts; if one is hacked, all your information across accounts can be compromised. 3. Be wary with your email address. While shopping online, or creating required accounts, use a new email address. Creating an email address for yourself is an easy task, and it’s best to have a specific one for online activity. Use a primary email address for personal information; use your secondary one for shopping, newsgroups, or social networking sites. Make sure to only give your primary email address to people you know. 4. Look for signs. Look for suspicious red flags when you’re on websites or signing up for mailing lists. Make sure your online purchases come from companies with secure payment pages and privacy policies. You can check Web addresses: if there is an ‘s’ located after the ‘http’ (https://), the website is secure. If not, don’t use it. Never respond to emails asking for account information or passwords. If a “bank” is asking for this information electronically, make sure to call the bank directly. 5. Monitor what you’ve shared. Identity thieves gain access to personal information by piecing together information over multiple websites. Make sure to think about what information you have where online....

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Bad Health Habits to Break

Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in News | 0 comments

Improving your health and wellness can seem like a daunting task, especially if you know you have some bad health habits to break. But, several improvements you can make today can result in tremendous health benefits. “It starts with you,” says physician assistant Tricia A. Howard, a faculty member at South University, Savannah’s College of Health Professions. “You have more control over your health than you think you do.” Here are five steps you can take today that can have a positive impact on your overall health and wellness. Stop smoking Everyone knows smoking is bad for you. In fact, people who smoke have by far the greatest risk of lung cancer – the number one cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. – and increased risk of a cardiac event. But, many people don’t realize that changes in the lungs caused by smoking can actually improve over time once a smoker quits. “Even if you’ve smoked for many years, you can reduce your lung cancer risks just by quitting,” says Howard. “And this isn’t just about your own health. Smoking puts the ones you love at risk, because even second-hand smoke can cause cancer. So, quitting is a win-win for you and those you love.” Howard says people who want to quit smoking do better when they set a target date to quit. She also advises working with your primary health care provider who can actually individualize a stop-smoking plan for you. And, Howard says getting support from others is a crucial part of the battle. Increase your water intake Sixty percent of your body weight is water. Your body depends on water to carry nutrients to cells and to flush toxins out of vital organs, so getting the right amount of fluids each day is crucial. Howard says men should drink 3 liters, or 13 cups, per day. For women, the recommendation is 2.2 liters, or 9 cups, per day. If that recommendation seems tough to follow, Howard says to divide it up throughout the day. “Make sure you have water with every meal and also drink water at least once between each meal,” she suggests. “That divides up your fluid intake and can make the amount seem less daunting.” And, Howard says you don’t have to stick to water. Milk, coffee, and other drinks that contain a lot of water and not a lot of calories count towards your daily fluid intake. Exercise “Exercise reduces your risk for chronic disease, improves balance and coordination and helps with weight loss,” Howard says. “Exercise is a key part of living a healthy life.” Howard says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise, or 90 minutes of vigorous exercise a week, for adults. “That sounds like a lot,” Howard acknowledges. “But, if you break it into 15-or-20-minute daily workouts it’s much easier to fit into your schedule. You don’t have to spend hours at a time in the gym to reap the benefits.” Howard says recent studies have shown that even short bursts of exercise can be helpful. Adopt the Mediterranean diet The Mediterranean diet is a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, nuts and fish. The results of numerous studies show long-term health benefits to adopting the diet. “This is a diet filled with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories,” Howard explains. “This diet has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer when adhered to long-term. Weight loss and improvement in cholesterol can be seen after just a few months.” Have your cholesterol checked You might be surprised...

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Top Tips for Corporate Risk Management (Infographic)

Posted by on Jan 15, 2015 in News | 0 comments

Risk management is a highly important yet tricky task that all businesses must take into consideration. Simply put by, risk management is a two-step process – determining what risks exist in an investment and then handling those risks in a way best-suited to your investment objectives. Risk management occurs everywhere in the financial world. It occurs when an investor buys low-risk government bonds over more risky corporate debt, when a fund manager hedges their currency exposure with currency derivatives and when a bank performs a credit check on an individual before issuing them a personal line of credit. This infographic by gives more of a visual concept of risk...

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