I recently did a TV interview that covered a variety of health-related topics, especially the concept that most of the so-called age-related diseases are actually lifestyle-related. Click on the following link, https://www.facebook.com/SeniorStayOrGo/videos/2576759122420057/
Wednesday, February 5th at 1:00 p.m., the Serra Mesa Library, 9005 Aero Drive, San Diego, Health benefits of wine and chocolate, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Wine and chocolate are derived from plants and thus contain nutrients that have specific health benefits. Not all forms of these pleasurable foods are healthy, however. Learn which claims are legitimate and how to select the healthiest kinds of wine and chocolate. Sponsored by OASIS. To register see their web site at http://www.oasisnet.org.
Friday, February 7th at 1:00 p.m. at the Temecula Higher Education Center, Osteoporosis: calcium is not the answer. Osteoporosis is not an inevitable consequence of aging and taking calcium will not delay its onset. Learn the single most important thing that you can do to maintain a healthy skeleton. Sponsored by Osher Lifelong Learning Center. To register see their web site at http://www.csusm.edu/el/olli or call 800-500-9377.
Thursday, February 13th at 1:00 p.m. Coronado Library, Health benefits of wine and chocolate, Sponsored by OASIS. To register see their web site at http://www.oasisnet.org.
Wednesday, February 19th at 1:00 p.m., Stagecoach Community Center, Carlsbad, Serendipities that affect your life and your health, Accidents happen but the outcome is not always bad. Scientific breakthroughs from the Big Bang theory to cataract surgery, from penicillin to post-it notes, from vaccines to Viagra, have come from efforts directed to a different objective. Simple mistakes have led to miraculous discoveries, several of which affect each of us every day of our lives. Sponsored by Osher Lifelong Learning Center. To register see their web site at http://www.csusm.edu/el/olli or call 800-500-9377.
Thursday, February 20th, 1:00 at the Oasis Grossmont Center, Keeping your wits: ten ways to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Most forms of age-related dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, can be avoided or delayed by following a prudent lifestyle. Ten simple measures will preserve brain function and even improve it. Sponsored by OASIS. To register see their web site at http://www.oasisnet.org.
Tuesday, February 25th, 12:30 at the University Community Library, 4155 Governor Drive, San diego. Shingles, a better vaccine is here. Shingles, whose medical name is herpes zoster, is occurring more often as our population ages. For most victims it’s uncomfortable but for many it results in pain that can last for years, sometimes results in blindness and is associated with stroke and heart attack. A much more effective vaccine that was released in December, 2017 is nearly twice as effective as the previous one. Learn how it begins, who is at risk and how we can avoid it. Sponsored by OASIS. To register see their web site at http://www.oasisnet.org.
Wednesday, February 26th at 1:00 p.m. at the Point Loma Library, A day in the life of a Gold Rush physician, Sponsored by OASIS. It began with a nugget no larger than a thumbnail but it transformed the United States. Physician-adventurers followed the gold, bringing old ideas as well as newly-emerging medical discoveries. It was a unique period in history that tested a physician’s skills and stamina. To register see their web site at http://www.oasisnet.org.
In the news
The Wuhan Coronavirus: a perspective.
The world is on edge because of a new virus that has emerged from China where it has sickened nearly 12,000 victims and claimed the lives of 259, according to official Chinese figures. As of this writing on January 31st there have been no reported deaths outside of China and only 7 nonfatal cases in the United States.
Financial markets have reacted as if this is a Black Swan event –an unexpected event of large magnitude, a random, catastrophic and massive disaster that can affect perhaps millions of lives. This does not, in my view, qualify as a Black Swan event.
The very cautious approach of health officials is justified in spite of the low – so far – mortality rate of only about 2 percent. Two other coronaviruses had much higher fatality rates: 9.6 percent for SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, 2002-2003) and 38 percent for MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, 2012-present). The Wuhan virus may yet turn ugly but the latest statistics are encouraging.
There have been more than 6,000 cases of Coronavirus infection worldwide since about September 2019; there have been more than 8,000 deaths due to influenza just in the United States in that time. There will be no vaccine to prevent Coronavirus in the near future but there is one to prevent the flu. The latter vaccine is far from perfect but it dramatically reduces the likelihood that persons who become ill will need to be hospitalized or will die from the secondary bacterial infection that is so often the actual cause of death.
A little more than a century ago an influenza pandemic (i.e. worldwide) killed at least 50 million persons at a time when the global population was about one-fourth what it is today. It’s extremely unlikely that such a catastrophe – a true Black Swan – will occur again. In 1918-1919 many people were overcome because of malnutrition. Remember that these were the years when The Great War came to an end. There were no antibiotics back then and most fatalities were due to infection by bacteria of the types that are almost always susceptible to today’s antibiotics.
A hundred years ago doctors didn’t even know what viruses were. In contrast, the Wuhan Coronavirus has already been identified, a diagnostic test is available and work has begun on a vaccine. Is this a Black Swan? Not at the moment but it should be a reminder that we should take advantage of all the vaccines that are available to us and wash our hands frequently, especially after having been out in public.
Avoiding another annoyance of aging: muscle cramps.
These painful spasms can occur at any age but they seem to be more frequent as we get older. To make things worse they often occur at night, spoiling a restful sleep. There are several causes but most of the time they can’t be explained.
Dehydration – the lack of adequate fluid intake – is one of the causes that we can do something about. Because thirst is not a sufficient sign of the need for fluids in older persons we need to have a more reliable indicator, and we do. Your urine should always be light yellow with only a mild odor; dark, smelly urine means that you are getting behind in fluids. Of course, taking more fluid late in the day means that you’ll probably have to make an extra trip to the bathroom during the night but it’s worth it not only to prevent cramps but also to avoid developing kidney stones.
Maintaining moderate physical activity throughout life has many benefits, one of which is healthy blood flow to your muscles. That supplies your muscles with nutrients and oxygen and removes accumulated waste products that can increase the likelihood of developing cramps. After you exercise (and not before!) you should do some stretching movements.
Some persons have low levels of calcium or magnesium. Muscle cramps can also be a sign of diabetes, liver disease or thyroid problems. If you have frequent muscle cramps it’s worth a trip to the doctor to rule them out.
Sometimes chewing on a Tums tablet will relieve the pain.