healthy us

Boomers should get tested for Hepatitis C.

All U.S. baby boomers should get a one-time test for the Hepatitis C virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control. One in 30 boomers has been infected, and most don’t know it. The reasons boomers have such high rates is not well understood but it could be from medical equipment and procedures before universal precautions and infection control procedures were adopted. Others could have gotten infected from contaminated blood products before widespread screening eliminated the virus from the blood supply by 1992.

Testing is critical since many people can live with the virus for decades without symptoms or feeling sick. More than 15,000 Americans, most baby boomers, die each year from HCV-related illness such as cirrhosis and liver cancer, and deaths have been increasing steadily for over a decade. The good news is new therapies can cure up to 75 percent of infections.

Accidental overdoses can happen to seniors on pain medicine

While the headlines about the opioid overdose crisis tend to focus on younger people, older adults are also affected. Seniors are often prescribed opioids, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, for painful chronic conditions such as arthritis, or following surgical procedures. Because the aging body metabolizes medications more slowly, tolerance for drugs like opioids declines. The same dose that worked when a person was 50 might be toxic at 60. Older people who take painkillers are also at higher risk for falls, or accidentally combining two non-compatible drugs.

Many Georgia pharmacists are participating in a naloxone (Narcan) education program for families whose parent or grandparent is taking a prescribed controlled substance for pain. The nasal spray or injection can quickly reverse the effects of an overdose, and no prescription is necessary.

Med Manager

The older we get and the more medications we take, the harder it gets to keep it all organized. Now there’s a new product from a Georgia-based company that organizes complex medication regimens and provides a central storage system for critical medical information. It’s called Med Manager, and it also includes a weekly pill planner, pill cutter, magnifying glass and memo pad, as well as a calendar to track vital numbers such as blood pressure, glucose and weight. Everything is organized so that when a patient goes to the doctor’s office or the emergency room, providers can quickly go through the kit. For more information, go to www.vivalife.com.

Seven reasons to stop putting off hearing health

  1. Untreated hearing loss leads to brain atrophy because hearing is actually a brain function.
  2. Those with untreated hearing loss are at more risk for developing dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.
  3. Even a mild case of hearing loss triples the risk of an accidental fall.
  4. Those with untreated hearing loss are more likely to report depression, anxiety and paranoia, and less likely to participate in organized social activities.
  5. Listening fatigue can make your whole day more tiring – your brain is working so hard to make sense of sound, it’s wearing you out.
  6. People with hearing loss say relationships with their romantic partners suffer the most followed by those family, friends and coworkers. One study found a breakdown in communication because of hearing loss resulted in the loss of relationships, including marriage.
  7. Those with untreated hearing loss earn on average $20,000 less each year than those who wear hearing aids.

According to Healthy Hearing magazine, hearing loss is a sneaky condition, which is why seeing a hearing healthcare professional annually is so important.

What’s a Keto diet?

Have you been told you should lower your blood sugar or blood pressure? Maybe lose some weight? Are you curious about the “keto” diet? Well, your county health department holds free, monthly educational sessions where they explain the keto diet and offer helpful suggestions on how to make it work for your lifestyle. Samples of keto-friendly foods are offered, and there’s even a Facebook support group. For a complete list of area health department class dates, visit www.publichealthathens.com. Click on KLC Education page to see class times in all the counties in the Northeast Health District.

High cholesterol? You’re needed for a study.

Researchers at UGA are studying how different diets can affect cholesterol levels. If you are between ages 50 and 75 and have high or borderline-high cholesterol levels but not taking medications to lower it, The Clinical and Translational Research Unit wants you to call. The study requires an eight-week commitment to eating the provided breakfast and lunches along with 10 visits to CTRU. If you’re interested in participating, contact study coordinator, Alexis Marquardt at 414-335-9416 or arm37769@uga.edufor questions or to schedule an eligibility screening. Participants that complete the study can earn $175.

Night driving gets harder

Older eyes need more illumination to see and it can take older eyes 10 minutes longer than younger eyes to recover from the “bleaching” effect caused by oncoming car headlights. The solution: night driving glasses, which reduce glare and increase contrast. Other strategies: Get to the far right and look at the lines in the road when there’s oncoming traffic, and when no one’s approaching, use your high beams.

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