June 1, 2007
Table of Contents
In the next few days, look for an extra issue of Experience! This extra issue will be about our newly adopted nursing home in New Orleans. We think you're really going to enjoy this very special special issue!
We had originally planned to include the details in today's newsletter, but our staff writers were having so much fun writing about the subject, that it wound up deserving its own separate issue. We know you'll have fun reading it, too!
So instead of two Experience! newsletters this month, you'll get three. The only drawback is that thinking about New Orleans too much can make you hungry!
Chronic Fatigue Basics
What is chronic fatigue syndrome and how can affected individuals cope? The Good Health Fact Book from Reader's Digest provides the following answers:
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a persistent condition that indisposes more adults than children and, for reasons unknown at this time, considerably more females than males. It doesn't seem to be contagious, and most persons with the condition eventually recover, though it can take years for some to feel "like themselves" again.
There are several hypotheses regarding the possible cause of chronic fatigue syndrome. They include theories involving viruses, an overactive immune system, magnesium deficiency, and skeletal muscle breakdown.
Persons are said to have chronic fatigue syndrome if they experience overwhelming fatigue lasting for at least six months along with six or more of these symptoms:
Exercise and Length of Hospital Stays
Following is an edited abstract from "Leisure-Time Physical Activity and Health-Care Utilization in Older Adults" by Michelle Y. Martin and colleagues, Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 14(4), 392:
This study examined whether leisure-time physical activity was associated with health-care utilization in a racially diverse sample of both rural and urban older adults. A thousand community-dwelling adults, ages 65-plus, self-reported their history of participating in leisure-time physical activity and their use of the health-care system (including physician visits, number and length of hospitalizations, and emergency room visits).
After controlling for variables associated with health and health-care utilization, older adults who reported lower levels of leisure-time physical activity also reported a greater number of nights in the hospital during the preceding year.
This study found no support for a relationship between leisure-time physical activity and the other indicators of health-care utilization (number of physician visits, number of hospitalizations, and number of ER visits), although some previous studies have suggested that more physical activity may lead to fewer health-care system contacts.
This study's findings do suggest that being physically active might translate to a quicker recovery for older adults who are hospitalized. Therefore, being physically active might not only have health benefits for older persons, but also may lead to lower health-care costs.
The Heart Profilers
It's free. It's convenient. It's provided by a trustworthy source. And it works, according a recent U.S.study on its effectiveness. We're talking about the American Heart Association's online education program called The Heart Profilers.
The study that investigated The Heart Profilers program was presented recently at a major scientific forum in Washington DC. It found patients who use the service to be more knowledgeable about their treatment options -- and more likely to ask their physician relevant questions about their care plan. They also had a better understanding of the heart medications they were taking.
When you visit The Heart Profilers site, simply complete a questionnaire to receive a confidential, personalized report that includes your treatment options (and the success rates of various options), possible medication side effects, and questions to ask your health-care provider.
To obtain your free individualized profile, click on www.americanheart.org and go to the "Heart Profilers."
Watch Your Weight
According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Hypertension, a man's likelihood of developing high blood pressure increases right along with any weight increase -- even if his weight falls within normal range.
The subjects of this Harvard Medical School study were 13,563 male physicians. Body Mass Index (BMI) figured significantly in the results. BMI is a measurement of one's body weight in relation to one's height. BMI from 18.5 to 24.9 is regarded as normal, 25 to 29.9 overweight, and 30-plus obese.
Researchers found that men with BMI from 22.4 to 23.6 had a higher likelihood of developing high blood pressure during the next 15 to 20 years. (Note that those numbers are considered "normal.")
Of course, higher-than-normal BMI resulted in even higher risk. Overweight and obese subjects were 85 percent more likely than the thinnest subjects to incur high blood pressure.
Here's the surprising finding that arose from this study: The higher a man's BMI, the higher his risk for developing high blood pressure over the next 15 to 20 years -- and that's true even if he is of normal weight or only slightly overweight.
Keeping a Positive Attitude
Mental Health America (formerly the National Mental Health Association) has some practical advice for stopping the negative self-talk that can diminish one's personal health and well-being, according to the Pulse wire report. Here are three helpful pointers:
Don't Get Stuck in the Boring Salad Rut!
Tired of the same old lettuce salads day after day? Make yourself a nontraditional vegetable salad for a change. Simply toss together fresh carrot and green pepper that has been cut into thin slices about two inches long. Use a small amount of unsaturated oil and vinegar for dressing. For a nice twist, season with nutmeg.
Experience! readers: Thank you for your interest and questions. Due to the high volume of contacts SFA receives, we cannot respond to individual queries or comments. However, the newsletter does address frequently asked questions and topics of vital interest to our members.
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