|Good morning and welcome to agebuzz… Headlining today’s topics:
|Memorize This: A Test To Determine Whether Your Memory Loss is Normal: Is it Monday or Tuesday? Did I deposit that check or do I need to? Why can’t I seem to remember everything the way I used to? Is there something going on with me?
If these sorts of questions resonate with you, you are not alone: A large percentage of people over age 45 feel they suffer from memory loss. According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in nine people over age 45 believe they suffer from memory loss and a decline in their cognitive functioning. The question is whether that memory loss is normal or an early warning sign of trouble ahead. For essential information about the symptoms, causes, and possible treatments for memory loss, check out this overview from the Merck Manual Here.
If you’re concerned about your own memory or that of a loved one, step one might be to check out a free evaluation test you can take or administer in the privacy of your own home. Writing in a recent post on NJ.com, reporter Tony Dearing describes the SAGE (Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam) test, developed by the Wexner Medical Center of Ohio State University. Scientifically validated, this test has been downloaded over one million times, is available in multiple languages, and is an easily accessible way to gauge whether memory problems might indicate a reason for further evaluation. So, lest you forget, check out the SAGE exam before you check in with a doctor.
|Something Fishy: Omega 3 Supplements Under Fire: Most of us try to eat a healthy diet, and for many of us, that includes several portions of fish each week as a major source of protein. By eating fish, you ingest Omega 3 fatty acids, long considered essential for a heart-healthy diet. So if eating fish is good for you, do you attain even more benefit if you take Omega 3 supplements? Is more the equivalent of healthier?
Well, it turns out that more is not only not healthier but, in fact, it may be deleterious to our environment as well. First, about the supplements. There is definitive research at this point that taking Omega 3 Fatty Acid supplements does not reduce your risk of cardiac disease or a fatal cardiac event. Read the research published in JAMA Here.
But the news is even worse than that. Paul Greenberg, an award-winning author and journalist who focuses on environmental issues, has just published a book called The Omega Principle which explains the rise of the multi-billion dollar Omega 3 supplement industry and how that industry has wreaked havoc on our oceanic environments. The harvesting of the tiny fish used in Omega 3 supplements has led to less bountiful oceans, with no real health benefits for the millions taking these supplements. It’s a fascinating tale of the corporate bottom line benefiting at the expense of our oceans, under the guise of improving consumer health. So put down your fish oil pills and listen here as Paul Greenberg explains the downside of the Omega 3 supplement industry, for humans and fish alike.
Listen Up: A Health Coach Could Put You On The Path To Healthy Aging: These days, it’s common to get by with a little help from some “friends.” At the gym or in our homes, many of us have personal trainers. At our favorite stores, some of us have personal shoppers. Thinking of an encore career? There are now Life Coaches or Career Coaches to help. So when it comes to your health and well-being, what about a “Health Coach?”
Like any good coach, a Health Coach can work with you to develop an individualized plan to achieve a specific goal. Especially for those of us with chronic conditions, behavioral and lifestyle changes can have a significant impact on the course of illness and the quality of our lives (not to mention the number of medications we take or the costs of care.) A good Health Coach can work with you to discover, and overcome, the stumbling blocks that are preventing you from getting on a healthier track.
For an overview of the profession of health coaching and how such a support person could really improve your health, Click Here. Or Read Here about the experience of writer Leslie Goldman who used a Health Coach to help her finally learn how to get a good night’s sleep. Or, for either your personal wellness or as a potential new career for yourself, take a look at the website of the Primal Health Coach Institute and their resources for finding a local Health Coach for yourself.
Highways and Byways: On Becoming A Medical Tourist: Anyone who is approaching, or has reached, retirement age knows that paying for medical care during retirement can be a major concern. It’s hard to predict what may happen to you in the future, but the data concerning rising health care costs for older people are not in dispute. As Axios recently reported, seniors now spend 41% of Social Security income on out-of-pocket health care costs, either due to rising premiums, cost-sharing or such non-Medicare covered expenses as dental care. Add into that mix the costs of long-term care and medications and you can see that there’s good cause for concern.
So how to cope with these escalating expenses? One increasingly popular route is that of medical tourism, i.e. travel out of the country to gain access to medical care at sometimes a fraction of what it would cost in the United States. According to a recent Bloomberg article, 14 million people spent upwards of $68 billion on medical tourism in 2016 and it’s predicted that this market will rise to $125 billion by 2021. By far the largest participants in this global search for cheaper care are Westerners heading to developing countries, where the quality of care can be surprisingly good for medical tourists and the arrangements easier to make than you might think. There are now several websites that can help match your medical needs with a specific travel destination. As examples, check out MedicalTourism.com, Medigo, orMedicalDepartures.com. So next time you’re in need of a knee replacement, you may want to gently hop on a plane rather than trudge to your local orthopedist.
Fine Lines: A New Source For Interesting Essays on Aging: These days, if your thoughts don’t fit into a Twitter rant or social media posting, you’re often ignored as a writer or social commentator. But thoughtful consideration of aging, and all that it entails, really requires more than a pithy phrase or soundbite. If you feel that way as well, and you enjoy an occasional in-depth read, then Longreads has something new for you. Longreads is a website that features long-form storytelling, investigative pieces, interviews and more, and it features original writing as well as curated content from hundreds of publishers around the web. And it’s just announced a new feature called “Fine Lines,” which will consist of personal essays, podcasts, and interviews all covering unique aspects of aging in today’s world. The first piece in this series is by writer Jessica Berger Gross and her essay is entitled “Gone Gray,” detailing the choice she made to let her hair turn gray and how this changed her outlook on life. And if you’d like to know more about her story, you can listen to a podcast interview with Ms. Berger Gross Here.
Time To Bone Up: Should You Have Collagen In Your DietOr Clothing?: If you follow health food fads at all, you know there’s always some new craze or suggestion for the latest ingredient you should eat or spread over your body, and there are always fabulous results promised as a consequence. Some of this is outright quackery, but some have more basis in science. Collagen is a good example of one such “hot” ingredient right now.
For those of you not in the know, collagen is a naturally occurring protein in the body, found in bones, skin and connective tissue. As we age, and especially in post-menopausal women, the amount of collagen naturally in our bodies diminishes and with that, so, too, do some of the health benefits that derive from collagen. For a scientific overview of collagen and what it does, Read Here. There are innumerable supplements containing collagen on the market, in powder form or pills, and there is some scientific research to support their use, though if you eat enough protein in your diet that may not be necessary. For an overview of collagen supplements, and what they can and cannot do, Click Here.
If you decide to climb on the collagen bandwagon, however, one new product on the market should probably give you pause. The clothing manufacturer Buki has just announced their Collagen Collection, a new line of clothing that promises collagen is built into its uniquely woven fabric so as to provide the moisture benefits of collagen directly into the skin when you wear the clothing. Given that the topical application of collagen as an anti-aging beauty ingredient is already considered controversial and not scientifically sound, it’s hard to buy into the promises of this new clothing line. However, the fabric also has a UPF factor of 50 for sun protection and the collection is stylish if a bit pricey. So, should you be both ingesting and wearing collagen to sustain youthful skin and strong bones? Maintain your skepticism but find out more by Reading Here.
“THE LAST WORD: “If I could remain one age forever, I wouldn’t. I don’t believe in that.” Iris Apfel