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Karen Miller

Stories by Karen

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A healthy whole grain snack

Whole-Wheat Fruit Bars

A “healthy snack” sounds like an oxymoron. The two words seem to be on opposite ends. But that does not have to be the case. In this recipe from the American Institute for Cancer Research, whole grains are combined with dried fruit and juice for a healthy treat.

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HPV vaccine remains underutilized

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

Although a vaccine for HPV has been available since 2006, the compliance rate remains low.

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Osteoarthritis: Oh, those painful knees

Osteoarthritis, which can range from mild to severe, is one of the most debilitating diseases in this country.

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Primary care physician: The CEO of your health

The primary care provider manages your health care. It is important to find one that fits your personal needs.

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A heart-healthy salad

Autumn Salad

Salads can be more than just lettuce and tomatoes. This salad combines fruit and lettuce with seeds and nuts.

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Watermelon: A combination of water and healthy nutrients

July is National Watermelon Month

Watermelon not only tastes good, it is chock full of nutrients the body requires to function efficiently.

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Melanoma: Blacks are not immune

There is a misperception — even among some health providers — that people of color do not get skin cancer. By the time black patients visit a doctor the cancer often has spread.

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Calcium — more than strong bones

Calcium is the most common mineral in the body and is responsible not only for healthy bones but for functions of the heart, muscles and nerves.

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Family medical history: An insight to your health

Knowing your family medical history can alert you to your risk of several health conditions.

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Sunglasses: More than just a fashion statement

Although many people choose sunglasses for style, the deciding factor should be safety. Sunglasses should protect against UV rays from the sun.

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Cypriot Chicken Kebabs

This recipe for Cypriot Chicken Kebabs is a good source of protein and fiber. The veggies also contain antioxidants that are considered cancer-fighting agents.

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New kidney disease website launched

Nick Cannon speaks out

African Americans are more than three times as likely as whites to develop kidney failure. Once kidney function falls below a certain level, the only options for treatment are dialysis and transplantation.

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Garlic: Flavorful and healthful

Garlic is noted not only for its flavor and smell, but for its health benefits as well. Garlic has been found to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

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Type 2 Diabetes — Myths vs. Realities

Although type 2 diabetes is common, it is often not well understood even by those who are afflicted. There are many myths about diabetes that can blur the truth about this potentially deadly disease.

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Is your child at risk for type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is no longer an illness for adults only. Fuelled by the surge in obesity in this country, type 2 diabetes is on the rise in adolescents and pre-teens.

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Are you at risk for type 2 diabetes?

Almost 26 million people in this country have type 2 diabetes, but 7 million do not know it. Determine your risk for diabetes and get tested if you have several risk factors for the disease.

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Regular screening can help prevent colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer. It is also largely preventable by regular screenings.

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How to spot “hidden” sugars

Sugar is the body’s source of energy. You can’t live without it, but the type and amount of sugar you consume is key to good health.

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Make half your plate fruits and veggies

Consumption of a variety of fruits and veggies is key to good health

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Changes in vision due to glaucoma

It’s like looking through a tunnel

Glaucoma first affects peripheral, or side vision, but will progress if left untreated.

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Glaucoma can strike at any age

Glaucoma often runs in families and, although it is more common in older people, it can strike at any age.

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January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Comprehensive eye exams are key to controlling glaucoma

People who have 20/20 vision can still have glaucoma

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January is National Cervical Health Awareness Month

Cervical cancer is now largely preventable

Because of Pap smears and vaccines for HPV, the incidence and death rates of cervical cancer have plummeted.

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The hidden salt: Americans eat twice the recommended daily allowance

Sodium, more commonly known as salt, can make some foods taste so much better, but it doesn’t do much for one’s health. Excess salt, especially when paired with reduced amounts of potassium, can increase the risk of high blood pressure. This can start a chain reaction with unfortunate results.

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Immunizations for the elderly

A lifetime of shots

Many older adults assume that vaccinations are for young kids only. But with the development of new vaccines, such as Zoster for shingles, and the waning protection of the immune system, those 60 and older are advised to get protection against a variety of communicable diseases.

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STDs and the Elderly

you’re never too old

The incidence of sexually transmitted diseases is on the rise in older adults due in part to the high divorce rate. Older adults are less inclined to use condoms, which they tend to associate with protection against pregnancy rather than protection against STDs.

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a healthy daily eating plan

A daily eating plan should include a variety of whole foods, including fruits, vegetables and whole grains and low-fat proteins, such as legumes. Nuts and olive oil are good choices of health fats. The amount of food depends on one’s age, gender and physical activity.

Recommended Guidelines for Vaccines

There are five vaccines that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices currently recommends for older people. Three of the shots — for shingles, pneumonia and a booster for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) — are administered once, while protection against the flu and tetanus/diphtheria are administered at regular intervals.

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T’ai chi helps improve balance in the elderly

T’ai chi, an ancient Chinese martial art, consists of a series of controlled and deliberate movements called forms. T’ai chi is recommended for people of all ages, particularly older adults, to increase strength, flexibility and stamina. Research has found that it also improves the mood.

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Depression in the elderly: When fun things are no longer fun

Anhedonia, or lack of pleasure, is a common symptom

Although common, depression in the elderly is not a normal part of aging. Many factors, including poor health and poor nutrition, lack of exercise and isolation can worsen the condition. Yearly screening for depression is now offered at no cost for Medicare recipients.

Prevention Guidelines

Since many chronic diseases occur more frequently in older adults, certain screenings and preventive services are recommended well into one’s senior years. It is best to develop with your doctor a screening program that fits your medical condition and family history.

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Q&A on healthy aging with Dr. Jatin Dave

Dr. Jatin Dave, a geriatrician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and medical director of geriatrics at Tufts Health Plan, answers questions about aging.

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Healthy aging: Living longer and living better

Improvements in public health and medical treatment have significantly increased life expectancy in the past 60 years. People more frequently live into their 80s and 90s and even top the century mark.

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Healthy eating in older people not always easy

As people age it may become more difficult to consume certain minerals and vitamins, such as calcium and vitamins D and B12. In addition, medical conditions may reduce activity, which can result in obesity, a risk factor for several diseases, including stroke. In such cases the types and amount of food should be modified to prevent weight gain.

Typical aging vs. signs of dementia

“Senior moments” begin to increase with age, but that’s to be expected as years pass. Generally, those moments pass and the memory returns. Dementia, on the other hand, affects social abilities and memory severely enough to interfere with daily functioning.

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Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths in the elderly

When young people fall, for the most part they get up and walk away. A fall in an elderly person, on the other hand, can result in a permanent disability or even death. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in older people.

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STDs: Not always curable

The best strategy is prevention

Generally, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that are caused by bacteria or parasites are easy to treat. Often one dose or injection of antibiotics can do the trick.

What’s your number?

Results of screening tests are key to managing health

During regular checkups tests can be performed to evaluate the status of one’s health.

Is it an infection … or is it breast cancer?

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

A rare form of breast cancer often escapes detection. It changes the appearance of the breast and rarely has a lump.

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Is it a cold … or is it the flu?

Both the flu and common cold are respiratory illnesses caused by different viruses. They also share many of the symptoms, but the symptoms of the flu are more severe and can result in serious complications

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Fight the flu: Wash your hands

There is one way to avoid or reduce the risk of several infectious diseases and it takes only 20 seconds. It doesn’t require a medical degree and anyone — including children — can master it. It’s just plain old hand washing.

No age limit for vaccinations

Protect yourself

You never outgrow the need for vaccinations. Protection from immunizations can wane over time and adults who were not vaccinated as children require catch-up shots.

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Exercise without equipment

You don’t need fancy equipment to get a good workout

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Walking – it’s cheap and it’s easy

Walking is the simplest aerobic exercise to improve health

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Hooked on exercise

Daily exercise is a prescription to reduce stress and anxiety.

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America’s battle against obesity

A complicated condition with serious consequences

Whether classified as a disease or a disorder, obesity is a leading cause of premature deaths in this country.

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A CLOSER LOOK — visceral fat

Abdominal, or visceral, fat — weight centered at and above the waist — poses a threat to a person’s health.

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How do you measure up?

Body mass index and waist measurements are the tools most used to measure obesity

BMI and waist size are used to calculate disease risk

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Complications of obesity

Obesity is not merely a cosmetic issue. Excess weight increases the risk of many diseases:

Understanding nutrition facts labels

Knowing how to read nutrition facts labels can help identify unhealthy foods and beverages.