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Karen Miller

Stories by Karen

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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.

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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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.

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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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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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Walking – it’s cheap and it’s easy

Walking is the simplest aerobic exercise to improve health

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Exercise without equipment

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

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Hooked on exercise

Daily exercise is a prescription to reduce stress and anxiety.

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Healthy eating can be a major behavioral change

Eating slowly can help you eat less

Unhealthy eating is linked to emotional problems

Understanding nutrition facts labels

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

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Portion size matters

Bigger portions linked to increased waistlines and weight gain

Growing portion sizes are changing what Americans think of as a "normal" portion, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

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Proteins and fiber

The power-packed duo

Foods high in protein are not only healthy, they tend to be more filling and keep you full longer.

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Complications of obesity

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

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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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Immunizations: Not just for kids

More than just a flu shot

Baby boomers might think that the days of vaccinations are way behind them. Not so fast, according to Dr. Myechia Minter-Jordan, president and CEO of The Dimock Center. “You have to check the titers,” she explained.

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Former NFL star raises awareness of breast cancer in men

Not just a woman’s disease

Ernie Green, 75, was a force to be reckoned with on the football field. He played seven seasons for the Cleveland Browns, and has two Pro Bowl appearances under his belt.

New hope for ovarian cancer screening

September is Ovarian Cancer Month

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most deadly cancer in women.

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September is Fruits & Veggies – More Matters Month

Variety is key

Eating a healthy diet is the best way to get of the vitamins and minerals your body needs.

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Leafy greens - a powerhouse of nutrition

Simple Leafy Green Sauté

The darker the vegetables the higher the nutritional value

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HPV viruses linked to growth in oral cancers

HPV can cause cancer of the throat, back of the tongue and tonsils

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Vaccinations key to reducing HPV’s deadly strands

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in this country

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Walking in Place

a simple exercise with surprising results

It’s easy to come up with excuses not to exercise. Lack of time is one excuse. The cost of gym memberships is another. Yet, there is an exercise that blows all those excuses away.

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Chuck the sodium; add turmeric

Tandoori Chicken with Brown Rice

Sodium, more commonly called salt, has crept into more of the foods we eat.

Strengthening Exercises

not just for jocks

Strengthening exercises at least two times a week can increase muscle strength and improve bone health.