Posts Tagged "blood pressure"

Heat Stroke

Posted by on Sep 16, 2010 in Health Emergencies | 0 comments

Summertime brings the benefits of fresh air and sunshine, but hot, sunny days pose a risk of heat stroke, particularly for seniors.  What is heat stroke? Heat stroke occurs when the body can not regulate its temperature. It can develop quickly; internal body temperature can rise as high as 106 degrees in as little as 10 to fifteen minutes. Heat stroke can lead to brain damage and even death. Why are seniors at greater risk of developing heat stroke? As the body ages, sweat glands which help cool the body become less efficient.  Blood vessels carry less blood to the skin. The skin itself goes through natural changes that may slow the rate of heat release or “cool down”.  Bodies of the elderly may be slower to respond to heat and therefore may not produce sweat until body temperature is already quite high. Diseases of the lungs, heart and kidneys, and illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure can affect the body’s ability to cool down. Drugs that treat depression, motion sickness and high blood pressure also change the body’s ability to regulate temperature. What are the symptoms of heat stroke? Red, hot and dry skin (with no sweating) Heavy sweating together with cold clammy skin Dizziness Throbbing headache Nausea Rapid pulse Confusion Unconsciousness How can you prevent heat stroke? On extremely hot days, stay indoors in an air-conditioned room.  If there is no air conditioning at home, spend time at a local mall, library or movie theater. Wear a hat when golfing, gardening or hiking. Always have water with you or near by.  Drink 8-12 cups of water daily to maintain hydration, more during hot days or physical exertion. Choose fruit juice or sport drinks if your activity means you’ll experience heavy sweating. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.  Also avoid extremely cold drinks, which can cause stomach cramping. Eat small nutritious meals throughout the day rather than large meals.  Reduce your intake of  protein, which can raise body temperature. Increase intake of potassium-rich foods, e.g., potatoes, apricots, bananas, cantaloupe and broccoli. Take frequent breaks from physical activity. Take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath. If you see symptoms of heat stroke, seek medical attention immediately.  Vol. 3, No. 14 © ElderWise Inc. 2007. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com/ and subscribe to our FREE...

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Fitness with Exercise Bands

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Staying Active | 0 comments

Most of us know why exercise should be part of our life: reduced weight, toned muscles, and heart health. But exercise can also help with age-related health concerns including: improved balance and coordination, reduced stress, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, and even improved mood.  Research shows that resistance exercise can improve functional independence and also reduce the risk of falls. With all those benefits, elderly persons are wise to include an exercise program in their plan for healthy aging. One easy solution is exercise bands. What are they? Originally developed by physical therapists to help patients recovering from injury or surgery, exercise bands are used for resistance training in the same way people use free weights or some exercise machines. The advantage of the bands is less risk of injury and a gentler, yet effective workout. Exercise bands do feel different than other resistance devices, because their tension is continuous throughout the exercise.  However, you can control the amount of tension – and make the exercise easier – by lengthening or shortening the band. Choose a band with the right resistance. Are all bands the same? Long, thin latex bands, which look like ribbons, are suited to more gentle exercises and stretching.  Other bands are made of rubber tubing and have handles at each end.  Choose these for a more intense workout and to help build muscle.  However, the user must be able to grasp the handles. What can I do with exercise bands? Many popular weight exercises – from bicep curls to quad lifts – can be modified for exercise bands. In fact, you can work your whole body. Many videos, DVDs and books are available on the subject.  Check with your favourite bookstore or library. Before starting any exercise program check with your physician. Where can I get exercise bands? You can find bands at sporting goods stores, home health care stores, and most major department stores. Exercise bands provide a portable, affordable, and reasonably safe way for older adults to exercise in the comfort of their own home. “I watched a TV show for seniors on exercise while sitting safely in a chair. I started using the bands and was surprised by how much strength I gained in my arms.” M.F.  Age 85    Vol.4, No. 1 © ElderWise Inc., 2008 You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: “Originally published by ElderWise Inc., Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at www.elderwise.ca and subscribe to our...

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Exercise for Healthy Hearts

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Staying Active | 0 comments

Exercise is good for us, right?  Most of us believe physical fitness will help keep us healthy, especially as we age. Some of the benefits are: Combating depression and anxiety Keeping bones, muscles and joints functioning well Improved cholesterol levels Helping to reduce body weight and body fat Helping the cardiovascular system to work more efficiently Reducing the risk of high blood pressure AND…of heart disease!  Exercise has many benefits for the heart and cardiovascular system. But what kind of exercise?  Here are some simple ways to increase your everyday activity and work your heart for healthy results: Increase the amount you walk, e.g., park your car further from the door when shopping. Get up and move every hour. Stretch during commercial breaks while watching TV. Take the stairs – not the escalator or elevator.  Everyday activities you may not think of – like gardening and housework – also qualify  as exercise and  contribute to heart health. You don’t need an hour-long exercise regimen to help your health and your heart.  If you can’t manage 30 to 40 minutes continuously, break that down into ten-minute segments of light exercise such as walking. If you have not been exercising for a while, the Cleveland Clinic recommends that you aim to start at 15 minutes every other day and work up from there. Staying motivated is the key. Make a plan. Don’t just say you will exercise if you feel like it…because you may never feel like it! Read up on exercise and health. Get ideas about new activities to try or new ways of doing activities you already like. Take a course in a new activity.  Spending the money for the course and having a group to support you and to learn with can be inspiring. Start exercising with a friend or neighbour.  Your partner can help you stay the course when your commitment is low. Exercising with a companion can feel more social and less like drudgery. Pick activities you like. Running may provide a good cardiovascular workout, but if you hate it you are far less likely to keep doing it. Make a six-week commitment.  Some exercise specialists believe you will notice results from an exercise program within 6 weeks.  Seeing those results can help keep you going – but you need to get to the six-week mark!  The risks and prevalence of heart disease are too great for mid-life adults and seniors to ignore. Embracing an active lifestyle is one of the best preventive measures we can take.  For more information, visit these web sites: Exercise for your Health: Benefits and How-To’s http://www.clevelandclinic.org/heartcenter/pub/guide/prevention/exercise/exercisehrt.htm Canadian Diabetes Association, exploring links between diabetes and heart disease. www.getserious.ca Try the quiz on heart health and heart disease at http://www.lifeheart.com/patient/quiz/index.asp#8   Vol.3, No. 4 © ElderWise Inc. 2007. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.ca and subscribe to our...

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Be “Stroke-Wise!”

Posted by on Sep 8, 2010 in Health Emergencies, Health Signals | 0 comments

Every 10 minutes, a Canadian will suffer a stroke, meaning strokes affect more than 50,000 Canadians every year. The good news is that recognizing early warning signs and getting prompt treatment has improved the chance of surviving a stroke. A stroke is a medical emergency caused by decreased blood flow to the brain. Blood flow is interrupted by a blood clot (blockage) or rupture of a blood vessel.  Without oxygen, brain cells die. Depending on the size and location of the stroke, the individual loses some function. You can reduce your risk for stroke by making these choices in your daily life Treat high blood pressure Stop smoking Reduce salt and sodium in your diet Have an active lifestyle To find out your unique risks, take the assessment offered by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. http://heartandstroke.ca/hs_risk.asp?media=risk Those who survive a stroke may experience a range of physical and emotional problems. These include: Physical impairments Personality and behaviour changes Communication problems Cognitive changes  Knowing the risks, making wise lifestyle choices, and recognizing the early signs can dramatically reduce your chances of being a victim of stroke. Vol. 4, No. 4 © ElderWise Publishing 2008. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at www.elderwise.ca and subscribe to our FREE...

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