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Hypertension and its Burden of Disease

Rates of high blood pressure have increased globally over the past 25 years.

Researchers estimate that 874 million adults worldwide have a systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg or higher. Analyzing data from 844 population-based studies in 154 countries between 1990 and 2015, scientists attempted to assess the relationship of hypertension to various causes of death. They estimate that 14% of total deaths and 143 million life-years of disability are due to hypertension.

PositiveTip: When a wholesome lifestyle and ideal weight fail to control blood pressure--its time to see your physician and consider medications.

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Obesity and Knee Replacements

Obesity to blame for 15 year surge in total knee replacements.

In the last 15 years, knee replacement surgeries have tripled. Curious researchers found that obesity contributed to 95% of the increase of knee surgeries, compared to hip surgeries. Even more troubling, these increases in knee troubles are found largely in younger populations. Excess weight damages knee joints more than hip joints and researchers expect the knee surgery trend to continue unless obesity rates change.

PositiveTip: Avoid the pain, cost and disability of major joint problems by simply eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly.

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Light Physical Activity Lowers Risk for Disability

Small increases in light activities may yield significant benefits.

Current exercise guidelines recommend 150 minutes of weekly moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity. However, light physical activity (casual walking, pushing a grocery cart, light housework, etc.) of at least 229 minutes/week may reduce new disability by up to 49%. This was found in a group of 1680 adults 49 and older who had knee osteoarthritis or risk factors for it. These findings were independent of more vigorous activity levels.

PositiveTip: Keep up the light and vigorous activities. The benefits are very real!

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Eat Well, Exercise, & Stop Smoking--Still Great Advice!

Seniors with three unhealthful behaviors had 2.5x the risk for diability.

French researchers followed 4000 seniors for almost 7 years. Each participant was disability-free at baseline. After adjusting for potential confounders, the following factors were found to contribute to excess disability risk:

  • low physical activity 72%
  • smoking 26%
  • low fruit and vegetable intake 24%

The results were similar when those who developed disabilities in the first 4 years were excluded.

PositiveTip: Seniors: the general recommendations to exercise more, quit smoking, and eat healthful diets with plenty of fruit and vegetables still apply!

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3 Key Risks for Old-age Disability

Exercise, diet and smoking can predict your risk of old-age disability

A 12 year study of 4000 seniors found that three unhealthy habits increase the risk of disability later in life. French researchers tracked seniors’ disability from 2001-2012 finding physical inactivity, poor diet and smoking each increase the risk of disability. In addition, the risk of disability increased progressively as unhealthy behaviors clustered. Seniors with ALL three risk factors were 2.5 times more at risk of disability than those who observed the three habits studied.

PositiveTip: Cultivate healthy choices now to extend your quality of life and independence later!

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Look at the Bright Side of Life!

Positive attitudes on aging increase likelihood of recovery from severe disability.

Attitude counts! A Yale School of Public Health study has found that positive attitudes on aging are associated with a 44% greater likelihood of recovery from severe disability versus negative attitudes. Participants were significantly more likely to recover from any state of injury to no or mild disability if they consistently focused on the bright side of life.

PositiveTip: "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength." Proverbs 17:24

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Increasing Weight and Smoking Affects Life Expectancy and Years of Disability

Smoking and excess weight predict years of disability.

A study of life expectancy and disability among normal weight, overweight, and obese smokers and nonsmokers, found that disability risks increase with greater weight. Being overweight or obese increased the risk of disability by 15% and 64%, respectively. Non-smokers who were overweight or obese experienced 3.6 and 6.1 more years of disability, respectively,  compared those of normal weight.  Smoking decreased life expectancy more than the years of disability. 

Squaring Off Life!

Just a few days ago, a dear friend of ours past to her rest at age 94. She was an incredible lady with a zest for life and and a love for other people. It is hard to believe that just a month ago she was driving her own vehicle on her errands, and living remarkably well in her own house! The impact of a healthy lifestyle on quality of life.

On the other hand, we also know individuals who have suffered increasing disability over a span of many years. Their quality of life has continued to deteriorate over their lifespan.

One of the concerns of scientists has been that people with low health risks tend to live longer than those with higher health risks.