Specific steps can be taken to prevent dementia.
A Lancet Commission, after a careful review of epidemiological data, reported that 35% of all dementia is "potentially modifiable". The modifiable risk factors can be separated into early-, mid-, and late-life prevention as follows:
- Early life: poor education (8%)
- Mid-life: hearing loss (9%), hypertension (2%), obesity (1%)
- Late-life: smoking (5%), depression (4%), physical inactivity (3%), social isolation (2%), and diabetes (1%)
This is really good news!
PositiveTip: By choosing to follow a healthy lifestyle you will take important steps to reduce your risk of dementia.
People with the highest number of risk factors tended to agree they need to improve.
Research in Canada found many high-risk patients do not recognize a need to change their lifestyle--especially with hypertension, diabetes, and alcohol use. The risk factors most likely to encourage change to improve health were: smoking, obesity, sedentary living, high stress and low fruit and vegetable intake. Those younger in age, female, educated and with higher household incomes were more likely to improve.
PositiveTip: If you truly value your health, you cannot live in denial of your lifestyle choices.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women--except for skin cancer.
AICR estimates nearly 81,400 women--or one-third of US breast cancer cases could be prevented by 3 simple steps.
- Get to and stay at your healthy weight.
- Fit activity into your day--at least 30 minutes.
- Avoid alcohol--even small amounts increase risk.
Download and print this infographic, then place it at your work, church, or club to help others understand the importance of these steps.
Another reason to avoid mosquito bites!
The WHO has declared a global public health emergency because of the Zika virus. While known for more than 50 years, its possible association with thousands of suspected cases of microcephaly (congenital brain damage) in babies has triggered current concerns. Symptoms are usually mild and self-limited.
PositiveTip: To minimize Zika risk (1) avoid unnecessary travel to infected areas; (2) adequate mosquito protection (repellant, nets, etc.); (3) pregnant women or those planning pregnancies should avoid travel to infected areas, and (4) use condoms or avoid sex with a partner who has been exposed.
Simple steps may prevent acute back pain.
Brief exposures to a variety of modifiable physical (handling heavy loads or awkward positioning, moving live people or animals, moderate to intense activity, sexual activity, and slipping/tripping/falling) and psychosocial (alcohol use, distraction, fatigue) factors increases risk for acute back pain. All physical triggers were significantly associated with increased risks, with manual tasks involving awkward positioning, objects not close to the body, and unstable or unbalanced objects carrying the greatest risks. Distraction during a task increased risk, but alcohol and sexual activity showed no association.
PositiveTip: Think carefully before lifting or moving heavy objects--it could prevent acute back pain.
Ebola virus is not as contagious as measles.
Ebola: the word strikes fear in many minds. The virus must remain wet to survive. There are no vaccines available. What can you do?
PostiveTip: If you might be exposed to this virus take these precautions:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based cleaners.
- Don't have contact with infected people, or items that have been in contact with them (body fluids and tissues), or their remains.
- Avoid bush meats and contact with bats and pets.
- Follow careful infection control procedures if you are a healthcare worker. Learn more...
Recently we published a PositiveTip dealing with how to protect yourself from influenza. Later the same day, I received a scorching email message from a very zealous, but misguided health enthusiast. I will share just a part it (without any edits):
“There is not one ingredient in the ‘flu’ coctail of toxins that would help the immunity to protect us from ‘flu’! ‘Our’ own immune system keeps us safe/healthy... Not not not list of poisons/toxins ! ???Why???? Are you not not promoting the 10 natural laws of health reform from our creator? Ha?”
This kind of rhetoric is saddening! It demonstrates a haughty, angry attitude rooted in misinformation and bold falsehoods. It defies current evidence-based knowledge on the topic.
What is the best protection against the flu?
Flu season is here! Although there are no guarantees that you will never get the flu, here are some PositiveTips that will help:
Protect yourself and your family from West Nile virus.
The CDC is urging people to take steps to protect themselves from West Nile virus. It is making a comeback this year with 241 cases, including 4 deaths. Most cases have been in Texas, Mississippi, and Oakahoma. There are no medications to treat it, nor any vaccines to prevent it. The best way to prevent it is to avoid mosquito bites.
PositiveTip: Follow these steps to avoid mosquito bites:
Has cranberry juice been exonerated for UTIs?
Cranberry juice has long been considered a folk remedy, but its effectiveness has been questioned. A new meta-analysis of 13 trials including 1616 participants shows that cranberry users were at 38% lower risk of urinary-tract infections (UTIs)--especially in women with recurrent UTIs. Those consuming a serving of cranberry products or drinking cranberry juice more than twice a day experienced the greatest benefit. However, the authors caution that more research is necessary before firm conclusions can be drawn.
PositiveTip: Drinking 6 ounces of cranberry juice two times a day may help prevent UTI--and probably won't hurt.