Fan The Flame: Sex After 50—Six Tips For A Healthy Sex Life As You Age
(NAPSI)—The need for intimacy is ageless. As people reach midlife and beyond, they may experience some physical changes, but age is no reason to limit or end a healthy-sex love life. In fact, studies link sexual activity, good health and longer life.
With the explosion of baby boomers reaching retirement age, there will likely be an increasing interest in how to keep desire burning in the bedroom over time.
“Many women are surprised by the impact menopause has on their sex life. Some women enjoy sex more after menopause while others feel a drop in interest,” said Arthur Hayward, M.D., a geriatrician and the clinical lead physician for elder care with Kaiser Permanente’s Care Management Institute. “Men may feel a decline in their sex drive and may want to learn about treatment for erectile dysfunction. Whatever the situation, be honest and open with your doctor about your concerns, so you can get the help you need to improve your sexual health.”
Below are six tips from kp.org to help older adults enjoy a physically and emotionally fulfilling sex life.
As people age, women lose estrogen and men lose testosterone. These hormonal changes may lead to changes in libido. So it’s important to make the time to talk with your partner. Openly discussing your concerns and what you’re experiencing emotionally and physically can bring you closer and help you both enjoy sex and intimacy.
2. Spend time with your partner.
Take a walk. Go to dinner or to the movies. Relax. Focus on intimacy and physical touch. Hold hands, hug and show affection. Sex and sexuality communicate a great deal: affection, love, esteem, warmth, sharing and bonding. These gifts are as much the right of older adults as they are of those who are younger.
Enjoy sex in the morning or the afternoon rather than at night when you and your partner are tired. Take your time. Longer foreplay can increase vaginal lubrication and boost a woman’s desire. Women may want to try a lubricant. Men may want to try sensual exercises with their partner. Try setting the mood with candlelight and soft music or whatever else “turns you on.”
4. Practice safe sex.
It’s important to practice safe sex. Studies confirm that older people are having more sex than some think and the rates of sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have doubled for people in their 50s, 60s and 70s in the past decade. Play it safe.
5. Learn what works for you and know when to seek help.
You may have to make minor adjustments to accommodate physical limitations or the effects of certain illnesses or medications. Learn about the common physical changes that come with aging. Talk with your doctor about any changes that concern you. Some may be the first sign of a medical problem.
Many medications, especially high blood pressure medications, tranquilizers and some heart medications, inhibit sexual response. Your doctor may be able to reduce your dosage or prescribe different medications. Do not stop taking prescription medications without consulting your doctor first. Colostomies, mastectomies and other procedures that involve changes in physical appearance need not put an end to sexual pleasure.
Exercise can increase energy and stamina. Keeping in shape can help improve the body physically and improve body image. Women can tone up with Kegel exercises. These simple exercises can improve your sexual function and improve bladder control at the same time. People who have heart conditions can enjoy full, satisfying sex lives. Most doctors recommend that you abstain from sex for only a brief time following a heart attack. If you have angina, ask your doctor about taking nitroglycerin before you have sex. Do not take erectile dysfunction medication if you are using nitroglycerin.
For more information, go to www.kp.org; for questions or advice about a specific condition, always consult with your physician.
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Smart Diabetes Management With Mobile Devices
(NAPSI)—Mobile health apps are gaining popularity as people try to manage their health using smartphones. These mobile health apps feature a wide range of functions, from letting individuals monitor their calorie intake to helping doctors view a patient’s X-rays remotely. In 2012, nearly 250 million smartphone users worldwide downloaded health apps. In addition, seven in 10 (69 percent) U.S. adults tracked a health indicator for themselves or a loved one and nearly half (46 percent) said this activity changed their overall approach to health. Doctors are also increasingly recommending apps and the medical devices they work with to help their patients manage chronic illnesses, such as diabetes. In fact, 90 percent of those surveyed agree that the Internet and mobile apps can help lead to major improvements for diabetes patients.
For the 26 million Americans living with diabetes, regular blood sugar monitoring can help to detect high and low blood sugar levels and make therapy and lifestyle adjustments. This is important because improved blood sugar control has been shown to prevent or delay complications.
Now, people with diabetes can check, manage and share their blood sugar results on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. The new OneTouch VerioSync Meter uses Bluetooth technology to send test results wirelessly to these devices using the OneTouch Reveal mobile app. The app provides a simple 14-day snapshot of how often results are within range, automatically creates a color-coded logbook, and makes it easy to share results with health care professionals, caregivers or family members by text or e-mail.
“When you consider how many of us rely on our smartphones on a daily basis, managing chronic illnesses such as diabetes is a promising area for mobile health applications,” said Jeremy Pettus, M.D., UCSD Department of Endocrinology. “It’s exciting to see true wireless communication brought to blood glucose monitoring. By helping patients to easily access, understand and share their blood sugar data via their iPhone, a system like the OneTouch VerioSync can help lead to better self-management and more productive conversations with their health care professional.”
The OneTouch VerioSync System offers several features to aid in daily diabetes management, when used with the OneTouch Reveal mobile app:
• 14-Day Summary Screen with color-coded bar graphs showing the percentage of results within, above and below an individual’s personalized blood sugar target range.
• Electronic Logbook automatically organizes and color codes blood sugar results over a two-week period.
• Pattern Alerts make it easy to spot patterns of high and low blood sugar results.
• Illuminated Screen and Test Strip Port for testing in dimly lit or dark conditions.
• Data Sharing feature allows information about blood sugar results to be sent via text or e-mail.
The OneTouch VerioSync Meter uses OneTouch Verio Test Strips, which are covered at the lowest co-pay on most health plans1 and are always covered by Medicare Part B2.
The meter is available for $29.99 at the OneTouch online store, www.ShopOneTouch.com, and is also available online at other retailers. The OneTouch Reveal mobile app is available as a free download from the App Store.
For more information about the OneTouch VerioSync System or other diabetes products or services, visit www.OneTouch.com.
1Some health plans may have more than one test strip covered at the lowest co-pay.
2Not a guarantee of coverage and payment. Coverage and payment may be subject to co-insurance, deductible and patient eligibility requirements.
iPhone, iPad and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.
The Bluetooth word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by LifeScan, Inc. is under license. Other trademarks and tradenames are those of their respective owners.
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Cancer And Your Bones: Important Facts Everyone Should Know
(NAPSI)—Worldwide there are an estimated 1.5 million advanced cancer patients who experience the disease spreading to their bones. If you are a patient with cancer, or care for someone who is, here are a few facts you should know.
Bone metastases, or the spread of cancer to the bone, can be a serious complication that often goes unaddressed and affects a substantial portion of patients with cancer from solid tumors, including:
• More than two-thirds of advanced breast cancer patients.
• Up to 90 percent of advanced prostate cancer patients.
• Approximately 36 percent of advanced lung cancer patients.
The Importance Of Bone Health
If left untreated, bone metastases can weaken bones and even cause them to break. Therefore, it’s important for patients with advanced cancer to understand their bone health and speak with their doctors about the steps they can take to better protect themselves.
“Patients and their loved ones may not understand the impact cancer can have on their bones,” says Rita Lusen, BreastCancer.org. “The Bone Health in Focus initiative provides resources, advice and tips to educate patients and caregivers, and encourages them to speak with their doctors about options to help prevent problems caused by cancer spreading to the bones.”
Bone Health in Focus™ Initiative
To help educate people on the importance of bone health, Amgen has collaborated with leading advocacy organizations, including BreastCancer.org, Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education & Support Network and the National Lung Cancer Partnership, to develop a series of Bone Health Reports and other important resources as part of the Bone Health in Focus™ initiative. Bone Health in Focus provides tools and customized information for caregivers and patients living with prostate, lung or breast cancer, plus insights from physicians and patients, including personal stories and practical tips for effective communication about bone health.
To view the Bone Health Reports and learn more about bone health, visit www.bonehealthinfocus.com.
What to Ask the Doctor
When discussing your bone health with a healthcare provider, consider these important questions:
1) Am I at risk for bone metastases?
2) What are signs or symptoms of bone metastases?
3) Should I have a bone scan? How often?
4) What are my options?
5) What are the possible risks of bone metastases?
6) Where can I go for more information?
7) Is there anything else I should know?
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As You Have Grown Older, Do You Often Feel Tired Or Short Of Breath? Aortic Stenosis, And Not Normal Aging, May Be The Problem
(NAPSI)— "One day, my dad picked up the phone and I heard him breathing really hard on the other end," said Mary. "I asked him what was wrong and my dad said he was just out of breath these days. I knew something wasn't right." When her father, 80-year-old Conrad, a typically vibrant and active person, began to experience a marked decrease in energy, he didn't think anything of it until Mary pointed out his shortness of breath. Conrad thought his symptoms were the normal signs of aging, but he soon discovered they were actually caused by a problem with one of the valves in his heart.
In your golden years, you've probably come to expect that your hair will turn gray and that you may lose a step or two in your tango. But did you know that feeling extremely tired or short of breath may signal a deeper, underlying problem? Aortic stenosis may be the culprit.
Up to 1.5 million people in the United States suffer from this progressive disease where the aortic valve in the heart narrows. This can be caused by a variety of reasons, including the buildup of calcium in the heart valve, a birth defect, rheumatic fever, or radiation therapy. Approximately 250,000 people suffer from the most severe form of aortic stenosis.
Aortic stenosis symptoms are often mistaken for signs of "normal" aging and may cause you to experience the following:
• Chest pain or tightness
• Shortness of breath
• Lightheadedness, dizziness, and/or fainting
• Heart palpitations
• Swollen ankles and feet
• Difficulty walking short distances or exercising
• Sensations of a rapid fluttering heartbeat
• The need to sleep sitting upright instead of lying flat in bed
• Unable or unfit to engage in physical activities that you used to enjoy
If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor right away as they may be signs of a serious health issue.
The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association guidelines recommend treatment quickly once a person is diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis. Once people begin experiencing symptoms, studies indicate that up to 50 percent of those with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis will not survive more than an average of two years. These are indeed sobering statistics.
Fortunately there are treatment options available for aortic stenosis, which may help to extend and improve your quality of life. Therefore, it is important to recognize the symptoms.
Visit NewHeartValve.com to learn more about severe aortic stenosis and to locate a specialized Heart Team near you.
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Know Your Symptoms: Heart Attacks Don’t Always Start With Chest Pain
(NAPSI)—Forty-one-year-old Michelle Melvin was celebrating Mother’s Day with her family when pain shot through her jaw and up into her temples. Then her arms went numb.
At first, Michelle ignored the sensation and proceeded to fill her children’s plates with food. It wasn’t until the pain and numbness returned multiple times that she told her husband that something was wrong. Her family chimed in with the usual remedies: Maybe you’re hungry? Maybe you should lie down? Drink some water?
Michelle called Kaiser Permanente’s 24-hour advice hotline for guidance. After explaining the odd sensation in her jaw and arms, the nurse on duty advised her to go to the hospital immediately: Michelle was describing symptoms of a heart attack.
Knowing the symptoms of a heart attack saves lives, and according to Kaiser Permanente cardiologist Julie Sutherland, M.D., women often experience different symptoms than men do. “They might experience shortness of breath; they might experience decrease in their exercise tolerance; they might experience neck or jaw pain,” explained Dr. Sutherland. “It might not be the sort of crushing chest pain where people grab their chest like you see on TV.”
Michelle’s husband rushed her to their local Kaiser Permanente hospital, where doctors monitored Michelle closely. When Michelle’s tests came back, they proved the nurse right—Michelle had experienced a heart attack.
It is easy for many women who are busy with family and work responsibilities to ignore the first signs of a heart attack. Because Michelle followed her intuition and sought treatment right away, she fared well. Now fully recovered, she keeps her heart healthy by staying active and eating a heart-healthy diet that is low in cholesterol, saturated fat and salt.
Seeking help at the first signs of a heart attack can prevent death and shorten recovery time. For questions or advice about a specific condition, always consult with your physician. To learn more about heart health, please visit www.kp.org. Also visit Kaiser Permanente’s Care Stories blog to see a video about Michelle Melvin’s story at www.kp.org/carestories.
Symptoms of Heart Attack for Women
• Jaw pain
• Shoulder pain
• Left arm pain
• Shortness of breath
• Chest pain
• Burning or numbness in back or shoulders
Symptoms of Heart Attack for Men
• Pressure, tightness, squeezing, crushing sensation or intense burning feeling in the chest that lasts more than five minutes
• Shortness of breath
• Irregular heartbeat
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(NAPSI)—If you or someone you care about is among the 78 percent of people who get tension headaches, there’s health news you may be relieved to learn.
You may be able to participate in a clinical research study to assess the effectiveness of a new investigational over-the-counter medication.
You’ll need to:
1. Visit the study site three times.
2. Speak with the study nurse or doctor over the phone on at least four occasions.
3. Keep track of headaches, treat headaches with study medication, rate the pain intensity of your headaches and rate the pain relief of the study medication using an Electronic Diary.
The study doctor will make the final decision on your qualification. Participants get study medication and study-related medical care at no cost. They’re also reimbursed for their time and travel.
Learn more at http://tensionheadachestudy.com/.
Note to Editors: This article is of particular interest in Raleigh, N.C., Santa Monica, Calif., and Austin, TX, where the study is being conducted.
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How A Simple Colorectal Cancer Screening Saved A Life
(NAPSI)—For years, Al Prado ignored his doctors’ recommendations to get a colorectal cancer screening. Finally, during a routine physical, Kaiser Permanente’s Sue Williams, M.D., convinced Prado to take a simple at-home fecal immunochemical test—and she probably saved his life.
When Prado’s FIT results came back positive, Dr. Williams scheduled him for a colonoscopy. The results revealed that he had Stage 1 colon cancer.
“I am so glad that Dr. Williams talked me into sending that little sample,” said Prado, a Kaiser Permanente Colorado member. Because his cancer was discovered early, doctors were able to treat it before it progressed and spread to other parts of his body.
What Is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer means cells that aren’t normal are growing in your colon or rectum. These cells grow together and form polyps. Over time, some polyps can turn into cancer.
This cancer is also called colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where the cancer is. It is the third most common cancer in the United States. And it occurs most often in people older than 50. Regular screening, beginning at age 50, is the key to detecting polyps before they become cancerous.
Why Get Screened?
Many people with early colon cancer do not feel unwell or show any symptoms, so it’s important to get regular screenings to identify and diagnose colon cancer. “We know that colon cancer screening saves lives and this test is an easy way to get screened,” Dr. Williams said.
The FIT is simple to take and can be done in the privacy and comfort of your home. Use the kit to get a fecal sample and then mail it back to your doctor in the envelope provided. If there are traces of blood in the sample, your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy, as blood may be a sign of colon cancer.
Prado describes FIT as painless, quick and easy, admitting it was stubborn of him to disregard the doctors’ advice all those years. Now Prado is grateful. “I’m so thankful Kaiser Permanente found that cancer in me and took care of it all.”
Recent Kaiser Permanente research shows that tests like FIT can detect about 79 percent of colorectal cancers. Findings also show the test will correctly identify about 94 percent of patients who do not have cancers of the rectum or colon. See more at http://bit.ly/1cRC21w.
Are You Due For A Screening?
Your individual risks and lifestyle may affect when and how you should be screened for colon cancer, so speak with your doctor about your unique needs. For more information about general screening recommendations and other health-related topics, visit www.kp.org or partnersinhealth.kp.org, and see Prado’s story on Kaiser Permanente’s Care Stories video blog at http://bit.ly/1ir9ZJD.
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