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Cataracts: You can have your sight back

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Cataracts, a clouding of the eye lens, have been known and diagnosed since at least 29 AD, but the treatments, until the 1940s or so, have probably been worse than the problem.

With age, it is very common to suffer some vision loss from the clouding of the natural eye lens. According to the World Health Organization, age-related cataracts are responsible for 51 percent of world blindness. In North America, about 42 percent of people have lens changes between ages 42 and 64. That percentage rises to 91 percent by age 75.

Today, cataracts are repaired surgically by inserting a foldable plastic lens to replace the natural one. Surgery is very safe and effectively restores vision.

Symptoms of cataracts, according to the Mayo Clinic:

Clouded, blurred or dim vision

Increasing difficulty with vision at night

Sensitivity to light and glare

Need for brighter light for reading and other activities

Seeing “halos” around lights

Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription

Fading or yellowing of colors

Double vision in a single eye

Health

Three signs dentures need to be replaced

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Dentures are produced from high-quality materials that are carefully crafted to fit the unique contours of your particular mouth. Nonetheless, they’ll eventually need to be replaced. Here are three signs that it’s time for new dentures.

1. Your dentures are old
Although resilient, dentures deteriorate over time and small cracks and fractures may eventually appear. This is problematic as these crevices provide a home for bacteria to thrive. Oral infections, therefore, may result from using old dentures. On average, dentures last between seven and 10 years.

2. Your dentures are loose

When some or all of your natural teeth are gone, the underlying bone structure deteriorates and changes over time. It’s for this reason that dental professionals recommend having your dentures inspected and relined every two years. When changes in your jaw have become too drastic and looseness persists after relining, replacement becomes necessary.

3. You’re in pain
Dentures do more than replace teeth: they also maintain the jaw’s bone structure. However, bone loss and the gradual deterioration of dentures can impact the temporomandibular joints and lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD). The condition is characterized by jaw pain, headaches, tinnitus, earaches and facial nerve pain. A new set of custom-designed dentures can counteract this problem.

If your dentures have become old, loose or damaged, visit your denturist and get a new set made as soon as possible.

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Health

How to face the flu and common cold

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Precisely what is the dreaded “Flu”?

It’s an acute respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses A or B. While most people who get the flu recover in a week or two, others can develop severe and potentially life-threatening complications. According to the Mayo Clinic, those most threatened are children under five and adults older than 65, nursing home and long-term care residents, pregnant women up to two weeks postpartum, and others with weakened immune systems. So too are people with chronic illnesses or who are extremely obese.

If the flu strikes, stay home. You’re sick and highly contagious. Embrace your downtime and heal your body with it. Curl up on the couch, read, watch TV, and nod off to sleep anytime. Get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night–your body is fighting a virus.

Drink plenty of fluids for both the flu or a cold. Fluids hydrate your respiratory system and convert thick mucus into a liquid you can spit out. An expectorant will thin the mucus, too. For congestion, the Mayo Clinic recommends over-the-counter decongestant tablets like Sudafed and nasal sprays. Studies suggest they narrow blood vessels in the lining of the nose and help reduce swelling.

Remember that protein is essential to maintaining body strength. Among your best sources for it are lean meat, poultry, fish, legumes, dairy, eggs, nuts, and seeds.

For your cold, recent studies suggest that chicken soup may indeed degrade its symptoms. Nobody really knows why, but the evidence implies this time-honored remedy helps subdue inflammation. According to the American College of Chest Physicians, chicken soup appears to slow the movement of neutrophils, the white blood cells that harbor acute infection. Tests indicate the vegetables and chicken pieces combine to produce “inhibitory activity.”

If you try zinc for a cold, be sure to follow dosage instructions carefully: Harvard Medical School recommends 15-25 mg per day.

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Health

Mature Living: Sleeping in separate rooms – the key to a happier relationship

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Increasingly, long-term partners in a marriage or other type of primary relationship are moving into their own bedrooms. But this doesn’t mean the relationship is in trouble. To the contrary, sleeping in separate bedrooms can play a big part in bringing couples closer together.

Sounder sleep
Is there anything worse than sharing a bed with someone who snores? Or who can’t stop tossing and turning? Being kept awake by the nocturnal quirks of your significant other, or by a spouse who comes to bed late or gets out of bed early, can lead to tiredness, irritation and possibly arguments.

Even more significant is that lack of sleep can cause health problems such as high blood pressure, headaches and anxiety.

Sleeping in separate rooms can allow those in couples who experience sleep difficulties to get the rest they so desperately need. Irritability and arguments caused by fatigue start to disappear and associasted health problems begin to diminish.

Better sex
If you’re worried that sleeping in a different bedroom than your significant other will sabotage your sex life, don’t. It won’t disappear simply because you’re getting your shut-eye in the next room. In fact, many couples that make the move report that their desire for their partner increases. Couples can have “date nights” in one room or the other, and then sleep comfortably in their own bed at the end of the night.

If you’re having trouble sleeping because of your partner, moving into your own bedroom may be the perfect solution.

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Health

Glaucoma: what you need to know about this type of eye disease

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Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the United States, affecting over three million people. It’s been nicknamed the “silent thief of sight,” as noticeable symptoms often don’t appear until vision loss has already begun. However the subject merits some attention, especially on the part of older Americans, as the risk of being affected by glaucoma increases with age.

What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases that result in damage to the optic nerve, a part of the eye that carries visual information from the retina to the brain. Primary open-angle glaucoma is by far the most common type. This disease occurs when the eye no longer drains properly. The resulting back up of aqueous fluid, the fluid that hydrates the eyes, puts pressure on the optic nerve.

As mentioned, Glaucoma doesn’t typically present symptoms. It develops gradually and painlessly. The first noticeable symptom is the loss of peripheral vision. But as this occurs progressively, it can in fact go unnoticed for a long time.

Diagnosing and treating glaucoma
If it’s diagnosed early on, treatments involving medication, eye drops or laser surgery can generally prevent further vision loss. If left untreated, permanent vision loss is likely to occur.

Eye doctors are able to check eye pressure and perform other tests to diagnose glaucoma, even when it’s at its earliest stages. For this reason, regular checkups with an eye doctor are your best defense against this disease. If you’re over the age of 40, you should get a complete eye exam every one to two years.

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Health

This year, put your health first

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Most of us recognize that to be healthy we need to eat well, get enough sleep and exercise regularly. However, taking care of ourselves is easier said than done.

Do you need:

• Assistance on the path to recovery following an illness or injury?

• Guidance managing a health condition?

• A personalized health program to lose weight, improve your athletic performance, build up your cardiovascular health, lower your blood pressure or enhance your range of motion?

• Help staying motivated to work out?

Regardless of your age or current state of wellness, these professionals can help. This year, make your health a priority. Consult with experts that can help you today!

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Health

Three natural health products to make you feel your best

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Although they aren’t meant to replace prescribed medication or doctor-approved therapies, herbal supplements can be good additions to your care plan. Here are three that are worth knowing about.

Ginkgo Biloba
The leaves of the ginkgo biloba tree have been used for medicinal purposes since as far back as 2600 BC. The ginkgo leaf extract we use today has been shown, notably, to improve blood circulation, which allows the brain, eyes, ears and legs to function better.

Lemon balm

On top of being a sleep and digestive aid, this herb that’s part of the mint family has calming effects that make it useful for treating anxiety and restlessness. The oil or extract from lemon balm can be added to food and beverages.

Omega-3 supplements
A type of polyunsaturated fatty acid, omega-3 has a long list of potential health benefits, including relieving stiffness and joint pain, and lowering triglyceride levels—which translates to a decreased risk of heart disease. This fatty acid occurs naturally in plant sources such as nuts and seeds and in certain fish.

These and countless other health-promoting products, not to mention a huge stock of nutritional food and beverages, can be found at your local health food store.

Note that any product — natural or otherwise — strong enough to produce a positive effect, such as alleviating stress or pain, also comes with its risks and side effects. Be sure to consult with your doctor before taking herbal supplements, especially if you take medications, are pregnant or breast-feeding or have chronic health problems.

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