Diabetes | Memory Concern | Obesity | Multiple Sclerosis | Menopause & Mobility Impairment
– What is it?
Diabetes is a disease in which your body does not produce or properly
use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar (or
glucose), starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.
When insulin is absent or ineffective, the sugar in your bloodstream
is too high and is not being used by your cells to make energy. High
sugar levels in your bloodstream can lead to changes in your blood vessels
and nerves. Diabetes is known as a silent disease; you can have diabetes
for many years and not know it. It is during this time that you can
develop complications such as vision loss, high blood pressure, heart
disease, stroke, kidney and foot problems.
Am I at risk for diabetes?
Diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans,
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Your risk for developing diabetes
also increases if: you are over age 45, have a sedentary or inactive
lifestyle, or are overweight. Other risk factors include: having high
blood pressure (at or above 135/85); a family history of diabetes; or
having diabetes during pregnancy or having a baby weighing more than
9 lbs at birth. If you have any of these characteristics, you should
see your physician every three years to be tested for diabetes.
changes can I make to my lifestyle now?
You can lower your risk of developing diabetes by keeping your weight
in control; staying active, and eating low fat meals that are high in
fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods.
should I contact my physician?
Contact your doctor if you have any of these warning signs: being very
thirsty; urinating often, blurred vision, or significant weight loss
more information on diabetes:
lapse, loss, concerns, problems, impairment – What is it?
on our memories to function in everyday activities. Many older adults
notice memory lapses and worry about incidents of forgetting. Although
the majority of elders will not experience significant memory loss,
there is an increase of cognitive impairment that accompanies aging.
Cognition covers a much broader ground than just memory.
- Am I at risk?
important to think about your memory as containing many aspects. In
addition to memory, cognitive function includes aspects such as attending,
judging, learning, perceiving, problem-solving, reacting, socializing,
and thinking. We know that genetics play a part in memory impairment,
as does the restriction of blood flow to the brain seen in strokes
and vascular dementia. New findings also indicate that women with
high cholesterol levels showed more problems with memory and thinking.
If you believe you are losing memory function, particularly that which
affects your ability to pay bills accurately, cook meals at home,
or take medication properly, you may want to see a professional gerontologist
or geriatric physician.
- How can I change my lifestyle to reduce my risk?
on your state of health. You may be interested in prevention (enhancement) if you see no signs of memory loss. If you are experiencing
some memory impairment, (diagnosis), you may be interested in strategies
for the loss or to strengthen existing memory. If you are experiencing
memory disability (treatment), you may be interested in investigating drug
therapy. It is important to know that many scientific studies of cognitive aging
are currently in progress in the U.S. and elsewhere around the globe. It may be beneficial
to enroll in a NIH-funded research study where state-of-the-art technology and
treatments are being tested. Information may be found at: http://www.alzheimers.org/trials/. Stress, anxiety, or depression can make a person more forgetful. This
forgetfulness is usually temporary and goes away when the feelings
fade. In addition, prescription and over-the-counter medications may cause
- Where can I get more information?
First, the National Institute on Aging’s (NIA) 1-800-222-2225
telephone number and website at http://www.nia.nih.gov
both are very helpful. The NIA maintains a publication list, one of which is Age Page, a series of topics relevant to health and aging. Second, the Alzheimer’s Disease Education
and Referral (ADEAR) website at http://www.alzheimers.org
contains many dimensions such as the Combined
Health Information Database, and an Alzheimer’s Disease Bibliographic
Database Thesaurus and Complete Term Index.
- When should I contact my physician?
individuals fear developing a cognitive impairment such as dementia
or Alzheimer’s disease. Memory problems can have other causes,
such as hearing loss, poor diet, adverse reactions from medications,
and excessive alcohol consumption. Symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s
are: becoming lost in familiar places, asking the same questions repeatedly,
neglecting personal safety or hygiene, and getting disoriented about
time, people and places. Because memory problems can have varying
causes, it is important to have a diagnostic evaluation by a geriatrician,
so that reversible or treatable conditions can be addressed.
Obesity: Questions and Answers
From an Expert:
Dr. Lorraine Walker,
Associate Director, and Director, Theory, Research Methods and Technology Core, Center
for Health Promotion Research, and Principal Investigator on a major
research project funded by the National Institutes of Health, National
Institute of Nursing Research, to examine overweight mothers in
the postpartum period.
- Obesity: What is it? Am I overweight?
Many of us want to lose weight to look better or more like the latest fashion
model. For health reasons, though, we need to ask ourselves two things:
- Is my
weight in a range that may have negative consequences for my health?
- Is my
body fat located in spots that are worrisome from a health point of
To answer these questions, you need to know your body mass index
and your waist circumference.
To learn how to estimate your body mass index (BMI), click on the
following link, and fill in your height and weight: http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi
waist circumference, measure your waist with a flexible, non-stretchable
measuring tape at the smallest point below the ribs and above the navel.
Here is a website with a graphic representation of the growing problem of obesity in the U.S.:
- Am I at-risk?
body mass index--BMI--is 25-29.9, you are in range of weight currently
defined as overweight. If your BMI is 30 or over, you are in a range
currently defined as obese. If your waist circumference is more than
35 inches (women) or 40 inches (men), you may be at increased risk
for health conditions associated with obesity, such as diabetes or
To find out more, check out definitions of "obesity" and
its health-related risks, at the website of the American Heart Association: http://220.127.116.11/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4639
out how many different health problems stem from obesity, visit the
American Obesity Association website:http://www.obesity.org
- How can I change my lifestyle to reduce my risk?
Many people believe that weight lost is always regained. But
new research of people who have lost weight and kept it off gives
hints on how to be successful, so see http://www.lifespan.org
For strategies to help you lose weight, check out the National
Institutes of Health at:
http://win.niddk.nih.gov/ Where can I get more information?
You can get more information about obesity from
You can get more information about nutrition and weight at:
Your can get more information about excercise, physical activity
and weight at
- When should I contact my physician?
Many of the health problems that are associated with obesity(such
as high blood pressure or diabetes) are slow in onset so we do not
notice them readily. Thus, it is a good idea to see your health
care provider on a regular basis for preventive care. Call or talk
with your health care provider about how often you need a check-up
based on your age and health circumstances.
If your health care provider is not familiar with overweight management,
mention the following resource, a Practical Guide from NIH:
If you would like to do something in your community about weight,
see the Surgeon General's Call to Action:
(P.S. Let us know if you found this website page on obesity helpful
by emailing us at: email@example.com)
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Multiple sclerosis is a progressive disease of the central nervous
system. Common problems that people may experience with MS include:
fatigue, numbness and tingling, weakness, muscle stiffness or spasms,
tremors, slurring speech, difficulty swallowing or walking and problems
with balance. Some individuals may also experience changes in their
vision, memory, bowel, bladder or sexual function, and unpredictable
changes in emotions. Although these are some of the most common
symptoms people with MS may notice, everyone is different. Therefore
people with MS can experience any of these problems, and some may
not have any of these problems. For more information about the problems
that people with MS experience you may want to look at the following
link provided by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society - http://www.nationalmssociety.org/Symptoms.asp
- Who is at risk for MS?
Multiple sclerosis is usually diagnosed in persons between the
ages of 20 to 50 and affects women about two to three times more
frequently than men. While some genetic factors may increase the
likelihood of developing MS, there is not proof that MS is inherited.
This disease does occur more in people of Northern European descent,
but people with other backgrounds including African American, Asian,
and Hispanic have been diagnosed with MS as well.
do lifestyle factors affect MS?
to healthy choices in lifestyle can help to keep people with MS healthy
and prevent problems associated with inactivity. Recent research has
indicated that stress management and staying physically active are
especially important for persons with MS. Some suggestions for a healthy
as active as possible, both mentally and physically.
high fat foods and controlling portion size to prevent weight gain.
- Include variety in your diet - whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
plenty of rest and conserve energy for important activities.
meditation or relaxation exercises.
hot humid weather and hot showers.
for help when needed.
can I get more information?
If you would like more information about multiple sclerosis the following
websites may prove helpful:
Menopause and Mobility Impairment
As part of Decisions for Transitions, a study funded by the National Institutes of Nursing Research, Heather Becker and Janet Morrison developed Hormone Therapy: Is it the right choice for me? For women with mobility impairments. Produced after the discontinuation of the Women's Health Initiative, the booklet provides as much specialized information about menopausal health issues for women with mobility impairments as was available in summer 2003. It also includes brief case studies describing how women with mobility impairments might go about weighing information about taking hormone therapy. Its purpose is to prepare women for an informed discussion with their health care provider about the pros and cons of taking hormone therapy or alternative therapies for managing menopause.