Active Senior Living

Simple strategies to help fend off disease and illness and promote an active, independent lifestyle.

Worried About Just Getting Through the Day? You May Have This

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People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) don’t know how to stop the worry cycle and feel it is beyond their control, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants.

Does the thought of just getting through the day make you anxious? If you persistently and excessively worry about all sorts of things, you may have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

People with GAD have a difficult time controlling their worry. They may anticipate disaster and may be overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

GAD is diagnosed when a person finds it difficult to control worry on more days than not for at least six months and has three or more symptoms.

Symptoms include:

  • Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless, unsatisfying sleep)

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Don’t Let Arthritis Slow You Down: Tips For Managing It

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types of arthritisArthritis refers to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. It is the leading cause of disability in America. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Symptoms may come and go. They can be mild, moderate or severe. They may stay about the same for years, but may progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs.

By 2040, an estimated 78 million (26%) US adults ages 18 years or older are projected to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The risk of arthritis increases with age and arthritis is more common among women than men.

5 ways to manage arthritis

Physical or occupational therapists can be very helpful in teaching you how to modify activities and accomplish daily tasks more easily in order to manage arthritis. But there are simple things you can do for yourself, starting today, reports Harvard Medical School. Here are five of them:

  1. Keep moving. Avoid holding one position for too long. When working at a desk, for example, get up and stretch every 15 minutes. Do the same while sitting at home reading or watching television.
  2. Discover your strength. Put your strongest joints and muscles to work. To protect finger and wrist joints, push open heavy doors with the side of your arm or shoulder. To reduce hip or knee stress on stairs, let the strong leg lead going up and the weaker leg lead going down.
  3. Plan ahead. Simplify and organize your routines so you minimize movements that are difficult or painful. Keep items you need for cooking, cleaning, or hobbies near where they are needed (even if that means multiple sets of cleaning supplies, one for your kitchen and each bathroom, for example).
  4. Take advantage of labor-saving devices and adaptive aids. Simple gadgets and devices can make it easier to perform daily activities such as cooking, gardening, or even getting dressed. Long-handled grippers, for example, are designed to grasp and retrieve out-of-reach objects. Rubber grips can help you get a better handle on faucets, pens, toothbrushes, and silverware. Pharmacies, medical supply stores, and online vendors stock a variety of aids for people with arthritis.
  5. Ask for help. People with arthritis often worry about the possibility of growing dependent on others. But only a very small percentage of people with arthritis become severely disabled. Still, the emotional burdens of managing arthritis can be considerable. Educate family members and friends about how arthritis affects you, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

How To Protect Your Knees from Pain and Injury

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knee painAs you age, you are likely to experience knee pain. Knee pain is often caused by osteoarthritis, which is the wearing aware of knee cartilage. Once that cartilage is gone, the bones rub against each other causing pain, stiffness and swelling. You may find it harder to get around and maintain your same level of mobility.

Knee pain is common but not always inevitable. There are many things you can do to reduce wear and tear on your knees and the pain that usually precipitates knee replacement surgery.

The following tips are from emedicine.net:

Stay slim

-Staying slim reduces the forces placed on the knee during both athletics and everyday walking and, according to some medical research, may reduce osteoarthritis.

-Keeping your weight down may also reduce the number of ligament and tendon injuries for similar reasons.

Keep limber, keep fit

-Many knee problems are due to tight or imbalanced musculature. Stretching and strengthening, therefore, also help to prevent knee pain.

-Stretching keeps your knee from being too tight and aids in preventing both patellofemoral syndrome and iliotibial band syndrome.

-Strengthening exercises particularly of the quadriceps.

Exercise wisely

-If you have chronic knee pain, consider swimming or water exercises.

-In water, the force of buoyancy supports some of our weight so our knees do not have to.

-If you don’t have access to a pool or do not enjoy water activities, at least try to limit hard pounding and twisting activities such as basketball, tennis, or jogging.

-You may find that your aching knees will act up if you play basketball or tennis every day but will not if you limit your pounding sports to twice a week.

-Whatever you do, respect and listen to your body. If it hurts, change what you are doing.

-If you are fatigued, consider stopping; many injuries occur when people are tired.

Here are some additional anti-aging defenses for the knees from Harvard Medical School’s HealthBEAT:

Increase range of motion. “Most people’s joints get stiffer with age, and there’s clear evidence that people with better motion have fewer symptoms, especially if they can straighten the knee. So it’s important to work on getting the knee straight,” says Dr. Lars Richardson, an orthopedic surgeon with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. He recommends working with a physical therapist to improve range of motion. For an exercise to try at home, he suggests sitting on a bed or floor, putting a pillow under the ankle, and using your leg muscles to force the knee down gently.

In addition he says some activities can make osteoarthritis symptoms worse, such as standing on a hard surface or squatting for a long period (while gardening, for example). He recommends wearing cushioned shoes or gel inserts if you have a job or hobby that involves standing on hard surfaces, and use a low stool to sit on while gardening.

Avoid high-impact activities such as jogging and aerobics classes that involve jumping. Go for non-impact exercises, such as indoor or outdoor cycling or using an elliptical trainer, he adds.