Healthy Us: Good Shoes, Good Balance, OTC Hearing Aids

Best shoes for knee arthritis

Experts vary in what they recommend for knee arthritis – some say wear flat, flexible shoes while others advise stiff, stable shoes with good cushioning. A randomized trial in Australia has found that 58 percent of those wearing stable shoes achieved a clinically significant reduction in pain, compared with 40 percent wearing the flexible shoes.

Avoiding weight gain over the years

• Move your body in a fun way every day. Work to accumulate 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week.

• Eat more plants. Vegetables have phytonutrients and fiber that help with regulating your metabolism and immune system.

• Sit less. Make sure to get up off your chair every hour and move around. If you have diabetes or prediabetes, get up every half hour.

• Eat fewer processed foods. Don’t buy them. Try to eat foods that don’t come in a package or a can. (Source: Prevention Magazine)

Good balance: Use it or lose it

Falls and car accidents (unintentional injury) are the seventh leading cause of death in older adults. While you can’t control other drivers, there’s plenty you can do to reduce your fall risk, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

Start at home: get rid of hazards and add anti-slip equipment (grab bars, nonslip treads, night lights, handrails). Then ask your doctor if any of your health problems or medications could increase your fall risk. Ask if physical therapy or an assistive walking device might improve your balance. Wear supportive shoes with laces.

And hone your balance skills by challenging your balance safely. Stand on one foot when you brush your teeth in the morning, then stand on the other when you brush at night — holding the sink counter for balance. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. And exercise!

Prevent cracked heels

• Keep your feet covered in Winter

• Moisturize feet regularly with thick moisturizers (avoid petroleum jelly)

• Cover your feet after moisturizing so you don’t slip.

• Treat calluses immediately with a cream containing urea. Or soak your feet and use a pumice stone

OTC hearing aids this year?

This may be the year that safe, inexpensive over-the-counter hearing aids become available. The FDA has issued safety and labeling rules which are expected to be finalized soon. OTC devices will have the same fundamental technology as traditional hearing aids for people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.

Aspirin no longer recommended to prevent heart attack/stroke

If you don’t already have heart disease and are 60 or older, don’t start taking low-dose aspirin to prevent a heart attack or stroke. If your age is 40 to 59, discuss with your doctor if you should consider an aspirin regimen. These are the latest recommendations from The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued in October. The risks of serious bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract and brain cancel out its use for those without heart disease. However, it still makes sense for those with heart disease, according to the American Heart Association.  

Blood pressure? Aim low.

Previously, experts recommended older people should keep their blood pressure below 140 mm Hg. The latest advice is to bring systolic blood pressure below 130 mm Hg. And those whose blood pressure is above 150 mm Hg will almost always need at least two medications as a single dose will only lower blood pressure by an average of 5 to 10 points, according to a publication by Harvard Health. Discuss with your doctor.

Rethink your supplements

AARP reports on a November 2020 Harvard study that revealed “no clinically measurable benefits” to consuming multi-vitamins. However, older people do sometimes need specific supplements like B12 and D.

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