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How to care for your eyes as you age
(StatePoint) As we age, our bodies don’t perform as well as they once did, and vision is no exception. However, early detection and treatment of eye problems and diseases through an eye exam is the best way to protect your eyes and overall health. To help keep your eyes healthy for years to come, consider the following tips. ı Eat an eye-healthy diet. Fruits and vegetables, especially carrots and dark leafy greens, provide a hefty punch of key vitamins and a key vision protectingsubstance called lutein. Find some new recipes to make filling up on these nuStatepoint tritious choices both deliEarly detection and treatment of eye problems and diseases through an eye exam is cious and fun. the best way to protect your eyes and overall health. ı Maintain a healthy
weight. Did you know that by eating healthy portions, exercising regularly and doing your best to maintain a healthy weight, you can reduce your risk of cataracts? Conditions such as obesity and diabetes can lead to vision problems like cataracts. ı Protect eyes from blue light. Most people today spend a lot of time in front of digital screens, such as smartphones, computers and televisions. These devices emit highenergy blue light, which causes digital eye strain that can lead to headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes and even neck pain. Ask your eye doctor about the best options to help reduce eye strain.
ı Get an eye exam. A yearly eye exam is one of the easiest and most important ways to reduce your odds of vision loss and protect your eyes. And it can also help you monitor and protect your overall health. Whether or not you wear glasses, be sure to schedule this crucial appointment. A routine eye exam can help detect signs of serious health conditions, like diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure glaucoma and macular degeneration. Because more obvious symptoms of some health conditions don’t always appear until damage has already occurred, routine eye exams are a good way of Eyes, see page 3
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Traveling with pets? What to know (StatePoint) Do your upcoming travel plans include pets? Whether you’re flying to an exciting destination or hitting the road, these suggestions can make the journey easier for animals and humans alike. ı Prep your pet: Traveling can prove stressful to animals, so don’t catch your pet off-guard. Before leaving town, practice taking short rides in the car or spending time in a carrier. This will help your pet get used to the experience. If you haven’t already microchipped your pet, this may be a good opportunity to do so. This is also the time to ensure your pet’s collar is up-to-date with your current contact information. ı Pack right: Pack plenty of food and fresh water and a sufficient supply of any medications your pet is taking, as getting refills away from home could be difficult. To alleviate anxiety, bring along pet blankets and toys as reminders of home. Also pack a pet-specific first aid kit, which should include non-stick bandages, adhe-
sive bandages, towels, gauze and your veterinarian’s phone number. ı Follow rules: Do your research to ensure you’re following rules along the way and at your destination. Check airline policies, as well as hotel and campsite restrictions and accommodations. Travel across state or international borders requires a health certificate. Some locations require more information and documentation. Give yourself plenty of time to handle these details. Your veterinarian can be a good resource in learning what to expect. To that end, a check-up is also a good idea before a trip, as vaccinations or preventive medications may be needed before traveling. ı Safety first: While seatbelts alone can keep a dog from moving about the cabin of the car, they are not your safest option. To help protect pets in a crash, anchor a crate using a seatbelt or other secure means. When flying, opt to keep your pet in the cabin of the plane if possible. Temper-
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Traveling can prove stressful to animals, so don’t catch your pet off-guard. Before leaving town, practice taking short rides in the car or spending time in a carrier. This will help your pet get used to the experience.
atures and air quality in cargo can put a strain on pets. If your animal is too large to fly in the cabin, speak to your veterinarian about what you can do to keep your pet safe and relaxed in-flight. ı Prepare for anything: Even the best laid plans can hit snags. Be prepared for the possibility that your pet will become accidentally injured or develop an unexpected illness while traveling, prompting an un-
keeping tabs on what’s happening in your body. ı Make sure you have vision coverage. Do you have vision coverage through Keith Wallace, William Pfeifer, Medicare? Review your plan. Many people Nancy Ward & Theodore Johnson don’t realize that Traditional Medicare doesn’t cover routine eye exams, glasses or experienced attorneys contact lenses. Check out such affordable right here in Alpena options as VSP Individual Vision Plans, which offer comprehensive coverage with low out-of-pocket costs, savings on frames and lens enhancements such as progressives, and the ability to see the doctor you know and trust. Plans begin as low as $13 Your LOCAL Legal Resource in all areas of the law per month. with over 85 years in Downtown Alpena For more information or to enroll, visit GetVSPDirect.com or call 877-988-4746. Wills • Trusts • Estates • Medicaid Eligibility With a few key daily and annual habits, 114 South Second Avenue • Alpena you can make eye health the priority it 989-354-8242 • www.alpenalegal.com needs to be as you age.
Check airline policies, as well as hotel and campsite restrictions and accommodations. Travel across state or international borders requires a health certificate. planned trip to the vet. To prepare, consider solutions like the CareCredit credit card, issued by Synchrony Bank, which features special financing options (subject to credit approval) that
can allow you to focus on getting your pet better while making monthly payments. More than 200,000 health care providers and health-focused retailers, including
over 20,000 veterinarians accept the CareCredit credit card nationwide, which also sponsored the distribution of the tips in this article. Go to www.carecredit.com for pet healthcare providers closest to your vacation destination. Advance planning is key when traveling with a pet. With a little care, you can make your travels with furry friends safe, fun and memorable.
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Prediabetes and high blood pressure can be managed
(StatePoint) Even as chronic diseases like prediabetes and high blood pressure touch more and more Americans, physicians are urging patients to keep in mind that early detection is key, and that chronic disease can often be managed with lifestyle changes. “To confront our increasing chronic disease burden, patients must be aware of their risk for type 2 diabetes and hypertension,” says Barbara L. McAneny, M.D., president of the American Medical Association (AMA). “To prevent both of these chronic diseases, awareness and action are key.” As part of the effort to empower Americans to confront chronic disease, the AMA offers the following guidance. PREDIABETES While prediabetes -- the precursor to type 2 diabetes -- has serious health implications, people who are at risk can take steps to reverse the condition and prevent or delay type 2 diabetes through lifestyle changes like weight loss, healthy eating and increased physical activity. Unfortunately, not everyone is even aware they are at risk. Eighty-four million people in the U.S. are living with prediabetes, and of those that have it, 90 percent are unaware, ac-
cording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The AMA urges patients to find out their risk by taking a one-minute online test at DoIHavePrediabetes.org. In addition to the risk test, the site contains other resources and links. Developed as part of a first-of-its-kind joint national prediabetes awareness campaign launched in 2016 by the AMA, Ad Council, CDC and the American Diabetes Association, the campaign has helped hundreds of thousands of Americans learn their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The campaign website also features lifestyle tips and links to CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program, which connects visitors to a registry of CDC-recognized programs across the country. HYPERTENSION “With nearly half of all adults in the U.S. now living with high blood pressure and at increased risk of heart attack and stroke, more Americans should be monitoring their blood pressure levels and taking quick action to get their high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, under control,” says Dr. McAneny. Unfortunately, there are often no signs or symptoms of high blood pres-
5 life insurance myths busted
The AMA urges patients to find out their risk by taking a one-minute online test at DoIHavePrediabetes.org.
“To confront our increasing chronic disease burden, patients must be aware of their risk for type 2 diabetes and hypertension.” BARBARA L. McANENY, president, American Medical Association
sure, which is why it is often referred to as the “silent killer.” If left untreated, the condition damages the blood vessels and increases the risk for heart
attack, stroke and other serious conditions. To help understand and manage your blood pressure numbers, visit LowerYourHBP.org, a site
launched by the American Heart Association, American Stroke Association, and the AMA in partnership with the Ad Council. The site helps raise awareness of the life-altering consequences of uncontrolled high blood pressure and motivates people to work with their doctors on developing and committing to a treatment plan. By being proactive and knowing your risks, you can take control of your health.
(StatePoint) Life insurance. It’s something that most people need but a topic that no one wants to discuss, leading to many misconceptions. To help you make sense of it all, here are five common life insurance myths debunked: 1. I’m single; I don’t need life insurance. Most people think life insurance is more necessary for married people than for singles, according to the 2017 Insurance Barometer Study by Life Happens and LIMRA. But even if you’re single and don’t have children, you may still leave behind loved ones who would have to pay your debts. For example, if you have a cosigner on a loan, he or she would be responsible to pay it back. Life insurance can provide peace of mind by potentially paying off any remaining debt. Or, if you want to leave money to a Insurance, see page 5
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Some people suffer for years before seeing a doctor
(StatePoint) Abdominal pain? Diarrhea? An estimated 16 million Americans live with a type of irritable bowel syndrome called IBS-D (the D stands for diarrhea), and it affects both men and women almost equally. However, only 30 percent of individuals consult a physician about their symptoms. Why is that? “People who experience symptoms of IBS-D can feel like their symptoms are Statepoint not severe enough to seek An estimated 16 million Americans live with a type of irritable bowel syndrome called medical attention or that IBS-D (the D stands for diarrhea), and it affects both men and women almost equally. there isn’t anything doctors However, only 30 percent of individuals consult a physician about their symptoms. can do to help,” says Dr.
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charity, life insurance can help ensure your wishes are carried out. 2. It’s too expensive. Cost is one of the top reasons people don’t purchase life insurance. Sixty-six percent of participants in the Insurance Barometer Study said it’s too expensive. The same consumers overestimated the price by more than three times the actual cost. It can cost as little as $14.24 per month for a $250,000 policy at Erie Insurance, for example. That’s less than 50 cents a day. Millennials can get an even bigger break by purchasing while they’re still young. Premiums are typically less expensive since they’re generally healthier and have fewer assets. 3. My employer provides life insurance; I don’t need my own. While it’s great to have coverage through an
employer, it often isn’t enough. “A typical group life benefit is two times your annual salary, but you may need more like six to eight times your salary just to break even,” says Louis Colaizzo, senior vice president for Life at Erie Insurance. What’s more, if you take another job, your policy may not be transferable. 4. I’m a stay-at-home parent. If you’re not the breadwinner in your household, you may think your family doesn’t depend on your income. However, think about the value of all the unpaid services that would need to be replaced, such as childcare, household cleaning, transportation and cooking. A stay-at-home parent in 2018 contributes a salary of $162,581 annually, according to research by Salary.com.
5. I don’t have the time to research this or sign up. An insurance agent can quickly walk you through the process to identify what you need and your options, as well as explain the terms. Think of your agent as a trusted partner who will keep an eye on how your policy is keeping up with your life. Plus, the application at such providers as Erie Insurance only takes about 15 minutes, doesn’t include complicated forms and may not require doctor’s visits. Bottom line: most people could benefit from life insurance, but it’s not a onesize-fits-all scenario. The amount needed really depends on individual circumstances. To protect those who matter most, check with your insurance agent to make sure you get the right coverage.
Howard Franklin, vice president of medical affairs and strategy at Salix Pharmaceuticals. "But doctors want to hear about everything you are feeling so they can determine the underlying cause of your discomfort and help you find a treatment plan that is right for you.” A closer look at IBS-D Symptoms of IBS-D, which are different in everyone, include stomach pain and cramping, frequent diarrhea, gas, bloating and an urgency to use the bathroom. Many people experience feeling frustrated,
missing out on activities because of symptoms and avoiding situations where there is no bathroom nearby. IBS-D can be diagnosed based on symptom history, including: ı Abdominal pain at least one day a week during the last three months ı More than 25 percent of bowel movements are loose or watery (diarrhea), and less than 25 percent are hard or lumpy (constipation) ı Symptoms started at Gut, see page 6
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The ultimate dining out guide 10 tips for a healthier you
(StatePoint) Love dining out with family and friends? If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain your healthy lifestyle, a big part of being successful is having the freedom to enjoy the things you love and not feel deprived. Strike the right balance with this ultimate dining out guide from
Mandi Knowles, dietitian for South Beach Diet. 1. Be choosy. Don’t default to your neighborhood greasy spoon just for the sake of dining out. Try a new restaurant and make it a special occasion. 2. Go online before you dine. Most restaurants post their menus online. Make a
Continued from Page 5 least six months ago What could be the cause? While the exact cause of IBS-D is unknown, and people may have IBS for more than one reason, an imbalance in the usual numbers and proportions of normally healthy bacteria in the digestive system (the gut microbiota) has been found in many people with IBS-D. The microbiota help digest and absorb food and work with the immune system as a barrier against other microorganisms that can cause disease. “One study of 109 patients with IBS showed that 73 percent had an imbal-
ance in their gut microbiota, compared with only 16 percent of healthy people,” says Dr. Franklin. “Other potential reasons may include previous gastrointestinal infection or food poisoning, communication problems between the brain and digestive system, a family history of IBS and other causes.” Treatment options There is currently no cure, but there are treatments that can help with the symptoms of IBS-D. Lifestyle changes, such as eliminating certain foods and increasing exercise, could help. “Studies have shown that
game plan beforehand so you won’t be tempted by unhealthier options in-person. 3. Know your meal plan. Commit to ordering foods like lean protein and veggies steering clear of calorie bomb add-ons like heavy dressings and condiments. 4. Don’t show up starving. Don’t skip out on break-
between 50 and 70 percent of patients failed to respond to either fiber or antispasmodics as a treatment therapy,” says Dr. Franklin. “There are different types of prescription treatments for IBS-D. If one isn’t working, it’s important that patients ask their healthcare professional about trying a different medicine to find what treatment is right for them.” For more information, visit IBSDUpClose.com. If you’re experiencing symptoms of IBS-D, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about all of them. This is the first step toward helping find a treatment plan and getting relief.
Be choosy. Don’t default to your neighborhood greasy spoon just for the sake of dining out.
fast or snacks so you can splurge. Showing up overly hungry makes you likely to overindulge. Plus, skipping meals could lead to a blood sugar crash and subsequent snacking, throwing you off track. 5. Be the portion police. Restaurant portions are often two or three times the amount you need for any given meal. Consider sharing an entr e with a friend, saving half your meal for later, ordering from the kid’s menu or choosing a few healthy appetizers instead of a full meal. 6. Start green. Start with a side salad to sneak in a serving of veggies and prevent overdoing it once your main meal arrives. Hold the croutons and cheese and ask
for the dressing on the side. 7. Have it your way. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Seek out lighter preparations. Think steamed, broiled and grilled instead of breaded, battered and fried. Switch preparations, substitute ingredients, nix the butter or cream and if that’s not possible, ask your server to point you to healthier selections. 8. Make reservations. Nothing’s worse than waiting when you’re hungry. Before you know it, you’re seated and your desperate tummy is calling the shots. 9. Stay hydrated. According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, drinking just over two cups of water 30 minutes before
a meal helped dieters consume fewer calories and lose 44 percent more weight than those who didn’t hydrate before meals. Bring a water bottle in the car with you so you feel fuller when you arrive. 10. End with coffee. Skip dessert and enjoy a coffee, tea or espresso to give your stomach time to signal your brain that you’re full. Plus, you’re ending the meal with a pick that’s not packed with sugar, processed carbs and unhealthy fats. For more great tips, visit palm.southbeachdiet.com. With these simple strategies, you can visit all your favorite restaurants without any guilt or risk of sabotaging your healthy lifestyle.
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If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain your healthy lifestyle, a big part of being successful is having the freedom to enjoy the things you love and not feel deprived.
Do you have enough savings for planned and unplanned expenses?
(StatePoint) Nearly half of consumers have encountered an emergency expense in the past year, but when it comes to financially preparing for the unexpected, many fall short, according to CIT Bank’s new Summer Savings Survey conducted by The Harris Poll. What’s more, the survey also found that many consumers don’t have the savings to afford the planned expense of the vacations they take. “More than one in four consumers don’t save anything for unexpected events such as a home repair or health expense,” says Ravi Kumar, head of Internet Banking for CIT Bank. “Over another quarter report saving less than 5 percent of their monthly household income for emergencies.”
How are consumers making ends meet? Family and credit cards top the list of resources Americans rely on for financial support during emergencies. As for the planned expense of a vacation, approximately one in three (29 percent) report taking extreme actions to pay their way, including taking out a bank loan, going into debt, cleaning out a savings account, borrowing money or maxing out a credit card. “Americans can do more to ensure their lifestyles and savings priorities are aligned,” says Kumar. “But saving wisely is key.” To plan the monthly amount that you’ll need to save for peace of mind, utilize free resources, such as CIT Bank’s online calculators at bankoncit.com/calculators. Then, consider
looking for an account that will make your savings work harder and offer some flexibility. For example, with a Money Market Account from CIT Bank, consumers can earn interest on their savings while maintaining the option to make withdrawals at any time. With no monthly maintenance fees, a minimum account balance requirement, and transaction capabilities, consumers can save without sacrificing Statepoint their earnings throughout Nearly half of consumers have encountered an emergency expense in the past year, but the process. when it comes to financially preparing for the unexpected, many fall short Do you have enough savings for planned and unplanned expenses? When it comes to happy occasions, like vacations, as well as the unexpected, being prepared can safeguard you against zeroing out your account or going into debt.
(StatePoint) Over 1 million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease (PD), and while some symptoms are easier to see, such as tremors, stiffness and slowness of movement, there are a range of harder-to-detect non-movement symptoms that can have an impact on daily life. Recently, the Parkinson & Movement Disorder Alliance (PMDAlliance), a non-profit organization offering programming for those in the Parkinson’s disease community, surveyed over 650 people with PD as
well as care partners to better understand how nonmovement symptoms impact their lives and quality of life. Here are some of their findings and insights: 1. Parkinson’s disease affects more than motor function. Every person with Parkinson’s disease may experience different symptoms, both motor and non-movement related. In fact, nearly all (90 percent) of survey respondents experienced nonmovement symptoms, such as:
ı Sleep problems (84 percent) ı Cognitive challenges (75 percent) ı Anxiety (65 percent) ı Depression (55 percent) ı Hallucinations (41 percent) ı Delusions (24 percent) 2. Non-movement symptoms can be more challenging than motor symptoms. Of those who experienced, or reported that their loved one experienced, non-move-
4 surprising insights into life with Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s, see page 8
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ment symptoms, 84 percent felt that they have a negative impact on quality of life, and about half rated them as more challenging or much more challenging to live with than movement symptoms. In a survey question about their Parkinson’s experience, one care partner said, “I wish [other people] knew that Parkinson's looks different in different people. My spouse's motor symptoms are fairly well controlled, but his REM sleep disorder and dementia have made our lives incredibly challenging and exhausting.” 3. Daily living is impacted by hard-to-see symptoms. Parkinson’s disease changes how patients and their care partners think about the future and cope with day-to-day living. In fact, non-movement symptoms negatively impacted the ability to: ı Sleep (84 percent) ı Plan for future events
(76 percent) ı Socialize (71 percent) ı Make plans with family and friends (70 percent) ı Be intimate with their partner (68 percent) ı Complete household chores (68 percent) ı Run errands (67 percent) When people with Parkinson’s experience nonmovement symptoms, care partners are impacted, too. In fact, psychosis symptoms in patients with PD are a strong predictor of increased care partner burden, and those with hallucinations have a 2.5-fold greater risk for nursing home admission. 4. Reporting symptoms is crucial. Even though nonmovement symptoms are common, they are rarely reported. For example, more than half of patients will experience hallucinations or delusions associated with Parkinson’s over the course of their disease, however,
only 10-20 percent of patients and care partners voluntarily report these symptoms to their doctors. It’s important to report all symptoms to a doctor (usually a neurologist), as there are many different treatment options to address both motor and non-movement symptoms. “Those with Parkinson’s and their families are not alone. Talking to your doctor is just the start of getting support and treatment,” says Sarah Jones, CEO of PMDAlliance. “We urge the entire Parkinson’s community to continue initiating conversations about symptoms, especially the non-movement ones that greatly impact dayto-day living.” New educational resources about the onset and impact of non-movement symptoms of Parkinson’s can be found by visiting Pmdalliance.org and MoretoParkinsons.com.
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More than 1 million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease (PD), and while some symptoms are easier to see, such as tremors, stiffness and slowness of movement, there are a range of harder-to-detect non-movement symptoms that can have an impact on daily life.
A look at seniors and what may need to be done for future investments, wills, real estate, home care, etc.