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senior health

The Herald Press

Sunday, May 16, 2010 | 19

Keeping Active

‘Roadmap to 100’ doctor says it’s a matter of diet, exercise By SAM MCMANIS sacramento bee

From the title of Dr. Walter Bortz’s new book -- “The Roadmap to 100: The Breakthrough Science of Living a Long and Healthy Life” — you might presume the noted gerontologist has uncovered some miraculous anti-aging formula.

“Fitness is a 30-year age offset. A fit person of 70 is like an unfit person of 40.

Dr. Walter Bort Author of “The Roadmap to 100: The Breakthrough Science of Living a Long and Healthy Life”

In a way, he has. It’s called exercise and diet. Old school as that may seem, the Stanford University professor of medicine presents solid, peerreviewed research that confirms the belief that fitness — not antioxidant supplements, or hormone therapy, or the latest “super fruit” — is the key to extending and improving life. “Fitness is a 30-year age offset,” Bortz says. “A fit person of 70 is like an unfit person of 40. And the galling thing is, it cost us $2,000 per person per year (in medical bills) to pay for people being unfit.” A proponent of personal responsibility for health and a frequent critic of mainstream medicine’s diseaseoriented focus, Bortz, 80, is himself a model of healthy behavior.

We talked to Bortz about “The Roadmap to 100” (Palgrave MacMillan, $25, 246 pages) and longevity. Q: I read a statistic from your book that shocked me: By the middle of this century, we’ll have 6 million centenarians. Does that mean people are healthier, or are they just holding on longer thanks to medical science? A: Oh, I give medical science a very small partition of it. Q: Are people healthier now than before? A: The data clearly show old people are staying healthier longer. Q: A good thing, right? But don’t you also write in the book that we live in a “bifurcated society” in which we’ve got the really healthy and really unhealthy, and the healthy pay for the rest? A: I lay a lot of the blame on health illiteracy. If you’re smart, you’re going to live a long time. Because now we know. It’s not genes and not doctors. It’s how you live your life. We are a ... wonderful ensemble of genes. All these genes are little electric switches that must be tuned. The tuning of it is exercise. When you’re fit, everything tunes correctly. If you’re not fit, everything goes to hell. Q: Exercise and nutrition -- is that going to be a hard sell to someone always looking for the quick fix? A: Sure. We, as doctors, can treat disease. We can charge you for it. We want things we can send you a bill for. And they can bill you for

Annie Laurie Taylor celebrates her 103rd birthday May 5 in Dallas, Texas.

surgery and pills. But if you come into my office, and I go over you and say the best thing for you is to get on a really good exercise program, you’re going to stalk out because I didn’t give you the easy answer. Q: Why aren’t doctors trained more to deal with health rather than disease? A: They get paid for having you sick. They want you to bleed. I just lectured 600 doctors at Kaiser. They are all fat. Q: So, if doctors themselves can’t stay healthy ... A: Listen, health is a control thing. You have to own it. You must ingest health and make it a part of all your decisions. I’m a student of the human potential. How long can we live? A hundred years. That’s our birthright. But it can be a good 100 years. It’s not lying around in some desolate nursing home.


Q: So longevity for its own sake is not a good thing? A: Clearly, no. It’s quality of life. When I wrote my first book in 1991, called “We Live Too Short and Die Too Long,” I asserted that 100 was our birthright. That was out on a limb back then. A lot of people said, ‘This guy’s blowing smoke.’ Now we recognize that we ought to live to be 100 if we don’t (mess) it up. Q: “Disuse syndrome,” you write, should be recognized as the real leading cause of death. You even say that newspaper obituaries should say, “He died of disuse syndrome,” rather than heart disease. Is a sedentary lifestyle really such a killer? A: The data exist. There’s an article from (the Journal of the American Medical Association) about 10 years ago called “Actual causes of death”: that sitting on a

couch kills you. Everything rots out before you go into the doctor and say, “Give me a pill.” Q: How do you combat disuse syndrome in people who may not be motivated? A: It’s I-O-I. (The first) “I’’ is information. People have to know it first. You have to be informed that, if you’re thin and vigorous, you’ll live longer. Second is opportunity. You need to live such that you have access to good food, not damned fast food. Lastly, incentive. I’m working on the government to make it worthwhile for people to be healthy rather than sick. Q: Subsidies for having lower cholesterol levels and higher fitness levels? A: Yes! Come in and I’ll do a health exam. If you’re healthy, I’ll charge you 10 percent less. It’s a reward. Q: What about the ways other than exercise and nutrition? Everything from gene therapy to dietary supplements to super fruits. Is it people wanting to get the quick fix? Or is science trying to sell us product? A: It’s money. I’m at Stanford. So high-tech. They all want their laboratories. They all want to find something lucrative that helps people. I was at a lecture there a year ago on angiogenesis — new blood vessels. The speaker said, “With these viral vectors, you get the first blush of a new vessel!” I went up to him afterward and said, “You get the whole thing from exercise.” He says, “Yes, but there’s no money in

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senior health

20 | Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Herald Press

Visiting nurse finds satisfaction in housecalls By JEFFERY KURZ AP Feature exchange

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Cheshire. One of the challenges for visiting nurses “is that they’re out in the field independently and they need the clinical ability to make those judgment calls,” Ockenfels said. Nurses of all types were celebrated last week. National Nurses Week ran until Wednesday, May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale. VNA HealthCare’s Cheshire branch expanded services after the closing of MidState VNA a year ago. VNA HealthCare is part of Hartford Healthcare, of which MidState Medical Center is also an affiliate. The Cheshire VNA office serves Cheshire, Meriden, Wallingford, Southington, Middletown and Durham. The VNA has 10 case managers, including Hollman, as well as home-care aides, physical, occupational and speech therapists, and hospice nurses. Thanks to funding in part f rom the United Way of Meriden-Wallingford, the

VNA uses a telemonitoring system that allows patients in the home to take their own vitalsign measurements, including blood pressure and blood oxygen level, and transmit results on a daily basis. Hollman visited two patients using the system on her rounds last Monday. Alexander Muniz is a 71-yearold city resident who underwent double-bypass surgery in 1998. “Ever since, I’ve been going downhill,” he said. As it turns out, Hollman went to high school with one of his nieces, and over the past year he has taken to calling Hollman his granddaughter. Each morning, Muniz weighs himself, takes his blood pressure, pulse and blood oxygen levels. That information is sent by the telemonitoring system to a cardiac specialist in Waterbury. During her weekly visits to his home, Hollman listens to his breathing, paying close attention to the fluid build-up in his lungs, which, he says, tends to sound like Rice Krispies.

We toss around the term “hearthealthy” a lot, but what does it really mean? Here are seven simple steps to follow to keep heart disease at bay: 1. Get Active: Strive for 30 minutes a day of physical activity. 2.Control Cholesterol: Schedule regular cholesterol screenings and

eat foods low in cholesterol, low in saturated fat and free of trans fat. Maintaining a healthy weight is also important. 3. Eat Better: Eat a wide variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups. 4. Manage Blood Pressure: This is one of the most important risk factors for heart disease, which


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Hollman discharged another city resident with congestive heart failure, which is when the heart can no longer pump blood sufficiently to the rest of the body. For 81-year-old Jackie Logan, the fluid buildup is in her ankles. “Have you been keeping your feet up?” asked Hollman. “No, I’ve been out gallivanting,” Logan said. Hollman has been visiting Logan for a little more than a year, following Logan’s gall bladder surgery. Logan suffered a heart attack in 1999. After a year, Hollman felt Logan was ready to be on her own. “She’s stable — she knows her meds, she knows what she’s doing,” Hollman said. “That’s what we tell the doctors when we discharge them.” “Are you going to miss me?” she asked. It was clear Logan would, though she didn’t appear unhappy to see the telemonitoring equipment packed away. “Oh, yeah,” she said. “I like being on my own.”

Health tips from the American Heart Association

One Lake St., New Britain, CT

Dr. Edward P. Fitzpatrick



MERIDEN — When she was a nurse working the night shift at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, Sarah Hollman found there was too much time to spend worrying about her boyfriend, who is now serving his second tour of Army duty in Iraq. “It would be all I would think about,” said Hollman, who has a “keep my soldier safe” bumper sticker on her car. Last July, Hollman made the switch from hospital nurse to visiting nurse, working out of VNA HealthCare’s Cheshire offices. “It keeps me very busy; I feel like I’m doing more,” said Hollman, a 2000 Platt High School graduate, who received her nursing degree about five years ago from Goodwin College. Her boyfriend, Jonathon Simon, who graduated from Maloney High School in 2000, is set to complete his Army service in August. Hollman, 28, has wanted to

be a nurse for as long as she can remember. “I always never wanted to be anything else,” she said. “I never had any other thought for a job.” She said she likes “taking care of people in the home where I grew up. I like being close to them and taking care of people.” As a visiting nurse, she also finds patients are often more willing to open up about their problems when they’re in their home. She likes that they can come to depend on her at least as much as they do their own physicians. A typical caseload for Hollman is about 30 patients. Visiting nurses are playing an increasingly important role in health care. The continuing trend is toward moving patients out of hospitals, and the associated costs, and back home as soon as possible. It means patients are released from hospitals sooner, and sicker, said Michelle Ockenfels, a registered nurse who is regional director for VNA HealthCare in

everyone can control with proper care. 5. Lose Weight: In this country, 76.9 million men and 68.1 million women are considered obese. Obesity is a huge risk factor for heart disease. 6. Reduce Blood Sugar: Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease when compared to adults without diabetes. Keeping an eye on blood sugar can help reduce your risk. 7. Stop Smoking: Everyone knows it’s bad, so stop now! Food plays a major roll in keeping your heart healthy and your weight down. Be sure you’re taking in lots of high-fiber and low-calorie foods such as fruits and veggies. Here are more specific guidelines: Eat fish high in omega-3 fats at least twice a week. Eat less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day. Choose lean meats and poultry without the skin, and don’t cook or prepare them with added fats (i.e. butter or frying oils).

senior health

The Herald Press

Sunday, May 16, 2010 | 21

Older women need one-hour workouts to fend off flab Associated Press

CHICAGO — Rev up the treadmill: Sobering new research spells out just how much exercise women need to keep the flab off as they age — and it’s a lot. At least an hour of moderate activity a day is needed for older women at a healthy weight who aren’t dieting. For those who are already overweight — and that’s most American women — even more exercise is called for to avoid gaining weight without eating less, the study results suggest. “We all have to work at it. If it

The study underscores some inevitabilities about aging. Men and women often put on weight, partly because their metabolism slows down.

were easy to be skinny, we would all be skinny,” said John Foreyt, a behavioral medicine expert who reviewed the study but wasn’t involved in the research. Brisk walking, leisurely bicycling and golfing are all examples of moderate exercise. But don’t throw in the towel if you can’t do those things for at least an hour a day. Even a little exercise is good for your health even if it won’t make you thin, the researchers said. Their findings are based on 34,079 middle-aged women followed for about 13 years. Most were not on calorie-cutting diets. The women gained an average of almost 6 pounds during the study. Those who started out at a healthy weight, with a body mass index less than 25, and who gained little or no weight during the study consistently got the equivalent of about an hour of moderate activity daily. Few women — only 13 percent — were in this category. Few already overweight women got that amount of exercise, and the results suggest it wasn’t enough to stop them from gaining

weight. The results echo what gymfuls of middle-aged American women see every time they step off the treadmill and onto the scale. “Talk to any group of women and they all say the same thing,” said Janet Katzin, 61, a “slightly overweight” marketing director from Long Island who exercises for an hour twice a week. Thin as a younger adult, Katzin said the pounds started creeping up after she had her two children in the 1980s, despite exercising and watching what she eats. “It’s just extremely frustrating and discouraging.” The study appears in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association. Only women were studied, so the researchers from Harvard’s Brigham and Women Hospital said it’s uncertain whether the results would apply to men. The research “reinforces in a nice, clear way the idea of how difficult it is to maintain a healthy weight in our society,” said Foreyt, of the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. The results bolster a 2002 Institute of Medicine report that emphasized the importance of balancing diet and exercise and recommended at least 60 minutes daily of moderate activity for adults and children. But the study also indicates that the 2008 U.S. guidelines urging about a half-hour of exercise five days a week won’t stop weight gain while getting older without cutting calories, said Dr. I-Min Lee, the study’s lead author. The study underscores some inevitabilities about aging. Men and

Janet Katzin, 61, of Jericho, N.Y., uses a chest press to exercise at X-Sport gym at the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, N.Y

women often put on weight, partly because their metabolism slows down. But that probably has less to do with it than people’s natural tendency to become more sedentary, without changing their eating habits, Lee said. Hormonal changes in menopause also can make women prone to weight gain, especially around the belly. Women who don’t want to take on so much physical activity will

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need to cut back on calories to prevent more pounds. But Lee said they should do so in ways they can live with permanently, not with drastic diets that are doomed to fail. Still, Lee emphasized that the benefits of exercise extend beyond what you see in the mirror, helping keep the heart healthy and protecting against chronic disease even if you don’t get enough activity to lose weight. The researchers analyzed data on women who took part in a longrunning federal study. Participants were 54 on average at the start and periodically reported how much they exercised and weighed. They also reported eating habits at the start, but not throughout, a limitation the authors acknowledged. Lee said the women’s eating habits were thought to be typical of American women who aren’t dieting. Dr. Howard Eisenson, who heads Duke University’s diet and fitness center, said it’s likely some women underestimated what they ate and overestimated how much they exercised, which could have skewed the results.

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Senior health clinics offered

The New Britain Health Department conducts a senior wellness clinic Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the New Britain Senior Center, 55 Pearl St. Services include blood pressure and blood glucose monitoring, medication management and general health assessment. The clinic is staffed by health department nurses and is free of charge. Call (860) 826-3464 for information.


Todd Mona, East Hartford Police Ofcer with Physical Therapist, Jacob Hunter.

Acute care hospitals treat specic medical issues on a short-term basis. But if you suffer from a long-term illness or debilitating injury, you need the care of a hospital committed to ongoing treatment and rehabilitation: Hospital for Special Care. Treating the patient, not simply the diagnosis is what makes us unique among long-term acute care hospitals. We offer each patient and their families the opportunity to take an active part in rebuilding their lives. It’s the reason the top acute care hospitals in the region refer their patients to us for continued care and rehabilitation. To learn more, visit

Senior Health

The Herald Press

health briefs WACOAL HOSTS LOCAL FI(GH) T FOR THE CURE™ EVENT AND CONTINUES THE WACOAL PROMISE: Step into the ring with Wacoal to help knockout breast cancer with Fi(GH)t for the Cure™! Participate in any Fit for the Cure event to receive a complimentary bra fitting, in Wacoal or b.tempt’d intimate apparel, from a Wacoal fit specialist and sign up to receive a monthly email reminder to do a self breast exam. For every woman that participates, Wacoal will donate $2 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure for breast cancer research and community health programs. Wacoal will also donate an additional $2 for every Wacoal bra, shapewear piece or b.tempt’d bra purchased at these events. To date, Wacoal has donated more than $2.5MM to Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. Research shows that eight out of 10 women are wearing the wrong sized bra. Women should be professionally fitted for a bra once a year to ensure their bra size has not changed as a result of fluctuations in their body. The next fitting event will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 19 at Macy’s — Westfarm Mall, Farmington. (860) 561-3030.

in central Connecticut. The program, VNACC Breast Health Project: A Multicultural Approach, is funded by a grant from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Connecticut Affiliate. For information, contact Shonya Harrison, (860) 826-4516.

FREE HEARING TESTS: As a public service, free hearing tests are offered in office or home, by calling Basset Hearing Aid Center, located at 747 Farmington Ave., New Britain, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call Lynn for an appointment at (860) 224-1617. A copy of your audiogram can be sent to your physician at no charge.

FREE EXERCISE/SUPPORT PROGRAM FOR BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS: Moving Forward is an eight-week program for women recovering from breast cancer surgery. The program includes personalized attention with an exercise professional, and a chance to share experiences with other survivors. Yoga, stretching, and massage therapy will be emphasized. This program was developed in consultation with physicians to best meet the needs of women in recovery. It has been funded in part by the Connecticut affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Contact the New Britain YWCA for further information (860) 225-4681, ext. 252.

PANIC ATTACKS, ANXIETY AND STRESS DISORDERS: Learn how to manage and control panic attacks, anxiety and stress. Effective tools that make a difference are taught. To participate, call the national headquarters at (732) 940-9658. For more information, call or visit FREE MAMMOGRAMS: Free mammograms are available to area women over age 40 and who have little or no insurance and who reside

FREE DENTAL CLEANINGS FOR SENIORS 60 AND OVER: The Central Connecticut Health District (CCHD) has received a grant from the North Central Area Agency on Aging to provide FREE dental cleanings for seniors 60 and over Tuesday, May 18 from 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Wednesday, May 19 from 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. The dental cleanings will take place at the Berlin Senior Center, 33 Colonial Drive, Berlin. Call for an appointment at (860) 828-7006. These appointments are for residents of Berlin, Newington, Rocky Hill, and Wethersfield only. ALZHEIMER’S SUPPORT GROUP: Alzheimer’s Support Group meetings are held the fourth Tuesday of every month at 3:30 p.m. at Andrew House Healthcare, 66 Clinic Drive. Questions, call Kathy Mulrooney (860) 826-2812.

HEALTHY ELDERS CLINICS: THE VNA of Central Connecticut Healthy Elders Clinics locations and times. All clinics are free. Kennedy Apartments, 300 E. Main St., third Wednesday of every month, 9 to 11

a.m.; Nathan Hale Apartments, 55 Tremont St., second Thursday of every month, noon to 2 p.m.; Elihu Burritt Apartments, 75 North St., second Thursday of every month, 9 to 11 a.m.; Perlas Hispanic Senior Center, South Congregational Church, third Wednesday of every month, 9 to 11 a.m.; Security Manor, 470 Burritt St, third Tuesday of every month, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.; Graham Apartments, 107 Martin Luther King Drive, first Wednesday of every month, 9 to 11 a.m.; School I Apartments, 50 Bassett St., first Thursday of every month, 9 to 11 a.m.; Regency Apartments, 55 Spring St., first Tuesday of every month, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.; School II Apartments, 161 S. Main St., first Thursday of every month, noon to 2 p.m.; Ribicoff Apartments, 67 Martin Luther King Drive, second Wednesday of every month, 9 to 11 a.m.; Erwin Home, 140 Bassett St., New Britain, fourth Wednesday of every month, 9 to 11 a.m.; D’Amato Apartments, 40 Chestnut St., second Tuesday of every month, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.; Knapp Village Apartments, Pike and Upton streets, third Thursday of every month, 9 to 11 a.m. Call (860) 826-4517 for more information. BLOOD PRESSURE SCREENING: The VNA of Central Connecticut Inc. provides blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar screenings on the third Wednesday of each month at Beacon Pharmacy, 543 W. Main St., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Blood pressures are free; a nominal fee is charged for cholesterol and blood sugar screenings. No appointment is required. Information: (860) 8264517. PARKINSON’S EDUCATION & SUPPORT: The third Tuesday of each month, people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers may attend a presentation and support group discussion from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the Hospital for Special Care, 2150 Corbin Ave., Conference Center, lower level. There is no charge. Contact Sheila Therriault, (860) 827-4772, stherriault@hfsc. org

Celebrating Our Success “These people don’t come any nicer. What I have observed is that everyone helps everyone. No one person is responsible. The entrie staff shares the duties. I’m going home today because of the wonderful care I received at Andrew House”. Pauline Buinickas 02/10


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22 | Sunday, May 16, 2010

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