Is Retirement Bad for Your Health?

Donna PhotoBy Donna Cardillo

Some of us may have heard stories of people who die within a year of retirement. In the modern world, the word “retirement” is being redefined and can mean a new beginning for many rather than the beginning of the end. There is an expression that says the day you stop living is the day you start dying.

There was a time that most Americans retired in their 60s and looked forward to some quiet leisure time in their “golden years.” They prepared to glide onto the front porch rocker and make birdhouses and knit blankets.

But with an increasing number of people living closer to 90 and even 100, traditional retirement isn’t always practical. I have heard from many people who retire in their 60s or 70s and then get bored after a few years of “leisure.” Many people today want to stay more engaged in life and work. And there is research telling us that that is a healthy thing to do.

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5 Ways To Be Anxiety Free

JillProShot_RBy Dr. Jillian Finker

Anxiety has become a very common health problem that is often treated with various medications. Although pharmaceuticals can be effective, they are not treating the underlying cause of the problem which can be as simple as sleep deprivation.

Here are 5 simple steps that you can take to help decrease anxiety:

1) First, sleep between 8 and 9 hours in order to help balance your stress hormones.

2) Keep the bedroom completely dark to ensure a good night’s sleep which elevates feel good hormones like melatonin.

3) Eat during the day every three to four hours; a snack or meal that contains protein. This will help to maintain optimum blood sugar levels which will help to balance stress hormones.

4) It is important to avoid stimulants such as chocolate and coffee especially after 3:00 pm because it will increase stress hormones and disrupt the circadian rhythm.

5) Most importantly incorporate some kind of exercise into your daily routine. Exercise helps to normalize the stress response and can be very effective in treating anxiety. It is important to include some kind of daily moving relaxation techniques such as yoga or tai chi that also help to decrease anxiety levels.
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The Alzheimer’s Epidemic

Beverly’s heart sank when she saw the fire trucks outside her mother’s house. Her mother, Eleanor, had started cooking dinner on the stove and forgot about it. It wasn’t the first time Eleanor had walked away from a lit stove, but Beverly knew it would be the last. Firefighters rescued Eleanor from the house unscathed, but the kitchen was a total loss.

That was four years ago. It was the moment Beverly had to accept her mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis was real.

Beverly is not alone. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are over 5 million Americans diagnosed with the debilitating disease. If scientists can’t find a way to slow the progression of the disease, the association’s latest study projects that number will soar to 16 million cases by 2050.

Another disturbing finding in the report - Alzheimer’s disproportionately affects women, both as patients and as caregivers. Women over 65 have a one in six chance of developing Alzheimer’s and men of similar age have a one in 11 chance of developing the disease.

The women who aren’t dealing with a diagnosis for themselves are often impacted in another way, having to take over the care of a loved one who has Alzheimer’s. The report finds there are more than twice as many women as men taking care of someone with the disease.
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Having a Relationship With Someone in Recovery

By Karen Nagy

The disease of addiction affects not just the addict, but also their friends, family members and partners, who may eventually exhibit their own, reactive behaviors as they cope with their loved one’s disease.  If the addict goes into a recovery program, they begin to learn how to manage their addictive behaviors in their sobriety.  It is also important for those in relationship with people in recovery to be aware of addictive behaviors that still may occur with their partner, as certain of these behaviors can be hard on a relationship.

Not having had prior knowledge of the above, I (a non-addict) dated two different men who were in recovery programs, and wondered why it sometimes felt like I’d entered an alternate universe. My second boyfriend in recovery threw me for a loop—some of his behavior was maddening and confusing to me.  For instance, he seemed to have no concept of time, and would arrive late, early, or not at all for a date.  I eventually came to realize that this behavior was related to addiction, but I didn’t know how or why.  I am a native of western PA (Hempfield Township) and was quite sheltered from the world of addiction in my youth and young adulthood.  After many years living in south Florida, I still didn’t know much about addiction, or recovery.

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Metamorphosis: Nourishing Mind, Body and Spirit

Melissa Migliaro

Melissa Migliaro

By Heather Holtschlag

What began as a dream for Mt. Lebanon resident Melissa Migliaro to create an environment that would provide a variety of diverse programs and services that were designed to nourish the body, mind and spirit has become a reality.

A certified personal trainer, Migliaro also intended to add other resources to compliment this vision that would benefit the community, such as counseling, financial management, healthy cooking, and mindfulness retreats, along with an array of special offerings, such as stress management seminars and workshops on how to achieve ultimate happiness.

And in August 2013, Metamorphosis was born.

Located in the heart of McMurray, Metamorphosis motivates individuals and organizations to transform mind, body and spirit and believes that there are many approaches to keeping the human spirit healthy and well.  Through education, group classes, guest speakers, special events, and much more, Metamorphosis was created to meet the needs of a diverse community.
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Excela Health Family Additions Maternity Center Hosts Infant Massage Training Event

Individuals seeking certification as an infant massage instructor are invited to enroll in a two-day course this spring offered by the International Loving Touch Foundation.

The class meets May 17 and 18 in the Memorial Conference Center, Ground Floor, Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital. Instructor trainer Diana Moore, MS, LMT, will lead participants through lecture, audio-visuals, discussion, demonstration and hands-on participation with dolls and through a parent-infant lab.

The program is specifically designed for nurses, massage therapists, early interventionist specialists, occupation and physical therapists, childbirth educators, social workers and other interested health care professionals who work with families.

During the training, Moore will cover such topics as the history and techniques of infant massage; massaging the well-baby, as well as physically challenged infants and children; benefits of massage and how it promotes infant development.
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Is This Coming to Your Neighborhood?

From the 2UMedical Website: “A modern rendition of the old fashioned house call ~ We come 2 U!  Home, office, hotel, or wherever you are.  If you live in the metro-Atlanta area or you’re passing through, allow us to help you with your medical needs. Schedule an appointment for wellness and health promotion, or for a cosmetic specialty service. Professional, discrete, convenient ~ contact us for an easy appointment. Quality health care has never been so hassle free!”

Smoking and Animal-Based Diets Are Leading Lifestyle Cancer Risk Factors in New Study

A new international study reported in Nutrients has found that certain lifestyle factors—specifically, eating diets high in animal products and smoking—have the strongest association with cancer rates compared to other risk-modifying factors.

The study used age-adjusted incidence rates for 21 cancers in 157 countries (87 with high-quality data) in 2008 with respect to diets and other factors, including per capita gross domestic product, life expectancy, lung cancer incidence rate (an index for smoking and air pollution), and latitude (an index for solar ultraviolet B doses, which enables the body to produce vitamin D). The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations provided dietary data back to 1980.

Read more of Deborah McBride’s article at the Oncology Nursing Society website.

Thinking of Cosmetic Surgery? 3 Financing Options

senior woman preparing for plastic surgeryU.S. plastic surgeons performed 1.6 million cosmetic surgeries in 2012, down two percent from a year prior, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Women are still the best customers of plastic surgeons, accounting for 91 percent of all surgeries that year. Facelifts, rhinoplasty and breast augmentation remain the most popular.

The average nose job goes for around $6,800, reports, while breast augmentation is slightly more affordable at $3,500 (or more, depending on where you live). Few insurance plans cover these types of procedures, which puts them out of the reach of most Americans. But that Hollywood figure and symmetrical face can be yours with a little creative maneuvering and perseverance. Consider these three financing options to come up with the money for your cosmetic surgery:


There are several websites dedicated to helping people get their cosmetic procedures funded. My Free Implants looks like a regular dating website when you first click on it, but it’s actually a hub for women to post profiles and hopefully attract the attention of men who are willing to pay for their new boobs. The company, established in 2005, claims it funded 1,000 breast augmentation procedures via its website through August 2012, according to a press release. Women are now allowed to solicit other procedures on the site as well. is another cosmetic surgery crowdfunding site. It started out as a website dedicated to helping soon-to-be brides and others attending major events raise money to help them look good for their forthcoming celebrations. Now it enables anyone to raise money for everything from Lasik surgery or orthodontics.
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Anyone Can Suffer a Brain Injury at any Time

We’ve grown accustomed to seeing sports stars suffer concussions live on TV – from Olympic snowboarders crashing into the ice when an airborne gymnastic stunt goes awry to NFL quarterbacks sacked by a few hundred pounds of opposing linemen. But did you know that 2.4 million people, including 475,000 children, sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the U.S. each year? And that 5.3 million people in the U.S. live with life-long disabilities as a result of these injuries?

During Brain Injury Awareness Month in March, trauma experts at Parkland Health & Hospital System want to help inform the public about risks, prevention and management of TBIs. According to Alex Eastman, MD, Interim Trauma Medical Director at Parkland, “Anyone can suffer a brain injury anytime, anywhere. And just as no two people are identical, no two brain injuries are exactly alike. A TBI is a blow or bump to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts normal brain function. It can be mild or life-threatening and can cause no side effects or result in long-term or permanent disability.”

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Beat the Heart Attack Gene Arms Readers With Action Steps For Taking Control of Their Heart Health

download (1)“All strokes and heart attacks are potentially preventable,” explain cardiovascular specialists Bradley Bale, MD and Amy Doneen, ARNP.  The key, they say, lies in achieving optimal medical care, which includes correctly identifying and treating the root causes of cardiovascular disease (CVD).  Bale and Doneen, founders of the Heart Attack & Stroke Prevention Center, have devised a new model for detecting and preventing CVD, the leading killer of men and women in this country.

In their new book, BEAT THE HEART ATTACK GENE:  The Revolutionary Plan to Prevent Heart Disease, Stroke, and Diabetes (Wiley General Trade, an imprint of Turner Publishing Group; February 2014), they share their proven, scientifically designed method, empowering people to take charge of their medical destiny and overcome cardiovascular perils.

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Health Department Reports Measles Case, Urges Self-Reporting by Contacts

The Allegheny County Health Department is investigating exposures to a measles case in Pittsburgh and urging self-reporting by individuals who may have been exposed to the case.

The Health Department has identified a case of measles in a person who was exposed to the disease in New York state. Additional testing is being conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and precautionary measures are being implemented to protect those at risk. Contacts in the person’s workplace and healthcare settings are being notified and efforts are under way to find others.

Additional exposures may have occurred when the person rode the northbound 64 Port Authority bus leaving Fifth Avenue and South Highland Avenue going toward Shadyside and Lawrenceville at 9:12 a.m. on Friday, February 14. Anyone who rode this bus between 9 and 11 a.m. on that day may have been exposed.
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The 7-Day Allergy Makeover

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 9.30.36 PMA Simple Program to Eliminate Allergies and Restore Vibrant Health from the Inside Out
By Dr. Susanne Bennett

Dr. Susanne Bennett, a full-time natural allergy specialist in Santa Monica, CA, has logged in over 100,000 patient visits over the past 24 years, ranging from children to working moms, auto mechanics to movie stars.  Sometimes they suffer from traditional symptoms, like hives, sneezing and headaches. Other times, her patients—like many people with unexplained symptoms—aren’t even aware that their joint pain, bloating, digestive problems, weight gain and insomnia, are allergy-related. Today, Bennett’s patients’ lives are transformed, and all without costly doctor visits, drugs, or surgery. Bennett gives patients the tools they need to be their own allergy detectives.

Bennett was a sports medicine doctor for seven years until she came to a difficult time in her life. When her son Cody was two months old, he developed allergies, which began with a constant runny nose, eczema and itchy hives that covered his body. He had gastrointestinal problems, anxiety, and then soon after his first birthday his sensitivities went deeper into his lungs. This caused severe asthma and anaphylaxis, a life threatening condition, wherein Dr. Bennett was advised to carry an EpiPen.

Over countless sleepless nights of studying medical books on allergies and environmental medicine—Dr. Bennett came to understand allergies in a natural holistic way, and to implement her findings. Today, Cody is 18 years old, a freshman at UC Berkeley and he is completely free of all allergy symptoms. And what began as a mother’s desperate fight to save her son evolved into a comprehensive program.
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Setting the Bar on Innovative Memory Care

By Brice Smith

Before last August, Mary spent much of her days sleeping. A lack of personalized attention and care left her with little desire to be active.

That changed when she moved last summer into The Grove at The Terraces of Los Gatos, a newly opened memory support community in Los Gatos, Calif.

“Now we can’t get her to go to bed,” says Steve Cheregosha, director of The Grove.

Mary’s daughter Geraldine says the move has been transformational. “We really have seen her blossom,” she says.

Cheregosha agrees. “Before, Mary wouldn’t say a word, and now she sings,” he says. “She does crafts, she loves music and she loves to dance.” He knows this first-hand, dancing with her in the living room at least once a day.
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Tips for Treating COPD in the Winter

John W. WalshBy John W. Walsh, President and Co-Founder of the COPD Foundation

This year’s winter months have been marked by record-breaking cold, putting many Americans in danger. In Pennsylvania, where COPD is the fourth leading cause of death — taking 6,000 lives every year — individuals with COPD should be extra cautious.

COPD-related exacerbations occur twice as often in winter than in summer, and while hospitalization rates are constant throughout the year, COPD triggers are more life threatening in winter.

Exacerbations include:

  • An increase in frequency and severity of coughing
  • Increased production of phlegm (sputum or mucus) when coughing
  • A change in the appearance of the phlegm
  • Increased shortness of breath

Always seek prompt medical evaluation for signs of a COPD exacerbation flare. Without treatment, people may experience life-threatening breathing problems. To prevent exacerbations and keep your lungs working at peak levels, take your medicines, use antibiotics for infections, and follow these important tips:
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