As we get older we have a whole new host of health concerns:

Osteoarthritis Treatments Evaluated

Researchers from the University of Virginia recently evaluated the treatment options for osteoarthritis, a chronic and progressive disease that damages the joints and surrounding tissue. Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of disability in the U.S., and most treatments for it focus on the symptoms rather than the cause. These symptoms include pain, restricted movement, and muscle wasting. The researchers examined completed clinical trials of treatments and found that:

Exercise benefits patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis;

Physical therapy significantly reduces pain and should be an early choice;

Acetaminophen reduces pain by 30%;

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs reduce pain by 30%, with side effects;

Glucosamine, chondroitin, avocado, and soybean are as effective as Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs;

Surgery is an option for patients with severe disease of the hip or knee.

And:

Drug Helps Alzheimers Patients Prolong Normal Lifestyle

People with Alzheimer’s disease gradually lose the ability to perform daily routines like bathing, dressing, grooming, etc. But recent studies show that a drug already known to improve memory may also help Alzheimer’s patients hold on to those abilities for an extra year or more.

The drug, Aricept, has been shown to improve language and short-term memory skills. But two recent studies moved into the realm of long-term benefits and discovered that patients treated with Aricept were much less likely to experience a significant loss of function over a period of at least a year.

This may not seem like much, but for most Alzheimer’s patients, the ability to live a more-or-less normal life for as long as possible matters more than just about anything. If patients begin treatment early, before those basic life skills have deteriorated, the drug may help preserve that ability longer than without treatment.

According to the studies, patients who used Aricept were 38% less likely to lose the ability to perform one or more the following daily activities in at least a year: using the restroom, eating, dressing, grooming, bathing, and walking.

But, because we have embarked upon ambitious studies such as these:

Landmark Study Recruits Third Generation

The Framingham Heart Study (FHS) – which helped give the world the term “risk factor” to describe behaviors or conditions that increase the chance of disease – is about to enter a new phase by recruiting its third generation of participants. FHS scientists expect the Third Generation Study to yield even more breakthroughs about factors that promote the development of cardiovascular and other diseases.

Begun in 1948, FHS is part of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLIB). The Third Generation Study will include about 3,500 grandchildren of the study’s 5,209 original enrollees. In 1971, the Framingham Offspring Study was created, adding 5,124 more men and women-children of the original participants-along with their spouses.

“The expansion to a third generation opens up the chance to explore important new questions about disease risk, especially those related to genetics,” said NHLBI Director Dr. Claude Lenfant.

We are lucky enough to learn about such revelations as these:

High-Normal Blood Pressure Increases Cardiovascular Risk

High-normal blood pressure significantly increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure, according to a new study supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The adverse effects of high-normal blood pressure held for both men and women and at all ages, although it was especially high for those age 65 and older.

The study found that those with high-normal blood pressure had a 1.5- to 2.5-times greater risk of suffering a heart attack, a stroke, or heart failure in 10 years than those with optimal blood pressure.

While earlier research had shown that high-normal blood pressure increases the risk of cardiovascular death, this study included the risk of nonfatal cardiovascular events. The findings support clinical practice guidelines for lowering of high-normal blood pressure.

High-normal blood pressure is a systolic pressure of 130-139 mm Hg and/or a diastolic pressure of 85-89 mm Hg. About 13% of Americans have high-normal blood pressure. By contrast, about 23% have hypertension, which is a systolic pressure of 140 mm Hg or higher, or a diastolic pressure of 90 mm Hg or higher.