Caregivers’ Tips for a Healthy Smile

Most caregivers know good oral health is important at every age and is a clear indication of their patient’s overall health. Some things caregivers should look for are signs of change in the patient’s mouth. Has there been recent tooth loss, discoloration or dryness? Often, seniors may experience those conditions, which affects how they digest their food or indicates other health problems.

SEED for the Holidays

The holiday season is a time of joy, but for many, it’s a challenging time as well. When the body holds too much tension and emotional energy, it can affect the immune system, making a person more prone to illness, as well as depression. And while we all want to enjoy this time, if we’re not proactive in taking care of ourselves, we may not feel like  celebrating.

Regain Your Posture as You Age

Forty years ago, medical exercise specialists Debbie and Norm Compton met in Hawai‘i and made fitness the key element in both their personal and professional lives. Personal training, stunt work, injuries and their continual quest for excellence compelled them to write Stacking: Your Skeletal Blueprint for Posture. In their book, the Comptons share techniques for regaining posture as you age.

Sugar is Bad for Your Teeth & Mind

I love sugar! Sugar makes desserts, candies and drinks taste wonderful! The bacteria in our mouth love sugar, too. Eating foods that contains sugar instantly activates bacteria for 20 minutes. As bacteria devour the sugar, their waste is acid. Acid is one of the few things that can destroy your enamel and may contribute to dementia.

Healthy Smiles Can Prevent Alzheimer’s

It’s no secret that poor oral health can lead to many overall health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes and other ailments. But studies show poor oral health may also lead to an increased risk of dementia. People who have gum disease for 10 years or more are 70 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who have healthy gums.

Healthy Heart, Happy Brain

According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, chronic heart disease factors like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity can quicken the pace of cognitive decline.
High blood pressure and diabetes can accelerate shrinkage of the brain, especially affecting the brain’s memory center, the hippocampus. When combined with other cardio risk factors, the rate at which cognitive decline advances, leading to dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Using Light to Improve Brain Health

One would expect that an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) would be  pharmacological. And yet, 99 percent of AD drug trials fail. The last time the FDA approved an AD drug was 2003. Acupuncturists might focus on neuroregeneration using neuroacupuncture. In a similar fashion, a new modality — photobiomodulation (PBM) — has been building its case as a credible treatment alternative for AD. Rather than targeting a single biological mechanism, it helps the brain repair itself.

The Benefits of Pilates

Joseph Pilates truly was ahead of his time with his holistic approach to exercise. “Contrology [now called ‘Pilates’] is designed to give you suppleness, natural grace and skill that will be unmistakably reflected in the way you walk, in the way you play and in the way you work,” Pilates said. “You will develop muscular power with corresponding endurance, ability to perform arduous duties, to play strenuous games,to walk, run or travel for long distances without undue body fatigue or mental strain.”

Body-Proofing II – Motion is Lotion

Last month, we emphasized the importance of exercise to combat the natural aging process. Specifically, exercises like Pilates, Tai Chi and Yoga provide coordinated full body workouts with an emphasis on core muscle strengthening, balance and fluidness of movements. But what if you have pain in your knees or back making even simple movements like walking difficult?

The Art of Pressure

Have you ever instinctively held your forehead or temples when you’ve had a headache? Everyone at one time or another has used their hands to hold tense or painful places on the body. This is the healing touch of acupressure. Acupressure is an ancient Chinese healing art that uses the fingers to press key pressure point to release muscular tension and promote blood circulation and the body’s natural healing abilities.

Body-Proofing Combats Aging

Growing older is inevitable but the rapid physical deterioration we call “aging” does not have to be.  In fact, the aging process can be slowed down or in some cases reversed with a consistent exercise program. Numerous studies show adults who make regular exercise a part of their lifestyle are biologically younger by almost 10 years than those who do not exercise.

Ward off the Flu

It’s the holiday season, meaning most of us will be out and about more often than usual. Shopping malls, restaurants, parties, church services— wherever we are, it’s a good idea to remember that crowds provide the perfect environment for influenza viruses (the flu) to spread by coughs and sneezes.

Dr. Rio Banner, MD: Health Visionary

In Hawaii, we live an average of 81 years— longer than almost anywhere else in the world. But when it comes to successful aging, the key is to not only live longer, but to live longer as a healthy individual. The way to better health is taking care of ourselves as we age, which helps prevent the decline of our physical and mental abilities. And although any doctor would agree with that, the health care industry has traditionally emphasized treatment over prevention.

Fit for Life

The objective at Club 50 Fitness is simple and direct: to improve the lives of people who are 40 years of age and above with fitness training and overall good health. As many Club 50 members will tell you, exercise is medicine! Just ask Rose, who says that exercise has been the best thing for her mentally and physically. “The days I’m tired or stressed, I have learned to let it go with exercising. I feel so much better after I leave,” she says. “I have maintained my weight for four years by just exercising. Everyone here is friendly, including the staff.”

About Hypertension

Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood against the walls of your arteries. Blood pressure readings include two numbers, such as 120/80 (say “120 over 80”). The first number is the systolic pressure. This is the force of blood on the artery walls as the heart pumps. The second number is the diastolic pressure. This is the force of blood on the artery walls between heartbeats, when the heart is at rest.

Exercise: A Panacea for Heart Disease

Exercise is the closest thing to a complete remedy — a panacea — for heart disease. The heart fuels the entire body. If the heart gets too weak, it cannot sufficiently provide nutrients to organs and the body slowly deteriorates. Unfortunately, this is quite common for people in hospice care. Thankfully, prevention is readily available.

Going to the Dentist After COVID-19

Hopefully, the COVID-19 virus is now under control and life is back to normal. Regardless, one of the lessons we learned through this pandemic is better personal hygiene. Dentists were asked to help contain the spread if the virus by limiting their care to only emergency visits. The main concern was patients spreading it to each other while in the office. Just as concerning was the direct exposure of the virus to dentists and their staff — and possible spread to their families.

Mindfulness & Memory

If you have ever forgotten why you walked into a room or you find yourself making small mistakes, you’ve probably chalked it up to an aging brain. Age is only a minor contributor to this condition. The main factor is how you utilize your brain. Learn how to guide your brain instead of following or trying to catch up to it and you’ll find you not only recall things easier, you’ll enjoy the moment more and feel better overall.

Tighten Your ‘Internal Belt’

Core training is one of the most popular concepts in the field of fitness and physical therapy. Core stability training is often associated with strengthening your abdominal muscles — the “abs.” The ab muscles play a very important role, but the core also includes multiple muscles in he mid-lower back, pelvic floor, hips and buttocks. This ring of muscles, or the “internal belt,” holds us up during the day, reducing falls, decreasing back pain and improving posture and even bladder control.

How to Protect Yourself Against Coronavirus

Persons over 55 with chronic diseases can die from the flu and COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. These diseases enter your lungs through your eyes, nose or mouth. Most people pick up viruses left on surfaces by infected persons. Flu bugs can live on surfaces, clothing and towels for up to two weeks! Since we touch our faces up to 90 times a day, breaking that habit will help keep us healthy.

Hydrating Helps Prevent Falls

It is part of our practice to ensure our patients drink ample water during a physical therapy session. The fact that water counts for 95 percent of the brain, 82 percent of blood and 73 percent of muscle tissue explains how important it is to be hydrated.  Dehydration can pose serious health problems for older adults, especially with Hawai‘i’s hot, humid weather. Dehydration  symptoms that increase fall risk are dizziness, weakness, fatigue, confusion and low blood pressure.

Proper Use of a Foam Roller

The popularity of the foam roller has been growing so steadily in the world of fitness that it is often used as a cure-all for many different conditions. It is a great tool for increasing mobility of the spine and soft tissue if used correctly. If it’s not used the right way, you could be doing more harm than good.

Brain Exercises

There are many ways of honing your mental sharpness and helping your brain stay healthy. You could work on jigsaw puzzles, listen or play music, learn a new language, use your non-dominant hand or even socialize. Doctors often use specific neurological exams to assess the integrity of the central nervous system. One could take these same neurological exams and use them to exercise or to rehabilitate specific areas of the brain.

Are Dental Implants an Option for You?

The field of dental implants is one of the fastest growing areas in dentistry. In 2019, over 3 million implants were placed in the United States and that number is predicted to grow in 2020. Dental implants are very popular due to the high success rate of the procedure (over 90 percent) and the results of these implants are very beneficial.

Neuroplasticity: Key to Stroke Recovery

Many people who suffer from a stroke lose hope and resign themselves to their “new normal.” But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are some important recovery ideas. Heal the brain, heal the body. When the brain is deprived of oxygen-rich blood during a stroke, it leads to brain damage. Although this damage cannot be reversed, it is possible to train other parts of the brain to take over specific tasks.

Are You Golf-Ready?

Golf is a popular sports activity. Unlike most sports, it can be played throughout the golden years, if you can stay in shape and avoid injury. The American Physical Therapy Association says that older golfers often forget that while their passion for the game remains high, their bodies have aged. As we age, we lose flexibility, muscle mass and strength. Because the golf swing’s extreme bending and twisting movements are not natural for the body, senior golfers are at a greater risk of injury.

Alternative Strategies for Sleep Apnea

About 50 to 70 million people in the U.S. are chronic sleep apnea sufferers; more than 85 percent of them are undiagnosed. The Mayo Clinic defines sleep apnea as a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Sleep apnea sufferers may snore loudly and feel tired, even after a full night’s sleep.

Tips for Healthy Knees

The majority of patients who come into my office do not realize they lock or hyper-extend their knees while standing or walking. They often do this out of habit or because of weakness. Generally, locking your knees transfers stress from supporting muscles to the knee joint, compressing it. The result is decreased mobility and blood flow and increased friction that can lead to pain or wearing away of the joint.

Protect Yourself With a Flu Vaccination

Due to the weakening of the immune system, people 65 years and older are at high risk of getting seriously ill from the flu. During most flu seasons, adults 65 years and older experience the greatest burden of severe flu and complications. Between about 70 and 85 percent of flu-related deaths in the United States occur among people 65 years and older. And people 65 and older account for between about 50 and 70 percent of the flu-related hospitalizations. Vaccination is highly effective in preventing flu and its potential complications.

Healthy Aging & Hearing Loss

As we age, our hearing often loses its edge. Clinical research suggests that hearing loss can have a negative effect on some key measures of healthy aging as cognitive, physical and social functioning decline. A study by the National Institute on Aging indicates that people with untreated hearing loss are significantly more at risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Engage Your Abs for a Strong Core

Whether your goal is to reduce low back pain or slim your waist, adding exercises to your workout that engage your core can make a significant difference. The most important, yet often overlooked muscle that must be strengthened, is the transverse abdominis (TA) which is the deep, inner abdominal muscle that begins at the spine and wraps around your waist.

The Art of Falling

Falling can become a major threat to our quality of life. According to Hawai‘i’s Department of Health, it is the No. 1 cause of fatal injuries in seniors. The DOH reports that one in three people over 65 will fall this year. While there are a number of precautions you can take, you can also protect yourself by learning how to fall safely.

Exercise: A Panacea, Pt. 2: Movement/Safety

Although the medical system is driven by pain, preventative approaches are becoming more prevalent. For seniors, it is essential that falls are prevented. Any fall can cause severe damage and breaking a bone (usually the hip or hand/wrist) is quite common. The scary statistic is that one out of every five people will die within one year of breaking their hip.

Are You Aging Too Quickly?

Walk into any gym and you will see it full of baby boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964. The oldest of the baby boomer generation is now 73 and the youngest is 55. But age alone does not define the actual physical condition of a person. There are two ways to age as defined by the Functional Aging Institute:1) Primary Aging and 2) Secondary Aging.

Great Partnerships

When you think of great partnerships, what comes to mind? Abbott and Costello? Sonny and Cher? Cecilio and Kapono? How about your brain and your ears? Your hearing health depends greatly on how well your brain and ears work together. Your brain counts on the ears to collect sounds and deliver them to be interpreted as meaningful information. It is this partnership that enables us to understand and communicate with others.

What is Renewable Cleaning?

Renewable cleaning is a smart “Green Cleaning” program that applies to general sanitation but focuses on the use of eco-friendly practices and products to create a healthier home environment. It utilizes safe and friendly natural cleaning products that are non-toxic, biodegradable and sustainable. Water is a key source for renewable cleaning because it is a favorable nonpolluting resource that is readily available.

Prevent Pain While Sitting at Your Desk

The reality is most of us sit too much. A study published by Microsoft revealed that U.S. workers spend an average of seven hours per day on a computer — more hours than they sleep at night! Sitting at a desk for hours on end can result in increased muscle tension at the neck, back and shoulders. And if it’s not addressed, over time it can lead to spinal pain, headaches and even more serious symptoms —pain, tingling or numbness down the arms. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy behind your desk:

OPTING FOR… ORGANIC

Last year in the United States, sales of organic food and products topped $48 billion — that’s up almost 10 percent over the previous year, according to the Organic Trade Association. And while this growing industry is showing no signs of stopping, organic farming is hardly a trend; it’s how our parents and grandparents tended to their crops and cattle. Then in the 1950s, pesticides and artificial fertilizers were introduced — creating what is now called “conventionally-grown” food. So what’s the difference and why does it matter?

Exercise – a Panacea. Part 1: Arthritis

A healthy joint is like two smooth pieces of paper sliding against each other. Arthritis, joint damage, is like adding crinkles to the papers, with the friction causing pain and problems. However, in severe cases, and even with bone-on-bone degeneration, having no pain with “activities of daily living” is easily obtainable with a lot of hard work and the right treatments.

Benefits of Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing is beneficial for your physical and mental health as it reduces stress, lowers heart rate and blood pressure. For those with pulmonary disease, such as COPD, the diaphragm often becomes weakened causing it to work less efficiently. A physical therapist experienced in pulmonary rehab can teach proper breathing to reduce anxiety, slow breathing rate, increase full oxygen exchange, and improve physical activity.

Know Stroke Warnings and Call 911

Stroke remains Hawai‘i’s third leading cause of death and a leading cause of major disability. However, 80 percent of strokes are preventable. And those that do occur, in many cases, are treatable if symptoms are quickly recognized and treatment is quickly sought. Hawai‘i EMS data shows, however, that almost 50 percent of Hawai‘i stroke patients aren’t being delivered to hospitals by EMS ambulances.

The Fascial Self-care Revolution

Fascia is the collagenous soft connective tissue that binds all of your body’s other structures. Defined as the largest organ system of the body in 2012 by the Federative Committee on Anatomic Terminology, it is now the most studied tissue in human movement science. Here is what current research is learning about this amazing tissue that, like the mesh on a garden hose, needs to withstand pressure from the inside  (by exerting pressure itself) and also stay flexible.

Yoga: The ‘Ki’ to Mastership of Your Life

Our daily lives are filled with so many distractions that it’s easy to feel scattered and stressed. When you are chronically stressed it becomes harder to function properly, increasing your stress even more and often inviting disease. To help manage their stress, many people have turned to yoga and mind-body training because its healthy effects on body and mind are now widely recognized.

Healthy Aging and Hearing Loss

As we age, our hearing often loses its edge. Clinical research suggests that hearing loss can have a negative effect on some key measures of healthy aging as cognitive, physical and social functioning decline. A study by the National Institute on Aging indicates that people with untreated hearing loss are significantly more at risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Rehab for Breast Cancer Recovery

October is National Physical Therapy Month and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Physical therapy may not be the first healthcare field that comes to mind when someone is undergoing cancer treatment, but physical therapists can play an integral role in promoting a speedy recovery and in assisting a return to previous levels of activity following surgery and radiation/chemotherapy treatments.

Stepping Down Pain Free

Knee pain while descending stairs is often due to the force on your kneecap (patella), which studies show is 3.5 X your body weight. If you weigh 140lbs, the force on your patella can be as much as 490lbs! That is a lot of stress on your knee, and the pain will be magnified if you have weak muscles or degeneration of the cartilage in the joint.