Filtered Reviews on Yelp???

Posted on July 28, 2012

In addition to this posting,  please feel free to check out our Testimonial Videos on http://www.constantcompanions.net

At Constant Companions, we are dedicated to providing the best in care and service. All of our clients and their families have unique needs and circumstances that we address individually, with care.

3 Filtered Reviews for Constant Companions Home Care
Note: The reviews below are not factored into the business’s overall star rating.

0 friends
1 review
Peter M.
Encinitas, CA
3/24/2011
“Constant Companions” has been a blessing in providing quality home care for my 92 year old father over the past two years. His primary caregiver, as well as the relief caregiving support staff, have always been professional, kind, and courteous with my Dad during this stage of his life. Ms. Gabriela Brown and her staff have created a wonderful company that provides a valuable service for the families so that our loved ones can remain at home as long as possible. I highly recommend that you contact Ms. Brown and become aware of the services available through “Constant Companions.”

0 friends
1 review
K G.
San Diego, CA
3/20/2011
I recommend Constant Companions as a resource for finding an in-home companion for a loved one. I appreciate Gabriela for her swift response to bring mom’s companion earlier than expected due to an unexpected emergency. I also highly commend mom’s caregiver companion, Sharon for the wonderful job she did taking care of mom and her home. Sharon is amazing and wonderful, professional and very experienced. Having her as mom’s companion was a blessing. We will never forget how well she took care of mom, how much mom loved her, how much we love her and appreciate all she did.
KG

0 friends
2 reviews
Evy N.
San Diego, CA
3/18/2011
Finding a company to provide quality 24/7 in-home care for our mother was a responsibility we took very seriously. After talking with friends, medical workers and geriatric counselors, much research online, and phone interviews with a number of companies, we made an appointment with Gabriela Brown of Constant Companions—and that was the start of much peace of mind for our family.

After sensitively interviewing our mom and carefully assessing her needs, Ms. Brown selected trustworthy, caring, cheerful, well-trained, hardworking care providers. From the start, she made it clear that she wanted Mom to feel comfortable and safe with her care providers, and she wanted us to know that she was always available to answer questions or deal with new concerns. She has done exactly that for almost two years now! We feel very fortunate to be in such caring, professional hands, and are happy to recommend Constant Companions to anyone looking for quality home care. Gratefully, E.L.N.

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Exercise Essentials for Healthy Aging

Posted on July 28, 2012

Aging is no excuse to give up exercise. Senior health means staying active — it can only improve the way you feel.

By Diana Rodriguez
Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH

Getting older should be about relaxing and taking it easy, right? Not exactly. Exercise is a necessary part of aging.

You will benefit from just about any type of exercise as you age, as long as you’re not at risk of injury. Low-impact exercises are often the best choice, especially when coupled with weight-bearing exercises.

Here are some options to keep you fit, flexible, and feeling energized. Choose at least one exercise from each group:

Cardiovascular exercise. Cardio gets the heart pumping and blood flowing, and may leave you a little sweaty and breathless. Good cardio exercises to try are:

  • Swimming
  • Walking or light jogging
  • Water aerobics or other water classes or exercise
  • Biking
  • Hiking
  • Tennis
  • Golf (minus the carts)

Balance training. Keeping muscles stretched, flexible, and limber will help you feel better, and working on balance can prevent falls. Strengthen balance and flexibility with:

  • Pilates
  • Frequent stretching
  • Yoga
  • Tai chi

Strength training. You don’t need to become a bodybuilder, but strengthening muscles can make everyday chores and activities easier, plus it helps your bones. Boost muscle strength using:

  • Elastic resistance bands
  • Light free weights or dumbbells
  • Weight machines
  • Using pieces of furniture or walls at home for resistance

How Exercise Helps Overall

Exercise keeps you moving, healthy, and feeling energized. But staying active also benefits your mind, spirit, and body by:

  • Keeping you independent and able to take care of yourself at home
  • Helping you stay strong and fit so you can play with grandchildren
  • Helping you sleep better
  • Preventing weight gain and contributing to the loss of extra pounds
  • Reducing the risk of falls and broken bones
  • Improving your self-confidence and feelings of happiness and self-worth
  • Lowering your risk of serious illnesses like heart disease and diabetes
  • Keeping your brain and memory functioning well

Making Exercise Part of Your Schedule

It can be tough to make exercise a habit and a regular part of your day, but the benefits are well worth the effort. Make a commitment to exercise, and use these tips to help you ease into a workout program:

  • Talk to your doctor. Make sure it’s safe for you to start an exercise routine, and learn which exercises are best and how much you can push yourself.
  • Get equipped. You’ll need sturdy, supportive shoes for whatever exercise you choose, whether it’s walking or biking. Also make sure you have clothing that’s comfortable and will help wick away sweat.
  • Make the time. Set aside time every day for exercise, even if you start just by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or with a walk around the block. Gradually work your way up to longer workouts on most or every day of the week.
  • Turn chores into exercise. You don’t have to hit the gym for it to count as exercise. Scrub your house from top to bottom, mow the lawn, or tackle big projects like cleaning out clutter in closets, the basement, or garage.
  • Get motivated. Consider getting a workout buddy to keep you on track or hiring a personal trainer to develop a program. A trainer will encourage you to stick with it and help you chart your progress.
  • Make it fun. Exercise doesn’t have to be an exhausting, sweaty chore that you dread. Enjoy your workout! Go dancing, swimming, bike with your friends, or take up a new sport or game. While you’re exercising, listen to music, chat with a friend, or just escape into your own thoughts.

You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to work in small bits of exercise each day and how you’ll come to enjoy it and look forward to it. Everyone wants to stay healthy, active, and independent as they age, and regular exercise is the key.

This section created and produced exclusively by the editorial staff of EverydayHealth.com. © 2011 EverydayHealth.com; all rights reserved.

Submitted by Constant Companions Home Care
http://www.constantcompanions.net
888.883.8393

Poor Sleep Ups Odds for Nursing Home Care, Study Finds

Posted on July 27, 2012

Women who slept more soundly were less likely to be in an assisted-living facility within 5 years

July 27, 2012

FRIDAY, July 27 (HealthDay News) — Getting good-quality sleep could help elderly people stay out of nursing homes, a new study contends.

Researchers assessed the sleep quality of nearly 1,700 older women with an average age of 83, and tracked how many were admitted to nursing homes within five years.

“Sleep disturbances are common in older people,” lead author Adam Spira, assistant professor in the department of mental health at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, said in a university news release.

“Our results show that in community-dwelling older women, more fragmented sleep is associated with a greater risk of being placed in a nursing home or in a personal-care home,” Spira said. “We found that, compared to women with the least fragmented sleep, those who spent the most time awake after first falling asleep had about three times the odds of placement in a nursing home.”

The researchers found similar associations between disturbed sleep and an increased likelihood of placement in personal-care homes, such as assisted-living facilities. The number of hours women slept each night, however, did not affect the chances of being placed in a nursing home or a personal-care home.

The study was published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Previous research has linked disturbed sleep in older adults with disability, reduced mobility and difficulty doing daily activities, the authors noted in the news release. The new study adds to this knowledge.

“Greater sleep fragmentation is associated with greater risk of placement in a nursing home or personal-care home five years later after accounting for a number of potential confounders,” study senior author Dr. Kristine Yaffe, professor of psychiatry, neurology, and epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco, said in the news release.

Although the study found an association between sleep quality and nursing-home admission, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about sleep.

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

The long haul: Habits for a healthy old age

Posted on July 27, 2012

By Elderlink

As your parent or loved one enters her or his golden years, it’s more important than ever to take steps towards healthy living. There’s no time like the present to start checking things off the list of longevity-boosting activities and habits.

 
Healthy eating. Keeping a balanced diet is important at all stages of life, and we know a lot more about this today than ever before. Fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, low-fat meats and natural, low-sugar foods should all be part of a daily diet. Encourage your loved one to eat well and maybe learn to cook a new kind of cuisine.
 
Learning. Learning new things keeps the mind flexible. Picking up a musical instrument, learning a new language or even sitting down to play a favorite game with a new partner are easy ways to keep your parent or loved one’s brain happy and fully functional into old age.
 
Physical activity. Low-impact physical activity like yoga, walking or water-based exercise offer a great way to keep your aging parent or loved one’s metabolism. Studies have found that keeping a fit body helps maintain a fit mind and healthy emotional state.
 
Social engagement. No one wants to be cooped up alone inside all day. Social contact eases depression and gives everyone, not just the elderly, something to live for and look forward to. Adult daycare facilities, senior groups, family visits and even home care assistants can alleviate loneliness while giving you, the caregiver, a welcome break.
 
Add in regular health checkups and specific doctor recommendations, and you have a recipe for a happy, healthy and long life.
 
Posted by Constant Companions Home Care
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Alcohol and the Aging Senior

Posted on July 27, 2012

 

by: Mary Desaulniers

It is New Year’s Eve. You have one drink, then another, then a third. You used to be able to chug down 6 drinks without consequences. But lately, you’ve noticed that things are a bit different. Before dinner is over, you are wobbly; your speech slurs. Before the night is over, you are spread out on the floor.

You’ve only had 3 drinks. What happened?

 Research shows alcohol has a much stronger effect in the senior population than in younger people. As you age, you absorb alcohol more readily. So what used to be standard twentysomething fare is way too much for you now.

There are reasons for this change.

1.Your body’s ratio of water to fat decreases as you age; so there’s less water to dilute the alcohol.

2.Your aging body does not metabolize alcohol as easily as it did in your youth; your body produces less liver enzymes that help break down alcohol.

3.If you are on prescription or over-the-counter medication, alcohol can compound the risk of collapse and falls; in fact, alcohol can produce an impaired effect with about half of the 100 drugs used frequently by seniors.

4.The aging body has more body fat which does not absorb alcohol.

Changes in body chemistry that accompany the aging process can certainly be seen as one factor to explain the prevalence of alcoholism in seniors. The AMA estimates that about 3 million Americans over the age of 60 have a drinking problem. At least 10 percent of patients who go to an emergency room with alcohol related problems are over 60 years of age. As much as 20 percent of elderly patients( 55 and older) in emergency rooms exhibit symptoms of alcoholism. And in many nursing homes, the problem of drinking is even more acute–as high as 49 percent in some studies.

In fact, researchers feel that these statistics are much lower than what they are in reality. Because alcohol problems in the senior population are usually mistaken for other conditions associated with the aging process, very often, alcohol abuse and alcoholism in the senior population may go undiagnosed and untreated.

Yet studies have also shown that moderate drinking confers benefits to the aging population. Alcohol consumed in moderate amounts can raise HDL levels of the so –called “good” cholesterol; it can also prevent blood clots, heart attacks and ischemic strokes. Studies have demonstrated that men who drink one alcoholic beverage a day have a significantly lower risk of death compared with those who rarely or never drink. A French study completed in 2002 also shows that moderate drinking can lower the incidence of dementia in the aging population.

Despite these benefits, the dangers of alcohol are considerable. The incidents of driving problems are high in the elderly population. Any potential benefit of alcohol is more than cancelled by the dangers in alcohol –related diseases such as addictive alcoholism, cirrhosis of the liver, high blood pressure and depression. Alcohol has also been shown to produce deficits in intellectual and behavior functioning. It may accelerate normal aging or cause premature aging of the brain. Magnetic Resonance Imaging techniques have shown more extensive brain tissue loss in subjects with alcoholism than in those without alcoholism. And research also shows that shrinkage of the frontal lobe increases with the consumption of alcohol.

So what can seniors do to understand their own threshold of alcohol consumption?

Here are a few guidelines:

1 .If you don’t drink, don’t start. The risks far outweigh the benefits.

2 .If you do drink, limit yourself to one drink a day ( 4-5 drinks over the course of a week).

3. Do not engage in binge drinking which can bring about irregular heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, increased risk for heart disease and strokes.

4. If you are on medication, do not drink at all. Even over the counter drugs such as ibuprofen, aspirin or tylenol, when taken with alcohol, can damage stomach lining and cause liver problems. Alcohol, taken with antihistamines, is known to increase drowsiness and can lead to impaired driving or accidents

5. If you feel you have a drinking problem, consult your physician and be proactive about getting treatment options. Call your local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous or Rational Recovery for help.

A runner for 27 years, retired schoolteacher and writer, Mary is now doing what she loves–running,writing,helping people reclaim their bodies. Nutrition, exercise, positive vision and purposeful engagement are the tools used to turn their bodies into creative selves. You can subscribe to Mary’s newsletter by contacting her at http://www.GreatBodyafter50secrets.com or visit her at http://www.GreatBodyat50.com

Reposted by Constant Companions Home Care
http://www.constantcompanions.net

How to Stay Socially Engaged as You Age

Posted on July 27, 2012

By Krisha McCoy, MS
Medically reviewed by Cynthia Haines, MD

Could Facebook hold the key to healthy aging? Maybe! Experts say that staying active and social can enhance your life as you get older and help stave off conditions such as dementia and depression.

Looking for that ever-elusive fountain of youth? Look no further. There are many things you can do to stay vital and healthy as you get older — such as exercising regularly and eating a healthful diet — but experts now believe that one of the best ways to age gracefully is to engage in a little social networking, both online and off.

The Benefits of Staying Engaged

As you get older, normal changes in your brain can make it more difficult for you to learn new information or remember things. In people who have dementia, this intellectual impairment becomes so severe that it interferes with their lives. Sometimes cognitive decline cannot be avoided, but in other cases, keeping your mind stimulated or interacting with your peers may help ward off dementia and depression, another common senior health concern.

One recent study from the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago found that highly social seniors had a 70 percent lower rate of cognitive decline than their less social peers. Another study, by researchers at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, discovered that Internet use was associated with a 30 percent decrease in depressive symptoms.

Tips for Staying Socially Engaged as You Age

There are plenty of ways to stay socially connected and intellectually stimulated:
Nurture your social network. Make an effort to maintain your close personal relationships with family members, friends, church members, neighbors, and other important people in your life. Even if they’re not close by, you can still keep in touch by e-mail or Facebook. According to data from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, the 74-plus demographic is the fastest-growing group across Web-based social networks. Use of sites like Facebook and Twitter among Internet users 65 and older grew 100 percent between 2009 and 2010, from 13 percent to 26 percent. Many assisted living centers have even begun offering technology classes to get seniors online and in the social-networking loop.

Play “mind” games. Regularly doing crossword puzzles and playing chessand other intellectually stimulating games keeps your mind active and, if you play with others, helps you stay socially connected to your peers. Scientists believe that both your body and your mind follow the principle “use it or lose it.” So think of these games as fun ways to exercise your brain. Join a club. Contact your local senior center and ask around to see if there are any clubs in your area you would be interested in becoming a part of. Attending regular book club, garden club, or art club meetings is a great way to meet new people and establish rewarding relationships with people who have similar interests.
Go back to work. Many people experience stress after they retire, feeling they have lost part of their identity. If you are longing to work again, consider taking a part-time job, which can help keep your mind stimulated and give you a sense of greater contribution. Civic Ventures and the Work Search program offer assistance to older people who want to get back into the workforce.

Volunteer in your community. If you want to have a feeling of purpose or contribute to a greater cause, find a way to volunteer in your community. You can find out more about volunteer opportunities through organizations like Senior Corps, a government-run organization that connects seniors with local and national organizations in need of volunteers. Recent studies show that older individuals who volunteer have a reduced risk of death compared to their counterparts who do not.
Offer family assistance. If you have grandchildren or other young family members you would like to see more of, offer to babysit regularly. Chasing around after children is a great way to keep you physically active and improve your sense of well-being.

It’s not uncommon for older people to become socially and intellectually withdrawn. But if you make an effort to stay engaged as you get older, you will find more joy and satisfaction in life — and there is a good chance you will stay healthier as you age.

Reposted by Constant Companions Home Care
http://www.constantcompanions.net
888.883.8393

How to Overcome First Date Anxiety – first date advice for single seniors

Posted on July 24, 2012

A first date is one of the most nerve-wracking aspects of dating at any age. If you are 50+ and just starting to date again after a few years or a few decades, however, the uncertainty about where to go, what to wear, and what to talk about can seem almost insurmountable.
Before the first date, you wonder whether your date will like you, whether you’ll like him or her, and how much dating etiquette has changed since the last time you were out there.

While there are no absolutes when it comes to senior dating, there are a few tried and true strategies that may help calm your nerves and increase your chances for a successful first date:

•One purpose of every first date is to decide whether you want a second one. With that in mind, plan a first date that encourages conversation and helps you get to know each other, and avoid activities like movies and plays that leave you sitting silently in the dark.

•Tailor your first date to include a common interest, hobby, or shared value, which may help you establish an immediate connection around something that has meaning for both of you.

•If you plan to have a meal on your first date, make it lunch and combine it with some fun activity so you have more things to talk about while you eat. Dinner sometimes implies more intimacy than you may be ready for on a first date, and having the whole date depend on two near-strangers sitting across from each other and making conversation can create a lot of pressure.

•If the whole idea of senior dating makes you nervous, consider making your first date a group date with friends, or participating in a group activity such as a wine tasting or charity auction.

•Be smart, be safe, and have an exit strategy. On most first dates you’re going out with someone you don’t know well, so stick to public places and tell someone you trust who you are meeting and where you will be. If you start to feel uneasy about the person you are with, then leave.

•Don’t put all your eggs in this first date basket. If the person doesn’t turn out to be Prince (or Princess) Charming, so what? You met a new person, practiced your conversation skills, and learned more about what you want (and don’t want) in a partner.
Whether you’re 16 or 65, the best way to enjoy a first date is to keep an open mind, focus on the things you have in common, and make your primary goal to simply have a good time.

Written by Sharon O’Brien, former About.com Guide

Posted by Gabriela F. Brown
Constant Companions Home Care, San Diego and S. Riverside
http://www.constantcompanions.net

 

How Senior Home Care Can Help Prevent Problematic Falls and Fractures

Posted on July 24, 2012

Something as simple as tripping over a rug or slipping on a wet spot on the kitchen floor can mean a big change in your life, especially if you’re a senior. Every year, thousands of older men and women break and fracture bones due to slips, trips, and falls. A broken bone isn’t problematic for younger individuals, but for elderly folks, a break can lead to other serious problems and complications.

Every year, many elderly Americans injure themselves in or around their homes, and this is especially true for senior loved ones, who are at risk of falling. According to the National Safety Council, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths to individuals age 65 and older.

You are more prone to falling as you age for many reasons. These include failing eyesight, hearing problems, less muscle tone, and slowed reflexes. Diabetes, heart diseases, thyroid problems, nerve damage, and blood vessel problems can also affect your balance. Even some medications cause dizziness and can result in a fall.

Senior Home Care: Ensuring a Safe Living Space

In many cases your loved one will wish to remain in the comfort of his or her living space, but their safety should be top priority. In most cases, the majority of senior falls and injuries occur in a familiar home environment. Home care nurses are available to ensure senior’s living spaces are safe, when they’re visiting or when away. Home care nurses and respite care programs serve to make senior citizen’s home environments and quality of life safer and more secure-seniors can benefit from a little extra safety or support from easy home modifications, and enjoy their independence.

Aside from making the home environment safer, there are multiple simple ways seniors can prevent most falls from occurring. Fear of falling should not stop anyone from remaining active, getting together with friends, walking, gardening, or enjoying life and staying healthy.

To prevent falls and injury, it’s important to address overall health:
■Stay active physically. Participate in an exercise program that’s right for you. Your senior home caregiver can assist you run errands, enjoy outdoor activities, and get regular exercise to improve strength and muscle tone. Regular exercise and movement keeps joints, ligaments, and tendons flexible.
■Your senior caregiver can help your loved one get his/her eyesight and hearing tested often. Even small changes or losses of vision and hearing increase risk for falling. If your loved one wears eyeglasses, they should wear them at all times. A senior care provider can also ensure that your loved one’s hearing aid is in place and worn regularly.
■Read the label and ask your doctor about the side effects of medicines. They can throw off balance and reflexes.
■Use a cane, walker, or walking stick to feel steadier when walking-a senior care giver can assist when walking on unfamiliar surfaces, icy surfaces, or uneven surfaces.
■Wear proper shoes-this means low heeled and rubber soled. Avoid wearing socks and smooth slippers as this can be unsafe.

Home Care nurses can identify and lessen fall risks and other safety risks for older folks who choose to live at home, the most important being fall prevention, and minimizing injury from falls. This is especially important as 1 in 3 seniors falls each year. It’s a good idea to wear a hip-protecting garment if prone or at an increased fall risk, and this garment can reduce the possibility of a hip fracture. Senior home care programs can recommend effective protection. Sedentary seniors are at greater risk of osteoporosis and are more prone to fractures. A home care nurse or senior home care program alongside care from relatives can help keep seniors active, confident, and keep up their activity level, in addition helping them about the house. Home care nurses take care of activities, such as cleaning or maintenance that could pose a risk.

Senior home care programs that provide home care nurses for seniors are a godsend in the event of an injury or accident. In a worst case scenario, an elderly person could fall and remain on the floor, injured for several hours or days because they live alone, are unable to move, or are unable to make a phone call. Home care nurses regularly check in, call, and visit elderly loved ones to ensure they are cared for and safe. Should a senior suffer a fall or accident, home care nurses get help quickly.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=E._Ronchetti

Posted by Gabriela F. Brown
Constant Companions Home Care
http://www.constantcompanions.net

 

Higher Doses of Vitamin D Prevent Fractures in Older Women

Posted on July 24, 2012

But evidence review found less than 800 IUs a day didn’t seem to make a difference
URL of this page: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_126935.html#.UAnt5HcCL3k.twitter (*this news item will not be available after 10/03/2012)

 Thursday, July 5, 2012HealthDay Logo
bones and joint WEDNESDAY, July 4 (HealthDay News) — In the latest study to look at the effect of vitamin D on fracture risk, Swiss researchers found that taking more than 800 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily could reduce the risk of hip fractures in older women by 30 percent.”Vitamin D supplementation is effective in fracture reduction, including hip fractures,” said study author Dr. Heike Bischoff-Ferrari, from the Center on Aging and Mobility at the University of Zurich and Wald City Hospital, also in Zurich.”However, dose matters, as we saw this benefit only at the highest intake level of greater than 800 IU per day, and no dose below 792 IU per day reduced fracture risk,” she said.If everyone took more than 800 IU of vitamin D daily, the impact on public health could be enormous because hip fractures are the most severe and frequent fractures among the elderly, according to Bischoff-Ferrari.

Results of the study are published in the July 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Vitamin D is important for bone health, according to Dr. Anna Lasak, clinical director of the department of rehabilitation and the women’s physical medicine and rehabilitation program at Montefiore Medical Center, in New York City. The body makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Sunscreen blocks this effect.

Vitamin D is also found in fatty fish, eggs and some mushrooms, she said. It’s also added to dairy products, some cereals and some breads, according to Lasak. But, she said, it can be difficult, especially for elderly people, to get enough vitamin D from these sources. In addition, elderly people may have digestive issues that can cause their bodies to absorb even less vitamin D.

A number of studies have been done looking at vitamin D and bone health, and the studies have often come up with conflicting findings, with some showing benefits, while others found no benefits. In mid-June, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that postmenopausal women should not take low-dose vitamin D supplements (400 IU) because there was no evidence of benefit. The task force, however, said there wasn’t yet enough clear evidence on higher doses of vitamin D to make a recommendation one way or the other.

The current study is a pooled analysis of 11 double-blind, randomized controlled trials of vitamin D supplementation with or without calcium compared to a placebo or calcium supplementation alone.

The studies included more than 31,000 people. All of the participants in the studies were over 65, with an average age of 76. Most (91 percent) of the volunteers in the studies were women.

They found that people taking less than 800 IU daily showed no statistically significant drop in fracture risk. However, those taking over 800 IU reduced the risk of hip fracture by 30 percent and the risk of non spine-related fractures by 14 percent, according to the study.

“Our data strongly support a daily vitamin D supplement of 800 IU per day in adults age 65 and older to lower their risk of fracture, including those living at home and those living in nursing homes, including men and women, and the younger and the old,” Bischoff-Ferrari said.

Lasak said 800 IU is a safe level of vitamin D intake for just about anyone. But, she said, it’s better for older folks to have their vitamin D levels measured first. Some may not need additional vitamin D, but many actually need more than 800 IU a day.

“Most people do have a deficiency,” she said. While 800 IU is a safe limit, that may not be enough, she said. No one should exceed levels of 4,000 IU, Lasak added. That’s the upper safe limit of this nutrient.

She said it’s also important to ensure that you’re getting enough calcium. The recommendation is for between 1,000 and 1,200 milligrams (mg) a day, with older people needing more, she said. Lasak recommended getting the bulk of your calcium from foods, rather than a supplement, because some studies have suggested possible harm from higher levels of calcium intake from supplements.

Bischoff-Ferrari said the current analysis also suggested that higher levels of calcium supplementation (more than 1,000 mg) may reduce vitamin D’s benefit.

SOURCES: Heike Bischoff-Ferrari, M.D., Dr.P.H., the Center on Aging and Mobility at the University of Zurich and Wald City Hospital, Zurich; Anna Lasak, M.D., clinical director of the department of rehabilitation, and the women’s physical medicine and rehabilitation program, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; July 5, 2012, New England Journal of Medicine

HealthDay
Copyright (c) 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
Posted by Gabriela F. Brown
Constant Companions Home Care

The Health Risks Of A High Sodium, Low Potassium Diet

Posted on July 24, 2012

The news is alarming and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a change in diet is a must: Americans who eat a diet high in sodium and low in potassium have a 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause and about twice the risk of death from heart attacks, according to a study published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The study was conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emory University and Harvard University.

This is the first study to examine the association between mortality and people’s usual intake of sodium and potassium in a nationally representative sample. The study analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a survey designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults in the United States. (Participants’ usual intake of sodium and potassium is based on dietary recall.)

“The study’s findings are particularly troubling because US adults consume an average of 3,300 milligrams of sodium per day, more than twice the current recommended limit for most Americans,” said Elena Kuklina, MD, PhD, an investigator on the study and a nutritional epidemiologist with CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention.
“This study provides further evidence to support current public health recommendations to reduce sodium levels in processed foods, given that nearly 80 percent of people’s sodium intake comes from packaged and restaurant foods. Increasing potassium intake may have additional health benefits.”

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting intake of sodium to 1,500 milligrams per day for people 51 and older, African Americans and people with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease—about half the US population ages 2 and older. The dietary guidelines recommend that all other people consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. In addition, the guidelines recommend that people choose more potassium-rich foods, advising 4,700 milligrams of potassium per day.

Sodium, primarily consumed as salt (sodium chloride), is commonly added to many processed and restaurant foods, while potassium is naturally present in many fresh foods. For example, cheese, processed meats, breads, soups, fast foods and pastries tend to have more sodium than potassium. Yogurt, milk, fruits and vegetables tend to have less sodium and more potassium. Potassium-rich fruits and vegetables include leafy greens, such as spinach and collards, grapes, blackberries, carrots, potatoes and citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit.

In general, if you reduce sodium, increase potassium or both, you’ll benefit from improved blood pressure and reduce your risk for developing other serious health problems. You can improve your health by knowing and following the recommended limits for daily sodium intake, choosing foods like fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, unprocessed or minimally processed fish, meat or poultry, low-fat milk and plain yogurt rather than packaged, processed and refined foods; asking for foods with no or low salt at restaurants; and reading the nutrition labels of foods to make better shopping choices.

Here are specifics on good-to-excellent sources of potassium to include in your diet:

  • Milk and yogurt
  • Nuts
  • Meat (choose lean red meats), chicken and fish such as salmon, cod, flounder and sardines
  • Soy products and veggie burgers
  • Vegetables including broccoli, peas, lima beans, tomatoes, potatoes (especially their skins), sweet potatoes and winter squashes
  • Fruits with significant sources of potassium include citrus fruits, cantaloupe, bananas, kiwi, prunes and apricots (dried apricots contain more potassium than fresh)

CDC is working with public and private sector partners at the national, state and local levels to educate people about the health effects of sodium and how to reduce sodium intake.

Written By Julie Davis
Posted by Gabriela F. Brown
Constant Companions Home Care