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Healthy Living Could Help Fight Dementia

Many people are apprehensive about getting older because of the fear of losing their faculties. Individuals may worry that dementia could rob them of precious memories and make daily living more difficult. Many factors can contribute to the onset of dementia, and recent research notes those factors include heart disease, strokes and other serious health conditions that affect the circulatory system. But other seemingly harmless conditions can play a role, too. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle could help seniors fend off dementia. Researchers in Canada studied data on more than 7,000 survey participants who answered questions of overall health. While circulatory diseases did correlate high to dementia onset, researchers discovered additional conditions, including arthritis, sinus infections, incontinence and poor hearing, also played a role. The correlation between circulatory issues and brain function may be obvious, but researchers aren't exactly sure why minor health infractions could contribute to senility. Some suggest that people with the burden of health problems may not be able to successfully thwart deterioration of the brain that comes with dementias, including Alzheimer's disease. The World Alzheimer Report states that more than 35 million people around the world are living with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. These are largely brain-destroying illnesses that have no cure. But adults might be able to prevent or delay its onset. Placing a greater emphasis on overall health may help. According to Dr. Kenneth Rockwood, MD, a professor of geriatric medicine and neurology at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who participated in the dementia study published in July 2011 in the journal Neurology, "the best thing people can do to stay physically healthy - and thus maintain their brains, too - is to exercise." Other things that can be done include adopting a healthy, balanced diet and keeping the brain active as much as possible. Here are ways to do just that. - Seniors can participate in low-impact exercises that promote muscle strength and flexibility. Water exercises are very good because they don't place strain on the joints. Stretching routines, like yoga or tai chi, are also effective. Exercise plans should be discussed with a health care provider prior to starting. - Work with a nutritionist to develop a healthy eating plan. A healthy diet is essential to keep many diseases at bay, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease and even to help maintain proper digestion. - Keep the brain active by engaging in puzzles, like crosswords or sudoku. Reading is a way to stimulate vocabulary and also keep the brain sharp. Interact with people on a daily basis and engage in conversation.

You Can Help Fight Mosquitoes This Summer

The Baltimore County Department of Health urges residents to take steps now and throughout the summer to protect themselves against mosquito bites. Mosquitoes can carry a number of diseases, including West Nile Virus (WNV), which is still present in the Baltimore area. WNV is a disease that is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. In humans, WNV generally causes either no symptoms or mild flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headaches, body aches, skin rash and swollen glands. "You can protect against West Nile Virus by eliminating mosquito breeding sites, wearing protective clothing and using insect repellent," stated Dr. Gregory Branch, Baltimore County Health Officer. Here are some specific preventive measures that you and your family can take to protect yourself from mosquito bites: Apply insect repellent to exposed skin. Choose a repellent that provides protection for the amount of time that you will be outdoors. Repellents may irritate the eyes and mouth, so avoid applying repellent to children's hands. Whenever you use an insecticide or insect repellent, be sure to read and follow the manufacturer's DIRECTIONS FOR USE, as printed on the product. Spray clothing with repellents containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing. Do not apply repellents containing permethrin directly to exposed skin. Do not apply repellent to skin under your clothing. When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors. Place mosquito netting over infant carriers when you are outdoors with infants. Consider staying indoors at dawn, dusk and in the early evening, which are peak mosquito biting times. Install or repair window and door screens so that mosquitoes cannot get indoors. Help reduce the number of mosquitoes in areas outdoors where you work or play, by draining sources of standing water. In this way, you reduce the number of places mosquitoes can lay their eggs and breed. At least once or twice a week, empty water from flower pots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels and cans. Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out. Remove discarded tires and other items that could collect water. Note: Vitamin B and "ultrasonic" devices are NOT effective in preventing mosquito bites. For additional information including recommendations on the use of insect repellents, visit: or







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