Personal Health and Well-being

Candy Sagon writes about health topics for AARP. She previously was a reporter with the Washington Post and has written numerous articles on food, health and nutrition for national magazines.

A Little More Salt Is Not So Bad for Us

A little more salt may not be such a bad thing for healthy older adults, a new study finds. Adults age 50-plus have been warned for years not to consume more than 1,500 milligrams (mg) of sodium daily — less than a teaspoon of salt — or they risk all kinds of bad heart-health effects, from high blood pressure to heart failure. But researchers found that pushing the limit a bit, to 2,300 mg, or about a teaspoon of salt, …

Are Older Adults Being Overtreated for Diabetes?

Older patients are not the same as younger patients. You’d think this was obvious, yet doctors often use a one-size-fits-all approach to prescribing treatment that can put their older patients at risk. The latest example of this: another study showing that patients 65 or older with diabetes may be overtreated by doctors who too aggressively try to control blood sugar levels, regardless of their patients’ other health problems. The new study, by Yale researchers, analyzed a decade of data on 1,288 …

Blueberries Can Help Lower Blood Pressure

Need to reduce your blood pressure several notches? Eating a cup of blueberries a day could help. That’s the conclusion of a small Florida State University study of postmenopausal women, ages 45 to 65, who ate the equivalent of a cup of blueberries a day for eight weeks. The women not only saw a modest improvement in their blood pressure readings, their arteries also showed improved flexibility, which also can help lower blood pressure. Previous blueberry studies had found similar …

Weak Flu Shot Adds to Woes for Those 65-Plus

It’s already a bad flu season for those age 65-plus and now there’s more bad news: This season’s flu shot will only cut your chances of getting sick by 23 percent, compared to the more typical 60 percent in previous years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Federal health officials said this year’s figure is nearly the lowest the agency has seen during the decade or so since it began tracking annual vaccine effectiveness, the Washington …

Internet Food Searches Go Bananas in 2014

When it comes to the trillions of Internet searches for health, diet and food in 2014, Americans evidently went bananas. Or so say the folks at Google and Yahoo. Bananas were at the top of the bunch for popular searches, according to the companies’ end-of-the-year reports. Aside from our surprising love for bananas, we also searched for other in-the-news health subjects that probably won’t surprise you. The Paleo diet was the top diet search in the U.S. on Google, for …

Can You Pass the One-Leg Test for Brain Health?

Here’s a quick, do-it-yourself test for brain health: See how long you can stay balanced on one leg. If you can’t hold that flamingo position for at least 20 seconds, it could indicate damage to small blood vessels in your brain even if you have no other symptoms, new research finds. That damage could put you at high risk for stroke and cognitive decline. A stroke is caused by a clot or bleeding in the brain that interrupts blood flow. …