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.

Here’s How to Prevent 4 out of 5 Heart Attacks

We all know the advice for preventing heart attacks: Eat right, stop smoking, get some exercise. But, really, just how effective is doing all those things? Can anyone put an exact number on it? Evidently, they can — and the numbers are dramatic: Following a healthy lifestyle could prevent four out of five heart attacks in men ages 45 through 79, a new Swedish study found. “It is not surprising that healthy lifestyle choices would lead to a reduction in …

Painkiller Death Rate Highest Among Older Adults

The rate of overdose deaths from powerful painkillers has nearly quadrupled since 1999, but new government figures show that since 2006, the rate of increase has finally slowed — except among older adults. According to a newly released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, the rate of fatal overdoses from prescription painkillers is still highest among those ages 45 to 54, with the fastest increase in deaths over the past decade among those 55 to 64. In 2011, …

For Older Couples, Happy Wife Means Happy Life

As country singer Tracy Byrd put it, “When mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” And a new study backs him up. Researchers at the University of Michigan and Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., found that for older married couples, when the wife is happy with the marriage, the husband is more likely to say he’s happy with his life — even if he’s not quite as satisfied with the union as she is. “I think it comes down to …

Pharmacies May Soon Be Able to Take Back Old Drugs

Up to now, getting rid of old or unused prescription drugs from your medicine cabinet has not been easy: Drugs could not be legally returned to pharmacies; flushing them down the toilet or tossing them in the trash was discouraged because of environmental concerns; and taking them to a police station could only be done at a twice-a-year take-back events (the next one is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 27). >>  12 Foods to Beat Diabetes But fears about …

Change of Advice on Pneumonia Vaccine

An influential U.S. medical advisory panel has recommended that people age 65 and older get two pneumonia vaccines — the traditional shot as well as a newer version that can offer additional protection. The panel, which provides medical advice to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), voted 13-2 in August to recommend that those 65-plus get the newer vaccine, called Prevnar 13, even if they already have had the older Pneumovax 23. The recommendations, including the time intervals …

Is Fat Our Friend? Low-Carb Diet Makes a Comeback

For middle-age adults trying to lose weight, is it better to cut back on carbs, like white bread, rice, crackers and cake, and not worry so much about fat? Or is fat the real evil, and you need to avoid eating too much meat, butter and cheese to drop those pounds? Two new studies have slightly different answers. A major new study from Tulane University found that cutting back on carbohydrates helped dieters lose significantly more weight and have better …