The Painkiller Sending Adults 55+ to the ER

Tramadol, a prescription painkiller thought to be less risky than other narcotic pain meds, has caused a sharp spike in emergency room visits, especially among patients 55 or older, two new government reports have found. Tramadol is typically used for the management of moderate to severe pain, such as for after surgery and for ongoing pain from arthritis. It is the active ingredient in such brand name medications as Ultram, Ultracet, ConZip, Ryzolt and Rybix ODT. When it was approved …

Boomers, Here’s Your 10-Year Health Checkup

America’s boomers just got a 10-year health checkup, and the diagnosis is mixed: More are dealing with chronic conditions, especially high blood pressure and high cholesterol, but fewer are dying from cancer and heart disease, thanks to recent medical advances. Additionally, fewer are smoking and slightly more are exercising — a small dose of good news. The new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that the number of Americans ages 55 to 64 who have …

Prepare for ‘Worst Allergy Season’ in Years

First we suffer through a long, record-setting winter, and now we find out it’s going to be a long, record-setting allergy season. May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month — as if you couldn’t tell by all the sneezing and wheezing — and Tao Zheng, M.D., chief of the allergy and immunology section at the Yale University School of Medicine, predicts this allergy season “may be one of the worst in years,” she told Yale News. Why? A long, …

We’re So Lazy. And It’s Getting Worse

How bad are Americans about not getting any physical activity whatsoever? Really bad. Like record-setting bad. The proof: A new survey by the Physical Activity Council (PAC) finds that the number of “totally sedentary” Americans is the highest it’s been since 2007. Roughly 83 million Americans ages 6 and up — about a third of the population — were physically inactive in 2014, nearly 3 million more than in 2013. That means they didn’t participate in any one of 104 …

A Mammogram at Age 50 or 40? The Debate Continues

Six years ago a federal panel of medical experts said women didn’t need to start getting routine mammograms until they were 50 — not 40, as other medical groups had long advised — and then only every two years. The announcement set off a heated debate, and most older women ended up ignoring the advice. This week, the panel released a proposed updated version of those 2009 recommendations, and not much has changed. Including the debate. The panel, the U.S. …

Medicare Celebrates a Half Century

Give Medicare and Medicaid an AARP card — they’re turning 50 this year. At a special program on Wednesday commemorating the upcoming 50th anniversary, experts spoke about how the two federal programs have transformed both the country’s health care system and the health of its older citizens. “Medicare has been a health care lifeline for millions of older Americans and must be strengthened for the future,” AARP President Jeannine English said at the conference, sponsored by the LBJ Presidential Library, …