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Do people still take salt tablets to prevent heat stroke? Given the high temperatures we experienced last summer in the Northeast, Yd like to head off any potential risk this summer.

Q Do people still take salt tablets to prevent heat stroke? Given the high temperatures we experienced last summer in the Northeast, Yd like to head off any potential risk this summer:

A Salt tablets are no longer recommended for heat stroke prevention. But the American Heart Association recommends drinking lots of liquids, particularly water, before, during and after physical activity, and avoiding caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. Older adults may be more prone to de hydration since they may be slower to feel thirsty, so keep the water bottle handy and keep sipping.

Q I make multiple trips to the bathroom every night Is this a normal part of aging, or something that can be treated? What causes this? Are there side effects?

A The condition you're describing is known as nocturia, which, in addition to causing sleep loss, can lead to other health problems. It also may be a symptom of a serious medical condition--it's possible that there's an association between nocturia and increased risk of heart disease and death. While waking up to urinate one or two times a night is not considered abnormal--a 2011 study found that 56 percent of men over age 75 wake up to uri nate once or twice in the night--a greater number of trips to the bathroom may be cause for concern. The condition can stem from decreased bladder capacity or increased bladder sensitivity, such as an enlarged prostate or overactive bladder. Other factors also might cause an increase in night time urine production, such as certain medications (antihista mines, diuretics, beta blockers and others). Nocturia also could raise your risk of falling as you walk to the bathroom. Several treatment options exist, depending on the type of nocturia you experience. For example, if you routinely wake due to a sleep disturbance and automatically go to the bathroom, you might benefit from a sleep medicine specialist. If you urinate large amounts, you might have nocturnal polyuria, or if you urinate only a small amount, you may suffer from bladder dysfunction. Once you've consulted your doctor and ruled out other conditions, such as diabetes, you can embark on a treatment program. In some cases, this might require drugs. In extreme cases, you may benefit from Botox injections or an implantable device that functions like a pacemaker to regulate your bladder.

Q I'm a postmenopausal woman. My doctor wants me to take a statin to lower my cholesterol. Is it safe for me to take statins?

A In addition to lowering cholesterol, statins may lower the risk for Alzheimer's disease and for a decline in lung function due to aging. There is a small increased risk of diabetes, because statins elevate blood sugar levels slightly, but the overall benefits of treatment are generally greater than the risk. Statins are appropriate in women who have high LDL (bad) cholesterol, diabetes, metabolic syndrome with elevated markers of inflammation, or two cardiac risk factors, such as older age, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, existing diabetes, smoking, or family history of cardiovascular disease. If you have no cardiac risk factors and are taking a statin simply to prevent heart disease, the risk-to-benefit ratio is not as clear. The decision to begin taking statins is an individual one, between you and your doctor, based on your health.

Q ls potassium something I should he sure to include in my diet? What are its benefits?

A Potassium is an electrolyte that helps produce energy and maintain fluid balance in the body. It relaxes the blood vessels, lowering blood pressure and ridding the body of excess fluids. The optimum intake (Adequate Intake, or Al) of potassium is 4,700 milligrams daily for adults over age 19, according to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. In a recent study, potassium-rich raisins were found to help lower blood pres sure. Raisins also are high in antioxidants that help protect cells in the body, and contain the mineral boron, which is associated with increased bone health, a plus for women at risk of osteoporosis. The nutrients in raisins also can help protect vision. Other good sources of potassium include potatoes (one, baked with skin, has 1,081 mg. of potassium), bananas, lentils, beans (soy, lima, chickpeas, kidney, pinto) dried peas, most fish, tomatoes and tomato products (including sauce) and many fruits.

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Publication:Duke Medicine Health News
Article Type:Interview
Date:Jun 1, 2012
Words:744
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