Back pains are common as one ages.

Sitting hunched over reading a book can flatten your spine and make you likely to have significant back problems such as early arthritis. If you have pain after studying or reading for prolonged periods, use a heating pad to the affected area. Try to sit straight when doing something like studying. You should gently stretch and move your head and neck every four hours.

Get a good mattress. It should be firm enough to support your back, but soft enough to conform to the shape of your body. If you are unsure about the quality of your mattress (whether it is hard enough for you), take it off the bed and place it on the floor for a couple of nights without the bedsprings. If you feel better, get a new mattress.

Sleeping on your back is the best position for your back. Some people have been “belly” sleepers since childhood and cannot sleep any other way. Side sleepers have the best luck avoiding back pains. Slip a pillow between your legs to take the pressure off your hips and tuck your legs toward your chest. This is especially good for people who already have back pain and for pregnant women.

Never sit for too long a period. Get up and move about every 30 minutes to give your body a break.
Your spine needs a strong stomach and healthy back. Climbing stairs daily and carrying groceries help these muscles. Do exercise daily and not just on weekends.

One last fact. People who smoke are three times more likely to get lower back pains and the belief is that smoking curbs blood flow to your spine. Moreover, it weakens bones and makes the disks between the spinal bodies break down faster. Even coughing from smoking can weaken your back and eventually cause significant pains.

What foods can improve my eyesight?

As we age, our eyes do not work as well as when we are young. Poor diet, excess sun exposure, medications, infections, and emotional stressors affect not only the body, but also our eyes. At the cellular levels there are things called chemical free radicals that can affect our eyes. The eyes are also prone to changes as a result of common conditions like diabetes. Cataracts are the most common conditions that result from changes in the collagen in the lens of the eye. You can protect your eyes with common food choices.

Antioxidants like vitamin C, E, and A, beta-carotene, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin and of course omega-3 fatty acids all protect the eyes against damage due to free radicals. Fruits and vegetables contain these substances and should be eaten raw whenever possible. (these are calorie free)

Vitamin C is available in uncooked vegetables: raw red peppers have 95% Vitamin C, orange juice, papayas, strawberries, grapefruit juice and even a nice glass of V8 every morning will start your day in the healthiest way. Cooking destroys the vitamin potency and vegetables should be eaten raw. Another vitamin is vitamin E, which is found in peanuts and almonds. Vitamins are particularly rich sources of antioxidants which protect the eyes. Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach and collard greens are also rich in vitamins C and E. If you hate to take omega-3 fish oil tablets, you can find excellent amounts of omega-3 oil in fish. Sushi containing a variety of fatty fish is good to eat once or twice per week, Herring salmon or sardines can offer a great amount of essential omega oils to your diet and is quite good for eyesight.

What Is the benefit of drinking a lot of water?

I discussed this topic previously in one of my articles. A recent bulletin from a Health Newsletter again stressed the importance of good hydration or drinking enough water to keep you from being dehydrated. The study conducted in Los Angeles found that seniors were drier in the morning than in the afternoon as measured in something called the osmolality of their saliva. When the osmolality of sputum is high, you are dry and when it is low, you have more water on board. Fifty-three people who were older than 65 years of age had high osmolality in the mornings, especially those with limited mobility. Why is this? People who are older don’t wish to get up to urinate at night and consequently avoid drinking enough water before going to bed. As a result, elders are dry and are prone to urinary tract infections, pneumonias, and other respiratory illnesses. (UCLA news) Thus, drink well before going to bed and tread carefully when getting up at night to urinate (have at least one or two bedroom walk lights available to help you get to the bathroom in the dark or in the worst case scenario have a small device next to the bed that will allow you to void without having to walk a distance in the dark). We do this in the hospital when someone is at risk of falling and there is no reason to be extra careful at home.

What is the reason I have blood in my urine?

Urine reflects your health. There is a reason why we doctors ask for a urine sample. The urine tells us a lot. Blood in the urine can be copious in which case your urine is bright red or it can be microscopic or not visible to the naked eye. Some causes of bloody urine are bladder stones, an enlarged prostate, cancer of the bladder, kidney or prostate, strenuous exercise like running, or urinary tract infections. Take care of your body and when you suspect blood in your urine, make an appointment to see your doctor.

Why does my urine smell?

Many things change the smell of your urine. Vitamins and other drugs can make the urine smell funny. Brussel sprouts, garlic, coffee, and foods with lots of Vitamin B 6 like bananas and salmon can cause a change in the smell of your urine. My favorite foul urine smell comes after eating asparagus. Of course, infections can make the urine smell foul. The urine is often cloudy and is accompanied by discomfort when urinating. See your doctor for a urine exam if this is a common issue for you or simply call and ask a few questions of his nurse. Any nurse can advise you to be tested if you describe something that suggests an infection.

A final note:

Several months ago, I predicted a measles outbreak within certain communities that fail to vaccinate their children. It’s happened folks. Within miles of the Village of Saddle River, there is a measles outbreak as a result of vaccine fear, religious preference, and people who are simply ill-informed. I can say with certainty that neither religious beliefs or fear of vaccines should allow children to be a risk for a life-threatening infection.