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Relieving Joint Pain

Relieving Joint Pain

The health benefits of regular exercise are undeniable, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends 30 minutes of exercise at least five times per week. However, high-impact exercises like running and weight training can lead to joint pain, especially if you have a joint condition. The good news is that smart exercises with low impact can alleviate joint pain and deliver the same health benefits.

Here are a few tips to consider:

Keep Moving

Trying to protect your joints by not moving actually does more harm than good. Regular exercise can actually help joint pain and ease symptoms of chronic joint conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just be sure to talk to your doctor about your exercise plan before you get started.

Go Low Impact

You don’t need to put tremendous weight on your joints or jump up and down in order to break a sweat or elevate your heartrate. When you’re already in pain, this type of exercise can actually make things worse. Instead, opt for high-quality, low-impact workouts.

There are now exercise machines available for home use that provide the same quality low-impact workout you’d get in physical therapy. Consider the Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer, a seated exercise machine that takes the weight off the joints while torching calories.

Unlike other recumbent machines which can be bad for the knees, the FreeStep mimics a natural stepping motion that prevents knees from traveling over the toes, as well as stabilizes the back and hips. And you don’t have to sacrifice workout quality ” in fact, research shows that FreeStep users burn 17.4 percent more calories than when using a recumbent bike at the same level of effort. Beyond calorie burn, it also offers full-body resistance training, which is especially important, as weak muscles can be a root cause of pain.

Hydrate

It may seem obvious, but ensuring that you drink the recommended daily intake of water is vital to reducing pain in your joints.

Proper hydration helps your body eliminate wastes and toxins that can lead to painful joint conditions. Plus, it helps to keep the joints lubricated and flexible, reducing friction and inflammation and helping to maintain healthy tissue.

Stretch Daily

Stretching increases flexibility and range of motion, improves movement and function, reduces pain and stiffness and prevents further injury. Just remember to move slowly and keep it gentle.

At the very least, spend a good five to 10 minutes in the morning stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps, calf muscles and hip flexors.

For a free photo guide to “5 Daily Stretches to Relieve Knee & Joint Pain,” visit teeter.com/freestep-guide.

With the right exercises and maintenance program, you can improve your health and get a stronger body, without pain.  (StatePoint)

As the saleswoman took Susan Lucci’s purchases to be wrapped, the actress felt it again ” a tightening in her chest that radiated around her ribcage.

She’d felt something similar twice in recent weeks. Both had been mild enough to dismiss.

This time, Lucci described it as “an elephant pressing on my chest.” Using that phrase reminded her of a woman saying the same thing when describing the start of her heart attack.

“Is that what’s happening?” she wondered.

Lucci had good reason to wonder.

At 71, she was in such remarkable shape that in recent months Harper’s Bazaar hailed her as “hotter than ever” and Women’s Health called her a “fitness badass,” a nod to her nearly daily Pilates regimen. Good health also runs in her family; her mom is 101 and still going strong. And, as Lucci stood in that boutique, the only times she’d ever been hospitalized were to give birth to her two children.

Now she was on her way again.

Doctors found blockages clogging nearly 90 percent of the artery that supplies most of the blood to her heart and 75 percent of another artery. A heart attack is a full blockage, so she avoided that. Still, she needed an emergency procedure to insert a stent into each damaged artery.

Thanks to her willingness to seek immediate care, Lucci avoided a potentially fatal result.

Thanks to her healthy lifestyle, she left the hospital the next day ” and performed on stage two days after that.

And thanks to the fame she accumulated as Erica Kane on “All My Children,” Lucci hopes her story can help others. Just like a survivor’s voice spurred her into action, Lucci is encouraging everyone to learn the warning signs of a heart attack and to understand the importance of taking them seriously.

“Nobody has to die of a heart attack,” she said. “You just have to listen to your symptoms and act on them.”

Warning signs can be different for men and women. They can vary from person to person.

The most common is pain or discomfort in the chest; lightheadedness; nausea or vomiting; pain radiating in the jaw or neck; discomfort or pain in the arm or shoulder; and shortness of breath.

The form they take doesn’t matter, said Dr. Richard Shlofmitz, the head of cardiology at St. Francis Hospital on Long Island and Lucci’s cardiologist.

What matters, he said, is acknowledging them.

With the warning signs of a heart problem, the only decision should be which phone you use to call 911, he said.

Sometimes people wonder whether they’re having a heart problem. Maybe it’s indigestion or a pulled muscle. Once the pain subsides, they think it’s resolved. Shlofmitz recommends putting the symptoms to a three-prong test:

Did they flare during exertion (which can be as minimal as shopping)?

Did they go away at rest?

Have they occurred more than once?

If the answer to all three is yes, call 911.

“The heart doesn’t fix itself,” he said.

Lucci wants her message to resonate with women, especially since learning that heart disease is their No. 1 killer, claiming more lives each year than all forms of cancer combined.

“We’re not on our own to-do list,” she said. “We are nurturing others. That’s what we do, and we have places to go and people to see, and we don’t think we can fit (caring for ourselves) into our schedules.”

She knows women fear overreacting or being a burden because both of those thoughts crossed her mind. She especially lamented “taking this wonderful doctor’s time away from someone who really needed him.” (As it turned out, Shlofmitz said he sees people in her dire state “probably 2 percent of the time.”)

A recent study backs that up. Researchers in Europe found that women having a heart attack wait about 37 minutes longer than men before calling for medical help.

Ten years ago, Lucci walked the runway in the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Red Dress Collection fashion show as a celebrity model. On Thursday night, she’ll walk the runway again ” as a survivor.

Lucci made that connection for the first time during an interview with American Heart Association News. Her eyelids fluttered, appearing to blink away tears. With a smile stretched wide, she said, “There’s so much gratitude in being a survivor.”

Preventing heart disease is always best, but Lucci’s story shows that sometimes it’s inevitable.

“I would like women to pay attention to the symptoms that they’re feeling ” to be in touch with their bodies and to act on those symptoms,” she said. “If you think something needs medical attention, pay attention and go to the doctor.”

Source: American Heart Association News covers heart and brain health. Not all views expressed in this story reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. If you have questions or comments about this story, please email editor@heart.org.

(Family Features) Criminals are increasingly targeting people age 65 or older for personal identity theft. In 2014 alone, there were 2.6 million such incidents among seniors, according to the Department of Justice.

A growing offshoot of identity theft is healthcare fraud, which can result when someone unlawfully uses another person’s Medicare number. Medical identity theft can lead to inaccuracies in medical records, which in turn can result in delayed care, denied services and costly false claims.

That’s why Medicare works with the Department of Justice, taking aim squarely at would-be thieves. In the largest law enforcement action against criminals fraudulently targeting the Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare programs, 412 people around the country, including 115 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, were charged in 2017 with bilking U.S. taxpayers out of $1.3 billion.

The next big fraud-fighting push is well underway — and its focus is protecting the personal information of senior citizens by removing their Social Security numbers from Medicare cards.

People with Medicare don’t need to take any action to get a new Medicare card. Beginning in April, 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will mail out newly designed Medicare cards to the 58 million Americans with Medicare. The cards will have a new number that will be unique for each card recipient. This will help protect personal identity and prevent fraud because identity thieves can’t bill Medicare without a valid Medicare number. To help with a seamless transition to the new cards, providers will be able to use secure look up tools that will support quick access to the new card numbers when needed.

Healthcare fraud drives up costs for everyone, but healthcare consumers can be an effective first line of defense against fraud. Follow these tips to help protect yourself:

Do
* Treat your Medicare number like a credit card.
* When the new card comes in the mail next year, destroy your old card and make sure you bring your new one to your doctors’ appointments.
* Be suspicious of anyone offering early bird discounts, limited time offers or encouraging you to act now for the best deal. That’s an indicator of potential fraud because Medicare plans are forbidden from offering incentives.
* Be skeptical of free gifts, free medical services, discount packages or any offer that sounds too good to be true.
* Only give your Medicare number to doctors, insurers acting on your behalf or trusted people in the community who work with Medicare, like your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).
* Report suspected instances of fraud.
* Check your Medicare statements to make sure the charges are accurate.

Don’t
* Don’t share your Medicare number or other personal information with anyone who contacts you by telephone, email or approaches you in person, unless you’ve given them permission in advance. Medicare will never contact you uninvited and request your Medicare number or other personal information.
* Don’t let anyone borrow or pay to use your Medicare number.
* Don’t allow anyone, except your doctor or other Medicare providers, to review your medical records or recommend services.
* Don’t let anyone persuade you to see a doctor for care or services you don’t need.
* Don’t accept medical supplies from a door-to-door salesman.

Learn more about how you can fight Medicare fraud at Medicare.gov/fraud, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). You can also visit a local SHIP counselor, who can provide free, one-on-one, non-biased Medicare assistance.

With a common sense approach to protecting health information, senior citizens can be effective partners in fighting Medicare fraud.

By Seema Verna, CMS Administrator

#13994
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

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