Before you close the books on 2017 as mainly a year of political drama, drowning in tweets and the downfall of numerous inappropriate men, hold on. When the focus turns to health—and especially health topics of interest to older adults—there’s some brighter news that will make this new year dramatic in a good way!
Senior Planet took a look back and came up with our take on good health news that broke in 2017. We used our own criteria, biases and judgement, so if you disagree or think we missed something important, or we missed the mark on any of these, just chime in in the comments section below. We link to coverage of each advance or news item so you can dig deeper for details.
New Knees On the Horizon
If you don’t have osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee now, don’t skip to number 2. OA of all types now affects 30 million Americans, and the knee is a common spot for it. It can make your dreams of winning Senior Olympic events fade, not to mention make getting around painful. And, knee OA only increases with age. The problem: disappearing cartilage so it’s bone on crunching bone. Now, experts are at work creating at least three different approaches to building new cartilage. Soon, you may be headed to the doc for a cartilage-building injection.
Java, Now an Even Better Reputation
Coffee, already linked with benefits like boosting alertness and reducing Parkinson’s risk, may also help you live longer. Researchers followed nearly 59,000 people (45 to75) who were white, African American, Japanese American and Latino for about 16 years. They found a 12% reduced risk of death for the one-cup-a-day people compared to non-coffee drinkers and 18% for those who drank four or more cups.
Mood Boost: Vegetables, Fruits
Besides helping with weight control, eating lots of vegetables and fruits is now recommended for preventing depression, say researchers who published their guidelines in this journal. Researchers analyzed available evidence linking diet and depression to create the list. Besides fruits and vegetables, they recommend following a Mediterranean or other ”traditional” diet, eating nuts, seeds, whole grain cereals, foods rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and limiting fast foods, sweets and commercial bakery goods.
Better Eyesight, Longer Life?
Cataract surgery, when needed, can help you pass that sometimes anxiety-provoking DMV exam. And it may also extend your life, yet another study suggests. Researchers are not sure why, but say it could be due to the increase in independence when your eyesight is restored. You could also fall less when you vision is better. The latest study followed more than 74,000 women who had cataracts. Of those, more than 41,000 had cataract survey, usually about age 70. Those who had the surgery had a slightly lower death rate from a variety of conditions and diseases over a three-year period analyzed.
Leave the House Every Day-A Good Thing!
Here is another way to have more birthdays—leave the house often, daily if possible, even if you need a cane or a wheelchair to get out and about. Researchers followed 3,375 adults 70 and up, and found leaving the house daily was linked with the longest life span over their 20-year followup. Why? Might be the socialization, never a bad thing. Leaving the house ”rarely” was defined as once a week or less; often was 2 to 5 times. How do you stack up with your age group? 87% of those 70 went out daily, but that dwindled to 48% by age 90. By 90, 40% of those in the 90 age group left the house rarely.
Vitamin D News
So you know all about Vitamin D and its benefits for bone-building. Now, experts are trying to decide if D3 might be better than D2.In one large study, researchers found D3 was better than D2 in keeping blood levels up. For now, stay tuned…and check in with your doctor about what’s best for you.
That’s our view on good news on the health front…but what’s yours? If we missed something that was a major improvement or development, please let everyone know in the comments section below…and have a happy and healthy new year.