Fat to Fit at 59

My quest to lose 50 pounds in 150 days. (Now that you know about it, I'm committed.)

Day 69—Senior Moments January 23, 2010

Alzheimer's? Or just Old Timers.

Sometimes I worry about being forgetful. What’s normal for my age, and what’s not?

Recently on a Good Morning America segment wit George Stephanopoulos, Dr. Oz said that the incidence of Alzheimer’s will triple in our lifetime, and we’ll all have—or know someone who has—the disease. He described it as power lines (our brain’s message system) that have been covered with sap, which inhibits their ability to transmit thoughts.

How can we prevent it? Some causes are hereditary, but some are influenced by lifestyle choices that can cut our chances for Alzheimer’s in half! He recommends eating a Mediterranean diet (olive oil, omega-3-rich fish and nuts, leafy green vegetables and berries), regular and vigorous exercise (there’s that brain/body connection again!), aspirin (anti-inflammatory), B-vitamins (which rebuild neuronal cables), and turmeric (a spice also referred to as curcumin). Note: The incidence of Alzheimer’s in India is just 1/4 of that in the U.S!

He also cited five warning signs that should serve as Alzheimer’s red flags:

1. (Your) memory loss is destructive to (your) life

2. (You) accuse people of stealing because really, (you) can’t remember where (you’ve) put something

3. (You) put things in unlikely or illogical places (eg: keys in the fridge)

4. (You) repeat questions over and over because (you) don’t remember asking or getting an answer

5. (You) make up new words for words (you) can’t remember

Do you like quizzes? Here are eight items. Read them once, then scroll this post so you can’t see them any more. Do something else, and after two minutes, try to recall the items. If you can remember 6-8 you’re a memory master. If you remember 4-5 your memory could use some work. And if you remember 3 or less, you have reason to worry:

House       Professor       Palm Tree       Teddy Bear      Beach       Pasta       Nun       Cigar

To listen to Dr. Oz’s segment, visit http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/HealthyLiving/dr-ozs-warning-signs-alzheimers-disease/story?id=9618672 .

‘Til tomorrow, stay confident and resolute! Now where did I put those earrings…?


Day 48—Spotting Age January 2, 2010

Our sun exposure before age 20 pretty much determines what our skin will look like in our 50s and beyond.

When I was a teen-ager, my childhood best friend Pam’s mother used to tell me I should be a hand model. I admit I was blessed with beautiful hands: smooth and blemish-free with long, rock-hard nails that never chipped or split.

I maintain that my mom’s genes are behind my (relatively, for my age) minimally wrinkled and non-age-revealing skin. (Thanks, Mom!)

But these days and despite my good genes, my hands reflect my decades of sun worship. Even at my age, I still relish a nap in the searing sun, slathered with suntan oil. (Aahhhhh…wake me when the street lights come on!)

The good thing is that age spots (also called liver spots or solar lentigo), don’t itch or hurt, and may fade with time. They’re caused, like scars, as a response to skin injury: sun exposure or thin skin. The spots consist of skin pigment that gathers to the injury site as the body’s natural protection system, and the pigment may disperse after a period of time, just like a scab decomposes and flakes off as a cut heals.

The bad thing is, if we’re damaging our skin and our genes predispose us to it, we can develop skin cancer in response to the damage we inflict on our skin.

So it’s probably a good idea to play it safe and use that sunscreen whenever we’ll be exposed to the sun for extended periods. And if you’re concerned about a particular age spot or mole on your skin, have your doctor check it out.

Here’s an easy-to-remember formula of signs that you should pay attention to: the A, B, C, D & Es of melanoma:

  • Asymmetry
  • Border irregularities
  • Colors or shades of skin that are different within the same mole
  • Diameter greater than 6 millimeters (larger than a pencil eraser)
  • Enlargement

Also look for bleeding, crusting or numbness in this skin area.

It’s time I start acting my age and being kinder to my skin.  😉  How skin-friendly are you?