Click inside for the weekly health watch with items on a 7 Summits Alzheimer's awareness campaign, healthy after-school snacks and Medicare doctors who face pay cuts. Or check out these links:
Well-known mountaineer Alan Arnette has laid out a challenge of epic proportions for himself in order to raise awareness and funds for a cause very close to his heart.
Arnette, 54, of Colorado is planning to climb the 7 Summits, which are the highest peaks on each continent, with a goal of raising awareness about Alzheimer's disease, the burden on caregivers and funding for research.
He named this yearlong initiative The 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer's: Memories are Everything, and he is dedicating it to his mother and two aunts who died from Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer's disease affects more than 5 million people in the United States. Arnette retired early from his job as a technology executive to care for his mother during the last three years of her life. But like millions of other people caring for loved ones with this incurable disease, he struggled to deal with the emotional, physical and financial tolls.
"My mom never cried when I was growing up, but when it was evident that she could no longer live on her own and I had to help her pack her things, she started to cry and said, 'I don't want to leave my home,'" Arnette said.
To Arnette, memories are everything. There is neither a cure nor a treatment that addresses the underlying cause of Alzheimer's, which gradually destroys a person's memory and ability to learn, reason, make judgments, communicate and carry out daily activities.
Arnette sees some parallels between mountain climbing and this disease.
"The mental and physical demands of scaling seemingly insurmountable peaks are not unlike the everyday challenges faced by people living with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers," said Arnette. "Both involve understanding personal limitations, reaching out for support and taking steps daily on a very long road."
Arnette will first climb the 16,067-foot Mt. Vinson Massif in Antarctica, starting Nov. 24. He will face extreme cold weather and carry 100 pounds of gear.
The Alzheimer's Immunotherapy Program of Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy and Pfizer Inc. is funding Arnette's climbs so all money raised will go directly to the Cure Alzheimer's Fund.
You can support Alzheimer's research by going to Climb4AD.com. You can also learn more about Alzheimer's and follow Arnette's high-altitude climbs.
From a caregiver's perspective
The burden of caring for people with Alzheimer's disease often falls on loved ones. In the U.S., an estimated 10.9 million unpaid caregivers see to the daily needs of people struck by Alzheimer's. Last year, they provided about 12.5 billion hours of care.
Caregivers themselves often are at risk for depression and illness, especially if they do not receive adequate support from family, friends and the community.
New Research: Military parents and kids' health
Researchers from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences published a study that says parental military deployment is associated with an 11 percent increase in childhood outpatient visits for mental and behavioral health issues.
-- American Academy of Pediatrics
Did You Know?
Registered dieticians Jennifer Nelson and Katherine Zeratsky say that, for the average person, occasionally eating seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is OK. But pregnant or lactating women, young children and those with weak immune systems should avoid it.
If you are traveling via car for the holidays, try to make the trip as comfortable as possible. Adjust the seat to fit your body, consider buying a back cushion for support or sit on a pillow to ease the pressure on your hips.
Number to Know
90: According to the American Heart Association, women with high levels of on-the-job stress are 90 percent more likely to have a heart attack than women with less stressful jobs.
Children’s Health: Healthy snacking after school
Children often come home from school hungry and ready to snack. But most kids don’t take the time to choose a healthy snack and, instead, reach for whatever is easy and close.
It is important for parents to know what their children are eating when they come home from school. Considering that chips and a soda can run around 350 calories, there are much better ways to fill up while getting essential nutrients.
Here are some healthy after-school snacks to consider:
Hard cheeses, whole grain crackers and grapes.
Fruits like strawberries, oranges, bananas and apples. Serve with peanut butter or yogurt.
Dried fruits like prunes, apricots and raisins.
Small bowl of healthy cereal, with no more than 15 grams of sugar.
Frozen fruit bar.
Raisin bread with peanut butter and skim milk.
-- The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Senior Health: Medicare doctors face pay cuts
Starting Dec. 1, doctors treating Medicare patients could face a pay cut of up to 21 percent, and another 4 percent pay cut starting Jan. 1, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
However, Congress has a chance to block the cuts, as it has done 10 times already in the past eight years. Legislation passed in 1997 tied Medicare funding to economic growth. But, with the looming threat of pay cuts, doctors may decide to refuse Medicare patients, which is why legislators have been blocking the cuts.
With the last block on pay cuts expiring in a couple of weeks and a lame-duck Congress session, the American Medical Association and AARP are pushing for a 13-month freeze to work out a solution, instead of another short-term fix.
GateHouse News Service