Can Eating Probiotics Improve Your Blood Pressure?

Probiotics are a type of bacteria or yeast that can be found in certain nutritional supplements and yogurts. The idea of living organisms found in certain food types that we willingly ingest into our bodies may sound off-putting, but did you know that they carry health benefits with them?

You might be asking where probiotics are commonly found, and how they can possibly provide health improvements. In addition to yogurts, probiotics are found in other dairy products such as fermented and sour milks and cheese. You can also get them by taking probiotic supplements. Recent findings suggest that consuming these foods, and, more specifically, the probiotics in them, can reduce hypertension (high blood pressure) and help maintain your blood pressure at normal levels.

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The Ice Bucket Challenge, ALS, and Medicare

The Ice Bucket Challenge, ALS, and MedicarePerhaps the summer of 2014 will always be known for the viral social-media phenomenon of the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the legendary baseball player).

As you’ve probably seen and heard, the Ice Bucket Challenge involves dumping a bucket of ice water over your head while capturing it on video, posting the video online to raise awareness of the disease, and donating money toward ALS research and a cure. Then, you challenge someone else to do likewise within 24 hours.

It’s certainly a novel way of cooling off during a hot summer. The idea caught on with both celebrities and middle America, with millions of videos being played on Facebook, YouTube, and television programs. Even better, the movement has raised millions of dollars, with the ALS Association alone reporting donations of over $100 million through August 29.

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Turning 65? Answers to Common Medicare Questions

Turning 65? Answers to Common Medicare QuestionsAre you or someone you know turning 65? Get answers to Medicare questions that can help you better plan for your health care, finances, and overall well-being.

If you’re turning 65 this year, you will be joining 10,000 individuals who will also be turning 65 each day. This is a trend that will continue daily until the year 2030, as reported by the Pew Research Center. Turning 65 can be a key milestone because it means that you have retired or are thinking about retirement. It can also be important because it means that you may become eligible for Medicare.

If you are new to the program, you may quickly start to see that Medicare is a complex program with many different benefits, costs, and associated insurance products to choose from. To help you better understand your benefits and coverage options, here is a list of some common Medicare questions for those new to the program:

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How to Protect Yourself from Medicare Card Identity Theft

A Medicare beneficiary on his computer is at risk for identity theft.You’re always told to not carry your Social Security card in your wallet, but millions of elderly and disabled individuals may be at risk for identity theft because of their Medicare cards. Learn how to protect yourself.

For many Medicare beneficiaries, the identification number on their Medicare card is the same as their Social Security number. This means that the personal information for millions of Medicare beneficiaries is at risk of identity theft every time they bring their Medicare card with them to visit the doctor.

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Eight People Who Achieved Greatness as Senior Citizens

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Think that only youngsters can be superstars, and retirement means you’re done with making your mark on the world? Think again.

Plenty of seniors have found new and greater success in their golden years than they ever did before they had a grey hair on their heads.

Take a look at this list of remarkable late in life accomplishments:

1. Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first book, Little House in the Big Woods, at age 64 in 1932. She continued writing the next seven books in the “Little House on the Prairie” series, which became American children’s classics and a popular TV series.

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Does Alcohol Consumption Provoke Heart Disease?

Does Alcohol Consumption Provoke Heart Disease?A new study suggests that alcohol consumption can compromise cardiovascular health.

Have you ever heard that a glass of wine before bed is good for your heart? This isn’t just an old adage that has been passed down through the years (like drinking flat Coke to help a stomach ache), but rather advice that people take on the order of their doctor or physician. We’re not out to contradict the advice of established medical professionals, but a recent report by the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) may prompt some pause before you take that nighttime drink.

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Volunteer in Your Community with Senior Corps

A woman being campanion to a senior through Senior CorpsFor some people, retirement is an endless vacation. But others miss the chance to use and improve their skills while interacting with different people. If you want to put your free time towards helping your community, Senior Corps has a variety of service opportunities for those ages 55 and over in every U.S. state, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Senior Corps is part of the federal Corporation for National and Community Service and began during the John F. Kennedy administration. It connects seniors with people and organizations in their local communities. The principles that guide Senior Corps’ service are teamwork, diversity, capability, presence, flexibility, and service-learning. Volunteers from different backgrounds team together and share their unique talents to meet community needs. People can set their own schedules and give whatever time they have to the projects they choose. This is a good way to expand on lifelong skills and even learn new things. Continue reading

Celebrity Birthdays in June: Turning 65 in 2014

Celebrity Birthdays in June: Turning 65 in 2014It’s always nice to celebrate the arrival of June. Who can’t appreciate warmer weather, longer days, and weekend cookouts? Perhaps these summer months signify a milestone in your life, like a 65th birthday. If so then you’re in good company with some of the celebrities who are turning 65 this month.    

Whether or not you’re a fan of bona fide movie stars, character actors, musicians, or designers, there’s a lot of talent and variety in this list of celebrities birthdays in June.

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Medicare Costs for Generic and Brand-Name Drugs

Pill bottle & dollars, cost of generic & brand-name drugsIf you have a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) or a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage, you should have access to both generic and brand-name drugs. These medications will have separate cost-sharing, meaning you’ll pay a different rate for each type. Often, the generic equivalent of a brand-name drug will be less expensive.

People sometimes worry about generic drugs being not as effective or safe as brand-name drugs, but that shouldn’t be a problem. The FDA requires that generics have the same active ingredients as the brand-name drugs, and generic and brand-name drugs are tested to perform the same medically.

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The Medicare Competitive Bidding Program—Does it Affect You?

Medicare Advantage Plans: Out-Of-Pocket ExpensesMedicare is rolling out a “competitive bidding” program that might affect you if you’re a Medicare beneficiary who orders certain medical supplies by mail order.

The program is called the Medicare Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program. It requires you to get certain medical supplies from a Medicare contract supplier if you get your supplies by mail order, and if you live in certain areas. The items in question are some of the DMEPOS equipment, such as diabetic testing supplies and certain other items prescribed as medically necessary. This program doesn’t affect you unless you order these supplies by mail, and you have Original Medicare.
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