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Older Americans, prevalence of chronic disease has risen, and many older Americans are unprepared to afford the costs of long-term care in a nursing home, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau commissioned by the National Institutes of Health.

Research based on NIA’s Health and Retirement Study suggests that the prevalence of chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic lung disease, and diabetes, increased among older people between 1998 and 2008. For example, in 2008, 41 percent of the older population had three or more chronic conditions, 51 percent had one or two, and only 8 percent had no chronic conditions.

Data on individual, economic, social changes linked to dramatically aging population.  Rates of smoking and excessive alcohol consumption have declined among those 65 and older, but the percentage of overweight and obese people has increased. Between 2003-2006, 72 percent of older men and 67 percent of older women were overweight or obese. Obesity is associated in increased rates of diabetes, arthritis, and impaired mobility, and in some cases with higher death rates.

Are you planing on going on a vacation? Besides packing sun-block and swim suits, there are other things you need to do to prepare when leaving on a vacation.   Here are a few tips you may want to keep in mind when planning for your next vacation.

* Check for any travel warnings / alerts from the State Department for your destination

* Know if your passport is required or if you only need a passport card

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Summer temperatures can be pleasant, but the warm weather is also attractive to insects and rodents.

This is the time of year when ants, roaches, mice and other pests make their way into your home, especially if they find the right living conditions. All they really need to get comfortable is water, food and a place where they can hide or reproduce.

You can fight these pests without pesticides if you follow these suggestions:

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Four-year, $43 million initiative engages broad expertise in study of mystery conditions.  The National Institutes of Health has awarded grants to six medical centers around the country to select from the most difficult-to-solve medical cases and together develop effective approaches to diagnose them. The clinical sites will conduct clinical evaluation and scientific investigation in cases that involve patients with prolonged undiagnosed conditions.

NIH trial success suggests a new treatment option for older, sicker patients.   Half of patients in a trial have safely stopped immunosuppressant medication following a modified blood stem-cell transplant for severe sickle cell disease, according to a study in the July 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association External Web Site Policy. The trial was conducted at the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, by researchers from NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Most people who die from hyperthermia each year are over 50 years old. Health problems that put you at greater risk include:

* Heart or blood vessel problems, poorly working sweat glands, or changes in your skin caused by normal aging.

* Heart, lung, or kidney disease, as well as any illness that makes you feel weak all over or results in a fever.

* Conditions treated by drugs such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers, and some heart and high blood pressure medicines. These may make it harder for your body to cool itself by sweating.

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Heat stroke can be life threatening:   You need to get medical help right away. Older people living in homes or apartments without air conditioning or fans are at most risk. So are people who become dehydrated or those with chronic diseases or alcoholism.

Heat exhaustion is a warning that your body can no longer keep itself cool. You might feel thirsty, dizzy, weak, uncoordinated, and nauseated. You may sweat a lot. Even though your body temperature stays normal, your skin feels cold and clammy. Some people with heat exhaustion have a rapid pulse. Rest in a cool place and get plenty of fluids. If you don’t feel better soon, get medical care. Be careful—heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke.

Heat edema is a swelling in your ankles and feet when you get hot. Putting your legs up should help. If that does not work fairly quickly, check with your doctor.

Heat cramps are the painful tightening of muscles in your stomach, arms, or legs. Cramps can result from hard work or exercise. While your body temperature and pulse usually stay normal during heat cramps, your skin may feel moist and cool.

These cramps are a sign that you are too hot. Find a way to cool your body down. Rest in the shade or in a cool building. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, but not those with alcohol or caffeine. Caffeine can cause you to be dehydrated.

Heat syncope is a sudden dizziness that may happen when you are active during hot weather. If you take a kind of heart medication called a beta blocker or are unused to hot weather, you are even more likely to feel faint. Drinking water, putting your legs up, and resting in a cool place should make the dizzy feeling go away.

Acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) are closely intertwined, with each disease a risk factor for developing the other and sharing other risk factors in common, as well as sharing causes for the diseases to get worse, and outcomes, suggests a comprehensive analysis by scientists at the National Institutes of Health and George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, D.C. Findings were published July 3 in the New England Journal of Medicine External Web Site Policy.

Policy’s implementation is key to accelerating biomedical discoveries.  The National Institutes of Health has issued a final NIH Genomic Data Sharing (GDS) policy to promote data sharing as a way to speed the translation of data into knowledge, products and procedures that improve health while protecting the privacy of research participants. The final policy was posted in the Federal Register Aug. 26, 2014 and published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts Aug. 27, 2014

Today’s national symbol is the American bald eagle. It is the national bird of the United States and an endangered species success story. It is easily recognized by the white feathers on its head and tail (in adults).

Bald eagles live approximately 20 years and their natural habitat spans almost all of North America from Alaska to northern Mexico. (Photo: Karen Laubenstein, USFWS)

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An estimated two-thirds of American adults plan to vacation this summer. If you are one of them, here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare to get away.

1  ) Put a hold on your mail. Mail stacking up is a good indicator to people that nobody is home. To be on the safe side, have your mail held at the post office until you return.

2 ) Check for travel alerts / warnings for your destination from the State Department. The world can be unstable, and sometimes dangerous for visitors in certain places. Make sure the risks are minimal wherever you are going.

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Teams of scientists will use support from the National Institutes of Health to conduct research into the genetic underpinnings of Alzheimer’s disease, analyzing how genome sequences — the order of chemical letters in a cell’s DNA — may contribute to increased risk or protect against the disease. The NIH awarded grants for using innovative new technologies and computational methods for the analysis. The scientists also will seek insights into why some people with known risks do not develop the disease.

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