April 2019
In this issue

Most seniors - especially those who are ill, preparing for or recovering from surgery, or losing weight - probably benefit from consuming more protein than the standard recommendation for adults.

Newer anticoagulants are recommended as safer, yet just as effective as warfarin (Coumadin) in recently released guidelines. Learning about the new medications and various safety concerns might be worthwhile if you take any blood-thinning medication.

If one of your family members has a major mental illness, a new book - Family Guide to Mental Illness and the Law: A Practical Handbook - may enable you to better help your loved one with difficulties in employment, housing, the justice system, and other arenas.  

A Technical Grab Bag
The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reviews published research to compare the effectiveness of different treatment options for health conditions. In the past year, AHRQ has reported on the following topics. Regrettably, AHRQ no longer issues reports for lay persons, but here are links to their less technical summaries. In-depth coverage is also available.
Care for Your Kidneys
Risk Factors for Chronic Kidney Disease
The most common risk factors for developing chronic kidney disease (CKD) are diabetes and high blood pressure, especially if they are not well-controlled by lifestyle choices and/or medication.  
In addition, you may be at increased risk of developing acute kidney injury or chronic kidney disease if you have taken or are taking a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), a type of medication widely used to treat heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers. (Prilosec and Prevacid are probably the most well-known PPIs but there are several others.)
If You Are at Risk 
If one or more CKD risk factors pertain to you, you can take steps to lessen your risk. In addition, ask your doctor how frequently your kidney function should be checked. Early symptoms of chronic kidney disease are subtle and often unrecognized. As a consequence, lab tests are needed to catch kidney disease early and enable treatment to slow or reverse declining kidney function.
Resources for People with Kidney Diseases 
With timely treatment and self-care, many kidney diseases may be prevented, cured, or controlled. For individuals whose kidneys do eventually fail, dialysis or transplantation can enable younger and otherwise healthy individuals to live for years with a good quality of life. If you or a loved one has any type of kidney disease, the National Kidney Foundation and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases have lots of great information about preventing, diagnosing, treating, and living with kidney diseases.  
Kidney Failure in the Frail Elderly 
However, individuals with kidney failure who are elderly and frail or have other serious health conditions may have a better quality of life with conservative management than with dialysis or transplantation. To learn more about this option, follow the links near the bottom of this page, in the section "Palliative and Comfort Care."

Robotic Surgery for Cancer
With some preliminary evidence showing poorer long-term survival rates when robotically-assisted surgery is used to treat breast and cervical cancer, the FDA has issued a warning that robotically assisted surgery has not been approved for the prevention or treatment of any cancers. The New York Times provides excellent coverage of the issue; you may also want to read the FDA's statements here and here, especially the Q&A. 
Fall Risk & Fall Prevention
Because falls can cause serious injury and lead to major declines in seniors' health and independence, fall prevention is a key issue as we age. If you are an older adult, answering these 12 questions will help you assess how concerned you should be about falling.

Questions to which you answered "yes" may help you identify problems that could be addressed - by discussing medication choices with your doctor, improving your strength and balance, or making other changes. Basic fall prevention measures are described here. You will find much more information, especially about helpful exercises, in PlaneTree's new Later Life Guide.  
Free fall prevention and fall recovery classes will be presented by the Stanford Trauma Center and the Santa Clara County Fire Department over the next few months in various Santa Clara County locations.

All events are open to the public. Some require pre-registration.
Fostering better communication with your child or teen
Santa Clara - Tues., 4/2

Information & exercises for osteoporosis (fee)
Los Gatos - Wed., 4/3

Caring for body & spirit when you have cancer
Mountain View - 8-session class begins Wed., 4/3

Neck & back pain in women (scroll down)
Palo Alto - Thurs., 4/4

Encouraging someone with dementia to eat healthfully
Sunnyvale - Thurs., 4/4

Insulin pumps & glucose-monitoring devices
Palo Alto - Mon., 4/8

Brain-healthy lifestyle
Mountain View - Tues., 4/9

Surgery for severe emphysema/COPD
Mountain View - Tues., 4/9

Mental illness & caring for the mental health of yourself & friends - for middle & high school students
San Jose - Tues., 4/9

Using a CPAP or BIPAP machine
Los Gatos - Wed., 4/10

Safely securing infants & kids in properly installed car seats
San Jose - Wed., 4/10

Weight-loss surgery
Los Gatos - Thurs., 4/11
Mountain View - Tues., 4/16

Using medications safely as a senior
Sunnyvale - Sat., 4/13

Siblings of children with special needs (fee)
San Jose - Sat., 4/13

Foot care - presented in Mandarin
Cupertino - Sun., 4/14

Sleepy teens
Palo Alto - Tues., 4/16

Fall prevention & recovery after a fall
Campbell - Tues., 4/16
Cupertino - Tues., 4/23
Saratoga - Fri., May 17

Parenting siblings of children with learning differences &/or challenging behaviors
San Jose - Wed., 4/17
Palo Alto - Thurs., 4/25
Self-care for hip pain
Saratoga - Sat., 4/20
Cupertino - Sun., 4/28, in English & Mandarin

Living as a cancer survivor
Palo Alto - Tues., 4/23

Laughter yoga - for patients in cardiac rehabilitation & family members
Mountain View - Wed., 4/24

Incontinence, organ prolapse, & other pelvic conditions in older men & women (scroll down)
Palo Alto - Thurs., 4/25

Medicare basics
Sunnyvale - Fri., 4/26
Santa Clara - Sat., 4/27
Mountain View - Mon., 4/29

Social media's benefits & challenges - for teens & parents
Palo Alto - Tues., 4/30

Eating healthfully - for cancer patients, survivors, & their loved ones
Palo Alto - 4-session class begins Tues., 4/30
Beverages & your health
Gilroy - Wed., 5/1

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