Stories & Tips

7 Things that Cause Dark Spots and How to Get Rid of Them

7 Things that Cause Dark Spots and How to Get Rid of Them

Dark spots, also known as hyperpigmentation, appear on your skin when you produce more melanin than usual. Melanin gives your eyes, skin, and hair their color. They aren’t cause for medical concern and don’t need treatment. This article talks about dark spots and how to get rid of them.

7 Things that Cause Dark Spots and How to Get Rid of Them

Symptoms of Dark Spots

 

The color of dark spots can range from light to dark brown. It all depends on your skin tone. They feel the same as the rest of your skin and aren’t supposed to be painful. They can be different in sizes and be on any part of your body. The parts of your body that are exposed to the sun are the most likely areas to get spots.

You can get them on:

  • The back of your hands
  • Face
  • Back
  • Shoulders

7 Things that Cause Dark Spots

 

There are different reasons that dark spots can appear.

1. Sun Damage

Some people call dark spots sunspots because of being exposed to the sun or tanning beds. As mentioned before, the areas that are out in the sun are most likely to get sunspots.

2. Hormonal Changes

There is a skin condition called melasma that causes small patches of skin discoloration. It happens more to women, especially during pregnancy. This is because hormones trigger this condition.

3. Medication Side Effects

Some medication can create more skin pigmentation and create dark spots. Medicines that do this are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), tetracyclines, and psychotropic drugs.

4. Inflammation

If you have skin inflammation often, it can cause dark spots. Skin inflammation can happen because of eczema, psoriasis, injury to the skin, and acne.

5. Wound Healing

Dark spots can stay after an insect bite, burn, or a cut heals. They can fade in time.

6. Irritation

Cosmetic skin or hair products can mess with your skin and make dark spots.

7. Diabetes

This condition can cause areas of the skin darker.

7 Ways to Get Rid of Dark Spots

 

If you feel more comfortable without dark spots, there are ways to get rid of them. You should choose the best treatment based on the cause, size, and the area the dark spot is on.

1. Laser Treatment

There are different types of laser treatments you can use. The most common is an intense pulse light laser. It targets melanin and breaks up the dark spots.

2. Microdermabrasion

This is a special treatment where a device that has an abrasive surface is used. It removes the outer layer of the skin and encourages new collagen growth, which can lighten dark spots.

3. Chemical Peels

This is when you put a mixture on your skin that exfoliates the surface, making new skin growth and fade dark spots.

4. Cryotherapy

This when liquid nitrogen is applied to the dark spots to freeze them. Freezing hurts skin cells, and the spots will lighten after healing.

5. Prescription Skin Lightening Cream

This bleaches your skin which is why you can only get it by prescription. It will take months to lighten the dark spots. Hydroquinone, an active ingredient in these creams, prevents skin from making melanin.

These products have a strength of 3 or 4%.

6. Over the Counter Creams

If you don’t have a prescription, you can look at over the counter creams. They won’t be as strong as prescription ones, but they work. They will have different ingredients like retinol or alpha hydroxy acid. These speed up the exfoliation and create more skin growth.

Pick ones that are recommended by dermatologists to avoid any potential harmful creams.

7. Natural Remedies

Certain natural ingredients can help treat dark spots. Look for niacinamide—a form of vitamin B-3, soy, licorice extracts, and mulberry. It’s not known for sure if these work, but according to researchers, they show great promise.

Treatments to Avoid

 

There are a lot of suggested treatments out there, but you have to be careful about which ones you pick. Remedies that involve lemon or apple cider vinegar have no evidence that they work. Some unproven treatments can irritate the skin and make dark spots worse.

Read more here.

U.S. Seniors are Working More Than Ever

Retirement seems to be farther and farther away for many Americans. U.S. seniors are working more than ever and longer. The reason? They don’t have enough money.

U.S. Seniors are Working More Than Ever

U.S. Seniors are Working More Than Ever

 

In 57 years, the rate of retirement-aged workers has gone up 20% according to a new report from United Income. In early 1985 retirement-aged workers only made up 10% of the U.S. labor force. The most significant spike is from college-educated older workers. Those with at least an undergraduate degree is up to 53% from 1985’s 25%.

The rise of older people going to college has pushed the demographic’s inflation-adjusted income to an average of $78,000. That’s 63% higher than the $48,000 in 1985.

Younger American workers saw their average income rise by only 38% over that same period.

United Income’s information comes from the recently released data from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Who Needs the Work?

 

Out of the two groups of college educated and less educated seniors, it’s the less educated seniors who need the work more. Though the college educated are the ones more likely to work.

The BLS believes a big wave of baby boomers will be the strongest growth in the labor force through at least 2024. It’s estimated that Social Security replaces only around 40 to 50% of worker’s income before retirement. It’s thought that people who retire need about 80% of their income before retirement.

The typical worker is in the bottom 50% of the income distribution. They earn less than 40,000 a year and have no retirement savings. People in the middle 40% of income distribution earn anywhere between $40,000 to 115,000 and have $60,000 saved. People in the top 10% make more than $115,000 and have an average of $200,000 saved for retirement.

It’s guessed that to retire you would need a million or two and be comfortable.

Read more here.

Does Inflammation Affect Bone Healing?

Inflammation can cause all sorts of havoc in your body. Now, a study is saying that inflammation affects bone healing. This could explain why it takes so long to heal after a broken bone as you get older.

Does Inflammation Affect Bone Healing?

Does Inflammation Affect Bone Healing?

 

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

It’s well known that your body gets more easily inflamed as you get older due to wear and tear. Inflammation caused by the immune system thinking something is attacking you. It’s supposed to be part of the healing process.

This study looked at how the age-driven increase in immune signals ruins the ability of stems to multiply. Stems cells are crucial to bone repair and creating new bone.

The team tried and successfully restored the skeletal stem cell number and function in aging mice by using the anti-inflammatory part of aspirin.

Their results prove that the decrease in the number and function of the skeletal stem cells that enable bones to heal is due to inflammation, not age.

This could mean that it would be better to start taking anti-inflammatory drugs weeks before any orthopedic surgeries, instead of waiting until after a bone breaks. Doing this could result in an average healing speed.

Read more here.

12 Different Ways Your Eyes are Warning You About Your Health

12 Different Ways Your Eyes are Warning You About Your Health

Your eyes aren’t only good for seeing. They can also give you signs about your health. Depending on the symptoms, it can be obvious or subtle. It’s essential to pay attention when your eyes are warning you about your health.

12 Different Ways Your Eyes are Warning You About Your Health

12 Different Ways Your Eyes are Warning You About Your Health

 

1. White Spots on Your Cornea

This can mean you have an eye infection, which is a common problem if you wear contact lens.

It can also be a sign of a corneal infection.

2. Eye Twitching

You already know that stress comes out in different ways, including eye twitching. Luckily, this symptom isn’t dangerous, but it is a sign that you need to relax.

3. Blurred Vision

Usually, blurry vision means it’s time to break out the glasses, but it could mean more. Not only can blurry vision be a sign of eye problems like cataracts or macular degeneration, but it can also be a sign of diabetes.

A 2014 study found that 73% of diabetic patients sampled had blurry vision. Your eye doctor could detect diabetes when they are checking your eyes.

4. White Ring Around Your Iris

If this is noticed during an eye exam, it may be time to go to your doctor. While a white ring can be a sign of aging, it can also be a sign of high cholesterol. Your eyes could be telling you that you are at an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.

5. Damaged Blood Vessels in Your Retina

This isn’t a symptom that you can see in a mirror. This is the type of symptom that gets noticed during an eye exam.

Damaged blood vessels in your retina are also known as hypertensive retinopathy.

It’s a sign that your blood pressure is too high.

6. Your Eyes are Dry All the Time

If you are rubbing your eyes all the time and the skin around them is red, this can mean you have allergies. Rubbing too much or too hard can cause your eyelid to become looser and even saggy. This can cause wrinkles, increased exposure to air, and make your eyes dry.

7. Eye Floaties

Occasionally you will see little speaks in your vision, and while most of the time they are harmless, they also shouldn’t be shrugged off. If you notice you have more than usual, this could be a sign of a retinal tear or detachment.

8. Puffy and Red Eyes

This symptom doesn’t necessarily mean infection. It can be a sign that you are tired. Your eyes are telling you that you need to sleep.

9. Yellow Patch or a Bump on the Whites to the Side

A tiny percentage of this is precancerous, but most of them are not. Getting too much sun can cause these patches. You can wear special glasses that will protect you from the sun if you notice these patches appearing.

10. The Whites of Your Eyes Turning Yellow

If you see this symptom, it could mean that you are developing Jaundice, a condition where you have too much bilirubin. It’s a yellow compound formed from the breakdown of red blood cells.

You can get this due to an infection, alcohol-related diseases, or cancer.

11. Eye Strain and Tearing Up

It’s hard not to be on the computer all day in this new age of technology. If you stare too long at a computer or TV screen, your eyes can get too dry and start tearing up.

12. Broken Blood Vessels

While no one likes to look in the mirror and see this, it’s essential to notice. This can mean that you are straining your eyes. Maybe give your eyes a break.

Read more here.

Did You Know You Can Experience Dementia Without Having the Disease?

Did You Know You Can Experience Dementia Without Having the Disease?

It’s hard to imagine what it’s like to have dementia. It can be even harder to communicate with those who have it. Did you know there is a class called “A Walk in Their Shoes” that can give you the experience of having dementia without having the disease?

Did You Know You Can Experience Dementia Without Having the Disease?

Did You Know You Can Experience Dementia Without Having the Disease?

 

When you take the class, you learn about dementia through your senses. You will put on garden gloves, and a few fingers will be banded together. You will have a nose clip and a giant clothespin. The sunglasses you’ll wear have small dots on the lenses. This makes everything hard to see and put together.

You will have popcorn kernels in your shoes to make standing and walking painful and cause you to wobble. Finally, you’ll have headphones streaming a ton of different and indecipherable sounds.

The idea is to create what daily life is like with dementia. You will probably feel anxious and afraid. You will be overwhelmed.

The class was created by Alyssa Mackey, who is a dementia trainer and direction of business development at The Residence at Salem Woods. The goal is to help people of all walks of life to be able to talk to people with dementia in better ways. To have them speak slower and be more patient.

Things like facial expression, stance, proximity, and tone of voice are key messages to those with dementia. Things become more focused on feelings and instinct.

Read more here.

Could One Senior Community Change Senior Care?

Could One Senior Community Change Senior Care?

We’ve talked a lot about senior communities and even special ones that cater to those with dementia. Now, there is Hogeweyk, a neighborhood in Amsterdam that’s actually a senior community designed for those with dementia. This model of care could change everything when it comes to senior care.

Could One Senior Community Change Senior Care?

Could One Senior Community Change Senior Care?

 

How can Hogeweyk be a neighborhood and a senior community at the same time? Well, there are 27 houses that can hold 6 to 7 people comfortably. There’s a mall, restaurant, bar, supermarket, and a club room. It has streets and alleys and even a theater.

The inspiration for this neighborhood senior community was wanting to improve the traditional nursing community environment. Yvonne van Amerongen noticed that people with dementia were confused about going from their homes to a hospital setting which added to the confusion from dementia.

They wanted to go home and live in a home, not in a ward.

Amerongen and her coworkers felt that they should organize living arrangements to be more family like., to have 6 or 7 people together instead of 20 to 30.

They group people together based on their ideas about life to make things smoother for the seniors and even have them be friends. They interviewed families to get to know these seniors as people for proper placement.

Not only did this help with creating a warmer environment, but it also battled loneliness. These groupings created social circles and social life for these seniors. They could talk to each other and understand each other. Meanwhile, people without dementia would struggle to make conversation with them.

But how does Amerongen keep seniors safe? They have professional and volunteers in the neighborhood that know how to do work with people with dementia.

Management works within the neighborhood that way they can keep an eye on the residents.

By thinking differently, Amerongen and her coworkers were able to create a more comfortable environment for seniors with dementia. Hopefully, America will follow suit and build these dementia villages too.

Learn all about Hogeweyk by listening to Amerongen’s Ted Talk.

10 Ways to Protect You and Your Loved Ones From Scams

We’ve talked a lot about scams targeting seniors, but not much on how to protect them. Sadly, seniors are prime targets for con artists. This is because they are easy to confuse and aren’t as connected to the world as younger adults. What you might think is an obvious scam, a senior could take seriously. Here are 10 ways to protect you and your loved ones from scams.

10 Ways to Protect You and Your Loved Ones From Scams

10 Ways to Protect You and Your Loved Ones From Scams

 

1. Be Wary of “Emergency” Calls

One of the biggest scams involves a senior’s loved one being in an emergency. This is to pressure the senior and cause them panic. Attempt to get a phone number to call back and check the whereabouts and safety of your loved one who’s in danger. It’s a scam if they refuse to give you either.

2. Protect Your Identity

Never, never, give out your Social Security number, Medicare, and financial account info over the phone.

3. Don’t Answer the Phone

If you don’t know the phone number, don’t answer it.

4. Don’t Confirm Personal Information

Try not to say yes to any question asked of you when asked about personal info. The calls may be recorded, and your “yes” can be used to buy purchases you don’t want.

5. Don’t Press Any Numbers

Don’t do it even to stop calls. It can increase the number of robocalls you get. It shows scammers that they found an active number.

6. Change Your Voicemail

Change the message so that it doesn’t reveal your name or other personal info. If you want a legitimate caller to know they called you, you can leave your number in the message.

7. Don’t Return Calls that Claim to Be From the Authorities

Places like the IRS, Social Security Administration, bank, or local police or sheriff’s department usually don’t just leave a voicemail. If you think the call is legitimate, don’t call the number left on the voicemail, instead, look up the number to see if it matches.

8. Do Not Call Registry

You can register both your landline and cellphone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry.

9. Report Robocalls

You can report unwanted calls with the FTC by phone at (888) 382-1222 or (877) 382-4357 or online.

10. Use FCC Tips

The FCC has tips on how to stop unwanted calls.

Read more here.

Scammers are Coming After Seniors in NH

Scammers are Coming After Seniors in NH

We talked about scams before, but that was when they were spread all over the country, now scammers are coming after seniors in NH. Seniors are the perfect target for scammers, especially if they have any cognitive decline. It’s easy for scammers to confuse seniors and play on their fears.

Scammers are Coming After Seniors in NH

Scammers are Coming After Seniors in NH

 

The “grandparent scam,” which we’ve talked about before in our article about different types of scams, have been making the rounds in NH. As a refresher, the grandparent scam is when someone tries to trick a senior into believing someone they loved is in jail or kidnapped and needs money. The money can come as a wire transfer or even gift cards.

To make it seem real, con artists use technology that is recordings of their grandchild’s voice.

In a different version of the scam, the scammers themselves pretend to be a senior’s loved ones. They will claim that their voice changed because they broke their nose.

In New Hampshire, the top scams are unsolicited phone calls and debt collection scams.

To learn more about senior scams check out our articles:

Read more about the NH scams here.

Seniors Need to Drink More H2O

Seniors Need to Drink More H2O

Drinking water is essential for our everyday health, so why are seniors not drinking enough? There are many conditions that seniors develop due to dehydration that aren’t recognized. Seniors need to drink more H2O.

Seniors Need to Drink More H2O

Seniors Need to Drink More H2O

 

Around 40% of seniors who live in a community are chronically underhydrated. Underhydration is the final step before dehydration kicks in.

Dehydration caused a 5% increase in preventable emergency room visits between 2008 and 2012. People 65 and older have the highest hospital admission rates for dehydration.

How is So Much Dehydration Happening?

 

One of the most significant problems when it comes to battling senior dehydration is knowing whether they are dehydrated or not. There is no perfect way to figure it out.

Salivary osmolality could be used as a way for doctors to check hydration in seniors. It compares the ratio of water to certain chemicals that are naturally in saliva and is measured by using an osmometer. The device is noninvasive and only needs a sample the size of a teardrop.

A study published in SAGE Open Nursing showed the team taking urine samples from 53 adults at 2 different senior communities and an adult day care center in Los Angeles. They take samples twice a day, one day a week, over a 3 week period.

By measuring salivary osmolality, the team found that the participants had higher osmolarity, AKA greater dehydration, than younger people. Dehydration was higher in the morning than in the afternoon. It was also higher in those who couldn’t move around.

The team found that a big reason for the early morning dehydration is because seniors were afraid to have an accident overnight.

Health Issues Caused by Dehydration

 

Many health problems can be tied to dehydration. There’s the most obvious which is a urinary tract infection. But, if a senior stays underhydrated for a long period of time, any virus or bacteria they are exposed to are more likely to turn into an infection.

This can include UTIs, pneumonia, and other respiratory diseases. Seniors will be treated for the infection, but not for the dehydration.

Also, dehydration can cause falls in the morning.

Read more here.

5 Causes of Heart Disease You May Not Know About

5 Causes of Heart Disease You May Not Know About

Heart disease is a severe problem in America. 1 in 4 deaths is due to heart disease. While it’s pretty well known that exercise and a good diet keep your heart healthy, there are some causes of heart disease you may not know about.

5 Causes of Heart Disease You May Not Know About

5 Causes of Heart Disease You May Not Know About

 

1. Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea puts a tremendous amount of stress on your heart. People who have sleep apnea can also have high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), and pulmonary hypertension.

Sleep apnea symptoms are daytime sleepiness, memory problems, and irritability.

Being overweight and having certain features like having a prominent chin or tongue may cause you to develop sleep apnea.

Premenopausal women are less likely to have sleep apnea than men. Though, postmenopausal women and men share similar risks. Sleep apnea becomes more common with age until you hit 60, then it starts to slop down.

A way to treat sleep apnea is to use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine at night. Though some people don’t like using it. Other treatments are weight loss, oral appliances, nasal decongestants, and surgery.

2. Stress, Anxiety, and Loneliness

Stress is a part of life, but that doesn’t mean that it’s good for us. While there is such a thing as good stress, most of the time the stress people experience is bad.

It might be hard to believe, but lack of social interaction and positive relationships can be bad for your heart. Lonely people are at a higher risk of heart disease and depression.

The American Heart Association says that it’s still unknown how stress plays a role in heart disease.

3. Sitting All Day

You know exercise is good for you, but did you know that sitting all day can increase your chance of developing heart disease?

A 2014 study showed how an unmoving lifestyle affected blood pressure. They found that sitting all day can increase blood pressure. Even if you exercise an hour a day, sitting all day can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

4. The Flu

The flu is already bad enough, but now it can increase the risk of heart problems. This is due to the inflammation the flu causes. The illness has been connected to heart trouble between October and February of every year.

One 2016 study found that people who had the flu were 6 times more likely to have a heart attack within the first 7 days of their condition being confirmed with testing.

Just another reason to get a flu shot.

5. Dental Disease

You may not realize how important your dental health can be to your overall health. Mouth issues like cavities and gum disease can create chronic inflammation. Inflammation can speed up the hardening of the arteries, which cause the risks of heart problems to go up dramatically.

Though with good brushing, flossing, and trips to the dentist, you should be all set.

Read more here.