Author Archives: Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The, New America Media, and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York City, and co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.

How diabetes can add to the complications of aging

Photo: Arctic Whirlwind via Flickr

Photo: Arctic Whirlwind via Flickr

Diabetes incidence among older adults is skyrocketing and it’s only going to get worse, according to the American Diabetes Association. Nearly 12 million adults over age 65 in the U.S. — about one-quarter of the population — now live with diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes.

Untreated or poorly managed diabetes can lead to many other major health problems, such as heart disease, amputations, kidney failure and vision impairment. The condition also increases the risk for emergency department visits and hospitalizations, along with a greater risk of death. Continue reading

How the language we use to communicate about disease matters

Photo: Gerald Streiter via Flickr

Photo: Gerald Streiter via Flickr

Does language make a difference when we address serious health issues such as Alzheimer’s and other diseases? Absolutely, according to researchers at Penn State College of Medicine.

Avoid the “war” metaphors, advises Daniel R. George, an assistant professor of medical humanities at the college. While such terminology is common in the medical community and the media, such language can backfire by creating fear and stigma, turning patients into victims and even diverting resources from preventive care. Continue reading

Watching – and documenting – as the end of a life unfolds

Lane DeGregory

Lane DeGregory

Maintaining an emotional distance when reporting on life and death issues can be challenging; even more so when you’ve been following a subject for months, waiting for him to die.

Tampa Bay Times reporter Lane DeGregory wanted to investigate the frustrations many terminally ill patients experience surrounding aid-in-dying laws. She connected with a counselor from Compassion & Choices who introduced her to the key players in her story, “Prince Vinegar’s Last Stand.” Continue reading

New blood pressure guidelines for older adults stir controversy

Photo: Jasleen Kaur via Flickr

Photo: Jasleen Kaur via Flickr

Adults age 60 and older often struggle to keep their blood pressure in check. Revised guidelines from two leading medical groups may make it a little easier, but not without drawing fire from other health professionals.

Critics argue that the new target for adults over age 60 is too high, and delayed treatment could put more people at risk. Continue reading

Yoga for older adults beneficial for more than pain

Photo: KW Knitters Guild via Flickr

Chronic pain is a Catch-22 for many older adults. More than half of community-dwelling adults over age 65, and up to 80 percent of nursing home residents, suffer from persistent pain.

Exercise can improve flexibility, strength and mobility, but many people don’t exercise because it’s painful. That leads to a downward spiral of social isolation, depression, further withdrawal and increasing disability. Only 14.8 percent of adults 65 to 74 years and 7.9 percent of adults 75 years and older met both aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity guidelines in 2012 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Continue reading