If you had bet that Katy Perry and Russell Brand would never last or that the Cleveland Browns would NOT field a Super Bowl team in 2012 — well, then your crystal ball is working as well as the YOU Docs’ did when eight years ago we said that everyone 50 or older should get a pneumonia vaccine.
The Food and Drug Administration now agrees: A vaccine, called Prevnar 13, that was for kids ages 6 months to 5 years old, is now available for people 50-plus. It attacks 13 strains of the lung-congesting and inflammation-causing bug and may pack a bigger punch than older vaccines (including Pneumovax) that used to be doled out only to those folks who were 65 or older.
For the more than 300,000 people over 50 who are projected to be hospitalized with pneumonia this year, that’s very good news. But the vaccine’s power doesn’t stop there.
YOU Docs are on record saying that for folks 50 and up, the vaccine called Pneumovax reduces inflammation that damages blood vessels and makes your brain foggy and your thinking fuzzy. Dr. Oz got this high-caliber shot when he tuned 50; so did young Dr. Mike!
REDUCING THE PRICE OF GAS
We YOU Docs believe your health is a no-embarrassment zone, but read on with caution.
“Friends’” Joey Tribbianni knew how to buy time when he forgot a line — stop and smell the — well, smell. It may work in that situation, but real flatulence is a show-stopper, particularly when it’s loud and stinky.
Most passed gas is nitrogen. Embarrassing noises announce the passage of gas when your tense sphincter acts as a wind instrument. And the smell — that’s from hydrogen sulfide, which is produced when sulfur-rich food is digested by bacteria in your colon.
Foods that promote sulfur smells include eggs, meat, fish, beer, beans, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. If you don’t want to give up on potentially smelloriffic foods, you can control odor by eating leafy, green vegetables alongside them and taking a probiotic daily.
LISTEN UP, GUYS! NARCISSISM KILLS
Gordon Gekko (“Wall Street”). Charlie Harper (“Two and a Half Men”). Patrick Bateman (“American Psycho”).
What do these characters have in common? They’re grandiose, feel entitled and can’t empathize with others. Narcissists through and through. And under that callous skin of theirs, they’re also on the fast track for heart disease, dementia, diabetes and the doghouse — not to mention divorce court.
Narcissistic men crank out a lot of the stress hormone cortisol. (Surprisingly, that’s not true of narcissistic women.) Unchecked, that chemical messenger — FLEE! FIGHT! — wreaks havoc on the body and relationships.
Here are two ways to manage stress and limit damage.
- Drink tea. No kidding. Certain compounds in tea (polyphenols, flavonoids, amino acids) calm you down.
- Get nicely nosy. Personal connections relieve stress. Consider what you don’t know about someone close to you — then fire away. Ask questions; listen and absorb. When you aren’t thinking about your Grand Self, your stress diminishes big-time.
Ways to work through insomnia (trouble getting more than three days’ restful sleep a week, for three out of four weeks):
- Get regular physical activity. Walking 30 minutes a day relieves stress and helps you sleep. But not too close to bedtime!
- Remake your bed. Some things in life are worth overpaying for; two are pillows and mattresses.
- Ban bedside TV or digital devices. Have nothing but the bed in your bedroom, and it should be used for only two things.
The YOU Docs — Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic — are the authors of “YOU: Losing Weight.” To submit questions, go to www.RealAge.com.