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Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014
Health & Fitness

You can be your own Fountain of Youth


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The legend is that 500 years ago, Ponce de Leon landed in Florida searching for the Fountain of Youth. Spoiler alert: Scholars say that’s a myth; the tale was invented by rivals to make the explorer look foolish, and by the 17th century the myth became accepted fact. However, hundreds of water sources (including a magnesium-and-radium-rich fountain in Punta Gorda and “liquid Viagra” that bubbles up in Fiuggi, Italy) are said to deliver perpetual youthfulness.

But we know the real Fountain of Youth is inside you: It’s the sweat that comes from physical activity. A new eight-year study looked at 3,500 folks around age 65: Those who’d always gotten moderate or vigorous exercise were seven times more likely to have healthy aging; even those who didn’t exercise until they were already old tripled their chances of a healthy old age. When you’re sweatin’ and smilin’, dementia and depression, as well as heart disease, cancer and Type 2 diabetes, just happen less often.

The two keys to keeping active as you age are having a group or partner to do it with and finding an activity you enjoy. So sign up for a group class at the gym or get a workout buddy or online coach to support you. And experiment with walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, yoga and strength-building or flexibility exercises to see what sustains your interest. Then sweat it out for at least 30 minutes daily! P.S. You cut the risk of stroke 20 percent by sweating four times a week.

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The first 3-D motion pictures — called plasticons — were created in 1889. Now Hollywood studios crank out dozens of super-dynamic 3-D films a year (“Despicable Me 2,” “Iron Man 3,” “Man of Steel”).

But nothing about 3-D ever has been as life-changing as the way 3-D in mammograms can “see” breast tissue. Digital breast tomosynthesis, the name for these high-tech trouble-spotters, can identify 22 percent more cancers and avoid many false-positives (and unnecessary biopsies, particularly among women with dense breast tissue and younger women) that result from use of conventional digital mammogram machines. And they’re potentially life-saving for people with a family history of BRCA-2 breast cancer. New information reveals that family members who test BRCA-2-free are still at a much-increased risk of breast cancer, compared with folks with who have no family history of BRCA-2. For them, mammograms need to be as accurate as possible, every time, and 3-D images are just that.

Other people who might be grateful for the imaging power of tomosynthesis? Anyone with high LDL cholesterol is at increased risk for estrogen-dependent breast cancer (about 75 percent of breast cancers). That’s because a by-product of cholesterol acts like estrogen in the body, making folks with high cholesterol more vulnerable. Regular 3-D screenings can catch breast cancer at its earliest and most curable stage.

Bonus tip: If you have elevated LDL, taking a cholesterol-lowering statin and aspirin are smart ways to reduce breast-cancer risk; statins reduce the estrogen-like powers of that cholesterol by-product, and a daily aspirin cuts the risk by 40 percent!

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

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