— By Dr. Susannah Spiess, MD Rich, delicious foods are irresistible during the holidays but heavy meals can leave us with that all-too-familiar burning pain that moves up to the throat. Heartburn may be a symptom of a more severe condition like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). What is GERD? GERD is a disorder of the digestive tract that can lead to serious complications if left untreated. GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the valve that connects the esophagus to …

— On Saturday, December 2nd AARP co-sponsored an art exhibit showcasing the artwork and stories of older Hispanic/Latino adults who have participated in past LA BROCHA art workshops. LA BROCHA is a project whose goal is to offer art workshops to older Hispanic/Latino adults, especially those with Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia, or Parkinson’s disease. Over 150 attendees were present and AARP Illinois had a prominent role with Associate State Director, Advocacy & Outreach Álvaro R. Obregón speaking on behalf …

— AARP Illinois is working with the Chicago Sky—the city’s WNBA team—and the Fourth Ward Jewel Osco grocery store in the historic Bronzeville neighborhood to host a food drive, Dec. 11-14. The drive will benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository. “Feeding the hungry is an evergreen effort,” said Simone Moore, AARP interim associate state director. “AARP is committed to helping to close the hunger gap in communities nationwide, and we are doing our part locally.” Jewel Osco, at 443 E. 34th …

— By Dr. Smita Patel There is a growing body of research that our vascular and metabolic health during mid-life matters when it comes to developing Alzheimer’s disease; a new study further adds to our understanding. Researchers analyzed over 30 years of follow-up data from the Whitehall II study, a well-known British public health study from 1985.  More than 10,000 men and women employed by the British Civil Service in London were studied. The researchers discovered that obesity at age 50 …

— This second installment to the three-part series in recognition of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month continues its focus on new research to reduce risks and prevent the disease. Carrying one or two copies of the risk variant of the gene Apolipoprotein E (“APOE e4”) increases a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease compared to people who do not carry the risk variant. And recently, researchers discovered a subset of this population who carries this risk variant to be at even greater risk. Researchers …

— Dr. Smita Patel In recognition of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in November, I will focus a 3-part series on the latest research focusing on the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. I also encourage you to view my earlier AARP blog posts, to learn about ways to reduce risks and preserve brain health. Have you heard that poor sleep quality, whether due to bad habits or to medical conditions (like sleep apnea) raises your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease? That is the developing …

— Join us for two live webcasts and get answers to your questions. Do you have questions about the Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment? Get your answers live! Whether you’re enrolling for the first time or re-enrolling, the two-part Q&A series from AARP Learn@50+ provides answers about the 2018 enrollment process. In part one, AARP’s experts will review the Open Enrollment period (Nov. 1 to Dec. 15) and answer your questions about the process. In part two, the AARP team will lead a …

—   By Dr. Smita Patel We all know that maintaining good oral hygiene is good for your teeth and gums, but did you know that it is beneficial to your brain as well? Research has identified chronic periodontitis as a risk factor for dementia. In fact a recent study showed that having periodontitis for ten years increases risk of dementia nearly two fold. To understand why periodontitis increases risk for dementia we have to consider inflammation and oxidative stress (which …

—   By Jamal Ahmad, MD People are surprised that arthritis can affect the ankle because they’re used to hearing about it in the knees and hips. But think about it: The ankle bears four times the body’s weight, which makes it prone to injury, especially among active baby boomers. Several diseases can result in arthritis in the ankle, but trauma and rheumatoid disease are the most common causes. Previous trauma includes previous fractures, joint dislocations, or severe ankle sprains, which …

— Join us for two live Medicare webcasts and get answers to your questions Do you have questions about Medicare coverage and plan options? Whether you’re enrolling for the first time or entering open enrollment, the two-part Medicare Q&A series from Learn@50+ can get you answers about your 2017 plan options. In part one, AARP’s Medicare expert Susan Lutz will review the different parts of Medicare and answer your questions about enrollment periods for new Medicare recipients and open enrollment rules for …