HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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chronic disorders such as liver disease, emphysema or rheumatoid arthritis. In addition to doctor-recommended treatments, individuals with ulcers should curb their caffeine intake. Caffeine stimulates the secretion of acid in the stomach, which aggravates ulcer pain.


In 2005, clinical fellow Barry J. Marshall and pathologist J. Robin Warren received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for recognizing the role of Helicobacter pylori in gastritis and peptic ulcer diseases. It is now commonly accepted that Helicobacter pylori bacteria play a role in causing both duodenal and stomach ulcers. This bacteria can be transmitted from person to person via contaminated food and through water.

ULCERS: IS STRESS TO BLAME?

destruction of the stomach lining and cause an ulcer. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication – ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen, piroxicam – can interfere with the stomach’s ability to produce both bicarbonate and mucus, as well as affect the flow of blood to the stomach, hindering cell repair and causing the stomach’s defense mechanisms to fail.


It was long thought gastrointestinal ulcers and other digestive conditions were caused by stress. We now know emotional stress does not cause ulcers; people with ulcers report emotional stress increases ulcer pain. Physical stress, however, can increase the risk of developing an ulcer.


The main symptom of a gastrointestinal ulcer is a burning, gnawing sensation in the stomach that can last from 30 minutes to several hours. This pain is often interpreted as indigestion, hunger or heartburn. It can happen immediately after eating or several hours later. Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, weakness, tiredness and blood in the vomit or stool are other symptoms some people may experience. Risks for ulcers include type O blood, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications or corticosteroids, improper diet, irregular or skipped meals, family history and

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela S. Hoover is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

more articles by Angela S. Hoover

An ulcer is an open sore on an external or internal surface of the body. It is caused by a break in the skin or mucous membrane that fails to heal. Ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract are the most common complaint. There are two types of gastrointestinal ulcers: duodenal and gastric. Duodenal ulcers occur in the first foot of the small intestine just beyond the stomach. Gastric ulcers occur in the stomach. The stomach muscle crushes food and mixes it with pepsin and hydrochloric acid to digest it. When the lining of the stomach or duodenum is damaged, the pepsin and acid work on it the same way they do food – breaking it down to digest it. Too much pepsin and acid may cause an ulcer. An untreated ulcer can become a bleeding ulcer. This is when the ulcer eats into the blood vessels, causing the person’s blood to seep into their digestive tract.


A perforated ulcer has eaten a hole in the wall of the stomach or duodenum. Partially digested food and bacteria get into the hole, causing inflammation. Another type of untreated ulcer is a narrowing or obstruction of the intestinal opening, which prevents food from leaving the stomach and entering the small intestine.


These types of ulcers are directly caused by the destruction of either the intestinal or gastric lining of the stomach by hydrochloric acid. The stomach defends itself from pepsin and hydrochloric acid with a mucus coating that acts as a shield and produces a bicarbonate. The circulation of blood to the stomach lining facilitates cell renewal and repair. If any of these protective functions are impaired, it can lead to the