Q: I'm 54 and headed for a total hip replacement. Any advice for me? — Sandy R., Cincinnati
A: Jane Fonda tweeted before her total knee replacement: “So long, left knee. You're toast!” Since then she's been unstoppable. Eddie Van Halen got a new hip at 44 — more than 13 years ago; he said it was “heaven sent.” For YOU and the more than 332,000 folks who have hip replacements and the 719,000 with total knee replacements every year, these remarkable surgeries offer more than a chance to be physically active and pain free. They can put zip in your dip and a younger RealAge in your future.
Study after study shows restoring mobility and removing chronic pain slashes your chance of developing diabetes, depression and heart failure, and we'd add weight gain, dementia and a lousy sex life to that list. More than 90 percent of people with hip and knee replacements get pain relief and never need a revision.
But that doesn't mean these procedures are a walk in the park, especially if you're obese or inactive BEFORE the surgery, as 93 percent of joint replacement patients are! That doubles the risk of infection after surgery and makes it a bit more likely that you'll need surgical revision down the road. You may get pain relief, but not long-term improvement in mobility or weight.
So, start walking daily and doing muscle-building exercises every other day — before surgery. You'll increase muscle strength and lose weight (if you need to). We also recommend you reduce inflammation (joint damage and pain create a lot) with these additional five steps:
1. Eliminate saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars and sugar syrups and refined carbs from your diet.
2. Eat colorful veggies and fruits, and 100 percent whole grains.
3. Take 900 IU of anti-inflammatory DHA omega-3 from algal oil and consider taking 420 milligrams of purified omega-7.
4. Meditate daily to reduce stress — a super flame-thrower.
5. Spend time having fun with friends, family and your honey.
Keep moving so you can feel young
Q: I'm 60 and worried about macular degeneration. My friend has it, and her doc says she should take supplements to keep it from progressing. Is there anything I can take to prevent it? — Tamara S., Seattle
A: We're glad you asked! There's a new study (called AREDS2) that might give the impression you can't decrease your risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). But you can! And supplements can slow down progression once you're diagnosed with advanced AMD, too. (That's what your friend's doctor is suggesting, we bet.)
AMD is loss of central vision: Dry AMD (90 percent of cases) happens when the center of the retina, called the macula, thins or breaks down, and cells located there that transmit images cannot send info to your brain. Generally, this doesn't progress rapidly.
But sometimes it evolves into Wet AMD. This latter, wet form (it causes 90 percent of AMD-related severe vision loss) happens when there's growth of abnormal blood vessels around the macula that leak and cause scarring. There are effective treatments when used early on. And taking what are called AREDS supplements can slow progression.
For you and anyone 60 and older, the first step is an annual dilated eye exam to make sure you don't have AMD. And for everyone, at any age, there are smart steps to prevent Dry AMD.
• Control blood pressure, eliminate exposure to tobacco smoke (there's a great quit-smoking plan at RealAge.com) and maintain a healthy weight.
• Eat brightly colored vegetables, fruits, lean protein and fish (salmon and ocean trout). One study found one serving of canned tuna a week can cut the risk of ADM by up to 45 percent. Also get 10 milligrams of lutein from fruits and veggies or supplements every day. Plus 900 IU of DHA omega-3 from algal oil daily.
• Always use UVA and B protective sunglasses when outside.
• Get moving. We like walking 10,000 steps a day. In one study, jogging 1 mile a day reduced AMD risk by 36 percent.
As the anti-obesity crusading mayor of New York City once said, “'Stubborn' isn't a word I would use to describe myself; 'pigheaded' is more appropriate.”
Well, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg's discovered, nothing is more stubborn a problem than obesity, and it's turning middle age into old age for millions of young people. Almost two-thirds of 22-year-olds are overweight or obese! And around half of them will develop Type 2 diabetes, hypertension or a blood clot or have a heart attack or stroke — or even worse, die — before reaching age 55.
If that's you, it's time to kick off those stubborn extra pounds and make your RealAge younger. The good news is: All you gotta do is bend a bit, one knee at a time, as you ramp up your physical activity and improve your nutrition. Here are a few increasingly popular, bring-out-the-kid-in-you ways to get movin' and groovin':
• Hop into a hula hoop. World Hoop Day is July 7, and workouts are on YouTube.
• Don't dodge dodgeball. Community dodgeball leagues are everywhere.
• Get a healthy-eating partner. Sign up for healthy cooking lessons (bet they're some in your area); and find support online at sites like www.buddyslim.com.
Dr. Mehmet Oz is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Dr. Michael Roizen is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to www.sharecare.com.