What Your Body Language Says About Your Health

Body language sends powerful messages about what you’re thinking and feeling – but that’s not all. Nonverbal cues could also provide insight about your health. The expression on your face, the way you sit, stand or walk all could be valuable clues. Learn about the hidden signals your body is sending you and what they mean for your health.

Throat Clearing

This habit is commonly read as a stalling technique for someone attempting to formulate an answer. But throat clearing could also be a sign of silent reflux, a type of acid reflux that presents with less obvious symptoms. This condition is connected with chronic throat clearing lasting longer than 3 months. Pay attention to triggers like heavy meals, alcohol or spicy foods, which could cause associative symptoms like postnasal drip, hoarseness, coughing or even asthma-like symptoms to flare up. Learn more about silent reflux; if these symptoms sound familiar, see your doctor.

Your Parent Has Dementia: What to Talk to Their Doctor About

Make sure all their doctors are aware of all the medications she is taking.

Q: My mom is 94 and has dementia. She is taking a whole medicine cabinet-full of medications and I think they actually make her fuzzier. How should I talk to her various doctors about what she is taking and if she can get off some of the meds? — Gary R., Denver, Colorado

A: Many dementia patients are taking what docs call a "polypharmacy" — three or more medications that affect their central nervous system. And we really don't know how that mixture truly affects each individual person.

A new study in JAMA Network that looked at more than 1 million Medicare patients found almost 14% of them were taking a potentially harmful mix of antidepressants, antipsychotics, antiepileptics, benzodiazepines such as Valium and Ativan, nonbenzodiazepine benzodiazepine receptor agonist hypnotics such as Ambien or Sonata, and opioids. And almost a third of those folks were taking five or more such medications. The most common medication combination included an antidepressant, an antiepileptic, and an antipsychotic. Gabapentin was the most common medication — often for off-label uses, such as to ease chronic pain or treat psychiatric disorders, according to the researchers from the University of Michigan.

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