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Handbook for successful ageing - 9.3.22 - 9.3.28


9.3.22 Articular gout

This is a metabolism ailment which occurs in slipcases. In case of inadequate treatment through deposits of uric acid crystals in joints and tissues, this results in cartilage changes and in the long term in kidney inadequacies as well as in a heart attack for women. In several cases, diabetes, fat-rich foods and alcohol are the causes of gout; alcohol because it hinders the excretion of uric acid, diabetes because it can lead to the damage of the kidneys.

Those who suffer from gout should refrain from drinking beer but still drink a lot in general, at least 2 litres a day. They should, however, still take beer barm pill: 100g beer barm may contain 683 mg purin. 6 beer barm pills weigh however only 5g and contain other important substances besides the beer barm. Such people should also stay away from fat meat, giblets, sausage, pork rind, poultry and fish skin, sprats, sardines, anchovies, cod, salmon, herring and seafood like lobster, shrimps and mussels, mushrooms and leguminous plants, since they contain several uric acid-forming purins. Fructose increases the uric acid level and thus the risk of gout. Fasting also increases the concentration of uric acid. If your uric acid level already is near the upper limit of the norm, which you can have checked at your next blood test, you can find a table on the internet on how much purine food and drinks contain, on

Acute symptoms of a gout attack are sudden, severe pain in a joint and severe pain on touching. The joint reddens, is badly swollen and overheats. The The first metatarsophalangeal articulation is often affected. If untreated, the gout attack, which can be accompanied by fever and headache, as a rule, lasts for three days. The duration of the attacks can increase in course of the illness.

In case of gout, consult your family doctor.

9.3.23 Damage to the herniated disc

If such a damage does not require immediate treatment, certain doctors also suggest surgical intervention of all kinds. We however know that physiotherapy and the self-healing power of the body result in the same kind of success in most cases. Following consultation with your doctor, continue living as normally as possible. After two months or so, 90% of all patients feel better, and after a year, this should have healed in 99% of patients. Despite that, if a doctor recommends you an open operation to the back, ask your family doctor as to which orthopedic doctor you can obtain a second opinion. Instead of an open operation, a minimally invasive intervention would perhaps suffice, or perhaps injections which can be administered only by specially trained pain therapists.

A better thing to do would be to protect your back and as described in detail above under 4., exercise your back muscles with exercises described under 3.3.2, No. 7 and 8a), 19 c) and d), as soon as you can do it again.


9.3.24 Thrombosis and pulmonary embolism

Thrombosis can be described as the formation of a blood clot (thrombus) in a blood vessel, mostly a vein. It is a complication that occurs after an operation or prolonged bed rest. Smokers, and people who are obese or have varicoses or stand for long periods of time are particularly at risk.

Symptoms include, among others, pressure or muscle pain in legs, which lets up when they are elevated. In such a case, consult your family doctor immediately; for if thrombus is not resolved, a lung embolism can occur.

Every year, 150.000 people suffer from this ailment in Germany. It should be treated at the earliest in order to prevent it from causing death.

During long flights, move from your heals to toes and remain mobile in order to induce blood supply.

9.3.25 Peripheral arterial disease (PAD / intermittent claudication / smoker’s leg)

This is colloquially referred to as "display window sickness", since people who suffer from it should often remain standing due to pain in their legs and this is often done at the window displays. You should, however, not give up walking but instead increase it, if possible, since training for being able to walk again will help you to stay fit longer. If you are on a long-haul flight or doing a long trip by train you should pace up and down the aisle every now and then.

Owing to a bottleneck in the artery in the leg, the part behind it receives very little blood supply and thus also oxygen. This can cause a lot of pain while walking, and also later when resting. This can later result in ulcers and lead to amputation. Additionally, this increases the risk of stroke and heart attack.

Most patients suffering from PAD may not experience any symptoms for a long time. Most patients suffering from PAD may not experience any symptoms for a long time. But the narrowing and the increased risk due to it can be determined by doctors via a blood pressure measurement and a Doppler sonography (ankle brachial pressure index). This examination is not covered by health insurance in Germany. Request your doctor to perform the scan all the same if you have been smoking a lot or suffer from high blood lipid concentration or diabetes.

What you can do if you suffer from PAD, you can find on: (

9.3.26 Difficulty in falling asleep and staying asleep

In general I get up at the same time and go to bed at the same time, I have all my meals at certain times, apart from lunch, and have a break from my work for 30 minutes after lunch; in those 30 minutes I try to sleep, sometimes more and sometimes less successfully. In general I only interrupt my work for the news on TV and several political programmes.

Since 1975 I have been taking 15 mg Praxiten, with steady success, and I drink a little less than ¼ of red wine over the following hour. Afterwards I go to bed, leaving the window slightly open and in general I fall asleep quite fast. If I wake up at night, at first I hope that I will fall asleep again soon. If this does not work, I take, depending on when it happens, a further whole, ½, or only ¼ Praxiten and a sip of red wine. I have writing utensils on my bedside table, in case something that I have to or want to do comes to my mind before I fall asleep or while I’m awake at night.

9.3.27 Precautions when travelling into foreign countries

Check whether you are sufficiently protected against diseases with adequate immunization (refer to 9.1) and when travelling to another continent, enquire as to If you feel ill, enquire with your doctor as to whether you can travel to a distant land on vacation despite that.

During long-distance flights, you often sit in narrow spaces crowded together. The airflow of the air conditioning system is to a large extent exposed to potentially harmful germs. People living in Asia, Africa and Latin America are accustomed to these health risks, but you are not.

It can be said that the air pressure during a long-haul flight approximately corresponds to the air pressure in 2500 metres of height. For healthy people this normally isn’t a problem but for people with heart or lung diseases it can become critical.

If you are short-winded, experience a drop in blood pressure and pain in the cardiac region after a long flight or bus trip, you should immediately call upon a doctor’s assistance, as these symptoms could be a sign of a traveller’s thrombosis. The reason for this is the great dryness of the air, which makes the blood become thicker. You can, however, counteract this by drinking more, walking several steps occasionally and exercising foot gymnastics.

9.3.28 Slowing down of wound healing and retrieval of the former strength after an injury, respectively a severe illness in old age

In old age it takes longer than before for wounds to heal and to recover from an illness. Everyday-tasks like climbing stairs, especially when carrying a heavy bag, can be more difficult after having had an illness than before. It is possible for a human being to build up muscular strength, but this will also take longer.





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