Senior Health Problems: Prevention & Treatment

Senior Health Problems: Prevention & Treatment

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Seniors around the world are living for years longer than their predecessors. In just the past century, the life expectancy in the developed world has practically doubled, from 47 in 1900 to 80 in 2015!

With adults living longer than ever before, maintaining good health is increasingly important. Despite eating well and exercising regularly, age inevitably takes a toll on both the body and the mind. Though some of these changes are natural signs of aging, others may be indicative of more serious medical conditions. By recognizing the symptoms of health conditions that affect many seniors, you can increase your confidence in your medical treatment and your overall well-being.

 

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is a condition which affects the blood vessels and the heart. Shockingly, more than 33% of adults in their 40s and 50s are already affected by cardiovascular disease. The condition is even more prominent in older seniors, and often leads to serious health problems, including hypertension, strokes, and heart disease. Cardiovascular disease is, in fact, the leading cause of death throughout much of the developed world. Preventing cardiovascular disease isn't as complicated as one might think. Maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking are crucial to good cardiovascular health. If you suffer from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, be sure to speak with your doctor about the best ways to manage your health. Medications can be useful in managing these pre-existing conditions and reducing cardiovascular risk. Daily exercise and a healthy, high-fiber diet packed with fruits, vegetables, and legumes can also significantly lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. By managing pre-existing health conditions and striving for a healthier lifestyle, cardiovascular disease is generally preventable.

 

Mental Health Conditions

Mental health problems often increase with age. Conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia affect some seniors. Others may experience chronic depression, particularly after a major life change, health crisis, or loss of a loved one. The best way to prevent mental health conditions is by maintaining a stimulating and fulfilling life. Staying active, both mentally and physically, is crucial to good mental health. Practice Sudoku, learn a new skill, and exercise regularly to improve the circulation to your brain. Feel free to consume alcohol, but do so in moderation. Strive for a good sleeping schedule, and fill your days with worthwhile activities. If you're struggling with a mental health condition, don't feel ashamed. Even when living as healthily as possible, these conditions are often unpredictable and challenging to prevent. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss the medications and treatment options that are available to you.

 

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a health problem in which the bones throughout the body grow thinner and lose bone mass. Though the condition most commonly affects post-menopausal women, men can also suffer from the condition. Though bone loss after 60 is often greatly accelerated, good lifestyle choices can reduce your risk of suffering from severe osteoporosis and bone fractures. Consuming lots of calcium and exercising regularly are two of the best ways to build and maintain strong bones. Non-smokers and light drinkers are also less likely to develop osteoporosis. Some factors, such as family history and early menopause, contribute to a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. Millions of adults suffer from osteoporosis, and millions more are at risk due to low bone density. Medications are available to slow the bone thinning caused by osteoporosis. Consuming calcium and vitamin D supplements and staying fit will also improve the state of the bones in a more natural manner. By exercising, eating well, and supplementing your diet when needed, you can effectively manage osteoporosis.

 

Metabolic Syndrome & Obesity

Over 70% of seniors 60 and older are considered overweight or obese. This staggering statistic highlights one of the primary causes of disease amongst older adults: a lack of overall physical fitness. Seniors who are significantly overweight are at a much greater risk of developing a host of other weight-related health problems. High cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, ulcers, and back pain are some of the most commonly diagnosed conditions amongst overweight adults. Older adults should be particularly careful to monitor a group of risk factors known as "metabolic syndrome." The conditions associated with metabolic syndrome include: high blood sugar, high triglycerides, low HDL ("good") cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, and excessive body fat around the abdomen. Though the health conditions associated with excessive weight are many, seniors will be pleased to learn that a loss of just 10 to 15 pounds will significantly reduce their risk of developing the aforementioned conditions. To improve weight regulation, consider cutting down on processed foods and sugars. If you don't exercise regularly, it's not too late to begin doing so! Aim for a moderate 15 minute workout each day. By maintaining a healthy body weight, you can better ensure your health for years to come.

 

In Conclusion: Though some age-related health conditions are inevitable, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is guaranteed to improve your health as a whole. By keeping your mind sharp and your body fit, you can live fruitfully for years to come.

 

photo © contrastwerkstatt - Fotolia.com

Editor, 07/15/2015

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