Health Concerns for Seniors – Take steps now to ensure a healthful future. While we can expect to live longer than ever before, senior living includes carefully managing the chronic conditions that come with aging.
Making healthy lifestyle choices — like quitting smoking and losing weight — can help you avoid senior risks. We need to be physically active and eat a healthy diet. Including a geriatrician on your senior health care team can do a lot to help you learn how to live better with chronic diseases. As of 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that 41% of people over 65 said that their health is very good or excellent.
How can you strive to stay healthy?
- Don’t allow arthritis, which comes with pain and a lower quality of life, to discourage you from being active. Work with your doctor to develop a personalized activity plan that, along with other treatment, can help you maintain your health.
- Be aware that as you age, you’ll be living with such heart risk factors as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. They’ll increase your chances of having a stroke or developing heart disease. You can address this risk by exercising, eating a balanced diet and keeping your sleep schedule healthy.
- Get such screenings as mammograms, colonoscopies and skin checks. Cancer can’t necessarily be prevented, but many forms can be treated if they’re caught early.
- Go for lung function tests. Chronic lower respiratory diseases are the third most common cause of death for the elderly. COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema increase senior health risks by making you more vulnerable to pneumonia and other infections.
- Fight cognitive impairment issues by staying active and engaged. Alzheimer’s disease is challenging to diagnose, but obviously, dementia has a significant impact on senior health. Serious worries concerning one’s safety and self-care come with the disorders, which affect thinking, remembering, problem-solving and language use. Fortunately, the same treatments that slow cognitive decline for a time also provide relief for symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Counseling, involvement in support groups and activities like dancing, all of which combine social, mental and physical engagement, can have a positive effect on mind and body.
What are other senior health concerns?
- Osteoporosis, which contributes to less mobility because of low bone mass, puts seniors at risk of fractures or breaks that can lead to poor health and reduced quality of life. Exercise can work to strengthen muscles and bones.
- Type 2 diabetes can be identified and addressed early with simple blood tests for blood sugar levels. Learning early that you have the disease means you’ll be able to start earlier to make changes to control it and to improve your long-term senior health outlook.
- Influenza and pneumonia aren’t chronic conditions, but these infections are among the top eight causes of death in people over age 65. Get your annual flu shot, as well as the pneumonia vaccine, to prevent infections and their complications.
- Substance abuse — Alcohol and tobacco top the list of nonmedical substances abused by seniors. Possible interactions with prescription medication and an increased proclivity for falls can seriously impact the overall health of the elderly.
Getting older can seem daunting, especially with the unique health issues that come along with aging. But understanding the challenges and recognizing preventive measures can place you on a path to healthy aging.
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