Good health, a state of complete harmony of the body, spirit, and mind, is necessary to get the most out of our experiences. So, it’s important for people of all ages to take proper care of themselves to stay healthy and active.
In line with this, being aware of the health challenges you may potentially face can help you take proper steps to avoid them as you age. This way, you can better plan, prepare, and adjust your lifestyle. For instance, deciding on healthy lifestyle practices such as losing weight and quitting smoking can help prevent senior health risks.
Also, eating the right foods containing suitable vitamins and minerals can be vital to keeping illnesses at bay. Check http://seasonsretirement.com/improve-seniors-health for meal plan tips to improve the health of older adults so that they can lead healthy, active, and fun-filled lives.
This article discusses ten common health concerns for older people and ways to avoid them or slow down their progression.
Top 10 Health Concerns
As reported by the CDC, 41% of adults above 65 are in excellent health, causing an increase in the average life expectancy, with many people living beyond 80 nowadays. That being said, you should note that growing older brings some health concerns that can affect your overall quality of life. Here are some of the top conditions and concerns that older adults need to watch out for:
1. Heart disease
Heart disease is Canada’s second leading cause of death, especially among older adults. Growing older causes changes in the heart and blood vessels, which may increase the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease. This is why adults aged 65 and above are more likely to suffer from heart disease than younger people.
Risk factors such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure also raise the chances of a stroke or heart disease in older persons. Eating well, exercising, and sleeping well are practices that can reduce these risk factors and improve older people’s heart health.
2. Alzheimer’s disease
A form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition that affects memory and important mental functions. It often leads to memory loss and difficulty solving problems in one’s everyday life.
It’s crucial that Alzheimer’s symptoms, like disorientation, mental confusion, and aggression, are noted early. Early diagnosis and treatment help to slow down the progression of the disease. Furthermore, the risk of dementia can be reduced by eating healthily, keeping social connections, and sleeping adequately.
This refers to the loss of bone density among adults, resulting in painful fractures, disability, and deformity. In 2016, the National Osteoporosis Foundation reported that over 50 million people above 50 have osteoporosis, which is estimated to have risen to 64.4 million by 2020.
Though the development of osteoporosis is affected by heredity and bone size and isn’t curable or completely reversible, it is possible to prevent, delay, and reduce the loss of bone mass through healthy living.
This is a significant health risk for older people. A person has diabetes when their blood glucose level is too high, and this happens when the insulin in the body isn’t sufficient. Because there is a decrease in insulin secretion in older adults, they are at a higher risk of developing diabetes.
Simple blood sugar tests can be used to identify diabetes. The earlier you know you are at risk of or have diabetes, the earlier you can start making changes to control it. You can avoid or manage this condition by exercising regularly, shedding body fat, and eating healthy foods.
According to a government survey, falls are the leading cause of injuries in older Canadians, as 20-30% of adults experience falls each year. About 80% of falls result in injury-related hospitalizations, 95% of which are hip fractures.
Sarcopenia (age-related loss of muscle mass), problems with balance and gait, and a massive drop in blood pressure when standing from a lying or sitting position are the main causes of falling in older adults. Engaging in exercises to improve balance and mobility can help with fall prevention.
Aging puts humans at risk of certain types of cancer. Women become more prone to cervical or endometrial cancer, while men have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
While some cancers cannot be prevented, reducing the risk is possible. Detecting the illness in the early stages by mammograms, colonoscopies, and skin checks can help in successful treatment.
7. Influenza and Pneumonia
Influenza and Pneumonia are among the top ten causes of death in adults above 65 in Canada. Due to weakened immune systems, older adults are more vulnerable to these illnesses and less likely to recover from them successfully.
Healthcare experts recommend getting an annual flu shot and a pneumonia vaccine to prevent these infections and their complications.
8. Respiratory diseases
Chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) make an older adult more vulnerable to pneumonia and other infections. COPD causes coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
However, some medications can help with breathing better and minimizing the effects of respiratory diseases. Experts also recommend getting lung function tests and using oxygen as instructed to preserve health and quality of life.
9. Oral health problems
Gingivitis is a disease in which the gums become red, swollen, and sore, causing periodontitis — a common condition in older adults affecting the gums and bones around the teeth.
Practicing proper oral care and making regular dental visits (every six months) can help keep your gums and teeth healthy, thereby preventing periodontitis.
This is one of the most common conditions in people above 65, caused by inflammation of the joints, resulting in pain and stiffness. According to a report, 1 in 6 men and 1 in 4 women have arthritis in Canada. Almost 1 in 2 older Canadians have arthritis. Regular exercises and healthy feeding can help with building stronger bones and joints.
These ten health issues are the most common among older adults. Living healthily and making good lifestyle choices will go a long way in preventing some of these conditions or slowing down their progression. Plan for a healthy future so you can spend your older years in good health.