The simple fact is, as we get older we become more and more health conscious. The days of tasking risks and leaving health to the way side are behind us. But what are the big health concerns out there? The results below are from my in-depth research on this topic. There is a TON of information available on this topic so I focused on those that issues that I found repetitively. A few of them surprised me….maybe they will surprise you too!
1. Overweight or obesity
It seems we all are a bit overweight but are we obese? Don’t know? When we are overweight or obese, we increase our chances of dying from a multitude of illnesses: hypertension, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, dyslipidemia as well as endometrial, breast, prostate, and colon cancers. I found some very practical information and guides from the National Institute of Health.
2. Physical activity and nutrition
I don’t know about you but no matter how hard I try – I have NEVER been an exercise fan. I know I feel better, eat better, sleep better when I do it BUT taking that first step is really hard for me. Most days I succeed in doing something good for my body. Clearly, research indicates that staying physically active can help prevent or delay certain diseases, including some cancers, heart disease and diabetes, and also relieve depression and improve mood. Inactivity often accompanies advancing age, but it doesn’t have to. Live alone? Like exercise, your eating habits are often not good. It’s important for successful aging to eat foods rich in nutrients and avoid the empty calories in candy and sweets.
3. Mental health
I discovered that the most common late-in-life mental health condition is depression. If left untreated, depression in the elderly can lead to suicide. Here’s a surprising fact: the rate of suicide is higher for elderly white men than for any other age group, including adolescents. The second most common is dementia. Dementia is not part of aging. It is often caused by disease, reactions to medications, vision and hearing problems, infections, nutritional imbalances, diabetes, and renal failure. There are many forms of dementia – including Alzheimer’s Disease! You need to know that many of the causes are both treatable and temporary; with accurate diagnosis comes management and help.
Surprised? I was! Did you know that between 11 and 15% of U.S. AIDS cases occur in seniors over age 50? Between 1991 and 1996, AIDS in adults over 50 rose more than twice as fast as in younger adults. Why? Seniors are unlikely to use condoms, have immune systems that naturally weaken with age, and HIV symptoms (fatigue, weight loss, dementia, skin rashes, and swollen lymph nodes) are similar to symptoms that can accompany old age. Again, stereotypes about aging in terms of sexual activity and drug use keep this problem hidden through normal physician screening procedures.
5. Injury and violence
Falls: the leading cause of injuries, hospital admissions for trauma, and deaths due to injury for seniors. Fact: every year, one in every three seniors, 65 and older, will fall. Reducing these risks include exercises to improve balance and strength and carefully reviewing daily medications. Some of us may need home modifications to reduce injury as well al home security to prevent intrusion. Also, we need easy access to fire prevention devices and they need to be easy to use. People aged 65 and older are twice as likely to die in a home fire as the general population.
I have learned that being aware of the needs in my life is half of the winning battle. Now is the time for you to know what issues you are facing and discovering possible solutions to managing them. When you do, you will successfully maintain your quality of life.