Ever heard this one: “If I’d known I would have lived this long, I would have taken better care of myself” ? Perhaps you’ve never heard anyone use those exact words. Still, I’m certain you can think of an occasion when you’ve heard something similar. When we reach old age, there are a variety of common health problems which we need to look out for. With the constant, fast pace of adult life, it can be easy to forget about our health every now and then. However, being busy is no excuse! Here are some of the most common conditions and how you can guard against them.
First of all, we have obesity and metabolic syndrome. It’s not classically associated with old age, but a large proportion of the elderly are overweight or obese. When a person has obesity, the condition itself isn’t usually their biggest issue. It’s everything that stems from obesity you need to look out for! Obesity is often linked to cardiovascular disease, breast and colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes. One of the most effective ways of preventing obesity is to cut down on alcohol consumption as soon as possible. Some middle-aged people start exercising regularly and cut out the calories in their food. These are both very effective, sure. However, if you don’t cut down on the drink in later life, you could still wind up putting on a lot of weight.
Another common condition is dysphagia, which is an unpleasant difficulty with swallowing. This is a common offshoot of many other conditions, such as stroke and several nervous system diseases. It can also come as a result of surgery on your head or neck. Various studies have shown that the rate of American seniors with dysphagia are becoming more and more prevalent. Unfortunately, there’s very little which can be done to avoid getting dysphagia in the first place. However, there are many effective treatments for it. There are a number of foods which you can use to form a dysphagia diet, which will soothe the discomfort caused by swallowing somewhat. It may be tough to find suitable foods to begin with. However, there are a few companies which sell products specifically designed for those suffering from dysphagia. Check out www.thickit.com/ for one example.
Arthritis is one of the most common medical conditions which affects old people all over the world. Odds are you already know someone who suffers from arthritis, and you’ll know all about it’s unpleasant symptoms. One of the worst things about arthritis is that it often comes from a number of everyday activities. Playing a lot of sports as a young adult, or simply wearing high heels too much, can land you with this difficult disease. One of the ways you can help to prevent it is make your exercise less vigorous, but more frequent. Instead of keeping your exercise to concentrated bursts on the weekend, try to spread it out across the entire week. People usually associate being overweight with cardiovascular issues. However, becoming obese can also have a pretty heavy impact on the state of your joints as well. For this reason, you should try your best to avoid putting on too much weight in later life.
Osteoporosis is another common condition affecting the joints. This ailment is the gradual thinning of a person’s bones. There are a number of conditions which are out of our control, such as being female or low sex hormones, which can lead to osteoporosis. Once you have this condition, the risk of having a painful fracture from trips and falls is increased exponentially. You can really help the risk of getting this condition by quitting smoking. As I’m sure you’ve heard, cutting out tobacco will stave off the risk of so many other diseases as well. Osteoporosis can also be avoided sometimes by making sure you get enough exercise in your later years. If you’ve already been diagnosed, then it can also be helped by upping the amount of vitamin D and calcium in your diet. Strenuous exercise is beneficial to almost any person, so make sure to get some in if you can. Weight-bearing exercise in late middle age is fantastic for strengthening the bones.
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Next we come to cancer. As we know, this disease is the most common cause of death on earth. While nothing can be done in a lot of cases, you’ll help your chances of beating cancer by keeping as vigilant as possible. As we age, the risk of cancer increases, but the sooner it’s diagnosed the better you’ll come out of it. After having kids, some women tend to avoid having gynaecological exams. By doing this, they put themselves at a lot of risk of letting endometrial cancer develop unchecked. The risk of prostate cancer in men increases as you age, so make sure to take all the right guards against it. You should go in for screening starting in your 40s. This should involve a digital rectal examination at the very least, but there are still more foolproof methods of checking for it. As always, I’ll advise you to quit smoking, and cut down your chances of lung cancer.
Finally, we have hearing loss. If you went to every rock concert which came to town when you were young, then you may have already done a lot of damage to yourself. From here on, avoid any loud environments and unnecessary damage to the ear. Ear bud headphones can do a horrendous amount of damage to the ears, and lead to the gradual decline of a person’s hearing. Once you’ve lost your hearing, there’s very little that any treatment can do. You can find some further information about hearing aids here at www.nhs.uk/.