No one wants to live forever if it means they’re plagued with horrible diseases that interrupt their quality of living. No matter what age or gender you are right now – or what your current state of health is – you can turn back the hands of time by address some of the common aging health issues you might face.
Heart Attacks, High Blood Pressure and Strokes
Cardiovascular health is a topic that combines the potential for heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure. While technically different, these three issues are severe – and can be treated in much the same way.
When your heart doesn’t get enough blood and oxygen due to a blockage and the heart withers and dies off. It’s one of the top reasons why men and women die, but it’s preventable!
Plaque build-up is what causes you to have a heart attack, so to prevent this, you have to do things that help flush out plaque from your coronary arteries. Diet and exercise will work best.
Change your diet to one full of vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole grains. If you eat meat, make sure it’s lean – not fatty. Keep your dairy low-fat, too – including cheeses, yogurt and milk.
Stop smoking, too. Even secondhand smoke can contribute to you developing heart disease. Smoking constricts your blood flow, making it harder for your heart to get oxygen.
High blood pressure isn’t just something that affects the heart – it affects most other organs inside of your body. It’s the pressure of force that your blood has against the walls of your arteries.
You can fight this aging disease by implementing a healthy regimen in terms of both food and exercise. Cut salt from your diet as much as possible and get your weight down to a healthy level if you’re obese.
Strokes are similar to heart attacks. A heart attack happens when oxygenated blood doesn’t reach the heart and it dies off – and the same is true for a stroke, only the part dying off is your brain.
Some strokes are caused by blood clots, so it’s imperative that you start exercising to prevent it from happening to you as you age. Other strokes are caused by a rupture in a blood vessel – but both are due to a lack of blood flow, so you want to use exercise and diet to prevent plaque and keep your blood flowing safely throughout your body.
Diabetes has traditionally been something that affects an aging population – in terms of adult-set Type II diabetes. But as the years have gone by and obesity has become a plague, there are more younger cases of diabetes development.
The first thing you want to do is know your risk. If you’re overweight, if your family has a history of diabetes, or if you’re a sedentary person, then you’re at increased risk for developing this disease.
Make sure you have your doctor test for diabetes, because some people will develop it even if they’re at a normal, healthy weight. You might not show many obvious symptoms of it, such as extreme thirst, lethargy, or increased hunger.
How can you fight back against diabetes? If you haven’t developed it yet, then you’ll do the same things you would to protect your body against heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure – eat a healthy diet and get up and start moving!
Because diabetes has an all-over effect on your body, it can speed up the aging process. You want to nip it in the bud as soon as possible. If you already have diabetes, work on getting yourself to a state where medication isn’t necessary – essentially reversing this disease and putting an end to your hasty aging process.
One scary fact is that researchers are now saying that for the very first time in history, children could have a shorter life expectancy than their parents – all thanks to the onslaught of the sheer number of diabetes diagnoses.
If you’ve already been diagnosed, then take steps to keep your health intact as much as possible. Wear comfortable shoes, for example. Diabetics often have problems with their feet – and you don’t want it to get to the point of an amputation or infection.
Start watching for other diseases that are brought on due to the effect diabetes has had on the rest of your body. You don’t want to be so caught up in diabetes management that you don’t realize you’re experiencing symptoms of another age-related disease.
There are many forms of cancer, but one thing that is almost a constant among them all is that your risk for development increases as you age. There are many ways you can handle this sad fact – from preventative measures to being vigilant for signs and symptoms.
The earlier you detect any kind of cancer, the better your chances are for survival. So it’s imperative that you watch for things, such as with skin cancer – when you’re on the lookout for a mole that is changing shape.
With skin cancer, you want to be wearing sunscreen on a regular basis. Even if you’re just going to the grocery store in the middle of the day, the rays will enter through your car’s windshield and affect your skin.
Have a head to toe inspection by a dermatologist who can take a peek at places you might not always see, like your back or scalp. They can tell you if anything looks suspicious and remove it before it becomes dangerous.
Screenings are very important. As you age, you will have different screening recommendations to follow. Make sure you adhere to these schedules:
In your twenties and thirties, get screened for cervical cancer. Other cancer screenings might start to take place at this age due to hereditary factors, so make sure you know your family history.
In your forties, mammogram screenings should start taking place to look for signs of breast cancer. Of course, you should be doing frequent self exams on your breasts to spot changes, too.
In your fifties, prostate and colon cancer screenings come into play. Both men and women will have colon cancer screenings. Doctors vary on how often they provide screenings, but make sure it’s in line with your peace of mind.
What are some ways you can stave off cancer? It all boils down to the same healthy habits – good nutrition and good exercise. Implement those into your life and you’ll decrease your chances of getting cancer.
In the nutrition portion, make sure you’re eating plenty of foods rich in antioxidants. Look for a rainbow in the produce department – meaning, select foods that cover the spectrum of colors – red radishes or tomatoes, blueberries, yellow squash, and green pears.
Stop smoking if you are smoking, and if you’re around someone else’s smoke, try to create an environment where you don’t have to breathe in someone else’s bad habit.
There are different levels of forgetfulness. Temporarily misplacing your keys is nothing to be alarmed about. Then there is a level where you have a very mild impairment of the mental capacities. And finally, full blown cognitive failure such as Alzheimer’s disease.
The simple forgetfulness like misplacing something is what happens to everyone from time to time. It’s just that, when you were 18 and forgot where you placed your keys, you didn’t panic – because you weren’t thinking about it being something more worrisome.
Dementia is reserved for individuals who have an alarming loss of function with their mind. For example, if you go to your favorite mall and suddenly you can’t find your way around, it’s a sign of dementia.
If you keep asking the same questions or telling the same tales like you’re on a loop, then it’s a sign that something could be wrong. Some dementia patients fail to take proper care of themselves – they don’t eat, bathe or groom themselves properly.
What causes a loss of memory? New evidence is coming out every day, but there are certain things that contribute to a more likely diagnosis, such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Genetics play an important role, too. If family members have suffered from dementia, then there’s a strong possibility that you will, too. You want to be on alert for signs that it’s occurring and male a plan while you’re still cognizant.
Some of the recent research shows that many things affect your chances of developing some form of dementia, including:
- Dental health
- Fried or grilled foods
- Stress and depression
You want to work on exercising your brain the way you exercise your body. Play strategic games or do puzzles that put your mind to work. Embark on a continuing education journey where you’re always stretching your mind to learn more.
Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis
The prefix osteo means “of or relating to the bones,” so let’s talk about aging diseases that can affect your bones – and how you can prevent or alleviate the symptoms.
Osteoporosis is more widely known in terms of aging bone diseases. It’s when your bones become brittle and fragile, resulting in more possible fractures. There is a bone density scan that can tell you if you already have osteoporosis – but most people rely on a fracture to bring it to their attention.
Early warning signs might include withering in size (getting shorter because your bones are causing you to walked in a stooped over position), fractures, and aches and pains.
What can you do to prevent it? Stop smoking for one. Make sure you get plenty of vitamin D and calcium – and even though you’re worried about fractures, exercise!
With osteoarthritis, which is a chronic and debilitating painful disease, you’ll have bones that cause friction, pain and sometimes immobility to some degree. If you’re overweight, it increases your odds of developing this disease, but genetics also play a role.
Work on strengthening your core, getting your weight at a healthy level, and exercising each day. If it becomes painful, don’t overdo it – you don’t want to put more pressure on your joints than what your body will allow.
Eyes, Ears and Mouth
Part of your anti aging regimen should be to pay close attention to your eyesight, hearing and dental health. Not only should your dentist be doing regular cleanings and repair, but he or she should adequately screen under the tongue for cancer.
Your eyesight will degenerate to some degree, but hopefully it’s just a matter of you needing reading glasses once you hit 40 years old. Other aging individuals will experience things like cataracts or macular degenerative disorder.
Diabetes can wreak havoc on your eyes, and glaucoma and dry eyes are other issues you might have to endure. The best treatment for this is a healthy weight – and regular eye exams.
Hearing loss is something that people joke about in terms of aging, but there’s nothing humorous about not feeling like you can understand and communicate with people anymore.
The Hearing Loss Association of America says that by age 65, one out of every three people has significant hearing loss. How can you prevent it, though? Start with any medications you might be taking.
Everything from aspirin to antibiotics and intense chemo meds can cause a certain amount of hearing loss. You also want to keep noise to a minimum, even if it’s on the job noise. Wear earplugs to protect your hearing.
Get tested for your hearing. You never want to sacrifice your quality of life by being too stubborn to don a set of hearing aids. The ones they have today are so discreet, no one ever needs to know that you’re wearing them.