There is no discrimination when it comes to who “should” live a healthy lifestyle- it includes all of us, don’t you think? Health problems do not focus on one ethnicity, sex, race, religion, or age. Sometimes declining health is a wakeup call to start making changes; however, prevention is the best solution to potential health problems. Realistically, you can spend your entire life leading the healthiest lifestyle and will still face the possibility of health problems. Like anything else in life- “just do the best you can” while taking time to enjoy each moment we have!
Let’s talk about information based on the most common health problems that seniors face.
1. Arthritis (inflammation of the bones)
There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, and it is more common in women than men. According to the CDC, 22.7% (52.5 million) of adults reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis, with significantly higher age-adjusted prevalence in women (23.9%) than in men (18.6%). By 2040, an estimated 78 million (26%) US adults ages 18 years or older are projected to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.
- Living with arthritis: Aches and pains are only the beginning of this problematic diagnosis. Use heat such as warm baths or heating blankets (which are my FAVORITE! Anyone else love the warmth of heating blankets?!) Heat helps loosen the muscles surrounding the joints, making mobility easier. You must be careful when using heating blankets persistently with Men’s Liberty because the blankets can get up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and this could interfere with the adhesive. Low- impact activities such as swimming or cycling will also be beneficial for someone with arthritis and will increase your range of motion- it is important to stay in motion as much as possible to prevent stiffness of your joints.
- Prevention: Although there’s no true way to fully prevent arthritis, there are some things you can keep in mind to help reduce the symptoms. Always prevent unhealthy weight gain, which causes extra pressure on your joints), take fish oil (or eat lean fish) to help reduce inflammation and pain, and of course – don’t smoke. According to Mayo Clinic, “toxins in smoke cause stress on connective tissue, leading to more joint problems”.
2. Heart disease
Coronary Artery Disease, Congestive Heart Failure, Peripheral Artery Disease, Congenital Heart Disease are all some examples of heart disease. The CDC states that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, with ~ 610,000 people dying in the US from it every year.
- Living With: One common symptom of heart disease is shortness of breath. With heart disease, blood is not being pumped or circulated properly. When blood is not circulating well, it is not bringing oxygen to your tissues and oxygen is not flowing properly through the lungs. This causes shortness of breath and/or light headedness. “Heart disease” is a very broad term and involves multiple subcategories that involve different symptoms such as swelling of the limbs and/or numbness.
- Prevention: A few ways to prevent heart disease include: Not smoking (Isn’t this a solution for everything?), decrease salt intake, and exercise. These will all help to keep the blood flowing throughout your body and prevent you from retaining excess fluids!
Such a broad, but ugly term. According to the most recent study done in the United States by United Stated Cancer Statistics: more than 1,600 people a day died of cancer in 2013. The most common cancers include skin cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and bladder cancer.
- Living With: Common signs and symptoms of cancer include night sweats, fatigue, significant weight loss or weight gain. Of course there are additional signs and symptoms depending on the specific type of cancer. With colon cancer, you may experience a change in your bowel movements; Breast cancer you may usually find a lump under the skin; Laryngeal/pharyngeal (throat) cancer, you may experience a significant persistent cough, hoarseness, or difficulty swallowing.
- Prevention: There are things you can do to help prevent cancer, but there is no TRUE prevention. Smoking is associated with many different types of cancer. Many people believe smoking only increases your chances of lung or throat cancer, but this is not true. According to the CDC, “People who smoke cigarettes are 15 to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer or die from lung cancer than people who do not smoke”. However, smoking is not inclusive to lung cancer and is proven to increase your chance of developing any type of cancer.
Avoiding excessive sun exposure or persistently using sunscreen/ cover-ups can help prevent your chances of getting skin cancer. These are solely suggestions, because cancer can affect anyone, anywhere, at anytime.
We don’t have a glass ball that shows us the future and what we will be faced with. Although it is beneficial to be knowledgeable, don’t fret on the possibility of something developing.
Taking care of your health and noticing symptoms are the two most important things you can do.
Like most things in life, we jump them as they come!
- “Arthritis Pain: Do’s and Don’ts.” Mayo Clinic, 26 Oct. 2016. Web. 04 Feb. 2017.
- “Heart Disease.” Mayo Clinic. N.p., 29 July 2014. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.
- “Cancer Symptoms.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 23 May 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.