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Today’s top health concerns for seniors

Ron Kauffman

Senior Lifestyles

 

For the past few months we’ve all been concerned about Covid-19 virus. It will soon be contained and a vaccine will be created and made available as it is for the annual flu outbreak. As we get back to “normal” we’ll again focus on more mundane issues about out health and the good news is that the CDC reports that 41% of adults age 65 and older say that they are in good or excellent health.

Your health is heavily determined by your family history, age and lifestyle. The truth is that many of the health concerns for seniors can be prevented or the progression slowed by making smart, healthy choices and visiting your doctor for regular screenings puts you in a position to deal with many of the most common health problems as you get older. Here are some of today’s top concerns:

Cognitive decline. Some memory loss is common as you age, but developing Alzheimer’s disease is not. It’s important to know and recognize the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s, as early intervention and treatment can be key in dealing with managing the progression of the disease.

Balance issues. Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults, and maintaining your balance and mobility are critical factors in fall prevention. You can make your home safe by removing throw rugs, eliminating electrical cords in walking areas and by installing grab bars in the bath area.

Heart disease. Heart disease remains a leading cause of death for those over the age of 65. Conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol need to be managed properly. Exercise and a sensible diet, not smoking and moderate use of alcohol all help in keeping your heart healthy and are vital to avoid developing heart disease in your later years.

Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Almost all adults over age 80 have some form of osteoarthritis. Exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet can help protect your bones and joints as you age.

Respiratory diseases. Conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can worsen as you age. Stop smoking and begin an exercise program. Start slowly, and work up to an easy 20-minute daily walk. It will make a difference in your health and well-being as you age.

Diabetes. It’s estimated that 25 percent of adults age 65 and older have type 2 diabetes. The sooner you know your risk for diabetes, the sooner you can begin managing your blood sugar and making lifestyle changes that can better control it. Ask for an A1C test as part of your next full physical exam.

Vision or hearing loss. Maintaining regular screenings for your vision and hearing is vital as you age. Age-related eye issues like macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma affect millions of older adults, and 43 percent of people who experience hearing loss are 65 or older. Get over any self-consciousness about hearing aids. I’ve learned from personal experience, you have no idea what you’re missing if you can’t hear.

Cancer. The risk for some types of cancer does increase as you age. For example, women become more at risk for cervical or endometrial cancers, while men have a higher risk for prostate cancer. While preventing cancer altogether may not yet be possible, screenings to detect certain cancers in the early stages, combined with today’s treatments can in most cases effectively control or cure them and extend the quality of your life.

Ron Kauffman is a Consultant & Expert Speaker on Issues of Aging. Contact him at 828-696-9799 or email to drron561@gmail.com.