Aging is an inevitable process. At some point, we’re all going to reach old age. It’s possible to sail through life with no health problems at all. But there’s no hiding from the fact that the risk of developing some illnesses increases with age. Here are some health problems to be wary of as you get older and some handy hints to help you maintain good health.
Heart disease is the USA’s biggest killer. This is an umbrella term, which covers heart attacks, heart failure and issues like angina. Angina is characterized by bouts of chest pain. In some cases, the heart simply gets tired as you get older, and the muscles may start to struggle. In other cases, such as heart attacks, there is a clear reason why the heart is unable to function properly. Heart attacks occur when the blood supply to the heart is blocked or disrupted. This means that oxygen cannot reach the heart or circulate around the body. In most cases, heart attacks are caused by a blood clot. Symptoms include a shooting pain in the chest, which may radiate to the arm, and breathlessness. Some people also experience a feeling of weakness, dizziness, and sweating.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is obstructed. If you notice symptoms of a stroke, it’s important to act immediately. The sooner a stroke is treated, the better. Strokes can be incredibly damaging. They can affect cognitive function, movement, and coordination. Some people are left with life-limiting complications, such as paralysis and loss of speech. The warning signs of a stroke include the face falling on one side and slurred speech. Some people also lose the sensation in their arms.
Deteriorating vision and hearing
Most people lose a degree of sharpness when it comes to vision and hearing as they get older. If you notice changes in your vision, it’s best to see your optician. It’s also wise to book regular eye tests. Likewise, if you find it increasingly difficult to hear, it’s beneficial to see your doctor. Have you noticed that people seem to be mumbling? Are you asking friends to repeat what they’re saying? Are you always turning up the volume on the radio or TV? If you have lost your hearing, there are devices out there that can help.
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Many forms of cancer are more prevalent in older people. In most cases, the sooner cancer is spotted, the higher the chances of survival. Sometimes, there are no clear symptoms until cancer has become advanced. But in others, there are warning signs. Being aware of possible red flags could save your life. See your doctor if you notice any lumps or abnormal swelling, or you lose weight unexpectedly. You should also seek advice if you notice any traces of blood in your urine or stools, or you have unexplained pain. The chances are that there’s nothing to worry about, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Tips for maintaining good health as you get older and preparing for the future
Healthy lifestyle choices can help to reduce your risk of developing serious illnesses dramatically. The most important factors to consider are:
- Your diet
- Your level of activity
- Your alcohol intake
- Whether or not you smoke
You can increase your chances of living a long and healthy life by following some simple golden rules. Eat a healthy, balanced diet, exercise frequently and look after your body. Try and hit your 5-a-day every day and increase your intake of whole grains. Cut out processed foods and restrict your intake of saturated fats and sugars. Try and be active as much as you can. Go for a walk once a day or meet up for a round of golf or a game of tennis. Avoid smoking and drink in moderation. If you need advice about giving up smoking or cutting down on alcohol, your doctor can help.
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As you get older, it’s wise to think about the future. Have you got a comprehensive health insurance policy? Have you taken out life insurance or critical illness cover? Nobody wants to think about being poorly, but planning ahead can give you peace of mind. If anything does happen, you can rest assured that you’ll be taken care of, and so will your family.
Sadly, it’s a fact of life that many illnesses are more common in older people. It may not be possible to prevent ill health. But there are some things you can do to reduce the risk of life-threatening diseases. Start taking steps to boost your health and look after your heart. Keep up to date with health checks and see your doctor if you notice anything abnormal. Plan ahead, and don’t hesitate to ask for advice if you want to find out more about making healthier choices.