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5 health related things you should be aware of after 50

Posted on: 20 July 2018 by Olderiswiser Editorial

Getting older can be a tricky thing to come to terms with and poor health doesn't help that. Here are a number of common problems for older people and how you can safeguard yourself against them.

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Arthritis

It is argued that arthritis is the most common health condition that people aged 65 and over suffer with. Around 10 million people in the UK suffer with some form of arthritis, with the two most common types being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis affects the cartilage lining of the joint which causes a great amount of pain and stiffness when walking. Rheumatoid arthritis is when the body’s immune system targets the joints, which results in inflammation and severe pain.  

Leading a healthy lifestyle can help prevent arthritis from developing. Controlling your weight so your knees won’t have to support a heavy mass is a good starting point.    Make sure you’re getting enough Omega-3 in your diet, which can reduce inflammation in the body and exercising can strengthen the muscles around the joints. This can stabilise the joint and protect it from additional wear and tear.

Deteriorating vision

From the age of 45, your reading vision will deteriorate and focusing on words or objects close up will become harder. This is called presbyopia. Unfortunately it is just a part of growing older, and many people opt for varifocals to aid them with their distance and reading vision. There are many other options to explore if you aren’t getting on with glasses or contact lenses, namely lens replacement surgery, where the natural lens in your eye is replaced with an artificial one. A multifocal lens will give you the option of near, intermediate and distance vision without the aid of glasses.

Other conditions that could affect you include glaucoma, where the pressure in your eye can be too high, eventually giving way to lessened peripheral vision and possible blindness if it is left untreated.

Alzheimer’s disease

The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. It is estimated to affect 496,000 people in the UK. The syndrome mainly affects mental abilities such as memory and thinking skills. The exact reason as to why dementia occurs is unknown, but there are a number of factors that increases the chances of developing it, such as:

  • Old age
  • Family genetics
  • Depression that has gone untreated
  • lifestyle factors associated with cardiovascular disease

Because there are so many unknown areas with dementia, there has yet to be a cure for the condition. Yet, it is believed that keeping mentally active can ward off the condition. It is also said that keeping an active lifestyle and socialising will encourage a person to have purpose and keep the mind engaged.

Osteoporosis

As we grow older it is normal to lose bone, however certain individuals can lose bone density faster than others. Osteoporosis can weaken bones to the point that you may need assistance to get up or move around.  The strength of the bone begins to deteriorate as it becomes less dense and more prone to fracture. It is believed that there is a rapid loss of bone for women in their first years of menopause, and this is why females have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis compared to men. Doctors will usually recommend bisphosphonates injections or tablets as treatment. This will slow down the rate of the bones breaking down in your body to avoid breakage and fractures.

Diabetes

People suffer from diabetes when there is too much glucose (sugar) within the blood, and it is all too common. It is estimated 25% of people aged 65+ suffer from diabetes.

There are mainly two types of diabetes:

  • Type One is where the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin
  • Type Two is where the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or the body's cells don't react to insulin

The condition can have an effect on body such as:

  • nerve damage
  • decreases the elasticity of blood vessels
  • loss of vision
  • imbalance to the digestive system
  • slow healing process
  • erectile dysfunction
  • loss of limbs

Healthy eating and regular exercise is what doctors would normally recommend to keep sugar levels balanced. People suffering with Type One diabetes will also need to take a regular insulin injection. It is important to take regular blood tests to keep updated on your sugar levels and make sure it isn’t getting too high.

Obesity

The more our metabolism slows down when we grow older, the greater the risk of becoming obese. This has become more of an issue as the number of the older generation becoming overweight is growing and it is costing the NHS billions. Doctors can’t stress enough the importance of keeping your health in check after 50, because this is when we become more vulnerable to poor health conditions and diseases. Not only can it physically affect you, but it can take a toll on your mental health as well. Depression is another condition that is becoming increasingly more common, and a poor diet can encourage this.

The main conditions obesity can cause are:

  1. Heart disease and stroke
  2. High blood pressure
  3. Diabetes
  4. Cancer
  5. Gallbladder disease and gallstones
  6. Osteoarthritis
  7. Gout
  8. Breathing problems

By eating healthily and keeping to a more active lifestyle, these poor health conditions can be avoided. Following weight loss programs or hiring nutritionist/ personal trainer can be a great way to choose a diet that works best to your lifestyle.

 

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