Health Literacy,  Preparedness

The Ultimate Guide To Ageing Healthily


No matter who you are, you’re not getting any younger. Every second that goes by, you’re getting closer to the next big milestone. Until they come up with an elixir for eternal youth, this is a fact you’re going to have to deal with. As we all know, age can bring on a range of health problems, which can make later life very difficult. If you’re approaching middle age, or you just like planning ahead, then you may be wondering how you can age gracefully. Here, I’ll go over a few common health problems and the best ways for you to deal with them.

First of all, obesity and metabolic syndrome. If there’s one effect of ageing that everyone’s scared of, it’s becoming overweight. Considering the prevalence of this health problem, this is completely understandable! Almost three in four adults aged 60 and over are overweight or obese. Obesity is a harmful condition in itself, but can lead onto other things, such as type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and high blood pressure. Metabolic syndrome is another serious condition, which increases people’s risk for developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and a few types of cancer. This condition is characterised by a waist measurement that’s larger than 40 inches for men, and 35 for women, and blood pressure that’s higher than 130/85. While anyone is at risk of developing metabolic syndrome, women in menopause or perimenopause should be particularly careful. Around this time, most women will accumulate flab around their hips much faster than usual. You can guard against these conditions by reducing the amount you drink, getting in more exercise, and increasing the amount of healthy fats in your diet. Omega 3 fatty acids are one example of this.

It’s also very important to pay attention to your vision as you grow older. When most people reach around 40, the vision begins to deteriorate, and may call for treatment. As you draw close to middle age, you can keep one simple check in mind. If you don’t wear reading glasses, and you can’t read any kind of fine print, then book yourself an eye test. It’s also a good idea to start wearing sunglasses more as you grow older. If your eyes take too much exposure to the sun, then you could be at serious risk of developing cataracts. When you buy your next pair though, always check the label. Just because a lens is tinted it doesn’t mean that it will give you a decent amount of protection against the sun. check the label, and make sure the glasses offer both UVA and UVB protection. Unfortunately, vision loss in some people is an inevitability, which happens gradually over a long time. However, there are still things you can do to slow the process down. Getting in more fruit and vegetables is great for a number of conditions, including vision loss. They’re full of helpful vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which have been known to mitigate the effects of vision loss. With many vision-related conditions, the sooner you catch it, the better. Don’t ignore any problems with your vision, and understand how your lifestyle affects it.

Be sure to keep yourself healthy at work, as well as outside of it. This is something that’s surprisingly easy to neglect for a lot of people. When you’re at work, it’s natural to keep your mind focussed on the task at hand. Remember though that you spend a lot of time in the office. If you don’t pay attention to your health at work, it can make enjoying your retirement extremely difficult. You can start off by trying to fit some exercise into your working day. One easy way of doing this is walking around the block during your lunch hour. This will not only burn calories, but reduce your stress levels, which is also important for your overall health. Eating a healthy lunch at work is another important thing to make a point of. Just make sure you don’t go overboard with the portions. Eve healthy foods, when eaten in large quantities, can pile on the calories and make you gain weight. On the weekends, when you have the time to walk them off, go ahead and treat yourself to larger lunches. The very way you sit at work is also a big factor in your health. You need to have an ergonomic posture at your desk. Ergonomic, if you weren’t aware, is a fancy term meaning “good for your spine.” This posture means having your arms at right angles to the desk, the monitor slightly below your eye level, and your feet flat on the floor. Your workplace should be providing guidance on this, so hopefully you’ll make it to retirement without having to call any compensation lawyers!

Cardiovascular disease is another condition which you’ll be more at risk of when you grow older. This effects around a third of people aged 45-55, and is one of the biggest causes of death in the world. Coronary heart disease, hypertension and heart failure are all examples of coronary heart disease. Again, the best way to prevent these kinds of conditions is through a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking and keeping a strict cap on the amount of alcohol you consume will all keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. It may also be an idea to reduce the amount of salt in your diet. Be sure to have your blood pressure taken regularly as you grow older, too. If you have high blood pressure, then controlling it will reduce your chances of stroke and heart attack. You may have heard that medicine for high blood pressure has negative side effects. While this is true in some cases, your doctor should be able to prescribe something that’s right for you.

Finally, your dental health. It’s a common misconception that as you get into old age, you’ll inevitably lose every tooth in your head. I’ve got some good news for you; you’ll probably be able to keep all of your teeth! While false teeth used to be a staple of old age, dental hygiene standards and accessibility have improved a lot in recent years. As a result, only about a quarter of people over 60 now use dentures. Obviously, this doesn’t mean you’re completely safe! The teeth are just as much at risk as any other part of your body, especially as you get older. If you want to keep your risk of serious issues as low as possible, then a good dental hygiene regime is the best way to go. Be sure to brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and start flossing if you don’t already.

Finally, mental health. People of all ages, with all lifestyles, are at risk of mental health problems. However, the elderly are at a particular risk of issues related to memory-loss. While this is largely a matter of luck and genetic disposition, you can still reduce your risk by reducing your stress and anxiety. Don’t overwork yourself if you realise your memory is being impaired. I know that you want to take care of yourself and your family after you stop working. However, pushing yourself too hard at work can pile on stress, and manifest as serious mental health problems. Your heart and your brain affect each other much more than a lot of people think, so make sure you’re taking care of your cardiovascular health well into middle age as well. As with anything, eating well, staying active, and limiting the amount of alcohol you drink can all help with your mental health.

Beth Jones is a valued contributor to various blogs.

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