Aging involves a lot of changes, both positive and negative. While our minds become wiser and more experienced, our bodies begin to deteriorate, and are impeded by all kinds of problems. Even if you’re a long way off from retirement, you can’t stay young forever! However, this doesn’t mean that old age has to be a negative experience through and through. Here, I’ve listed some of the key ways you can ensure that you’re aging happily and healthily.
Take Care of Your Bones
The bones are among the most important parts of the body to look after as you move towards old age. As we grow older, they become thinner and more brittle, even more so in women. This can often lead to a condition called osteoporosis, which is explored in more detail in this source. As your bones thin out and their mass decreases, you can become more at risk of trips and falls, which can easily result in broken bones due to the condition. Talk to your physician about your risk of osteoporosis, and what you can do to avoid it further down the line. They may advise you to quit smoking and cut down on your alcohol intake. Generally speaking, you can stave off this kind of illness by getting more calcium in and avoiding any kind of food with high acidic content.
Take Care of Your Heart
While the risk of almost every illness and disease increases as we age, everyone needs to be thinking about the health of their heart, particularly those in middle age. Cardiovascular diseases, sometimes abbreviated to CVD, affect over a third of men and women between the ages of 45 and 54. This kind of disease affects the heart and blood vessels, and is one of the biggest causes of death in the US. Coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke and hypertension are all examples of cardiovascular conditions. Again, the best way to reduce your chances of these is simply maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Adults who are of a healthy weight for their age and gender, don’t smoke, and have no more than one alcoholic drink per day, are at a significantly reduced chance of cardiovascular disease than people with more reckless lifestyles.
Decrease Your Chances of Cancer
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. In the US, men have a roughly 1 in 2 chance of being diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime, and a 1 in 4 chance of dying from it. While women are slightly less susceptible to this horrible condition than men, it’s a distinct possibility, and you need to be changing your lifestyle to reduce your risk as much as possible. As women grow older, their risk of cervical cancer can decrease, but the risk of endometrial cancer invariably goes up. It’s fairly common for women to slack off their gynecological exams after they’ve passed their childbearing years. However, it’s still very important for women to get regular exams if they want to minimize the risk of cancer. The equivalent for men is prostate exams. Prostate cancer can strike all men from middle age onwards, and you should start going in for screening in your 40s. You’re probably sick of hearing it, but lung cancer is a massive cause of death for adults of both genders. My advice is to stop smoking!
Maintain Your Sight and Hearing
One of the more worrying downsides to aging is the conditions which are a threat to our eyes and ears. Age-related eye diseases include macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts. These already affect millions of elderly people around the world, and as medicine develops and we all start living longer, this figure is sadly expected to rise. Obviously, the thought of losing your hearing or vision isn’t pleasant, so you’ll want to know what you can do to stave it off. Eating foods with a high antioxidant content has been proven to be helpful in reducing vision loss due to macular degeneration. There are also various vitamin supplements you can take which have been proven to maintain ocular health. A lot of elderly people begin taking these kinds of supplements only when their doctor tells them that the health of their eyes is deteriorating. While this certainly does something, it’s not as beneficial as taking them when you’re younger. As you get into middle age, you should also be having regular eye exams and making sure they include glaucoma screening. Finally, smoking increases the risk of macular degeneration, so that’s one more reason to quit!