As people age, the body undergoes many changes. While many of these changes are simply a part of the natural aging process, others can be health risks. You don’t have to be elderly to experience these health risks, but they are more common in older adults.
According to the National Institute on Aging, about two-thirds of Americans age 65 and over have at least one chronic health condition, and one in four has two or more. But many of the health risks associated with aging are preventable.
By being aware of these risks and taking steps to prevent them, you can age gracefully and stay healthy longer. It would help if you were mindful of the most common health risks associated with aging.
1. Cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and the risk increases with age. About one in four Americans aged 65 and over have cardiovascular disease.
The most common kind of this disease is coronary artery disease, which significantly increases the risk of a heart attack. Other types include stroke, congestive heart failure, and arrhythmias. Risk factors for cardiovascular disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking.
If you are over 65, you can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight. Your doctor may also recommend medications to help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, and the risk increases with age because the body becomes less able to repair damaged DNA. The most common types of cancer in older adults are skin cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer.
Although you can’t completely prevent cancer, there are things you can do to lower your risk. These include not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. You should also have regular cancer screenings, which can help catch cancer early when it is most treatable.
Depending on your age, gender, and family history, your doctor may recommend additional cancer screenings, such as a mammogram or colonoscopy. These screenings can help catch cancer early when it is most treatable.
Pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints are caused by arthritis, a common condition that comes with aging. It becomes more common with age, affecting about one in four Americans aged 65 and over.
There are many different types of arthritis, but the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The former is caused by the wear and tear of the joints, while the latter is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the joints.
One of the worst places to get arthritis is in your knees. Knee pain from arthritis can make it hard to do the things you love, such as walking, hiking, and playing sports. Expert knee doctors can help you get your life back by relieving your knee pain and improving your knee function.
4. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
COPD refers to a classification of illnesses that make it difficult for patients to breathe. While COPD is often caused by smoking, it can also be caused by exposure to secondhand smoke, air pollution, and dust. Many sufferers of COPD are not diagnosed until the disease is already advanced. Symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing.
This is a progressive disease, meaning it gets worse over time.COPD cannot be cured, but there are treatments that can help slow the progression of the disease and improve symptoms. These include quitting smoking, taking medications, and getting pulmonary rehabilitation.
Another common health risk associated with aging is diabetes. This is a condition where the body cannot properly use insulin to control blood sugar levels. It can lead to serious health complications like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and blindness.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, and it is often caused by being overweight, having high blood pressure, and having a family history of the disease. You can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting regular exercise.
If you have diabetes, it is essential to control your blood sugar levels and manage the condition with medication. You should also see your doctor regularly to monitor your diabetes and look for complications.
There are many health risks to be aware of as you age, but the good news is that there are things you can do to reduce your risks. These include eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and getting regular cancer screenings. If you have any chronic conditions, it is essential to manage them with medication and see your doctor regularly. By taking these steps, you can help keep yourself healthy as you age.