It's a fact of life: as you age, your body will also begin to change. How you approach these changes can determine how big the impact is on your life. By understanding the common age-related changes you will face, you are better positioned to adapt to those challenges and ensure a high quality of life. The following are 7 age-related changes many older adults face, and helpful information to adapt to your life to conquer these occurrences.
According to geriatrician Marie Bernard, MD, the deputy director of the National Institute on Aging (Bethesda, MD), arthritis is the most common age-related change many older adults face. Joint pain often leads to discomfort for seniors, which leads some to withdraw from activities. However, by teaming with your doctor to create a personal fitness activity plan (in combination with other treatments), you can successfully manage joint pain and still enjoy an active and comfortable lifestyle.
Osteoporosis is a condition that results in low bone mass and/or the loss of bone mass. Roughly 44 million Americans over 50, mostly women, suffer from osteoporosis as an older adult. The good news is that you don't have to. Osteoporosis is not considered a normal part of aging, and adopting a healthy lifestyle can help avoid this condition. If you stop smoking, minimize your alcohol intake, boost calcium intake, and limit foods with high acidity, you can support better bone structure and health, and avoid falls that lead to decreased mobility and independence.
3. Heart Disease
As Americans age, many are increasingly living with greater risk factors for heart disease. Chief among these risks are high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Both factors increase the chances of a stroke or the development of heart disease. Seniors don't have to accept this as a part of aging however. Minimizing the threat of heart disease as you age is as simple as getting regular exercise, eating healthy, and getting plenty of sleep at night. Your diet, in particular, is important. Make sure you eat enough food to maintain a healthy weight, and strive for a well-balanced diet that is healthy all around.
It is estimated that 24% of men and 18% of women over 65 are living with diabetes in the United States. The CDC notes that diabetes is responsible for 121 deaths among 100,000 adults over 65 on an annual basis. You can improve your overall health and minimize the impact of diabetes as an older adult by getting a simple blood test to diagnose the disease. This enables you to develop effective plans for monitoring and controlling your blood sugar levels, such as better diet and routine exercise.
5. Vision & Hearing Loss
As of the 2000 US Census, there were a staggering 119 million people over the age of 40 living with age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. You can avoid and better manage vision loss by kicking a smoking habit, a leading cause of macular degeneration, eating foods high in antioxidants, and using vitamin supplements that support eye health.
When it ccomes to hearing loss, the leading causes are exposure to sustained, high-volume sounds. Those rock concerts of your youth and earbuds used by today's generation cause irreversible hearing damage. When you're listening to music, keep the volumes reasonable and avoid listening devices that are placed directly in your ear canal.
6. Influenza and Pneumonia
These are not chronic conditions, but both are among the top-seven ailments in adults over the age of 65. It is recommended that older adults get an annual flu shot to boost the immune system's ability to fight the infection, and if you're doctor recommends, get a pneumonia vaccine as well.
7. Balance & Stability Issues
As you age, your muscles and body structure might struggle to support your desired mobility. This doesn't need to dictate your activity levels, though. By working together with your healthcare provider to establish a reasonable exercise routine, you can maintain better muscle strength and flexibility to help avoid falls and injuries as a result of balance or stability issues.
Aging is a natural part of life and so are many of these age-related challenges. However, there are many solutions to these problems that can help avoid negative impacts on your quality of life. From eating better to finding adequate senior living communities that support your daily routines, there are many ways to conquer these challenges and enjoy a full life.