The Top 5 Health Conditions for the 60 Plus Crowd
Advances in the medical field have made growing older less of a daunting experience for many adults, with many living well into their 80s and 90s without serious health issues. Unfortunately, the natural process of aging comes with some inevitable changes that lead to conditions that directly affect your health and well-being. While you’re thinking about the freedom that an empty nest or retirement will bring, you may also want to prepare yourself for what’s potentially down the road. Here are the top five health conditions for the 60-plus crowd.
Losing your memory is not an inevitable part of growing older, but cognitive impairment can be a real threat to your golden years. Cognitive impairment is more than simple memory loss; it encompasses symptoms such as being chronically forgetful, an inability to sustain a train of thought or conversation, feelings of overwhelm when it comes to making small or large decisions, or difficulty completing tasks. There is no single cause of cognitive impairment in individuals over 60, making it a difficult problem to diagnose and ultimately treat.
Although cognitive impairment may seem like a losing battle, there are several prevention methods known to reduce the severity. Reading regularly, exercising, and giving up excessive alcohol intake and smoking all help in defending against cognitive impairment. Similarly, some research points to diet as a factor in reducing the occurrence of cognitive impairment in older individuals.
As you age, the potential to experience varicose veins increases. Unattractive bulging or twisting beneath the skin takes place when the walls of the veins break down, and some individuals suffering from varicose veins experience swelling, itching, a pain as a result. Varicose veins are most often found in the legs and can be caused by sustaining an unhealthy weight, heredity, hormonal changes due to pregnancy or menopause, or health conditions that increase the pressure placed on your veins.
Older individuals who experience varicose veins often try compression stockings and massaging the affected areas to relieve swelling and pain, especially after spending a substantial amount of time on their feet. However, when do-it-yourself treatments do not reduce discomfort, medical procedures can be completed to correct and prevent future issues with weak or broken vein walls.
A loss of bone mass, also known as osteoporosis, is an incredibly common issue plaguing older individuals. Over time, a lack of calcium from food leaves the bones fragile, increasing the potential for fractures that can ultimately be difficult to heal. The loss of bone density is not a natural part of the aging process and is, therefore, preventable with certain lifestyle changes.
Osteoporosis can be minimized by eating foods that are high in calcium, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. For the non-dairy crowd, kale, collard greens, broccoli, figs, and oranges are also high-calcium foods. Adding a supplement that contains Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is also beneficial in preventing and minimizing osteoporosis.
Another common condition affecting older adults is arthritis, a general definition that includes more than 100 conditions related to inflammation of the joints. A reduction in cartilage caused by the natural aging process often leads to arthritis, although an injury or illness may also be a reason for joint inflammation. Most individuals experience mild to severe pain and achiness, as well as stiffness, swelling, and a decreased range of motion.
Most treatments for arthritis are focused on pain reduction, either through medication, physical therapy, or surgery. Preventing the debilitating effects of arthritis is most often done by leading a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a balanced diet. It is also important to have regular checkups with your doctor to get ahead of any symptoms.
Problems relating to the heart are much more common as you age, leading to serious medical issues like a heart attack or stroke. Heart disease affects your ability to pump blood throughout your body due to increased pressure on your circulatory system. Although your heart is prone to mild issues as part of the natural aging process, being overweight and eating a diet high in fat expedites the issue.
Fortunately, heart disease can be prevented by following a healthy lifestyle. Quitting smoking, keeping up with a regular exercise routine, and eating nutrient-rich, low-fat foods all lend a hand in reducing your potential for heart disease later in life. As with other common health conditions in your 60s, regular visits with your doctor are critical in staying abreast of potential problems.
Turning 60 should be an exciting time, but without knowing what could take place with your health, you may have more fear than anticipation. Many common health conditions that plague older individuals can be prevented or significantly minimized by diligently following a lifestyle that includes physical activity, a balanced diet, and awareness of what issues could arise in the future.