Studies show that 80% of adults 65 or older have at least one chronic illness. Factors like genetics, family history, and advancing age all play their parts in the development of diseases. However, even high-risk individuals can improve their health by altering their lifestyles. For example, there are steps seniors can take to prevent or slow the onset of kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, and depression.
Diabetes Is Common in Seniors
Studies show that about 29 million Americans have diabetes, and the chance of developing the illness increases after age 45. Diabetes is a condition in which the body doesn’t produce enough insulin. Several factors can cause a reduced supply of insulin, including a lack of klotho protein. Insufficient insulin is a critical problem because the body uses insulin to extract energy from food and then send it to cells. If that does not occur, high blood pressure develops and can lead to problems like blindness, heart disease, and kidney disease.
The medical community recommends eating a healthy diet, monitoring carbohydrates, and controlling calorie intake to help ward off diabetes. Seniors should also consult their doctors about alcohol use. Exercising five times a week for at least 30 minutes helps by controlling glucose levels, and safely losing five to 7 percent of body weight can also be a benefit.
The Elderly Are Prone to Heart Disease
According to the National Council on Aging, about 29% of older adults are treated for coronary heart disease. It is a condition in which plaque builds up on artery walls, preventing blood from reaching the heart. The issue may cause complications like angina, blood clots, or a heart attack.
Those over 65 can help prevent or control the illness by limiting salt and sugar intake and avoiding trans and saturated fats. They should get seven to eight hours of sleep at night, minimize stress, and do cardio exercises. Older adults should quit smoking and speak to their doctors about other risk factors like high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
Cancer Risks Increase with Age
Anyone can get cancer at any life stage, but aging dramatically increases the odds. According to WebMD, age is the most crucial factor in determining a person’s chances of developing the disease. Half of cancers occur after age 50. While scientists cannot say precisely why some people get cancer and others don’t, lifestyle changes can help reduce the chances.
Obesity is known to contribute to thirteen cancers, so slimming down is helpful. Doctors advise seniors to avoid red and processed meats. Exercise can help prevent some cancer and assist in preventing recurrences.
Depression In the Elderly Is Preventable
With all the challenges that go with aging, depression in those over 65 is lower than in many other age groups, and it is not an inevitable part of growing older. A mere one in 20 seniors has the problem. Unfortunately, those who do may be misdiagnosed. It is easy for caregivers to assume that mood changes are just part of aging. The elderly may get depressed due to serious health problems that prevent them from enjoying life.
Medication, talk therapy, and avoiding loneliness can all help fight depression. Older adults who are feeling down often get a new lease on life when they begin to volunteer, join clubs, or just connect more with people.
Aging increases the risk of developing conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The elderly are also susceptible to depression, although it is not a natural part of the aging process. While factors like genetics play roles in determining who gets sick, it is possible to avoid or postpone many illnesses through exercise and a healthy diet. Routine medical checkups and screenings also play a big part in preventative care.