As you grow older several degenerative changes occur in your central nervous system, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, renal, gastrointestinal, and musculoskeletal system.
These changes are inevitable but timely diagnosis and early management are important to prevent exacerbation of the condition. Here are some tips that can help you lead a longer, healthier life in the longer run:
Frequent Checkups with Your Doctor
At this point in your life, you just have a doctor who is aware of your history, medications, and any significant medical or surgical interventions that may have taken place in the past. Frequent checkups with your doctor can detect minor pathological or inflammatory changes that warrant more regular follow-ups. Thus, avoiding emergency visits to the doctor. Additionally, working with a multidisciplinary team, geriatric specialists, nutritionists, nurses, physiotherapists, and social workers can help maintain a healthier and informed lifestyle.
Taking Care of the Seven Systems
The above-mentioned body systems are the first targets of aging. Here is how you can protect them by looking out for some inevitable changes and delay them by taking the necessary precautions.
Common aging causes a greater frequency of fractures due to increased bone loss compared to production. Get your vitamin D levels checked and renal function tests evaluated. Get enough sun since it helps convert vitamin D into its active form, but don’t forget sunscreen while you’re at it.
Constipation is one of the most troubling symptoms seen in the elderly according to doctors. A simple solution to a simple problem: add more fiber and water to your diet.
Most elderly tend to have renal failure if they’re affected by a lethal disease. The kidneys are your second heart, exercise regularly, drink a good amount of water to maintain healthy clearance of toxins, eat red meat in moderation, and consult your doctor about drugs that may impair renal function with long-term use.
If you are a diagnosed diabetic you must already be extra careful about blood glucose levels. But insulin resistance and glucose intolerance are common with growing age. Hence, commit to cutting down sugar from your diet. Sugar is known to increase the signs of aging since it reduces the telomere length in every cycle of cell division. Telomeres are essential for the replication and longevity of DNA.
Whether you have a healthy heart or have been diagnosed with hypertension, postural hypotension, pacemaker inserted, or previous angioplasty, you must take great care of your heart. Limit the use of salt, low-density lipoproteins, and fats and instill a daily habit of exercising for at least thirty minutes. Stay hydrated and avoid recreational drugs.
Oxygen is fuel for your body. But as you grow older, and especially if you’re a smoker or work in coal mines or brick-making factories, you’re bound to have reduced volume and efficiency of your lungs. Deep breathing exercises, spirometry, and frequent checkups with your pulmonologist can help make your lungs stay stronger.
Central Nervous System:
Finally, the system that tends to be the most affected beyond repair is the central nervous system. Hearing problems, trouble with orientation, delirium, memory loss, muscle weakness can all be better managed through earlier interventions. Get your brain SPECT scans done earlier. Even trivial traumatic brain injuries, like falling off the edge of the bed, can have serious repercussions that manifest later in life. Getting a scan can help with early prevention and treatment.
Clinical Warning Signs
To maintain a healthy lifestyle, one must be aware of warning signs that may warrant a prompt visit to the ED. Following signs must never be ignored in the elderly:
– Deformity, loss of function of joints.
– Wounds without memory of significant trauma, venous ulceration, purpura.
– Sudden urinary or fecal incontinence.
– Sudden weight gain or loss.
– Consistent dehydrated state and palpitations.
– Visual impairment.
Diet, Exercise, and Other Lifestyle Changes
Your lifestyle should be slowly modified as you age so that you can live a more fulfilling life later. Take care of your portion sizes and have a well-balanced diet. Supplement any deficiencies through oral vitamins and minerals. Individualized exercise plans include strength and balance training or tai chi, swimming, and increasing mobility through physiotherapy. Participate in these in addition to daily cardio. Limit the use of polypharmacy and keep in touch with your doctor for dose adjustments.
Home Environmental Hazard Assessment and Safety Education
Finally, the elderly are more susceptible to acquire a severe hip injury due to falls and dizziness. These are two of the most common symptoms for which the elderly go to their doctor. If you live in a welfare state, then have your local practitioners recommend the type of transportation, bedding, and bathroom that would be suitable for your health condition. Taking safety education courses can help prevent disastrous outcomes as well as help you take the right measures for personal protection in times of need.