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Monitoring and managing all aspects of health intelligently lets you make the most of your lengthening lifespan.

Health Concerns to Be Aware of As You Age


Living longer lives is a goal for many people. However, extended lifespans mean being conscious of certain age-related health issues so that your extra years remain happy and active ones. By understanding the common conditions and risks facing older adults, you can take steps to maintain physical and mental well-being into your later decades.

This article explores key health factors to be aware of as you grow older. We cover common issues like joint problems, eyesight changes, and increased illness vulnerability. You’ll also learn lifestyle habits and proactive choices to reduce your chances of age-related declines or diseases. Monitoring and managing all aspects of health intelligently lets you make the most of your lengthening lifespan.

 

Look After Your Joint Health 

Arthritis is one of the leading causes of pain, stiffness, and disability in the UK. Over 10 million people have long-term joint issues, with ages 45-64 the most commonly affected group. Looking after your joints is essential to preserve mobility and independence as you age.

There are various forms of arthritis tied to factors like autoimmune disorders, excess uric acid, infection, or general wear and tear to cartilage and soft tissues. Osteoarthritis is the type closely linked to aging, caused by cumulative pressure on joints and the gradual breakdown of their protective cartilage. Any joints can be affected, especially weight-bearing ones like knees, hips and feet.

 

Monitor Changes to Your Eyesight 

Eyesight tends to decline for most people as they get older. Common age-related eye diseases include presbyopia, cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration – all increasing in prevalence significantly from your 40s onwards. As well as being frustrating day-to-day, vision loss poses risks like reduced mobility and falls. So make sure to monitor your eyes and have regular optometrist check-ups to catch any problems early.

Presbyopia causes long-sightedness due to the lens inside your eye stiffening over time. It makes focusing on close objects more difficult. Symptoms include needing to hold reading material further away or getting eye strain or headaches doing close-up activities. Presbyopia can be corrected with reading glasses.

More serious threats to vision come from cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. Cataracts involve the lens becoming cloudy, obstructing light entering the eye. Glaucoma relates to fluid build-up causing damage to the optic nerve. Macular degeneration stems from tissue at the retina’s macula breaking down. All require prompt medical treatment to try preventing substantial, permanent vision loss.

 

Understand Your Increased Immunity Vulnerabilities 

As people move into their 60s and beyond, the immune system becomes less efficient at fighting off infections and illnesses. This immune senescence leaves older adults more susceptible to bugs like flu, pneumonia, and norovirus – which may hit harder and take longer to recover from compared to when you were younger.

Factors like comorbidities, medications, and waning vaccine protection compound the issue. It’s why regular boosters against illnesses like flu, diphtheria, and shingles are crucial as you age. They provide immunity top-ups to help your body fend off viruses and bacteria.

Aside from getting all recommended vaccines, older adults should take precautions against respiratory illnesses especially. These disproportionately affect the age group and can exacerbate existing conditions. Be stringent with handwashing and hygiene around those who are sick. Ask those coughing or sneezing to wear a mask in shared spaces. And avoid crowds during peak infection seasons.

With some diligence, it’s possible to minimize seasonal illness bouts despite more vulnerable immunity. In case you do succumb, have plans to access medical care promptly for prescription antivirals or antibiotics to aid recovery.

 

Don’t Ignore Hearing Changes 

Another health issue that steadily worsens with age is hearing loss, impacting more than 40% of people over 50. Age-related hearing decline builds up gradually, often without you noticing initial subtle changes. But left untreated, communication difficulties, social isolation, depression, and even dementia risks go up – severely impacting quality of life.

Two main types of age-related hearing loss exist:

  1. Presbycusis – hearing loss tied specifically to aging, including reduced sound sensitivity, muffled speech, and problems hearing high-pitched tones. Contributing factors are nerve degeneration, inner ear changes, and ear wax buildup.
  2. Sociocusis – hearing loss caused by cumulative exposure to loud noise over your lifetime. This noise-induced damage adds to age declines.

The key is not overlooking minor hearing changes. If conversations become trickier, people seem to mumble, or you need the TV louder – get a hearing test rather than dismissing it. The earlier hearing loss is caught, the better the results from hearing aids or assistive devices. These restore crucial stimulation to the auditory system keeping it working optimally even with underlying age-related deterioration.

 

Manage Increased Allergy and Asthma Risks 

Allergies and asthma often improve in childhood only to reappear later in life. Hay fever, eczema, asthma, and reactions to foods or medicines can suddenly recur or worsen as people enter middle age and beyond.

In your 40s and 50s, the onset of allergic rhinitis symptoms like sneezing, nasal congestion and runny noses is common even if you’ve never had issues before. Allergy development relates to gradual impairment of immune system tolerance over decades of exposure to harmless irritants.

Similarly, new late-onset asthma cases peak around ages 65-84 after lying dormant for years. Airway inflammation and hypersensitivity from factors like respiratory infections seem partly to blame.

Managing surprise allergy or asthma starts in your 50s+ requires working closely with your GP and specialists like immunologists or allergists. Keeping detailed symptom diaries aids correct diagnosis then guides appropriate treatment plans. There are hay fever treatment options available online from places such as The Independent Pharmacy. These may feature prescription-strength antihistamines, hay fever, and asthma action plans including inhalers or auto-injectors for serious attacks.

Though frustrating battling new allergic conditions later in life, take comfort that effective management strategies do exist – allowing you to continue an active life.

 

Adopt Brain-Healthy Lifestyle Habits 

Dementia rates rise exponentially as people reach their 60s and beyond. Diseases like Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia already affect some 850,000 older adults in the UK and the figure keeps increasing as lifespans extend. However, developing dementia is not an inevitable part of aging. Up to 40% of cases may be prevented or delayed by addressing key lifestyle factors through life.

The mantra of what’s good for your heart is good for your brain rings true. Daily exercise, eating a balanced diet high in Omega-3s, challenge through work or hobbies, quality sleep, and social interaction all benefit brain structure and function. These contribute to something called ‘cognitive reserve’ acting as a buffer against age-related brain changes that could otherwise trigger dementia.

Additionally, closely monitor heart health markers like cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes risk. These detrimentally impact blood circulation and tiny vessels supplying the brain if left uncontrolled. Quit smoking, restrict alcohol, and burns off stress with relaxing activities too.

Commit fully to an anti-dementia lifestyle, regardless of your age. Not only can this potentially stall dementia onset by up to 5 years, it grants health and quality of life boosts right away too.

 

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