Aging, Health, Seniors

Aging and Your Health

As we age, our bodies go through a number of changes. Grey hair and wrinkles are the changes that are the most obvious – at least from a visual standpoint. But there are also many different changes that can occur within our bodies – such as a decreased heart rate and stiffer arteries and blood vessels, which can lead to a condition known as hypertension (high blood pressure.)

To keep your heart healthy, it is recommended that you get as much exercise as possible. You do not need to do any sort of strenuous physical activity in order to stay healthy. Moderate activity such as swimming or walking not only helps you lose or maintain weight, but it also decreases blood pressure and reduces the risk of other cardiovascular problems. It’s also important to eat a healthy diet. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish are great for the heart and also keep your arteries healthy. Smoking can also contribute to heart related problems, so if you are a smoker you should ask your physician for help on how to quit.

The density of bones and muscles also tend to shrink as get older, making them weaker, more susceptible to injuries (like breaks or fractures), as well as limits one’s flexibility and coordination which can result in falls or trouble balancing. To promote good bone and muscle health, it is important to get adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D. For adults aged 19 to 50, the recommended dose of calcium intake per day is 1,000 for men and 1,200 for women, while the recommended dose of vitamin D per day is 600 to 800 IU. You can find calcium and vitamin D in dietary sources like dairy products, nuts, leafy green vegetables and fish. You can also talk to your doctor or pharmacist about taking supplements.

Bladder incontinence is also common with aging, particularly in seniors. It can be caused by menopause, an enlarged prostate, and even diabetes. Beverages such a caffeine, acidic drinks and alcohol can also make bladder incontinence worse, so it is important to avoid such irritants. There are medications known as anticholinergics that can be prescribed to treat overactive bladder, and may be worth discussing with your GP.

More information on what to expect as you age can be found by following Dr. Ali Ghahary on Instagram and Twitter.

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