People in the U.S. are living longer than ever before. Many seniors live active and healthy lives but there's no getting around one thing: as we age, our bodies and minds change.
To stay healthy as you age, it's paramount that you watch your weight, eat the right foods, and exercise at least 30 minutes for a few days per week. And, it's very important that you maintain a close relationship with your doctor and that you feel comfortable talking with your doctor about any and all of your health concerns.
Watch Your Weight
Physical changes are gradual and very common. Depending upon your activity level and family history, your metabolism may slow over time, which means that your body needs less food energy than before.
To stay at a healthy weight, you need to balance the number of calories you eat with the number you burn off by your activities. You can get to your healthy weight and stay there by doing two things: eating right and being physically active.
Being overweight increases your risk for numerous diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Eat The Right Foods
Vegetables: dark-green leafy and deep-yellow vegetables (spinach, carrots, legumes)
Fruits: apples, oranges, grapes, melons, berries, or juices
Meat: chicken, eggs, fish but limit meats high in fat, such as bacon or chicken with the skin on
Dairy products: milk, yogurt, cheese but limit ice cream, butter, cheese, cream, and whole milk.
Grains: oatmeal, whole grain breads.
Tip: Limit calories and saturated fat. Foods high in saturated fats are high in calories, so they can cause weight gain. They also increase your cholesterol levels.
Physical activity can help prevent heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and mental health problems, such as depression. Physical activity also helps you stay at a healthy weight, reduce stress, sleep better, and feel better overall.
Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Generally, the more active you are, the healthier you will become.
Prepare For Your Next Doctor's Appointment
As we grow older, we experience an increasing number of major life changes, which is why it's important to maintain an open-communication with your doctor.
What to ask?
If you don’t ask questions about your health then your doctor will think you have all the information you want. So, if you don’t understand what your doctor says, let he/she know that you have questions and you need more time to talk. If he/she doesn’t have time that day, you may be able to schedule another appointment or find out when you can call later to speak to someone.
Always be sure you know everything about a medicine before you take it. This information will help you get the full benefits from your medicine and it will also help you avoid taking too much or too little. Taking medicine in the wrong way can make you worse instead of better.
What to tell?
Tell your doctor about your health history. For example, tell him/her about any major diseases or operations you had in the past and be sure to mention family history of diseases and conditions.
Tell your doctor about your health now. Only you know how you feel and whether you feel differently than you did before. Tell your doctor if you take any medicines, herbs, or supplements such as vitamins or calcium.
Let them know if you are seeing another doctor.
Don’t hesitate to report personal information. Feel free to talk about your beliefs and concerns. You don’t need to wait to be asked.
And, be sure to tell your doctor about any allergies or reactions to medicines.
Getting the checkups you need for your teeth and gums, hearing and vision should be an important part of your healthcare.
Tips for dental health:
Visit your dentist once or twice a year.
Brush after meals with a toothbrush that has soft or medium bristles.
Use toothpaste with fluoride.
Floss every day.
Eat fewer sweets, especially between meals.
Don’t smoke or chew tobacco products.
Do other people tell you to turn down the volume on the TV or radio? Hearing loss is one of the most common health problems. Your risk for hearing loss increases after age 50.
But, how can you tell if you have a hearing problem? You may have to strain to hear a normal conversation. You may find yourself turning up the volume of the TV and radio so loud that others complain.
Noteworthy: 8 Everyday Things That Age You
Noteworthy: The Simple Math Behind Weight Loss
You may have vision problems such as glaucoma or cataracts. Also, older people are more likely than younger people to suffer accidental injuries because of vision problems.
By age 65, you should have regular eye exams.
Remember to follow-up
After each check-up appointment, remember to follow up and inform your doctor. If you have questions, call your doctor’s office. If you have problems with your medication, call your doctor or your pharmacist. If you need to see a specialist or get a test, make the appointment or ask your doctor’s office to make the appointment for you. If you do not hear from your doctor about test results, call and ask. If you don’t understand the results, ask what they mean.