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4 Common Health Problems of Old People, According to Science

As we get older, we get wiser, but, health-wise, we additionally get more complex. Over the years, life accentuates our differences. Look at 100 20-year-olds and most are similar in health. But old people will have many differences. Your genes, the environment where you live, your economic situation, your education, your behavior—particularly exercise, nutrition, smoking, alcohol, and drugs—all of these elements affect your health and the possibility of developing diseases in your 60s and beyond.

Here are some of the most common health problems people experience in their seventh decade of life—and some suggestions on how to avoid or reduce their effects.

1 Hypertension

Hypertension or high blood pressure is known as the "silent killer" because there are few or no symptoms. Having high blood pressure damages arterial walls and increases the risk of serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease. If you are a man or woman in your 60s, you have a 60% chance of having or developing high blood pressure.

The Rx: Ask your doctor for a blood pressure reading at least every two years. But, it's vital to comprehend that what constitutes "good blood pressure" for people in their 60s stays a bit controversial. A recent study suggests that, down to 120, lower is better, but other studies suggest a blood pressure in the 120s may additionally increase risk for kidney problems, passing out, and falling. So, the take-home message is: we're not quite sure what's the best blood pressure for 60-year-olds, however have your doctor monitor yours to watch for changes over time.

Best bets for a healthy blood pressure: start by lowering your salt intake, increasing physical activity, and eating a healthy diet, in particular fruits and vegetables. Then if that doesn't work, your doctor will likely suggest blood pressure medicines.

2 High Cholesterol

You may not know if you have hypercholesterolemia or hyperlipidemia—high levels of fat in the blood—until a blood test reveals it. It's almost completely asymptomatic. Most often hyperlipidemia—the better term because it's about more than just cholesterol—is the luck of the genetic draw. But cheeseburgers, milkshakes, and different foods that contain high levels of fats certainly don't help and can make it worse. If untreated, high cholesterol can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

The Rx: High cholesterol (hyperlipidemia) can be managed through diet, exercise, and medication. Get more physically active doing the things you like to do—play tennis, walk, hike, or swim. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day—sweating a bit suggests you're doing enough—four days a week. And follow a healthy diet, consuming foods low in total fats and saturated fat. The good news is that some fats—mono- and polyunsaturated—found in avocados, dark chocolate, and nuts—are good for you. But limit fast food, junk food, and processed meats. These steps will help you maintain a healthy body weight, which is really important for your cholesterol and overall health.

3 Arthritis

It's now not life threatening, but arthritis can make you pretty miserable, affecting your quality of life, including how much pain you have and how much activity you can take part in. Arthritis grows more common with age. There are many different types of arthritis. Wear and tear, associated with aging, is the cause of osteoarthritis, the most common form, when cartilage inside your joints starts to break down, causing changes in the bone that worsen over time. Another type, rheumatoid arthritis, is linked with inflammation, when the immune system attacks the body's joints.

The Rx: If you are experiencing pain, swelling, stiffness and tenderness in your joints, the first thing you want to do is talk to your doctor. Depending on the type of arthritis you have, you may ache in the morning or throughout the day. Moving is one of the best treatments there is. In addition, strength exercises help because sturdy muscles protect the joints. There are a variety of pain medications, both in pill form and topical creams, that help joint pain. Ask your doctor what combination is right for you, they all have some adverse effects. If a clinician suggests that it's time for joint replacement due to arthritis pain, it's smart to get at least one second opinion. Total joint replacement is the most common elective surgery in the United States, and the number of these surgeries is on the rise. Some agree with the operation is being performed too often these days. Joint replacements shouldn't be done too soon or too late!

4 Cataracts

Over time, the clear lenses in your eyes can become cloudy and impair your vision. While several vision conditions affect older adults, including macular degeneration and glaucoma, the one that is most common is cataracts. Not only are cataracts unsightly, however they can get in the way of living your best life, making it hard to see clearly, especially at night.

Originally published: Eat This Not That

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