Congratulations! We’ve made it through our forties and fifties and are about to enter our golden years. The children are out of the home, and many of us are about to retire or have already done so—which means that our level of stress may be at an all-time low! However, this “third phase” of life can bring with it a slew of other aging-related health problems. According to professionals, the most prevalent health problems that may challenge us from your 60s upwards are can be summarized as follows:
1. Dental Health
Because teeth do not renew, our dental health deteriorates as we age. Many people are unaware that good dental hygiene is the key to good overall health, and that poor oral hygiene can lead to major health issues such as heart diseases, dementia, cancer, lung infections and more. We must, therefore, maintain our dental health by seeing our dentists for regular health checks and professional cleaning, regardless of age.
Many of us may have had chicken pox as children. Shingles is an adult-onset recurrence of the chicken pox virus. Many of us who grew up well before chicken pox vaccine experienced chicken pox which we eventually got rid of. The virus, on the other hand, never leaves the body. Instead, it hides in the nerve roots where our immune system keeps it. Our immune systems weaken as we age, especially in our 60s and even beyond, and the virus can move down the nerve roots towards the skin, inflicting a painful rash. As a result, persons over the age of 50 are advised to get the new Shingrix shingles vaccine. The vaccine strengthens the immune system and helps to prevent the disease.
3. Pelvic Floor Problems
You made it through menopause… congratulations! Hormonal changes, as well as the natural wear and tear of muscles and connective tissue, can promote additional “looseness” in the pelvic floor tissue. Urinary incontinence (particularly, leaking when laughing, running, jumping or sneezing) and pelvic organ instability are the most common.
Dealing with these issues early in life is the most effective method to avoid them as we become older. If that ship has sailed, there are a number of non-surgical options for increasing pelvic floor strength and reducing or eliminating these symptoms. They include breathing full, deep diaphragmatic breaths, performing a more effective kegel (slow, controlled involvement of the entire pelvic floor—not just the urethral sphincter—and slow, controlled release), and improved awareness of pelvic floor regulation during activity.
4. Breathing Problems
Shortness of breath is a typical ailment that sends people in their 60s to the physician’s clinic because most of them have high cholesterol or hypertension. Years of moderately elevated blood pressure (even at the rate of 155/85) and lack of exercise (since they are working really hard) cause the heart arteries and heart becoming less compliant—that is, they are unable to relax as easily as they once could. The pressure within the arteries, and then the heart, rises up because they can’t relax as well.
The easiest approach to avoid this is to get your blood pressure under control as quickly as you notice it rising. Furthermore, regular cardio exercise (walking, biking, jogging, etc.) is advised, with the required 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercises each week. The arteries and heart will not harden as soon if you perform these two things.
5. Leg Swelling
Swelling of the ankles and lower legs affects many people in their 60s for almost the same reasons. This is a typical condition caused by the cardiac arteries and the heart becoming stiff. In addition to doing what’s prescribed for shortness of breath, stay away from salty meals, which might raise your blood pressure and induce leg edema. If you already have signs, your doctor may recommend a diuretic (water pill) to help you get rid of the excess fluid.
6. Sleep Problems
Falling and remaining asleep can be more challenging as we get older, partly because our bodies produce less growth hormone and melatonin, but getting enough sleep is still critical. Sleep deprivation is common among those in their 60s, with less than the necessary 7-9 hours per night. While some of this might be attributed to pre-existing medical conditions or stress, other factors also play a role. Watching TV, using smartphones and tablets, computers, ipads, and other smart gadgets in bed at night enhances our access to artificial lighting, which causes our body’s natural clock, the circadian rhythm, to be disrupted.
Artificial light causes our bodies to produce less melatonin, which causes sleep onset to be delayed and sleep quality to be poor. Doing this every night might lead to chronic sleep deprivation, which reduces the anabolic properties required for muscle strength development. It raises catabolic chemicals like cortisol, which are linked to stress, persistent weariness, weight gain and cognitive impairment. Simply turn off your electronic devices before bedtime to improve your sleep habits.
7. Chronic Aches, Pains and Muscle Tension
Because of the effects of aging on the spine and joints, many elderly people require joint replacement surgery. Taking care of the body, whether it’s through chiropractic care, physiotherapy or exercise, “all with the goal of pain management, restored function and slowing down the degenerative process!
8. Problems with Balance
Muscular endurance and joint flexibility can deteriorate as we age, affecting our reaction time. We’re also more likely to develop vestibular problems, which can throw our posture off as our vision and hearing deteriorate. This is why it appears like the older we become, the more we fall. The prescription is to strengthen your body! There are a variety of exercises that might aid with balance. Tai chi or even standing on one leg at a time for thirty seconds with your eyes open can be quite beneficial. Do it with your eyes closed if it becomes too easy. If you need to grasp on to something, make sure you’re near a wall!
9. Leg Cramps
Pain in your legs could be caused by a variety of medical illnesses or drugs, or it could be as simple as dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance. Unfortunately, they can be excruciatingly unpleasant and keep us up at night. Leg cramps can be prevented by staying hydrated and consuming a magnesium supplement. It’s also a good idea to check with your doctor to see if any of your drugs are causing the problem.
10. Height Loss and Exacerbating Posture
You are shrinking, and it isn’t just your imagination. Everyone loses height as they get older, according to science. However, osteoporosis and spinal deterioration, which is the loss of spinal disc thickness and joint cushioning, cause some people to shrink at a faster rate than many others. Due to the forward location of our weighty heads on top of our tiny necks, poor body positioning can lead to neck and back pain. As a result, it can impact our breathing by reducing the space available for our lungs and heart. It makes us appear older than we are, and it contributes to further spinal degeneration by placing additional strain on our bones and muscles that they were not built to bear. Take good care of your body. Exercise is an excellent strategy to keep your bones healthy. We will see you next week.