As we reach the age of 50, our bodies are undergoing significant changes, and people need to make some important adjustments in the way that they care for themselves. According to Becca Levy, the director of behavioral and social sciences at the Yale School of Public Health, making changes in how you care for your body will have a positive impact on your overall health as you mature. Choosing to be open to new information concerning your health is vital for quality of life. The medical industry is ever-changing, and being aware of these crucial health tips will help you ease into your later years.
1. Avoiding High Blood Pressure
To avoid high blood pressure after 50, limit added sugars to six teaspoons each day, or approximately 100 calories. The more sugar added to your coffee, tea, or cereal, the higher the risk of death from a cardiovascular disease. In a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, added sugar was shown to raise blood pressure even further than excess table salt.
Past the age of 50, estrogen levels in the body decline, putting people in a prime position for hypertension. High amounts of sugar will increase insulin, which in turn lowers nitric oxide levels and restricts the blood vessels’ ability to dilate. Start looking for alternatives to high-fructose corn syrup and refined sugar like Stevia and agave nectar.
2. Preventing Aches and Pains
By your 50th birthday, the body reduces production of vitamin D by as much as 75%. According to Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, Michael Holick, PhD, MD, you need to incorporate a 2,000 IU vitamin D supplement into your daily routine to avoid those nagging aches and pains as you age. Holick says that low levels of vitamin D in the body have been linked to diabetes, cognitive decline, and other age-related problems.
One of the more serious medical problems that the elderly face is the risk of falls. Beginning at age 30, the muscles used to stand will start to weaken, the pace of your steps slows, the length of your strides shortens, and vision starts to deteriorate. According to studies conducted at Winston-Salem State University, balance is essential for living a healthier and longer life. Improving your balance today can have long-lasting positive effects on your health in your later years. The Mayo Clinic says that one in every three adults 65 years or older will take a serious fall this year. Consider these five simple ways to improve your balance so that you don’t become part of that statistic in your senior years.
1. Balancing on a Wobble Board
If you are not already a member at your local gym, consider investing in a small piece of exercise equipment that can have a huge impact on your balance. A wobble board is a small gym device that challenges you to maintain your stability. Place the wobble board on the floor and be sure there is plenty of room so you don’t accidentally fall onto any furniture or objects. Position yourself on the wobble board with your feet shoulder width apart, tighten your abs, and begin rocking backward and forward and then side to side. Use a chair for support if you are new to this type of exercise, then continue for two minutes at a time. Pushing yourself further each day will boost overall health and balance.
2. Standing on One Leg
During the course of your busy day, you might not have time to exercise for balance health. There may barely be time to eat in the morning before you rush off to work, then you scramble home to eat dinner, watch television, and start the whole process again the next day. One simple way to improve your balance is to incorporate net-time. Net-time is being able to do two tasks at the same time without pushing yourself too hard. For example, when you are washing dishes at night, stand on one leg and hold the pose for 30 seconds at a time. When you are dusting the house, stand on a couch cushion or pillow while on one leg to create instability while you balance and clean. Increase difficulty by balancing on one leg with your eyes closed as you listen to your favorite music.
Glaucoma can cause progressive and permanent vision loss as a result of fluid buildup in the eye. The eye disease has two distinct forms: angle-closure and primary open-angle glaucoma. The symptoms for both types of glaucoma are subtly different.
Primary open-angle glaucoma is by far the most common in patients suffering with vision loss. The disease begins to work on the peripheral vision and works inward, incapacitating central vision. The end result is suffering with what is commonly referred to as tunnel vision. Acute angle-closure glaucoma, also known as narrow-angle glaucoma or chronic angle-closure glaucoma, will cause blurry vision that produces halos around the eyes. Both types of glaucoma will eventually cause gradual and irreversible damage to the optic nerve.
To prevent this disease, it is important that you are able to identify these eight signs:
1. Blurry Vision
When suffering from acute angle-closure glaucoma, there will be a very gradual decline in sharpness of vision. This decline in vision acuity results in everything appearing fuzzy and blurred, and the most severe blurriness comes at the latter stages. By this point, the problem may be irreversible and may not be correctable, even with surgery. Opticians recommend that when you experience the first signs of blurry vision that you seek the help of an eye doctor sooner than later. Early treatments can have a significant positive impact on your ability to see clearly in the future.
2. Nausea and Vomiting
When your vision is distorted for a considerable amount of time, you will begin to experience feeling of nausea followed by bouts of vomiting. Acute angle-closure glaucoma can cause vomiting and nausea followed by severe bouts of eye pain. The eye pain is the indicator that what you are feeling is more than a stomach virus or flu, and you should have the condition looked at by a professional. According to studies at WebMD, patients who were in early stages of glaucoma began to experience regular bouts of nausea when driving their vehicles at night.
Hearing loss can be a result of exposure to dangerous noise levels, and it is fast becoming one of the more common occupational illnesses in America. Permanent hearing loss can occur from repeated exposure to anything from loud machinery to the blast of a single shotgun shell. According to studies conducted at the Mayo Clinic, over 10 million people in the United States have permanent hearing loss from loud noise, and another 30 million are currently exposed to dangerous levels on the job today. These workers underestimate the potential harm from hearing loss because the damage occurs over a long period of time. The following eight tips can help you prevent hearing loss.
1. Wearing Earplugs
Earplugs will protect the delicate lining in the ear and reduce the chances of suffering permanent hearing loss. If you are going to be exposed to loud noises like a snowmobile, firecrackers, power tools, firearms, or concerts, pack a pair of earplugs. This will allow you to still hear but reduce the damage that can be done by excessive noise. If possible, take a break from the noise for 10 minutes in order to allow the ears adequate time to recover. Invest in a good quality earplug that will limit noise and protect the inner ear.
2. Using the 60/60 Rule
If you frequently listen to music on your MP3 player, iPod, or mobile device using headphones, turn down the volume to 20% and only listen to your music for a maximum of 60 minutes each day. Many new music devices come with a smart-volume feature that will automatically regulate the volume and reduce any chance of serious damage to your hearing. Earbuds are ineffective at hiding surrounding noises, so as a result the wearer will turn up the volume to dangerous levels to enjoy music.
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a disease of the central nervous system (CNS), meaning it affects the brain as well as the spinal cord. The central nervous system controls all actions performed by the body. When MS alters the myelin coating on the nerves that relay messages to and from the brain, symptoms may start to occur in almost every body part. Here’s a list of the early signs of multiple sclerosis:
About eight out of 10 people experience fatigue in the early stages of MS — one of the most common symptoms of the disease. Fatigue significantly affects the ability to function at work and home, and may be the most protuberant sign in an individual who otherwise has minimal activity limitations.
Some people experience MS lassitude, which is a very serious fatigue that occurs daily and appears to grow worse as time goes on. Most people will describe it as “unlike anything they have ever felt,” according to a report by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in New York.
Lack of sensation in different parts of the body (numbness) is often one of the initial symptoms that brings people with MS to health experts. Numbness may occur in the body, the face, or the legs and arms, and can affect walking, the ability to hold objects, and chewing as well if it ends up affecting the face. Sometimes the feeling may progress over days or hours, but it eventually subsides on its own.
Tingling is closely related to numbness, in which case one may feel as though the arm, toe, or fingers are falling asleep, yet never really wake up. Just like other MS signs, tingling occurs as a result of distorted nerves relaying unclear signals to the various parts of the body. This sensory phenomenon associated with multiple sclerosis is often referred to as “MS hug” by medical professionals.
4. Coordination and Balance Problems
Movement problems are one of the first signs that a person could be suffering from MS. Impaired nerve conduction will mean that muscles aren’t able to behave as they should — movement and coordination problems are a surprise.
People report feeling suddenly weak in just one limb, or they may find objects easily slipping out of their hands. If the cerebellum (the part of the brain responsible for controlling balance) ends up damaged, people are prone to falling, and might also be unsteady on their feet.
Those who have reached the age of 50 and beyond need to better understand the limitations of the body as it ages. Exercises that you could easily perform in your 20s and 30s could cause serious injury today. According to Dr. McCance, spinal surgeon at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, some people over the age of 50 are pushing themselves too hard. He cites an example of a physical trainer he treated who was 50 years old, working out too hard and ruptured a disc. Studies at Health magazine show that among 78 million baby boomers, back injuries from exercising are on the rise. Before you become another statistic, consider these exercises for the people over 50.
Adults over 50 today are well aware of the heart benefits in exercising, and studies conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association show that those who exercise regularly will live longer than unfit adults.
Never try to cram too much into one session. Exercise to your comfort level and stop. If you are new to exercising, narrow the routine and focus on one exercise per week. In no time you’ll be able to make it through the entire regimen.
The first part of this exercise program is focused on strength training. According to WebMD, as we approach and pass the age of 50, muscles become smaller and lose the ability to contract. Lower muscle mass means increased risk of diabetes. Plus, many adults over 50 have a higher fat content than young adults. You can combat this by incorporating strength training into your exercise routine. The following exercises should be performed twice a week using 5-pound dumbbells. As you develop your muscles, increase the weight to 8 and then 10 pounds.
1. One-Legged Wall Squats
This exercise will benefit the abs, hamstrings, buttocks, and quads.
• Begin this exercise by placing an exercise ball between your lower back and the wall.
• The feet should be approximately 1-2 feet in front of you and hip-width apart.
• Straighten the right leg first, allowing the foot to be 6 inches off the ground.
• Now bend the left knee and lower your body to the squat position.
• Straighten out the leg and return to standing position.
End with Lowering your foot to the floor and repeat using your other leg. Continue until you have completed 8 reps. This 15-minute exercise routine will help to build and maintain muscles and bones while increasing your metabolism.