As men continue to age, a healthy lifestyle becomes more important with every passing year; this is especially true for men as they venture into the golden years, as health conditions become more common and increasingly complicated. However, taking the right steps to protect against disease could be enough to prevent it altogether. Continue reading for important stats and tips for senior men and their health.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Major risk factors include obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, and frequent alcohol consumption. However, aging also causes numerous negative changes to heart health. Over time, heart and blood vessels begin to stiffen, which could make issues related to heart disease worse. Some of these issues include a rise in blood pressure and a decline in peak heart rate. This combination of changes increases the risk of complications such as a heart attack, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease.
What seems to be unknown is why men are twice as likely as women to suffer a heart attack. Even when differences in risk factors between genders is accounted for, the discrepancy still remains. With the cards stacked against them, men need to take proactive steps to protect their heart health in the long run.
The first step to preventing heart disease should be to quit smoking if you haven’t done so already. Keep in mind, heart disease is only one of the many negative health effects associated with tobacco. Another important step is staying active, even during old age. It may be more difficult to keep up a fast pace later in life, but going for daily walks can make a huge difference. Dietary changes like lowering trans and saturated fats, added sugar, and salt can help too. Finally, consult a doctor if you’re struggling with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, in order to receive proper guidance and medications.
Diabetes, like heart disease, also becomes more likely with age. It is estimated that 1 in 4 people over the age of 60 are diabetic. What’s concerning is that 90% of people with pre-diabetes don’t know that they have the condition. Knowing you have pre-diabetes is key to stopping the development of diabetes in the future, since it is more of a warning that you are at risk, and not necessarily a guarantee. However, a lack of action certainly raises the odds.
Luckily, many of the same changes that improve heart health can help prevent diabetes. A healthy weight and an active lifestyle are imperative. Eating a diet rich in fiber can also help lower and control blood sugar levels. Foods that are a good source of fiber include: raspberries, avocados, artichokes, kidney beans, oats, and split peas.
In some cases, diabetes is genetic and cannot be prevented. However, once you are diabetic, it is imperative that you do your due diligence in monitoring glucose levels and administer the right dosage of insulin.
One of the most proactive steps a man can take to protect his health is seeing a doctor for routine screenings. Catching a disease in the early stages increases the success rate for treatment, survival, and recovery. Senior men should consider getting screenings for various issues, especially depending on their age and risk factors.
Starting at age 50 and continuing until at least age 75 men should get a colonoscopy to check for colon cancer. It is recommended that this occur every 10 years, although your doctor may want to perform a screening with greater frequency. Another form of cancer that men should check for is prostate cancer. A staggering 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetimes. Screenings should also begin at age 50, or even sooner if your doctor determines you are at a higher risk.
Cancer is not the only disease that can be screened for, either. Osteoporosis is a disease which causes bones to weaken and become frail. This heightens the risk of fractures and breaks, even from minor falls or even coughing. Rather than waiting for the first injury to occur, starting screening procedures at age 70 can help proactively treat the condition.
Jack is a men’s health and wellness professional; his mission is to spread awareness and start discussions that can end the stigma surrounding men’s health issues. In his free time, he enjoys playing golf and tennis with friends and traveling with his family.