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As we age, our body becomes more vulnerable to degenerative conditions and illness.  We become more concerned about a variety of conditions related to the heart and circulation, nervous system and brain, bone density, and many other body functions. Practicing a healthy lifestyle in general does much to aid in reducing the severity, as well as preventing the onset of these age-related conditions.

Regular physical activity greatly reduces a person's risk from dying of heart disease, and decreases the risk for colon cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Physical activity also helps to control weight; contributes to healthy bones, muscles, and joints; helps to relieve the pain of arthritis; reduces symptoms of anxiety and  depression; and can decrease the need for hospitalizations, physician visits, and medications.  Finally, physical activity does not need to be strenuous to be beneficial; people of all ages benefit form moderate physical activity. However, people tend to be less active as they age. By age 75, about one in three men and one in two women do not engage in any physical activity.

 

Good nutrition, including a diet that is low in saturated fats and contains five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day (see the 5 A Day for Better Health Program), is vital in maintaining good health. Improving the diet of older adults could extend the productive life span of Americans and reduce the occurrence of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, some types of cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Less than one-third of adults 65 years and older meet the 5 A Day recommendation.

 

Tobacco Use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that cigarette smoking is responsible for one of every five deaths in the United States, or more than 440,000 deaths each year. Tobacco use increases the risk for diseases of the heart and cancer. Smoking cessation has major and immediate health benefits for men and women of all ages, regardless of whether they have a smoking-related disease.

 

Chronic Diseases

Chronic Diseases are generally not prevented by vaccines or cured by medication, nor do they just disappear. To a large degree, the major chronic disease killers ? heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes ? are an extension of what people do, or not do, as they go about their daily lives. Eighty-eight percent of those over 65 years of age have at least one chronic health condition.  Health damaging behaviors ? particularly tobacco use, lack of physical activity, and poor eating habits ? are major contributors to the nation's leading chronic diseases. Clearly, promoting healthy behavior choices, through education and through community policies and practices, is essential to reducing the burden of chronic diseases.

 

  • Arthritis and related conditions are the leading cause of disability in the United States affecting nearly 43 million Americans. Although cost-effective interventions are available to reduce the burden of arthritis, they are currently underused. Regular, moderate exercise offers a whole host of benefits to people with arthritis by reducing joint pain and stiffness, building strong muscle around the joints, and increasing flexibility and endurance.

  • Cardiovascular Health is a growing concern for all Americans. Heart disease is the nation's leading cause of death. Three health-related behaviors?tobacco use, lack of physical activity, and poor nutrition?contribute markedly to heart disease. Modifying these behaviors is critical for both preventing and controlling heart disease. Modest changes in one or more of these risk factors among the population could have a profound public health impact.  See related articles on Heart Health.

  • Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States. Cancer is largely controllable through prevention, early detection, and treatment. Reducing the nation's cancer burden requires reducing the prevalence of the behavioral and environmental factors that increase cancer risk. It also requires ensuring that cancer screening services and high-quality treatment are available and accessible, particularly to medically underserved populations.

  • Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, accounting for 10% of all cancer deaths. The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with advancing age. Lack of physical activity, low fruit and vegetable intake, a low-fiber diet, obesity, alcohol consumption, and tobacco use may contribute to the risk for colorectal cancer.  Three screening tools flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and the fecal occult blood test (FOBT) are widely accepted and used to detect colorectal cancer in its earliest stages, when treatment is most effective. In 1999, 66% of Americans aged 50 years or older reported not having had a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy within the last five years, and 79% reported not having had a fecal occult blood test within the last year.

  • Breast Cancer is best detected in its earliest, most treatable stage by mammography. Seventy-six percent of all diagnosed cases of breast cancer (are among women aged 50 years or older.

  • Diabetes is a serious, costly, and increasingly common chronic disease. Early detection, improved delivery of care, and better self-management are the key strategies for preventing much of the burden of diabetes. Seven million persons aged 65 years or older (20.1% of all people in this age group) have diabetes.

  • Epilepsy and seizures affect about 2.3 million Americans, and result in an estimated $12.5 billion in medical costs and lost or reduced earnings and production annually. People of all ages are affected, but particularly the very young and the elderly. About 10% of Americans will experience a seizure, and about 3% will have or will have had a diagnosis of epilepsy by age 80.

  • Obesity has reached epidemic proportions among Americans in all age groups. Obesity among adults has doubled since 1980. People who are obese or overweight are at increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis-related disabilities, and some cancers.

  • Oral health is an important and often overlooked component of an older adult's general health and well-being. Oral health problems can cause pain and suffering as well as difficulty in speaking, chewing, swallowing, and maintaining a nutritious diet. During the past 50 years, the oral health and use of dental services among older adults have improved. Although this trend is expected to continue, additional improvement will depend on access to appropriate dental care.

Immunizations for Adults

Although infectious diseases are no longer the most common causes of death, pneumonia and influenza remain among the top ten causes of death for older adults. In 2000, pneumonia and influenza were responsible for 3.3% or 58,557 deaths among people 65 years of age and older. Influenza vaccination can reduce both direct health-care costs (physician visits and antibiotic use) as well as indirect costs from work absenteeism associated with influenza illness. Among person aged 65 years and older, influenza vaccination levels have increased from 33% in 1989 to 66% in 1999, surpassing the Healthy People 2000 goal of 60%.

Pneumonia is one of the most serious infections in older adults, especially among women and the oldest old. In a study of nursing home acquired pneumonia patients, pneumonia resulted in death among 40% of individuals who required hospitalization.

 

Wellness Plans for Senior Health

  • Regular exercise and weight control
  • Healthy diet that are low in fat and high in fiber
  • Seek prompt treatment when you're ill or injured
  • Use sunscreen to protect your skin
  • Do not smoke and avoid secondhand smoke
  • Stress management and relaxation

Recommended Supplements for Senior Health

(Essential in bold)

  Vitamins, Minerals and Trace Elements
  ? Vitamin A   ? Vitamin B6
  ? Vitamin B12   ? Vitamin C
  ? Vitamin E   ? Calcium
  ? Magnesium   ? Selenium
  ? Zinc   ? MultiVitamins & Minerals - Senior
  Nutritional Supplements
  ? Chondroitin   ? CoEnzyme Q10
  ? DHEA   ? Glucosamine
  ? MSM   ? Melatonin
  Natural Food and Herbal Supplements
  ? Bilberry Extract   ? EPA Fish Oil
  ? Gingko Biloba   ? Grape Seed Extract
  ? Green Tea Extract  

 

Read Related Links on Senior Health

  1. Senior's Health (General) - a great resource link about senior's health provided by the American Library of Medicine

  2. What Does It Mean o Grow Older - Publish by Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

  3. Young at Heart: Tips for Older Adult (Eating Healthy and Physical Activity) - Publish by the Weight Control Information Network

  4. In Search of the Secrets of Aging - Publications by the Institute on Aging

  5. Exercise: Feeling Fit for Life - Publications by the Institute on Aging

  6. Medicines- Use Them Safely!  - Publications by the Institute on Aging

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Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Oil)

Turmeric

Valerian Root

Yohimbe Bark

 


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