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7 Health Risks More Likely To Affect Those Over 50

By Bob on November 6, 2015 4:51 AM

Age brings with it confidence and wisdom that can only be gained through decades of experience. Those decades, however, can be hard on the human body.

Adults over 50 need to be especially cognizant of the health problems prevalent in their age group to better take preventative measures.

Arthritis

Arthritis-500.jpgImage via Flickr by Jessie Jacobson

Almost 17 percent of Americans have some form of arthritis. The definition of arthritis is simple enough: joint inflammation. But arthritis is a painful condition which has many causes (from genetics to communicable diseases) and can lead to disability when it gets severe.

You can't completely prevent arthritis if you're predisposed to it, but you can reduce your risk of developing it, or of developing a severe case, by following a healthy diet, not smoking, and taking exercise slowly to reduce the risk of injury. 

Heart Disease

The term "heart disease" actually encompasses a number of ailments, but the most common is coronary artery disease. Heart disease can lead to heart attack and stroke, especially in those over fifty. According to the American Heart Association, it is the leading cause of death in both women and men.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent heart disease. This includes eating the right foods, exercising regularly, and keeping a healthy weight. You also shouldn't smoke and should watch your blood pressure and cholesterol. 

Cancer

Unfortunately many types of cancer are prevalent in people over 50, and they don't all share the same symptoms. Watch for breast cancer, colon cancer, throat cancer, skin cancer, cervical cancer, and prostate cancer especially.

Getting regular screenings from your doctor is the best way to detect it early. While medical professionals don't yet understand how to prevent all cancers, you can take preventative measures like quitting smoking and liberally applying sunscreen to reduce your risk for certain cancers. 

Tooth and Gum Disease

Tooth and Gum Disease-500.jpgImage via Flickr by Poly Bazze 

Adults over 50 face several different causes of gum and tooth disease. Dry mouth, which may seem like a minor irritation, is more serious than you think, because adequate saliva is essential in keeping your teeth clean and healthy. Gingivitis is another concern to watch for, which leads to more serious gum disease.

Regular cleanings and check-ups with the dentist will alert you to any oral health concerns, and your dentist will recommend a treatment plan that best fits you and your dental plan. Dry mouth is often treated by drinking more water, or in severe cases prescription mouthwash. 

Hypertension

Hypertension-500.jpgImage via Flickr by Jasleen Kaur

High blood pressure is concerning mainly because of the problems it can lead to, heart disease chief among them. Hypertension, unfortunately, is often asymptomatic, which means unless you regularly see your doctor, you may have high blood pressure and not know about it for years.

Though you may be predisposed to hypertension due to a number of risk factors, including genetics, you can work to prevent it, especially if someone in your family has high blood pressure. Weight management, lowering salt intake, and quitting smoking are good preventative practices. 

Osteoporosis

The loss of bone density is a major concern for people over fifty. Osteoporosis can cause bones to become brittle enough that everyday activities may cause cracks or breaks. To prevent osteoporosis take a calcium supplement and ask your doctor about weight bearing exercises that are safe for you to do.

Watch out for osteoporosis by getting a DEXA scan. Your doctor will identify any areas of osteoporosis, and will also highlight areas of osteopenia, which is a more minor reduction in bone mass which can become osteoporosis. 

High Cholesterol

High cholesterol is another precursor to heart disease that frequently shows up in people over 50. It is relatively asymptomatic, so you need to be regularly checked by your doctor.

Though age and genetics play a role in your cholesterol levels, you need to maintain a healthy diet, weight, and exercise level to decrease your chances of cholesterol problems

Genetics and a multitude of other factors are involved in each of these conditions, so a healthy lifestyle and regular doctor checkups are key when preventing these common ailments.

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Diabetes-Friendly Chicken Burrito Bowl

ChickenBurritoBowlEverydayDiabetes 600.jpg

By Laura Cipullo and Lisa Mikus, authors of Everyday Diabetes Meals
Image credit: Colin Erricson

Prepare your own Mexican quick fix with this Chipotle-inspired bowl. Carbs are moderated by filling the bowl with beans, extra veggies and chicken. No need for rice, since the beans count as carbs.

Tips:

If you love tomatoes, increase the quantity to 1/2 cup, but note that the carbohydrates will also increase.

If preparing this recipe for one person, cut all of the ingredients in half. Or simply prepare the full recipe up to the end of step 2 and store leftover chicken and vegetable-bean mixture in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave on High for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through, and continue with step 3.

Health Bite: The iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc in black beans help to keep bones strong and healthy.

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