Manage Your Chronic Health Issues to Live a Fuller Life
Certain chronic illnesses are some the most common causes of death and disability.1
Gender, family genetics, and age influence whether you will be plagued by certain chronic illnesses.2
With these daunting statistics, you might think that there is nothing you can do about the lurking health issues.
Even if a chronic condition has already snuck up on you, it’s not too late to improve the quality of your life!
Here are top five health issues older adults experience and ways to deal with them:
1. Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Symptoms of high blood pressure include severe headache, fatigue or confusion, vision issues, chest pain, difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, blood in urine, and pounding in chest, neck, or ears.3
Left untreated, it can cause a heart attack or a stroke, heart failure, aneurysm, vision loss, memory issues, and vascular dementia.4
- Maintain a healthy weight5,6,7
- Eat a proper heart healthy diet8
- Reduce stress9,10
- Quit smoking11
- Consume less salt and alcohol12,13
- Get some exercise every day and be sure to include aerobic exercise, stretching and flexibility, and muscle strengthening14,15
- Monitor your blood pressure to prevent any issues early16,17
- Manage your other chronic conditions, if you have any18
2. Cholesterol (excess of bad fats)
Unfortunately, having high cholesterol normally doesn’t produce any symptoms until there’s an emergency.19
Having high cholesterol puts you at risk of heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.20
- Monitor your cholesterol levels21
- Quit smoking and reduce your alcohol intake22
- Stay active daily23
- Control your weight24,25
- Follow a healthy diet plan and make sure to eat only a very minimal amount of saturated and trans fats26
3. Arthritis (joint inflammation)
Pain, stiffness, swelling, redness, and a decreased range of motion in your joints may indicate arthritis.27
It can become difficult to do simple daily tasks, walk, and even sit up straight.28.
- Exercise daily, 30 minutes a day and include aerobic, strength-building and stretching exercises29,30
- Maintain a healthy weight31,32
- Eat arthritis-friendly foods such as nuts, seeds, fish, fruits, veggies, olive oil, beans, and whole grains33
- Have back, leg and arm support34
- Take safety measures to avoid joint injuries35
- Stop smoking36
4. Heart disease (build-up plaque in the arteries)
Depending on the type of heart disease, the symptoms may vary, but you should see your doctor if you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting.37
Heart disease may cause swelling and dizziness, among other uncomfortable issues, and may result in a heart attack or stroke.38
- Eat a proper diet and avoid saturated and trans fats, reduce salt and sugar39
- Make sure to sleep 7-8 hours at night40
- Lessen stress41
- Do cardio routinely42
- Give up smoking43
- Discuss the risks with your doctor44
- Ensure a proper diet and nutrition45
5. Diabetes (insulin resistance or lack of insulin production)
Common diabetes symptoms for both type 1 and 2 are hunger and fatigue, having to use the bathroom more often, thirst, itchy skin and dry mouth, blurry vision.46 Additionally, type 1 diabetes may cause weight loss, nausea and vomiting.47 Type 2 diabetes may also cause yeast infection, slow healing wounds, pain or numbness in feet or legs.48
If not managed properly, diabetes can cause a series of serious health problems including heart disease, skin issues, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression.49 It can impair hearing, damage kidneys, eyes, feet and nerves.50
- Take up a healthy diet and watch your carbohydrate and calorie consumption51
- Get a workout in for 30 minutes, five times a week52
- If your doctor told you that you are pre-diabetic, safely losing even a small amount of body weight can help53
In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
—Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States
Staying Strong and Healthy Doesn’t Have to be Difficult
You are out and about every day now, strolling through the streets and running your errands with ease.
Not only is climbing up the stairs is not an issue anymore, but you even have some hiking trips planned over the next three months.
Reaping the benefits of the lifestyle changes you had implemented, you only wonder why you hadn’t done so sooner.
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