As we get older, our bodies continue to change. Affected by the environment, genetics and lifestyle choices, our bodies become more prone to certain health conditions and diseases. This article is not to alarm you, but rather educate you on the importance of listening to your body, communicating with your primary care physician and taking the right steps to protect your health in the future.
Health Conditions Develop with Age
While some are born with certain medical conditions, others develop certain diseases over time. Your diet, activity level and lifestyle all contribute to your chance of developing health conditions. Some health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, are life-threatening, but can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes.
As you age, your body becomes slower and unable to process change, sugar, and other environmental and dietary changes as efficiently as it once did. This makes managing your blood pressure, sugar levels, and cholesterol, along with others, much more difficult. It’s important to have your blood taken frequently, so your doctor can observe any abnormal changes in your blood levels.
What Changes You Should Expect and What Changes Are a Sign
Because our bodies are constantly changing, it’s natural to notice a decline in overall health and appearance. Having loose skin and discoloration, experiencing a slower metabolism, weaker bones and strength (fragile), loss or inconsistencies in memory, and loss in senses.
Although our bodies are constantly changing, there are some signs and symptoms that could indicate something else is going on with your health. If you notice lumps, bumps or other skin inconsistencies, you should consult with a dermatologist. If you notice cloudiness in your vision or sudden changes in hearing loss, you should see your eye, ear, nose, and throat doctor. Finally, if you notice excessive weight gain or loss (especially in a short amount of time); experience frequent breaks, sprains or bruising; or have difficulty recollecting short-term or long-term memories, you should speak with your primary care physician. All of these signs and symptoms, plus others, can indicate certain medical diseases or conditions that could be serious and life-threatening. While this may be scary, fear not! There are routine check-ups designed to detect the early stages of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. Be sure to stay up to date with your visits to doctors and specialists for the best chance of getting an early detection.
As we age, there are some preventative tests we can take. Taking these tests early can help doctors determine your risk for contracting certain diseases and medical conditions. Women are encouraged to have a routine pap smear about every three years until age 65. They should also begin getting regular mammograms from roughly age 40 to 75 to detect breast cancer early on. Osteoporosis is also common in older women. Men over 50 should talk with their doctor about yearly physicals, including prostate exams and colonoscopies.
It’s natural for our bodies to see changes as we get older. By talking with your doctor often, taking care of yourself by living a healthy and active lifestyle, and looking out for distinct signs and symptoms, you can age with ease.