How to Prevent 7 Common Health Problems You’re Likely To Get In Your 50s
It’s no secret that as we age, we become more susceptible to various health issues. This is caused by a number of factors, including a weakened immune system, decreased metabolism, and a less active lifestyle. After we hit 50 years of age, we are particularly vulnerable to a number of health issues.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is the advanced stage of common gingivitis. While gingivitis (swelling of the gums) can occur at any age, it is rare for gum disease to develop in youth. Gum disease can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, creating “pockets” between the gums and teeth. Because of the bacteria present in our mouth, these pockets inevitably become infected.
Good oral hygiene is essential to preventing gum disease. A normal dental routine should include regular brushing and flossing at least twice per day as well as using a mouthwash at least once per day. It is also important to see a dentist regularly to make sure that your teeth and gums are healthy.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in your joints begins to break down, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and can occur in any joints, although it is most commonly seen in hands, knees, and hips. Women are more susceptible to osteoarthritis than men, but the risk for osteoarthritis increases significantly for both men and women after age 50.
Because osteoarthritis can be caused by a number of factors (including weight, occupation, gender, genetics, and age), it is not always possible for everybody to prevent it. But we can greatly decrease our risk by maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise. Since excess weight puts added stress on our joints, being overweight puts us at a higher risk.
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Hypertension and Coronary Artery Disease
Hypertension (excessively high blood pressure) has been linked to coronary artery disease by a number of studies. With age, blood pressure tends to increase as the result of decreased estrogen levels. Coronary artery disease occurs when coronary arteries become damaged or diseased. Because arteries supply your heart with blood and oxygen, damaged or clogged arteries can cause chest pains, shortness of breath, and heart attacks.
Coronary artery disease and high blood pressure may both occur as the result of poor diet and exercise habits, high stress, smoking, or genetics. It is important to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly to control weight, and to stay away from cigarettes.
Because our metabolism plummets as we age, it becomes more difficult to maintain a healthy weight. In addition to physical limitations which make exercise more difficult, this decreased metabolism can lead to obesity for some. Women are especially susceptible as they undergo hormone changes throughout menopause.
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Diet and exercise are the primary factors in handling weight gain. It is also important for women to visit a doctor regularly to make sure her hormones are balanced, especially throughout menopause.
Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs as the result of excess uric acid, often due to poor kidney function. It usually starts out with redness and swelling of the big toe, and can lead to intense pain. Gout typically shows up after the age of 50 due to hormone changes and decreased activity levels.
Gout is associated with excess consumption of red or cured meats, alcohol, and dehydration. Red meat and alcohol should be consumed in moderation. Additionally, many women suffer from gout as the result of hormone changes throughout menopause, so it is important for them to consult with a doctor to discuss hormone changes.
Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest diseases among women. It can be caused by obesity, hormones, and genetics. It is uncommon for women under the age of 40 to develop ovarian cancer. Early symptoms include bloating and pelvic pain.
Because obesity is linked with ovarian cancer, healthy diet and regular exercise may help to prevent it. Birth control and gynecological surgery have also been found to decrease the chances of ovarian cancer. It is important to regularly consult with a gynecologist to monitor any changes in your reproductive system.
Alzheimer’s is most often seen after the age of 65. However, in rare cases (approximately 5%), it can occur earlier. This is known as early-onset Alzheimer’s. While it can occur as early as 30 years of age, it is most common for those 50 and above to be affected by early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Although there is no clinically proven to prevent Alzheimer’s, it has been suggested by many professionals that consistently engaging in mental activities (such as reading or playing chess) may decrease the likelihood of cognitive decline later in life. There is also evidence to suggest that head trauma may be associated with Alzheimer’s, so using proper head protection when playing contact sports is essential.
While it may not be possible to prevent all diseases, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle as early on as possible. Eating a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise, and regularly visiting a trusted doctor can help you to live a long and healthy life.