Tag Archives: cardiovascular health

What happens as we age?

DR. SUSAN LOCKE gives excellent advice on slowing the body’s aging process . . .

Susan Locke

Susan Locke

by Susan Locke

As we age, the body goes through many changes. Outlined below are just some of the changes we can expect, along with suggestions to promote a healthier future.

Cardiovascular health. As we grow older, our blood vessels stiffen, so the heart needs to work harder to pump blood. This may lead to hypertension and other cardiovascular problems. To promote better cardiovascular health: Maintain normal cholesterol levels; eat a diet high in fiber, whole grains, lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and avoid salt and fatty food; stop smoking; exercise more; and lower your stress.

Musculoskeletal health. With age, bones are more susceptible to breaking due to decreased density. Muscles also tend to get weaker and become less flexible. Joints become stiffer and are more prone to inflammation. To promote bone, muscle and joint health:

• Recommended daily amount of calcium: 1000 mg/day for adults ages 19-50 and men 51-70 (1200mg/day for women age of 51+ and men 71+)
• Recommended daily amount of Vitamin D3: 600 IU/day if you’re under 70 (800 IU for adults 71+). Sunlight is an excellent source of Vitamin D, but your sunscreen may block absorption. Oily fish and egg yolks are good sources.
• Exercise promotes strong bones and slows bone loss.
• Avoid smoking, and drink in moderation.

healthnetUrinary tract health. Issues associated with aging include loss of bladder control (incontinence) and difficulty urinating due to an enlarged prostate. To promote urinary tract health, empty your bladder regularly, strengthen your pelvic floor with Kegel exercises, and schedule prostate exams on a regular basis.

Brain health. Some memory issues are a normal part of aging. It may even take longer to learn new things or to recall names or remember familiar words.

To promote brain health: Challenge yourself by reading, learning a new language or musical instrument, doing crossword puzzles; be social to ward off depression and reduce stress; eat healthy; and exercise regularly.

Digestive health. As we age, constipation becomes more of an issue. To promote digestive health, increase fiber in your diet, increase physical activity, and avoid weight gain.

In summary, the best tips for healthy aging are: Schedule regular checkups and screenings with your primary care physician; manage chronic health conditions; maintain a well-balanced, low fat diet and moderate alcohol intake; challenge yourself mentally; get out and be social; exercise regularly, including aerobic and strength training; and quit smoking.

SUSAN LOCKE, MD, is Healthnetwork Foundation’s medical director.

HEALTHNETWORK is a Legatus membership benefit, a healthcare “concierge service” that provides members and their families access to some of the most respected hospitals in the world. One Call Starts It All: (866) 968-2467 or (440) 893-0830. Email: help@healthnetworkfoundation.org