Staying in Good Health After 50: A Guide to Common Age-Related Conditions and How to Best Manage Them

50 Plus Hub Research Team

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Getting older has its fair share of challenges when it comes to health. But there’s so much we can do to meet those challenges head on and continue thriving in our 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond! This article will explore some common health conditions that tend to crop up as we age, why they happen, and the many ways we can prevent, catch early, or treat them. I’ll also share healthy lifestyle tips for protecting our bodies and minds. My goal is to make this a comprehensive yet understandable guide to equip you with everything you need to age well. Let’s get started!

First up: heart disease and cancer—the two heavy hitters when it comes to conditions facing seniors. Heart disease refers to plaque accumulation and artery hardening that restricts blood flow. It’s more likely as we get older because plaque buildup worsens over time. High blood pressure and cholesterol also really accelerate the process. The end result can be heart attacks or strokes if blood can’t get where it needs to go. Obviously we want to prevent things from getting to that point! Next, cancer starts when cells grow out of whack and form tumors. The risk increases the longer we live because mutations happen all the time during cell division. Our bodies are good at catching errors…until they aren’t. Cancer danger also rises from carcinogens in the environment.

So what do these have in common? Our lifestyles play a huge role! Smoking, poor diet, inactivity, and excess sun exposure put us much more in harm’s way. The good news? We have so much control to prevent disease through healthy living!

Diabetes and bone/joint issues are two other troublesome conditions. With diabetes, our blood sugar regulation gets thrown off—and high glucose then damages organs and nerves. Obesity and a high-sugar diet contribute to skyrocketing type 2 diabetes rates. We’ll talk more later about nutrition tactics to help outsmart diabetes. With bones and joints, it’s all about wear and tear. Thinning bones lead to osteoporosis while joint cartilage breakdown causes arthritis. The aches and stiffness from arthritis can really slow us down. Strength training is crucial for counteracting bone density and muscle loss so we stay active and injury-free.

Now let’s get into lifestyle habits that safeguard our health as we age…

Nutrition is huge. Diets full of antioxidant-rich fruits/veggies, whole grains and lean protein, but low sodium and added sugar fight disease. I aim for generally wholesome, minimally processed foods. Staying hydrated is also key so water tops my drink list. As our nutrient needs change, supplements like calcium and vitamin D maintain bone density. I’m careful to get adequate protein too for muscular and immune health.

Exercise keeps us feeling young at heart—and trains our hearts to be efficient pumps! Cardio activity sustains lung capacity, controls weight, and prevents plaque buildup through increased circulation. Meanwhile, strength training maintains needed bone density and muscle mass so we stay active and able to care for ourselves. Balance and flexibility exercises further help us prevent injury from falls—which become more dangerous as bones weaken. My fitness routine has variety to cover all aspects while keeping me engaged. Just be sure to clear new activities with your doctor.

Our minds also require upkeep through social connections, mental stimulation and stress reduction. Studies show social isolation and stress heighten risk for cognitive decline and dementia. It’s unclear exactly why, but theories include lack of “use it or lose it” stimulation or damaging chemical changes in the brain. Either way, staying engaged, learning new skills like languages or instruments, and relaxing through routines like yoga keep our minds sharper. Deep breathing or meditation techniques also help beat stress by slowing heart rate and clearing pesky negative thoughts. Though don’t hesitate to seek therapy if anxiety or depression persists. Prioritizing good mental health ensures we stay active, creative and engaged with life!

Lastly make sure to get preventative care through regular screenings:

  • Annual Wellness Visit to review medications, risk factors and address concerns
  • Blood pressure at all medical appointments
  • Cholesterol check every 5 years
  • Colon cancer screening starting at 45-50 years
  • Eye exams to monitor vision changes and catch cataracts early
  • Hearing tests to avoid progressive hearing loss
  • Diabetes screening every 3 years starting at 45

Building relationships with doctors familiar with older patients helps ensure the right timeline for tests based on your history. Catching anything suspicious promptly makes a world of difference in outcomes!

Growing older has challenges but also richness, wisdom and perspective. By implementing healthy lifestyle habits and getting preventative care, we have so much potential to live abundantly into our golden years! My hope is that you feel empowered to take charge of your health. Our energy and vibrancy depend on diligently caring for our physical and mental wellbeing as we age. If any topic needs clarification or you have additional senior health questions, let me know! Here’s to healthy aging.

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