The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that in 2020 the average life expectancy for a baby born in 2020 in the United States was 77.3 years. The number varies depending on sex, race, ethnicity, and other factors.
Knowing that the average individual can expect to live well into old age may seem like great news, but one important thing to consider is how well you might live. Many of your health needs and risks change as you get older. The experts at Health Solutions provide outstanding geriatric care and can guide you through planning for your health in your golden years.
To some degree, your health is dependent on your genetic makeup. However, the environments where you have lived, as well as your nutrition and physical activity levels also play a big role in your health.
Some things, of course, you can’t control. For example, nutrition during childhood can affect how you age, but there’s nothing you can do about that. What you can control are things like developing a social network, eating a nutritious, balanced diet, avoiding tobacco, and getting enough exercise—and all of those things can help you age healthfully.
As you get older your risk of developing a range of chronic conditions increases. For example, over time, even if you’ve never smoked and you’ve always been active, your arteries begin to stiffen making it more difficult for your heart to pump blood. That means you’re at a greater risk for cardiovascular disease.
Your risk for osteoporosis, dementia, and diabetes also increases with age. Mobility-related conditions, such as arthritis, and your risk of falling are two other important categories of risk that should be considered. Sensory changes, such as hearing loss and vision impairment, are common.
However, there are things you can do to prepare for these increased risks.
As you age, your muscles and bones get weaker, which is one reason the risk of falls becomes a greater concern. Including physical activity in your daily routine can help you maintain your strength.
Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Walking, swimming, gardening, group exercise, and many other activities can help raise your heart rate. In addition to helping you maintain strength, regular exercise can also help keep your heart healthy.
Pay attention to your diet. As we get older, we naturally need fewer calories, so don’t panic if you find yourself eating less. Try to consume a diet of mostly vegetables, fruits, high fiber foods, and lean sources of protein such as fish and beans. Work on limiting highly processed foods, refined sugar, and salt.
Don’t smoke. Smoking is so harmful to so many systems in your body, but particularly your heart. It raises your blood pressure and heart rate, and speeds up the hardening of your arteries.
Develop a healthy sleep routine. When you sleep, your body is at work repairing itself. Try to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.
Finally, as you age, your doctor visits are likely to become more frequent. You may need to have more screenings and tests. And while those things might seem like a hassle, they can keep you alive and feeling good for longer. Our last tip on healthy aging is to keep your appointments with us!
Is it time for a visit? Schedule online or by phone at any of our four locations. We’ll be happy to see you!