Preventative health care emphasizes prevention and the early detection of health conditions. For seniors, this preventative health care can be a great way to minimize the chance of serious illness-or in the event of a serious illness-maximize the chances for recovery. For many health conditions, early detection makes a major difference in your chances for recovery.
All senior citizens should make preventative health care a part of their routines. Regular visits to the doctor for necessary tests along with healthy living are the key aspects of preventative health care for seniors. By taking a proactive approach to their health, seniors can enjoy a greatly enhanced quality of life.
Ten preventative health care tips for seniors:
- Visit Your Doctor Regularly – As we age, it is an unfortunate reality that our risk factors for many diseases-from cancer to heart disease-increase. In many cases, early detection can make a critical difference in your prognosis. Consequently, it is essential that you visit your doctor regularly. You should note questions you wish to ask before hand and tell your doctor of any changes in your health. Moreover, if you are not feeling well you should not simply assume you will “get better” on your own-contact your doctor as soon as possible. Doctors will be able to administer many of the preventative tests outlined below and share additional preventative health care tips for seniors with you.
- Exercise Regularly – For many health conditions, regular exercise can reduce your risk factors. For example, regular exercise lessens your risk of heart disease and also strengthens your bones, thereby reducing your risk for osteoporosis. Seniors should engage in regular physical activity-preferably twenty to thirty minutes per day-in order to stay healthy.
- Eat Well – Along with exercise and regular visits to your doctor, eating a healthy diet is a critical aspect of preventative health care for seniors. Seniors should eat healthy foods that are low in saturated fats in order to reduce their risk of cancer and heart disease. It is best to avoid red meat and fatty dairy. Instead, choose lean cuts of meat and vegetable proteins. Women should pay particular attention to eating foods that are rich in Calcium and Vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis.
- Quit Smoking – While some obstinate smokers may argue that they don’t need to quit since they’ve smoked most of their lives and are still alive, quitting smoking is a great thing to do for your health. When it comes to preventative health care, it’s one of the most important things you can do. Smoking greatly increases your risk for various cancers and heart diseases and quitting can reduce those risks.
- Have Your Cholesterol Tested – Along with exercise and eating well; having your cholesterol checked can help to reduce your risk of heart disease. Determining if you have high cholesterol-along with analyzing other risk factors-can be critical in assessing your risk for heart disease. Heart disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women.
- Have An Annual Mammogram – Women over the age of 40 should have a mammogram every year and seniors should continue this approach. Breast cancer is a major cause of death for women and early detection can be critical in fighting the illness.
- Have An Annual Prostate Exam – Once they reach age fifty, men should have an annual prostate exam that includes a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. The prognosis for men with prostate cancer is best if it is detected early.
- Colorectal Cancer Screening – Men and women over the age of fifty should have annual fecal-occult blood tests, a flexible sigmoidoscopy every four years, and a colonoscopy every two years. Depending on your specific risk factors, your doctor may order these preventative health care procedures more frequently.
- Diabetes Screening – Adults should be screened for diabetes after age 45 and this will continue once they become seniors. Many seniors do not know if they have diabetes which puts them at risk for a variety of health conditions. Diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
- Have Your Blood Pressure Tested – Your blood pressure should be regularly checked by your doctor as high blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and hypertension. Your blood pressure should be checked at a minimum of once every two years, but your doctor may check it more often based on your specific risk factors and family history.
These preventative health care tips for seniors will get you started-your doctor will be able to give you more tips based on your medical and family history.