World Health Day, created by the First Health Assembly in 1948, is recognized today. This year, the 73rd anniversary of the World Health Organization asks leaders to encourage “building a fairer, healthier world.” The theme’s purpose is to monitor health inequities and promote every person’s right to good health. Seniors, unfortunately, experience more health complications than other age groups due to the body’s natural aging process. However, adopting healthy habits will alleviate symptoms and/or prevent disease as we age.
PHYSICAL REALITIESMental and physical changes occurring with advancing years are ad infinitum. Recognize which are natural and which are cause for concern by understanding why behaviors and choices affect health.
- Skin and Bones- Skin loses elasticity, becomes wrinkled and starts to thin with age. Bones lose mass and density, sometimes resulting in a hunched posture or ”shrinking” in stature. Be aware of suspicious bone pain because of the risk of osteoporosis.
- Brains- Older individuals quite naturally become forgetful as bodies slow and senses lose acuity. There is a definitive difference between occasional forgetfulness, dementia and Alzheimer’s. Seniors need to have regular checkups in order to have physicians recognize whether health concerns are due to physical changes or a loss of brain function.
- Hearts- Large arteries become rigid with age and may be responsible for a condition known as atherosclerosis. Fatty deposits build up and are a serious risk for heart attacks. Discuss any concerns involving your heart with a physician.
- Digestive systems- Stomach pain, nausea, and constipation occur as the digestive system alters during the aging process. If uncomfortable conditions linger or become intense, a doctor needs to be contacted to determine the cause.