Common Things to Get Checked Out as You Get Older
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As we age, it’s important to remain on top of our health. This can mean anything from taking vitamins regularly and sticking to a healthy diet to getting examined by your family doctor on a regular basis. As we get older, our body becomes less resilient, so taking care of small symptoms and issues before they become larger and more troubling is very important. Otherwise, we leave ourselves vulnerable to sudden accidents or injuries like broken hips, infections, or heart attacks.
Today, we’re going to discuss the most common things that we should be getting checked out as we age. The more proactive you’re able to be about your health, the longer you’ll be able to enjoy a vigorous, active life.
As children, we were always reminded to drink our milk because it would make our bones strong. As we age, this becomes even more important.
Our body starts to absorb older bone tissue before new bone tissue can be made, which weakens our bones and makes them prone to breakage. This condition, which is almost impossible to detect before an accident happens, is called osteoporosis.
Many aging adults don’t realize they have osteoporosis until a minor fall does significant damage. In order to protect yourself, make sure you’re getting a bone density screening every one to two years.
You would be surprised how easy it is to ignore major vision problems. Our vision can deteriorate so slowly that it’s not a surprise that we simply don’t notice.
The two conditions that do the most damage to our vision are glaucoma and macular degeneration. Both conditions can cause total blindness if left untreated. Unfortunately, both can progress without noticeable symptoms for a long time. Doctors estimate that only 50 percent of Americans with glaucoma are actually aware that they have the condition.
You can avoid this by going to the optometrist or ophthalmologist regularly.
With our society’s fondness for loud concerts, movies, and other entertainment, it’s not surprising to find that many older adults suffer from both age-related and noise-induced hearing loss. Typically, we lose our ability to hear the highest-pitched noises first, then it progresses from there.
To avoid hearing loss as you age, protect your sensitive eardrums from loud noises. Plus, get your hearing checked regularly by your family doctor or an auditory specialist.
Another complex aspect of growing older is dealing with changes in our cognition. Many people joke about their memory going as they age, but cognitive decline is much more serious than that.
There are many conditions that can cause cognitive impairment, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Typically, these conditions start with minor memory lapses, but can eventually progress to a severe cognitive impairment, which limits our ability to care for ourselves, write, or even talk.
More than 16 million Americans are living with some kind of cognitive impairment right now. If you notice that you’ve been suffering memory lapses, don’t chalk it up to age. Get checked out by your doctor immediately. There are a variety of medications that can help improve your symptoms.
Your heart is such a key part of the efficient functioning of your body. As we age, our heart begins to work harder as it pumps blood through our body. This hard work takes a toll, as it leaves us vulnerable to heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks.
Keeping on top of our physical fitness, eating healthy food, and limiting smoking and alcohol consumption are all great ways to protect your heart as you age. It’s also important to stay on top of tests that examine your blood pressure, cholesterol, and the level of plaque in your arteries. All of these tests are great indications of your overall heart health.
There are so many things that doctors can learn by checking our blood.
Many seniors suffer from low levels of Vitamin D, which can lead to a loss of bone density. The easiest way to check for a Vitamin D deficiency is through a blood test. A quick blood test also allows doctors to check our blood sodium level and shows them whether our kidneys and thyroid are functioning optimally.
Bloodwork is a key part of any complete physical and can help screen for a variety of diseases and conditions that don’t have noticeable or visible symptoms.
Any New or Troubling Symptoms
As we grow into adults, we should have a pretty good sense of what a state of resting equilibrium looks like for our body. This doesn’t mean you should compare yourself to others; you just need to know where your baseline is.
It’s important to get yourself to the doctor right away if you have any new or troubling symptoms. Dizziness, headaches, nausea, and chest pain are all common symptoms reported among older adults that can be indications of a much larger problem.
You should pay particular attention to these more unusual symptoms that make it harder to go about your everyday routine. Don’t just brush them off as a normal sign of aging. You owe it to yourself to get them checked out.