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Staying Strong: How to Reduce the Risk of Age Related Illness

Posted March 12, 2019 by Sue Prichard

None of us are getting any younger; it’s a fact we all have to deal with. And as we get older, we do become prone to certain health conditions. While some of these conditions can also happen earlier in life; be it because of genes we have inherited from our parents or from poor lifestyle choices, they are more likely to affect us in our advancing years. The bad news: we can all fall prey to them. The good news: we can take steps to protect ourselves from these common health problems.

In this article, we will list a few of these health issues, and give you tips on how to reduce the risk of developing them.

Health Issue #1: Cancer

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Unlike some of the other conditions on this short list, cancer is a potentially deadly disease that can strike at any time, no matter how old we are. However, we can take steps to minimize the risk of cancer within our lifestyle choices.

For example, we can stop smoking. This is a no-brainer, especially where lung cancer is concerned, but giving up cigarettes can also reduce the risk of mouth, cervical and stomach cancer. There are healthier alternatives to smoking, so if you are struggling to kick the habit, you might want to try the natural methods presented in the linked article. You should also see your doctor for qualified advice.

You might also cut down on your alcohol intake. Studies suggest that even one glass of wine a day can increase the chance of breast cancer. And with increased alcohol in the bloodstream, there is also the increased risk of mouth, bowel, and unsurprisingly, liver cancer, amongst others. The less you drink then, the less risk to your life, so consider replacing the alcohol you drink with their non-alcoholic alternatives to preserve your health.

To reduce the risk of cancer, there are other things you can do. Studies suggest eating a healthy diet is key to reducing several types of cancer, so replace those foods that can bring about the onset of the disease (such as red meats and processed foods) with a diet of fruit and vegetables. Make an effort to exercise regularly, as studies suggest this can reduce the risk of breast and bowel cancer. Stay out of the sun as much as possible to reduce the chances of skin cancer. And do the sensible thing, and schedule a health check-up, to both spot early signs of cancer, and to get advice on improving your lifestyle to prevent it.

Health Issue #2: Dementia

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We can all suffer from memory loss as we get older; forgetting why we walked into a room is common with age, as is going to the supermarket for milk and buying anything but the white stuff! But there are steps we can take to keep the brain healthy, and in the process, reduce the risk of the onset of dementia.

Unsurprisingly, one of the best things we can do is keep our minds active. Instead of sitting down in front of the television for hours on end (a known cause of cognitive impairment), we can do other things with our time, such as playing board games, engaging with puzzles, reading challenging books, and learning new things.

We can also keep our brain healthy by eating a diet of fruit and vegetables, as well as those brain foods that have been proven to improve our cognitive ability. The occasional glass of red wine is said to be good for the brain too, although you need to remember to limit your intake, as discussed previously.

Within your lifestyle, you should take other sensible measures. Unsurprisingly, stopping smoking is a must, as it has a harmful effect on the brain’s blood vessels (as well as causing damage to the rest of your body). Staying physically active is a good way to promote mental wellbeing, so make an effort to engage in some kind of exercise within the week, even if it’s just getting out into the garden each day, or walking to the store instead of using the car. And stay socially active, as this will get you away from the television and into an environment where you are able to engage your mind when around others.

Health Issue #3: Osteoarthritis

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This is a common joint disease affecting many people over the age of 60, with painful implications for the hands, hips, knees, and spine. It is a disease that develops gradually over time, but there are things you can do to keep it at bay.

For starters, you should exercise as much as you are able, as physical activity will help you to maintain a healthy weight (the larger you are, the more strain on your knee and hip joints), build muscle strength, and keep your joints flexible. You don’t need to overexert yourself, as gentle exercising, such as going for walks and swimming, are both effective ways to reduce the risk of this painful disease.

Then think about the food you eat. As we suggested, the heavier you are, the more strain you are putting on your joints, and consequently, the higher your risk of osteoarthritis. While exercising will help in reducing your calorie intake, you should still focus on a healthy diet to maintain your weight with your usual five-a-day intake of fruit and vegetables. Cut out your sugary snacks too, especially if you are prone to putting on a few pounds afterwards, and replace them with healthier alternatives that are both tasty and good for you.

Finally, protect your joints. So, if you are exercising, do as we said, and don’t overdo it, as you might injure yourself and put unnecessary strain on your joints. Be careful when it’s rainy or icy outside so as to prevent a fall. And if you do engage in high-risk activities, such as any rough and tumble sport, always wear the appropriate gear to protect the joints in your body.

Finally

While we can’t promise you will never suffer from any of these conditions, you can alleviate the risk by following our suggestions. A few simple lifestyle changes could be all it takes to preserve your health, so think about your life today, and do what needs to be done to improve your life chances.

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