Saturday, 1 October 2016

Tips for healthy ageing: A World Elderly Day special

Tips for healthy ageing: A World Elderly Day special New Delhi, September 30, 2016: Aging is defined as a series of progressive changes with the passing of one’s lifetime. At present, India has around 11 crore people aged above 60 years, which makes up to about 10%. On world elderly day, our focus is on this senior demographic and ways in which they can despite the healthcare challenges live their life to the fullest. “Aging is a fact of life, you cannot escape it. So why not work on making old age the golden period of your life? Staying healthy and maintaining an overall wellbeing is important, be it any age and commencement of old age does not change this fact. Old age is a time of major life changes both in personal and professional sphere, how smoothly you handle these transitions is the key to staying healthy” said Padma Shri Awardee Dr KK Aggarwal – President Elect IMA & President Heart Care Foundation of India.
There are a lot of things that you can do to make improvements in your health and reduce the chances of mental and physical disability in old age and confer longevity to your life.
1. Quit smoking: this is the first and foremost critical step that you can take in order to improve your health and combat age related health complications. Smoking kills by causing deadly diseases like cancer, strokes and heart failure. If you were a smoker in your younger years and still are, it is not too late to quit this fatal habit. 2. Stay active: make it a daily routine to undertake something that keep you fit and active. Let it be something that promotes strength, balance and flexibility and most importantly, something that you enjoy. Physical activity is critical for maintaining a healthy weight, controlling illness, promoting bone strength and reducing stress. 3. Prevent accidental falls: elderly people are especially vulnerable to accidental falls. Falls can be prevented by making small changes around your house like removing loose rugs and carpets, keeping walking paths free of cords and clutters and using night lights for hallways. It is observed that wearing good friction supporting shoes can prevent falls significantly. 4. Stay updated with immunizations and screenings: it is especially important for women over 50 to maintain regular mammography screening for breast cancer and Pap smear test for cervical cancer. Similarly, men should get screened for prostate cancer. Some preventive vaccinations against infections that can occur during old age are also available. Cholesterol, lipid profile and thyroid screenings are equally important. Consult your healthcare provider for these options. 5. Maintain a heart healthy lifestyle: the chances of heart disease increase significantly as you grow older. To combat this deadly disease, maintain a healthy body mass index, keep your blood pressure in check and undertake a healthy diet consisting of less salt/sugar and cholesterol. 6. Eat well: a well balanced healthy diet when combined with moderate physical activity can be the key to healthy aging. Many illnesses like heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis are strongly linked to what you eat. Calcium and vitamin D supplements can help women. 7. Stay mentally active: it is imperative to maintain a good amount of mental activity in old age to counter dementia and cognitive impairment that come with aging. Any issues of mental lapse and memory problems should be addressed promptly. 8. Sleep well: many elderly people face problems with maintaining a healthy sleep cycle. Insomnia and daytime sleepiness in excess are common complaints, talk to your healthcare provider about such issues. 9. Manage stress: old age can be stressful, and stress takes toll on health irrespective of age. Old age especially is riddled with stress due to emotional trauma associated with loss of loved ones, major life transitions and loneliness. Try exercise and relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation. Old age can be a great time to renew your social circle. Practice the art of positive thinking, it may seem small but it can take your health a long way. Try to keep you sense of humor, those laughing exercises may look silly but are really helpful. 10. Get regular checkups for dental, vision and hearing health: your teeth, gums, vision and hearing have the potential to last a lifetime, if cared for properly. Get regular checkups with your healthcare provider to understand how old age affects these aspects and what changes you can incorporate to keep them healthy. There is no fixed formula for healthy aging; it is all about optimizing your opportunities for good health so that you may be able to enjoy an independent and good quality of life.


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  2. I have got one suggestion to put forward,which does not fit into this blog.Just like there are several programs for treating and preventing various types of illness,my suggestion is that steps be taken to introduce a national epilepsy program.Such people are often found to be isolated from all the avenues of social interactions.They also face stigmas and work place discrimination.I am speaking from my own experience.Doctors don't know how to diagnose this condition and most often we land up inside a psychiatrists OPD making the illness more complicated and suffer unwanted drug side effects.The investigations and treatment costs accruing out of this disorder is also very high.MRI,EEG,continuous video EEG monitoring are very expensive investigations.The pricing of the AED's are also most often beyond the reach of such patients who by virtue of their illness would not be economically well off.A price control on the AED's also should be introduced.Side effects of these drugs are protean,so more drugs needs to prescribed especially for the metabolic syndrome arising out of consuming these drugs.The overall Indian scenario for epilepsy patients appears to be very dull and gloomy.In the west there are many NGO's who raise money through various events like cycling,running,singing,selling epilepsy T-shirts and various utility items.But such activities are not seen here in India.Other specialities do get the benefit of such activities.