Cheryl was a geriatric nurse assistant, a member of a church health and nutrition ministry and writes articles on senior-related issues.
Worried About Your Health as You Age?
If you're worried about your health as you age, check out these tips for preventing negative health effects!
1. Keep Track of Bowel and Urination Patterns
In our changing world, it’s more important than ever for seniors to be mindful of their health. As we grow older, our bodies and their functions change. It is vital that we pay attention to even the most subtle things that are different. Don't take for granted that what is going on with you is simply a sign of aging. Frequent urination and a sense of urgency could be the result of a bladder or urinary tract infection. If you are a woman experiencing pelvic pain, itching or burning, an odd odor to your urine, or pain when you pee, please consult your health care provider. Men who find they are voiding more often should have a medical exam to rule out prostate issues.
The Medical University of South Carolina says that each person's bowel habits are different and may vary from several a day to one every two or three days. This is why it is important to know your own body patterns so that you will recognize changes that should be reported. The rule of thumb is that what goes in is supposed to come out. The medical center also emphasizes that a sedentary lifestyle, too many dairy products, and not drinking enough fluids all play a part in bowel function. Certain medications and a lack of fiber in the diet may also hinder the normal excretion of waste products. If asked by your medical care provider, you should always be able to give an answer regarding your bowel and urinary function. If you cannot recall when your last bowel movement was this is a big problem.
2. Monitor Sleep Habits
In a 2004 study, the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that a lack of sleep can be a precursor to anxiety and depression in adults over age 70. A website dedicated to the care of elderly parents suggests seniors get 6–9 hours of sleep each night as lack of shut-eye can lead to fuzzy memory. According to Prevention sleeping too much is not good either. Staying in bed too long can lead to obesity, heart disease, memory issues, mood swings, diabetes, and premature death. If you find that you are getting too much or not enough shut-eye on a regular basis be sure to discuss this issue with your health care provider. In the meantime, make sure you are getting plenty of fresh air, sunshine, and exercise.
3. Easy Self Checks at Home
In between doctor visits, it's important to keep track of your own body functions at home. You should have your own Blood pressure monitor because digital ones have memory and you will have a record of what your numbers are. Weigh yourself on a weekly basis, examine your breasts and watch your ankles for swelling. Pay attention to your tongue. because if it is coated white, you may have Thrush which could indicate excessive yeast in your body.
It's important for aging adults to take an active part in their own health care and not wait for health care providers to do all the work. My husband began having back pain and soreness for no apparent reason. Soaking in the tub and my massaging him each day. and exercise therapy three times a week were having no effect. When he spoke to the nurse practitioner she mentioned that his last blood panel had revealed low levels of vitamin D. She prescribed a supplement, he now walks in the early morning sunlight and eats more calcium-rich foods. We also found out that one of his medications can cause a decreased level of Vitamin D. I am happy to say he is no longer experiencing back pain.
Had my husband been requesting a copy of his blood panel at that time, he may have been spared some discomfort. This is why it is important to be well-informed so you will be aware of any changes in your body and your medical care provider can make better decisions related to your health.
4. Obtain a Copy of Your Blood Panel
A blood panel is when you give a sample of your blood and your physician obtains an overall picture of your health. Test results reveal your levels of important functions such as blood sugar, cholesterol, protein, and how your liver and kidneys are operating. It also gives normal ranges of everything that is tested. You will be able to see whether you are low, high, or within an acceptable range. If you have an area where you are only slightly above or below average, your doctor may not be too concerned and may not mention it. Without a copy of your test results, you will not even be aware of what is going on.
5. Pay Attention to Food and Liquid Intake
Counting calories, and keeping up with your fruit and vegetable intake on a daily basis will help you to have a balanced diet and obtain proper nutrition. This will also be beneficial in weight management. Drinking plenty of fluids each day will ensure you remain properly hydrated and can help joints stay properly nourished which may prevent pain. All of which are important as we age. This may seem like a lot. but when practiced on a regular basis, keeping up with food and liquid intake, monitoring sleep, bowel, and urine patterns, and understanding your blood panel, along with self-checks will become as normal and routine as brushing your teeth. You may be able to prevent certain health issues and better manage those you currently are dealing with. Remember that your body is His temple so take good care of it. I Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2019 Cheryl E Preston
Donna Gretchen on May 15, 2020:
Thank you for All Your Information ! I guess it's time to look after my dad and help him with what he needs.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 30, 2019:
All very useful for us older folk. I appreciate these important reminders.
Cheryl E Preston (author) from Roanoke on May 29, 2019:
Margaret Minnicks from Richmond, VA on May 29, 2019:
Cheryl, this is good information. I'm paying attention to your health tips because I am a senior.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 29, 2019:
I think these are very good tips for living a healthier life as we age. I try to follow all those things but I don't sleep very well. Thanks for sharing this very good advice.
Lorna Lamon on May 29, 2019:
This is a very informative article full of really important tips. Thank you for sharing.