Top tips for staying healthy in older age

Today people are living longer, healthier lives, with life expectancy improving dramatically for both men and women across the world. We have advanced medical technology and offer better care than ever before, making continuous strides in the delay of degeneration.

UK statistics show that between 2015 and 2020, the number of people over 65 is expected to increase by 12% (1.1 million), the number aged over 85 by 18% (300,000), and the number of centenarians by 40% (7,000)1.

However, individual risk factors play a central role in the development of all physical and mental diseases and conditions and so everyone needs to be aware of what they can individually do to reduce their own risk, and improve health and longevity.

Ageing is undoubtedly linked to degeneration and an increased likelihood for all diseases - including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, dementia, high cholesterol, stroke, cancers and chronic lung disease. However, you need not be a victim of degeneration because there are many lifestyle changes you can to prevent negative health outcomes.

Dr Bhashkar Mukherjee, Consultant in Respiratory and General Medicine at BMI The Blackheath Hospital in London, and Dr Anand Mehta, Consultant Physician at BMI Shirley Oaks Hospital near Croydon,  comments on the impact of a healthier lifestyle in promoting a healthier, active, more able ageing population:

“It’s never too late to begin leading a healthier lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle is important. A good diet; stopping smoking; plenty of exercise; limiting alcohol; weight control; maintaining good vision, hearing, teeth and gums; and managing stress are all critical to maintaining good health as we grow older.”

Dr Mukherjee and Dr Mehta provide their top tips for maintaining a healthy body and mind through later life:

1. Start with your diet

Healthy meal“Good nutrition helps to boost immunity, keep weight under control and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, bone loss and cancer.

Ensure you maintain a healthy diet by reducing sugar intake and eating plenty of fruit (particularly berries), vegetables, high-quality protein, healthy fats and certain vitamins”, recommends Dr Mukherjee.

2. Be active

“Thirty-minute exercise sessions at least three to five times a week will help you maintain a healthy weight and will optimise heart, lung and vascular health.

Exercise also maintains bone and muscle health, which will help reduce the likelihood of dangerous falls. Walking, swimming and yoga are all excellent ways of improving physical and mental wellbeing”, adds Dr Mehta.

3. Minimise those bugs

Cold“While there is a rise in bugs and flu during the cold snap, winter doesn't have to be the unhealthiest time of year. Many colds can be minimised with some simple early treatments such as the use of a nasal spray. 

Help prevent colds by washing your hands properly and frequently to destroy the bugs you've picked up from touching surfaces used by other people such as doors and light switches. Also, use disposable tissues instead of handkerchiefs to stop infecting your hands each time you blow your nose”, recommends Dr Bhashkar Mukherjee.

4. Protection against the cold

“The cold air can act as a trigger, causing creating shortness of breath and wheezing. If you suffer from asthma you should take particular extra care over winter, ensure you take your prescribed medications and always have your emergency inhaler. 

Keep indoors on very cold days and if you do go out, make sure you are well-protected from the cold, and cover your mouth and nose with a warm scarf”, says Dr Mehta.

5. Recognise the need for screening

“Cancer screenings, regular GP health checks and flu vaccinations are very important as we get older. The government is currently backing a drive to diagnose dementia and other causes of forgetfulness through memory clinics “, adds Dr Mehta.

Dr Bhashkar Mukherjee expresses, “If you're suffering in silence or feeling unwell, you or your GP can arrange private admission into your local BMI Healthcare hospital using your private medical insurance, providing you are covered by your individual policy, or paying for yourself with our fixed-price package option. Fast access to diagnostics, consultant-led care and private facilitates will make your hospital stay that bit more comfortable, allowing you to focus on what's important: getting better.”

To find out more call us on 0808 101 0337;

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