The philosopher Roger Bacon (c.1214-1294) wrote down what he thought were the secrets of a long and healthy life. To be able to live to the age of eighty in the 13th century was quite an impressive achievement. The sanitation was poor, there were no antibiotics, and no medical care. Roger Bacon believed that the secret to a long and healthy life was depending on the following: |
exercise good hygiene inhaling the breath of a young virgin a healthy diet proper rest
Moving up in time to the year 2004, the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a large study that showed healthy seventy- to ninety-year-olds who chose the Mediterranean diet, moderate use of alcohol, physical activity, and a nonsmoking lifestyle had a 50% decrease in the rate of death. These research findings are not far off from what Roger Bacon stated more than seven hundred years earlier, with the exception,of course, of inhaling the breath of a young virgin.
Modern medical research has added other factors that proved to increase your changes of living a long live. These include: Good genetics. People who's parents lived to be very old having a better change of living a long life as well . The specific genes involved in the human aging process remain unknown. Increased lipoprotein size and increased HDL cholesterol levels in your blood. There is some evidence that components of your cholesterol may be protective factors for heart disease and stroke. Higher levels of these proteins are usually seen among people who live to be one hundred. Being lucky! Not being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We all know of people who have been in a bad car accident or were the victim of a violent crime. Others have rare and unexplained illnesses. Proper preventive medical care.
What is preventive medicine? It's important to take the proper steps to avoid the development of illnesses, also the early diagnosis of illnesses . Prevention therefore, can take several forms. It can involve: Removing one or more risk factors that can lead to development of a disease. Quite smoking, for example, may help prevent a heart attack or stroke. Trying to identify a disease at an early stage before it leads to a serious illness or death. For example, a colonoscopy attempt to identify and remove small polyps in the colon before they turn into colon cancer. Keeping a close eye on people who have already an illness. Women who have had breast cancer are at much higher risk for developing further breast cancer and will need closer monitoring.
Is there proper preventive screening for an elderly patient? The guidelines for the proper screening of an elderly person are not clear. Part of the confusion is that there are so many variables among the elderly. Another problem is that many of the medical speciality societies don't agree as to which tests are appropriate to order for elderly patients.
What about a yearly physical exam? We are used to the idea that a yearly physical is an essential factor in making sure we remain healthy. We have different ideas of what should be included in this exam. Most doctors believe that it should involve a full discussion of all healthcare issues, a full head to-toe examination, and lab work. The truth is that this standard format has not been shown to be of any benefit for detecting new, potentially life- threatening diseases. It is however an opportunity to discuss exercises and to make the patient is up to date on his or her immunizations and cancer screening.
Research has shown that tests often ordered yearly in otherwise healthy seniors are not beneficial. These tests include: chest x-ray complete blood cell count (CBC) blood chemistry panel electrocardiogram (EKG)
On the surface, it would seem that these tests would be useful. But as it turns out, ordering these tests routinely each year will rarely identify any new diseases.
Seven things you can do to prevent diseases.
1. Stay out of the sun. Excess sun exposure leads to a variety of additional skin changes that are referred to by the term photo aging. Sun damage will make you look older. This damage occurs both at the skin's outer layer (epidermis) and at the inner layer (dermis). Photo aging can make people in their forties and fifties look twenty years older.
You will also get blotchy spots or liver spots. In the dermis there is damage to the collagen and elastic tissue that leads to wrinkles. You may also see areas reddened with tiny blood vessels. These vessels are known as telangectasias.
In addition to staying out of the sun, stop smoking! Smoking increases the changes in the skin.
Moisturizers If you really want to slow down the aging process of your skin, you don't need any expensive creams or lotions. A simple moisturizer will do. Expensive products may not be any better than the cheap ones you can buy at the supermarket. Look for a moisturizer that contains hydroxcyl. But watch out! Using a product with hydroxcyl acids increase the ability of ultraviolet B rays to penetrate your skin. So once again, stay out of the sun!
2. It's never too late to quit smoking! You often hear comments like:"I've smoked my entire life and I feel fine! The answer is:"You don't feel sick yet!"
We have all seen announcements telling us about the strong link between smoking and lung cancer. In reality, lung cancer is only one of the health hazards, Smoking is a major risk factor in the development of: cancers of the mouth and throat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/emphysema heart disease pneumonia poor circulation poor wound healing osteoporosis sinusitis strokes
If that's not enough to convince you, it will also make your skin wrinkle faster too! So watch out, smoking make you look older!
3. Put down the bottle! Studies have shown that a small amount of alcohol per day may have important benefits. For seniors, a small amount means no more than one drink per day, and no more than two on any spcial occasion. Either 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1.5 ounces of spirits. Drinking too much over long period of time is bad for the liver, and increases the change of car crashes and fall related injuries.
4. Regular blood pressure checks Systolic blood pressure gradually increases with age.Many studies have shown that a high systonic blood pressure over time will increase your risks of strokes and heart attacks.
Never stop checking your blood pressure, it is important and recommended by all medical associations.
There are some facts about blood pressure you have to remember: Your blood pressure will vary from moment to moment, depending on what you are doing. For most people there is no real danger if your blood pressure is a little elevated for a few hours or a few days. Caffeine and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can increase your blood pressure. If you check your blood pressure at home, record the results to show your doctor. Bring your blood pressure cuff with you to the doctor, so that you can check if it is accurate.
5.Check your cholesterol When you have a history of coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, diabetes,or stroke should continue to have their cholesterol checked regularly as they get older. Whether elderly in their eighties or nineties who never had a problem with heart attacks or stroke should have a regular check up, doctors have different opinions. In the last few years, doctors have become more aggressive in treating elevated high cholesterol levels in the elderly. There is now data suggesting that lowering cholesterol may also slow down the progression of dementia and macular degeneration. It may also lead to the shrinkage og plaques in arteries that can later can cause strokes and heart attacks.
6. Stay up to date with your vaccinations All elderly people should receive the influenza vaccine9Flu shot) every year. The flu strikes as a wave in which many people get sick at the same time. Most people who die from influenza are seniors. It is also important that health care workers get vaccinated.
Many people have excuses for not having a flu shot, like: "I don't get sick"' and "vaccines can cause you to get the flu." Doctors will tell you that not getting a flu shot every year is a dangerous and foolhardy decision. You need to get it annually because the infectious strain changes each year.
Contrary to popular belief, you can't get the flu from getting a flu shot. The shot may stimulate your immune system so that you may have some temporary flulke symptoms, but it is impossible to get the flu from a flu shot.
Others may will say that they get the flu despite getting the vaccine. The vaccine covers only one of many strains of the influenza virus. Also, there are many other viruses other than influenza that can cause respiratory symptoms, fever, body aches, and so on.
It is recommended that all elderly get the vaccine for pneumonia every five to eight years. However,getting this vaccine does not give total protection from getting pneumonia, as it only protects against a small fraction of the many types of bacteria that can cause pneumonia.
Don't forget your tetanus booster every ten years.Tetanus is now a very rare disease with fewer than 100 cases per year in the US, but about half of all cases occur in older adults.
7. Check for cancer? Many tests exist that can be used to detect specific types of cancer. However, there are some things to consider: Seniors with limited life expectancy can suffer a lot of pain and suffering from unnecessary testing and aggressive treatments, only to die from other things, such as heart attacks, pneumonia, and so on. Clinical guidelines for the elderly are often ambiguous and research often excludes older adult patients. In some cases, doctors may be too aggressive in ordering screening tests, since they fear being sued if they do not order these tests and the patient does develop cancer. The healthiest people with the lowest risk of disease are those most often screened. Minority patients are often under screened.
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exercise, Metiterranian diet, lipoprotein, HDL cholesterol, preventive screening, physical exam, blood pressure, vaccinations,