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Healthy

  Senior Issues  
 
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Contributing risk factors | Recommendations

 

Aging is not so much a matter of the passage of time as of changes in fitness and outlook. The earliest and most obvious signs include men losing their hair and men and women needing reading glasses because of presbyopia (inability to focus on near objects). But diseases have a greater impact on how your body functions than does aging alone. Therefore, staying fit and healthy is an important part of keeping your body operating as if it were still young. It is true that older people are more likely than the young to get certain diseases, and older individuals may have several different health problems at the same time. But more and more people are living longer and staying healthier--and happier--as they get older. The key is to gain control over your health as early in your life as possible. Learning how to stay well will give you a better chance of feeling well, longer.

The increasing numbers of seniors is attributable, in part, to the growing reliance on health care that stresses lifelong wellness, proper diet and adequate exercise. We all hope cures are found for such scourges as cancer, heart disease and AIDS. But for you, as an individual, such cures may have little direct impact on your quality of life as you live day by day through your seventies, eighties and nineties.

There is an association between frailty and increased inflammation, insulin resistance and increased blood-clotting activity. Inflammatory cells are always present in the blood, but when they are stimulated over a long period of time, they have an adverse effect on many biological functions. Stimulated inflammatory cells can cause arthritis, contribute to the development of arteriosclerosis, and those with chronic inflammation are likely to lose muscle and bone mass. [Archives of Internal Medicine, November 2002]

Living long and being vigorous and vital means maintaining overall physical and emotional wellness. It means functioning at as high a level as possible, with physical and mental functions diminished only moderately, if at all. Many older individuals are more concerned about their diet and digestion than about what disease may ultimately strike them down. They are concerned about sleeping well, seeing and hearing adequately, looking good, having a reasonably active sex life, controlling their weight, experiencing as little pain as possible, maintaining their mental acuity, not being depressed, and remaining active and independent.
 

 
 

Risk factors for Senior Issues:
 
 
Nutrients  Vitamin D Requirement
 In a study of 667 women in low-level care and 952 women in high-level care, vitamin D deficiency (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D <25 nmol/1) was found in 22% of the women in low-level care and 45% of the women in high-level care, with the level of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D being independently associated with the first time of a fall. [J Am Geriatr Soc. November 2003;51(11): pp.1533-1538]
 
 

Recommendations for Senior Issues:
 
 
Botanical  Grape Seed Extract / Resveratrol
 Scientists report a so-called “miracle molecule” found in red wine might help improve mobility and prevent falls among older adults. The ingredient is called ‘resveratrol.’ Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at Duquesne University Jane Cavanaugh says they tested the effect on laboratory mice.

“As these animal age, they lose some of their motor coordination. Very similar as to humans do as they age. And when we gave them out the resveratrol, the older mouse has less loss of motor coordination.”

Resveratrol is also found in grapes, blueberries and other dark-skinned fruits.

“We just used blueberries in our study and when they eat the whole fruit it’s actually more effective than the resveratrol alone and you don’t need as much.”

A person would have to drink at least a bottle of wine compared to only a handful of fruit to get the same amount.

The finding was presented at the American Chemical Society meeting in Philadelphia on Sunday August 19, 2012

Diet

Not recommended:
  Caffeine/Coffee Avoidance
 Postmenopausal women who drink coffee regularly have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes when compared to women who never drink coffee, say researchers from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Apparently, the health benefit is even more marked if the coffee is decaffeinated. According to Mark Pereira, Ph.D. and team, postmenopausal women who consumed six cups of coffee or more each day lowered their chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 22%. The scientists found that the diabetes risk continued to drop as regular consumption increased. [Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:1311-1316.]

Habits

  Sunlight / Light Exposure
 Living longer can be as simple as living on a tree-lined street or near a park, according to a study of over 3,000 people in Tokyo. Among older participants, women were more likely to survive than men, both men and women were more likely to survive when they lived near trees and grassy walking areas. Researchers speculate that seniors who live near these types of areas are more likely take walks outside, which may contribute to an increased physical state.

Additionally, women were more likely to survive when they had social relationships with neighbors. Men were less likely to survive when they lived in noisy areas crowded with factories. Moreover, the longer the sun filled a home, the longer men tended to live. Women did not seem to be influenced by this, however. [Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health December 2002;56:913-918]

Mineral

  Multiple Mineral Supplementation
 See the link between Senior Issues and Multiple Vitamin Supplement.

Vitamins

  Multiple Vitamin Supplement
 Micronutrient supplementation reduced the incidence of infections in an elderly population by 50% compared to a control group. [Lancet 1992;340: pp.1124-1127]
 
 


KEY
Strong or generally accepted link
Likely to help
May have adverse consequences







GLOSSARY

AIDS:  Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. An immune system deficiency disorder that suddenly alters the body's ability to defend itself. The AIDS virus invades the T4 helper/inducer lymphocytes and multiplies, causing a breakdown in the body's immune system, eventually leading to overwhelming infection and/or cancer, with ultimate death.

Arteriosclerosis:  A common arterial disorder. Characterized by calcified yellowish plaques, lipids, and cellular debris in the inner layers of the walls of large and medium-sized arteries.

Arthritis:  Inflammation of a joint, usually accompanied by pain, swelling, and stiffness, and resulting from infection, trauma, degenerative changes, metabolic disturbances, or other causes. It occurs in various forms, such as bacterial arthritis, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis, the most common form, is characterized by a gradual loss of cartilage and often an overgrowth of bone at the joints.

Cancer:  Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.

Chronic:  Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.

Insulin:  A hormone secreted by the pancreas in response to elevated blood glucose levels. Insulin stimulates the liver, muscles, and fat cells to remove glucose from the blood for use or storage.

Serum:  The cell-free fluid of the bloodstream. It appears in a test tube after the blood clots and is often used in expressions relating to the levels of certain compounds in the blood stream.

Vitamin D:  A fat-soluble vitamin essential to one's health. Regulates the amount of calcium and phosphorus in the blood by improving their absorption and utilization. Necessary for normal growth and formation of bones and teeth. For Vitamin D only, 1mcg translates to 40 IU.