Stay Healthy (At Any Age!) With These 4 Suggestions
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The following is a simple checklist of lifestyle practices that can help prevent or lessen the risk of common age-related conditions.
- Keep a personal medical journal. Include a record of past illnesses, injuries, treatments, tests and screenings, hospitalizations, current medications, and family history. You can find secure online resources to accomplish this so that family members or health care providers can access it if needed.
- Know your risks. Based on family history, identify the categories of age-related disease you are most at risk for, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Learn and apply preventive lifestyle strategies (such as following the Dr. Weil-recommended anti-inflammatory diet) to help keep these at bay. You may also consider doing a genetic profile to determine what possible risks you carry to help you focus your preventative efforts. Realize that your genes are not guarantees of conditions, so use the results merely as a guide to help focus your prevention.
- Get checked out. Get a complete physical examination every year that screens for common conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, elevated serum cholesterol and inflammation, anemia, and liver or kidney problems. If you are in good health and have no unusual symptoms, you may not need a checkup every year; consult with your doctor about the best screening intervals.
- Maintain healthy blood pressure. Aim for blood pressure in the normal range – i.e., 120/80 or below. If your blood pressure is consistently elevated, especially when you measure it yourself, first try to normalize it by changing habits of diet, exercise, and relaxation. If that fails, talk with your physician about medication, and start with the lowest effective dose of a mild agent. Realize though that the guidelines for management have changed recently, so be sure to discuss these with your doctor to determine if medication is the right choice for you.
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