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50+: Live Better, Longer

Is This Normal Aging or Not?

Pain or sudden changes need a closer look.
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Decrease in Strength or Stamina continued...

When should you worry? Get an immediate evaluation if you have chest pain, especially with dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, or fainting. Those are possible signs of a heart attack. Problems with your heart rate could cause lightheadedness, dizziness, or fatigue.

One in 10 people age 65 or older have anemia, or a low level of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. It can cause fatigue and can be treated with iron supplements or medications to spur the body to produce more red blood cells.

High Blood Pressure

Aging is not a disease, but our body’s changes make us vulnerable to some medical conditions. 

One example is essential hypertension, or high blood pressure. The exact cause of essential hypertension is not known.  There are several factors that play a role including genetic factors, obesity, salt intake and aging.  Blood vessels tend to become  less elastic with age, and this stiffness may contribute to high blood pressure.

More than half of people 60 and older have high blood pressure - a reading of 140 (systolic) over 90 (diastolic) or higher.

A low-sodium diet, exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent high blood pressure.

Memory Loss

Can’t remember where you put your keys? Forgot the name of an acquaintance you haven’t seen in a while? Those momentary lapses are normal.

No need to worry, unless the forgetfulness is impairing your daily life, says John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD, co-director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research and professor of geriatric medicine and gerontology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. “Many of us have a memory complaint, but it’s not dementia or disease,” he says.

Generally, information processing slows as we grow older, and older people have more trouble multitasking. But there’s a lot of variability in cognitive function. Not surprisingly, for example, older adults typically outperform young adults in their knowledge of the world.

The red flag for dementia related to Alzheimer’s disease is the inability to learn and retain new information. Problems with episodic memory are a sign of mild cognitive impairment that could be a precursor of the disease, according to new guidelines for diagnosing Alzheimer’s.

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