I would be lying if I said that this was an easy post to write. As a matter of fact, it is one of those times for me when I am at a loss for words. No, it doesn’t happen much. But the harsh reality is that even as I write this post I have had the conviction to stop and check on a friend. You see, she is at her follow up appointment after finding a lump in her breast and having a biopsy performed. We all know someone. Maybe it’s your mother, sister, best friend, aunt or even brother. It might even be you. But there is one thing for certain, most of us know someone who has had to fight this terrible disease. There are many statistics that have been compiled from the ages of those affected to the effectiveness of the treatment. But one of the most overwhelming and important things that I have seen in the numbers is that early detection and treatment are the most important ammunition in the battle. Seniors are also at a heightened risk.
According to the National Cancer Institute, 80% of all breast cancer occurs in women over 50, and 60% are found in women over 65. The chance that a woman will get breast cancer increases from 1-in-233 for a woman in her thirties, to a 1-in-8 chance for a woman in her eighties.
Those numbers are alarming for senior woman. Keep in mind that these numbers are greater for this age bracket for many different reasons. One is because many in this demographic don’t drive anymore thus making appointments for treatment therapies difficult.
You are still the greatest advocate for your own health at any age so take charge of your breast health by trying the following recommendations:
Be sure to have all three types of breast examinations conducted frequently: self-exam, clinical exam and mammogram. Do the self-exam regularly to look for changes or lumps. Have a clinician do a yearly exam and request a yearly mammogram screening.
Don’t let other medical factors or your own age deter you from discussing your breast health with your physician. The American Geriatrics Society recommends regular mammogram screenings for women up to age eighty-five. Get the screening you are entitled to and know that most insurance companies will pay for annual mammogram screenings.
If breast cancer is detected, there are a number of treatment options available. Information is power when considering your own breast health. Be an advocate for yourself when it comes to breast cancer awareness.
As we look to the future and think about getting older, one of the common concerns is that we all want to be healthy as we enter our senior years. Some of us come from a long line of ancestors who live a long time and have very few health problems. Others have ancestors who tend to have chronic health issues and while they live a long time, are challenged with maintaining good health later in life. What can I do if I didn’t hit the genetic lottery? How can I take action today to improve my chances of being healthy and active as I age?
Take a good look at the lifestyles of your ancestors. Some of us think we inherited a strong history of heart disease, but when we look closely we see a strong history of lifestyle behaviors that contributed to the heart disease like smoking, obesity, and an inactive life style. Lifestyle is a big factor in accounting for our likelihood of having chronic health issues as we get older. Taking some basic steps today can help you overcome some of your genetic history. Below is a list of ideas to help you control what you can to increase your chances for an active healthy life as you age:
- Don’t smoke, if you do smoke, quit.
- Exercise, even walking 3 or more times per week helps improve y our overall health.
- Eat a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Drink water; try to limit sodas and soft drinks.
- If you drink, do so in moderation.
- Stay active and engaged with friends, social support helps our mental health.
- Keep your mind active and challenged. Read, do puzzles, take up a new hobby, play cards or games.
While we can’t change our genetic makeup, how we live our lives can have a big impact on how we age and whether we develop chronic diseases. Get busy and take control of your future!
For more information, visit GreatOaksManagement.com!
As kids, the trip to the Dentist was one where we were concerned about cavities. As we age, cavities are less a problem. As we get older, our body matures and so does out mouth, and the changes affect not just the teeth, but the gums and the bone that support our teeth.
Research shows that poor oral health can make chronic health problems like diabetes and heart disease worse. Oral health is often made worse in that senior adults often take medications that lead to dry mouth.
Below are 10 tips to help improve oral health for senior adults:
- Stay hydrated, water is best for this and avoid liquids with caffeine especially soda.
- Tap water is best: tap water in most areas has fluoride which also helps oral health.
- Choose high protein snacks as they help neutralize the acids found in plaque.
- Avoid sugars and candy, especially late in the day.
- Brush your teeth right before bed and avoid rinsing the toothpaste from your mouth. The toothpaste residue helps fight cavities as we sleep.
- If you have partial or full dentures, keep them clean.
- Flossing is important to good gum health. If you have problems with flossing, consider a waterpik.
- Consider adding a night time mouthwash to your bedtime routine. Choose one with fluoride.
- Visit your dentist at least twice per year.
- Make sure your dentist has a list of your medications; especially those which cause a dry mouth and make sure you tell your dentist about any pain or problems with flossing.
Following these simple tips can help us keep the teeth we have and prevent problems in the future. Best of all, we will have a great smile!