Three “Silent Killer” Diseases Seniors Should Be Aware Of

Written by Joe Fleming

Many seniors want to take care of their health and prolong their lifespans. But, they don’t always know what signs and symptoms they should be looking out for.

There are a number of totally preventable diseases that seniors suffer from without even knowing it. When these diseases go untreated for too long, they become difficult to manage and can lead to serious disabilities and even death. Because of this, these diseases are often referred to as “silent killers.”

Read on to learn more about three of the most common “silent killer” diseases and the symptoms that seniors (and caregivers) should be aware of.

  1. Hypertension

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is one of the most well-known “silent killer” diseases out there. Approximately 75 million adults in the United States suffer from hypertension, and the likelihood of developing it increases as you age.

Elevated blood pressure is a precursor to hypertension, but, other than that, the disease usually does not come with any symptoms. The only way to know if you’re affected is to test your blood pressure regularly.

A blood pressure monitor — also known as a sphygmomanometer — is a great tool to have on hand. Check your blood pressure regularly and keep an eye out for a reading that is greater than 140/90 mmHg. If this reading consistently comes up, talk to your doctor about ways that you can lower your blood pressure.

It’s also important to cut back on behaviors and limit situations that increase your risk of developing hypertension, including the following:

  • Stress/anxiety
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle
  • Obesity
  • Using birth control pills
  • Frequently consuming painkillers
  1. Diabetes

Approximately 371 million people all over the world have diabetes. But, according to the International Diabetes Federation, half of them don’t know it.

This lack of knowledge is what has branded diabetes as a “silent killer” — it’s no wonder health experts are calling diabetes one of the world’s fastest-growing health issues.

Common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Excessive thirst and hunger
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent urination
  • Sores and cuts that are slow-to-heal

Some people are genetically predisposed to diabetes, but lifestyle factors like obesity, a lack of exercise, and a poor diet also contribute. A poor diet is especially problematic, as it can lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes that occurs when the body is no longer able to use insulin to remove sugar from the bloodstream.

Seniors, especially those who are overweight or obese, should be on the lookout for signs of diabetes. They should also have their blood sugar checked regularly.

  1. Coronary Artery Disease

Also known as CAD, coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. CAD occurs when plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries and prevents blood from efficiently flowing through them. Over time, this plaque buildup can weaken the heart muscle and lead to heart failure.

Like hypertension, coronary artery disease usually does not come with any obvious symptoms. Some people experience chest pain or shortness of breath as a result of CAD, but many people don’t know they have the disease until after they’ve had a heart attack.

To avoid finding yourself in this position, it’s important to have regular check-ups from your doctor. This is especially true if you have a history of CAD in your family. Other people who face a great risk of developing CAD include:

  • Those who are overweight or obese
  • Those who eat a poor diet
  • Those who smoke
  • Those who a sedentary

To minimize your risk of developing CAD, you should focus on cleaning up your diet, quitting smoking, and exercising regularly. Your doctor may also prescribe medications that reduce your CAD risk.

Conclusion

People of all ages should be on the lookout for signs of and risk factors that contribute to these three “silent killer” diseases.

Seniors are particularly vulnerable to these diseases, and they are more likely to have a difficult time managing their condition. Because of this, they should keep this information in mind and be extra vigilant about maintaining their health and minimizing disease risk factors.

5 Ways to Improve Your Morning Routine

Written by Joe Fleming

Struggling to get ready in the morning? While getting older affords the freedoms of retirement, it also comes with its aches and pains that can make any morning routine a bit sluggish. If you’re looking for sure-fire ways to spice up your morning rituals and get going faster, don’t miss this essential guide:

Let the sunshine in

While listening to the song Aquarius may help you get a jump on the morning, this tip is a bit more literal. Natural sunlight exposure has been shown to serve as an environmental prod that triggers the body’s biological clock to get going. If you think about it, long before electricity existed, people’s wake and sleep cycles operated in accordance with the rising and setting of the sun. This evolutionary cue still plays a role today.

Open your blinds or curtains as soon as you wake up in the morning and let the sunshine in. Even step outside on your porch to breathe in fresh air and awaken your senses to the sights, smells, and sounds around you.

Simplify getting dressed

Common conditions like arthritis and even diabetes can make getting dressed in the morning a bit of a hassle – from fumbling with buttons to having to bend over to put on pants and shoes. Simplify this part of your morning routine with easy, inexpensive dressing aids. For example, a long-handled shoe horn can avoid causing back pain commonly associated with having to stoop and bend over to put on shoes.

You can also find dressing aids that help you pull up zippers, button shirts, put on pants, and more. Look at your local drugstore, supercenter, or big box store for the best options.

Drink water first

While tearing into the coffee may be your bulletproof way of yanking your eyes open in the morning, you might want to think first about consuming a more hydrating beverage, water. Drinking more water, in general, has not only been shown to kickstart your metabolism, but 1 to 2 glasses in the morning also helps to rehydrate the body after a night spent sleeping.

Healthy hydration in the morning can also aid digestion and stave off cravings for big breakfasts loaded with refined sugars and flours, notoriously unhealthy foods.

Listen to music

You may have heard about the powers music possesses in activating cognitive functions like memory, motor processing, and emotion. It could also be the key to boosting your own mood in the morning! Research has shown that music improves cheerfulness and alertness and induces feelings of relaxation.

If you are a morning grump, try putting together a playlist of songs you love – could be happy pop, old standards, or classical gems, it’s up to you! Don’t have a stereo or CD player? Use free music streaming services like Spotify or Pandora on your computer or smartphone to create playlists and listen to music you love.

Avoid bad late-night habits

Want to wake feeling more refreshed and energized in the morning? Turns out what you do and don’t do the night before can have a significant impact. Bad late-night habits that affect your quality and amount of sleep include:

  • Blue light exposure from devices like your smartphone or iPad
  • Drinking caffeine late in the day
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Sleeping on an unsupportive mattress and/or pillow

Your mornings are sure to change for the better as your sleep quality improves as well. Facilitate the best sleeping environment by avoiding the above bad habits as well as making sure your sleeping area is dark, cool, and relatively quiet. Aids like white noise machines help some people fall asleep or at least mask the outside sounds of urban environments. Take these simple steps and you’ll wake more well-rested and ready to start the day the following morning.

Plan Ahead

It goes without saying that a little forethought can go a long way. If you want to ramp up the steam in your morning engine, try planning ahead the night before. This can include everything from picking out the clothes you’re going to wear the next day, to getting your morning music playlist ready, and even sorting your morning medicines into a handy pill organizer.

Committing to a relatively fixed order of doing things can also benefit your health as you get older. A solid routine provides both structure to your day as well as a reliable sense of “what comes next.” If cognitive decline affects your memory or orientation, it will be helpful to have familiar routines and habits to fall back on.

Small Comforts: The Many Advantages of Apartment Living

Written by Sally Perkins

When it comes time to retire, many of us oftentimes think this means finally moving to our dream home. However, while this dream may seem feasible in our minds, it might not make sense financially to sign onto another long-term mortgage payment. Rather, renting an apartment may be the best choice for living out your retirement.

Apartment living not only gives you the opportunity to rent, downsize and save money, but it has a range of advantages for people who have retired. Many retirees will be happy to learn that selling a home and renting will present an opportunity to earn capital that produces an income. Besides being a great option financially, here are some other benefits of choosing a small, comforting space for your retirement:

Let the Maintenance Team Do the Hard Work

With more than two-thirds of Americans leaving the workforce by age 66, retirees are not always of an age that want to be doing yard work and making home repairs. One of the undeniable benefits to renting modern accommodation is that many apartment complexes come with a maintenance team. This eliminates the issue of having to keep up with tedious tasks like raking leaves, mowing the lawn or shoveling snow.

Plus—who really wants to be doing that kind of hard work when you’re retired, anyway? Retirement is a well-deserved time to finally relax and not work. By having a maintenance team on hand any time something in the apartment goes wrong, breaks or needs repair is an extremely convenient feature for retirees, as it greatly reduces any anxiety over performing these tasks on one’s own.

Plenty of Privacy with Company Nearby

Another bonus of apartment living during your retirement years is the small comforts and privacy that come with downsizing. With less space to fill with your things and fewer rooms to clean, you will be more appreciative of the things you value and cherish most. Since we all crave privacy, this is a great option, as it offers the chance to put your personal touches on a smaller space.

At the same time, living in an apartment complex gives you plenty of new neighbors. By living in close proximity to other people who are a similar stage in life as you, you can easily seek out new social activities and meet new friends. Especially in complexes that are only for retirement-age individuals or couples, there will be many opportunities to interact with your other neighbors, which is important to avoid feelings of isolation.

In addition to the handy maintenance team and added privacy of apartment living, retirees have the chance to make friends with like-minded people and enjoy all of the comforts of downsizing to a rented space.