All of us can improve the odds of a longer, more healthful life simply by avoiding a few longevity mistakes that people tend to make after age 50, published in Money Talks News’ recent article entitled “7 Deadly Health Mistakes People Make After Age 50.”
- Allowing social connections to fade. Loneliness is deadly. A 2018 study found that isolation may double a person’s risk of dying of cardiovascular disease. What’s more, social isolation is linked to an increased risk of depression, cognitive decline, obesity, and a weakened immune system. It’s important to keep your social connections, which have been so challenging during the Covid-19 pandemic, and avoid the longevity mistake of loneliness. Men are at greater risk of suffering from social isolation, as a recent survey found just 48% of retired men living alone were very satisfied with the number of friends they had. However, about 71% of retired women living alone were very satisfied with their number of social connections.
- Enjoying too many high-sodium foods. About 90% of the sodium that we consume comes from salt. 90% of Americans over age two also consume too much sodium, so reduce your sodium intake. Do that and your blood pressure should fall within a couple of weeks, helping to lower your risk of deadly heart disease and stroke, the CDC says.
- Postponing colorectal cancer screening. Medical experts say that all adults 50 to 75 should have colorectal cancer screening. This test can find precancerous polyps, which are the main source of colorectal cancer, which is treatable when found in its early stages. With the Affordable Care Act of 2010, colorectal screening is among a list of preventive services that generally are free for people who have health insurance and are between the ages of 50 and 75.
- Not taking a daily aspirin. Not everyone over 50 should take an aspirin every day, but it can be good for those with certain potentially life-threatening health conditions. The Mayo Clinic says, “The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends daily aspirin therapy if you’re age 50 to 59, you’re not at increased bleeding risk and you have an increased risk of heart attack or stroke of 10 percent or greater over the next 10 years.” This is a very low-effort longevity mistake to avoid.
Taking aspirin makes blood platelets less “sticky,” helping to prevent the clots that lead to heart attacks and strokes, explains Harvard Medical School. Talk to your doctor before starting a daily aspirin regimen.
- Failing to lift weights. As we get older, the risk of bone disease osteoporosis increases. About 10 million people have osteoporosis, and 44 million more have low bone density, which puts them at risk for the disease, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Women are especially at risk for osteoporosis since one in two women will break a bone due to osteoporosis. This happens more often in women than a heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer combined. Getting sufficient calcium and vitamin D is critical to preventing osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercise is also a great way to strengthen bones and avoid this longevity mistake.
- Not drinking enough water. Hydrate! The Mayo Clinic says that older adults carry a lower volume of water in their bodies. In addition, they are more likely to take medications that boost the risk of dehydration. Their sense of thirst is less acute, making it easy for them to forget the need to drink. Severe dehydration can lead to:
- Life-threatening heatstroke
- Urinary and kidney issues; and
- Hypovolemic shock (low blood volume shock).
As a general rule, men should drink 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women. 20% of daily fluid intake also typically comes from food.
- Continuing to smoke. “Puff, puff, puff that cigarette!” Kicking the nicotine habit pays dividends at any age. The improvements accumulate over the next nine months, and by one year after quitting, your heart attack risk drops dramatically. However, improvements can be fast. For example:
- Your heart rate and blood pressure drop 20 minutes after quitting:
- The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal a few days after quitting; and
- Circulation improves and your lung function increases two weeks to three months after quitting.
Reference: Money Talks News (May 24, 2021) “7 Deadly Health Mistakes People Make After Age 50”