Common Aging Women's Health Concerns: Be informed, and plan ahead!

Aged woman getting a health checkup

Today, people are living longer than ever before. As a result, many women will have health concerns that are more common in old age. This can include chronic diseases, as well as conditions that are more bothersome than harmful to your health.

Almost 8 in 10 people older than 65 have at least one chronic condition. If you have one, you can help yourself to keep active and independent by learning about your condition, adopting healthy habits, and seeing the doctor regularly.

Some of the chronic health conditions common in older age include;

➧ Asthma - Many people get asthma for the first time as an older adult. Did you know that Regular Exercise Reduces Asthma Symptoms?
➧ Cancer - Breast, lung, and colorectal cancers are most common in women, and risk goes up with age. Chronic obstructive - Smoking is the main cause of COPD, which is the disease fourth leading cause of death in the United States and the world.
➧ Depression - Twice as many older women as men have depression, often along with other chronic illnesses common in later life, such as heart disease and cancer. Widows are at increased risk of depression.
➧ Diabetes - The risk of diabetes increases with age. Diabetes that is not controlled can hurt your eyes, heart, and kidneys. It also is linked to depression. 
➧ Epilepsy - Many older adults don’t realize that epilepsy is as likely to begin in older age as in young children. Having a seizure can be scary, but epilepsy can be treated.
➧ Gum disease - Many older people did not grow up with drinking water with fluoride or fluoride toothpaste, which protects teeth. This has caused many to have gum and other oral diseases, which can lead to tooth loss.
➧ Heart disease - Heart disease is the number one killer of women. But most heart attacks in women may be preventable. 
➧ High blood pressure - After menopause, your risk of high blood pressure goes up, even if you had normal blood pressure most of your life. High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because there are no symptoms.
➧ HIV/AIDS - More and more old women are finding out they have HIV.  One reason is that women who no longer worry about getting pregnant may be less likely to use a condom and to practice safe sex.

Life changes can happen quickly and without warning. To avoid making important decisions in haste or under stress, it’s best to plan ahead. Some issues you should discuss with loved ones include:

➧ Your health and health care. Discuss your health insurance and health care options, including long-term care.

➧ Where to live. Think about the health conditions you have that might affect your independence as you age. Talk to your family about your wishes, should you need help from a caregiver.

End-of-life issues. Make sure your will is up to date, and advance directives are in place. Advance directives are instructions that direct a person’s medical care should she become unable to do so herself. You might also want to give someone you trust the power to act in your place, should you be too sick to do so. Make sure your important papers are organized and in one place and let family members know where to find them.

Living a healthy lifestyle, becoming informed, and planning ahead are steps you can take now to help make your golden years among the best of your life.

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