It’s a universal truth that the older you get, the more prone to disease and injury, which accelerates as you reach middle age. With life expectancies continuing to get older and older, as a more mature man hitting your 50s, what are the significant health concerns that you should be on the lookout for, and is there anything you can do to minimize their impact on your life so that when you hit your 80s and even 90s you can continue to enjoy a good quality of life?
One of the most important things you can do for yourself at any age is to eat a healthy, varied diet and stay active because we see more and more evidence that obesity due to poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle leads to an unnecessary amount of health complications. And while younger men often manage to get away with low-level poor health, as a result, these things really start to ramp up as you hit your 50s. Obesity can cause extreme illness such as stroke, which can kill you outright or leave you handicapped, or at the other end of the spectrum, cause chronic disease and pain due to inflammation of your joints and strain on your lungs. However, it affects you; it’s not a pleasant way to live and will shorten your lifespan significantly.
Being very overweight is the primary cause of developing Type 2 diabetes, and while it is being seen more often in younger people, it is usually diagnosed in older people who have had a bad diet for years, perhaps as the weight has slowly crept up each year until your pancreas can’t cope with the strain anymore. As Type 2 diabetes advances, it causes a whole raft of problems for the sufferer from heart disease, loss of vision, and nerve damage in the outer extremities. There is good news, though, because if it’s caught early, symptoms can be reversed with weight loss and maintaining a good diet, even when you’re middle-aged. Excellent primary care physicians okc will help you learn how to manage your diabetes and make the lifestyle changes that you need to, and if required, refer you to any specialists.
Heart disease is also exacerbated by poor diet and obesity, presenting in men who wouldn’t otherwise have heart issues, and for those who do have underlying heart issues, it can severely shorten your life unnecessarily. Plaque begins depositing in the walls of your arteries during childhood, but when you’re young and healthy, there are minimal amounts present, plus your arteries themselves are much more flexible. However, as you ago your arteries, like your skin and joints, become less flexible, and those plaque deposits start to build up more significantly, especially if you have not had a healthy lifestyle putting you at high risk as you age. Again thankfully, it is never too late to make simple changes like introducing more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains into your diet and building up your exercise to make a big difference to your heart.
Prostate problems only affect men because only men have them, and as you age, they can become enlarged and cause problems with urinating and with sexual function. Prostate cancer is currently the leading cancer in men, and although it is most common in men over 60, it can happen in younger men as well. Should you notice changes in your urinating habits, like having trouble starting or stopping, sudden urgency to go, or frequently waking up in the night to go, make an appointment to see your primary care physician as soon as possible, because whether it’s a benign cause or more sinister treatment is readily available. By cutting back on caffeine and alcohol, especially in the evening, you can manage some of the symptoms yourself but do see your doctor as well.
The rates of hearing loss in men go up significantly in the over 50 age bracket, and sometimes it’s caused by lifestyle choices made at a younger age like exposure to loud noises, and other times it was always going to happen. Regardless of the reason, with advancements in hearing aid technology, it is now much easier to maintain your hearing for longer, so if you notice you don’t hear as well, get yourself a simple hearing test. As someone who spent years shouting at their father because he stubbornly refused to wear hearing aids and can now talk to him because of those advancements, trust me, it will do wonders for family relationships!
As well as physically slowing down as you reach middle age your body’s immune system also begins to slow down a little meaning that an infectious disease you would have easily shaken off in your teens and twenties won’t be so easy to fight off now. This also means that some infectious diseases such as Influenza (flu) become far more dangerous, with older people making up the majority of casualties of this and similar conditions and potentially leaving you with a longer recovery time. As well as practicing good hand hygiene and staying home when ill the easiest way to protect yourself and others against flu and that is to get the yearly flu vaccine. Until recently, Influenza was the leading respiratory disease we had to deal with, unfortunately now we also have Covid-19 to contend with, which is more virulent and more deadly, especially among older people, thankfully there is also a vaccine for this disease now, and just like for flu, this is also the easiest way to protect yourself.
With sensible management of your lifestyle and health, it is entirely possible the as you move out of middle age into retirement, you will still be able to maintain a good quality of life, even though you move a little slower and need a little help to hear and for that, you will thank yourself from your 50s for paying attention and keeping your health in good order.
Tags: men's health