The response was positive. Knowing more about what may affect our satisfying retirement is important. Ignoring warning signs or lifestyle matters that affect the quality of our life is not a particularly good way to approach the problems. I did promise to provide similar links to five more important health concerns: diabetes, osteoporosis, dementia, Alzheimer's, and depression. So, here is the follow up:
Diabetes: insulin is the hormone that your body needs to convert sugars, starches, and other foods into energy. Diabetics' bodies do not produce enough insulin (Type 2 diabetes) or any insulin (Type 1 diabetes). Nearly 26 million Americans suffer from some form of diabetes, most often Type 2. Estimate range as high as another 7 million have undiagnosed diabetes, and most of them are likely to be in the 65+ age group.
Untreated diabetes can cause serious health problems for your eyes, joints, skin, hearing, nerves, and kidneys. The good news is that in many cases, lifestyle and diet changes can control diabetes well enough to prevent most of the damage to your body. Insulin injections for Type 1 diabetics can help manage the total absence of insulin in the body.
- Diabetes symptoms
- American Diabetes Association
- What I need to know about eating& diabetes
- Living with diabetes for seniors
Osteoporosis: This is the thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density. Estimates are that 1 in 5 American women over 50 suffer from osteoporosis and fully half will suffer a fracture of the hip, wrist, or vertebrae. The leading causes of osteoporosis are a drop in estrogen in women at the time of menopause and a drop in testosterone in men, usually after the age of 70. Unfortunately, in its early stages there may be no symptoms. For many usually a broken bone is the first indication of the disease.
- National Osteoporosis Foundation
- Osteoporosis Overview: symptoms, tests, treatments
- Exercises to help prevent osteoporosis
- healthy living with osteoporosis
Dementia & Alzheimer's: This is a loss of brain function that occurs with certain diseases. It affects one's memory, thinking, judgment, and even behavior. Most types are non-reversible, though if caused by a stroke, a brain tumor, alcohol abuse, or certain medications there is a possibly of dementia reversal. Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. It is a progressive disease and the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. Recent studies suggest that 50% of those over 85 have Alzheimer's disease.
- Dementia causes, risk factors
- Dementia Organization
- Dementia symptoms, complications, treatment
- Alzheimer's Association
- Alzheimer's: What treatment options are on the horizon?
Depression affects at least 7 million Americans over the age of 65. It is often untreated due to the assumption it is a normal part of aging. Depression can be described as feeling unhappy, miserable, sad or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods and will find the feelings pass over time.
Major depression is a mood disorder with long-term consequences. Those feelings of sadness, anger, or frustration will last for weeks, months, or longer and interfere with daily living. If left untreated, there can be serious consequences of major depression: communication with friends and family is harmed or even totally eliminated. Physical health goes downhill due to stress and anxiety. Depression frequently co-exists with a medical illness, like heart disease, stroke, cancer, or diabetes. People with depression are at a higher risk of alcohol or drug abuse. Ultimately, suicide is a continuing risk.
- Seniors and Depression
- Spotting Senior Depression
- Depression in older adults: causes, ways to deal with
As I was finishing this post I was contacted by a lady who asked me to pass along her particular health concern and passion. She suffered from a form of cancer that is relatively unknown. It doesn't get the publicity or support of breast, lung, or prostate cancer. But, the effects can be just as devastating. It has a mortality rate of 90%. At the time it was diagnosed she had a 3/12 month old baby. Now, some 7 years later she is cancer free and fighting to make people more aware of this form of cancer.
I usually don't add specific pleas like this, but the subject matter fit. It may not be a disease that primarily affects seniors, but it could affect your children or grandkids. So briefly here is the story and link if you'd like more information. I have been to her site and am impressed with what she is doing:
"Heather Von St. James is a mother, wife, and cancer survivor. Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer when she was 36 years old-only 3 1/2 months after her only child, Lily, was born. Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by asbestos exposure, and kills 90-95% of those who are diagnosed. With courage, strength, and support from others, Heather managed to defy the odds and is cancer free almost 7 years later. Heather has a blog where she details her journey with mesothelioma and how she overcame such a grim prognosis.
Her objective in reaching out to others is to share her story as a source of guidance, hope, and inspiration to anyone who is going through something similar to what she went though. You can check out Heather's story at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog."
As was the case with the first post in this series, these topics are not very pleasant. They deal with some of the issues most of us will face in one form or another as we age. But, to deny they may happen to you or loved ones, to not learn the warning signs and preventive measure, and to turn a blind eye toward them if they do strike, certainly is the worst course of action.
A satisfying retirement is not one lived by ignoring what we must know and do. It is one that requires knowledge and acceptance of the way things really are. That being said, I sincerely hope that we will only need to learn more about these health concerns, but never experience their effects.