Top 5 Questions for Healthy Aging

1. Is memory loss a natural part of aging? How much is normal?

Some memory loss happens as we age. The aging brain stores information in a slightly different way, so it’s harder for you to recall recent events. So no need to worry if you find yourself stumped for a name or forget where you put the car keys. But what’s not normal is if you can’t remember simple things like how to follow directions or recipes or forget the way to your
home. That could be a sign of a more serious memory loss caused by a medical condition like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. If so, your memory likely will get worse over time.

2. How much exercise do people over age 50 really need?

The more you can do, the better. Guidelines that call for working out 30-60 minutes a day are fine for younger adults. But that may not be realistic for many older folks.

3. Is osteoarthritis a part of aging, and can I do anything after age 50 to avoid it?

Getting older definitely makes it more likely that you’ll get osteoarthritis when the cartilage between your joints breaks down. It usually starts after age 40 and becomes more and more noticeable. Almost everyone gets it to some degree if they live long enough. It can cause pain and stiffness in your knees, hips, hands, and neck.

4. Do only women have to worry about bone health after age 50?

The main concern is osteoporosis, a condition that causes your bones to become less dense and more likely to break. Some 10 million Americans have it, and 80% of them are women. Many more people have osteopenia, a less-severe form of bone-density loss that can turn into osteoporosis.

Aging isn’t always the sole cause of fragile bones. Small bone structure, low weight, low testosterone, and medications like blood thinners and cholesterol pills all can play a role. So can menopause in women and hormone therapy for prostate cancer in men.

To keep your bones strong, it helps to get enough calcium, quit smoking, limit alcohol, and exercise.

5. Do sleep needs change as we age? How much do I need after age 50?

Kids and adolescents need to sleep longer than young adults do. But in our senior years, we need to go back to the 7 to 9 hours of daily shut-eye as in our teens.

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