Age related diseases can and should be avoided with every measure possible. This is because the cost of management and treatment of diseases is 100-fold greater than the cost of prevention. If it takes you $10 to prevent hypertension monthly, the cost of managing hypertension would be about $1000 monthly.
There is a popular saying, “prevention is better than cure”.
Age related diseases are diseases that affect one as they grow older. They hardly manifest during young adulthood and are hardly detected. They include hypertension, type-2 diabetes, arthritis, cataract, glaucoma, hyperlipidaemia, hypercholesterolemia, gout, cardiac myopathy, dementia amongst others.
However, there are diseases that we cannot prevent such as cancers, hormonal dysfunction amongst others. We should take caution to control the factors that are within our means and those which we cannot control, we leave whilst living a healthy and peaceful life.
It is important to know that participating in preventive measures against age related diseases do not completely eradicate acute infections and diseases like malaria, boils, STDs, typhoid fever etc.
As our generation is a generation of vast information at our fingertips for healthy living, it is also a generation with lots of inconvenient factors that interfere with preventive measures of living healthy at a young age.
FACTORS THAT AFFECT HEALTHY LIVING
There are different factors that interfere with practicing preventive measures to avoid age related diseases. Some of these factors are controllable while some cannot be controlled.
• Genetics and hereditary
Diseases and ailments transferred from generation to generation
Beliefs of an individual is based on his community, upbringing, and society. This basically influences an individual’s way of life.
For example, eating some vegetables and animals may be acceptable in a tribe while it is prohibited in another tribe. Some believe that eating lot of meat and wine depicts wealth; some believe that the size of your food shows your strength and capacity.
Our diet, especially as young age largely defines what we become at old age. Youngsters have this notion that eating junks and petty foods, living a wild lifestyle of partying, drinking, and smoking is a sign of enjoyment.
The society we find ourselves depicts our way of life. How we eat, when to eat and what to eat; the activities we carry out and how we see our health.
Our environment also influences our health as we grow older. Living in an environment polluted with toxic chemicals can predispose an individual to diseases overtime because of accumulated toxins in the body e.g., Osteoporosis, lung cancer.
• Social and Economic factors
Factors like income, education, employment, social support, friends and companions, community safety and social activities influence our ability to afford housing, medical care, make healthy choices, manage stress, and live healthy.
- Health care access
Preventive measures such as regular check-ups for screening and identifying risk factors for diseases such as regular blood pressure and sugar monitoring; regular information on immunization and health boosters; screening for sexual transmitted infections; amongst others are not readily available and affordable for every individual due to the cost effectiveness of such services.
• Financial capacity
Individuals with poor financial capacity do not have the ability to feed well, get timely medical access, diagnosis, and counsel. Their access to health care becomes urgent when they have reached the end stage level of a disease state.
• Work environment
The work environment also disposes an individual to age related diseases. Individuals who sit down most of the day, working with computer screen, without regular exercise (sedentary lifestyle) are prone to develop cardiovascular diseases along with eye damage (glaucoma, cataract, eye nerve damage)
• Other factors such as exercise, immune disorders, physical and mental stress
Lifestyle modification is one of the methods of management for many age-related diseases such as hypertension, type-2 diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, hyperlipidaemia, arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, neuropathy amongst others. This shows that our lifestyle greatly affects our health in the long run.
Lifestyle modification include change in diet; regular exercise; regular health screenings and check-ups; reducing or completely stopping alcohol intake; stop smoking; weight loss; regular health information updates; having a healthy sleep with good posture; eating fruits and vegetables; using smart eye protection devices on your computer screen and many more modifications that can be made to improve the quality of life in an elderly individual.
However, to reduce the overall medical expenses and stresses associated with frequent hospitalization, diagnosis and management or treatment of diseases associated with age, it is important to take the following preventive measures.
• Know your family’s medical history
Knowing this would enable you avoid the factors that would predispose you to such diseases; make you aware of the warning signs and seek apt medical attention; educate members of your family and partake in regular check-up.
There is a saying, “you are what you eat”. Avoid eating foods that are high in salts, calories, and unhealthy fat. These foods are readily available at our fingers snap. Be sure to go for meals that are a combination of carbohydrates, protein, and vegetables with low salt intake.
Your daily schedule should also put your diet into consideration. Avoid eating heavy meals before bedtime.
• Take part in regular immunization and health boosters like hepatitis screening and vaccination
• Talk to a medical practitioner before utilizing information seen on the internet. Avoid self-medication and drug abuse.
• Avoid smoking and excessive drinking at a young age as they predispose an individual to a lifetime of age-related diseases of cardiovascular diseases, pulmonary diseases, neuropathy, osteoporosis amongst others.
• Have good sleeping posture and habit.
• Partake in regular health screening and check-up.
Ezike Nonye is a Pharmacist who completed her Bachelor degree from University of Lagos (B.Pharm). She is currently exploring digital marketing analytics as a novel field in Pharmacy practice while also interning at the Federal Medical Center (FMC) Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria. She is a graphic designer, a blogger and an entrepreneur. She is passionate about creating new things from nature and believes that there is no limitation to what you can achieve. She is a Christian and loves writing and open to new ideas and skills.