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Your Healthiest You 40 50 60 70+


Follow a healthy diet for the heart. This means a diet low in saturated fats and rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts. "Portion size is also important," says Cook. The DASH diet for the heart, which is synonymous with dietary approaches to stop high blood pressure, is promoted by the National Institute of the Heart, Lungs and Blood as an effective way to reduce blood pressure and to maintain a healthy weight. (Check out these 25 best foods for your heart.)

Increase your physical activity. Aim for 30 minutes a day most days of the week, Cook advises. "Even if you make small increments of activity that make your heart beat faster, like 10 minutes here and there three or more times a day, it will have an impact on your cardiovascular health," she says.

Here are the incredible results you get from walking for 30 minutes a day:

Take steps to fight stress. "This tends to be one of the busiest decades of women's lives," says Christine Jellis, a cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic. "Many women work full time, can have young children, can take care of older parents, and it's easy to forget about our own health. People struggling with high levels of stress often do not have the time to sleep, relax, exercise or eat healthy, she says, all important for keeping the healthy heart. 6 bizarre signs your way too stressed

Make sure you have a qualified primary care provider. Talk to a doctor about your individual risk factors, including your family history, and ask for advice on developing a healthy lifestyle for the heart. If you have hypertension or diabetes during your pregnancy, make sure your doctor continues to monitor these problems; they can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease later.

Know your numbers. Get basic screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and BMI. Your risk of heart disease in your forties is still relatively low, but following hormonal treatment or smoking and taking oral contraceptives increases this risk. (If you have high blood pressure, these are the 6 best foods to help lower it naturally.)


Put even more emphasis on diet and nutrition. 39; exercise. "It's a decade when women tend to put on weight," Cook says. If you do not watch it, the weight can climb slowly until you have to make drastic changes. Paying attention now can avoid a more serious problem later. (Here are the best weight loss tips for women over the age of 40.)

Talk to a health care provider about the pros and cons of estrogen therapy. "Taking hormone therapy as a primary way to prevent heart disease is not recommended," says Cook. "But we're starting to learn more about how estrogen can protect women's hearts at different points in their lives."

Ask your doctor to prescribe vitamin D. New research is looking at whether Vitamin D supplementation can reduce the risks. Although the results are not yet known, many doctors believe that vitamin D, absorbed by food and produced after exposure to the sun, plays a vital role in health and cardiovascular health. "Many people living in northern areas are not adequately exposed to the sun and have vitamin D deficiency," says Jellis. "Ask for a blood test to check your level, and consider supplements if your doctor finds your level is low."

PLUS: 5 signs that you do not consume enough vitamin D [19659009] 60s

Watch for your numbers. Have your blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, and BMI checked at least once a year to make sure your risk factors remain low. (Make sure you get these 5 blood tests if you are over 50.)

Limit salt in your diet. Even if you have never had high blood pressure, it's time to take steps to control it, for example by reducing your salt intake. "As people age, the walls of the arteries stiffen, increasing the risk of hypertension," says Jellis. "People who do not have a history can develop it because of this increased stiffness." She adds that other medical problems that become more common with age, such as diabetes and kidney disease, also cause hypertension to increase

MORE INFO: This diet hack will help reduce your salt cravings [19659003] Consider nutritional supplements. "A balanced diet is ideal," says Jellis, "but if you're not eating well, it's a good idea to discuss vitamin or mineral supplements with your doctor. Just as important as what you eat is what you do not eat. In addition to salt, try to minimize your sugar intake, which can increase blood sugar, and saturated fats, which can increase cholesterol levels.

Ask your doctor to prescribe aspirin every day. "Aspirin is recommended when the potential benefit seems to outweigh the side effects, and after age 65 is the right time for women to have this conversation," Cook explains. Daily aspirin can help prevent heart attacks and strokes caused by blood clots, but possible side effects include gastrointestinal bleeding (which can lead to stomach ulcers) and a risk increased bleeding accident (bleeding). Chest pain or discomfort is the main sign of a heart attack, but women may also experience less typical symptoms such as shortness of breath or back pain. "Jaw pain, nausea, increased fatigue, all of this can be atypical symptoms of coronary heart disease," says Jellis. "Listen to your body and look for an evaluation if you are concerned so as not to delay the diagnosis."

70s +

Keep moving. Problems like arthritis or osteoporosis can mean that the type of activity you have done previously is no longer comfortable or possible, but it is still important to do the following. exercise regularly. "Training sessions can be tailored to people with health problems or special needs," says Jellis. And while cardio activity is obviously very important for heart health, women also need to maintain strength, as with bodybuilding, for overall health. "A good workout is a balance between the two," says Jellis. (Psst!) Here are the top 10 weight training exercises for women over the age of 50.

The exercise you were doing may not be comfortable anymore, but it's important to stay active.

Keep your social connections. "Depression can have an impact on cardiovascular risk," says Jellis, "especially as we get older and sometimes become more isolated due to health or other problems." If you can not see your friends in person, set up a Skype call or an online chat group. Sign up for local activities or classes to meet more people in your community.

PLUS: 7 Types of Friends Every Woman Needs in Her Life

Check your medications. Most medications do not have an age limit, but older people may have more problems with side effects and interactions with other medications. "If you have been taking medications for a long time, talk to your doctor," says Cook. Ask yourself if eliminating, modifying or reducing the dosage of any of your medications could alleviate the problems you have.

Consider enrolling in a clinical trial. Your doctor can help you find one that is studying heart risk factors (such as diet or genetics) or treatments. "Older patients are sometimes underrepresented in studies," says Cook. "It's important to get them involved so we can find out if the recommendations for younger patients also apply to them." For example, a large NIH trial of blood pressure therapies, called SPRINT, had a specific component for people 75 years and older. "We learned that it was very important to think about reducing hypertension in patients of this age," Cook says, "just as we would in younger patients."


"Bone is a dynamic tissue," says Andrea Singer, clinical director of the National Osteoporosis Foundation. "The old bone is constantly broken and replaced by new bones." Until midlife, the rates of degradation and training are relatively balanced; after that, the bone loss exceeds the rate of new growth. Although you can never regain the peak bone mass of your early years, you can slow down the loss considerably, says Singer. These strategies can help. (Here are 4 ways to build stronger bones with pilates.)


Know your risk of osteoporosis. Your chances of developing the disease are determined by a variety of factors, so it's important to talk with your doctor about any circumstance in your life that could speed up your bone loss. The family history and the level of maximum bone mass that you have built up in your youth have a major effect on your risks, but some diseases and medications are also the cause. "Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease and Crohn's disease can accelerate bone loss, as can medications such as corticosteroids," says Wayne Johnson, spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. . Race is also a factor: women of Caucasian and Asian ancestry have the greatest risk.

PLUS: 10 things orthopedists do every day for stronger bones

Focus on calcium and vitamin D. in tandem to protect your bones: calcium helps build them and slows the rate of loss, while vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. It is essential to get enough of both to keep your bones strong and healthy as you get older, but, unfortunately, too many Americans are not up to the mark, "says Singer

. foods like yogurt, milk, oily fish like salmon and green leafy vegetables. "As long as you eat three or four of these foods each day, you probably get enough calcium," says Johnson. If you think you are not consuming enough, ask your doctor for a supplement.

Vitamin D, on the other hand, is difficult to obtain only because few foods contain it (fish, eggs and fortified products). like milk and cereals are good sources). You can get some or all of the 600 IU you need daily because of sun exposure, but as many factors (such as the use of sunscreen and the season) can interfere with the process is not a reliable source. If your diet does not include vitamin D-rich foods, if you do not often go outside or if you wear sunscreen when you go out, ask your doctor if you should have your test tested of vitamin D to see if you could benefit from a supplement.

PLUS: 8 Surprising Things You Did not Know That Vitamin D Could Do for You

Choose bone strengthening exercises. Strength training with the help of a set of weights or just your weight and weight training exercises such as walking, jogging and climbing are the best activities to protect your bones, says Johnson. These movements put stress on your skeleton, which causes the formation of new bone tissue. The AAOS recommends that women do 30 minutes of loading exercise four days or more a week, with at least two strength training sessions, for optimal bone health.


Increase your calcium intake. The needs are higher during this decade: women aged 51 and over need 1,200 mg per day (compared to 1,000 mg for younger women). It is best to get calcium through the diet if possible (see the tips on the previous page). It's also wise to limit your intake of alcohol, salt and caffeine since all three can speed up bone loss, Singer says.

Follow a low inflammatory diet. Add "stronger bones" to the many benefits of anti-inflammatory diets such as the Mediterranean diet. A Journal of Bone and Mineral Research study of women aged 50 to 79 found that people with the least inflammatory diets – rich in fish, fruits, vegetables and whole grains – lost less bone density in 6 years than women the most inflammatory. . (Psst, that's what the ultimate anti-inflammatory meal looks like.)

Ask your doctor if your bone density test is good. While the US Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all women measure their bone mass at the age of 65, your doctor may advise you to take a test now if you have risk factors. These include a recent fracture, a loss of height of 1/2 inch or more in the year, or a total height loss of 2 1/2 inches from your original height. Women with certain lifestyle factors, such as alcohol abuse, smoking or prolonged physical inactivity, also need to be tested earlier because they run a greater risk of developing HIV. Osteoporosis or its precursor, osteopenia.

PLUS: This is your body on alcohol


Do a bone density test. According to the US Preventive Services Task Force, all women 65 years and older should have their bone density measured. If the test shows that your bone mass is low, it does not necessarily mean that you develop osteoporosis or that you break a bone. But this puts you at a higher risk and gives your doctor the opportunity to help you get out of it. "Depending on the course of your bone loss, your doctor may recommend medications that will help you slow down or stop or rebuild the bones," he says.

Minimize the risk of falling. About 1 in 3 people over 65 fall each year, and many of these falls cause fractures. Singer says: Wear shoes with non-slip soles on the inside, remove rugs that you could easily stumble over, keep hallways and corners well lit, and pay close attention to medications that can affect your balance or make you sleepy .

PLUS: 9 Ways to Break Your Bones for Life

Reassess your exercise routine. Singer and Johnson recommend discussing with your doctor the safest types of exercises for you now. Low impact activities such as walking and swimming are a better option than high impact activities, especially if you suffer from musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis. "It's also a good time to try tai chi or yoga," says Johnson. "Both can help maintain or improve your balance so you have less chance of falling."

70s +

Do not ignore hip pain. As your risk of falling increases, the risk of hip fracture also increases: hip fractures occur most often between 75 and 79 years and sometimes go unnoticed. "If you have an undisposed hip fracture – which means that there is a crack in a bone but the bones are still lined up – you might not have any symptoms right away," says Johnson. If you develop pain, tell your doctor immediately. "Early diagnosis is important because an undisturbed fracture could turn into a fracture, which requires more surgery," he says. (Here are 4 ways to make sure you never need a hip prosthesis.)

Stronger bones are one of the benefits of anti-inflammatory diets like the Mediterranean diet, centered on vegetables and grains

: Another reason to follow the Mediterranean diet

Take additional measures to prevent falls. To avoid slipping while bathing, fix railings in the bathtub or place a shower chair in a shower stall. Even if you're still active and mobile, Johnson recommends doing it anyway. "Crisis prevention is always better than crisis intervention," he says. It's also a good idea to replace tables and chairs with casters by more stable furniture.

Watch your weight. Appetite decreases with age, which could make you underweight, which is a risk factor for osteoporosis and fractures. Discuss with your doctor if you have difficulty eating enough and getting enough calories;


These are windows to the world, but as we get older, our eyes change almost universally: we have near-vision problems in our forties. , dry eyes in our 50s, and night vision and color later. "And everyone will have cataracts at some point," says Stephanie J. Marioneaux, an ophthalmologist in Chesapeake, Virginia. Not all problems are preventable, but you can follow these tips to help keep these windows clear. (Make sure you never do these things to your eyes.)


Eat for Healthy Eyes. There is no way to avoid presbyopia, hardening of lenses that occurs naturally with age and leads to difficulties in seeing things up close. According to Christopher J. Quinn, president of the American Optometric Association, you can protect your vision in another way through your diet. "Eye-friendly nutrients such as lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamins C and E, essential fatty acids and zinc can reduce the risk of developing certain eye diseases such as macular degeneration," he says. Take them from foods such as fish, eggs, nuts and brightly colored vegetables.

PLUS: 10 things your eyes say about you

Remember to see an ophthalmologist. Optometrists have probably given you eye exams so far. Optometrists are trained to perform eye exams and vision changes with glasses and contact lenses. They can also diagnose and treat certain eye diseases. But if you have a family history of eye disease or suffer from certain conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, you can make an appointment with an ophthalmologist – a doctor who specializes in surgical eye care and who can diagnose and treat eye diseases. After an assessment, your doctor will determine your risk factors and establish a follow-up schedule that is right for you.

Choose wisely sunglasses. If you chose them based on fashion rather than function, now is the time to make glass quality as important as the look. "Cumulative UV exposure exposes people to an increased risk of premature aging of the eyes and blurred vision. It is therefore important to wear good quality sunglasses throughout the year, "says Quinn. Look for those blocking UVA and UVB rays and filter 75-90% of visible light.


Do not rely on over-the-counter eye drops. Most people may experience dry eyes, but chronic redness, burning, and greasiness are signs of dry eye. Having chronically dry eyes is associated with a decline in estrogen and occurs more frequently after menopause. Over-the-counter eye drops do not always provide enough relief. (Have your eyes dry? Here are the 9 best solutions.)

"The dry eye disease is actually very complex, and there is no silver bullet," Marioneaux says. The severity of dry eye symptoms is not always correlated with the stage of the disease, so you may have a more advanced stage than you think. In addition, the causes can vary, ranging from insufficient production of tears to poor tears that evaporate too quickly. It is therefore important to be evaluated by an ophthalmologist, who can prescribe drops that target your dryness problem.

MORE: 6 scary reasons Your eyes act strangely

Be warned of the screen time. Spending long hours watching a TV, computer, tablet or smartphone is another major factor in dry eye. "We repress our natural desire to blink when we look at electronic screens that dry the surface of the eyes," says Marioneaux. The National Eye Institute recommends taking periodic breaks on the screens to close your eyes for a few minutes or to blink repeatedly, which helps to replenish the tears and distribute them more evenly over your eyes. (Here are 5 ways your cell phone is bad for you.)

Keep your weight in check. Dropping extra pounds helps reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, both of which can affect vision and, in the case of diabetes, cause blindness, damaging the tiny blood vessels in the eye. 39; eye. "Ophthalmologists can see these changes during an examination, which is another reason why it is so important to have regular checkups," Marion Marioneaux explains

MORE: 5 eye symptoms not to be ignored

19659002] See an ophthalmologist or optometrist each year. As you get older, your risk of eye disease increases. After the age of 65, it is crucial to have your eyes checked every year, whether you have vision changes or not. "Many conditions can be detected at an early stage before they cause symptoms, and rapid diagnosis means better treatment options that can help reduce your risk of vision loss," says Quinn. (These are the most disturbing things that optometrists have seen at work.)

Brighten up your environment. Do not be surprised if lighting your home looks darker now: Less light reaches your retinas as you get older, so older adults usually need additional lighting, Quinn explains. When using a table lamp or floor lamp, place it on your left if you are right handed and on your right if you are left-handed – this reduces glare and minimizes shadows. Remember to add night lights and light switches to help you navigate if you get up in the middle of the night.

PLUS: 10 Things your eye doctor knows – and wishes you too, [19659003] Take extra precautions behind the wheel. Driving becomes often more difficult after the age of 60, when age-related vision changes and eye diseases can interfere with your ability to see signs clearly or to see in low light. or at night. It may also take longer to adapt to the glare of sunlight and lighthouses. To stay safe, the American Optometric Association advises to take extra precautions at intersections, where many accidents involving older drivers occur due to a lack of performance, particularly during a crash. left turn. Also smart: Limit to driving by day when possible, reduce your speed and avoid glasses with wide frames that may interfere with your side vision.

70s +

Do not ignore color vision changes. A 2014 study published in Optometry and Vision Science revealed that about 45% of people in the mid-1970s had difficulty distinguishing certain colors. This change in color perception may not interfere with daily life, but it is still important to talk to your doctor, as it can sometimes be a sign of conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. ; Alzheimer's.

If you buy pharmacy glasses, be sure to check with your doctor first for an eye exam. "If you get the wrong strength, you can experience eye strain, headaches, and nausea," says Quinn. It is best to avoid over-the-counter reading glasses: they are just magnifying glasses, and they are designed for people who need the same prescription for both eyes. But the older you get, the more likely you are to develop anisometropia, or different levels of visual abnormalities in both eyes, and you will need prescription glasses with a different lens for each eye to properly correct your vision . (Here are 10 tips to help prevent eyestrain.)

"We suppress our natural need to blink when we look at electronic screens that dry the surface of the eyes."

Know when floats are a sign of trouble. As you get older, the frozen glaze in your eyes begins to liquefy, resulting in the formation of floating bodies – dots, strings or wavy lines that drift into your field of vision. Although floats are generally harmless, if they are annoying, there are exceptions, says Quinn. "If you notice a sudden change in shape, size or number of points, accompanied by flashes of light, this may be a sign of retinal detachment, and you should see your doctor immediately," he says. . You could have permanent vision loss if the retina is not surgically fixed quickly.

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