Who Are You Calling Old?
Baby Boomers Speed Up Instead of Slowing Down
By Adam McDaniel, D.O., Centennial Medical Center, Collin County LIVING WELL Magazine
Motivational author Norman Vincent Peale once said, “Live your life and forget your age.” Baby boomers are listening. Just as they redefined the 1960s and ‘70s, today boomers are once again making their mark. Donald Trump became a father and grandfather in the same year. Diane Keaton became a model for L’Oreal cosmetics.
Baby boomers may be passing the half a century mark, but do not call them old. Instead, throw out the rocking chair and get ready to witness a generation that gives new meaning to the term “senior.” Dr. Adam McDaniel, on the medical staff at Centennial Medical Center, shares some health facts and tips on the aging population.
Today’s 50-plus age group is hitting the gym in record numbers. Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of dying from heart disease, and decrease the risk of colon cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. Even moderate physical activity can help control weight, relieve arthritis pain, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and contribute to healthy bones, muscles and joints.
An older body needs fewer calories per day because daily energy needs decrease slowly. A diet low in saturated fats that contains plenty of fruits, vegetables and fiber can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, diabetes and some cancers. A diet high in protein and low in fat will help combat muscle loss and the accumulation of fat around the midsection that is a natural part of the aging process.
Smoking may have been cool during the psychedelic ‘60s and disco ‘70s, but times have changed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking causes more than 443,000 deaths every year in the United States. Men and women may see immediate health benefits from smoking cessation even if they have a smoking-related disease.
Baby boomers also should watch out for health-damaging behaviors that can lead to chronic diseases as they age. Tobacco use, physical inactivity and poor nutrition are direct causes of heart disease. These actions, in addition to alcohol consumption and obesity, may contribute to colorectal cancer. Behavior modification and preventative health screenings can help save lives and detect conditions early when they are most treatable.
Baby boomers also are faced with other health concerns, including arthritis, breast cancer and depression. People with arthritis and related conditions can benefit from regular, moderate exercise that can help increase flexibility and endurance, while reducing joint pain and stiffness. Early detection of breast cancer through mammography is important for women over the age of 50 because this age group accounts for 75% of all diagnosed cases.Depression can be caused by stressful life events, lack of a support network or physical conditions such as stroke or hypertension. Treatment options include medications, psychotherapy or electroconvulsive therapy.
“Over the next 25 years, the number of Americans aged 65 or older will nearly double to more than 76 million as baby boomers age,” says McDaniel. “This generation has benefited from a multitude of medical advances throughout their lives and will continue to reap the rewards of developments that have reduced deaths from heart disease, cancer and other serious health conditions. By being proactive in maintaining good health, baby boomers can share memories of bell bottoms, tie-dye shirts and transistor radios with their grandchildren for many years to come.”
For more information on staying healthy while aging, talk with your doctor or visit centennialmedcenter.com.