Sometimes being told your older family member has a health condition can be seen as a positive instead of a negative.
For example, learning they have a precondition gives them a chance to make changes to prevent the precondition from becoming a full-blown disease. One example you may be familiar with is pre-diabetes, which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes but can be reversed with lifestyle changes. There are other preconditions that older adults should act on to improve their health, such as the three listed below.
Stage 1 Hypertension
In the past, you may have heard people refer to stage 1 hypertension as “pre-hypertension.” New guidelines released in 2017 changed some of the terminology used as well as the levels at which people are diagnosed with hypertension. Stage 1 hypertension is diagnosed when the top number of the blood pressure reading, the systolic blood pressure, is consistently over 130. At this stage, doctors usually recommend lifestyle changes to bring the number down and prevent it from getting any higher.
Some things that can help are:
- Following the DASH diet.
- Taking an afternoon nap, which has been proven to lower numbers.
- Eat foods that are high in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, all of which help to stabilize blood pressure.
Mild Cognitive Impairment
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition in which a person suffers some short-term memory loss. Usually, memory loss can cause a little embarrassment and doesn’t really interfere with the person’s daily life. They might be seen as “senior moments.” In between 30 and 40 percent of people, MCI progresses to dementia, so it is something to be watched. Seeing the doctor every six to 12 months allows the condition to be monitored for progression. In addition, experts recommend following a Mediterranean diet and getting more exercise.
Pre-cancerous lesions on the skin are precursors to skin cancer. They look like scaly patches that feel a little like sandpaper and don’t go away with moisturizer. About one in ten of these lesions develops into cancer. To prevent skin cancer, older adults should wear sunscreen and protective clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
Senior care providers can help older adults to make lifestyle changes that can prevent these and other preconditions from progressing. A senior care provider can make healthy meals that aim to lower blood pressure and weight, while also giving the older adult all the nutrients they need. Senior care providers can also increase physical activity, which supports overall health, lowers blood pressure, and improves blood flow to the brain. Senior care providers can also make certain your older family member wears sunscreen when they go outside to protect skin from sun damage.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring a Caregiver in Birmingham, MI, or the surrounding area, please contact the caring staff at CareOne Senior Care today. Call us at (248) 308-2777.