What is nutrition and why is it important for older adults?
Nutrition is about eating a healthy and balanced diet so your body gets the nutrients that it needs. Nutrients are substances in foods that our bodies need so they can function and grow. They include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water.
Good nutrition is important, no matter what your age. It gives you energy and can help you control your weight. It may also help prevent some diseases, such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.
But as you age, your body and life change, and so does what you need to stay healthy. For example, you may need fewer calories, but you still need to get enough nutrients. Some older adults need more protein.What can make it harder for me to eat healthy as I age?
Some changes that can happen as you age can make it harder for you to eat healthy. These include changes in your:
To stay healthy as you age, you should:
Sometimes health issues or other problems can make it hard to eat healthy. Here are some tips that might help:
NIH: National Institute on Aging
What is oxygen?
Oxygen is a gas that your body needs to work properly. Your cells need oxygen to make energy. Your lungs absorb oxygen from the air you breathe. The oxygen enters your blood from your lungs and travels to your organs and body tissues.
Certain medical conditions can cause your blood oxygen levels to be too low. Low blood oxygen may make you feel short of breath, tired, and confused. It can also damage your body. Oxygen therapy can help you get more oxygen.What is oxygen therapy?
Oxygen therapy is a treatment that provides you with extra oxygen to breathe in. It is also called supplemental oxygen. It is only available through a prescription from your health care provider. You may get it in the hospital, another medical setting, or at home. Some people only need it for a short period of time. Others will need long-term oxygen therapy.
There are different types of devices that can give you oxygen. Some use tanks of liquid or gas oxygen. Others use an oxygen concentrator, which pulls oxygen out of the air. You will get the oxygen through a nose tube (cannula), a mask, or a tent. The extra oxygen is breathed in along with normal air.
There are portable versions of the tanks and oxygen concentrators. They can make it easier for you to move around while using your therapy.Who needs oxygen therapy?
You may need oxygen therapy if you have a condition that causes low blood oxygen, such as:
Oxygen therapy is generally safe, but it can cause side effects. They include a dry or bloody nose, tiredness, and morning headaches.
Oxygen poses a fire risk, so you should never smoke or use flammable materials when using oxygen. If you use oxygen tanks, make sure your tank is secured and stays upright. If it falls and cracks or the top breaks off, the tank can fly like a missile.What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a different type of oxygen therapy. It involves breathing oxygen in a pressurized chamber or tube. That allows your lungs to gather up to three times more oxygen than you would get by breathing oxygen at normal air pressure. The extra oxygen moves through your blood and to your organs and body tissues.
HBOT is used to treat certain serious wounds, burns, injuries, and infections. It also treats air or gas embolisms (bubbles of air in your bloodstream), decompression sickness suffered by divers, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
But some treatment centers claim that HBOT can treat almost anything, including Alzheimer's disease, autism, cancer, and Lyme disease. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not cleared or approved the use of HBOT for these conditions. There are risks to using HBOT, so always check with your provider before you try it.
What is Paget's disease of bone?
Paget's disease of bone is a chronic bone disorder. Normally, there is a process in which your bones break down and then regrow. In Paget's disease, this process is abnormal. There is excessive breakdown and regrowth of bone. Because the bones regrow too quickly, they are bigger and softer than normal. They may be misshapen and easily fractured (broken). Paget's usually affects just one or a few bones.What causes Paget's disease of bone?
Researchers do not know for sure what causes Paget's disease. Environmental factors may play a role. In some cases, the disease runs in families, and several genes have been linked to the disease.Who is at risk for Paget's disease of bone?
The disease is more common in older people and those of northern European heritage. If you have a close relative who has Paget's, you are much more likely to have it.What are the symptoms of Paget's disease of bone?
Many people do not know that they have Paget's, because it often has no symptoms. When there are symptoms, they are similar to those of arthritis and other disorders. The symptoms include:
Usually, Paget's disease gets worse slowly over time. It does not spread to normal bones.What other problems can Paget's disease of bone cause?
Paget's disease can lead to other complications, such as:
Your health care provider may use many tools to make a diagnosis:
Sometimes the disease is found by accident when one of these tests is done for another reason.What are the treatments for Paget's disease of bone?
To avoid complications, it is important to find and treat Paget's disease early. The treatments include:
Diet and exercise do not treat Paget's, but they can help to keep your skeleton healthy. If you do not have kidney stones, you should make sure to get enough calcium and vitamin D through your diet and supplements. Besides keeping your skeleton healthy, exercise can prevent weight gain and maintain the mobility of your joints. Talk with your health care provider before you start a new exercise program. You need to make sure that the exercise does not put too much stress on the affected bones.
NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a type of movement disorder. It happens when nerve cells in the brain don't produce enough of a brain chemical called dopamine. Sometimes it is genetic, but most cases do not seem to run in families. Exposure to chemicals in the environment might play a role.
Symptoms begin gradually, often on one side of the body. Later they affect both sides. They include:
As symptoms get worse, people with the disease may have trouble walking, talking, or doing simple tasks. They may also have problems such as depression, sleep problems, or trouble chewing, swallowing, or speaking.
There is no specific test for PD, so it can be difficult to diagnose. Doctors use a medical history and a neurological examination to diagnose it.
PD usually begins around age 60, but it can start earlier. It is more common in men than in women. There is no cure for PD. A variety of medicines sometimes help symptoms dramatically. Surgery and deep brain stimulation (DBS) can help severe cases. With DBS, electrodes are surgically implanted in the brain. They send electrical pulses to stimulate the parts of the brain that control movement.
NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
What is sleep?
Sleep is a complex biological process. While you are sleeping, you are unconscious, but your brain and body functions are still active. They are doing a number of important jobs that help you stay healthy and function at your best. So when you don't get enough quality sleep, it does more than just make you feel tired. It can affect your physical and mental health, thinking, and daily functioning.What are sleep disorders?
Sleep disorders are conditions that disturb your normal sleep patterns. There are more than 80 different sleep disorders. Some major types include:
Some people who feel tired during the day have a true sleep disorder. But for others, the real problem is not allowing enough time for sleep. It's important to get enough sleep every night. The amount of sleep you need depends on several factors, including your age, lifestyle, health, and whether you have been getting enough sleep recently. Most adults need about 7-8 hours each night.What causes sleep disorders?
There are different causes for different sleep disorders, including:
Sometimes the cause is unknown.
There are also some factors that can contribute to sleep problems, including:
The symptoms of sleep disorders depend on the specific disorder. Some signs that you may have a sleep disorder include that:
To make a diagnosis, your health care provider will use your medical history, your sleep history, and a physical exam. You may also have a sleep study (polysomnogram). The most common types of sleep studies monitor and record data about your body during a full night of sleep. The data includes:
Other types of sleep studies may check how quickly you fall asleep during daytime naps or whether you are able to stay awake and alert during the day.What are the treatments for sleep disorders?
Treatments for sleep disorders depend on which disorder you have. They may include: