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How does aging affect my risk of health problems?

How aging affects your risk of health problems is a complex question, but the simple answer is that most, but not all, health risks increase with age. You can compare your body to a car. When it's new everything tends to run smoothly, unless there was a problem with the manufacturing (a congenital problem). As your car gets more miles on it you can expect more things to start going wrong. And if you don't maintain your car properly, more things go wrong, just like with your body. If you take care of your body and mind by eating well, exercising, avoiding tobacco products, etc., you can expect to have fewer problems as you age. 
Aging can affect your risk of a whole range of medical conditions that could begin in your 60s, or some health problems that you've managed over the years may become more frequent or bothersome. Not all conditions are inevitable symptoms of aging, however, and could be signs of a serious problem. A wise approach is to ask your healthcare professional what's normal and associated with aging and what's not, with your personal medical history and age in mind.

For instance:
  • You may begin to have problems with bladder control, which can be caused by the weakening of muscles and ligaments in the pelvic region. Often this is successfully treated with special exercises and changes in diet.
  • Gastrointestinal complaints such as constipation and heartburn may become more troublesome and should be checked if they occur frequently.
  • Some women in their 60s complain of memory loss. You can help keep your mind sharp with activities like crossword puzzles and playing a musical instrument.
  • Aches and pains could be the signs of arthritis or another autoimmune disorder.
To take charge of your preventive health, it's important to speak with your healthcare professional about any aging concerns you may have.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.