As we age and change, our health needs change as well. Clearly, an infant or teen will need different health care than a 30-year-old. However, we often forget that our healthcare needs change throughout adulthood, too; your health needs won’t be quite the same when you’re 25, 35, 45, and 55.
Your fifties, in particular, are a significant decade for preventative health. Being extra-diligent about scheduling appointments, attending exams, and establishing healthy habits can greatly impact your quality of life in the coming retirement years.
If you’re enjoying good health in your fifth decade, make sure you can enjoy good health for many more decades to come. Here are four health-smart steps every person should take in their fifties:
1. Protect Your Senses
Though you may have enjoyed 20/20 vision your whole life, that all could begin to change in your fifties. Many adults find that they come to need reading glasses in this decade, thanks to stiffening in the eye lenses and the tiny muscles that control visual focus. Commonly, individuals find it hard to focus on objects close by, but many also struggle with seeing at night. Hearing problems become more common in your fifties, which means it might be time for a hearing test, too. About 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from hearing aids, so don’t wait until you’ve missed out on hundreds of conversations and songs to get your hearing checked.
2. Visit A Dermatologist
Though 85% of people have experienced acne at some point in their lives, chances are, you’re past the point of even occasional pimples by your fifties. Enjoy the relief of acne-free skin, but remember to keep up a good routine to combat other common skin conditions in this decade, like wrinkles. You may also begin to notice age spots, skin tags, and discoloration.
Avoiding cigarettes and using sunblock can help prevent skin problems, but ask a dermatologist about prescription retinol products to combat stubborn wrinkles. Remember to schedule your annual exam to check for signs of skin cancer as well!
3. Don’t Avoid the Dentist
Keep going to the dentist about every six months for cleanings and check-ups. Skipping too many visits could allow the beginning of bone loss, gum disease, or tooth decay to go unnoticed. Since almost half (46%) of adults 30 years or older show early signs of gum disease, it’s never too early to talk to your dentist about preventing gum disease and other conditions. Good habits can help you keep your natural teeth for as long as possible.
4. Focus on Your Bones
If you’ve been maintaining a healthy lifestyle for the past few decades, chances are, you’ll continue to enjoy strong bones and muscles in your fifth decade. However, if you’ve been inactive or eating unhealthy foods, you may begin experiencing discomfort in your movements. Bone loss and osteoporosis can begin in this decade, especially for women who haven’t been performing strength exercises. And, since slip, trip, and fall injuries account for about 25% of all reported injury claims per year, poor bone health can make accidents like these even more painful and damaging.
Now is the time to ramp up your exercise and nutritional routine to protect your bones and joints. Talk to your doctor to ask what foods and workouts you need to help prevent aches and pains as well as brittle, easily-broken bones.
When it comes down to it, your fifties are much like other decades– a good diet, exercise, and regular visits with your doctor and dentist can help you stay in tip-top shape. Just remember to establish good habits and pay close attention to changes, so that you can learn more when you speak with your doctor. While your fifties might bring some changes to your vision, skin, and bones, with proper care, your body will continue to thrive.