You and your doctor have the same goal: To make sure you’re as healthy as possible, for as long as possible. You should always be forthcoming and honest with your healthcare provider. That said, there are some things doctors don’t like to hear, particularly if you’re over 60, an age when the risk of many diseases increase, but you still have the power to reduce those odds with healthy choices. Here are some things you should never say to your doctor after age 60. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
It’s a myth that people need less sleep as they get older. We never outgrow the need for a full night’s rest. Getting too little sleep has been linked to serious illness—cardiovascular disease, depression, cancer, dementia, to name a few—and even increased skin aging. Older people might find it hard to sleep because of issues like chronic pain, depression, or medication side effects. If you’re having trouble getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night, talk to your doctor.
Regular exercise has far more benefits than risks, especially as we get older. “As you age, you may think exercise could do more harm than good, especially if you have a chronic condition,” says the National Institutes of Health. “However, studies show that you have a lot more to gain by being active — and a lot to lose by sitting too much. Often, inactivity is more to blame than age when older people lose the ability to do things on their own.” To reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and other serious illnesses, experts recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (including two strength-training sessions) each week.
You’ve no doubt heard that people over 60 are more vulnerable to serious illness and death from COVID. Being fully vaccinated is crucial. (For people over 50, that now includes a fourth vaccine dose.) But you may not know that several other routine vaccinations are advised for people over 60. According to the CDC, every adult should get an annual flu vaccine. People over 50 should get two doses of vaccine shinglesand people 65 and older should get two pneumococcal pneumonia vaccinations.
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More and more people over 60 are using marijuana, driven by increased legalization and perceptions that it’s harmless. Although using cannabis can have medical benefits, research has found that it can also have side effects that may be particularly acute in older people. Several studies have found that regularly using marijuana is linked to higher rates of depression, cognitive disorders, drug interactions, and accidents in people over 50. If you’re using cannabis or thinking about taking it up, have a conversation with your doctor about the potential benefits and risks.
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As we get older, staying socially engaged is important for overall health. Loneliness has been associated with an increased risk of dementia, heart disease, and cancer, and a shorter lifespan. Researchers at Yale Medicine recently discovered that in the later years, social isolation may raise your risk of becoming seriously ill or dying. That’s likely because loneliness causes stress, which taxes the immune system and vital organs like the heart. Socializing also helps keep the brain active, an essential step in preventing cognitive decline.
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If tell your doctor that you’re regularly drinking alcohol because of its health benefits, don’t expect them to be impressed. Experts have never advised drinking alcohol as a health boost, and the latest research has cast doubt on previous, widely publicized studies that moderate regular alcohol consumption may benefit the heart and increase lifespan. Experts say that to stay healthy, men should have no more two drinks a day, and women no more than one.
And to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.