The most common time for people to visit their GP is during retirement because, as we age, we are prone to more ailments.
And King Charles, who at 75 reached state retirement age nine years ago, is now being treated for an unspecified cancer that was discovered while doctors were treating him for an enlarged prostate.
Sun on Sunday GP Dr Jeff Foster said: “There are patterns in which people tend to see their doctor: during pregnancy and baby checks, for vaccinations and childhood illnesses, but more commonly after retiring.
“Advances in medical treatments mean we are living longer but, in recent years, many are experiencing the emergence of complex medical problems that can really affect their quality of life.
“It is because our DNA is not perfect, the progressive deterioration of our bodies over the years due to lifestyle choices, the environments we live in and general wear and tear.
“When our work routine disappears, we often notice problems for the first time.
“But this doesn’t have to be a depressing problem.
“We now understand how and why we age much better than before. And it’s never too late to make changes or get medical checkups that could give you better quality of health for longer.”
Today Dr. Jeff explains how lifestyle adjustments can prevent heart problems.. . .
The average age of the first heart attack is 65.5 years for men and 72 years for women.
Symptoms include squeezing central chest pain, difficulty breathing, palpitations, feeling like you are going to faint, and sometimes vomiting.
But not all people, particularly women, have all the symptoms.
Cardiovascular disease occurs because damage to the lining of our arteries causes them to narrow and cut off blood supply, resulting in a heart attack.
Plan ahead: Blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes contribute to the narrowing of our arteries.
From the age of 30 we should go to family doctors for check-ups to address any risk factors in time. Smoking and obesity also contribute to heart disease.
The average age of onset is 71.4 years in men and 76.9 years in women. There are two types: ischemic (where the blood supply is cut off) and hemorrhagic (where a blood vessel bursts).
We typically use the acronym FAST to detect:
Facial weakness: Can the person smile? Has your mouth or eye fallen out?
Arm weakness: Can you lift both arms?
Speech problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you are saying?
It’s time to call 999 if you see any of these signs.
Plan ahead: Avoid smoking or consuming too much alcohol and maintain a healthy weight. Get your blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes checked with your GP.
THIS is a broad term that applies to any of a large number of diseases characterized by the development of abnormal cells that divide and grow uncontrollably.
These cells destroy normal tissue and function.
In recent decades, our understanding of this condition and how to treat it has improved significantly and we are finally at a stage where more people survive a cancer diagnosis than die from it.
Plan ahead: Some cancers are simply due to bad luck, such as testicular cancer.
Most are strongly influenced by our lifestyle. For example, you can use sunscreen to reduce your risk of skin cancer and be sexually active to reduce your risk of prostate cancer.
Not smoking can significantly reduce the risk of lung, bowel, prostate and ovarian cancer. Reducing alcohol and obesity can reduce the risk of breast cancer. Attend NHS breast, bowel and cervical cancer screenings.
THIS is a progressive neurological condition characterized by slow movements, muscle stiffness and tremors.
The severity varies from person to person. About five in every 1,000 people aged 60 and about 40 in every 1,000 people aged 80 have it.
The exact cause is unknown. There is a very small link with genetic factors.
Plan ahead: Stay physically active. There is very good evidence that those people who are more physically active, strong and healthy are less affected by Parkinson’s.
ONE of the things that many older people fear is the onset of dementia.
This is a group term that covers various brain disorders that result in loss of memory and cognition, and the ability to function on a daily basis.
The most common of them is Alzheimer’s disease. It affects around six percent of people over 75 and increases to more than ten percent after age 80.
Plan ahead: Risk factors include smoking, cholesterol and high blood pressure, because reduced blood flow to the brain over time will worsen dementia.
Get your cholesterol and blood pressure checked with your primary care doctor.
Being physically active and treating your brain like a muscle also helps. Look for hobbies that stimulate cognition, such as music or art, to try to preserve those precious neurons.
A CATARACT is where the lens of the eye becomes cloudy and clouds vision.
Approximately one in 23 people over 65 years of age suffer from them but, when they are mild, most do not realize it. However, for some, the vision loss is so severe that they need surgery.
Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve in the back of the eye and affects vision.
Normally, fluid from the eye drains regularly, keeping eye pressure stable.
In glaucoma, the output mechanism is damaged, causing increased pressure, nerve damage, and vision loss.
It is often easy to treat, but once vision is lost, it is almost impossible to regain.
Plan ahead: In addition to a healthy lifestyle, always wear good quality sunglasses as UV rays can increase the risk.
Get annual eye exams, whether you feel you need them or not.
Health warning signs that you should not ignore
From strange body odors to key signs of cancer in men, here are health warning signs you should never ignore: