Healthy Living Tip: Important in Reducing the Risk of Late-life Disability in Older Women

Healthy living tip about exerciseDoctors have been telling us this healthy living tip for years, certain habits will either harm our bodies or aid our bodies. Choosing the right habits and lifestyle is beneficial to feel good and living a healthy and happy life. Studies now show that how you live your life can affect if you develop a disability later in life. It’s important to start making good lifestyle choices and habits early in life to help you live a healthier life as you get older.

A new British study has found that being active and healthy lifestyle habits such as not smoking and not drinking alcohol protect against arthritis and other debilitating conditions later in life.

The study was done at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and led by Lois G. Kim.  Kim and her colleagues studied the data collected from British women, ages 60 to 79 years, who filled out surveys as part of the British Women’s Heart and Health study in order to investigate the influence of current lifestyle on their subsequent disability. The researchers collated data on the study participants’ smoking,  alcohol consumption, eating and exercise habits.  A total of 4,286 the study participants were then followed up for incident cardiovascular disease (CVD), arthritis and locomotor disability over a 7 year period.

The British researchers found that older women who never exercised were nearly twice as likely to get arthritis, and developing difficulties walking;  and also they were more likely to develop heart disease. Women who smoked currently or in the past were found to develop heart disease at more than twice the rate of those who had never smoked. The study also noted that smoking greatly increases women’s risk of suffering from cardiovascular problems.

Interestingly, the study found no influence on disability from eating fruit, and only a slight benefit from moderate alcohol consumption, but this isn’t the best option for a healthy living tip, as the effect was small enough to be due to chance.

Healthy Living Tip: Exercise

The study’s conclusion was that that among older women “exercise accounts for 9% of incident locomotor disability, 5% of CVD and 4% of arthritis”.  The researchers also found that that the following four lifestyle factors: smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise and daily fruit eating, combined to account for up to 17 percent of a older woman’s risk for developing disabling conditions like heart disease, arthritis and difficulty walking at the end of the seven-year follow-up study period.

It is important to note that the new study only found an association between healthy lifestyle and a reduced risk of late-life disability but not a cause and effect (causation).

Arthritis is a debilitating condition and a serious health problem worldwide as it is the main cause of disability among people over fifty-five years of age in industrialized countries.  According to the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) , one in five (22%) adults in the United States reports having doctor diagnosed arthritis and in 2007–2009, 50% of American adults 65 years or older reported an arthritis diagnosis.

Healthy Living Tip: The NEM Stress Response and Lifestyle Habits

Quitting smoking is an obvious healthy living tipYour bad habits can cause serious health risks and issues as you age. These habits could put stress on your body’s organs and systems leading to huge health concerns later in life. The Neuroendometabolic Stress Response is a how our body reacts to stress from lifestyle habits, environment and daily stressors put on our bodies. It is primarily in the neuroendocrine system and is made up of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal hormonal axis. When your body is under stress it alerts your brain that sends outs chemical messages to the body in which is affected. Your adrenal glands release cortisol. As your stress becomes more prominent your adrenal glands can not keep up with the production of the hormone cortisol and your levels drop. Eventually this leads to Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome.This is a debilitating condition that over time if not treated properly can be fatal. It’s important to choose the right lifestyle choices such as not smoking or drinking heavy in order to reduce the stress that you put on your body. Some of life’s stresses are unavoidable however, how you choose to live and the habits you take up are choices you can make. If you could lead a life that is happier, a little more stress free and little bit more painless, why would you ever want to choose something that could be harmful?


Source: Published on line in the medical journal Age and Aging on 10/2013.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

It is not easy to change. It takes lots of effort and determination. Most people do not feel what they are doing is bad for them until their body finally gives up, then they may change.

Healthy living tip about exercise