Being Elderly and Overweight. Is Your Health at Greater Risk?
A lot of people die out of illnesses related to obesity. The numbers are however higher in young people compared to the elderly. Obesity comes with health conditions such as sleep apnea, diabetes, hypertension, and heart diseases.
The Impact Of Being Overweight When You Are Old?
Researchers report that obesity-related death can reverse itself if you are above 85. Overweight seniors have a less risk of mortality compared to young people.
This happens because the additional fat in an old person can act as a protective shield against diseases such as Osteoporosis.
Metabolic reserves which come in the form of fat become beneficial with age. The additional weight can give an old person reserves to recover from surgery or an illness.
The extra pounds in the elderly also cushion the fragile bones and reduce the risk of suffering from a hip fracture.
Old women who are overweight have an increase in the production of estrogen which helps them acquire healthy bones.
Determining Healthy Weight In The Elderly
Weight is measured by determining the body mass index of a person. This calculation involves dividing the weight of a person by their height. In the elderly, the BMI calculation may not be as accurate as in the case of a young person.
Sometimes, the BMI can classify an old person into the category of being obese even when they may not necessarily have excess fat. For instance, if an old person loses their original height due to the compression of vertebral fractures, their BMI would rise if when their body fat or weight remains constant.
The BMI can also fail to reflect the changes in the body composition or loss of muscle in the elderly. People also use other methods to determine body fat such as the percent body fat mechanism and the bioelectrical impedance machines.
These tests are also not accurate when used to assess body fat in the elderly. For instance, the device only measures the upper body leaving the body composition of the lower body.
How Obesity Affects Your Health When You’re Old
Though people who live beyond 85 years develop some resilience, their quality of life is affected. Excess fat may not kill you when you are old, but you may live to experience health complications in your golden years.
Most elders who are overweight have to deal with pain, decreased mobility, and multiple ailments. They also have to deal with medications, the loss of appetite, loneliness, and depression.
Age comes with changes in your body makeup including the loss of muscle mass. It may also make you burn fewer calories than a young person who is more physically active. Even when you are old, it is important that you remain physically active to reduce ailments such as diabetes, heart diseases, and high blood pressure.
The aged suffer from depression due to losing loved ones and having to deal with health problems all the time. Being dependent on drugs for a long time can prevent you from enjoying the pleasures of life.
How Can You Boost Your Health
You can prevent yourself from gaining more weight by taking few calories from foods rich in essential nutrients. Every old person is different meaning the things that may be healthy for you may differ from another old person. Let your healthcare provider guide you as you deal with challenges that come with age.
To prevent yourself from diseases and preserve your bone and muscle when old, you should eat wisely. Light exercises can also help you to maintain your strength. The dietary needs of an old person are also not similar as a young adult.
Older adults need nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, seafood, and lean meats. Avoid sugary drinks, butter, rice, and pasta.
Ensure that you control your portion sizes and measure the number of calories you eat to prevent you from accumulating more fat. Get someone to help you cook if you are not in a position to do it anymore. If you have problems with appetite, try to eat in the company of others so that they can motivate you to eat.
If the medicines you are taking are affecting the taste of your food, talk to your healthcare provider so that they can adjust them. Physical activity can help your body develop endurance, flexibility, and balance when you are old.
This can, however, be a challenge if you are facing mobility challenges. In this case, engage in activities that help make you active even if they are not intense such as walking every day.
Aerobic exercises can also strengthen your muscles. Start training slowly and monitor your progress. Motivate yourself and maintain a diary to journal your weight loss goals. This will also keep you busy to fight loneliness and depression.
You can also consider taking a wide range of supplements like multivitamins or glucosamine which are useful as you age. There’s also an Omega 7 supplement that has been shown to help with many aging-related ailments like inflammation, diabetes, dry skin, cholesterol levels. Plus it also acts as a natural weight loss supplement.
Try yoga to boost body balance and manage stress. It also makes you flexible and strengthens your bones. When you are free, do some gardening or interact with others in a social group to avoid focusing on the things that you may have lost in life.
People who are overweight and old stand a lower risk of dying compared to young overweight people. Their health is however not spared because they deal with different obesity-related illnesses such as heart diseases. Shedding some of the weight through practice and healthy eating can help you improve the quality of your life.