Avera Medical Minute: Tips for healthy aging

Published: May. 4, 2023 at 5:42 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - As we get older, taking care of our bodies becomes even more important.

Dr. Leah Prestbo, a family medicine physician with Avera, joined Dakota News Now with some quick tips on staying healthy as you age.

“As everyone ages — women and everyone else — we want to make sure we are making proper dietary choices, staying at a proper weight as much as possible, and those kind of things really help reduce your risk of developing chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, as you age,” said Dr. Prestbo.

“What I typically tell people to do is be mindful of what you eat. Big tripping points can be extra added salts and sugars, which happens during the processing of foods, and I don’t think people realize that a lot of that extra salt doesn’t come from the salt shaker, but rather that comes from the processing of the food, so if you stick to the outer ring of the store, that’s where the more fresh foods will be stored, things that aren’t as processed.”

“As we age, we tend to develop — even because of genetics, despite our best efforts — some of those chronic medical conditions, and typically the things that end up happening, trying to control, we’ll add medications to try and help those issues.”

“You want to be mindful of the potential side effects of your medications, and ask your doctor what those might be if you’re not sure. Correctly follow directions your doctor gives you about how to take those medications.”

“Really, there are a lot of things we can do ourselves, and with the aid of modern medicines, managing stress as well, is very important.”

“We just recently in the last year underwent a little bit of a change in one of the very important screenings that we recommend, and that’s colon cancer screening. It used to be that we recommend a colonoscopy or alternative screening like colorguard, right around the age of 50. That actually just got dialed back to 45 for women and men.”

“Getting the appropriate amount of cardiovascular exercise is incredibly important, and when I talk about cardo exercise, I really mean getting that heart rate elevated for 30 minutes.”

“Another thing to make sure to do is that in addition to cardiovascular exercise, which would be things like walking, swimming, you’re also getting a good amount of weight-bearing exercise so that can help slow down the process of osteoporosis and bone loss, and you move forward with your life.”