Lakewood Ranch Medical Center’s Dr. Reed Holland sees an average of 17 patients a day, and most are over 50 years old.
In terms of aging, he says there is a “trifecta” of preventive techniques to hold off common ailments.
Diet. Exercise. Weight loss.
“You do those things, you are going to prevent pretty much everything,” he said, adding they are crucial to maintaining healthy blood pressure, avoiding the risk of diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease, to an extent.
To get there, avoiding sodium is Holland’s best advice.
“Minimizing sodium or salt is a big one,” Holland said. “If it is in a box or a can, it is going to have salt in it, unless they say otherwise. People think if they don’t use the salt shaker they’ll be fine, but most things are made with salt, because it’s a preservative, so if it’s in your pantry, it most likely has salt in it.”
Holland explained that sodium intake should be monitored, regardless of age. However, salt can be more problematic for older people. The FDA recommends between 1,500-2,300 milligrams a day. But, the average American consumes more than 3,000 a day.
“Over time, your blood vessels and arteries harden naturally,” Holland said. “Salt increases a lot things, but it is tied directly to blood pressure.”
Regular exercise makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight, which takes stress off the body. The heavier a person is, the harder it is on your joints and the more likely you are to have high blood pressure and/or diabetes.