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September is Healthy Aging Month

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Aging is one of the main risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma (the primary open angle type). That means your chance of developing one of these diseases goes up as you grow older. Obviously, you can’t stop time, but you can lower your risk by adopting healthy behaviors that include a good diet, exercise, no smoking, and a beneficial mix of “alone time” and social activity. The sooner you do so, the better your chance of enjoying good health, protecting your vision, and improving your well-being into old age.

Top 10 Healthy Aging Tips

  1. Eat healthy food. A varied, nutritious diet that contains whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and is low in fat and sugar can reduce the incidence of many chronic diseases. [New Insights article: Top foods for eye health]
  2. Exercise regularly. Working out or even just walking will help you maintain a healthy weight, stay strong, and improve your immune system, blood pressure, and eye and brain health.
  3. Keep your blood pressure at a normal level. Hypertension and other cardiovascular risks have been linked to an increased risk for macular degeneration and Alzheimer's disease.
  4. Don't smoke. Toxins found in first-, second- and third-hand smoke are linked to an increased risk for a number of diseases, including respiratory diseases and cancer.
  5. Get enough sleep. Research has linked poor sleep to an increased risk for mild cognitive/memory issues.
  6. Prevent overexposure to sunlight. Use sunglasses, hats and sunscreen to lower your risk not only for cancer, but also macular degeneration and other eye diseases.
  7. Schedule regular check-ups with healthcare practitioners, including your primary care physician, eye doctor, and other specialists. Make sure that includes a regular, comprehensive eye exam.
  8. Keep your mind active. Lifelong learning and mental stimulation are beneficial to cognitive health. The human brain generates new neurons in response to new experiences and activities like reading, doing puzzles, and acquiring new knowledge and skills.
  9. Be social. Social connectedness has a beneficial impact on cognitive, psychological, and physical health.
  10. Alleviate stress. Chronic or ongoing stress can contribute to health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. If you are under stress, find ways to deal with it like yoga, exercise, talking to friends, or taking time out to listen to music or treat yourself to another healthy pastime.

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Last Review: 09/01/14