Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Embracing My Age

Photo by brutapesquisa
Each morning, I wake up facing this choice: Do I fight to look younger, or do I just let Father Time have his way with me?

How much time do I really want to spend at the gym building muscle mass so that I can carry myself throughout the day?  How many products am I going to put on my face to clean, conceal and paint it so that my wrinkles disappear?  How often will I dye my hair in order to hide the gray?

How much will I contort my figure with foundation garments to hide my emerging Michelin Tire Man shape?  How much money will I spend on accessories and manicures to attract attention away from my skin and body and towards my ability to assemble a chic-looking outfit?

But maybe the choice isn’t really about foregrounding youthfulness and hiding signs of decay. Maybe my choice is really between celebrating myself instead of constructing an elaborate façade.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Subtle and Atypical Heart Attack Symptoms

Photo by Ally Aubry
Comic, actress, and talk show host Rosie O’Donnell and I are the same age, and she suffered a heart attack this month.   This news would be unsettling merely because we are both too young for the senior discount.

But this news has also been pestering me because her symptoms were so subtle and atypical that it took her a very long time--nearly 24 hours--to recognize them as heart related. 

Fortunately, she lived long enough to seek medical care and to receive a stent for the LAD artery (the widow maker) that was 99% blocked. She survived and wrote a blog post announcing the news this week.

[If you have any concerns about your heart health, please contact a licensed medical professional. This post is not designed to offer medical advice, only to raise awareness.]

In talking with my age mates about Rosie, it turns out that a handful of them have also experienced heart attacks around age 50 with symptoms that were subtle or atypical.  These symptoms of a heart attack can include one or more of the following:
  • Shortness of breath or panting
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Detached Retina Needs Immediate Care

Photo by Michael Yan
As we age, we are subject to wear and tear of the body, including the eyes.  Many realize that older adults often are at risk for various vision problems. As people age, they often need larger print, greater light, higher contrast between ink and paper, and reduced glare in addition to wearing corrective lenses.

As people age, they are at greater risk of presbyopia, macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts.  But many may not realize that people 50 plus are more prone to another vision problem: retinal detachment.

This problem affects a small percentage of people, roughly 1:300, but it can cause vision loss if not treated within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

More Seniors than Ever: Population Pyramids

Photo by Nestor_PS
Every society has a shape for how the various generations relate to each other.  Because of fertility rates, war, famine, disease, and immigration, the shape of these charts might change from decade to decade.  Demographers often call these multigenerational charts "population pyramids."  

The shape of our nation's pyramid is moving to look more like a rocket because of a number of factors. For example, the US has decreased infant mortality, decreased the average number of children born to each woman, avoided widespread fatalities (such as war, famine and disease), and increased the average life expectancy.