Health Conditions Associated With Old Age Are increasingly Affecting Younger Women Here’s How to Protect Yourself

Strokes, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, liver disease, mouth cancer and the menopause used to be health problems you didn’t have to think about until you were at least 50. But a raft of new research studies shows that our increasingly sedentary, unhealthy lifestyles, where binge drinking, junk food and obesity are becoming the norm, are beginning to take their toll and shift these conditions to an ever-younger generation. A new study in the American Academy of Neurology Journal, Neurology, shows the incidence of stroke is soaring in young women, and type 2 diabetes, which used to be, almost without exception, a disease of the elderly, is now routinely identified in the under 40s. So we need to be more vigilant.

Health Conditions Associated With Old Age Are increasingly Affecting Younger Women Here’s How to Protect Yourself Photo Gallery



These are the diseasesS trokes, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, liver disease, mouth cancer and the menopause used to be health problems you didn’t have to think about until you were at least 50. But a raft of new research studies shows that our increasingly sedentary, unhealthy lifestyles, where binge drinking, junk food and obesity are becoming the norm, are beginning to take their toll and shift these conditions to an ever-younger generation. A new study in the American Academy of Neurology Journal, Neurology, shows the incidence of stroke is soaring in young women, and type 2 diabetes, which used to be, almost without exception, a disease of the elderly, is now routinely identified in the under 40s. So we need to be more vigilant.These are the diseasesmost likely to affect you – and here’s what you can do to avoid them.

THE RISK! STROKE THE FACTS

Most of us assume stroke affects only the very elderly. But new research from Cincinnati University College of Medicine shows that, in the last few years, the average age of sufferers has lowered significantly, with one in five now under 55 – and with women at higher risk than men. Meanwhile, rates among pensioners are falling. A study of 1.3m subjects published in Neurology found 19 per cent of those experiencing a stroke in 2005 were under 55, up from 13 per cent in 1993.Most of us assume stroke affects only the very elderly. But new research from Cincinnati University College of Medicine shows that, in the last few years, the average age of sufferers has lowered significantly, with one in five now under 55 – and with women at higher risk than men. Meanwhile, rates among pensioners are falling. A study of 1.3m subjects published in Neurology found 19 per cent of those experiencing a stroke in 2005 were under 55, up from 13 per cent in 1993.

‘Not only is the average age of stroke patients getting significantly younger, but the proportion of those under 45 is going up significantly, according to a population-based study of more than 1 million people over a 12-year period,’ said lead researcher Dr Brett Kissela at the annual International Stroke Conference. It’s thought that a rise in the risk factors, including diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, might be the cause. Another study in the journal Neurology suggests women are at greatest risk between the ages of 44 and 55, and that midlife stress and increased weight gain at this age might be a potential cause.‘Not only is the average age of stroke patients getting significantly younger, but the proportion of those under 45 is going up significantly, according to a population-based study of more than 1 million people over a 12-year period,’ said lead researcher Dr Brett Kissela at the annual International Stroke Conference. It’s thought that a rise in the risk factors, including diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, might be the cause. Another study in the journal Neurology suggests women are at greatest risk between the ages of 44 and 55, and that midlife stress and increased weight gain at this age might be a potential cause.

Symptoms

Indicators of stroke include a sudden and very severe headache which may result in a loss of consciousness. Some people are sick or have a stiff neck as well. Your face can droop on one side, leaving you unable to smile.Indicators of stroke include a sudden and very severe headache which may result in a loss of consciousness. Some people are sick or have a stiff neck as well. Your face can droop on one side, leaving you unable to smile. One eye may also droop and sufferers find it difficult to lift one or both arms. Speech can be slurred.One eye may also droop and sufferers find it difficult to lift one or both arms. Speech can be slurred.

Protect yourself

You should eat a healthy, balanced diet and quit smoking and heavy or binge drinking. Ask a practice nurse to check that your blood pressure is normal. Be vigilant if the condition runs in your family. For more information, see: stroke.org.uk. Dietwise, the antioxidants in fruit and vegetables, the B complex vitamins found in grass-fed meats and the omega-3 fatty acids in fish, especially, tuna, salmon and mackerel, and the phyto nutrients found in nuts (especially almonds and walnuts) may also help reduce your risk of stroke.You should eat a healthy, balanced diet and quit smoking and heavy or binge drinking. Ask a practice nurse to check that your blood pressure is normal. Be vigilant if the condition runs in your family. For more information, see: stroke.org.uk. Dietwise, the antioxidants in fruit and vegetables, the B complex vitamins found in grass-fed meats and the omega-3 fatty acids in fish, especially, tuna, salmon and mackerel, and the phyto nutrients found in nuts (especially almonds and walnuts) may also help reduce your risk of stroke.

THE RISK! ARTHRITIS

The facts

Studies show that cases of osteoarthritis of the knee are increasingly being diagnosed in much younger people than 20 years ago, according to a study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology. Doctors think this is linked to the rising levels of obesity and an increasing number of sporting and joint injuries in women. The study shows the disease is occurring about 13 years earlier than it was in the 1990s, leading to an increased number of knee replacements in younger adults. The idea that arthritis is a disease of the elderly is a myth, says Jane Lyons, spokesperson for Arthritis Care.

‘There are 8.5m people living with osteoarthritisStudies show that cases of osteoarthritis of the knee are increasingly being diagnosed in much younger people than 20 years ago, according to a study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology. Doctors think this is linked to the rising levels of obesity and an increasing number of sporting and joint injuries in women. The study shows the disease is occurring about 13 years earlier than it was in the 1990s, leading to an increased number of knee replacements in younger adults. The idea that arthritis is a disease of the elderly is a myth, says Jane Lyons, spokesperson for Arthritis Care. ‘There are 8.5m people living with osteoarthritis in the UK, with 18 per cent diagnosed before the age of 45, and a further 24 per cent diagnosed between 45 and 54,’ she says. Another form of the disease, rheumatoid arthritis, is often diagnosed even earlier.in the UK, with 18 per cent diagnosed before the age of 45, and a further 24 per cent diagnosed between 45 and 54,’ she says. Another form of the disease, rheumatoid arthritis, is often diagnosed even earlier.

Symptoms

Sore, swollen joints – especially around the area of a former injury. Pain and inflammation of the joint.Sore, swollen joints – especially around the area of a former injury. Pain and inflammation of the joint.

Protect yourself

Wear clothing and safety kit appropriate to your sport and avoid taking excessive risks to minimise the chances of a sporting injury. Seek medical advice early for joint injuries and make sure you get proper rehabilitation. Keep your weight to healthy levels to reduce the stress on joints, especially knees. And eat a diet rich in omega-3, especially oily fish.Wear clothing and safety kit appropriate to your sport and avoid taking excessive risks to minimise the chances of a sporting injury. Seek medical advice early for joint injuries and make sure you get proper rehabilitation. Keep your weight to healthy levels to reduce the stress on joints, especially knees. And eat a diet rich in omega-3, especially oily fish.

THE RISK! LIVER DISEASE

The facts

Liver failure used to afflict mainly pensioners, but cases among under 40s are soaring. Cirrhosis of the liver now kills 1,600 women a year – 400 more than a decade ago – and has become a bigger threat than cervical cancer, which kills 300 women a year. It’s now common in women in their thirties, and even twenties, because women start drinking earlier than in previous generations, and continue for years longer. The North East is hardest hit and has seen a 400 per cent surge in hospital admissions for liver disease triggered by excessive alcohol consumption in people in their early 30s. In an open letter to Government, a group of leading liver consultants, including Dr ChrisLiver failure used to afflict mainly pensioners, but cases among under 40s are soaring. Cirrhosis of the liver now kills 1,600 women a year – 400 more than a decade ago – and has become a bigger threat than cervical cancer, which kills 300 women a year. It’s now common in women in their thirties, and even twenties, because women start drinking earlier than in previous generations, and continue for years longer. The North East is hardest hit and has seen a 400 per cent surge in hospital admissions for liver disease triggered by excessive alcohol consumption in people in their early 30s. In an open letter to Government, a group of leading liver consultants, including Dr Chris.

THE RISK! MENOPAUSE

The facts

The average age for the menopause is 51, when it’s a normal part of the ageing process. However, a study by Imperial College London has found that around one in 20 women are now affected by premature menopause, which can bring heart disease, osteoporosis and stroke. The research, by Dr Rumana Islam, looked at the records of nearly 5,000 women. Around six per cent of women had an unexplained premature menopause, leaving them infertile. This figure is much higher than previous estimates – dating back to the Eighties – of as low as one per cent. Experts are concerned that the increase may be partly triggered by chemicals called pthalates, whichThe average age for the menopause is 51, when it’s a normal part of the ageing process. However, a study by Imperial College London has found that around one in 20 women are now affected by premature menopause, which can bring heart disease, osteoporosis and stroke. The research, by Dr Rumana Islam, looked at the records of nearly 5,000 women. Around six per cent of women had an unexplained premature menopause, leaving them infertile. This figure is much higher than previous estimates – dating back to the Eighties – of as low as one per cent. Experts are concerned that the increase may be partly triggered by chemicals called pthalates, which are found in cosmetics, beauty products and food packaging. A study by Dr Natalia Grinder from Washington University found that women with the highest levels of the chemical in their blood or urine were more likely to have gone through the menopause an average of 2.3 years earlier than expectedare found in cosmetics, beauty products and food packaging. A study by Dr Natalia Grinder from Washington University found that women with the highest levels of the chemical in their blood or urine were more likely to have gone through the menopause an average of 2.3 years earlier than expected.

Symptoms

Irregular periods – or stopping altogether. Hot flushes, mood swings and low mood.

Protect yourself

Stop smoking – smokers go through the menopause earlier on average. Eat a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables for their antioxidants. Reduce your exposure to pthalates by using natural beauty products and eating fresh, unpackaged food.Stop smoking – smokers go through the menopause earlier on average. Eat a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables for their antioxidants. Reduce your exposure to pthalates by using natural beauty products and eating fresh, unpackaged food. Record, consultant physician and liver specialist at Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals, said the UK was facing an epidemic of liver disease in the under 40s. ‘Only a few years ago, alcoholic liver disease was very unusual in this age group and, unless our drinking habits change, the problem is only set to worsen,’ says Record. ‘Many patients are now presenting with terminal liver disease in their late 20s and early 30s.’Record, consultant physician and liver specialist at Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals, said the UK was facing an epidemic of liver disease in the under 40s. ‘Only a few years ago, alcoholic liver disease was very unusual in this age group and, unless our drinking habits change, the problem is only set to worsen,’ says Record. ‘Many patients are now presenting with terminal liver disease in their late 20s and early 30s.’

Symptoms

There are few symptoms until your liver has been extensively damaged. The condition starts with fat deposits in the liver leading to inflammation, scar tissue and ultimately liverThere are few symptoms until your liver has been extensively damaged. The condition starts with fat deposits in the liver leading to inflammation, scar tissue and ultimately liver failure from cirrhosis. Symptoms of liver disease can include weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, weight loss, itchy skin, blotchy red palms, insomnia and a general sense of feeling unwell.failure from cirrhosis. Symptoms of liver disease can include weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, weight loss, itchy skin, blotchy red palms, insomnia and a general sense of feeling unwell.

Protect yourself

Cut your drinking. ‘We need to drink within the recommended limits, discourage young people from drinking and perhaps even raise the legal age for alcohol consumption from five to 15,’ says Record ‘Your body has remarkable powers of healing and it’s never too late to stop drinkiCut your drinking. ‘We need to drink within the recommended limits, discourage young people from drinking and perhaps even raise the legal age for alcohol consumption from five to 15,’ says Record ‘Your body has remarkable powers of healing and it’s never too late to stop drinking.

THE RISK! DIABETES

The facts

Type 2 diabetes occurs when your pancreas fails produce sufficient insulin to maintain normal blood glucose levels, or your body can’t use the insulin that’s produced. The hormone insulin is needed to move glucose from your blood into your cells, where it is converted into energy. This is now one of the biggest health crises facing the NHS, with 2.9 million people in the UK diagnosed with Type 2 – and another 850,000 who have it, but don’t know yet. Deepa Khatri, clinical advisor to the charity Diabetes UK, says it used to be a condition affecting older people, but now the number of sufferers under 40 is increasing. ‘More and more younger people are affected as the nation gets more sedentary and obesity levels rise,’ she says. ‘The condition can lead to serious complications and is a leading cause of blindness in the UK. It can also lead to toe, foot or lower limb amputations,’ says Khatri. Type 2 diabetes occurs when your pancreas fails produce sufficient insulin to maintain normal blood glucose levels, or your body can’t use the insulin that’s produced. The hormone insulin is needed to move glucose from your blood into your cells, where it is converted into energy. This is now one of the biggest health crises facing the NHS, with 2.9 million people in the UK diagnosed with Type 2 – and another 850,000 who have it, but don’t know yet. Deepa Khatri, clinical advisor to the charity Diabetes UK, says it used to be a condition affecting older people, but now the number of sufferers under 40 is increasing. ‘More and more younger people are affected as the nation gets more sedentary and obesity levels rise,’ she says. ‘The condition can lead to serious complications and is a leading cause of blindness in the UK. It can also lead to toe, foot or lower limb amputations,’ says Khatri.

Symptoms

Signs can be slow to develop, and initially so mild you may not even notice them. They include urinating frequently, especially at night, weight loss or reduced muscle tone, fatigue, feeling rundown and excessive thirst. Signs can be slow to develop, and initially so mild you may not even notice them. They include urinating frequently, especially at night, weight loss or reduced muscle tone, fatigue, feeling rundown and excessive thirst.

Protect yourself

Do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate or intense exercise and eat healthily. Your waist should be no bigger than 31.5 inches (big waists store ‘bad’ fat). Be vigilant if you suffer from high blood pressure. intense exercise and eat healthily should be no bigger than 31.5 inch store ‘bad’ fat). suff blooDo at least 150 minutes a week of moderate or intense exercise and eat healthily. Your waist should be no bigger than 31.5 inches (big waists store ‘bad’ fat). Be vigilant if you suffer from high blood pressure. intense exercise and eat healthily should be no bigger than 31.5 inch store ‘bad’ fat). suff blood pressure.

THE RISK! ORAL CANCER

The incidence of mouth cancer is highest in men and in people over 60, with about 5,400 people diagnosed with the condition in the UK each year and a third dying from it. However, recent statistics show the condition is on the rise in women under 40. Experts think this may be because of their increased drinking, smoking and exposure to the HPV virus through oral sex – all risk factors for the disease. Most mouth cancers are a type called squamous cell carcinoma – these develop on the surface layers of the mouth and can spread deeper. Figures from Cancer Research UK reveal the incidence of oral cancer in women under 45 increased by 47 per cent from 1990 to 1999 (there was only a 22 per cent rise in older women).

This cancer used to affect six men for every woman. Now, it’s two men to every woman. The disease is diagnosed in around 4,300 people a year in the UK and killed almost 1,700 in 2001. This figure is forecast to rise steeply in people in the their twenties and thirties. Smokers are three times more likely to develop the disease. Regularly drinking more than a 175ml glass of wine per day also increases your risk; combining drinking and smoking furtherThe incidence of mouth cancer is highest in men and in people over 60, with about 5,400 people diagnosed with the condition in the UK each year and a third dying from it. However, recent statistics show the condition is on the rise in women under 40. Experts think this may be because of their increased drinking, smoking and exposure to the HPV virus through oral sex – all risk factors for the disease. Most mouth cancers are a type called squamous cell carcinoma – these develop on the surface layers of the mouth and can spread deeper. Figures from Cancer Research UK reveal the incidence of oral cancer in women under 45 increased by 47 per cent from 1990 to 1999 (there was only a 22 per cent rise in older women). This cancer used to affect six men for every woman. Now, it’s two men to every woman. The disease is diagnosed in around 4,300 people a year in the UK and killed almost 1,700 in 2001. This figure is forecast to rise steeply in people in the their twenties and thirties. Smokers are three times more likely to develop the disease. Regularly drinking more than a 175ml glass of wine per day also increases your risk; combining drinking and smoking further increases your risk.

Symptoms

An ulcer that fails to heal or keeps bleeding, persistent pain in your mouth, a lump, difficulty chewing or opening your mouth, pain when swallowing or from mouth or throat into the ear, white or red patches in your mouth that don’t heal.An ulcer that fails to heal or keeps bleeding, persistent pain in your mouth, a lump, difficulty chewing or opening your mouth, pain when swallowing or from mouth or throat into the ear, white or red patches in your mouth that don’t heal.

Protect yourself

Stop smoking and drink within safe limits, eat plenty of antioxidant-rich fruit and veg and have your mouth checked during six-monthly dental check-ups.

CASE STUDY

Artist Karen Whiterod developed rheumatoid arthritis in her forties.

‘It started in 2010 with what I thought was a frozen shoulder. Then my neck became painful. My condition didn’t seem to be responding to the usual frozen shoulder treatments and, eventually, a blood test revealed I had rheumatoid arthritis – a painful inflammatory disease where your immune system attacks your joints. Doctors are still unsure why I have the condition – but it can be triggered by a virus or stress. I remember having a weird virus that made me feel unwell and I’ve often wondered if it was that, but I’ll probably never know the cause. ‘Now, at last, the condition is under control thanks to drug treatments. I love swing dancing and can manage this again now. I’m also well enough to run my business, footprintarts.co.uk, which offers environmental art and design workshops. ‘People don’t seem to realise that younger people can suffer from arthritis too – particularly rheumatoid arthritis.

There was a time, for example, when I felt uncomfortable asking somebody to give up their seat for me on a bus, even though I couldn’t stand, because it was difficult to explain to them I had arthritis – a condition that most people assume is something just older people have.’‘It started in 2010 with what I thought was a frozen shoulder. Then my neck became painful. My condition didn’t seem to be responding to the usual frozen shoulder treatments and, eventually, a blood test revealed I had rheumatoid arthritis – a painful inflammatory disease where your immune system attacks your joints. Doctors are still unsure why I have the condition – but it can be triggered by a virus or stress. I remember having a weird virus that made me feel unwell and I’ve often wondered if it was that, but I’ll probably never know the cause. ‘Now, at last, the condition is under control thanks to drug treatments. I love swing dancing and can manage this again now. I’m also well enough to run my business, footprintarts.co.uk, which offers environmental art and design workshops. ‘People don’t seem to realise that younger people can suffer from arthritis too – particularly rheumatoid arthritis. There was a time, for example, when I felt uncomfortable asking somebody to give up their seat for me on a bus, even though I couldn’t stand, because it was difficult to explain to them I had arthritis – a condition that most people assume is something just older people have.’

MAKE IT BETTER IN THE OFFICE

To strengthen your buttocks at your desk, strengthen your buttocks at your desk, simple isometric clenches are great – alternate between holding for 10 seconds each rep, squeez ezing and releasing slowly; and fast pulses. TTrryy the wall sit. With your back flat the wall sit. With your back flat against a wall, bend at the knees to lower your body until you’re in a sitting position. Hold for 30 seconds. TTaake the stairs two at a time to really ke the stairs two at a time to really engage your glutes.

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