An ounce of prevention
Preventive measures, such as getting a yearly flu shot and getting screened for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers, are important for growing old gracefully.
Keeping an eye on other disease indicators, such as high blood pressure or the early stages of diabetes, can also make a difference in terms of future disabilities.
“While you might not actually prevent the disease, you can prevent the disability that would come from not treating the disease promptly enough.
There are also preventive steps to reduce the severity of arthritis, which is the nation’s most common disability, affecting about 46 million adults, with half of them younger than 65. If you do have arthritis, you need to stay educated about the disease and try to avoid further joint injury while keeping physically active.
“You can ease the effects of arthritis by staying physically active, which can help reduce the pain. That seems counterintuitive since more activity is the last thing you want to do, but it is well-documented that it does help,” said Charles Helmick, who helps lead the CDC’s Arthritis Program.