Rosalie Ungar is the author of IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib.
My semi-annual meds check appointment at The Ross Heart Hospital took place a few days ago. It’s necessary mainly because of the sotalol medication I take for atrial fib. The drug has side effects but it and the ablation I had has kept me out of A-Fib for 11 years…so far.
The twice yearly meds check event goes like this: weight check, blood pressure, pulse and respiration check and an EKG. Then the discussion between the Pharmacologist and me; dosages and results from tests taken during the last meds check; changes resulting in lowering some doses because of my 40 pound weight loss. I was dismissed and sent to the lab for an up-to-date blood test including Lipid Panel (full cholesterol check).
Recalling a conversation with the endocrinologist several years ago, I was informed that the biggest change in aging health comes between the ages of 75 and 85. Soon I’ll be 81 and all the recent test numbers are better than I can remember in many years including cholesterol: LDL 52, HDL 55, Triglycerides 56 and Non-HDL Cholesterol 63.
What does all this mean? Constant Maintenance. It takes a lot of time and uses a lot of energy…the one thing that diminishes with age. Outer body checkup shows blood pressure at 137/66, weight 125, height 5’5”, BMI 20.80 (body mass index or body fat), respiration 16 and pulse 59 (with pacemaker set at 60). Not too bad for almost 81.
What to do to maintain acceptable good health while aging:
- Get plenty of sleep. Try to get in at least one short nap a day.
- Don’t overeat. Along with this, try to eat healthy food so as not to get full on empty calories. Small meals. I find that it’s not so much what you eat, but how much…portion control!
- Eat slowly, put eating utensils down between bites to slow eating pace. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to know that the stomach is full.
- Exercise! Just moving the body can do it. Getting out of bed in the morning may take some adjustment and movement until the body parts (legs, back and neck) adjust to being vertical. I have gone from 100 pushups and other strenuous exercise last year to 8 minutes of stretching each morning that I learned online and in a pamphlet from the Chiropractor’s office.
- Walking is a wonderful exercise. At the gym I do some stretching then 5 minute intervals on the treadmill. Try it.
Most of all, create your own state of mind. Be happy.