Health: Expert guidance to living the good life
- Credit: PA
The best ways of looking after your health can differ dramatically through the decades, while problems can arise at certain periods in your life, such as during pregnancy.
In a bid to boost your fitness, whatever your age, check out when you could face certain health risks and when you should seek guidance or treatment.
Ageing skins: Teens
Skin changes are the most visible signs of ageing, and the rate at which it happens can be affected by factors such as sun, diet and smoking.
Clair Rose, head of cosmetics at Dr Lewinn’s, says: “Sun damage is the worst contributor to ageing, and sadly most sun damage is done before the age of 18, so the sooner you start a skincare regime, the better.
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“Using a good moisturiser from a young age is key, although it’s never too late to start caring for the skin.”
She recommends cleansing and toning twice a day, followed by Dr Lewinn’s Line Smoothing Complex Super Hydrator, £41, the Triple Action Day Defence, £51, and then the Double Intensity Night Cream, £51. For more information, visit www.drlewinns.co.uk
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Laser eye surgery: Early 20s
Every year around 100,000 people in the UK have laser eye surgery, which can free them from the inconvenience of prescription glasses and contact lenses.
Chidambara Pillai, founder and medical director of Advanced Visioncare, a laser eye clinic, says: “Provided surgery is done properly and the eyes remain stable for a year after laser treatment, laser eye surgery is for life and does not regress.
“However, some people undergo laser eye surgery again later in life because even though their distance vision remains good, people more often then not start to require reading glasses at this stage.
“As long as the eyes are healthy and the patient has no cataracts, we can treat this problem later.”
For more information, visit www.advancedvisioncare.co.uk
Fertility: Early 30s
While increasing numbers of women are having babies after the age of 40, a woman’s egg count starts to significantly decline at 30 years old.
In your thirties, fertility should be on your health radar, says Dr Marilyn Glenville, a women’s health expert and nutritionist.
She advises: “Even if you haven’t yet considered having a baby, maybe it’s not the right time or you haven’t met the right partner, you can’t start safeguarding your reproductive health early enough.
“So make sure that you’re doing everything you can to keep yourself as healthy and fertile as possible. Perhaps the most important thing you can do to protect fertility is to eat a healthy diet.
For more information, visit www.marilynglenville.com
Bunions: Early 40s
A bunion is a bony deformity of the joint at the base of the big toe, known as the metatarsophalangeal joint. Celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, Gwyneth Paltrow and Tilda Swinton have all reportedly suffered from the painful problem.
Dave Wain, podiatrist and managing director at Carnation Footcare, advises: “Bunions can affect anyone at any age, but are commonly found in those aged 40-plus.
“They can be hereditary, but they can be caused or made worse by ill-fitting shoes, such as high heels which throw the weight on to the balls of the feet and the toes.”
Even if the problem is genetic, aggravation of the problem can be prevented by wearing properly fitting shoes, he says, and exercising the feet and big toes with stretches.
“Most bunions can be relieved by wearing a bunion pad or shield which fits to the contour of the joint,” Wain suggests.
Carnation Footcare Gel Bunion Protector, £4.99, from pharmacies. For more information and stockists, visit www.carnationfootcare.co.uk
Leg circulation: Early 50s
Varicose veins and spider veins may occur at any age but usually they become present between the ages of 18 and 35, and peak between 50 and 60.
“Thread veins, tired aching legs and varicose veins are common problems, especially among more mature women,” says Kimby Osborne, a training director at Activa Healthcare.
“If left untreated, these can lead to more serious problems such as varicose
She suggests compression therapy, such as Activa Healthcare’s compression hosiery and support socks, which may alleviate aching legs and prevent more serious problems from occurring.
For more information, call 08450 606 707 or visit www.activahealthcare.co.uk
Heart disease: Early 50s
Coronary heart disease is the UK’s biggest killer, causing around 82,000 deaths each year. About one in five men and one in eight women die from the disease.
Dr Wendy Denning, a general practitioner, says: “Heart disease is the number one killer of women in this country and kills three times more women than breast cancer.
“During our menstruation years, we are relatively well protected from it, but once we hit 51 (the average age women go into the menopause), we need to start looking after our hearts so that we don’t become another statistic in our 60s, 70s and 80s.”
She recommends annual health check-ups from age 50, particularly if you have a family history of heart disease, which will look at blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, dietary patterns, exercise habits, stress levels and smoking.
One of the most common problems in this age group is constipation and bowel problems.
Cassandra Barns, nutritionist at The Nutri Centre, says: “Try eating high-fibre cereal foods and ensuring a good intake of fruit and vegetables. It’s also important to drink plenty of fluid.
“Fluid intake is important, as the risk of dehydration can be higher in older people because their kidneys don’t function as efficiently as those of younger people.”
For more information, visit www.nutricentre.com
Fitness levels: All ages
Nearly two-thirds of UK adults risk their health through insufficient exercise, according to a survey by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.
But we’re never too old to become more physically active, says Shona Wilkinson, a personal trainer and head nutritionist at The Nutri Centre.
“Exercise is helpful at any age, and can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, cut high blood pressure, boost energy levels, mood and improve sleep quality,” she says.
“Children can benefit as much as even a 90-year-old person, who can increase muscle strength and mobility with a supervised weight-training programme - just make sure that the type of exercise is age appropriate.”
Exercise is not just for fitness levels and weight management, she points out, but can also be good for certain health conditions such as osteoporosis, diabetes and cardiovascular problems.
For more information, visit www.nutricentre.com