As we get older, our metabolism experiences a dip, making it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight. On the other hand, did you know that being overweight or obese can lead to a slew of additional health issues as you grow older?
This blog article will examine the negative repercussions of being overweight among the elderly and dispel several misconceptions about weight loss and aging. It will also furnish a weight chart to help illustrate how BMI changes with age, and offer some tips on things that you can do to help lose weight as you age.
The following are some of the reasons why maintaining a healthy weight is imperative in older adults:
Weight gain causes strain on the heart:
Carrying extra weight puts more stress on your heart, which must work harder to deliver blood and oxygen to the rest of your body. This can lead to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.
Weight gain can worsen arthritis:
Arthritis is a typical problem among the elderly, and excess weight can put extra strain on the joints, producing discomfort and inflammation.
Weight gain increases the risk of falls:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), being overweight makes you more prone to falling and suffering injuries. Falls are a universal cause of injury in people over 65, and being overweight makes you more likely to fall.
Weight gain can lead to type II diabetes:
Type II diabetes is more common in older adults and results from the body’s inability to use insulin properly. Consequently, your blood sugar levels rise and can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage. Being obese is a prospective risk factor for developing type II diabetes.
Weight gain can lead to cancer:
Research has shown that being overweight can put you at a high risk of developing certain types of cancer, such as breast, endometrial, and colon cancer.
Weight gain can lead to sleep apnea:
This is a condition where you stop breathing for short periods during sleep. It can be caused by excess weight around the neck, which causes the airway to collapse.
Carrying around extra weight can lead to feelings of low self-esteem and body image issues. In addition, many elderly adults have trouble sleeping, further contributing to feelings of depression.
In addition, many obese individuals are treated differently by others, leading to social isolation and distress.
Ability to recall memories:
Excess weight causes inflammation throughout the body, including in the brain. This inflammation can lead to problems with memory and cognitive function.
Inability to retain independence:
As age sets in, our muscles and bones can become weaker. Carrying excess weight can put additional strain on these already weakened bones and muscles, leading to a loss of independence.
Excess weight can make it difficult to move around and lead to joint pain and respiratory problems.
Gout is a form of arthritis that can be induced by obesity. This is because extra weight can cause uric acid levels in the blood to rise, resulting in crystal formation in the joints and causing discomfort and inflammation.
Gallbladder disease is another potential health problem caused by being overweight. This is because excess weight can increase cholesterol in the bile, which can then harden and form stones.
Profound impairment of vision:
Excess weight can increase intraocular pressure, damaging the optic nerve and resulting in vision issues.
As examined above, there are many reasons why being overweight is a problem for the elderly. But what causes weight gain in older adults? Several things can contribute to weight gain as we age:
A sedentary lifestyle:
As we get older, we tend to be less active. We may retire from our jobs, or we may not be able to move around as quickly. This can lead to weight gain.
Changes in hormone levels:
As women enter menopause, their bodies go through changes that can lead to weight gain. These changes include a decrease in the hormone estrogen, which can cause the body to store more fat.
Similarly, most men experience a decrease in the hormone testosterone as they age, leading to weight gain.
Changes in metabolism:
As we age, our bodies become less efficient at burning calories. This means that we may start to gain weight even if we eat the same amount of food as when we were younger.
Many medications, such as steroids and certain antidepressants, can cause weight gain.
Poor diet and lack of nutrition
As we age, we may not be able to absorb nutrients from food as well as we used to. In addition, we may not eat as much or as healthy of a diet as we did when we were younger. Reasons for this can include changes in taste, loss of appetite, and difficulty preparing meals.
Our taste buds change as we reach our senior years, leading to a loss of appetite or cravings for certain foods. For example, you may no longer enjoy the taste of healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables and crave sweets and unhealthy snacks.
Another reason for poor diet in the elderly is that many live alone and may not have someone to cook for them. This can lead to eating more convenience foods, which are often high in calories and low in nutrition. Therefore, if you are elderly and live alone, it is essential to make an effort to eat healthy meals and snacks.
Here’s a helpful chart to show how BMI changes with age. You can see that as we age, our BMI tends to increase.
- Age: 20-29 BMI: 18.0-24.0
- .Age: 30-39 BMI: 21.0-27.0
- Age: 40-49 BMI: 23.0-28.0
- Age: 50-59 BMI: 25.0-30.0
- Age: 60+ BMI: 27.0+
Losing weight as you age may not be easy, but it is worth it for your health! These suggestions can help you lose your extra pounds safely and improve your overall health.
- Talk to your doctor: They can help you create the right plan for you.
- Exercise: Exercise is essential for everyone, but it is especially important as we age. It can help to keep our muscles strong and our bones healthy.
- Eat a healthy diet: Eating a diet low in calories and fat can help you lose weight.
- Limit alcohol: Consuming too much alcohol can lead to weight gain. If you drink, do so in moderation.
- Get enough sleep: Sleep is vital for our overall health. Getting enough sleep can help us maintain a healthy weight.
- Reduce stress: Stress can lead to weight gain. Try to find ways to reduce stress in your life.
Many senior adults mistakenly believe that they are too old to lose weight or that it is not worth the effort. This is not true! Even small amounts of weight loss can significantly impact your health.
For example, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that even a slight weight loss of five to seven percent could reduce the risk of developing type II diabetes by 58 percent.
If you are a senior adult carrying extra weight, you must devise a plan to lose weight today. Maintaining a healthy weight can help you live a longer and healthier life!
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Mike Dorfman is BS in Biochemistry from the University of Colorado. Mike’s has worked as a personal trainer for Gold’s Gym and helped many clients achieve their weight-loss and fitness goals.
To health first, weight-loss second. Mike and Tetrogen are here to help you make the transition to the healthier, happier, and thinner you!