Geriatric physician discusses the key to healthy aging

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Healthy aging is a hot topic.

Whether you’re concerned about weight gain, aches and pains, or chronic diseases, the key to healthy aging is a healthy lifestyle.

As part of our “Ask the Expert” series, in partnership with Bon Secours St. Francis Health, 7NEWS spoke with a geriatric medicine physician about what is and isn’t normal when it comes to getting older and how to age well.

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Getting older is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean that every new ache and pain you experience is caused by aging, according to Geriatric Medicine Physician Dr. Parampal Bhullar.

“If you have aches and pains, they are not part of normal aging, maybe it’s a clue of muscle imbalance… maybe you need to see a physical therapist or maybe they have a joint issue going on and maybe you need to see a specialist, maybe you need an x-ray,” Dr. Bhullar said.

There are some conditions, like osteoporosis, that are more common with aging.

“We often recommend checking for osteoporosis at 65 in women and 75 in men,” Dr. Bhullar said.

The prevalence of diabetes also increases among older adults, but aging doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to get the disease. Doctor Bhullar said it can be prevented.

“If you eat healthier then you can reduce the chance for diabetes, which in turn reduces your chances of all the complications diabetes can give,” Dr. Bhullar said.

Occasionally forgetting an appointment or losing your keys are typical signs of mild forgetfulness which is very common in normal aging.

But dementia is not a normal part of aging, so you should talk with a doctor if you have serious concerns about your memory or notice changes in your behavior or personality.

“If your forgetfulness is impacting your finances or your ability to manage your own medication independently that’s not normal.”

Dr. Parampal Bhullar, Internal and Geriatric Medicine Physician, Bon Secours St. Francis Health

Aging is a gradual process, if you want to age well Dr. Bhullar said start healthy habits like a good diet and exercise, at a young age.

“The work you do in the 30s will pay you off, you know, in your 50s. The work you do in your 50s will pay off in the 70s,” Dr. Bhullar said.

Eyesight and hearing can also be impacted by aging. If you notice any changes to your ability to see or hear, you should get looked at right away.

To submit a health topic for our Ask the Expert series, click here.

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