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Older American’s Month

Senior citizens can lead independent and active lives for a number of years.  One key is to develop a healthy lifestyle, including some preventative measures.

Living a healthy lifestyle helps protect against the deterioration that is often associated with aging.  Dr. Gary Rull, associate professor of internal medicine at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, offers suggestions for seniors.

SOUND BITE:    “The most important things that seniors can do is eat healthy, exercise regularly, challenge themselves mentally, remain socially connected and follow up with their health care providers on a regular basis.”

Dr. Rull says seniors should get regular screenings for diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol as well as colon cancer screening.  For women, the recommended screenings include mammography and tests for cervical cancer and osteoporosis.  For men, screenings for prostate cancer and abdominal aortic aneurysm are recommended.  He also recommends some vaccinations for seniors.

SOUND BITE:   “Some of the recommended immunizations include pneumovax, which is a pneumonia vaccination.  Also yearly flu shots would be recommended.  A more recent recommendation has been a shingles vaccine.  It is recommended for seniors older than 60.”

Dr. Rull says many diseases can be prevented or treated by eating more nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables and exercising on a regular basis.  He says seniors should check with their primary care physician about screenings, vaccinations and starting an exercise program.

This is Ruth Slottag at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.