Mrs Osi Ogbu, a Geriatrician, says unhealthy and poor lifestyle choices determine how fast a person aged.
Ogbu, a Consultant with National Hospital Abuja (NHA), said that people who indulged
in excessive alcohol and tobacco use were prone to accelerated ageing, with increased risk of age-related diseases and conditions.
She explained that any adult with multiple challenges, either physical, social or mental, was qualified as a geriatric patient and would be better served by experts in geriatric medicine.
According to her, anyone above 60 years of age is an older adult.
She said “aging is a process, not just in number but physiological changes which are affected by a myriad of factors described as wider determinants of aging.
“These determinants include lifestyle choices, geographical location, poverty, healthcare access and affordability, educational status, as well as the presence of chronic medical conditions that are mostly non communicable in nature like hypertension, cancer, heart diseases and many more.”
Ogbu added that the consumption of fatty foods, high carbohydrate and sugar, as well as non-compliance to treatment and follow-up checkups for identified chronic medical conditions increased the risk of accelerated aging, making a 50-year-old to look 70.
She, therefore, advised that to avoid aging with high risk of diseases and disability of any form, healthy lifestyle should be adopted.
She listed things to consider as healthy lifestyle as healthy diet, regular exercise, avoid prolonged sitting, routine walk and stretches, routine medical check-up for early identification of any health risk, as well as taking vaccination against vaccine-preventable diseases.
She stressed the need to maintain normal Body Mass Index (BMI), avoid undue stress and ensure adequate seven to eight hours sleep.
The geriatrician emphasised that these healthy lifestyles should be imbibed from young age so that people would be healthier even as they aged.