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Handbook for successful ageing - 9.3.6 - 9.3.7


9.3.6 Skin diseases Skin cancer

With advancing age, the risk of becoming ill from skin cancer also increases.

Essential risk factors for its occurrence are excessive solar radiation and going to a solarium. Repeated sunburns particularly result in damage to the skin cells, which can develop into skin cancer. Light-skinned people are particularly at risk from high intensity ultra-violet radiation.

In comparison with other skin ailments, skin cancer can be spotted early on, since it develops externally and is visible. Those who consider themselves to be at risk should observe themselves and also have someone examine their back from time to time. Observe the birth marks in particular.

Asymmetrically marked or differently colored birthmarks of an average of more than 5 mm can be considered as suspicious. In this case, you should consult a skin specialist.

In addition to the malignant melanoma, the "black skin cancer", there are other types of skin cancer as well, which grow slowly over a period of several years and feel like a crusty eczema or a raw spot. If such a spot does not heal within a few weeks, discuss this with a skin specialist. Skin hornification

With age, the skin does not regenerate itself with the same frequency. This can result in its hornification. An ointment can help tackle this problem, with 10% Urea (urea), supported by primrose oil. For small wounds on the fingers, putting on adhesive plaster over night with urea-ointment helps. Put it in the middle of the plaster and put the plaster on your fingertip. If you are blind, proceed as follows: initially stick the plaster with the other hand on the opposite side of the finger from where the wound is located. Then press the ointment on the index finger of the other hand, and apply this exactly on the wound. Wipe your index finger carefully on a tissue, since the plaster will not stick otherwise, pull away the protective layer from the other end of the plaster and put this on the finger. Skin drying

The skin can also become dryer with age and then itch very badly. Again an urea-ointment, evening primrose oil capsules and in addition Inneov dragées "dry skin" provide help. If massaging the lotion into your skin with your fingertips, or pinching a large area of tissue aren’t enough to prevent the itching, you should still not scratch, since this will injure your sking, but only touch the itchy spot with the back of your nails.

9.3.7 Hypertension

In the following this only stands for arterial high blood pressure (arterial hypertension). Apart from that, there is the pulmonary hypertension, which can occur totally independently and as a special heart/lung disease will not be looked at here.

Arterial blood pressure is usually high among the elderly. This can result in heart attack, stroke, a TIA, a deviation of the heart rhythm, kidney dysfunctions, cancer of the kidneys, erectile dysfunctions, disruptions in blood supply to the legs and chronic changes to blood vessels and the retina (a "Fundus hypertonicus") and Alzheimer’s- dementia. The mental fitness is said to decrease to the same degree as the blood pressure is rising. Furthermore, the likelihood of contracting dementia at a later time increases. We do not feel that we are suffering from blood pressure, and the doctor discovers this only during a preventive medical checkup. Have your blood pressure measured regularly at your chemist's, especially if your parents suffered from high blood pressure and if your systolic blood pressure is nearly under 140 or the diastolic blood pressure already is nearly below 90 mmHg, buy yourselves a blood pressure monitoring device, which also measures your pulse; one for the upper arm as this device will in general measure more exactly than one for the wrist, and check your blood pressure yourself from time to time. Buy a device with voice output if you are blind.

If your systolic blood pressure is more than 140 or your diastolic blood pressure is more than 90 mmHg even if you did not particularly exert yourself earlier, then you should contact your doctor. Do so if you suffer from a kidney or heart illness or from diabetes and your blood pressure is 130 to or 80 mmHg. There are drugs which either increases the blood pressure themselves or which reduce the effect of anti-hypertensives, like medication for rheumatism, preparations which contain cortisone and the pill. Therefore you should inform your doctor about all medication you are taking.

Having high blood pressure, you should also contact an eye specialist so that no glaucoma comes to existence (see above,

If occasionally your blood pressure increases strongly, like to 200 or 120 mmHg, you should ask your doctor to prescribe you an emergency medicine for these cases and ask him how to act otherwise then.

When you are moving -also when you are doing sports- your blood pressure may increase further but soon after that it will go back to its normal level. Therefore you should not let high blood pressure keep you from doing whole body training; however, you should not measure your blood pressure right afterwards.

Adjust the cuff once in a way that allows you to slip into it easily. Comparative measures have shown that you do not have to push up the sleeves of blouses or shirts for this. Do not exhaust yourself trying to measure your blood pressure, but sit down before measuring and hold the arm respectively the wrist in line with your heart. I have nothing against the recommendation that you relax for a while before you check your blood pressure. You should know the blood pressure of the person you live with as well.

If the results your device provides you differ strongly from your normal results and you therefore want to measure again, wait for 1 minute so that you do not distort the result.

If your blood pressure is too high, it could be due to the family conditions. Explain to your kin about it.

Bear in mind that we should only take in 5g salt daily (see above, 1.8.) as a greater amount can increase the blood pressure.

With increasing age the salt sensitivity also increases. In addition salt increases the effect of hormones which narrow the vessels and thus lead to an increase in blood pressure. On the other hand, according to Chinese studies, chili is supposed to lower high blood pressure.

Reduce possible overweight and waive eating red meat, as it has been proven to increase the blood pressure, whereas wholegrain produce reduces it.

Additionally, please avoid Cola, alcoholic drinks as well as drinks with fructose as far as possible. Also, red wine can also increase the blood pressure in the long-term. Consider its positive effects on health in case of moderate consumption (refer 1.6). Coffee, green and black tea as well as hibiscus-/mallow tea in contrary reduce the blood pressure (see above, 1. 5).

Flight and street noises as well as booming music can likewise increase the blood pressure. Therefore you should make sure that there is double glazing in every room when you live near a busy street or near the airport. By the way, long-term measurements have revealed that among inhabitants of airports, the blood pressure increases during sleep as well. Therefore you should place sound-absorbing plates in front of it, if double glazing is not enough.

Bad sleep or lack of sleep, obesity, inadequate exercise, diabetes, disturbances in the metabolism of fats, stress, and in the case of elderly people a strong feeling of loneliness, can also increase the blood pressure.

Another possibility is that you suffer from a hormone dysfunction which can be detected by a blood test. Ask your health insurance company to meet the costs.

Exercise (refer to 3) can on the contrary reduce blood pressure.

It is recommended that you take medication in the morning after waking up for reducing blood pressure. The effect will then last until the next morning. Measure your blood pressure occasionally at midday, during afternoons and in the evening before going to sleep to check as to whether your medication is adequate. If not, discuss with your doctor. Even in the case of a completely uniform lifestyle the effect of hypertensives in the morning can vary. Therefore, for example, after some experimenting, I measure my blood pressure at 2pm, 7pm and again at 11.30pm and if it is too high then I take one pill of Carmen 10.

On the other hand, your blood pressure can also reduce. It is therefore essential to preserve records of the medication taken previously.

It is important to really take hypertensives regularly as the risk of heart-/circulation dysfunctions will otherwise increase considerably.

If you are dizzy, measure your blood pressure. If it is too low, take some medication for improving blood circulation.

Moreover, if your blood pressure is too high you should contact your doctor if your pulse is considerably higher than 60 per minute as a high pulse pressure accelerates arteriosclerosis and therefore multiplies the danger of infarcts and deaths.




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