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How to age gracefully?
This is the continuation of "How to die young …part I & II ". The importance of maintaining more or less normal body weight and a sensible & controlled diet and a regular exercise regime were explained in the earlier two newsletters. In this communication we will discuss about Medications, any Addictions & Working .. till ?

Most medications given to control or cure some disease or other are double edged weapons; almost all drugs have some side effect or other. You should take it only if essential and preferably under expert medical advice. Do question your doctor about possible side effects and complications and report to your doctor if you suspect any.

Some medicines are for life and you should not stop it on your own. Medicines for Diabetes, high B.P., Heart Disease, Hypothyroidism and many more chronic ailments are to be taken indefinitely. Seek clear instructions from your doctor regarding dosage and when you should seek any clarifications.

Multivitamin supplement is another item you should take regularly. The composition of these items could be quite variable. You should take one containing all essential vitamins and minerals with adequate dosage of many of the "anti oxidants" or anti ageing supplements. Though you could go for a planned diet with all vitamins and minerals, quite a few doctors advise multivitamin supplementation. You should discuss with your physician as to which particular multivitamin would suit you.

For any other chronic illnesses/problems in later age, drugs are to be taken only if absolutely necessary, for the shortest period of time and only under the advice of your doctor. Self-medication are to be strictly avoided. Some mild laxative is often needed by many; ask your doctor to prescribe something which is harmless if taken permanently.

Addictions and habits:
Addictions to alcohol, smoking, chewing tobacco or inhaling snuff etc are all harmful. But small quantity of alcohol daily may in fact be beneficial. But tobacco in any form and even in small quantity are harmful to health in many ways. Try stopping these suddenly and with all the will power at your command. Your doctor would be able to get you out of any addictions. In extreme and resistant cases one may have to resort to a de-addiction programme.


Comprehensive Health Checkup essential.
Otherwise called as "Master Health Checkup", this is preventive maintenance for the human body. All those above 30 and definitely above 45 years must have Comprehensive Health Checkup (C.H.C). If suffering from Diabetes, B.P., Ischemic Heart Disease, High Cholesterol, Obesity, Asthma etc, CHC should be done yearly. If you are healthy, CHC can be once in 2-3 years till about 60 years and after that every year.

At Dr. U Mohan Rau Memorial Hospital, this CHC is undertaken in a systematic way.

Working and financial stability.
Sudden retirement and stopping all accustomed work and activity is the fastest method to age quickly. If financial security is also absent, it is disastrous. Hence well before your retirement, plan for regular monthly income for life. Do not depend on any relatives. It is even advisable to try and get some part time job or activity which will not only keep you busy but also give you some income. Alternately, engage yourself in some hobbies, which you always wanted, or some social activities serving the needy and under privileged. If you keep yourself fully occupied with some activity or work which you enjoy doing, you will in fact be blessed with a second youth. If your activity involves regular interaction with young people and children it is all the more better for you.

And finally how to keep your mind and brain sharp and your spirits high is equally important in life. Spirituality also tends to become dominant as one becomes more philosophical in life. A little more about these aspects in our next part.


Dr. M.Mohan Rao, MBBS,MS,FICS,MCH,

M.D. & Chief Surgeon, Dr. U Mohan Rau Memorial Hospital.


Updated on 01.04.2003.

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