As the years slip by, you're probably more aware than ever of the importance of good health. So you try to eat right, get at least a moderate amount of exercise, and banish unhealthy habits like smoking. But no matter how hard you try to be healthy, it's simply a fact that your risk of many key diseases rises as you age. And many of these conditions come on slowly and quietly, with few symptoms, at least in the beginning. Here, the top 7 diseases that sneak up on you as you get older, what to be on the lookout for, and what to do.
Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke
Often called A-fib for short, atrial fibrillation is a common age-related health issue, affecting 5 million Americans. The first signs of A-fib are usually a racing or irregular heartbeat and pulse. You might notice that your heart rate speeds up while you're exercising, or that it doesn't return to normal as quickly as usual afterwards. Some people feel dizzy or short of breath. A-fib raises your risk of stroke and heart attack, so it's important to get it checked out. An ECG is the most common test used to diagnose a-fib; your doctor may also order X-rays, blood tests, or an echocardiogram to evaluate your overall cardiac health. To help your heart maintain a regular rhythm and to reduce the potential for stroke, your doctor may prescribe medication. If needed, cardioversion may be used to reset your heart rhythm.