Being diagnosed with HIV shouldn’t stop you from living a full, productive life – but you may need to make some changes to your diet and lifestyle to help you stay healthier for longer.
PROPORTION OF PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV WHO ARE POTENTIALLY INSUFFICIENT IN VITAMIN D
Even into your late 20s, you can add to your peak bone mass. People living with HIV can be at a greater risk of osteoporosis, so the more bone mass you build up now, the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis in later years. Calcium and vitamin D are vital and can be obtained through oily fish, dairy products and egg yolks. Speak to your doctor if you are concerned about your vitamin D levels.
AGE OF PEAK MUSCLE STRENGTH
Moderate regular exercise is good for your immune system at any age. You reach your peak muscle strength between 20–35 years of age. So make the most of this time by doing strength training and eating a balanced diet. Consider using a food diary app to measure your calorie intake.
BE AWARE OF THE AMOUNT YOU DRINK
Try to keep to no more than 14 units of alcohol in a week and spread these over at least 3 days to avoid binge drinking. This could increase your risk of developing heart disease later in life – which is a risk already increased for many people with HIV. Look online for a health app that suits your needs.
AMOUNT SPENT ON SUPPLEMENTS IN 2013 GLOBALLY
If you take supplements then you should mention this to your doctor because some HIV drugs can interact with them. Steroids should be avoided altogether, unless prescribed.
SURVIVAL RATE IN THOSE WITH EARLY STAGE TESTICULAR CANCER
It’s a good idea to self-examine your testes monthly for abnormalities, lumps or swelling. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men aged between 20–34 years of age. There is evidence that those with HIV may be more at risk.
STARTS TO CHANGE
As you age your metabolism slows down. The body requires less energy and the body starts to store more body fat and less muscle mass. HIV can contribute to metabolic changes too which can increase the risk of heart disease. Lifestyle changes such as changing your diet and exercise routine can reduce your risks. If you have any concerns speak to your doctor.
All people living with HIV, regardless of age, should receive a flu jab, as the risk of developing serious flu and related complications can be higher. Speak to your doctor about annual vaccines.
IN A BIG MAC® MEAL
Some people can manage to eat a staggering 1,000 calories each time they visit a fast-food restaurant. Indulge just twice a week and that’s over 6 kgs of extra weight in a year. In addition, some men may also experience HIV associated fat redistribution.
Smoking is the largest avoidable health risk in Europe. People living with HIV are at risk of dying earlier if they smoke and this risk increases with age. If you haven’t already, consider stopping now. Speak to your doctor for help and advice on stopping.
THE AGE OF A MIDLIFE CRISIS
The male midlife crisis is often made fun of, but for many men it is a distressing experience. It can be due to feeling that life is running out and can be triggered by a major life change, such as separation, illness, bereavement or job loss. It is not a medical condition but people going through a midlife crisis can experience anxiety and depression, both of which are more common amongst people living with HIV. Speak to your doctor on how to cope.
PERCENTAGE OF MEN WHO USE SUN PROTECTION
Regardless of HIV status, men are twice as likely to develop skin cancer than women and men over 40 have the highest exposure to damaging UV rays. 47% of men use sun protection compared to 65% of women. Be safe and cover up! Speak to your doctor if you are concerned about any skin changes.
It is important to let your doctor know if you are taking any over the counter medications. Your doctor can check for any potential unwanted interactions with your HIV medications.
AGE WHEN BLOOD PRESSURE RISK INCREASES
Typically, blood pressure increases with age and risks begin to climb when men hit their mid-40s. This can be accelerated by some HIV treatments, smoking, obesity and too much salt, which increases the risks of heart attack or stroke. Look online for a health app that suits your needs.
The risk of type 2 diabetes increases in your 40s regardless of HIV status. This risk is also increased in people living with HIV. It is good to plan ahead to reduce your future increased risks. Ask your doctor for your blood glucose results and make lifestyle changes if you’re at risk.
LITRES OF FLUID A DAY
The kidneys have several functions – removing waste products and excess water, helping control your blood pressure, producing hormones and balancing the minerals in your body. Looking after them is important for your overall health. Men should aim for 2.5 litres of fluid per day. Some, but not all, HIV drugs can increase the risks of kidney disease. Speak to your doctor about your kidney test results.
2ND MOST COMMON CAUSE OF CANCER DEATH IN THE GENERAL POPULATION
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in Europe, regardless of HIV status. Speak to your doctor about colorectal screening, which is recommended for everyone over the age of 50.
OF EUROPEANS HAVE RAISED CHOLESTEROL
Europe has the highest prevalence of elevated cholesterol in the world, which is a major cause of heart disease and stroke. HIV itself and some treatments can also increase cholesterol. The risk of stroke and heart disease is further increased if you smoke and have high blood pressure. Speak to your doctor about your cholesterol blood test results.
A MEASURE FOR BONE MINERAL DENSITY
Men in their 50s do not experience the rapid loss of bone mass that women do – but by the age of 65 or 70 it is similar. People living with HIV can be at an increased risk of losing bone mass so make sure your daily calcium and vitamin D intake is adequate and speak to your doctor about the best way to monitor and manage your bone health.
THE RISK OF PROSTATE CANCER STARTS TO INCREASE
Prostate cancer mainly affects men over 50 and your risk increases with age. About 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives. Older men, men with a family history of prostate cancer and black Afro-Caribbean men are more at risk. There is no increased risk for men with HIV. Speak to your doctor if you have any concerns.
MOST COMMON SLEEPING POSITIONS: SIDE, BACK AND STOMACH
Sleeping patterns often change as you get older. Getting too little sleep can increase your risk for certain health problems. If you are having problems sleeping, then speak to your doctor for help and advice.
IN ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION
Men living with HIV are at an increased risk of erectile dysfunction (not being able to get or keep an erection) at this age. It is important to tell your doctor as it can be a sign of another health problem such as diabetes, kidney disease and heart disease.
MORE THAN 500
THE NUMBER OF FUNCTIONS THE LIVER PERFORMS
As you age the liver becomes less active and less efficient at managing food and chemicals. Damage to the liver can occur more quickly if you are co-infected with hepatitis C virus or drink too much alcohol. Visit www.HIVisJustapartofme.eu to find out more about preventing co-infections and ask your doctor about your liver test results.
AGE WHEN STROKE RISK INCREASES
The risk of stroke increases as you age and and certain factors can accelerate the process. These include HIV, smoking, high blood pressure (hypertension), obesity, high cholesterol levels, diabetes and an excessive alcohol intake. Visit www.HIVisJustapartofme.eu for healthy living tips and speak to your doctor about how to reduce your risks.
IN YOUR OLDER YEARS
Many people living with HIV in older years are happy with their quality of life. Keeping active, socialising and joining clubs or groups can improve wellbeing and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.
WEIGHT LOSS, DECREASED PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND STRENGTH, AND LOWER ENERGY
These are all a natural part of ageing. To maintain a good quality of life, discuss your nutritional needs and ways of keeping active with your healthcare team.
NEARLY EVERYONE WILL NEED GLASSES OR LENSES BY THIS AGE
Having regular eye tests, wearing the right prescription and looking after your eyes gives you a better chance of your sight remaining clear. This will improve your quality of life and reduce the risk of accidents such as falls, which can lead to bone fractures – ask your optician how regularly you should be tested.