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УДК 613.98:615.32.03 Краткое сообщение ALteRNAtIVe PRACtICeS OF HeALtH MAINteNANCe IN eLDeRLY AGe E. V. Chernyshkova — Saratov State Medical University n.a. V. I. Razumovsky, Head of Department of Foreign Languages, Assistant Professor, Candidate of Sociological Science.

альтернативные Практики ПоддержаниЯ ЗдоровьЯ в Пожилом воЗраСте Е. В. Чернышкова — ГБОУ ВПО Саратовский ГМУ им. В. И. Разумовского Росздрава, заведующая кафедрой иностранных языков, доцент, кандидат социологических наук.

Дата поступления — 10.10.2011 г. Дата принятия в печать — 08.12.2011 г.

Chernyshkova E. V. Alternative practices of health maintenance in elderly age // Saratov Journal of Medical Scientific Research. 2011. Vol. 7, № 4. P. 923–925.

The analysis of elderly people attitude to alternative practices of health maintenance in the context of activity prolongation is presented. By the example of conducted sociological research it is demonstrated that besides medication, health resources maintenance includes the following relevant methods: physical exercises and fitness; quit pernicious habits; rational nutrition; sexual activity.

Key words: elderly people, activity prolongation, alternative methods of health maintenance.

Чернышкова Е. В. Альтернативные практики поддержания здоровья в пожилом возрасте // Саратовский научномедицинский журнал. 2011. Т. 7, № 4. С. 923–925.

Представлен анализ отношения пожилых людей к альтернативным практикам поддержания здоровья в контексте пролонгирования активности. На примере результатов проведенного социологического исследования показано, что для поддержания ресурсов здоровья пожилых людей, помимо медикаментозных методов, наиболее релевантными являются: физические упражнения и фитнесс; отказ от вредных привычек; рациональное питание; сексуальная активность.

Ключевые слова: пожилые люди, пролонгирование активности, альтернативные методы поддержания здоровья.

1 Introduction. Ageing has become the global world- Since ancient times different societies have demonwide problem nowadays. It sends the new challenge to strated a settled stereotype of old age as the period of the society — integration of elderly persons into active diseases, infirmity and helplessness. However, we can social life. contemporary development of public order find contradictory thinking about this period in the papers influences the changes of social requirements to aged of antique philosophers: health loss, physiological agepeople, directing active lifestyle with the object of their ing could be compensated by mental maturity, astutesuccessful inclusion in all spheres of social life. Age-spe- ness and inner freedom. And physical activity considcific health disturbances should be treated in the social ered to be a good prophylaxis of inevitable age changes and medical context so as to gain more independent vi- of a human body.

tal activity of this social group. Though the considerable The development of medical knowledge and techsuccess of medicine and widening of medical services nologies could be treated as the beginning of positive rein the field of health preservation and maintenance have thinking of ageing process. The first scientifically proved been well recognized, the study of the elderly attitude ideas of human activity prolongation have appeared to alternative (non-drug) practices to sustain the health in XVIII century. The most widespread measures conseems to be of current importance especially in the con- cerned common sanitary — cleanliness and temperate text of activity prolongation. Objective: To analyze the lifestyle. Gradually, the attention was paid to adequate older adults’ attitude to alternative methods of sustaining physical activity, dietary, abstention from alcohol and health in the context of their activity prolongation. smoking etc.

Methods. The received data of elderly persons sur- Nowadays, this approach to health is also topical and vey (aged 60–74) on the problem of their attitude to has a tendency to increase. The research results prove alternative methods of health maintenance, conducted that complex approach to health maintenance in old age in 2010 in Saratov region (N=420), have been used for should combine medical services and such alternative the present analysis. Processing of the obtained empiric methods as: physical exercises and fitness (51,2 %); givdata has been fulfilled with the program SPSS 11.0 for ing up bad habits — tobacco smoking and alcohol use Windows. (23,3 %); rational nutrition, dietary (18,6 %); sexual activResults. The survey has revealed that the most rel- ity (6,9 %).

evant alternative practices of health resources mainte- The advantages of physical exercises and fitness nance in old age are the following: 1) physical exercises are well known and proved. It is especially important for and fitness; 2) quit pernicious habits — tobacco smoking old people to recognize the importance of regular light and alcohol use; 3) rational nutrition, dietary; 4) sexual to moderate physical activity in the prevention of physiactivity. cal disturbances associated with involutional process in the organism and decreasing activity level due to their Corresponding author — Chernyshkova Elena V. lifestyle. Regular physical activity increases life expecAddress: 410030, Saratov, M. zatonskaya St., 4 / 20, app. 16.

tancy, can help older adults to maintain functional indeTel: 8 906 309 92 26.

pendence, and enhances quality of life at each its stage.

E-mail: chervy@mail.ru Saratov Journal of Medical Scientific Research. 2011. Vol. 7, № 4.

924 СоциальнаЯ медицина The beneficial impact of physical activity touches widely The questionnaire data point to poor level of old on various diseases and conditions. Regular physical people knowledge of medical nutrition recommendations activity can help to prevent and manage coronary heart (54 %). Most information is obtained from the following disease, hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis, and de- sources: advertising news release (18,3 %); personal pression. It has also been associated with a lower rate experience of colleagues, relatives and friends (14,8 %);

of colon cancer and stroke, and may be linked to reduced advise of pharmacists at the chemist’s shops (6,5 %);

back injury. It is an essential component of weight loss consultations of medical specialists (5 %); Internet and programs. mass media (1,4 %).

Physical activity is a complex behavior and its rela- In spite of the fact that diet declining often leads to tionship with health is multifaceted. Regular vigorous weight excess, the considerable proportion of responphysical activity promotes cardio-respiratory fitness and dents regard their weigh gain to the consequences of helps to prevent coronary heart disease. Activity that ageing process (42,9 %); financial inability of rational builds muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility may nutrition; (24,5 %); results of chronic diseases (20,4 %);

protect against injury and disability. And any activity that sedentary lifestyle (12,2 %).

expends energy is important in weight control. Physical Pernicious habits are undoubtedly health destrucactivity can also produce changes in blood pressure, tive factors, especially in old age. So, giving up tobacco blood lipids, clotting factors, and glucose tolerance, that smoking and alcohol use can extensively promote health may help to prevent and control high blood pressure, cor- maintenance. Perhaps more than any other age group, onary heart disease and diabetes. elderly people have the opportunity to assume personal The rate of answering the question «What physical responsibility for their health. Many of the leading causes activity is the most acceptable to you» shows the fol- of death for people between the ages of 55 and 70 are lowing preferences: walking (40,8 %); daily bodily exer- preventable, wholly or in part, through changes in lifecises at home (33,5 %); upstairs ascending (11,2 %); run- style, and these changes established lifestyles, social ning (7,5 %); swimming (4 %); fitness centers attendance norms related to health can be changed as well.

(3 %). While activity should be habitual, it need not be un- Positive behavioral changes can save many lives duly strenuous. People who engage daily in light to mod- as they concern not only decrease of diseases, but also erate exercise, equivalent to sustained walking for about some accidents. Alcohol is a major factor in thousands 30 minutes a day, can achieve substantial health gains. of preventable deaths, including motor vehicle fatalities, Increasing evidence suggests that even small increases homicides and suicides, cirrhosis of the liver, and some in light to moderate activity by those who are least active cancers, such as esophageal and liver cancer. This is will produce measurable health benefits. not a critical issue for discussion. The vast majority of old It is significant, that our respondents demonstrated people is absolutely sure in benefits of smoking and alcohigh interest in specialized fitness programs for the el- hol use refusal — 79,2 %; the other 16,8 % assert the imderly as they are conducted under the supervision of portance of decreasing frequency and quantity of smoktrainers and possess specific motivation — 63 % of posi- ing and alcohol use; and the last statistically insignificant tive answers. But their financial status keeps them form percent of respondents insists that they do not abuse the using this opportunity — only 5 % can afford it. mentioned habits.

According to the research results, health preserva- To sustain health in old age, many people are confition and maintenance in the context of active old age dent of sexual activity prolongation. It also can indicate is an individual initiative. The reasons of this thesis are psychological balance and social prosperity, as in some classified in the following order: modern public health cases sexuality can enrich life of old people and displayservice does not promote activity prolongation for aged ing the absence of crucial physical disturbances. Our repeople (52,2 %); partly promotes (37,0 %); generally pro- search discovered that most of cross-examined elderly motes (10,8 %). Negative evaluation of health care work persons are sure in advantages of sexual activity: 59,8 % could be explained in the terms of settled stereotypes of them are still sexually active (i.e. have monthly sexual of old age as a social ballast, braking the reforms; so- contact); 22,3 % have no such opportunity due to the abcial incompatibility of the terms «activity» and «old age»; sence of a partner; 14 % mark health problems as the obwork imbalance of health care and insufficient financing stacle; 3,9 % have no sexual interest. But we should deof all social and medical services that work with elderly fine gender misbalance in this question — most positive persons. viewpoints on sexual activity and health maintenance The next considerable practice of health mainte- belong to men (67 %). It is absolutely clear that in spite nance and promoting healthy lifestyle in the late period of health disturbances, the necessity of sexual activity is of life is rational nutrition — as physiologically valuable rather important.

nutrition, balanced with age and individual characteris- There is no doubt that sexual activity in every age tics. The adoption of low-fat and low-salt dietary patterns depends on personality. So, many elderly people stay is important for elderly people in the prevention of many active up to 80 years, successfully adopting physiologidiseases, including coronary heart disease and high cal changes. Some people try to sustain their sexual blood pressure, and certain cancers. Further, the adop- possibilities by means of physical exercises or medical tion of dietary and physical activity habits that will reduce aid. However, this sphere of human life seems to be sigthe onset of obesity will help reducing the likelihood of nificant for common state of health and self-esteem.

coronary heart disease, diabetes and high blood pres- Discussion. Some American researchers pay spesure. certain eating patterns — especially excessive con- cial attention to the mentioned alternative practice of sumption of fats — are linked to a higher risk of heart dis- health maintenance in old age. Thus, the problem of ease, breast and colon cancer, and gallbladder disease. rational nutrition and overweight is the subject of wide The majority of positive replies (77,4 %) shows the speculation. Statistic data reflect that about 27 % of confidence that food allowance of old and young people American women and 24 % of men are obese. This probdiffers sharply. The realization of rational nutrition for old lem is also associated with high blood pressure, elevated people runs against the set of problems: low nutrition lit- blood cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, some eracy and financial opportunities of this social group. cancers, and gall bladder disease. It also may be a factor Саратовский научно-медицинский журнал. 2011. Т. 7, № 4.

SOCIOLOGY OF MeDICINe for osteoarthritis of the weight-bearing joints. Socioeco- Half of the people surveyed (both men and women) nomic status has been linked to overweight. One national reported at least one sexual problem that bothered them.

survey found that 37 % of women below the poverty level The problems reported, however, were different for men were overweight, compared with 25 % of those above the and women. Women reported the following problems:

poverty level. Overweight is especially prevalent among low sexual desire (43 %); vaginal lubrication difficulties (39 %); inability to climax (34 %). Men reported erectile members of some minority groups.

Obesity prevention includes combining regular physi- dysfunction as the most common problem, with 37 % reporting some level of difficulty achieving an erection. Of cal activity with dietary practices to lose weight. Fewer all the men in the study, 14 % were taking some form of than half of adult Americans exercise regularly (3 or more medication for sexual function.

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