Common Health Issues Amongst the Elderly (Part 1)

Elderly woman suffering from migraine | Free Photo

Aging is a progressive, gradual cycle of biological change starting in early adulthood, which results over time from the body’s impact of accumulating a wide range of molecular and cellular damage, and as a result bodily functions will start to decline slowly, particularly after one has reached their middle age period. This results in a steady deterioration in physical and mental capacity, increased risk of illness, and eventually death.

This article then discusses some of the more common risks of illnesses and diseases associated with ageing.   

1. Arthritis

Arthritis directly means joint inflammation, although the term itself can refer to various conditions that affect the joints, or tissues surrounding the joints. Various surveys have shown arthritis to be the most common health issue worldwide for millions of elders. The most prevalent form of arthritis is osteoarthritis. It occurs in older people as a result of long years of wear and tear in the body. However, this disease is treatable, and all it takes is a good amount of rest, exercise, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and learning the right way to use and protect your joints from damage.

2. Heart Disease

Heart is another common illness among elders, and is often recognized as the number one cause of death among the demographic. Among the common diseases include high blood pressure, heart failure, coronary artery disease and atrial fibrillation (arrythmia or irregular heart rate). Normal ageing causes the heart and blood vessels to stiffen, which in later years can contribute to these conditions. However one can prevent such heart diseases with exercise, and a healthy diet, and not smoking or drinking alcohol in their elder years.

3. Cancer

The risk of certain types of cancer also increases with age. For example, women are increasingly at risk of contracting cervical or endometrial cancers, while men are exposed to risks of contracting prostate cancer. Other lesser cases include either bowel or lungs cancers. While it may not be possible to avoid cancer entirely, tests to detect such cancers in the early stages may help to treat them effectively in your elder years.

4. Respiratory Diseases

Conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can deteriorate with age. More acute diseases of this category such as influenza or pneumonia can be life-threatening to the elderly due to their weakened immune systems, and may be less likely to successfully recover from them. Therefore, it’s important that lung function tests and medication are taken pre-emptively and/or regularly to preserve one’s senior health.

5. Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive skills that can interfere with everyday life. The factors that lead to Alzheimer’s often correlate towards one’s age or genetics. However, what is generally known is Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, where its symptoms gradually escalate over the years.

In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment, and eventually losing all motor functions and ultimately death. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s but with proper treatment the progress of this disease can be delayed.

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