Common Health Issues Amongst the Elderly (Part 2)

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As one ages, the probability of physical limitations increases as well from our vision, hearing, energy levels, and immune systems begin to deteriorate slowly, and it also leads to a further reduction in one’s mobility and ability in everyday life to function independently as we become increasingly at risk for diseases.

The article is a follow up of the previous article under the similar title where it shows several diseases that the elderly may experience as they age.

1. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become fragile and brittle, resulting in increased risk of fractures or breakage. As our bones are living tissues, they are constantly being broken down and replaced every day., But because the production of hormones like oestrogen and testosterone, which is important in regulating bone renewal, begin to decline with age, the bone structure of our elderly become thinner and fragile.

Osteoporosis has no symptoms and is often undiagnosed in elders until the bones break or fracture. To promote bone growth, it iss important that elders increase their calcium and vitamin D intake, or take related supplements on the advice of physicians.

2. Diabetes

Our body requires insulin to convert glucose as energy for the cells. If you have diabetes, your body may not be producing enough insulin, may not be using insulin properly, or both. This would result in too much blood glucose to remain in the blood, which in turn can cause health problems. Most older people suffer from ‘prediabetes’, which means they have high glucose levels but not to the point of being considered ‘diabetic’. However, through simple blood tests, the sooner you can know if you are at risk for diabetes, and thus can begin making changes to improve your senior health for the long term.

Diabetes can be categorised as Type 1 or Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is when your body produces very little or no insulin and occur at any age. Type 2 diabetes is when your body does not make good use of the insulin that it produces.

3. Falls

Falls are the number one cause of injury amongst seniors of age 65 years and above. A serious fall can cause fractures, or bones to break, which can lead to a reduction in functional independence and quality of life. As we age, the risk of falling increases because our bodily functions begin to deteriorate as a result of weaker muscles and stiffer joints. Cognitive functions amongst elders will also deteriorate, causing slower reactions towards their surrounding environment. Some interventions however can be utilized to prevent falls in the elderly, such as exercise therapy and vitamin D supplements.  

4. Obesity 

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is widely used to assess if excess weight or obesity affects someone. When we grow older, we start to lose our muscle mass and our fat stores begin to increase in our body, particularly if one is not very physically active and/or has diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, high cholesterol and hypertension. Our BMI may not shift noticeably, but when our fat stores increase, the risk of obesity and its associated diseases will increase as well according to one’s BMI measurements. Therefore, it’s important for the elderly to maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet, especially when they are in rehabilitation after an illness.   

5. Depression

Depression can be difficult to diagnosein older adults as they may have other, lesser noticeable signs other than just sadness.  Senior citizens who are depressed often tend to feel drained, have trouble sleeping or seem irritable, and may have shorter attention spans. They are also easily confused. These symptoms can be easily mistaken for brain disorders like the Alzheimer’s. Severe medical problems like heart disease, stroke or cancer, may also cause signs of depression due to the risk it brings towards one’s mortality. Some medications for these illnesses can even lead to depressive side effects.

Treatment for depression varies. It can be prescribed medication or psychotherapy and cognitive therapy to lessen negative thinking and boost emotional support.


In conclusion, seniors may have to face a variety of health conditions that can affect their overall quality of life. However, by learning about these conditions and taking the necessary precautions, it encourages them adjust their lifestyles and allow them to age as healthily as possible.

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