As people age, their physical and mental capacity decreases, leading to growing disease risk. Aging increases the likelihood of seniors experiencing more than health problems simultaneously. As of 2012, 60% of older adults managed two or more chronic conditions. While some of the health variations in older adults are genetic, others are due to their social and physical environments. Discussed below are five common health problems for seniors.
1. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
Alzheimer’s is an irreversible brain disorder that gradually destroys thinking and memory skills and later the capacity to conduct even the simplest tasks. It’s the most common dementia cause among seniors. People with Alzheimer’s have increased confusion and memory loss, problems writing, reading, and working with numbers, and difficulties with language, logical thinking, and thought organization.
They have issues coping with new situations and a reduced attention span. Dementia is cognitive function loss where older adults have problems remembering, reasoning and thinking. This makes it difficult for them to care for themselves. You can get specialized dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in-home care from industry experts like Husky Senior Care.
The common form of arthritis in seniors is osteoarthritis and is one of the most frequent physical disability causes among older adults. It occurs when the cartilage, the tissue cushioning the bone ends within the joints, wears off. Symptoms may include mild pain that escalates to severe joint pain and stiffness after waking up. Common osteoarthritis signs include swelling, tenderness, the sound of bone rubbing on another, or a crunching feeling.
This disease affects the lower back, neck, hands, and weight-bearing joints, including feet, hips, and knees. Treatment plans usually include rest, joint care, exercise, weight control, pain relief, surgery, medicines, and complementary treatments.
3. Respiratory diseases
As people age, normal structural and physiological changes happen in the respiratory system because of changes in respiratory muscle strength, pulmonary mechanics, and ventilation control. Increased pulmonary vascular pressures, stiffness, and resistance are also linked to aging. The thoracic cage becomes stiff and rigid with reduced chest movement, shifting the wall-pressure volume to the right. Airway changes increase the risk of infection, residual volume and functional capacity, and decreased vital ability.
With lowered hypercapnia and hypoxia response, ventilation control drops. Common respiratory diseases for seniors may include asthma, chronic compulsive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, lung cancer, tuberculosis, pulmonary edema, pneumonia, interstitial lung disease, and more.
4. Cardiovascular disease
Seniors aged 65 and above are more likely to get cardiovascular disease, including blood vessels and heart problems. Aging may bring about changes in blood vessels and the heart, increasing the risk of developing cardiovascular issues. While age is an independent cardiovascular disease risk factor, these risks may be compounded by obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and frailty. These factors can enhance and complicate cardiac risk factors associated with the beginning of advanced age. High cholesterol and blood pressure also increase the chances of developing heart disease or stroke.
Diabetes develops when the body doesn’t have sufficient insulin. It’s estimated that 33% of seniors aged 65 and above have diabetes, increasing the risk of developing diabetes-related concerns like low blood sugar, heart disease, and kidney failure. Early diagnosis can help you make the necessary changes to control the disease, improving healthy living.
Age contributes to a lot of diseases in older adults. As you age, it’s best to be aware of the conditions listed above to help prevent or treat them adequately.