The Most Common Diseases That Affect the Elderly
You don’t have to be sick when you are old. It is entirely a misconception that sickness is just but natural with aging. Your overall well-being during your senior years can be the result of what you have been into during your younger years. Have you been into a strict healthy diet? Did you have an active lifestyle doing regular exercises and avoiding vices? Did you not compromise sleep with partying frequently? Haven’t you been into prohibited drugs? If your answer to all these questions is yes, probably you will have an enjoyable and fruitful senior life ahead of you.
So as young as you are, it is not yet late to get into shape. Seniors are predisposed to ailments but you can change your fate. The following diseases are common to seniors who did not prepare well for their twilight years:
Heart disease remains the leading killer of seniors over the age of 65 according to the CDC. According to statistics, this chronic condition affects 37 percent of men and 26 percent of women 65 and older. Aging is the single most significant risk factor for high blood pressure and high cholesterol that increases the probability of stroke and developing heart disease. Exercising, eating a well-balanced healthy diet, and getting a good night’s rest are basics for a healthy heart.
Accordingly, arthritis is probably the number one condition that people 65 or older contend with. Estimates show that this condition affects 49.7 percent of all adults over 65. It can make your life miserable as it can lead to lingering pain, which reduces the quality of life of seniors. Undoubtedly, arthritis can discourage a senior from being physically active, but it is imperative to have a personalized activity plan formulated by a doctor along with other treatments to help maintain overall health.
According to the CDC, cancer is the second to heart disease as the leading cause of death among people over age 65 which affects 28 percent of men and 21 percent of women. With early detection through screenings, many types of cancer can be treated. Cancer prevention may be impossible to prevent in several cases but improving the quality of life of a senior living with cancer is doable. Working with a medical team to maintain healthy senior living is highly recommended.
Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is challenging. Cognitive impairment has a significant impact on senior health from issues of safety and self-care to the cost and burden of care, whether in the home or a memory care facility.
Chronic lower respiratory diseases are the third most common cause of death among people 65 and older. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and pneumonia are the most common chronic lower respiratory diseases in seniors.
Although chronic respiratory disease increases health risks, such as increased vulnerability to pneumonia and other infections, lung function tests and correct medication and oxygen as instructed can preserve the health and quality of life of a senior.
Osteoporosis contributes to less mobility and potential disability when a fall occurs causing fracture or vertebral collapse. Low bone mass or osteoporosis puts seniors at risk for a fracture or break that could lead to poor senior health and reduced quality of life.
Diabetes is a significant senior health risk affecting 25% of 65 y/o and older. It can be identified and addressed early with simple blood tests for blood sugar levels. Early detection of diabetes can make a senior start changes to control the disease and improve long-term health outlook.
Influenza and Pneumonia
Flu and pneumonia are not considered chronic conditions but they are among the top eight causes of death among seniors. Older adults’ vulnerability to these diseases is increasing and have less capacity to fight them off. An annual flu shot is highly recommended and a pneumonia vaccine if advised by the doctor are ways to prevent these infectious diseases and their life-threatening complications.
Seniors are predisposed to depression which is a health concern because it can lower immunity and can compromise the ability to fight diseases. Treatment with medication and therapy and other methods are geared to improve senior living by increasing physical activity and social interaction.
It is another misconception to say that having fallen teeth during senior years is normal. Normally, teeth should be in their proper places for a lifetime. Excellent oral health is essential not just for eating and smiling, but also for overall senior health.
The oral cavity tends to become dryer and cavities are more difficult to prevent during senior life. This makes proper oral health care, including regular dental checkups a priority among seniors.