Common Elderly Diseases
6 Common Diseases In Your Senior Years
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the most common chronic health condition among adults aged 65 years or over. It's often referred to as the "silent killer". Usually, the condition doesn't have any symptoms, but it can cause severe damage to the blood vessels and increases the risks of having a heart attack and strokes.
Genes have their role to play in high blood pressure and lifestyle is the biggest contributing factor, which is why some of the steps you can take to prevent hypertension revolve around lifestyle changes. These include:
- Reducing the amount of stress in your life
- Limiting alcohol and salt intake
- Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight
Arthritis is also quite common among the elderly. It affects slightly less than half of the elderly population. Even though the condition is not fatal, it significantly impacts the quality of life of the individual as it can cause chronic and lifelong pain.
Arthritis can prevent you from leading an active lifestyle, which not only worsens the conditions, but creates an environment for other complications to creep in.
For patients who have arthritis, the best approach is to work with a doctor to have a customised activity plan, which together with treatment can help you maintain a comfortable lifestyle.
Cancer accounts for hundreds of thousands of deaths every year. Even though the amount of deaths caused by cancer are decreasing with the help of technology, early detection and diagnosis, the disease still poses a threat to all seniors.
Seniors need to be regularly screened for cancer, particularly for types of cancers that are extremely common among seniors such as skin cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer.
Other than the regular screens, there are also measures that can help reduce the chances of cancer. These include regular exercise, avoiding carcinogens like alcohol and tobacco and adopting a healthy diet.
In case you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, improving the quality of life is very important. Work with a cancer care specialist to help come up with a formidable treatment plan to fight the disease. Luckily thanks to research and technology, there are more effective ways and medications to help fight cancer.
The elderly are at higher risk of suffering from high cholesterol levels because of their reduced activity levels. If it’s not managed, the condition often leads to heart disease, which can easily cause death.
There are several ways to deal with high cholesterol to avert the imminent danger of contracting other more severe conditions. These include:
- Regular exercise and adopting an active lifestyle
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Eating healthy and reducing the amount of saturated fats you eat
- Quit smoking
- Cut alcohol or reduce alcohol intake
Diabetes in the elderly often occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin to keep the amount of glucose in the blood in check. As a result, the glucose content in the blood becomes too high.
If the condition is not treated, the high sugar levels in the blood can damage the heart, eyes, kidneys, nerves and even blood vessels.
Diabetes often leads to other chronic conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, nerve problems, gum infections and blindness.
Considering more than a quarter of the elderly population live with diabetes, it’s imperative to take steps to safeguard yourself or better manage the condition to keep it from escalating. There are a few steps you can take:
- Start eating a healthy diet and watch the amount of carbs and calories you take in
- Exercise regularly, 30 minutes a day, five times a week is a great start
- If you've been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, you will need to lose about 5-7 percent of your body weight
- Cut alcohol from your diet completely
Influenza and Pneumonia
Pneumonia and the flu are not considered chronic conditions. However, they often affect the elderly and can be deadly if not addressed swiftly. One of the measures you can take to reduce chances of contracting either condition is to make sure you have a flu shot and a pneumonia vaccine every year. Developing either of these conditions can cause life-threatening complications.
It's evident that as you grow older, there's more you need to be cautious about, especially with illnesses and chronic conditions. Taking appropriate steps like visiting a healthcare centre often, staying up to date with your vaccinations and adopting a healthy lifestyle are all crucial in helping you live a longer and more productive life.