Common Health Conditions for Seniors

nfortunately, as you age, your risk of developing a wide variety of health conditions will increase significantly. This is due to a weakened immune system, the progressive wear and tear of your organs, your changing lifestyle and your genetics. If you’re aware of the importance of taking care of your health as you age, it’s a wise idea to learn about some of the most common health conditions that affect seniors. 

With this knowledge, you’ll be able to talk to a health care professional as soon as you notice any of the symptoms that are explained in detail below. 

Arthritis

Arthritis refers to the inflammation of joints and is most commonly diagnosed in mature adults who are over the age of 65. If you experience regular joint pain, swelling or stiffness, you may want to talk to your doctor about the possibility that you may have developed arthritis. Seeing a doctor is especially important if you’ve noticed that the skin around your sore joints often turns red or that your joints feel extra stiff or sore in the mornings. For instance, if you wake up feeling pain in your neck and shoulder on a frequent basis, you may be suffering from arthritis symptoms. 

While there are over 100 different types of arthritis, one of the most common types of arthritis, osteoarthritis, is caused by the wear and tear of the cartilage tissue around your joints that absorbs the pressure caused by your movements. After decades of wear and tear, it’s not unusual to develop osteoarthritis, especially if you’re over 65 years old. Some other examples of arthritis that elders are commonly diagnosed with include rheumatoid arthritis, infectious arthritis and gout. 

If you are diagnosed with arthritis, your doctor will come up with a treatment plan that is specific to the type of arthritis that you suffer from. One commonly prescribed treatment for osteoarthritis is the use of topical heat packs, which provide excellent pain relief. 

Cataracts

Elderly people frequently develop cataracts, an eye condition that occurs when the tissue that comprises the lens of the human eye becomes cloudy. If you develop cataracts, your vision may become impaired. If you fail to treat your cataracts, you may lose your sight.

Ageing is the most common cause of cataracts. However, cataracts can also be caused by eye injuries or separate health issues such as diabetes and genetics. Thankfully, cataracts are treatable. If you’re diagnosed with cataracts, you can undergo surgery in order to remove your cloudy lens so that it can be replaced with an artificial lens that will restore your clear, healthy sight.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is another optical disease that is prevalent among older individuals. Glaucoma is a term that is used to refer to a group of serious eye conditions that involve damage to the nerve that connects the eye to the brain. One of the most common causes of glaucoma is high eye blood pressure. 

The most common type of glaucoma, open angle glaucoma, only has one symptom to watch out for: the slow loss of vision. If you believe that your vision has become blurrier as you’ve aged or you’ve noticed that your vision seems slightly distorted, it’s well worth booking an appointment with your optician as soon as possible. While glaucoma can’t be cured, it can be effectively treated, which will significantly slow down the rate of your eyesight deteriorating. Glaucoma is the number one factor that leads to blindness in individuals over the age of 60. 

Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is one of the most common chronic diseases that affects senior citizens. It’s a degenerative, cognitive disease that affects memory and logic and is the leading cause of Dementia. Alzheimer’s is usually caused by a change in brain tissue that can occur over a long period of time. Most individuals who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are aged 65 or older, as it is a disease that primarily affects older individuals. However, it is possible for younger individuals to be diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, individuals may simply struggle to remember names and events. In the subsequent stages of Alzheimer’s, individuals may be unable to take care of themselves and may require full time assistance to live their everyday lives. They may no longer be able to make wise decisions and may burn themselves trying to cook or may forget how to shower themselves.

If you often forget where you placed items in your home and are starting to have difficulty putting names to faces, you may want to talk to your local doctor about your symptoms.

High Blood Pressure

One of the most common medical conditions that affects elders is high blood pressure. This condition is especially dangerous, as it may be very difficult to tell whether or not you have high blood pressure. Individuals with high blood pressure can feel fit and healthy. 

What is high blood pressure? Your blood pressure measures the force of your blood, which pushes against the walls of your body’s arteries. If your blood pressure is too high, it can cause damage to your body and can cause you to experience a painful stroke or to develop heart disease. As a result, many seniors who suffer from high blood pressure are chronically ill. 

In most cases, seniors who are diagnosed with high blood pressure are given daily medications to safely lower their blood pressure. If high blood pressure is left untreated, it can lead to a wide variety of serious health conditions, including heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. All of these are potentially lethal. 

Diabetes

Diabetes is an umbrella term that refers to diseases that cause the body to produce a surplus of blood sugar that results in high blood glucose. If your body is unable to control its blood sugar levels, your body may not produce enough insulin to regulate your blood sugar or your body’s cells may have become resistant to insulin, a chemical that is formed in your pancreas. 

If you’ve ever smoked in your life, your chances of developing diabetes is likely to be higher than the average individual’s chance of developing diabetes. Poor diet and exercise can also lead to type 2 diabetes.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis refers to a very common condition among elders in which the bones start to lose their strength and become brittle and more prone to breaking. In order to prevent your bones breaking if you slip in your home, doctors recommend to consume a healthy diet and to take part in weight-bearing exercises. Additionally, there are medications available that can help treat osteoporosis. 

As you age, it’s important to take note of any health symptoms that you may experience, so that you’ll be able to talk to your doctor about your health symptoms. The sooner that any diseases you may have developed are diagnosed, the quicker you’ll be able to receive effective treatments for your illness or disease.