Common Elderly Health Issues Decoded

elderly woman in wheelchair talking to the doctor

Getting older comes with its share of problems. Apart from gray hair, wrinkled skin, and difficulty being active, more bodily issues crop up from time to time. Most people in the Americas are living longer than before. It is due to improvements in healthcare facilities. Some data suggest that if you make it till 65, you can live for a decade more. But, of course, there is no staunch evidence.

Today, seniors are making healthier lifestyle choices and remain active. This helps them in maintaining bone and muscle health. Many are also veering towards long-forgotten hobbies. These allow the individuals to get a hold of their health. Many also give up non-vegetarian food, turn vegan and learn to live in sync with the environment. However, few common diseases are still diagnosed. But there is a way out if you are careful.

Read about common health issues that the elderly still faces.

an elder woman in wheelchair

Respiratory Diseases

Chronic lower respiratory diseases are pretty common in the elderly. Somehow, you cannot blame just old age for it. These are often neglected when the incumbent is young. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, is one such disease that many Americans suffer from. Additionally, it is the third-most common reason for death. Moreover, many older adults live with Asthma, where the respiratory tract gets inflamed. Chronic Bronchitis also poses another problem and is most common amongst COPD patients.

Chronic lung disorders often make the elderly susceptible to other diseases. They include pneumonia and other pulmonary infections. The doctors usually suggest that individuals undergo lung function tests. The proper medication also goes a long way in controlling the symptoms.

Arthritis

This is also quite common today. You will mostly come across two types of arthritis — osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In the former, the muscles and bones are inflamed and degenerate. While in the latter, the body’s immune system attacks the joints. There is no permanent cure once the condition sets in. However, you can get supportive accessories and prosthetics as well. Knee caps and braces for osteoarthritis are commonly suggested. These improve mobility and decrease the pain in the most complicated joint of the body.

It is the number one ailment that most seniors will complain of. You can alleviate your pain by taking your doctor into confidence. It may not provide you permanent cure but makes the pain and discomfort more manageable.

Diabetes

You will be bewildered to know that at least one-quarter of the U.S. aged above 60 years have diabetes. These figures are simply astounding. The condition is quite common because insulin production lessens with age. The body loses its power to convert all the available glucose into energy by lowering insulin reserves, and the sugars remain in the bloodstream and give rise to prediabetes and diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes today. It is called Diabetes Mellitus. Being overweight also contributes to the emergence of the disease. The body’s insulin resistance also increases manifold with old age. Apart from age and activity levels as deciding factors, genes also have a huge role to play here.

The problem with diabetes is that it can lead to severe heart damage, kidney damage, and liver damage. On being tested for blood sugar, you must work closely with your healthcare service provider. Medication is vital apart from lifestyle changes. Leading an active life lowers the incidence to a considerable extent.

Physical Injury

With age, the risk of injury also increases. Each year, many accidents involving seniors occur throughout the US. Most emergency departments report the cause of such accidents due to improper motor control. Most tripping hazards for the elderly population include carpets, rugs, and slippery bathroom floors.

The elderly are more susceptible to falls, as the muscles weaken a lot. Therefore, it is pretty easy to lose balance. Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, as discussed above, may also contribute to accidents now and then. The only way to avert this is to be careful in the presence of caregivers.

Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is a common ailment as you grow older. It can impact the quality of all the family members, though psychologically. It is often the reason for shame in front of guests. However, there is little that the elderly can do about it. The urinary bladder and the muscles around the urethra lose their elasticity ad thus lead to incontinence.

The muscles in the pelvic floor also become weak with age. Most men also suffer from an enlarged prostate, which can also be the reason for the condition. Avoiding bladder irritants like coffee and tannins can help to a certain extent. Apart from that, more fiber in the diet and a healthy weight make its management easy.

These are the most common elderly health issues. With age, more such conditions come to the fore. If you want to lead a healthy life, taking primary healthcare will be best.

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