Whether they are staying at home or in hospice care, elderly people’s declining health has always been a cause of concern. After all, they are susceptible to a ton of illness. So, here are the top ten health issues that you need to watch out for as you grow older.
Elderly Health Issue No. 1: Heart Ailments
As people age, the health of their organs starts to decline. One of the most critical of these organs is the heart. According to the National Council On Aging, around 80 percent of seniors have at least one chronic heart ailment. Meanwhile, 70% have at least two or more.
One of the most common heart ailments for seniors is coronary heart disease. This is caused by the buildup of fatty substances in the arteries, which block the flow of blood. The disease can be exacerbated by various conditions like smoking, an inactive lifestyle, and diabetes.
Elderly Health Issue no. 2: Cancer
Cancer is the second leading cause of death among people over the age of 65. The disease happens when cells start to multiply uncontrollably, resulting in tumors. This leads to a severe disruption of the body’s health.
There are over 200 different types of cancer that affect older people. Scientists have yet to know what exactly causes these. But they have noted that an unhealthy lifestyle during their earlier years can influence seniors’ susceptibility. It should also be noted that cancer can be treated if detected and dealt with early.
Elderly Health Issue no. 3: Respiratory Illnesses
While people of any age can have respiratory diseases, seniors are especially vulnerable to them due to their weaker immune systems. The effects can also be more severe due to their age. Some of the common ailments that the elderly can encounter include:
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
These can increase the risk of other ailments like pneumonia and infections. However, with the right medication and careful health management, people with respiratory issues can breathe easier.
Elderly Health Issue no. 4: Diabetes
Diabetes is a condition where the body is not able to properly use insulin to metabolize sugar. This leads to an excessive amount of sugar in the bloodstream that can trigger various other complications. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 25% of people aged 65 and older suffer from the disease.
The condition can be triggered by different factors, most notably improper dietary habits. But if detected early, patients can better control it. Aside from medication, seniors can lower their risk by having a healthy and balanced diet, as well as an active lifestyle.
Elderly Health Issue no. 5: Arthritis
Outside of the above serious conditions, arthritis is another major health concern for elderly adults. It occurs when the joints become inflamed. This results in severe pain and restricts a person’s movements.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type that affects senior citizens. It is mainly due to the gradual wear and tear that happens to the bones over time. The condition can be hastened by injuries or infections. Seniors have higher risks of falls due to arthritic joints. There is currently no cure for the condition but painkillers can make sufferers more comfortable and allow them to move more freely.
Elderly Health Issue no. 6: Cognitive Decline
As people grow older, their ability to remember, think and learn gradually decreases. This leads to a variety of cognitive disorders collectively known as dementia. One common disorder is Alzheimer’s, which affects around five million people in the United States yearly. The condition is characterized by progressive memory lapses that lead to significant personality changes.
As it is a progressive condition, doctors can only prescribe a management plan for the symptoms. This includes medication that lessens the severity of these episodes. Meanwhile, hospice care providers offer comprehensive care programs for seniors with severe cases.
Elderly Health Issue no. 7: Mental Disorders
The various health issues that elderly people experience can also take a toll on their mental health. Depression is one common disorder that they can suffer, occurring in seven percent of the elderly population. It can happen as they grapple with the realization that they aren’t what they used to be.
Mental issues can also be triggered by environmental factors. The COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, has had a significant effect on elderly mental health. Seniors found themselves not being able to do the things that they previously enjoyed due to travel restrictions. Aside from psychological intervention, strong support from family and friends will help them better cope with such conditions.
Elderly Health Issue no. 8: Sensory Impairment
With their declining bodies, elderly people also experience increasing sensory impairment. Vision and hearing are the two common types that they will encounter. In the US alone, one in six older people will have some form of visual impairment. Meanwhile, one in four have hearing issues.
Luckily, most of these impairments can be treated with the use of tools like glasses and hearing aids. Meanwhile, more severe ones like cataracts may require some form of surgical intervention. Early diagnosis also helps lessen their severity.
Elderly Health Issues no. 9: Oral Health
This is often an overlooked issue but oral health can have a significant impact on an elderly person’s overall health. According to data from the CDC’s Oral Health Division, around 25% of adults over 65 will already have lost their original teeth. Meanwhile, around 68% of seniors suffer from gum disease.
If left untreated, poor oral health can impede a senior’s ability to eat a healthy diet. It can also lead to self-esteem issues that influence general well-being and might even lead to oral cancer. The main challenge is that seniors might have difficulty accessing dental services due to loss of insurance.
Elderly Health Issue no. 10: Malnutrition
As a person ages, their eating habits change significantly. This can lead to them not being able to get the right nutrition. Additionally, the above health issues can worsen any case of poor nutrition they have. Note that malnutrition can go both ways, seniors might be underweight or they might be obese.
Depending on their condition, they will need to undergo a significant change in diet to meet the proper nutritional needs. Services like hospice care providers can help implement these changes and manage their everyday meals.
When dealing with these health issues, seniors might find themselves at a loss. But don’t worry, many doctors like
Amavi and others can help you get past these and regain your health.