Getting older can bring senior health challenges. By being aware of these common chronic conditions, you can take steps to stave off disease as you age.
Making healthy lifestyle choices, like quitting smoking and losing weight, can help you avoid senior health risks, though “you also need to be physically active and eat a healthy diet.”
Arthritis is probably the number one condition that people 65 or older contend with. Although arthritis can discourage you from being active, it’s important to work with your doctor to develop a personalized activity plan that, along with other treatment, can help maintain senior health.
- Heart Disease
Heart disease remains the leading killer of adults over age 65 and in Nigeria lower than 65 years. As people age, they’re increasingly living with risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, that increase the chances of having a stroke or developing heart disease.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death among people over age 65. If caught early through screenings, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and skin checks, many types of cancer are treatable. And though you’re not always able to prevent cancer, you can improve your quality of life as a senior living with cancer, including during treatment, by working with your medical team and maintaining their healthy senior living recommendations.
- Respiratory Diseases
Chronic lower respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are the third most common cause of death among people 65 and older. Although having a chronic respiratory disease increases senior health risks, making you more vulnerable to pneumonia and other infections, getting lung function tests and taking the correct medication, or using oxygen as instructed, will go a long way toward preserving senior health and your quality of life.
- Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease accounted many death especially with seniors over 65. Because diagnosis is challenging, it’s difficult to know exactly how many people are living with this chronic condition. Still, experts acknowledge that cognitive impairment has a significant impact on senior health across the spectrum, from issues of safety and self-care to the cost burden of care, either in the home or a residential facility.
Osteoporosis can contribute to becoming less mobile and potentially disabled should you fall and have a fracture or as the vertebral bodies collapse.
It is estimated that many people aged 65 and older are living with diabetes, a significant senior health risk. Diabetes can be identified and addressed early with simple blood tests for blood sugar levels. The sooner you know that you have or are at risk for diabetes, the sooner you can start making changes to control the disease and improve your long-term senior health outlook.
- Influenza and Pneumonia
Although the flu and pneumonia aren’t chronic conditions, these infections are among the top eight causes of death in people over age 65. Seniors are more vulnerable to these diseases and less able to fight them off. Senior healthcare recommendations include getting an annual flu shot, and getting the pneumonia vaccine if recommended by your doctor, to prevent these infections and their life-threatening complications.
The risk for falls increases with age and most falls occur in the home, where tripping hazards include area rugs and slippery bathroom floors.
- Substance Abuse
. Substance and alcohol abuse are a concern for senior health because of possible interactions with prescription medication, their impact on overall health, and the increased senior health risks, such as falls, associated with intoxication.
Obesity is an important senior health risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer — all chronic conditions that impact quality of life. As the numbers on the scale increase, so does the risk for disease. It can also be a signal that an older adult isn’t as active or mobile as he or she once was.
A threat to senior health, depression can lower immunity and can compromise a person’s ability to fight infections. In addition to treatment with medication and therapy, other ways to improve senior living might be to increase physical activity, spend their free time with family and friends.
- Oral Health
Healthy teeth and gums are important not just for a pretty smile and easy eating, but also for overall senior health. As you age, your mouth tends to become dryer and cavities are more difficult to prevent, so proper oral health care, including regular dental checkups, should be a senior healthcare priority
Today, a high percentage of adults ages 65 and older had incomes below the poverty level, unemployed or retired. Poverty affects senior health if you’re unable to afford doctor visits, medication for chronic conditions, and other essential senior healthcare needs.
Remember that bout of chicken pox you had as a kid? It can come back as shingles when you’re an adult. According to the National Institute of Health in USA, one out of three people over 60 will get shingles, and 50 percent of all Americans will experience it before they’re 80. It usually affects only one side of your body, starting out with severe pain or tingling and then developing into an itchy rash and possibly blisters. There is a vaccine available, so talk to your doctor about it.
Credit: By Madeline R. Vann, MPH – https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/most-common-health-concerns-seniors/ and Jeanne Wei, MD, PhD, Executive director of the Reynolds Institute on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, USA