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Common Illnesses Among The Elderly

 

In the United States, there are more than 50 million people over 65. This means that one in five Americans is a senior citizen! Many factors contribute to this fact. It’s essential to know that seniors are more susceptible to certain illnesses and health conditions. This article will list the most common illnesses among seniors.

Heart Disease

Heart disease has been the number one cause of death in America for decades. It is expected to kill more than 600,000 people this year alone! Generally speaking, heart disease occurs when plaque builds up in your arteries and limits blood flow throughout the body. This condition can be caused by high cholesterol levels or unhealthy lifestyles (i.e., smoking, poor diet). However, genetics also play a factor since some families are at risk for developing cardiovascular diseases like coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathy.

Diabetes

Currently, 29 million Americans are living with diabetes. People with diabetes have problems regulating their sugar intake, which causes them to experience elevated blood glucose levels over an extended period. Unfortunately, these high glucose levels can damage the eyes, kidneys, heart, and other vital organs if left untreated. Diabetes is a severe disease that can lead to blindness, amputations, and even death. Diabetes is a hereditary condition, which means that your parents or grandparents may have been diagnosed with it.

Cancer

One in three Americans will develop cancer at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, cancer is also one of the leading causes of death among seniors. Many different types of cancer can affect people at any age, but certain cancers are more common in older adults. These include breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer.  Seniors are also at risk for developing blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects memory and cognitive function. It is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive impairments. Alzheimer’s disease usually affects people over 65, and there is currently no cure for it. The disease causes nerve cells in the brain to die, which leads to a decline in mental abilities. As the disease progresses, individuals will lose their ability to care for themselves and eventually require full-time care.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that primarily affects movement. It occurs when dopamine-producing cells in the brain start to die off, resulting in balance, coordination, and walking problems. Parkinson’s disease can occur at any age, but it is most commonly diagnosed in people over 60. As people get older, their skin cells naturally produce less collagen and elastin. These proteins are essential for healthy cell growth, meaning Parkinson’s symptoms appear faster in seniors than in younger adults.



Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis only affects about five percent of seniors every year, but it is still something worth knowing about! Osteoporosis occurs when bones become brittle and weak due to a lack of calcium and magnesium. Over time, this loss can cause bones to break more easily during minor impacts or falls. After tripping or falling on uneven surfaces, seniors with osteoporosis typically experience hip fractures (leading to serious health complications).

Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints, causing pain and inflammation. There are many different types of arthritis, but the most common one is osteoarthritis, caused by wear and tears on the joints. Arthritis can affect people at any age, but it is more common in seniors. As we get older, our bones lose density and become less flexible. This makes them more susceptible to joint damage and pain. Arthritis can make it difficult to perform everyday activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, and getting dressed.

Respiratory Diseases

Respiratory diseases are illnesses that affect the lungs and airways. They can cause coughing, wheezing, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Respiratory diseases are prevalent in seniors and can lead to serious health complications like pneumonia and bronchitis. Many respiratory diseases are caused by viruses or bacteria, which can be prevented through good hygiene practices and vaccinations. Respiratory diseases can be treated with medication and oxygen therapy, but surgery may be necessary in some cases.

Shingles

Shingles are a viral infection that affects the skin. It is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox and typically occurs in people over 60. Shingles can cause a rash, blisters, and severe pain. While there is no cure for shingles, it can be treated with medication or therapy. Surgery may be necessary to relieve symptoms or prevent further damage in some cases. Shingles can be prevented with a vaccine, but it is only recommended for seniors over 60.

Depression

Depression is a mental health condition that causes sadness, hopelessness, and despair. Depression is ubiquitous in seniors and can be caused by many different factors like physical illness, social isolation, or grief over the death of a loved one. It can interfere with daily activities and lead to thoughts of suicide. Depression can be treated with medication and therapy, but it is essential to get help if you think you may be depressed.

Conclusion

Many different illnesses can affect seniors. It’s important to know how to spot the symptoms. Consultessential as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for preventing severe health complications.

 

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