Common Health Conditions for Seniors

Health is an important issue for seniors. If you are a senior, you are unfortunately more likely to be at risk for many conditions, both physical and mental.

As you get older, your body naturally grows weaker. In addition, your body has already experienced wear and tear over the course of your life, which makes you more vulnerable to certain medical conditions. Some specific ailments seniors are more at risk for include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, arthritis and dementia. In addition, there are a variety of vision and hearing related problems seniors have a higher risk of developing. Some of these are general problems and are not related to a specific condition.

However, being at risk for a physical or mental condition does not mean you will automatically develop one. There are many steps you can take to protect your health and prevent any issues from developing. By understanding your health risks, you can take preventative measures to prepare yourself and potentially avoid any illnesses.

Cardiovascular Disease and Seniors

Cardiovascular disease refers to a number of different diseases that involve the heart. Technically, cardiovascular diseases involve blood vessels, but they are most commonly linked to heart attacks, chest pains and strokes. While cardiovascular disease can affect younger men and women, it is much more likely to affect seniors. There are many negative symptoms associated with cardiovascular disease. Many of these symptoms relate to joint pain and your movement becoming difficult, due to your vessels stiffening and collagen accumulating in your body.

Unfortunately, treatment for a cardiovascular disease becomes more complicated as you age. As a senior, you are at risk for several other health conditions. If you are at a high risk for a cerebrovascular disease, heart or kidney failure, arthritis, diabetes or hypertension, treatment for cardiovascular disease is much more limited. In addition, if you are taking any medication for existing issues, your treatment options are even more limited.

Type 2 Diabetes and Seniors

Type 2 diabetes has become very common among seniors. Type 2 diabetes causes a number of symptoms, including vision loss, nerve damage, slower healing and an increased chance of developing an infection. It can also lead to other conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases. Type 2 diabetes is such a problem for seniors because they are already at risk for many of these symptoms. If you already have an existing condition, it is very likely type 2 diabetes will cause the condition to worsen. You may have type 2 diabetes for years before it fully manifests. If you constantly suffer from any of the following symptoms, you may already have type 2 diabetes:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Sudden weight gain or weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • General numbness or tingling in your nerves
  • Gum disease

Senior Arthritis

Arthritis is most commonly associated with stiff joint pain. However, there are multiple types of arthritis. Each type of arthritis has different symptoms, as well as treatments. Some types of arthritis are much more noticeable because they cause physical pain or swelling in your joints, while others may not be as present but slowly cause damage to your body. The three most common types of arthritis among the elderly include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. Of the three, you are most likely to develop osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is considered the classic example of arthritis, since it is the one that causes stiff joint pain. The pain is caused by your cartilage weakening and gradually wearing away. Without cartilage, your bones rub against each other, which causes pain. Osteoarthritis can occur in different parts of the body, but it is most common in the hands, neck and lower back. Larger weight bearing joints are considered high risk, as well, including your knees and hips.

Types of Dementia

Dementia is a broad term to refer to any mental condition that causes a loss of memory or other mental abilities. Dementia is caused by a physical change in the brain, which can cause varying, severe symptoms. Treatment and prevention options vary depending on the type of dementia. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease, but there are many other forms of dementia, as well. Some of the other types of dementia include the following:

  • Frontotemporal Dementia
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
  • Mixed Dementia
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Vascular Dementia
  • Parkinson’s Disease Dementia
  • Korsakoff Syndrome

Osteoporosis and Seniors

Osteoporosis is sometimes confused with Osteoarthritis due to the similar names and being common among seniors. However, the two are different conditions. Osteoporosis is a medical condition where your bones become less dense over time, which increases the chance of a fracture. Osteoporosis can cause a loss of height, intense back pain and overall changes in your posture. In severe cases, it will also impact your ability to walk and may lead to permanent disability. Osteoporosis is influenced by many different factors. If you frequently drink or smoke, you have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis as a senior. Low calcium intake, family history and prolonged use of specific medication will also increase your chances of developing osteoporosis.

Eye Problems and Seniors

For most adults, your vision begins to decline right around the time you turn 40. By the time you turn 50, you are encouraged to visit an eye care professional to undergo a comprehensive dilated eye exam. The older you are, the greater the chance you have of developing an eye condition. Unfortunately, many eye diseases do not have any warning signs or symptoms. A dilated eye exam is one of the few ways to potentially catch vision problems early. After your first exam, your eye care professional may recommend more frequent exams. Some of the most common vision problems include the following:

  • Age-related Macular Degeneration
  • Cataract
  • Diabetic Eye Disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Dry Eye
  • Low Vision

Age Related Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is most common as you get older because your hearing sensors do not heal over time after they are damaged. As a result, you slowly accumulate hearing damage throughout your life, with many hearing problems manifesting in the later part of your life. Hearing loss is also caused by other common medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Certain medications also cause minor damage to your hearing. In terms of treatment and prevention, your options are limited. Since your hearing sensors will not heal over time, the best option to keep your hearing is to avoid potential sources of damaging noises whenever possible.

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