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Common diseases of the elderly

Aging isn't easyGrowing old isn’t easy, ageing imposes many challenges on the authorities and the individuals. With age comes many illnesses; the growth of life expectancy only intensifies the problem. The population of old people is growing in the world, it has become a huge burden on society in relation to medical treatments, employment, social security and other issues. The world’s healthcare systems are facing common diseases which old people suffer from, most illnesses are incurable but due to sophisticated medical treatments, and medication, those who suffer from ‘elderly’ diseases have a longer life expectancy.

Below is a list of the most common diseases elderly people suffer;

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia; a disease which is characterized by loss of memory and is incurable. It is diagnosed in elderly people over the age of 67. It is a progressive disease which worsens over the years. An Alzheimer patient suffers from behavioral symptoms, dementia and emotional problems as well. The patient has damage in areas of the brain which control the language, conscious thought and reasoning. Loss of memory is very disturbing to the patient and its surroundings, an Alzheimer patient will eventually not recognize his family or even himself. It is important to place a note with the Alzheimer patient’s name and address if he/she gets lost and cannot remember how to get home.

Diabetes, usually affects people at the age of 45-65 years of age, the body declines the ability to use insulin. Our modern lifestyle is a major factor in getting diabetes. Obese people who consume sugary and fatty food. People who suffer from Diabetes and especially the elderly, have a very high risk of developing kidney disorders, heart attacks, strokes and eye disorders. There are many drugs in the market today which control the sugar in the blood.

Urinary incontinence, older people find it hard to control the flow of their urine, there is a leak of urine caused due to the weakening of the sphincter muscles. When there is a flow of uncontrolled urine, elderly people feel ashamed and so a solution will either be an adult diaper or start exercising to strengthen the muscle.

Stroke is caused when there is a block in one of the arteries leading to the brain. Elderly people suffer more than young people from strokes because the might have co-morbid conditions that lead to blood clots. A doctor must give a patient who had a stroke a T-PA which breaks up blood clots in the arteries of the brain.

Cancer; Elderly people are more prone to the following types of cancer; stomach, colon, lung and prostate. The exact reasons are not known as to why these cancers are more common with elderly people but some believe that elderly people have a gradual degradation of the cells and since their immune system is weak they are subject to this disease.

Arthritis occurs due to the wear and tear of cartilage. There are other reasons for arthritis but osteoarthritis is mostly seen in the elderly. The cartilage is in between the bones, when it reaches the point that it becomes thin then the bones rub against each other which causes difficulty in moving the joint and causes pain. There are many treatments to ease the pain including surgical interventions.

Tremors occur to elderly people where they start to shiver /shake uncontrollably. It is caused due to a slow degradation of the nerves and passage of impulses between the brain and the part of the body that is at work. Parkinson is also a movement disorder (tremor), it’s a neurological disorder that affects nerve cells in the brain.

Eye diseases also affect elderly people such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract and AMD which is a damage of the retina due to abnormal blood vessel growth.

Depression is a disease which elderly people suffer from due to loss of loved ones, loneliness or changes in lifestyles. Depression leads to fatigue, memory impairment, it is dealt with antidepressant drugs and sessions with a psychologist or joining support groups.

Osteoporosis is a disease which causes the elderly to loose density of the bones and thus become weaker and prone to fractions. The problem with osteoporosis is that you don’t feel any pain until you break a leg. Exercising is the best way to strengthen your bones and helps reduce risks of injury (if you’re fit your chances of falling are lower).It is also important to eat food with calcium from an early age.

Hearing loss is a common age disease.  Millions of Americans suffer from loss of hearing in what is called “presbycusis”. The ear is a complex structure, at old age like other sensory organs, the organ fails to function properly. Exposure to harmful noises over the years lead to loss of ‘hair cells’ , also smokers tend to suffer from loss of hearing at older age.

Illnesses related to old age can be mostly prevented. Healthy lifestyle from an early age can delay the aging process and assist in curing many diseases. Build good habits which will help you live healthier and improve your longevity in general.