7 Common Conditions Affecting the Elderly

It’s no secret that with age, health-related risks increase drastically. However, there are certain conditions that are more commonly found in the elderly than the young. That said, there is no reason to worry if you are aware of these conditions and know how you can manage them. Let’s take a look at them one by one:

1. Heart Conditions

Heart Conditions

The National Council on Aging says that close to 92% of seniors have at least one chronic disease, and 77% have at least two. Heart disease is one of the top four chronic diseases that causes nearly 2/3 of all deaths among the aged.

The heart is one of the most vital organs in a human body and after decades of pumping blood to different parts of the body, it can eventually grow weaker. Fortunately, there are many things that can reduce the symptoms of heart-related ailments which are:

• Cutting down on alcohol or removing it altogether

• Quitting smoking

• Exercising 20 minutes every day

• Lowering the consumption of bad fats (Trans fats and saturated fats).

 

2. Diabetes

According to a CDC report, 25% of the seniors have diabetes. Moreover, those who are 65 or older are at a much greater risk of becoming diabetic than others.

Diabetes is a condition in which your body is incapable of producing enough insulin to process the sugar in your blood. High blood sugar can have a serious long term impact on your health and it can also lead to kidney and heart diseases, terrible infections, etc.

The following are a few tips on managing diabetes:

• Losing excess weight

• Avoiding a sedentary lifestyle

• Reducing carbs and harmful fats in your diet.

 

3. Hypertension

Hypertension aka high blood pressure is commonly found in seniors. It’s often considered as one of the deadliest conditions as its symptoms aren’t always apparent. So, if you fail to take precautionary measures due to the lack of information or for some other reason, then you can increase the risk of heart attacks or stroke.

The following are some of the ways you can minimize the effects of hypertension:

• Switching to a low-sodium diet

• Avoiding stressful situations

• Practising yoga and meditation, especially early in the mornings.

 

4. Dehydration

Dehydration

Dehydration, i.e., the absence of adequate bodily fluids may seem like a harmless problem, but it can have an adverse impact on your health especially when you become older. This is because it’s linked to other serious problems like urinary tract infections and pneumonia. It doesn’t help that there are significant deficiencies in hydration health literacy among the elderly.

The following are a few tips on preventing dehydration:

• Drinking at least 3 litres of water every day. You can also incorporate select drinks into your diet which include natural fruit juices, green tea, etc

• Limiting the consumption of fluids-depleting drinks like alcohol and caffeinated coffee.

 

5. Mental Disorders

Just like physical health, mental health starts to deteriorate with age, which explains why around 15% of adults of age 60 and above suffer from at least one mental disorder. Common conditions include Parkinson’s, depression, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s disease. Some of these, like depression, can also result from physical conditions. However, you can cope with most of these problems by taking certain steps like:

• Picking up a new hobby like knitting, pottery, etc

• Playing mind games like puzzles or even reading/writing

• Adopting a pet

• Getting adequate physical exercise on a daily basis.

 

6. Arthritis

 Arthritis is another common elderly condition which affects almost half of all people of age 65 and above. It isn’t really life-threatening but can have a massive impact on your quality of life by causing an almost-permanent pain in muscles and large joints. It can also come in the way of participating in daily activities.

The following are some of the ways you can lessen the symptoms of arthritis whether it’s Rheumatoid Arthritis or Osteoarthritis:

• Participating in physical exercises, especially those designed for arthritis

• Trying to be mindful of protecting your joints when engaging in daily activities

• Including more anti-inflammatory foods in your diet which include nuts, olive oil, fatty fishes like salmon, etc.

 

7. Chronic Constipation

Chronic Constipation

Constipation is a fairly common problem which usually doesn’t have a serious impact on your health. However, when it becomes frequent and severe, then it can cause problems like bloating, anal fissures, hemorrhoids, etc.

The root cause of constipation can be as simple as a lack of enough fiber in diet or lack of exercising. Thus, resolving these issues can also get rid of constipation and related problems.

The following are some of the things you can do to prevent chronic constipation:

• Including more fruits and leafy vegetables in your diet or taking fibre supplements

• Exercising regularly to maintain healthy bowel movements

• Staying hydrated.

 

Living a Healthy Life is Possible Even in Old Age

No one is immune to health problems. However, watching your food and lifestyle alone can go a long way in keep most of these problems away. For specific conditions, the information above can be of great help. So, take care, stay healthy.