Arising medical issues and disease certainly aren’t limited to people over 65. But as we age, the risk factors for disease increase. What are some of the most common conditions or diseases face by older adult? And how can we fight to prevent our risks for these diseases?
7 Most Common Diseases and Conditions For Older Adults
According to the National Council on Aging, 58% of people over the age of 65 chronically suffer from hypertension, which is high blood pressure. This is the number one chronic condition afflicting older adults. Know what the numbers should be (read 6 Tips To Stay On Top Of Your Blood Pressure for more information) and know what your numbers are.
PREVENTION PRO TIP – To manage or prevent high blood pressure, the secret lies in education and action. Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, eat a diet low in alcohol and salt and exercise regularly.
High cholesterol has been getting a lot of press in the last 10-20 years, as we’ve begun to understand more and more how it affects our heart health. Up to 47% of our older population has high cholesterol. Of course, there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, so the key is to understanding what is what. Read here for a great article on understanding your cholesterol levels.
PREVENTION PRO TIP – Keeping control over your saturated fats, sodium and alcohol consumption will make a marked difference for most people. There are also foods that may promote the “healthy” cholesterol; ask your doctor for more details.
Coronary Heart Disease
29% of adults over the age of 65 suffer with Coronary Heart Disease. It’s still the number one cause of death for seniors. A number of factors go into what causes heart issues, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
PREVENTION PRO TIP – By managing and controlling our blood pressure and cholesterol, we’re going a long way in prevention for chronic heart related issues.
Arthritis can affect us in different forms; osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia to name a few. Osteoarthritis is the most common and can affect both men and women. 31% of seniors suffer from some type of arthritis. Inflammation, pain, stiffness and damage to the joints are some of the symptoms.
PREVENTION PRO TIP – Managing a healthy weight is critical to removing pressure from your joints. Reducing your body weight by even one pound can lower the pressure on your knees by 4 pounds!
Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
Dementia refers to syndromes in which memory and cognitive ability is impaired. Alzheimer’s is a specific type of dementia in which symptoms may be:
- Memory loss
- Mood changes
- Challenges in concentration
- Difficulty in communication
- Depression and apathy
- Impaired decision making ability
PREVENTION PRO TIP – Stanford Health Care indicates, “Dementia is hard to prevent, because what causes it often is not known. But people who have dementia caused by stroke may be able to prevent future declines by lowering their risk of heart disease and stroke. Even if you don’t have these known risks, your overall health can benefit from these strategies:
- Don’t smoke.
- Stay at a healthy weight.
- Get plenty of exercise.
- Eat healthy food.
- Manage health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
- Stay mentally alert by learning new hobbies, reading, or solving crossword puzzles.
- Stay involved socially. Attend community activities, church, or support groups.”
27% of older adults suffer from diabetes. The good news is that diabetes can be diagnosed and addressed early. Simple blood tests can be checked if you feel you’re at risk. Speak with your doctor if you have any concerns, as one of the keys to management is early diagnosis.
PREVENTION PRO TIP – As with many other conditions, exercising, maintaining an appropriate weight and eating a diet consisting of healthy foods makes management easier and keeps risks to a minimum.
Depression does not only affect older people and is certainly not a “normal part of aging”. Depression can cause sadness, fatigue, feelings of hopelessness, loss in interest in activities and many more symptoms. If you feel you have any signs of depression, speak with your medical health professional about it or click here for a list of resources.
PREVENTION PRO TIP – Learning how to manage stress levels, eating a whole-foods, healthy diet and staying in touch with friends and loved ones are all important steps for our mental health.
With quick access to a plethora of medical information via the internet, it is not prudent to rely on “medical websites” to diagnose or indicate what medical conditions or diseases you may have.
If you have any questions regarding your health, it’s always best to first speak with your doctor or your loved one’s medical health professionals.
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Do you have questions about how you can better support your loved one while they age in place in South Florida or regarding homecare in general? Please contact CareGivers of America here: Contact or call us toll free: 800-342-4197
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*No information in this article is to be taken as advice, medical or otherwise. This post is not sponsored, but may contain external links to websites, articles or product examples. External links are used for example or refence purposes only and these links do not indicate specific product or website endorsement by CareGivers of America.