Wisdom comes with age and thanks to medical advancements, people are now living longer than ever before. Unfortunately, senior citizens are also afflicted with various health risks arising from changes to the body. These can cause higher susceptibility for injury, or greater likelihood of developing illnesses and taking longer to successfully clear them. Increasing the challenge for seniors is the fact that some conditions can co-exist, making treatment more complicated.
Here are eight health concerns common to your golden years:
Arthritis and Falls
Of all the challenges older people face, arthritis is the most common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that just under 50% of all seniors struggle with arthritis pain resulting from gout, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis.
Our bones also become more brittle with age, so a fall that a younger person could withstand can cause serious damage to a senior, including a broken hip or leg.
The medical term for the weakening of the immune system is immunosenescence and this is a common part of growing old. Food allergies can affect anyone from any age group, but Today’s Geriatric Medicine reports that it is an increasing concern for the elderly. Undiagnosed issues in this area can lead to inflammation problems, malabsorption, and a general malaise. Protein digestion often becomes a challenge in later years due to decreased stomach acid.
Our bodies are not always able to process food efficiently as we age. This can lead to people adopting diets that lack the sufficient nutritional value needed for healthy living. Seniors living without family or community support are sometimes unable to do their own grocery shopping. Those who are forgetful or in the early stages of dementia also tend not to take proper care of themselves. They may forget to eat or subsist on food with little nutritional value.
The foods that we eat play a large role in our overall bodily health. Foods high in cholesterol lead to an increase of fatty deposits in the blood. Plaque forms and accumulates in the artery walls. If the plaque dislodges, it can result in the blockage of an important heart artery.
High Blood Pressure
It is common for your blood pressure to increase with age. Thus, the older you are, it is less likely you are sustaining a healthy blood pressure of below 120/80. The higher your blood pressure, the more likely it is that you will sustain damage to your artery walls and heart.
The risk of cancer also increases as the body grows older. Individuals over the age of 65 are ten times more likely to have cancer and 16 times more likely to succumb to the disease. Even though developments continue in cancer prevention and treatment, the increasing percentage of the population living longer means that the number of senior cancer patients continues to rise.
Another common risk that comes from aging is degeneration of brain function, leading to various kinds of dementia. The Alzheimer Society of Canada reports that approximately 564,000 Canadians are living with dementia and that figure will likely rise by 66% to 937,000 over the next 15 years. There are 47.5 million people worldwide suffering from some form of dementia.
As the percentage of people carrying excess body weight continues to grow, the number of type 2 diabetes cases also rises. A leading cause of premature death, diabetes also has a greater impact on seniors in such categories as visual impairment, end-stage renal disease, lower-extremity amputation, and myocardial infarction.
Are you worried that your aging relatives are at risk for any of these health concerns? If so, it’s important to plan against emergencies or times of need. An emergency bracelet is the most effective way to quickly and effectively relate medical needs to those that can help.