Once you turn over the age of 65 your body just stops fighting off diseases like it did in your younger days. Also, diseases that felt like a slap on the wrist when you were in your 20s will run the risk of killing you when you’re in your 60s and 70s.
This sounds scary, but there are ways that you can prevent your risk for these diseases while you’re young, and handle them while you’re old. Here are some of these common medical issues that you may face when you’re over the age of 65 and how they could affect you.
You probably heard your parents and grandparents complaining about arthritis a lot while you were growing up. That’s because it’s one of the most common diseases to affect the elderly. It happens when the cartilage between your bones starts to wear down and it can cause joint pain, swelling, decreased mobility, and stiffness.
While it’s not a life-threatening disease unless it causes you to fall, it can decrease your way of living and have your loved ones telling you to create a moving to assisted living checklist. Depending on the severity of it, you might find some relief in the form of ibuprofen.
2. Heart Disease
Heart disease is and probably always has been the leading killer in adults over the age of 60. See, as you age you become more and more vulnerable to the risk factors that cause the disease like low blood pressure, obesity, and high cholesterol.
The best defense against heart disease is by staying as active as you can and watching what you eat. Keeping yourself at a healthy weight won’t only help you against heart disease but increase your health all around.
As we go about our daily lives, our bones are hard at work breaking down old versions of themselves and replacing them with new. As we reach our 20s, we hit our peak bone mass and then as we get older and older, we stop making as many new bones.
This is where osteoporosis comes in. We stop making new bones as often, or we lose too much of our old bones. The result? Very weak and brittle bones that are vulnerable to fracturing.
Increased risk of bone fractures is one of the things that makes falls so devastating for the elderly. You can decrease your chances by getting plenty of vitamin D in your diet. You can also take bisphosphonates and do plenty of weight-bearing exercises.
4. Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss in the elderly. The macula, which is needed for sharp central vision starts to break down. It doesn’t usually cause complete blindness but it’s enough to make it difficult to drive or read small print books.
Your doctor can suggest a number of vitamins to cut down your risk or to help you with it. If this doesn’t work, you may need to go through stronger measures like injections or laser eye surgery.
5. Hearing Impairment
A number of factors between our inner, outer, and middle ear cause hearing loss when we get older. Usually, the nerve that is responsible for sending sounds to our brain gets lost in translation around the middle and inner ear.
If you listened to your music on max volume as a teenager and have hearing loss in your 60s, blame your teenage self because you probably damaged the sensitive hairs in your inner ear. The best fix for this is obtaining hearing aids.
Next to heart disease, cancer is the next biggest killer of the elderly. If you attend screenings on a normal basis, it is possible for it to be caught early and be dealt with.
To increase your chances of survival and quality of life in general, it’s best that you work very closely with your medical professionals and do everything they ask of you.
7. Respiratory Diseases
Asthma and chronic bronchitis are the two most common respiratory diseases. Having them increase your chances for even worse infections like pneumonia and influenza.
This can be easily handled by having regular lung tests, taking all of your medication as directed, using oxygen, or a mixture of all three.
Alzheimer’s is the cognitive degeneration of the brain. It affects memory and other mental functions. While there are ways to make yourself more comfortable as you live out the remainder of your days, there is no cure for the disease.
Once you are diagnosed, the best thing for you to do is to be enrolled in an assistant living home because you’ll no longer be able to live alone safely.
Diabetes can easily be caught with a normal checkup from your doctor. it will show up in a regular blood test and it affects millions of people. It’s best to catch it early that way you can start making changes to your diet to accommodate it.
Your doctor will sit down with you and give you a list of foods that you can no longer eat as well as name ones that will be good for you.
10. Influenza and Pneumonia
These two aren’t chronic diseases like many of the others on this list, but as you get older you become more vulnerable to them and they hit you harder because they are difficult to fight off.
The best line of defense against them is a simple one. Just go get your flu shot and the pneumonia vaccine. After getting the okay from your doctor of course.
Medical Issues That Effect the Elderly
As you get older your body starts breaking down making you more vulnerable to medical issues that may not hit you as hard when you were in your 20s. For most of these, if they are caught early, something can be done about them but some, sadly are untreatable.
Either way, the best line of defense against them is being familiar with them. Know thy enemy!
The best thing you can do for yourself as a senior is to develop good health habits. Here are a few tips for doing just that!