As the human body ages, it becomes more fragile and susceptible to injury and disease. Whether you’re an older adult yourself or you’re the caretaker for one, Elder Care Alliance recommends that you be prepared for all possibilities. From heart disease to injuries from falls, here are five of the most common health concerns for seniors.
1. Heart Disease
Heart disease remains the leading killer of people aged 65 and older. It’s more likely to affect older men than women. Heart disease is known as the “silent killer” because it often doesn’t cause any obvious symptoms until it’s too late and the disease is already in its advanced stages. When warning signs finally show up, they often include shortness of breath, chest pressure and pain, neck and upper back pain, and exhaustion.
High blood pressure and cholesterol increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. You can reduce both by exercising regularly, getting sufficient sleep, regulating stress levels, and eating a healthy diet. Avoid consuming highly processed foods or sugary drinks and treats. These can all cause excess inflammation in the body and further exacerbate heart disease.
Arthritis is one of the most common health conditions experienced by people 65 and older. It can make various joints feel swollen, stiff, and painful. It’s natural to want to avoid exercise when you have this disease because of the discomfort caused by physical activity. However, staying active can help you maintain your overall health. Talk to your doctor to find out what lifestyle changes or medications are recommended to help you manage your arthritis symptoms and maintain your quality of life.
Cancer is behind heart disease as a leading cause of death for older adults. Preventing cancer is not always possible, but regular screenings can help. Skin checks, mammograms, and colonoscopies can all help detect cancer while it’s still in its early stages. If you ever receive a positive cancer diagnosis, different treatment options are available, including chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and immunotherapy. Talk with your doctor to determine which treatment option best fits your situation.
4. Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition that has no known cure. However, various treatments may slow the disease’s progression and improve the affected person’s quality of life. The key to getting the best outcome with Alzheimer’s disease is to catch and treat it early. Some initial symptoms include memory loss, mood and personality changes, and increased anxiety or depression.
A teenager would likely walk away from a fall with minor bumps and bruises, but a fall for an adult over 65 can cause serious injuries. Over 2 million senior adults are treated for falls in emergency departments every year. Since most falls occur in the home, it’s important to make modifications when necessary to reduce fall hazards. You might install anti-slip rugs in the bathroom, place handrails by the toilet and bathtub, and make sure rugs are secured in place with anti-slip mats.
These are just a few of the most common health concerns seniors face. To enjoy the highest quality of life into your golden years, it’s essential to be aware of these risks and take steps to prevent them.