6 Most Common Diseases That Affect Seniors
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Growing old is a natural process of life, which can sometimes be both a wonderful and terrifying experience. With age comes wisdom that sheds a new light on life, where you realize what are the most important things in life – family and friends. Spending time with loved ones and enjoying the fruits of their labor is why many people look forward to celebrating retirement and facing new experiences.
Unfortunately, some seniors do not enjoy their golden years due to failing health.
There are many diseases that can affect elderly, and we bring you six most common diseases that can affect seniors and adult over 55 years of age.
Arthritis is a group of conditions involving damage to the joints of the body) and is one of the most common conditions that affect elderly people. With over 100 different forms of arthritis, the majority of seniors suffer from osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis comes as the result of age or trauma or infection of the joint. People who suffer from this condition list pain as the most common complaint. The pain can often be localized, and can worsen over time.
Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, and is incurable, terminal and degenerative disease. It is often diagnosed in seniors over 65 years of age and older, although rarer early-onset Alzheimer’s can be diagnosed earlier than that.
The course of this disease can be divided into four stages:
- early Alzheimer’s
- moderate Alzheimer’s
- advanced Alzheimer’s
Currently, the science has no answer when it comes to the prevention of this disease, although some studies suggest that diet, pharmaceutical products, cardiovascular risk, or intellectual activities may contribute to developing Alzheimer’s.
Heart failure definition – the inability of the heart to supply sufficient blood flow to meet the body’s needs. Among causes of heart failure in seniors are diabetes, obesity, heart attacks, hypertension, valvular heart disease, cardiomyopathy and some other forms of heart disease.
Most common symptoms of heart failure are:
- shortness of breath
- ankle swelling
- chronic venous congestion
Cancer is a class of diseases in which a cell or a group of cells display:
- uncontrolled growth – when they divide beyond normal limits
- invasion – when they destruct adjacent tissues
- and sometimes metastasis – when they spread to other locations in a body.
It has been determined that cancer is an environmental disease (90%-95% environmental and lifestyle factors), while only 5%-10% of cancers are the result of genetics.
Most common environmental factors are:
- lack of physical activity
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that impairs motor skills, cognitive processes and other functions. This disease most often affects people 60 years of age and older, although it can affect younger people, too.
Following are the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:
- rigidity – joint stiffness
- bradykinesia and akinesia – slowness and absence of movement
- postural instability – impaired balance
- gait and posture disturbance
- difficulty with speech and swallowing
Diabetes type 2 is more common in elderly than diabetes type 1. It is a metabolic disorder that is characterized by high blood glucose in the context of insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency.
The most common symptoms of diabetes are:
- polyuria – frequent urination
- polydipsia – increased thirst
- polyphagia – increased hunger
- weight loss
By Ines Maric