3 Common Medical Conditions in Senior Citizens
Aging can bring about a great deal of change in our lives. As we get older, our joints may feel stiff, our wounds may take longer to heal, and we may notice that certain things like our digestive systems don’t function like they used to when we were younger.
While it is true that age brings wisdom, it’s not without its aches, pains, and health issues. Keep reading to learn about some the most common medical conditions among seniors.
Type 2 Diabetes
Perhaps it is because we tend to exercise less and gain weight as we age. Perhaps the cells function less efficiently. Whatever the reason may be, the longer you live, the greater your risk of developing this form of diabetes.
People with a parent or sibling who has type 2 diabetes are more likely to have the disease. Genes don’t predetermine type 2 diabetes, but may contribute to a predisposition to this disease.
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by hyperglycemia can be the result of the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin, or when cells begin to resist the insulin. When that happens, sugar can build up in the blood and begin to cause symptoms such as fatigue, rapid weight gain or loss, gum disease, decreased circulation to extremities and more.
The best way to manage type 2 diabetes is to eat less and exercise more, eliminate fat & sugar from your diet. If diet and exercise are not sufficient, doctors may prescribe medication to help the treatment of diabetes.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in seniors defined by a degradation of the cartilage between bones. When cartilage starts to tear and wear away, osteoarthritis sets in. Because cartilage acts as a cushion for bones in the joints, it can be particularly painful when this begins to wear away.
Symptoms can range from stiffness to pain when walking, bending down, or even sleeping. Osteoarthritis is most common in your hands, neck, lower-back, knees and hips. There is no direct trigger of this type of arthritis and often comes on with age and it is particularly common in people who did physical or manual labor for a living when they were still in their working days.
The pain caused by osteoarthritis can be treated with acetaminophen or other pain relievers. Many can be bought over-the-counter while some may be prescribed by your doctor. In either case, discuss the potential side effects any such medications with your doctor. If you have osteoarthritis in your knees, maintaining a healthy weight will help relieve the pain. In some cases, doctors may advise steroidal medications or cortisone shots in the joints to relieve the pain. In the most severe cases, surgery may be required.
Dementia is a broad term used to describe a set of symptoms, including memory impairment, reasoning, judgment, language and other thinking skills. Dementia usually begins gradually, worsens over time and impairs a person’s abilities in work, carry out social interactions and maintain relationships. Although there are many causes of dementia; blood vessel disease, drug and alcohol abuse, and even brain damage, the most common and familiar dementia related conditions are vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
In its earlier stages, memory loss and confusion associated with dementia may be mild. The affected person may be aware of the changes taking place, such as difficulty recalling recent events, making decisions or processing what was said by others.
In later stages of dementia, language may turn into a babble of language to the point that the individual with dementia can no longer express wants or needs. As these barriers to communication become greater, and the ability to communicate may diminish until there is minimal to no communication. Individuals with dementia might use curse words, or grunting may replace words.
Gradual loss of communication is one of the most difficult changes for caregivers, friends, and family members to accept simply because they might feel that they can no longer understand or connect with their loved one.
These are just some of the many conditions that can pose a threat to the health of aging seniors and affect their mobility and ability to care for own needs and handle their own affairs. If you or a loved one is in need of assisted living or long term nursing care, it may be beneficial to look into senior placement services to find a facility, or services like housekeeping, home healthcare and nutritional programs to help alleviate stress and difficulties that these conditions may present to the affected and their loved ones.