What Are the 7 Most Common Illnesses for Seniors?
Older adults are more susceptible to certain illnesses and diseases, so empowering yourself and being aware of the early signs and symptoms is essential. Prevention is the best approach when it comes to your health, and while we can’t prevent every condition from developing, there are ways to keep unfavorable side effects at bay. Here are the seven most common illnesses for seniors, including early warning signs and symptoms you should watch out for.
Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. It often doesn’t have any symptoms, so you should have your blood pressure checked regularly by your doctor. People with extreme hypertension may exhibit the following symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Blurry vision
- Nausea and vomiting
While anyone can have high blood pressure, certain risk factors include being overweight, smoking, having an unhealthy diet, and not getting adequate exercise. You can reduce your risk of developing hypertension by exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a sensible weight.
Alzheimer’s disease affects approximately one in nine people age 65 and older. Because it can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages, it’s especially important to be aware of potential symptoms, such as:
- Difficulty completing everyday tasks
- Trouble finding the right word in a conversation
- Getting dates and times wrong
- Placing everyday items in inappropriate places
- Impaired judgment
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, specialized programs like Tapestries Memory Care at UMC can help seniors effectively manage it – allowing them to retain as much independence as possible. It’s also important to be aware of any family history of Alzheimer’s.
Arthritis & Osteoporosis
Arthritis is one of the most common age-related chronic conditions in seniors, and it causes joint pain and inflammation that can greatly interfere with everyday life and activities. People can manage their arthritis with painkillers and corticosteroids, but there is no cure. If you’ve been experiencing stiffness or tenderness in your joints, or if your mobility has recently been affected by pain in your joints, please speak with your doctor.
Osteoporosis is a progressive bone disease that weakens the bones, and older women are especially susceptible to it. Weakened bones can result in fractures or breaks if you fall or knock yourself against an object, and the condition can greatly affect your mobility as it progresses.
Coronary Heart Disease
According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for people older than 65., The condition is caused by a build-up of fatty substances blocking the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. While symptoms aren’t always present, some signs include chest pain or more severe issues, including heart attacks. The best way to combat heart disease is to exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet full of lean proteins, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
There are many different types of cancer, so older adults should have various cancer screenings on a regular basis. Speak with your doctor about your family’s history with cancer because you can be predisposed to certain types based on your genetic history.
There are too many signs and symptoms of cancer to list here, but if you’re feeling off and aren’t sure why, speak with your doctor.
Chronic Kidney Disease
This is a long-term condition where the kidneys don’t work as efficiently as they should, and older adults are more susceptible to developing it. While there are rarely early warning signs of chronic kidney disease, people in advanced stages may exhibit blood in their urine, swollen ankles, feet, or hands, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
Diabetes affects nearly 25% of people aged 65 and older, making it a significant health risk for seniors. Your doctor can do a blood test to check your blood sugar levels. Symptoms of diabetes include:
- Frequent urination
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Blurry vision
- Extreme fatigue
- Constant hunger, even though you’re eating regularly
- Cuts and bruises healing very slowly
For more information about illnesses that may be affecting you or your senior loved ones, please contact our long term care team at UMC today or visit us at: https://umcommunities.org/