6 Of The Most Common Health Concerns For Seniors
Age is simply a number. Lifestyle, diet, exercise and family history are more important factors that impact your health and how you feel as you age. Still, there are certain health risks that become much more prominent later in life. Seniors have to be more proactive about their health than ever before. Here are 6 of the most common health concerns affecting senior citizens.
Nearly half of all seniors have some form of arthritis, and arthritis is the leading cause of senior disability. Simply walking upright for many years puts the knees at risk for arthritis as you age. Wearing high heels or playing high impact sports only increases your risk for developing arthritis. Arthritis is very common and can impact anyone, but there are still a few things you can do to limit your risks:
- Don’t overuse your body, and always stop if you feel pain
- Exercise in steady intervals throughout the week instead of all at once on Saturday
- Manage your weight; loosing only 11 pounds can reduce your risk for osteoarthritis of the knees by 50%!
3. Metabolic Syndrome And Obesity
Obesity is a problem impacting all age groups, and the elderly are not immune. In fact, 3 out of 4 seniors are considered overweight. The reason this is such a big deal is because obesity directly correlates with diabetes, certain cancers, high blood pressure, gall bladder disease and cardiovascular disease. To further complicate issues, 40% of adults that are over 60-years-old are at risk for developing metabolic syndrome.
Serious mental decline is not a normal part of ageing, although it is if an elderly person has some form of dementia. Dementia impacts the ability to remember, problem solve and perform everyday activities. The likelihood for developing dementia increases with age. 5% of people between 71 and 79 have dementia. 24.2% of people between 80 and 89 have dementia; and 37.4% of adults that are 90 and over have dementia. (Reference)
60% to 80% of cases relate directly to Alzheimer’s disease. The second most common cause is vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke. Depression, side effects from certain medications, thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies also contribute to dementia, although with proper treatment can be reversed unlike other forms of dementia.
44 million adults that are 50+ have low bone mass, known as osteoporosis. Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men, this is because women make babies and that takes a lot of calcium to accomplish.
The biggest issue with osteoporosis is that it weakens bones so that they easily break on impact. This further complicates things since the elderly are at a predisposition to fall; loss of balance is one of the most common issues impacting elderly people. Unfortunately, falling with osteoporosis can end horribly. 20-30% of seniors that fall suffer limited mobility and independence. Even worse, falling is the leading cause of death among the elderly.
Interestingly, according to the National Osteoporosis Association, it is not a normal part of ageing to develop osteoporosis. That means there are a number of things you can do to prevent or at least minimize the onset of osteoporosis.
Help strengthen your bones at any age by:
- Getting plenty of Vitamin D
- Reducing your alcohol intake and avoid smoking
- Do regular weight-bearing exercises
5. Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)
The leading cause of death in the US is caused by cardiovascular disease, which includes diseases of the heart or blood vessels. 1/3 of all men and women between 45 and 54-years-old have CVD, and these numbers only increase as you age.
Lifestyle greatly increases or decreases your risk for developing CVD. By eating right, exercising regularly and living a healthy life you can reduce your risk for CVD by a whopping 80%. This data comes from the Nurses’ Health Study, which collected data from over 14 years relating to over 120,000 women. Get high blood pressure under control, limit your salt intake, and focus on living an overall healthy lifestyle to reduce your risks for CVD.
Ageing is not all fun and games, getting older can be difficult and full of many life changes. Depression impacts the mood but it is still considered a serious medical condition. Depression deters activity and can directly correlate with other health problems. It is estimated that depression impacts at least 6 million Americans that are 65 and older. Memory loss, decreased mobility, and many other parts of ageing can worsen depression.
Regular activity, stimulation and finding a purpose can help relieve the pains of depression. Regular visits from caretakers and loved ones are also proven to help limit depression amongst the elderly.