Elderly Diseases

The Most Common Types Of Elderly Diseases

Although aging represents a long and fulfilled life, it also potentially brings on a number of elderly diseases.  Some people only experience mild concerns, aches and pains while others are plagued with serious and complicated health issues.  As with people of any age, prompt and proper treatment of any medical problem almost always increases the chance for full recovery.  Being aware of the various elderly diseases as well as signs, symptoms and any preventative measures are always helpful for your long-term health.

Arthritis

This is one of the most common elderly diseases that traditionally worsens substantially with age.  Changes in cartilage presents joint pain, bony enlargements, crepitus, structural changes, instability, deformity and movement restriction.  Morning stiffness is a common sign and in some cases, muscular weakness may also occur.

Most commonly, arthritis occurs in the knee joints, hips, hands and spine.  Females and obese individuals are at higher risk.  Although there is no easy cure for most forms, paraffin baths and hot packs typically are quite soothing to the individual.

Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease accounts for 85 percent of cardiac deaths in the elderly population.  Individuals with this condition are more likely to experience great difficulty performing daily activities such as dressing, bathing, walking and even getting out of bed.  This is a type of cardiovascular disease that is caused by the coronary arteries becoming narrow which results in a significant decrease in oxygen and blood supply to the heart.

Heart disease can cause a myocardial infarction, angina pectoralis, heart rhythm disorders and congestive heart failure.

Participating in a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease by as much as 80 percent.  People who are at their ideal weight, exercise daily, limit their alcohol consumption and do not smoke are at the least risk.

Alzheimer's Disease

This is one of the most troublesome of all the elderly diseases.  It is a brain disorder that is progressive and fatal.  Alzheimer's causes memory loss by destroying brain cells.  It is the seventh top cause of death today in the United States.

There are a few signs and symptoms to look for such as memory loss, challenges in problem solving, difficulty completing familiar tasks, confusion with time or places, difficulty determining color or judging distance, misplacing items, unable to retrace steps, poor judgment, withdrawal from social activities and changes in personality.

Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer's but there are treatment options for some symptoms which can provide a better quality of life.

 

Cancer

One of the most common elderly diseases is cancer.  The association to age is believed to be attributed to extended time that the tumor requires to grow.  The most common fatal type in individuals between 60 and 79 years old is lung cancer, accounting for 30 percent of all cancer-related deaths.  The second and third most seen types are breast cancer in women and colorectal cancer in men.

Early interventions often minimize adverse effects, making it possible for a full amount of chemotherapy to be delivered in time to ensure optimal outcomes.

Cancer can be genetically predispositioned or caused from carcinogens such as asbestos, tobacco, radiation, arsenic, the sun and pollution as well as a number of other diseases.  Symptoms vary and are based greatly on location.  As the cells interfere with the normal function of the body's hormones, symptoms such as fatigue, fever, anemia, excessive sweating, weight loss, hoarseness, coughing, shortness of breath, headaches, vertigo, seizures, swollen lymph nodes and jaundice may appear.

Early detection greatly improves the odds with cancer.  Physicians use many advanced tests and types of equipment today to detect the exact location of a tumor and what organs it may affect.