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9 Common Medical Conditions Faced by the Elderly

As you grow older, your body needs extra care for healthy functioning. Keeping regular medical checks on your body will help the doctor identify the symptoms early for a better treatment and improved quality of life. Do visit the nearest hospital to understand the screenings and blood tests that are recommended for the elderly. 

Read this blog further to get a better picture of the common health issues the seniors may be facing and how best to overcome these problems or manage the conditions in a way that minimal disturbance is caused to their everyday life.

1. Cognitive Decline: Cognitive impairment is not unheard of, especially in the elderly. How well you are able to think, learn and remember is an important aspect of your brain health. Possible causes include:

  • Side effects of medication

  • Metabolic or Endocrine derangements

  • Delirium due to illness 

  • Depression

Making small changes to your daily routine can boost your cognitive health and prove to delay the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Here are some tips:

  • Practice a physically active lifestyle 

  • Choose to eat wisely

  • Keep a regular check on your blood pressure levels

  • Manage stress effectively

  • Keep you mind sharp (by solving puzzles or picking up a hobby)

  • Try to stay connected with your loved ones

  • Avoid smoking and excess alcohol consumption

2. Oral health issues: It is important to take care of your teeth and gums, especially when you are ageing, to keep away from oral health issues such as root decay, tooth loss, dry mouth, gum disease and darkened teeth. A good oral hygiene routine should include-

  • Brushing, at least twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste

  • Flossing, at least once a day

  • Using an antiseptic mouthwash once or twice a day

Regular consultation with a dentist for cleaning and oral exam

Why is dental care for geriatric patients important? | A.J. Hospital

3. Cardiovascular Diseases: People over the age of 65 are more likely to suffer from heart failure, coronary heart disease and even stroke. As you grow older, regular health checks should be done in order to ensure extra care is given to your heart. That being said, you have to look out for the following early signs of heart defects for timely treatment:

  • Pain or numbness in your arms, neck, jaw or back

  • Shortness of breath, even while at rest

  • Chest pain during physical activity

  • Fatigue

  • Dizziness

  • Confusion

  • Headaches

  • Cold sweats

  • Nausea

  • Swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, stomach or neck

  • Inability to do normal activities

How does Aging affect Heart Health? | Cardiology Hospital Near Me

Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption, manage stress efficiently and lead a healthy lifestyle to protect your heart.

4. Arthritis: It is common to associate arthritis with old age. Intense pain in your joints, decreased flexibility, tenderness or swelling in more than one joint are all early signs of arthritis. It is of 3 types-

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Gout

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Lupus

What are the symptoms of Arthritis in Aging Adults? | A.J. Hospital

The aching and declining mobility may conform you to a more inactive lifestyle. But this may do you more harm than good. Talk to a rheumatologist to plan a light exercise and healthy diet routine to ease the pain and take care of your joints better. If your doctor hasn’t specified a workout you can try pursuing walking, yoga or even swimming depending on the severity of your condition.

5. Hearing loss: Loud noise, ageing,  infections and hereditary disorders are the common causes of gradual hearing loss. If you are having trouble hearing over the telephone, finding it hard to follow a conversation with people and often ask people to repeat what they are saying; do inform your doctor. Some causes of hearing loss can also be a result of chronic health conditions such as heart failure, diabetes or even cancer.

Can Hearing Loss in Seniors cause Depression? | Mangalore Hospital

Try and work out different ways to stay connected with your family and friends. You can ask them to:

  • Face you while talking

  • Slow down and speak more clearly

  • Let the other person know that you are not able to understand them

  • Tell them to reword their sentences and try again.

  • Try and eliminate the background sounds such as noise from a TV or speaker while conversing.

  • Pay attention to their facial expressions and gestures.

6. Diabetes: Diabetes is very prevalent in the older population. If left untreated and or managed poorly, it can affect other parts of your body causing serious medical conditions. Here are some tips to stay healthy with diabetes:

  • Monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

  • Stop smoking

  • Get annual kidney checkups done

  • Protect your skin

  •  Eat a balanced diet

  • Make sure you don’t miss your medication

  • Regularly consult with an endocrinologist to track your blood sugar levels

How to manage diabetes in older adults? | A.J. Hospital, Mangalore

7. Cancers: More than half of the cancer diagnosis is given to adults above 65 years. Some cancers such as colon or breast cancer can be detected early and ultimately treated from an earlier stage, while lung cancer is difficult to detect and it’s treatment can become more complicated.

Preventive health checkups are crucial in our fight against cancer. Annual screenings and blood work, enable the doctor to catch the signs early. Consult an oncologist for advice on the tests you must include in your regular medical checkups based on your condition.

What are the common cancers in older adults? | Oncologist in Mangalore

8. Respiratory troubles: Decline in lung function can decrease the maximum amount of oxygen you are able to inhale into your lungs. The root causes of this are identified to be obesity, lifestyle defects and age-related heart functioning. Some serious causes of breathing issues are:

  • Pneumonia

  • Asthma

  • Chronic bronchitis

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

  • Pulmonary emphysema

  • Heart failure

  • Stroke

  • Cancer

  • Neurological disorders

Why are respiratory issues common among the elderly? | A.J. Hospital

Contact the nearest healthcare facility immediately if you experience increased shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, sudden chest pain and cough that brings up blood.

9. Psychological disorders: Seniors often suffer from mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, social isolation and psychosis but do not receive the proper care and treatment required. These disorders take a physical toll on them causing sleep deprivation, cognitive deterioration and confusion. It helps to:

  • Include the elderly of your family in daily conversations and activities

  • Provide a safe and secure environment 

  • Optimize their physical health by giving them good food and making them exercise

  • Identifying and treating accompanying illnesses

  • Making sure they are taking everyday medication

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