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Five Common Health Conditions in the Elderly and What You Can Do About It

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Senior Health Problems

 

 

 

Date : November 13,2013
By : Anita Ginsburg

People are living longer than ever thanks to healthier lifestyles, new medications and improved surgical techniques. However, with age comes health problems. Some conditions are more common and serious than others in older adults. Here are five common health conditions in the elderly, along with ways to manage them:

1. Arthritis

The Arthritis Foundation reports more than 100 different types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are the most common forms. Most senior adults suffer from osteoarthritis, also known as “wear and tear” arthritis. This degenerative joint disease causes joint pain and swelling, and it often restricts movement. Treatment focuses on long-term symptom management through stretching, exercise and medications. Some people can have surgery to repair damaged joints.

2. Dementia

Dementia is a loss of memory and reasoning severe enough to disrupt daily life. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are several different types of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type in people over 65. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, however, early diagnosis allows doctors to control the disease with medications that can slow its progression. Lifestyle changes and alternative therapies may also delay the symptoms. Early diagnosis is key in managing the effects of this disease.

3. Diabetes

Type II diabetes is common in senior adults. High blood sugar and low insulin levels characterize this metabolic disorder. People with diabetes usually suffer from weight loss, fatigue and increased thirst or hunger. Untreated diabetes can lead to serious health problems like heart disease and kidney failure. Fortunately, the disease can be managed with regular monitoring of blood sugar levels, exercise and healthy eating. Some people may benefit from diabetes medications or insulin therapy. Exercise has proven to be one of the most effective ways of controlling diabetes. Even a simple walk can help people overcome the debilitating effects of diabetes.

4. Falls

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three adults over 65 fall each year. Falls can cause minor injuries or serious traumas such as hip fractures and head injuries. A fall at any age can also increase the risk of early death. Fortunately, a few simple measures can prevent most falls. Exercise improves muscle strength, coordination and balance. Corrective lenses maximize vision. Changes in medications prevent dizziness and drowsiness. Installing grab bars, railings and other home improvements improve mobility and make the home safer.

5. Incontinence

Many older adults suffer from bladder control problems. Many people think incontinence is a normal part of aging, but it may actually result from a medical problem or medications. Treatment depends on the severity of the problem and its underlying cause. For some people, incontinence improves with bladder training, fluid management or physical therapy. Others require medications, medical devices or surgery. Adult plastic pants and adult plastic panties can help men and women cope with bladder control issues.

Thanks to medical advancements and technologies, many senior adults are living happy, independent lives. The risk of health problems naturally increase with age. With the right interventions, however, men and women can reduce the risks and enjoy longer, better lives.

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