New research and medical advancements in healthcare are making it possible for people to live longer, high-quality lives. However, there are still a few health conditions that seniors are more prone to developing. Learning more about these conditions and their symptoms can help you develop a preventative care or treatment plan.
As you get older, you’re more susceptible to infections like pneumonia. This causes inflammation in the lungs, and while anyone can contract pneumonia, seniors are more at risk for the infection.
Pneumonia symptoms can often look like flu or cold symptoms: fever, chills, chest pain and a persistent cough. If these symptoms persist for more than a few days, you should call your doctor.
Osteoporosis is a common condition among seniors in which bones gradually become more porous and decrease in density. This makes them more fragile and puts you at risk for serious injury if you experience a bad fall or traumatic event like a car accident.
Symptoms include loss of height, back pain or an easy bone fracture. Women are more likely to develop this condition, but men should also be aware of the signs and treatment options available for bone mass loss.
If you ever had the chicken pox as a child, you’re susceptible to shingles as an adult. Shingles is an infection that causes a painful rash and comes from the same virus as chicken pox, which stays dormant in your system after its initial outbreak.
While it can affect anyone, it’s most common in those over the age of 50. To prevent shingles, talk to your doctor about a shingles vaccine.
Kidney disease develops as your kidneys lose their function over time. Their primary job is to remove waste from the bloodstream, such as creatinine. When they lose this ability, toxins build up and cause serious damage.
It’s estimated that more than 50 percent of people over 75 live with various stages of kidney disease. Symptoms include difficulty or pain while urinating, bloody urine or swelling in the hands and feet. Talk to your doctor about care options available, such as home dialysis and high creatinine level treatment.
Glaucoma is a condition that causes damage to the optic nerve in your eyes, causing about 10 percent of blindness in the US. Seniors are among those most affected by glaucoma.
Signs of this condition include loss of peripheral vision, red or hazy eyes, pain in the eyes and seeing halos around light sources. However, it can also develop without showing any symptoms at all. Be sure to schedule an annual eye exam to detect early signs of glaucoma.
Another eye condition that develops as you age is cataracts. These are cloudy areas in the lens of the eye that lead to vision loss. Cataracts usually develop over the course of a few years.
It is a completely manageable condition; if you experience blurry vision or trouble seeing at night, visit your optometrist for more information about treatment.
As you age, it’s not uncommon to feel depressed, even if you’ve lived most of your life without a mental health condition. 1-20 percent of seniors experience depression, which can be associated with lower immunity, physical activity and social interaction.
Signs of depression include persistent sadness, loss of interest in daily activities or hobbies and loss of energy. To treat this, talk to your doctor about getting therapy or medication.
Chronic heart disease, congestive heart failure and arrhythmia are all conditions that stem from cardiovascular disease. CVD is the most common cause of death in older adults.
Symptoms including a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest “fluttering” and chest pain. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
While people of all ages can contract gum disease, the mouth can become dry with age and certain medications over time. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that 70 percent of adults over 65 have gum disease.
If you have dry mouth or tooth loss and decay, you may be developing gum disease. Make you stay up-to-date with your dental exams and cleanings to prevent gum disease.
Getting older can be a wonderful time to reflect and explore the world in new ways, and being aware of your health can help ensure that these are the best years of your life.
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