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Top Health Concerns for Seniors

Top health concerns for seniors - Just Like Family Homecare

As we age, not only do we feel older mentally, but physically as well. For seniors, health conditions follow age, and the older we get the more susceptible we become. Fortunately, modern medicine has extended the average life span of humans in many developed, and non-developed countries.

In order to know what to look out for you need to be aware of the potential risk for disease as you age. We’re going to list the top health concerns for seniors and then talk about how you can lower your risk for certain diseases.

Health Concerns for Seniors

Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the biggest health concerns for older people. At least 50 million US adults have some form of arthritis, most commonly among women and the elderly.

If you want to learn more about what arthritis is and how to treat it, check out our article on managing arthritis.

Cancer

Cancer is not just affecting the elderly, it affects us all. As of 2014, it has been the second leading cause of death for those over 65 based on CDC data. It’s important to schedule regular checks and screenings to catch and treat early forms of cancer.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is typically known for affecting seniors. It’s a chronic condition that affects cognitive functioning and it’s still hard to diagnose correctly. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 in 9 people over age 65 and a 3rd of those over 85 have Alheimer’s.

How to spot the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease

Osteoporosis

The National Osteoporosis Foundation has found that 54 million Americans have this condition. The disease is caused by multiple factors such as cancer, medicine, genes, age, and sex.

We have another article just on Osteoporosis, the types, and prevention methods.

Falls

Slips and falls are more likely and more dangerous as we age. A typical fall for a teenager may end with bumps and bruises, and it could mean broken bones for a senior. According to the NCOA, falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for those over 65.

6 Steps for Preventing Falls Among Your Older Loved Ones

Pneumonia and the Flu

Seniors are not only more susceptible to catching the flu and pneumonia but also are more at risk of death due to them. It’s recommended that you get an annual flu shot and see your doctor for any flu like symptoms.

Shingles

The National Institutes of Health has found that one in three people over age 60 will get shingles. It can cause severe pain, rash, and blisters on one side of the body. There is a vaccine available so ask your doctor if it’s right for you.

What can I do now to lower my risks?

First off, you need to quit smoking. “But it’s just one cigarette every now and then.” This is a common excuse for those who say they’re not addicted to cigarettes. But why not just quit altogether? More and more research is coming out about just what cigarettes can do to our bodies….and it’s not looking good.

Second, get yourself in the healthy lifestyle mindset. Don’t just diet for a few weeks and say it’s not for you. You need to find a healthy medium that allows you to eat right, exercise, and eat the foods you enjoy every now and then. One of the leading risks of health disorders is being overweight. If you can catch it early and correct it, you’ll save yourself from the complications that come with being overweight or obese like diabetes, gout, certain heart diseases, and more.


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How to manage your arthritis

Arthritis is something we all want to avoid, but it’s increasingly common as we age. It’s a painful inflammation and stiffness in the joints, and, according to the Arthritis Foundation, it’s not very well understood. They mention that there are over 100 different types of arthritis!

Who can be affected by arthritis?

Well, just about anybody. Over 50 million US adults and 300,000 children have some form of arthritis. It’s more common among women and the elderly.

arthritis infographic.png

Source Penn Medicine

What causes arthritis?

Arthritis is caused by the reduction in the amount of cartilage tissue. This can be due to normal wear and tear due to daily activities, but also by infection or injury. It has been found that you are more at risk for Osteoarthritis if you have a family history of the disease.

For an autoimmune disorder like Rheumatoid Arthritis, the cause is unknown.

What are the first symptoms of arthritis?

The most common symptoms of arthritis include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Decreased range of motion

If you have continued pain like this, it could be due to arthritis and it’s best to schedule an appointment with your doctor.

There are different ways to pinpoint whether or not you have arthritis, and, if you do, which kind it is.

Doctors will use:

  • Lab tests (blood, joint fluid, urine)
  • X-Rays
  • CT Scan
  • MRI
  • Ultrasound

How is arthritis treated?

Although there is no cure, many medications have been developed to help reduce the severity and the pain.

These medications include:

  • Analgesics- Reduce pain, but no inflammation
  • NASIDs- Reduce pain and inflammation
  • DMARDs – Use to treat rheumatoid arthritis
  • Biologic response modifiers – Target protein molecules
  • Counterirritants – Creams and ointments to reduce pain in aching joints
  • Corticosteroids – Reduce inflammation, suppresses the immune system

Surgery is another option that a doctor may suggest.

Types of surgeries include:

  • Joint fusion- Used on smaller joints. Remove the end of two bones and then lock the ends together
  • Joint repair- Smooth or realign joint surfaces to reduce pain
  • Joint replacement – Removes a damaged joint and replaces it with an artificial one. Common for knees and hips

Additional Arthritis Resources

The Arthritis Foundation

MedlinePlus.gov | Arthritis