As we all age, our bodies experience changes that often increase the risk of developing certain health conditions.
Knowing about common age-related diseases and conditions is an important part of staying healthy and proactive in managing your own health.
From arthritis to osteoporosis to cognitive decline, it's essential to learn how to reduce your risk or manage symptoms to live a long and healthy life.
With this article, we'll explore some of the most common age-related diseases and conditions, what causes them, and tips on how to take preventative measures for healthier aging.
Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones and makes them more likely to break.
Osteoporosis can cause bone fractures in the hip, wrist, spine, and other important body areas.
The word osteoporosis translates from Latin as "porous bone." Why does this happen?
As we age, our bodies find it harder to build strong and healthy bones.
This process begins when a person is still very young and continues through life with certain changes to our bodies. What are some of these changes?
As women age into their post-menopausal period, sometimes called the "change of life," they may experience a sudden drop in estrogen levels that can lead to thinning or weakening bones.
Women are more likely than men to develop osteoporosis, but you can get it at any age.
Osteoporosis has no symptoms and is usually discovered by a bone scan or a test called a bone density measurement (DEXA).
So, if you’re experiencing back pain and/or trouble to move around without feeling discomfort, see your doctor for an X-ray of your spine and hips.
A bone scan measures the bone mineral density throughout your body—including the spine, hip bones, pelvis, heel, and other areas that may be affected.
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Hearing loss is a common age-related disease condition.
It occurs when the tiny nerves in the ear become damaged or stop functioning properly.
People with hearing loss may not be able to hear certain noises (such as family members' voices), particularly in noisy environments, or they may experience difficulty understanding speech.
Hearing problems are often caused by exposure to loud noise over time or chronic ear infections, but they can also result from hereditary factors and diseases such as Ménière's Disease and otosclerosis.
The most common form of treatment for hearing complications is the use of hearing aids, which amplify sounds and make them easier to understand.
Although life with hearing loss can be challenging, many people who have it adjust well to their new conditions, and there are several organizations that focus on supporting people with hearing loss.
Memory loss can be caused by a number of conditions, including diseases and disorders that affect the brain.
Dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease, is the most common cause of memory loss.
Other causes include head injuries and strokes.
Some medications can also worsen or cause memory loss.
Symptoms of memory loss can vary depending on the underlying condition, but often include difficulty with learning new information, forgetting important events, misplacing objects, or having trouble remembering a previous conversation.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of memory loss, it’s important to get checked out by a healthcare professional so they can diagnose the cause and recommend appropriate treatment options.
There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or other conditions that lead to progressive memory loss; however, there are several medications and lifestyle changes that may be able to slow down its progression and help manage symptoms.
Some conditions, such as head injuries and strokes, may be reversible with the proper treatment.
Hip fractures are a type of bone fracture that happens when the femur, or thigh bone, breaks.
This may occur after either a minor or severe accident.
Hip fractures are common in older adults and can result in serious complications if they are not addressed properly.
Some of the most common causes of hip fractures include falls and accidents that may occur when people lose balance on uneven ground or slip on ice or snow.
However, there are also other health conditions that may lead to a risk for hip fractures, including bone density issues like osteoporosis, arthritis, and general muscle weakness due to age-related changes in the body.
In some cases, people with neuromuscular disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis may be at higher risk for hip fracture as well.
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Diabetes is a major age-related burden, creating immense strain on every system of the body from cardiovascular disease to kidney failure.
According to leading medical research diabetes can cause damage through blindness, stroke, nerve dysfunction and increased risk for many cancers.
It is a silent biomarker for health complications that arise with age and can worsen with time if not properly managed.
Early diagnosis and treatment are keys to managing this serious health condition in order to prevent any further deterioration in physical or mental functioning as we age.
Arthritis is an age-related condition that affects millions of people around the world.
It can range from mild and manageable to crippling and painful, making everyday activities difficult, if not impossible.
While some lifestyles modifications and treatments may help manage symptoms, nothing can completely eliminate arthritis.
For those living with arthritis, it is important to find ways to cope with this degenerative disease in order to maintain quality of life.
From learning proper pain management techniques to adopting an exercise routine designed for arthritic joints, there are several ways to make living with arthritis more bearable.
When it comes to long-term care for age-related conditions such as arthritis, prevention is key - being aware of lifestyle changes will go a long way in keeping our bodies functioning at their best as we age.
The risks associated with obesity increase significantly as we age.
Not only does extra weight drive up the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, but it can also create conditions for more severe outcomes due to being combined with other age-related conditions.
In short, the longer we stay overweight or obese as our bodies age, the greater our chances of experiencing a decreased quality of life in adulthood due to preventable diseases.
Fortunately, these risks are greatly reduced or eliminated when a proper diet and exercise plan is adopted and followed to lose excess pounds.
By taking steps towards healthier living habits today, seniors can lay the groundwork for a healthier tomorrow.
Dementia age diseases and conditions affect elderly adults in greater numbers as they age.
These conditions can severely limit their physical capabilities by impairing vision, hearing, mobility and strength, as well as cognitive functioning.
It is possible for seniors to still maintain a good quality of life despite a diagnosis of dementia, but the condition may require special accommodations that involve family members, healthcare providers and other caretakers.
Programs such as those offered by adult day care centers provide specialized activities to help seniors suffering from this condition to interact more effectively with their peers, discover new interests and continue developing mentally.
By offering appropriate assistance, social support and treatment options to affected seniors we can ensure that they are given the best chance of leading fulfilling lives even when faced with dementia age related diseases and conditions.
Parkinson's age diseases affect millions of older adults, challenging them physically and mentally.
While Parkinson's disease is the most commonly known in this class of neurodegenerative disorders, there are a variety of conditions that can affect seniors.
It is incredibly important to stay informed on these potentially devastating disorders and take actions to ensure your safety and well-being as you age.
Symptoms vary from issues with balance or coordination, tremors, changes in memory or personality, stiff muscles, rigidity and slowed movement.
Diagnosing an age-related disorder can be difficult.
If you believe you or someone in your life may have Parkinson’s disease or another age-related condition (like Multiple System Atrophy), consult a doctor for more advice.
The sooner a diagnosis is made, the quicker treatment options can begin offering relief from symptoms and improving the quality of life for those affected by these complicated diseases.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic and degenerative joint condition characterized by the breakdown of cartilage, which then leads to inflammation, pain and stiffness of the affected joints.
It is the most common form of arthritis, typically affecting older adults.
Risk factors for developing osteoarthritis include age, heredity, previous joint injury or trauma, excess body weight, and overuse of particular joints through repetitive motions or strain on the joints.
Fortunately, there are several treatments available to manage symptoms; these include physical therapy exercises that can help improve range of motion and maintain muscle strength in the affected area; lifestyle modifications such as limiting activities or avoiding specific motions that cause pain; pain medications such as antacids or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); injections to reduce swelling and relieve pain; and dietary supplements such as glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate.
No matter what stage osteoarthritis has progressed to, seeking professional medical care is vital in reducing flare-ups and improving quality of life for those with this disease.
Heart attack diseases can be debilitating and, in some cases, fatal.
They occur when part of the heart muscle does not get enough oxygenated blood and becomes damaged or destroyed.
The risk factors for a heart attack include smoking, obesity, diabetes, lack of physical activity, high cholesterol levels and family history.
It is important to get regular health checkups so that any potential warning signs can be spotted early and intervention can take place if needed.
Eating a balanced diet packed with healthy fruits and vegetables, limiting fats and sugar from processed foods, exercising regularly and managing stress levels are some of the best ways to reduce ones risk of developing a heart attack disease.
Taking steps now could save lives in the future.
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) remains the number one leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for about 840,000 deaths annually.
CVD encompasses a range of health issues related to the cardiovascular system, including stroke, heart failure and coronary artery disease.
Many people don't realize that CVD can easily be prevented.
Regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet and not smoking can significantly reduce your risk of developing CVD and associated health issues.
It's also important to have regular check-ups with your doctor to monitor your cholesterol levels and overall cardiovascular health.
Working on positive lifestyle changes today is essential for preventing CVD in the long run.
Taking preventive measures against cardiovascular disease now is an investment in our future health.
Cerebrovascular disease, also known as a stroke, is one of the most devastating conditions that can occur.
It involves a disruption of normal blood circulation within the brain due to either an occlusion of cerebral vessels or rupturing of aneurysms – both with profound consequences.
The resulting neurological deficits can range from subtle impairments in cognition and physical coordination to severe debilitating neurological impairments requiring intensive rehabilitation and long-term care.
Up to 80% of stroke survivors experience significant physical, mental, and/or psychological deficits that can cause lack of independence, economic burden for families, and a dramatic reduction in quality-of-life.
Early recognition and access to high-quality medical treatment significantly improves survival rates and patient outcomes; thus, advances in understanding etiological factors and therapeutic interventions aimed at reducing the incidence of cerebrovascular disease are absolutely essential for the future health of society.
High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure is one of the most common Age Related Diseases.
It affects an estimated 1 in 3 adults and can be caused by a variety of conditions, ranging from obesity to genetics.
While it is often viewed as a minor or manageable condition, high blood pressure can cause serious health complications including stroke and heart attack if left unchecked.
Taking the appropriate steps to monitor and address high blood pressure is key to living a healthy life.
Regular visits with your doctor, diet and lifestyle changes, and awareness of potential risks are all important when it comes to managing this Age Related Disease.
Cancer is one of the most common Age Related Diseases, and it takes many forms.
This can range from skin cancer to prostate cancer, with every type requiring its own treatment plan.
Age increases susceptibility to this condition, as well as genetic predisposition can play a role in terms of who may be more likely to develop certain conditions.
While prevention is not always an option when it comes to cancer, early diagnosis remains critical when considering the best course of action for treating the disease.
For anyone age 55 and above, getting regular check-ups and pay special attention to any suspicious symptoms can help ensure that cancer is caught in its earliest stages, giving everyone the best chance of survival.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, more commonly known as COPD, is a debilitating age-related condition that has been on the rise in recent years.
It is an umbrella term that describes several conditions, like emphysema and chronic bronchitis, which restrict breathing and make it hard for oxygen to circulate throughout the body.
Every year thousands of people get diagnosed with COPD, leading to a decrease in quality of life due to shortness of breath and other symptoms.
Treatment options are limited but can make day-to-day living much easier for those suffering from this condition.
Early detection is critical in minimizing the long-term effects of COPD so it's important to familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms if you fall within the higher risk categories based on age or lifestyle habits.
Age related diseases and conditions are receiving more attention than ever before due to increasing concern over age-related health issues, especially with so many aging Baby Boomers.
One condition that many people are familiar with is cataracts disease.
A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye that affects vision, often leading to disturbed or blurry vision.
Since cataracts generally develop slowly, people may not realize their vision is becoming impaired until symptoms worsen significantly over time.
Age-related cataracts can be treated in several ways such as eyeglasses, contact lenses, surgery, or laser therapy.
As there is no known prevention for this common condition brought on by aging, it is important to be aware of its existence and monitor any changes in your vision.
Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition of the eye common among elderly people.
It is caused by a progressive decline in retinal health due to age and can lead to vision deterioration, making it difficult to see fine details and leading to complete blindness in some cases.
While there isn’t a cure for AMD, lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and eating healthy foods rich in antioxidants may help to slow progression of the disease.
Additionally, regular eye exams are recommended for those over 60 years old to diagnose AMD as early as possible, allowing for more effective treatments should it develop later on.
Age-related diseases like AMD can affect everyone differently and can ultimately be managed with a combination of medical care, lifestyle modifications, and vigilance.
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