As we get older, our health deteriorates. Our bodies start to wear down from years of working and constant movement. The food we eat now can either help us stay strong and healthy or can aid in that deterioration. Smoking, and drinking too much alcohol, can have detrimental effects on our health, as does working around certain chemicals and in certain professions.
We may not notice it right away, but as time progresses the effects of age and these other factors begin to take their toll. They can have major consequences on our bodies. Here are some of the major health risks seniors need to be aware of.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death among seniors. As we get older, we tend to slow down or stop our physical activity. The lack of exercise leads to an increase in blood pressure and weakens the heart. This can also cause a person to gain weight, and a senior who gains weight is risking damaging their heart, more so than younger adults.
Eating habits are also to blame. Many younger adults in this ever-moving society we live in have a habit of eating on the go, or rely on fast food to keep them going. They are not getting the proper nutrition their body needs.
You may rely on microwave dinners rather than a well-balanced meal because you feel you do not have time. These can lead to developing the wrong kind of eating habits that can carry over into your senior years. If that is what you have gotten used to, then that is the way you will continue to eat. This can lead to high cholesterol, which can block blood vessels and lead to developing a heart disease or complication.
This disease accounts for approximately 11% of deaths in seniors over the age of 65. This chronic disease affects a person’s cognitive abilities, which can affect their health overall. Alzheimer’s disease may prevent someone from exercising regularly or at all. It can also cause someone suffering with this condition to not eat properly. Without the proper nutrition and exercise, a senior’s body can deteriorate quickly.
Diabetes is becoming an epidemic even among younger ages, including children. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, and occurs when the body is unable to break down sugar. Too much sugar can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, diseases of the eyes such as glaucoma and cataracts, risk of stroke, and foot complications like nerve damage and infections.
Treatment for diabetes usually comes in the form of insulin shots. Seniors and other sufferers of this disease must keep a close vigil on their blood sugar levels. There are additional medications to help treat the condition. Check with your Medicare agent to verify if you will require gap insurance to cover these treatments.
Cancer is not always a death sentence as many people believe. If caught early, many forms of cancer can be treated. It is especially important to catch it early in seniors: cancer is the second-most cause of death for the older generation. In fact, people who fall into the 75 and older age group have the highest cancer rates in America.
Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones in the body begin to weaken and fracture. This can be dangerous for seniors; a simple fall for a healthy young adult could prove disastrous for an older person. If a bone breaks for a senior, mending that bone can take even longer and the patient may be left with permanent damage, loss of mobility, or paralysis. A fall could also prove fatal to a senior. The brittle bones could pierce vital organs or cut through the spinal column.
There are medications to help strengthen already-weak bones. Seniors are typically put on exercise regimes that are designed to put additional weight on bones, helping with the replenishment process of those bones. They are also encouraged to stick to a healthy, well-balanced diet.