10 Common Issues Aging Adults Face

James Wilson
February 23, 2018
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As people age, their bodies tend to weaken. Different illnesses and problems can strike at any time, especially after the age of 40. With diseases of the joints, brittle bones, a weakened heart, lack of balance, poor eyesight, and more, aging adults have a lot to deal with over the remaining course of their lives. By understanding these common issues and their symptoms, people can learn how to best cope with them.

Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the most common problems older adults deal with regularly. With severe joint stiffness and inflammation, many joints throughout the body may feel tender and achy. Older adults may need to start seeing a rheumatologist to determine the exact cause of the pain and the type of arthritis present, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. Perform a search for a rheumatologist near me to see available physicians.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is essentially a loss in vision. This disease is often age-related, setting in anywhere between the ages of 40 and 60. It may start as difficulty seeing close, such as when reading. This is why many older adults start to wear reading glasses to see their daily newspaper. The eyes lose the ability to focus, making many things appear blurry and distorted. Even those who already wear glasses might start noticing a difference in vision, causing them to need bifocal lenses instead. It is imperative that older adults begin seeing an eye doctor regularly to catch the start of vision loss and work to prolong it as best as possible.

Heart Disease

Heart disease often starts to set in during the 40s, with many people experiencing their first heart attack by the time they reach 65. Improving cardiovascular health is the best way to combat the problem and avoid the disease from worsening. With the help of big data, fatal heart attacks may be prevented. By evaluating heart rhythms and other important movements of past patients, healthcare providers can help find a way to better monitor people at risk for heart attacks. This ensures early diagnosis that can lessen the severity of the attack. Something as simple as wearing a heart rate monitor can help tremendously. Those already at risk should also exercise more and eat healthy to improve their chances.

Memory Loss

The mind starts to go as people get older, making it more and more difficult to remember things. Memory loss is common in aging adults, often starting as simply forgetting what you walked into a room for, or having trouble remembering a particular vocabulary word when speaking. As the mind ages further, what started as a simple memory problem could turn into a serious disease. Dementia and even Alzheimer’s are both diseases of the mind, causing severe memory loss, irritability, confusion, and more. Playing memory games, doing puzzles and crosswords, and continuing learning are all great ways to try and keep the mind as sharp as possible.

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Respiratory Diseases

Asthma can start in childhood but is often far more severe in older adults. Those who suffer from asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema are far more likely to develop a worsening respiratory disease that can prove fatal. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other respiratory problems are the third leading cause of death for people over the age of 65. These illnesses make people more at risk for pneumonia, which can also prove fatal if people do not get the medical attention that’s needed. The regular use of oxygen is often one of the first recommended steps along with medication to help prevent breathing problems from worsening.

Cancer

While people of any age can get cancer, the disease is often more common in seniors. The median age at diagnosis is 66 years old. Prostate cancer is common in men at this age, and a few years earlier for breast cancer in women. Lung cancer is also more common in older adults, hitting at age 70. A healthy diet is the most important thing for preventing certain types of cancers. Foods with antioxidants, particularly berries, are ideal to consume.

Diabetes

People over the age of 65 are at great risk for diabetes. More than half of people in this age bracket are actually considered as having prediabetes, which means they have some symptoms but do not quite qualify as having the full-on disease. By starting on a healthy diet and checking glucose levels regularly, those who are already predisposed to diabetes can prevent symptoms from being exacerbated. Having this disease can lead to further health problems, including heart disease, so it is important to get an early diagnosis.

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Influenza

Falling within the top eight senior-related causes of death, influenza is a serious concern for older adults. While younger adults and children can recover quickly from the flu, seniors are not often as lucky. Anyone experiencing a mixture of dizziness, fever, muscle aches, congestion, chills, or loss of appetite should seek medical attention immediately to be evaluated. The flu is not something seniors should remain at home to deal with on their own as so many others do.

Falls

While it may not seem like such a big deal, falls can be deadly to older adults. Removing tripping hazards from the home is the best way to prevent falls from happening. With weakened muscles and a loss of balance, seniors fall far more often than other age groups, resulting in a high number of trips to the emergency room for sprains and breaks that occurred due to a fall. Removing rugs from the home, using a walker or cane, and having a non-slip mat in the bathtub are just a few ways to help prevent this from happening.

Depression

Senior health is already compromised, and symptoms of depression can compromise it even further. The disease can lead to a weakened immune system that makes it difficult to fight off infections. Depression often sets in for seniors due to feeling lonely. Many are alone and have no family to socialize with regularly. Joining a senior support group or taking up an activity can help many gain back a sense of well-being and happiness. Getting adequate exercise is also important, especially outdoors. Those who do suffer from depression may want to speak with their doctors about medication that stabilizes mood and symptoms.

These ten common issues aging adults face are just the beginning. With still more to deal with, middle-aged men and women and older need to do their best to remain as healthy as possible through nutritious eating and exercise. It is the only way to combat some of the symptoms and keep problems at bay for as long as possible. Fruits and vegetables should be consumed regularly to gain the needed vitamins and nutrients, with water the drink of choice to hydrate the body well. Exercise will keep the muscles and joints strong, limiting the chances for breaks and a weakened body.