The Most Common Medical Conditions in the Elderly

May 12, 2014

It is no secret that as we age, there is an increased potential for developing health issues. Some conditions cause more concern than others, but with the continuous invention of new medication and technology, people are enjoying longer, healthier lives.

Having an understanding of the most common medical conditions found in the elderly will assist you or a loved one in knowing what to expect and how to reduce the risks of their development.

Heart Failure
As we get older, our heart grows more tired. Remember, it has been beating continuously for decades and improper care of our bodies and health can take a toll on one of the most important organs for survival. Just because heart disease is one of the leading causes of death, doesn’t mean you have to accept it as your fate. Exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, getting plenty of rest, eliminating tobacco use and having regular cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes checks are all important steps you can take to maintain a healthy heart.

Arthritis
Almost everyone is aware of arthritis and that it is usually linked with aging. There are over one-hundred different forms of it, but the most common type of arthritis found in the elderly is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis affects the joint cartilage and causes stiffness and pain. There are several reasons why arthritis develops, but even more ways you can prevent the severity of it. Remaining physically active, protecting your joints from trauma, and building strong bones with minerals can significantly reduce the seriousness of arthritis.

Depression
Depression often causes loss of appetite, lack of sleep and can lead to other physical health concerns such as cardiac disease. While depression may seem to accompany aging, it is not inevitable. No matter what challenges or changes you face as you grow older, there are many methods you can utilize to overcome the symptoms.

There are three important steps you can take to help prevent depression:

Find a Purpose:
No matter what it is, find an activity that gives life meaning. Whether you visit a lonely friend once a week, help with a small chore in your apartment community, or spoil your grandchild with cookies, you are staying motivated and helping others in the process. This gives you an allover good feeling, increasing your positive energy and thoughts.

Strong Social Network:
Losing friends and family is a part of growing older and cannot be avoided. Rather than sitting at home alone and concentrating on these losses, make new friends and involve yourself in activities with them. More than likely, your new friends have gone through many of the same experiences and losses that you have. By maintaining a strong social network, you subject yourself to leading a happier, anxiety-free lifestyle. Try meeting new people at the coffee shop, Bingo night, church, or at your local senior center.

Exercise:
Simple exercises can be accomplished at any age. Even if it just involves lifting a soup can to strengthen arm muscles, or walking out to retrieve your newspaper. Staying active allows the elderly to experience fewer declines in the quality of their health and life in general, and has been found to assist them in remaining independent for a longer period of time.

Aging does not have to be a negative experience. It is something we will all face, and learning how to reduce the risks of certain health issues can help alleviate some of the concerns that many individuals have as they begin the journey to their golden years, while avoiding the most common medical conditions in the elderly.

Resources
agingcare.com
thirdage.com
psychcentral.com