10 common health problems linked to aging

To many people, getting older seems daunting.

We will have grey hair, more wrinkles on our skin, forget where we parked the car.

Moreover, aging can bring some health issues.

Experts from Texas A&M University list 10 most common health problems everyone should know.

Cognitive decline

Cognitive ability is a person’s ability to think, learn and remember.

The most common cognitive health issue facing the elderly is dementia, which causes cognitive decline.

The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, about five million people over the age of 65 suffering from the disease in the United States.

While there are no cures for dementia, doctors can make e a treatment plan and prescribe medications to manage the disease.

Fall

Research shows that every 15 seconds, an older adult is admitted to the emergency room for a fall.

Some senior dies from falling every 29 minutes, making it the leading cause of injury among the elderly.

Two diseases that contribute to frailty are osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. However, falls are not inevitable.

In many cases, fall can be prevented through education, increased physical activity and practical modifications within the home.

Vision and hearing loss

Vision and hearing loss are extremely common for older Americans over the age of 70.

According to the CDC, one out of six older adults has a visual impairment and one out of four has a hearing impairment.

Both issues are easily treatable by aids such as glasses or hearing aids.

Mental illness

A common mental illness among seniors is depression, occurring in 7% of the elderly population.

According to the World Health Organization, over 15% of adults over the age of 60 suffer from a mental disorder.

Because depression can be a side effect of chronic health conditions, managing those conditions help.

In addition, keeping a healthy lifestyle, improving living conditions, and maintaining social contact with family, friends or support groups can help treat depression.

Malnutrition

Malnutrition in older adults over the age of 65 is often under-diagnosed and can lead to other elderly health issues, such as a weakened immune system and muscle weakness.

Malnutrition can be caused by other health problems, such as dementia, depression, alcoholism, dietary restrictions, less social contact, and limited income.

Researchers suggest that older people could do small changes in diet, such as eating more fruits and vegetables and eating less saturated fat and salt.

Bladder control and constipation

Incontinence and constipation are both common with aging, and can greatly impact older adults quality of life.

Gum diseases

Often overlooked, gum/tooth disease is one of the most important issues for the elderly. About 25% of adults over the age of 65 no longer have their natural teeth.

Cavities and tooth decay can make it hard to keep a healthy diet. It may also cause low self-esteem and other health conditions.

Oral health issues could be managed or prevented by making regular dental check-ups.

Dental care, however, can be difficult for seniors to access due to loss of dental insurance after retirement or economic disadvantages.

Alcohol/drug abuse

Substance abuse, typically alcohol or drug-related, is more prevalent among seniors than realized.

Because many don’t associate substance abuse with the elderly, it’s often overlooked and missed in medical check-ups.

Additionally, older adults are often prescribed multiple prescriptions to be used long-term. This can lead to addiction, such as opioid addiction.

Sexually transmitted diseases

A recent study shows that 21% of AIDS cases occurred in seniors over the age of 50 in the United States, and 37% of deaths that same year were people over the age of 55.

While sexual needs and ability may change as people age, sexual desire doesn’t disappear completely.

Seniors are unlikely to use condoms, and they usually have a weakened immune system. These two things make the elderly more susceptible to contracting HIV.

Chronic health conditions

According to the National Council on Aging, about 92% of seniors have at least one chronic disease and 77% have at least two.

These health conditions include heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and many others.

The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends senior people do an annual checkup, maintain a healthy diet and keep an exercise routine to help manage or prevent chronic diseases.

Obesity is a growing problem among older adults and engaging in these lifestyle behaviors can help reduce obesity and associated chronic conditions.

So how can you protect yourself from these health issues?

The Mayo Clinic suggests maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly to avoid these elderly health issues.

There are often effective medical treatments, and older adults should not be embarrassed to discuss with their doctors.

Source: Texas A&M University.