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5 Most Common Health Issues for Over 50s

The fact that as we age our vulnerability for illnesses increases. The longevity of life and the proportion of senior people are definitely increasing across developing countries. So, the life expectancy is most likely dependent upon health service delivery systems, and family and community support.

The number of people over 50 years is set to double by 2050 according to the World Report on Aging and Health 2015. The report seeks to devise a comprehensive public health action plan for the nearing seniors, which will have valuable economic returns. As physical health, mental health and well-being are also important in the older generation.

As people come to aging adults, they are at a higher risk of life-threatening diseases. Estimates show that more than 90% of aging adults have at least one chronic health condition, and over 75% of them have two or more chronic health conditions. Even as we know that physical activities may be helpful in preventing diseases, there are still about 50-60% of aging generations engage in physical activity, and thus making the problem even worse.

These are most likely the 5 most common health issues for people over 50`s along with their preventive measures:

1. Heart Disease and Stroke

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the elderly generation. Changes in cardiovascular physiology is usually attributed to aging, as well as genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. According to reports, around 37% of men and about 26% of women are suffering from chronic heart condition. Aging population that has these chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels are at risk of having a stroke.

Prevention and Treatment:

Regulating cholesterol levels should be worked out and brought in a good range to avoid problems in cardiovascular system. The intake of saturated and trans-fats should also be minimized as much as possible. Eating a healthy diet, getting into physical activities, managing high blood pressure will prevent heart disease. Other treatment possible are medications, some surgical procedures such as opening and unclogging arteries, angioplasty, and other open-heart surgical procedures. But most importantly, lifestyle changes are the most beneficial one.

2. Diabetes

Diabetes has often been referred to as the “silent disease” because most likely some types of diabetes would hardly show manifestations or signs for a long time not until the person will have it tested. In some studies, aging people would show the late stage of diabetes as it was not detected earlier. Aside from genetic and lifestyle cause, diabetes is also caused due to metabolic disorders, menopause and problems with thyroid functions. Among elderly, insulin production gets decreased with age and this affects sugar levels thus increasing their susceptibility to diabetes.

Prevention and Treatment

There are 2 types of diabetes (1) Type 1 diabetes can delay complications by maintaining sugar level at ideal range. (2) Type 2 diabetes can be reduced with regular exercise and a good diet. Generally, all types of diabetes can be controlled with a healthy diet (keto diet), oral medications or insulin injections. Regular examinations of blood sugar is required.

3. Arthritis

Arthritis is very common to older people, in which osteoarthritis is the most common form. It actually affects about 50% of elderly generation. We usually referred to it as joint pain or joint disease but there are actually several forms of Arthritis. Some common conditions related to it are gout, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. Factors that are responsible for development of arthritis include genetics or hereditary makeup, abnormal metabolism, injury, bad posture, infections, dysfunctional immune system.

Prevention and Treatment

The aim of treating arthritis is to ease pain and inflammations, to minimize further damage to the joint, and improve or maintain the quality of life. Staying active, flexibility exercises such as yoga, watch their weight, keep body-mass index in a normal range, good diet with high antioxidants and high anti-inflammatory properties are good recommendations.

4. Alcohol and Substance Abuse

One of the fastest growing health concerns currently around the world is alcohol abuse, especially among the adults above 60 years old. It may also be noted that there are issues on substance abuse. Emotional issues are related to these abuse. This alcohol and substance abuse among the elderly has terrible impacts on social relationships, health, mental, and emotional well-being. It can also lead to serious illnesses and worsen medical conditions.

Prevention and Treatment

Medical intervention and proper counseling is extremely important for preventing alcohol and substance abuse among older adults. This intervention programs aim to provide family awareness to personal issues that needed to be addressed. Treatments may also be alcohol detoxification, rehabilitation programs, counseling and prescribed medications.

5. Alzheimer`s Disease

One in nine people over the age 60 years is living with Alzheimer`s disease according to study report by the Alzheimer`s Association. This is around 11% of the total elderly population, showing that loss of memory and dementia are prone to this age group. Diagnosis of this disease is very challenging, as it is difficult to know when and how it started and how many people are having chronic Alzheimer`s condition.

Prevention and Treatment

Taking care of our brain is very important. Taking plenty of Omega-3 fats is very helpful as these healthy fats may help prevent Alzheimer`s disease and dementia by reducing beta-amyloid plaques which is related to aging. Although there is really no exact treatment, but there are already possible treatments and medications which had been developed recently that can help alleviate symptoms or slow down its progression. Cognitive activities will also help such as mental games, reading, and getting in hobbies are helpful.

These are just a small list of common health issues among the elderly. The most important information i would like to share with you is the awareness of these common health conditions. Knowing them may help us take steps in preventing or eliminating these issues. Even if we are currently having health issues, it is never too late to take care of ourselves and be healthy as much as we can.

Is there anything you would like to add to this post? I would love to hear from you.

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