The 5 Most Common Chronic Diseases Affecting the Elderly – And How to Spot Them

This article is written by Holly Klamer.  

As our bodies age, we become more susceptible to chronic disease. There are certain diseases that elderly patients are particularly prone to because of their age. Knowing what these diseases are can help you manage your own health or keep an eye on an elderly loved one. 55+ senior living communities are great resources that give seniors a safe place to live where they can get the care they need. Here are some of the most common chronic diseases affecting the elderly and how you can spot them.

1. Hypertension

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the most common chronic condition for older adults. This problem is very difficult to spot because it has no symptoms. Many older people develop it over time, but don’t catch it until they are seniors and are going to the doctor more regularly. High blood pressure can be prevented by exercising and eating healthy, which is important to do at any age. Having regular physical checkups is another good way to ensure you catch hypertension early. Hypertension can be managed by taking medication, but can be deadly if left untreated.

2. High Cholesterol

High cholesterol is another very common problem for older adults. High levels of cholesterol happen when unhealthy fats build up in the arteries, causing them to clog. It is caused by eating unhealthy foods, although some people are naturally prone to higher cholesterol levels than others. To prevent high cholesterol, avoid smoking or drinking too much alcohol, and avoid foods with high levels of unhealthy fats.

3. Diabetes

Diabetes is very common in the elderly population as well. Type 2 diabetes is a condition that develops over time as the body has a difficult time creating insulin, leading to very high blood sugar levels. Diabetes needs to be managed extremely carefully in order to prevent health problems that can affect the entire body. Like hypertension and high cholesterol, eating healthy and exercising are two of the best ways to prevent diabetes.

4. Arthritis

Another common problem for a large percentage of the elderly population is arthritis. Arthritis develops when the cartilage between joints starts to break down, which is why it is much more common in older adults. As the cartilage starts to wear down, you may notice swelling and pain that inhibits range of motion. Although it may start as a mild annoyance, arthritis can become very painful, so it’s important to get it treated as soon as you can.

5. Dementia

Dementia is a catch-all term for a group of conditions that result in memory loss and inability to problem solve and complete normal tasks. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. Dementia normally begins with a gradual inability to remember things like appointments or names, but can progress rapidly without treatment.

 

For accurate diagnoses and other senior living help, you should make sure the senior in your life is visiting the doctor regularly. Keeping an eye out for signs and symptoms of these diseases is the best way to ensure that your loved one lives the longest and happiest life they possibly can. Even though these illnesses are common, they can be managed when they are treated properly and don’t have to get in the way of a full and happy life.

 

About the author: Holly loves to write on issues related to seniors, aging and retirement. Holly is a frequent contributor on many blogs and websites that help provide comprehensive resources on senior living options.

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