It is a no-brainer that aging causes your body organs to get old too. This results in a range of health problems in old age. According to the National Council on Aging, close to 92% of elderly have at least one chronic disease, and 77% have at least two.
Keeping aware about the common health problems your seniors might face helps plan for the prevention and stay prepared for any impending health emergency. Want to take care of your elderly in the best possible ways but not sure where to start? Check their 33 health parameters with a single health checkup. Book test now.
Here are 6 most common health conditions in elderly and ways to manage them:
1. Heart disease:
The heart is one of the most vital body organs that pumps blood to various parts of the body. Aging can cause changes in the heart and blood vessels, increasing the chances of heart disease. This is a chronic condition that causes close to two-third of all deaths among the aged. The concern gets manifold since the symptoms of heart disease are not always apparent and are highly likely to get ignored. Ways to prevent and manage heart-related ailments in elderly include
- Keeping check and restricting the intake of bad fats (trans fats and saturated fats).
- Motivating to cut down on alcohol (or remove it altogether) and quit smoking
- Exercising at least 20-30 minutes every day
- Limiting daily salt intake to reduce sodium consumption
This is chiefly a lifestyle-related condition that results in an inability to process sugar by your body. High blood sugar can have serious long-term effects on the health and can also lead to kidney disease, heart diseases, etc. The risk of getting diabetes increases as one ages. In fact, adults aging 65 or older are at a greater risk of becoming diabetic.
Ways to prevent and manage diabetes in elderly include
- Avoiding a sedentary lifestyle and keeping active in day-to-day routine
- Reducing carb and unhealthy fats in the diet
- Testing for blood sugar levels from time to time
- Taking medicines (and not skipping any dose) as advised by your doctor
This means that your body lacks enough levels of fluids. Absence of adequate body fluids can have an adverse impact on your health, particularly in old age, because it can be linked to other serious problems like urinary tract infections, electrolyte imbalance, etc.
Ways to prevent and manage dehydration in elderly:
- Drinking at least 3 litres of water every day. People with heart failure need to be watchful of excess water intake.
- Limiting the intake of fluid-depleting drinks like alcohol and caffeinated beverages
- Taking more of fruits, herbal teas, etc.
4. Chronic constipation:
Not able to defecate properly and feeling full is a fairly common problem in elderly. This might not have any immediate serious implication, but when it becomes frequent and severe, it can lead to troublesome issues such as bloating, indigestion, nausea, and stomach pain. The major cause of constipation can be as simple as a lack of physical activity and fiber in diet.
Ways to prevent and manage constipation in elderly:
- Including more fruits and green leafy vegetables in the diet to consume more roughage
- Keeping well-hydrated
- Exercising regularly to maintain healthy bowel movements
- Seeking expert help if the lifestyle changes do not help
5. Conditions related to mental health:
Similar to physical health, mental health tends to deteriorate with age. This pretty well explains why around 15% of people aging 60 and above are affected with at least one mental health condition. Elderly people are likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and anxiety.
Ways to cope with most of these mental health problems need a customized approach, however, following steps can help in a generalized manner:
- Staying connected with neighbors, family, and friends. Virtual connect amid the pandemic is of utmost importance if you can’t be around your loved ones
- Adopting a pet
- Picking up a new hobby like gardening, knitting, pottery, etc.
- Journaling to keep a check on feelings and emotions
6. Bone and joint related disorders:
Conditions such asosteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and muscle aches are common in elderly. In fact, arthritis affects almost half of all people of age 65 and older. Bone and joint related disorders can have a massive impact on the quality of life as they affect your participation in daily activities.
Ways to manage symptoms related to bone, muscle and joint-related conditions in elderly include:
- Participating in physical activities within your range of movements
- Taking enough of calcium and vitamin D rich foods to never fall short of these nutrients
- Ensuring to get enough sun
- Including various anti-inflammatory foods in the daily diet such as nuts, seeds, fatty fishes like salmon, etc.
- Getting tested for arthritis and related conditions as and when advised by your doctor
- Having fall support in bathrooms to avoid any accidental fall
Along with following measures to prevent or manage health conditions in your elderly, make sure to shower your love and care in every possible way! That’s indispensable.