Caring nurse helps elderly woman out of bed in rehab at nursing home

Common Health Problems in Elderly People

Everyone knows that older adults face unique health challenges as they age – but most don’t know exactly how they might be affected. As caregivers, we want to give you all the information needed to navigate your or your loved one’s changing health. To accomplish that, we put together this quick guide to some of the most common age-related health problems.

What is The Most Common Disease in Elderly People?

Cardiovascular disease remains the number one health concern for older adults nationwide.  But there’s a silver lining – even though it remains a leading cause of death for people over the age of 65, actual mortality caused by heart disease has declined solidly for the past 20 years. Still, common conditions like hypertension and atherosclerosis contribute to keeping heart disease at the top of the list.

Fortunately, there’s a lot of ways you can improve and maintain your heart’s health. Every good cardiological care plan begins in the kitchen – reducing salt and cholesterol intake to lower blood pressure, for example. When you add in a regimen of light aerobic exercise, it’s possible to make sure your heart keeps ticking longer.

Cognitive Decline and Related Issues

Some amount memory loss is normal and expected as you age – but a significant subset of older adults may develop some kind of cognitive or memory impairment. According to the American Alzheimer’s Association, one in nine people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Two-thirds of that group are women (primarily because women live longer on average).

Balance Issues

Falls are consistently a leading cause of injury for older adults. Why? It’s down to a couple of core factors. First, loss of muscle tone combines with increasing issues in the parts of the inner ear responsible for balance. That means seniors are more likely to fall when navigating common obstacles around the house. Second, older adults are both more prone to serious injury due to loss of bone density and are less able to heal wounds once they do occur.

Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes

It’s estimated that some 25 percent of adults age 65 or older have Type 2 diabetes. Understanding your risk is the first step toward redesigning your dietary habits. Even if you already have a diagnosis, adjusting your habits can stave off the worst side effects and help you maintain quality of life.

Respiratory Disease and Infections

Health issues like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma can both become worse with age. Medications and palliative technology can alleviate the symptoms – but both conditions leave you more vulnerable to influenza and pneumonia. These diseases aren’t unique to seniors, of course, but seniors generally have weaker immune systems that can make it hard to recover.

Sensory Issues

Broadly speaking, each of our senses get duller with age. But more acute issues with vision or hearing are especially prevalent, making it hard to keep up with day-to-day responsibilities. Some, like glaucoma, are treatable – but advanced deafness or blindness might require more care to live safely and easily.

To learn more about common health issues in older adults, read this fact sheet from the National Council on Aging.

Learn From Our Team of Experts

When you have questions about senior care and long-term health, turn to us. The team at Crystal Pines stands ready to provide the answers you need to make a more informed decision.