Common Illnesses of the Elderly and How to Manage Them

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It’s a well-known fact that the living age has increased massively over the past century. Our quality of living has improved and we now have much better healthcare, better hygiene, a healthy diet. But something that is often overlooked is the fact that with a longer life, comes the susceptibility to more diseases and illnesses.

As humans, we are still learning to get a grasp of our own morality, and we often take our bodies for granted. Unhealthy lifestyle choices mean such as drinking, smoking, drug taking and eating fatty foods can all lead to more sinister health problems later on in life. It’s important to know how to look after our bodies and how to live with and even prevent illnesses, ailments and diseases later on in elderly life.

Some Common Illnesses of the Elderly

Elderly-Care

Arthritis

There are two main types of arthritis rheumatoid and osteoarthritis arthritis. The most common form of arthritis is the initially mentioned osteoarthritis, which affects around 8 million people in the UK alone. The most common symptoms often entail of inflammation and pain in various joints, the most commonly affected areas in elderly are the knees, spine and hands.

There isn’t a cure for arthritis, but certain prescription medications can make the pain more bearable and manageable in everyday life. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, then it’s important to visit your doctor.

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Alzheimer’s and Dementia

It’s not uncommon for people to get confused between Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but there are some clear distinctions that we must familiarise ourselves with. To start, dementia is a syndrome and Alzheimer’s is a disease. Dementia has symptoms such as memory loss, deterioration in communication inability to perform everyday activities; Alzheimer’s disease becomes more aggressive over time and language ability, memory and thought begin to deteriorate.

As you age, it becomes more likely for you to develop dementia, but it occurs when brain cells are damaged from injury, substance abuse or various different diseases. Alzheimer’s disease can impair the brain cells, which leads to syndromes such as dementia, it is a terminal illness and the cause is yet to be discovered.



Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a horrible incurable disease that entails the gradual deterioration of the brain. This leads to the impairment of a person’s motor skills, their ability to speak, their memory and even muscles reflexes.

This disease often causes a person to shake uncontrollably throughout different parts of the body. As well as physical symptoms, there are also psychological symptoms that are also commonly experienced. Parkinson’s is linked with anxiety and depression, change in sleeping patterns – i.e. disturbed and infrequent sleep and extreme fatigue, loss of balance and loss of sense of smell.

The cause for Parkinson’s is unclear at present and although no cure is known at the moment, there are a still a number of treatments available to help ease the pain. These treatments are dependent on the severity or onset of the disease and most commonly include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, medications and in severe cases brain surgery.

 

Cancer

Cancer is a disease that involves malignant melanomas, which is abnormal cell growth, in different parts of the body. This abnormal cell growth can severely damage and destroy parts of the body, and can cause organ failure and incurable ailments.

There are over 200 various types of cancer a person can contract, from lung, liver, skin, breast and testicular to name a few. There are various success rates of cancer treatments, depending on the string you contract, and some cancer types respond to chemotherapy better than others.

When caught in the early stages, cancer is more easy to treat, but the older you are when you contract cancer, the more vulnerable you are, and the less likely there is of being a cure, as your immune system massively weakens. Reducing your risk of getting certain types of cancer can be as easy as simple healthy lifestyle choices – research has revealed that only 10% of cancer is contracted genetically. If you commit to a healthier lifestyle, such as a better diet, exercise regime and avoiding excessive UV ray exposure.

Although some of the aforementioned diseases are hereditary, there are often strong links to elderly lifestyle choices. It’s important to take into consideration how important leading a healthy lifestyle can be. If you believe to be experiencing any of the symptoms or ailments discusses above, the seek immediate medical consultation.

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