5 most common diseases in old age
As the human body ages the properties of the organs change; therefore, it is more prone to developing certain pathologies. Most of these conditions are preventable and treatable. Do you want to know what are the most common diseases in old age?
All over the world, the survival of the elderly has increased considerably compared to earlier times. Today, life expectancy in the American continent exceeds 70 years according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). This fact favors the appearance of chronic disorders related to damage and wear of the organs.
The most common diseases in old age are attributed to cardiovascular, neoplastic, osteoarticular and endocrine-metabolic conditions. Most of these pathologies offer early signs that can be detected early. In this sense, timely diagnosis and therapy are the foundation of healthy and full aging.
The 5 most common diseases in old age
Currently, there is a high rate of pathologies that affects older adults and their quality of life. Most of these diseases manifest gradually and progressively, which is why they tend to go unnoticed until they become acutely established and alter the daily activities of the elderly.
From a biological and medical perspective, aging is the result of a large amount of cellular and molecular damage, this degeneration is not linear and specific to all older adults.
In this sense, the presence of pathologies in the elderly depends on a more complex multifactorial sphere. Taking all this into account, it is possible to say that among the most common diseases in old age, the following stand out:
1) Most common diseases in old age: arterial hypertension
High blood pressure is a disease of the cardiovascular system that characterized by high blood pressure levels. For years, this pathology has remained one of the conditions with the highest incidence and mortality in the world.
Various investigations show that its prevalence is 20% to 30% in the general population and 60% in patients over 60 years of age. Similarly, high blood pressure is associated with a long list of heart conditions, among which are acute myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular accidents.
The symptoms of this condition are usually silent and vague; Nevertheless, some patients report dizziness, headaches and palpitations. Diagnosis is clinical and is based on the identification of blood pressure figures and an adequate physical examination. Treatment involves various changes in lifestyle, diet, and drug support.
Read also: Hearing loss due to aging: causes and treatments
2) Arthritis and osteoarthritis
Arthritis is a group of acute or chronic pathologies associated with inflammation of one or more joints. For its part, osteoarthritis refers to the progressive degeneration of the elements that make up a joint, mainly at the level of the articular cartilage.
For 2018, the Spanish Society for Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine (SERMEF) estimated that in Spain more than half of people over 65 years of age suffered from some type of osteoarthritis. Both osteoarticular conditions often manifest with joint pain, stiffness, and limited mobility of the joint.
Arthritis and osteoarthritis are more common in women than in men due to hormonal variations typical of menopause. Despite not having a definitive cure, most patients can have a normal lifestyle by complying with continuous pharmacological treatment or in some cases surgical.
3) Most common diseases in old age: Alzheimer's
Alzheimer's is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by brain atrophy and nerve cell death. It is the main cause of dementia in older adults, present in more than a third of patients older than 85 years.
The early manifestations of this condition include loss of memory of recent events or situations. As the condition evolves, there is deterioration in behavior, thinking and social skills of the individual, and even their ability to carry out daily activities is affected.
Currently, Alzheimer's does not have a definitive cure or treatment. However, timely diagnosis and therapy favor the delay of disease progression. Thus, the person can prolong the maintenance of their brain functions and function independently for longer.
Dementia is a memory and thinking condition associated with a diverse group of chronic and degenerative diseases. In this sense, this disease of old age is the product of a ongoing damage to brain structures responsible for coordinating and regulating higher functions.
It is considered the main cause of disability and dependency in older adults. The cardinal symptom is the gradual loss of memory, as well as the manifestation of delusions, hallucinations, paranoid ideas and psychosis.
The diagnosis involves a comprehensive medical, physical and psychological evaluation in which the state of the person's psyche is assessed in detail. Treatment is mainly pharmacological; it involves progressive and permanent care to carry out daily activities.
You may be interested in the following article: Early symptoms of dementia: how to detect them?
Osteoporosis is a degenerative pathology of bone tissue characterized by the chronic demineralization of bone, brittleness, and loss of bone density. This is one of the most common diseases of old age with an incidence of 25% for women older than 45 years and 50% for women older than 60 years.
Osteoporosis is related to a higher prevalence of fractures due to falls or mild to moderate trauma. The bones that are most commonly affected are the femur, hip, spine, and wrist ossicles.
The most frequent manifestations of this pathology are bone and joint pain, decreased height, weakness, and stooped forward posture. The prognosis is determined by adequate nutrition and supplementary administration. Treatment usually offers a good quality of life and contributes to the relief of symptoms.
Tips to prevent diseases in old age
Most of the most common diseases of old age are associated with chronic degenerative processes. For this reason, small changes in lifestyle slow the progression of a large number of conditions. In addition, these changes can also increase the survival of older adults.
Some tips that you can follow to reduce the risk of presenting some diseases during old age are the following:
- Have a balanced diet: It is advisable to follow a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, fibers and low in salt, sugars and saturated fats that reduces the risk of suffering or being complicated by cardiovascular, endocrine, metabolic and osteoarticular diseases.
- Perform physical exercise: Mild to moderate physical activities favor arterial circulation, weight control and decrease the incidence of arterial and metabolic diseases. In addition, they allow the body to be active, slowing down the degeneration of organs and tissues.
- Have continuous medical control: the periodic medical visit allows detecting diseases associated with old age early and providing timely therapy. In addition, the monitoring of pathologies is vital to avoid associated complications.
- Practice certain recreational activities: didactic and social events prevent isolation and progression of diseases that affect the brain such as dementia.
- Avoid excesses: It is advisable to reduce the consumption of any external substance that can harm the body. Excessive consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and non-prescribed drugs favors the manifestation of liver and systemic disorders.
The key is a healthy lifestyle
The state of the body is a reflection of everything that people do and consume in their daily lives. Specialists recommend doing emphasis on achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle as the body ages.
To do this, we invite you to follow the advice that we suggest above. Similarly, it is important to highlight the need for Go to the doctor whenever you notice any strange symptoms or signs. Remember that prevention is your best weapon against the most common diseases of old age.
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