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6 Health problems of the elderly and how to managing those

This week we thought of sharing an interesting article which you may also find relevant. So, here it goes:

It is a no-brainer that aging causes our 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.

Being aware of the common health problems that seniors may face helps plan for the prevention of any impending health emergency. Here are 6 most common health conditions among the elderly and ways to manage those:

1. Heart disease:

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 and thus, increase 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).

  • Cutting 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

2. Diabetes:

This is chiefly a lifestyle-related condition that results in an inability to process sugar by the body. High blood sugar can have serious long-term effects on health and also lead to kidney disease, heart disease 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 carbohydrate and unhealthy fat in the diet

  • Testing blood sugar levels from time to time

  • Taking medicines (and not skipping any dose) as advised by your doctor

3. Dehydration:

Dehydration implies body lacking enough levels of fluid. Absence of adequate body fluid can have an adverse impact 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

  • Consuming fruits, herbal teas etc.

4. Chronic constipation:

Not able to defecate properly and feeling full is a fairly common problem among the elderly. Although it may not have any immediate serious implication yet 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 fibre in diet.

Ways to prevent and manage constipation in elderly:

  • Including more fruits and green leafy vegetables in diet

  • Keeping well-hydrated

  • Exercising regularly to maintain healthy bowel movement

  • 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 aged 60 and above are effected 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, the following steps can help:

  • Staying connected with neighbours, family and friends.

  • Adopting a pet

  • Picking-up a new hobby like gardening, knitting, pottery etc.

6. Bone and joint related disorders:

Conditions such as osteoarthritis, 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 adequate exposure to the Sun

  • Including various anti-inflammatory foods in the daily diet such as nuts, seeds, fatty fish etc.

  • Getting tested for arthritis and related conditions as and when advised by doctor

  • Having fall support in bathrooms to avoid any accidental fall

Along with following measures to prevent or manage health conditions among the elderly, make sure to shower your love and care in every possible way! That’s indispensable.



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