As the body gets older, staying healthy and active can become more of a challenge. The vast majority of seniors will have at least one long term health complaint, many will have more than one. The good news is that there are ways to help your body out. When you are residing inside a retirement residence, managing the risks of developing these elderly diseases can make a huge difference in your quality of life.
Here are some of the more common elderly diseases and health conditions found in seniors.
1. High blood pressure
This is also called hypertension and can be managed through medication and diet, but it is a very serious condition in the long run. There are no symptoms for these elderly diseases. Over time, it can damage blood vessels as well as increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
To help reduce high blood pressure, you can keep your weight at a healthy level:
- It is important to eat well and avoid large amounts of salt and alcohol
- You should also be keeping up with daily exercise. Even if this is just a short walk
Lowering your blood pressure is not only beneficial for your cardiovascular system, it also helps keep the weight off.
2. High cholesterol
This is a very common condition that affects almost 50% of seniors. When a person has too many bad fats in their diet, heart disease becomes one of the more common elderly diseases.
Here’s how you can lower your cholesterol:
- You’ll need to quit smoking
- Cut back on alcohol consumption
- Eat less saturated or trans fats
Affecting almost a third of all seniors Osteoarthritis is a disease that affects the joints of the body. Swelling and pain are caused by the cartilage breaking down. This leads to stiffness in the joints. This is not only a problem for mobility reasons. If it hurts to move, you move around less and this can lead to less exercise, dehydration and more.
It is possible to delay the symptoms of arthritis by doing the following
- Exercise at least 5 times per week
- Keep the weight off (This is good advice for anyone as you might have noticed we keep mentioning it)
- Avoiding injuries, which is easier said than done
- Quit smoking
4. Coronary heart disease
These elderly diseases are caused by a build-up of plaque in the arteries leading to the heart. As there is less blood making its way to the heart many other complications can follow.
Here’s how you can help to prevent heart disease
- Make significant changes to your lifestyle, there is no quick fix
- Cut back on the saturated and trans fats
- Reduce your sugar intake
- Exercise (there it is again)
- Quit smoking
- See your doctor regularly
When the body doesn’t make enough insulin, the levels of glucose in the body can fluctuate to dangerous levels. High blood sugar can cause a great deal of damage to eyes, heart, and major blood vessels. Diabetics are at much greater risk of developing heart disease at an earlier age.
Here’s how you reduce the risk or manage diabetes:
- Eat well
- Exercise and lose weight
- Limit sugar intake, soft drinks can be a big contributor
- See a doctor for a detailed action plan and for regular monitoring of your blood sugar levels
6. Kidney disease
A slow down of kidney function over time can not only increase the risk of heart disease, it can also be an early sign of impending kidney failure.
Here’s how you reduce your risk of kidney disease:
- Do all you can to keep your blood pressure levels steady
- Visit your doctor regularly
- Exercise and eat well
7. Heart failure
Heart failure is when the heart isn’t strong enough to pump enough blood through the body. Without blood circulating through the body, there won’t be enough oxygen reaching vital areas. This can cause a lot of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Such as light-headedness, nausea, loss of appetite and more.
To prevent this, you should:
- Lower your blood pressure
- Prevent heart disease
- And of course… exercise and eat well
Many don’t think about depression in the elderly. This is a very real problem for seniors and can present as feelings of sadness, numbness anxiety and many more. It is often hard to see as is the case with depressed people of any age. They will often mask it with bravado and a smile.
Prevent or manage depression by:
- Keeping in touch with friends and family
- Eating healthy foods rich in vitamins and minerals
- Keeping alcohol consumption to a minimum
- Speak with a doctor about treatment options
9. Alzheimer’s disease
Known as one of the most heartbreaking elderly diseases, dementia is horrible in all of its forms. Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia. It’s the most common type and accounts for more than two-thirds of all cases of dementia.
You can reduce the risk of developing dementia or delay its effects by doing the following:
- Exercising regularly
- Keeping the mind active, this can be through crossword puzzles, sudoku, casual conversations and puzzles
- Getting enough sleep
- Drinking enough water
- Eating a healthy and balanced diet