Although many elderly Brooklyn Heights residents live happy, active lives, it’s also very common for people to experience health problems as they age. In fact, health problems among older Americans are documented throughout the nation. The National Council on Aging reports that 80 percent of people who are 65 or older have at least one chronic condition, and 68 percent have two or more conditions.
To preserve your loved one’s quality of life, it’s important to be proactive about their health. Being aware of common health problems among older people can help you be aware of what you may be dealing with. Here are nine of the most common conditions in this population.
Also known as high blood pressure, this is caused by the heart pumping a lot of blood, while stiff, narrow arteries make it difficult for that blood to move through the body. People can have hypertension for years without being aware of it because it causes no symptoms. However, even though patients don’t feel it, chronic hypertension can quietly damage organs, and may eventually lead to a heart attack or stroke.
2. High Cholesterol
Elevated levels of this fat in the blood can cause clogged arteries. This condition also has no symptoms. So it can be a problem for years before people become aware of it. High cholesterol can cause serious cardiovascular disease. Therefore, it’s important to have regular blood tests to keep an eye on cholesterol levels.
According to the National Institute on Aging, osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes of physical disability among elderly people. It’s caused by the breakdown of cartilage in joints. Over the age of 45, women are more likely than men to experience this condition and its painful inflammation of the joints.
4. Coronary Heart Disease
Also known as ischemic heart disease, this condition is caused by a build-up of plaque in the arteries. This decreases the amount of oxygen-rich blood that flows into the heart, which can lead to problems such as blood clots, chest pain, and heart attacks.
When the cells in the body become resistant to insulin, or the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, the result is diabetes. Because insulin carries sugar from the blood into the cells, so they can turn it into energy, this disease causes high levels of blood sugar. This is very damaging to the body, and it can result in many problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, serious circulation problems, and even blindness.
6. Chronic Kidney Disease
Over time, some people experience a slow decline in kidney function. This increases their risk of other health problems, such as heart disease. It can also progress to kidney failure, especially if it isn’t treated. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the main risk factors for chronic kidney disease.
7. Heart Failure
Sometimes the heart becomes less efficient with age, and it’s no longer able to pump blood with enough vigor to get it to all the organs and cells that need it. As it tries to compensate, the heart may become enlarged or beat faster. People with heart failure may feel lightheaded, nauseated, or confused.
Often overlooked, depression is on our list of common health problems among older Americans. This is a medical condition that is more than just feeling sad. It’s characterized by negative feelings, such as hopelessness, anger, and a loss of interest in life. Patients often experience fatigue, and they may either sleep too much or not enough. They may lose their appetite and struggle to make decisions.
Aging often comes with losses, and sadness and grief are a normal part of this experience. But if negative feelings persist, and our loved one’s quality of life is impacted, seek medical help. Depression is a medical condition, and treatments are available.
The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, but there are other causes as well, such as Parkinson’s disease, nutritional deficiencies, and vascular problems. It’s normal to experience some forgetfulness with age, but dementia goes beyond these changes.
As The Alzheimer’s Society explains, dementia is caused by changes to the brain, and it affects patients’ memory, reasoning skills, and ability to think clearly. If memory problems and cognitive function impact someone’s daily life, they probably have dementia.
Seek Help to Deal With Chronic Conditions
There are some steps you can take at home to fight back against these common health problems among older Americans. These include eating a healthy diet, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep. But the most important thing to do is to talk to a doctor, so you can come up with a treatment and lifestyle plan to address your or your loved one’s individual needs.
David York Agency Home Healthcare Helps Seniors in Brooklyn Heights
At David York Agency, we understand the many challenges and risks faced by the aging and elderly and are dedicated to providing care to support them through all of those ups and downs. At David York Home Healthcare Agency, extraordinary service is what sets us apart from other companies in Brooklyn Heights that provide in-home healthcare services.
DYA provides direction as to how to manage the total care of your senior loved one. Whatever your care needs, we are there for you, always striving to exceed your expectations. For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at (718) 376-7755. A free phone consultation can help you determine what services would meet your needs. We aim to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.