A healthy lifestyle can increase your life expectancy and allow you to enjoy a higher quality of life in your retirement. Unfortunately, no lifestyle choice can eliminate the effects of ageing. Every person goes through the same ageing process but might experience it differently due to gender, family genetics, medical history, and lifestyle. Many studies show that ageing is correlated with specific transformations in the body and increased vulnerability to various health conditions.
Knowing what to expect as you or a loved one ages is critical because it allows you to prepare accordingly. Here are the five most common health conditions associated with ageing.
1. Respiratory Disease
Aging can make fundamental life functions like breathing more difficult because it causes a natural decrease in lung function and capacity. Older adults are at risk of developing respiratory diseases such as asthma, COPD, pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, and cystic fibrosis. People over 65 are four times more likely to be diagnosed with a respiratory illness than those younger. Thus, seniors are often in need of supplemental oxygen.
Do you have a parent or relative dealing with lung disease? Have you been diagnosed with one? Check the best portable oxygen concentrators. These devices allow people with lung conditions to manage their oxygen intake on the go and lead normal, moderately active lives.
2. Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is another health condition more prevalent in the elderly population. This disorder disrupts insulin production in the body, causing insulin resistance. Essentially, it stops the body from processing glucose effectively, leading to high blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes is often the precursor of other severe health issues such as kidney failure, blindness, stroke, or heart attack.
People can reduce their risks of type 2 diabetes in older age by adopting healthy habits. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and reduced sugar intake can help keep blood glucose levels in control. However, people who lead a healthy lifestyle can still be at risk if they experience long-term stress.
Managing diabetes can be difficult for older adults. If you or someone in your family has received this diagnosis, learn as much about this condition as possible. Diabetes comes with physical limitations that impose many lifestyle changes. Adapting to these changes takes time, so finding assistance is crucial.
3. Cardiovascular Disease
In the fitness community, everyone talks about cardio, which is cardiovascular fitness, or aerobic exercise. Cardio is critical for a healthy life because the cardiovascular system is the first that succumbs to the effects of ageing. Your cardiovascular age can determine how you feel more determinedly than your actual biological age.
Cardiovascular disease, including strokes and heart attacks, is the leading cause of death among the elderly. The number of seniors who experience irregular heart rates, hypertension, heart attacks, and heart failure is overwhelming.
Unless there are genetic risks, lifestyle is the main factor that affects cardiovascular health. Regular exercise, good sleep quality, and a healthy diet are critical for preventing heart disease. Seniors already diagnosed with a cardiovascular condition can alleviate the associated symptoms by getting moderate exercise and adopting other healthy habits.
4. Sensory Impairment
Sensory impairments are extremely common for older adults over the age of 65. Hearing loss is more prevalent than vision impairment. Both conditions can have life-altering consequences, affecting a person’s quality of life, relationships, confidence, and self-esteem. Thankfully, technology has helped make some sensory impairments tolerable. Many older adults rely on glasses and hearing aids, without which they couldn’t be able to have an active life.
Older adults are also at risk of developing severe eye-related conditions for which glasses are useless. Cataract and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are two examples. Statistics show that half of the elderly population over the age of 80 has a form of cataract, which manifests as progressive cloudiness in the eye and leads to blurred vision. Macular degeneration can appear around the age of 50 and often causes blindness in older people.
With advancing age, vision and hearing are equally in danger. Hearing loss can be gradual or sudden. Experiencing hearing loss can be very frustrating as some people may not realize what is happening to them immediately.
If you have older adults in the family, pay attention to any unusual behavior during conversations. Having difficulties following a conversation, speaking loudly, and misunderstanding words are signs of potential hearing loss.
Studies warn that disabling age-related hearing loss will become more common in the following decades. Younger generations have had higher exposure to noise pollution throughout their lives.
5. Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the scariest health conditions related to ageing. It affects the brain, causing loss of memory and personality and ultimately triggering dementia. Although there can be different causes behind dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause. The symptoms can be truly debilitating. The patient forgets how to do basic activities, struggles to communicate, becomes impulsive while losing the ability to recognize danger, and suffers extreme mood changes.
Alzheimer’s disease changes brain functioning, and all the changes are irreversible. However, it is vital to know that dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is not a natural, unavoidable part of ageing. Genetics, diet, habits, and lifestyle determine a person’s risk level. The elderly can minimize their risk of dementia by engaging in mentally stimulating activities.
If a loved one seems to forget recently learned information, asks the same question repeatedly, makes rash decisions, cannot handle everyday tasks, and seems confused regularly about time and location, contact a medical professional. Screening of cognitive functions can help detect potential risks.
Accepting the gradual loss of physical strength and energy associated with ageing can be difficult. Even though older adults have many reasons to fear for their health, medical progress is helping everyone live longer than ever. You can protect your health by adopting a healthy lifestyle and scheduling regular health checks. If you worry about a loved one, learn about the warning signs of various age-related illnesses. Early diagnosis can make a difference.