In recent years, there have been advances in the medical community, especially when it comes to medications and surgical techniques. This means that people are living longer than they would have several years ago. However, it seems that once your body reaches the age of 65, it is susceptible to several different health problems. The most common health issues for those over 65 include: coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, pneumonia and Alzheimer’s.
Coronary Heart Disease
Coronary heart disease is a condition where plaque, a waxy substance, builds up inside the heart arteries. This build-up does not happen right away but yet it occurs over the course of several years. In time, this plaque can become hard or it can rupture. In the event of a rupture, a blood clot may form, which may partially or fully block the flow of blood through the artery. The most common risk factors of this heart disease include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, family history of coronary heart disease and obesity. This disease may be prevented or treated with physical activity, weight management and healthy eating.
A stroke occurs when an area of your brain interrupts normal blood flow. This can occur as a result of a blood vessel bursting or a blood vessel becoming blocked. Your brain needs an adequate supply of blood carrying oxygen in order to survive. In the event that blood doesn’t get to these cells, the cells will rapidly die. When this happens, there is a great possibility that you will suffer from brain damage in the area that the cells died. Signs of a stroke include troubles speaking, weakness in arm, leg and face, problems with coordination, problems with vision, dizziness, headache and loss of consciousness. Most stroke patients are admitted to the hospital for monitoring and additional testing.
Cancer is a cluster of over 100 different diseases that can start virtually anywhere in your body. It occurs when cells in our body change and grow unnaturally, sometimes forming a tumor. This tumor can either be cancerous or non-cancerous. Tumors that are cancerous have the ability to spread to other parts of your body. Cancer is named for the body area and cell type in its beginning stages. For instance, carcinoma cancers start in the skin and tissue of internal organs and include lung, prostate, breast and colorectal. The most common cancer in women is breast cancer and in men it is prostate cancer.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, pneumonia was the 8th leading cause of death in the United States in 2010. Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs that is caused mainly by fungus, viruses or bacteria. This inflammation causes lots of fluid to enter the lungs and can affect either one lung or both. The signs and symptoms of pneumonia are often similar to the flu but will last much longer. These signs and symptoms include fever, chills, sweating, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath, chest pain and cough that produces phlegm.
Alzheimer’s is a disease is one that progressively occurs in your body and takes away not only your memory but other crucial mental functions as well. With this disease, your brain cells will eventually die and cause a decline in your memory and mental function. There is currently no cure for this disease but medications and management strategies can help to improve some of your symptoms.
Being aware of these conditions as you (or someone you love) ages, is the key to a long and healthy life.