Despite the inevitability of aging, most people dream of enjoying their sunset years, socially engaged, productive, and healthy. However, old age also comes with unique and somewhat surprising health conditions.
Most of these senior conditions are degenerative with subtle symptoms that can sneak up on you. The key to outsmarting your age is greater health vigilance, a healthy lifestyle, and effective disease management. The following are surprising health conditions to watch for as you age:
Obesity or Overweight
One of the most typical health conditions that can easily sneak up on you with advancing age is gaining weight. As age advances, most people become increasingly inactive. The sedentary lifestyle associated with aging is one of the leading causes of obesity and overweight in the elderly. The loss of muscle mass reduces the ability to engage in physical and strenuous activities.
The pounds begin to sneak up on you. Weight gain among the elderly also results from decreased burning of calories. Your metabolism slows, leading to increased accumulation of calories in the body. Obesity increases the risk of depression, anxiety, and heart problems. Arthritis, stroke, and diabetes are also common among obese and overweight individuals.
Flu and Flu-like Conditions
Flu is ubiquitous across all demographics. We rarely associate flu with age because of its prevalence in our communities. However, the elderly are at greater risk of suffering from flu and flu-related conditions, including pneumonia and lung infections. Seniors have a declining immune system that increases vulnerability to these illnesses. Flu, pneumonia, or bacterial lung infections can be irritating and fatal if untreated. However, these conditions have vaccines. A yearly jab for flu or pneumonia will prevent these illnesses from catching you off guard. Ensure that the dosage is adjusted upwards with advancing age.
Hearing loss is prevalent among individuals aged 65 years and above. When age-related, hearing loss is degenerative. Such individuals lose the ability to perceive high pitch sound frequency over time. Such a condition is caused by the wear and tear of auditory nerves and even cochlear. Seniors also suffer from occupational hearing loss because of the extended exposure to loud noise, especially at the workplace. Whether resulting occupational hazard or degenerative, hearing loss can limit your interactions. If cases where corrective surgery is not plausible, consider opting for a hearing aid or assistive hearing devices. However, you should understand that adjusting to your new hearing aids takes time.
As the years advance, your bones become more fragile. Maintaining balance and movement becomes a problem. The risk of suffering from falls and bone injuries, such as fractures, increases manifolds in elderly individuals with osteoporosis. Walking around with the knowledge that your bones can easily snap at the slightest strain can be scary. For the elderly, such danger means limited activities, including walking around the house. And the danger of suffering from obesity also lurks in the background. Aging individuals with obesity problems are more likely to suffer from bone fracturing. A healthy diet that includes calcium-rich foods and staying active can improve your muscle density and strength.
Depression and Anxiety
Many individuals living in their sunset years silently suffer from depression because of a widespread dismissive attitude. Many seniors and society dismiss depression symptoms as a normal part of aging. Most cases of depression among the elderly rarely become full-blown. The loss of interest in activities, such as socializing or reclusion, may be important indicators of the onset of depression. Sometimes the condition may stem from underlying health, social, or economic problems. Beat depression by engaging in activities that ignite your spirit and passion for living.
Degenerative hearing loss, especially macular degeneration, can creep on you with advancing. As you age, your ability to see finer details will decrease as the macular wastes away. Sometimes the slow loss of vision can be caused by glaucoma, which affects the optic nerve's functionality. Without proper treatment and management, these conditions can lead to a total loss of vision.
From Alzheimer’s to dementia, cognitive impairment is common among seniors. Most of these conditions worsen over time and increase the risk of other conditions. Memory loss and the inability to perform basic tasks can severely limit your interactions and quality of life. Proper medical checkups and management therapy, and medications can help in minimizing the severity of the symptoms.
The sunset years are ideal for traveling and enjoying the company of your loved ones. However, the elderly are susceptible to several health conditions. Protect your health by maintaining an active lifestyle, healthy eating, and regular checkups.
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.