The senior population consists of older adults aged 65 years old and above. They account for around 16.5% of the US population. Geriatrics are also known to be the most vulnerable population.
As we grow old, our immune system starts to weaken. As a result, it increases your risk of acquiring various illnesses. Additionally, our entire health will deteriorate overall. With that said, here are some common health concerns that the geriatric population face.
One of the common health concerns that can manifest in the geriatric population. There are various reasons why older adults experience cognitive impairment. Some of these reasons are endocrine or metabolic derangements, delirium caused by illness, and side effects from medication.
The most common impairments older adults experiences are depression and Alzheimer's dementia. If your loved ones are starting to show a sign of cognitive impairment, you should talk to your geriatrician immediately to discuss how to slow the progression.
One known medication that could help with cognitive impairment in geriatrics is stimulant medications such as Vyvanse, a known medication for ADHD. However, before considering any medication for your loved ones, you must first check out the list of side effects that the medication could cause.
Diabetes is another very common health concern that plagues geriatrics. It is a serious disease that could cause amputation if not managed early. Individuals get diabetes once the level of their blood glucose is too high.
Diabetes has three main types: gestational, type 1, and type 2. Type one diabetes develops at an early age. It is most common in children and adolescents. Meanwhile, geriatrics acquired type 2 diabetes.
When you acquire type 2 diabetes, your body doesn't make good use of the insulin it creates. Fortunately, there are steps to avoid acquiring type 2 diabetes as we age. To avoid acquiring type 2 diabetes, you should try to live a healthy lifestyle, such as exercising and eating a healthy diet.
Individuals with type 2 diabetes will eventually require oral medication or insulin shots to keep their sugar levels at bay. Remember, prevention is better than cure, so you should ensure that you avoid getting diabetes.
Individuals 65 years old and older are more prone to heart disease than younger generations. This is because our body becomes more vulnerable as we age, and certain changes in heart and blood vessels cause an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
As we age, the muscle cells in our hearts start to degrade slightly. The valves that control the heart's blood flow stiffen and thicken as we grow older. It is why older adults often experience murmurs in their hearts.
Although these changes in your heart's health are inevitable, there are things you can do to slow down the effects of aging on your heart. First, as you age, you should regularly schedule a check-up with your heart doctor. This way, you can monitor the changes happening and get medical help to manage them.
The fourth common health concern that older adults are experiencing is osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Osteoporosis is a disease that deteriorates bones, causing them to become more fragile and could break easily. Symptoms of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis appear slowly over time and are frequently diagnosed only after a fall or a sudden impact breaks a bone.
Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is the most prevalent form of arthritis. People call it "wear and tear" or degenerative joint disease. It is most common in the fingers, hips, and knees. With osteoarthritis, the cartilage in our joints starts to deteriorate, and the underlying bone changes.
The likelihood of acquiring osteoarthritis rises with age. Excessive stress on a recently injured joint, inappropriate joint alignment, and obesity can all help the development of osteoarthritis.
It's not unusual to notice alterations in our health as we get older, particularly in our vision and hearing. According to different studies, somewhere around 9% to 21% of those over 70 have a condition referred to as dual sensory loss.
Even though hearing and vision concerns can be daunting, an early and efficient diagnosis and the appropriate auditory rehabilitation strategies can dramatically reduce their impact.
Dual sensory loss or dual sensory impairment occurs when an individual starts to see declines in vision and hearing. The illness can be congenital (present at birth) or evolve naturally due to aging. Deaf-blindness is a term used to describe people who have severe vision and hearing loss.
It is already given that older adults are starting to experience a decline in their overall health. It is the age where we start to suffer pain in the bones and vulnerability to various diseases or illnesses. However, by preparing your body for aging, you ensure that these changes will go slowly.
William Rivers is an editor with a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling at Maine State University. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the senior healthcare industry.