Common diseases of old age and how to prevent them

As people grow older so many body changes occur, these many changes are normal expectations for aging persons.  common diseases of old age are also peculiar to this age group and we will provide some of them below.

Scientists have linked age as a major risk factor for some common diseases. This is in no way saying there are no other factors that contribute to ailments in the elderly but the single factor that plays a vital role in disease in later years is age.


You may have asked this question before "what are the health problems of the aged?" We will try to answer this question below by listing some of the conditions that may complicate aging.

1.       Disease of the Joint 

diseases of old age list Arthritis is one of the commonest diseases of the elderly especially people above 65 years. There is pain associated with this ailment and it affects the sufferer's quality of life. It makes the aged sufferer become less active. 9 out of 10 hospital visits to the Geriatric Doctor will be complaints ranging from one form of joint disease, these range from pain and swelling to movement difficulty of affected joints or limb.

2.       Chronic Heart Disease

CDC statistics acknowledge that deaths from heart-related conditions are highest amongst the elderly in the United States. This picture resembles what is seen in other countries.  Aging causes a predisposition to the many risk factors that are implicated in heart diseases like high cholesterol, hypertensive illnesses, and renal system impairments. This condition worsens the cardiac function of the already aging heart. This eventually may lead to a cardiovascular accident or stroke or may cause obvious cardiac disease.

3.       Cancer

CDC statistics say Cancer is the second cause of death in the aged people. Aging lowers the immune system and causes an increase in pro-oncogenes. These pro oncogenes ultimately lead to a myriad of events that causes cancers. 

No wonder a lot of cancers are seen in the elderly? Usually, in the early years of life, there is a balance between factors that prevent cancer called anti-oncogenic and pro-oncogenic factors which cause cancers, but in the aged persons, the latter dominates. This is why regular cancer screening is important, especially for the elderly. These cancers if picked up very early have better outcomes.  For example, Mammograms are able to pick cases of breast aberrations or malignancies usually common in women. Colonoscopy also picks colon cancers. A good physical examination and assay of prostate-specific antigen can pick prostate cancers in males. 

4.       Respiratory System Diseases:

Many lower respiratory tract conditions are seen in aged persons. Examples are pneumonia, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), Chronic bronchitis, Asthma, etc.

5.       Senile Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease:

A very worrisome disease in old age. Its diagnosis can be very challenging for doctors. Alzheimer's is a neurodegenerative disease seen in old age with a dramatically high level of impaired cognitive function.  Sufferers will lose self-awareness and sometimes even bowel function in the late stages of the disease. It is a major burden to society, support staff, and caregivers. You'd hear of a Mathematics professor that suddenly can't solve simple arithmetic is typical of Alzheimer’s disease.  

6.       Bone Problems:

There is reduced bone mineralization and increased risk of malnutrition in the elderly, making them at risk of osteoporosis and in women pathological fractures. This is due to reduced calcium levels in serum and demineralized bones. Bones become very friable and fractures become frequent.
These are a few of the common diseases of old age. They need to be recognized early and promptly managed to improve life quality.

Prevention of Diseases of Old Age 

1. Diet:

One of my great lecturers told us that if doctors of today don't turn into nutritionists the nutritionists of tomorrow will become the doctors of the future. This highlights the benefit of nutrition or diet to our overall well-being. We are what we eat, if we must prevent some of these diseases then we must watch our feeding habits, and switch to healthier food. Cut down on carbohydrates and don't consume food with bad cholesterol. Eat in moderation to avoid obesity, and avoid alcohol to save yourself from its harmful effects. An apple a day they say will keep doctors far. In all your eating ensure you consume healthy fruits and vegetables and learn to avoid red meat.

2. Lifestyle modification:

By avoiding unhealthy lifestyles you can be sure of preventing some of these diseases of old age. For instance, alcohol cessation can save you from the cardiovascular complications, cognitive complications, and malnutrition that may accompany chronic alcoholism. Also, you spare your liver some problems by avoiding alcohol. If you pick a pack of cigarettes you'd see inscribed on it, how it can increase your risk of lung cancer, a bold warning in red will say how users are liable to die young. The warning isn't there for comfort, it is true that smoking increases your risk of lung cancer so avoiding it will save you some problems.

3. Exercise:

Make it a habit to exercise regularly and you will live healthier. Make sure the exercise you are doing is the best fit for your age. I don't encourage you to go doing excess weight lifting that will cause more problems for you. Exercise may just mean running on a treadmill or a brisk walk around your house.

4. Regular medical check-ups

It is good to make it a routine to always see your doctors for checks up. The best way to prevent any disease is early discovery. For instance prostrate and breast cancers discovered early can be taken care of before it gets to the stage of distant metastasis.

In summary, a number of common diseases of old age list ed above are preventable if we live healthy, eat healthy, and regularly go for routine medical checks we can prevent some of these ailments.

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