With age comes wisdom, as the saying goes. However, age also brings a host of potential health conditions as the body begins to slow down. While these are largely dependent on genetics, diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices, ill health can occur at any time and without warning.
By keeping our physical, emotional, and mental health in check, we can help avert the chances of these conditions from developing. Below are some of the more common age-related conditions and how you can manage or prevent them.
More than 10 million people are affected by arthritis in the UK alone, which is a painful condition that results when the tissue inside the joints breaks down. This restricts movements and results in inflammation, pain, joint stiffness, and tenderness.
The two main types are rheumatoid arthritis (a chronic auto-immune condition) and osteoarthritis, which is more common in older people. There is no cure for osteoarthritis, at present, but it can be alleviated with pain medication and alternative therapies like acupuncture, hot/cold therapy, and some forms of exercise.
Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bone and is often referred to as ‘brittle bone disease’. The chance of developing this disease does increase with age, especially in Caucasian and Asian women or those from northern areas of the planet where Vitamin D levels are lower.
Bone breaks such as hip fractures are very common with this condition, but activities such as weight-bearing exercise and not smoking can help manage and prevent osteoporosis. You should also eat foods rich in calcium and Vitamin D,
This is also known as high blood pressure. Hypertension is a very common condition in older people. It can be difficult to spot without a test; however, as symptoms are rare until the condition reaches critical levels. When left unmanaged, hypertension can be life-threatening due to the strain it puts on the blood vessels and heart.
The best way to manage and treat hypertension is to lead an active lifestyle and avoid smoking and alcohol. You should also eat plenty of fruit and veg and limit foods that are high in saturated fat.
Often, Cataracts occur when protein builds up on the lens of the eye, causing cloudiness and impaired vision. This is often due to ageing; however, cataracts can also be caused by other factors such as smoking, illness, exposure to UV light, or genetics. Cataracts can appear on different areas of the eye’s lens, resulting in various forms of vision impairment. Treatment for cataracts usually involves surgery and replacing the clouded lens with a new cataract lens.
Strokes occur for one simple reason: when blood stops flowing to a part of the brain — usually due to a blockage. As brain cells require oxygenated blood to survive, any kind of blockage results in serious damage. There are two types of strokes:
Ischemic strokes occur when there is any lack of blood flow to the brain due to a clot or blockage.
Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel bursts in the brain.
In serious cases, strokes can cause paralysis or death, but they can also be treated with medications or surgery, which removes the clot or reduces swelling.