Common Illnesses Many Elderly People Experience
Those of us in the “in between” generation are watching our aging parents suffer from many medical conditions. Aside from the fear that we will face the same problems, it’s our job to make sure that they receive the care they need. Here are eight conditions that may affect an elder you care for:
1) Arthritis: It’s not a good idea to think of this as “just” arthritis. It can have some serious impact on an elder’s life. It makes movement difficult and can make falls more likely. If it comes along with thinning bones, it can cause them to break. This can be deadly in a senior citizen.
2) COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder can cause serious problems with breathing. Without treatment, the elder may become bedridden. Even with treatment, it’s possible that they will require supplemental oxygen.
3) Dementia: Many conditions can cause an elder to have cognitive decline. Age related atrophy of the brain, Alzheimer’s disease and even necessary medications can cause this problem. Catching it early may help prevent some serious problems, including financial elder abuse; something we’ve been trying to avoid.
4) Diabetes: This is caused by the body’s inability to use glucose or produce insulin. It can lead to many other diseases seen in the elderly. Kidney disease, heart disease and eye problems are only a few.
5) Gout: This condition is caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the blood stream. If the kidneys cannot filter it out properly, these crystals may be deposited in various joints, usually starting with the right big toe.
6) Heart Disease: According to the CDC, heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women. It is something that should be caught early, before the heart is damaged. Modern tests are available that can help in this area.
7) Kidney Disease: As we age, our kidneys gradually lose their ability to filter out toxins in the blood. If it’s caught early enough, steps can be taken to make dialysis easier on the patient.
8) TIA: According to PubMed, transient ischemic attacks are caused when blood flow to an area of the brain is stopped for a short period of time. When that happens, the elder will have stroke like symptoms for an hour or two. It may also indicate that a true stroke is on the way.
Knowing what to look for disease-wise is an important part of eldercare. Check with your elder’s doctor(s) to see what you should watch for. This will help catch serious problems before they do a lot of damage.