Senior Health: 4 Common Age-Related Conditions and How to Treat Them
Seniors are at greater risk for developing certain age-related conditions. While genetics, lifestyle choices, and other factors contribute to the increased risk of these conditions, sometimes the mere fact of aging alone can cause someone to develop specific medical problems. Here are four of the most common age-related conditions and some ways to treat them.
Cardiovascular disease is an umbrella term that encompasses several health conditions that affect the heart, blood vessels, and other parts of the circulatory system. According to Verywell Health, heart disease is the most common form that causes the most deaths in the U.S., and the narrowing or blockages of arteries that result in the type of heart disease known as coronary artery disease can affect blood flow to the heart and cause a heart attack. Many forms of cardiovascular disease can be treated with surgical procedures, healthy lifestyle changes, or by taking medications such as ACE inhibitors or beta-blockers.
Unlike type 1 diabetes, which is usually diagnosed in people under the age of 30, the type 2 form of the disease is often seen in greater numbers as people age. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin and is not able to process blood sugar (glucose) properly. This insulin resistance can cause the glucose levels to get too high and damage the heart, kidneys and other vital organs in the body. Combatting obesity from an early age can help prevent type 2 diabetes, but other treatments involve using insulin therapy or taking GLP-1 receptor agonists or metformin medication.
Alzheimer’s disease affects cognitive and eventually physical functioning because it causes brain cells to die. Plaques and tangles that form inside the brain are thought to contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s. The disease is progressive in nature and may take decades to cause the full effects. Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, disease progression can sometimes be delayed with cholinesterase inhibitors and a drug known as memantine.
This eye condition occurs when protein builds up on the lens of one or both eyes and decreases vision. Vision problems are not always noticeable until the condition is more advanced. People with cataracts often report cloudy vision that resembles looking through a fogged-over window. Surgery is the most effective way to treat the condition, and single dose cataract surgery steroids can be given after surgery to reduce postoperative inflammation.
These age-related diseases can’t always be prevented. However, taking some proactive steps can help seniors stay healthy longer into their golden years.