Medical Conditions that Tend to Affect Older Adults

Liv Butler
Authored by Liv Butler
Posted Thursday, January 4, 2024 - 6:59am

Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule. When it comes to the world of medicine and healthcare, an illness that affects one person in a certain way can affect another similarly aged, built, and same-sexed person entirely differently.

Having said that, however, there are a number of medical afflictions that tend to affect older men and women at a higher rate than younger people.

With this in mind, continue reading to discover seven of the most common in the UK, including the diagnosis and treatment for each disease.

  1. COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third most common cause of death amongst people over the age of seventy-five, and other respiratory diseases, such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and asthma, are exceedingly common too.

COPD tends to affect people on the older age of the spectrum mainly due to the fact that the primary cause for the illness is long-term smoking. While it is true that contracting a respiratory disease does increase the risk of developing other illnesses, people with COPD can live for many years after the initial diagnosis.

  1. Oral Infections

Many people wrongly believe that, when they forget to brush their teeth for a couple of days or have never once even tried to floss, the only part of the body this will negatively affect is the mouth.

In reality, poor oral health and hygiene can have a devasting and long-lasting effect on many other parts of the body and increase the risk of the individual contracting a wide array of different diseases, including the following:

  • Lung conditions
  • Inflammation of the gums and tongue
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Endocarditis
  • Stroke
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  1. Issues with the Bowel

Unfortunately, perhaps due to the simple fact that the older you are, the more stress and strain your digestive system has been under, as you age, you may find your once sturdy and regular digestive and bowel habits suddenly become significantly more erratic.

Digestive problems manifest in one of two main ways: constipation and diarrhoea.

Key causes of constipation include the following:

  • Putting off going to the toilet on a regular basis
  • Not drinking enough low-calorie juice, squash or water
  • Not consuming regular and generous portions of fibre
  • Parkinson's disease and other memory-based illnesses
  • Certain painkillers and other forms of prescribed medication
  • Staying stationary for long periods of time
  1. High Blood Pressure

After around fifty-five years of age, whether male or female, the chances are that your GP will conduct a simple blood pressure test and more often than not, the individual's reading is slightly higher than average.

Luckily, even though serious and even fatal illnesses can be caused by perpetually and increasingly high blood pressure, once you are aware of the issue, it becomes easy and motivating to do everything you can to lower it again.

Sometimes, part and parcel of taking things into your own hands and being the driving force of change when tackling long-term aches and pains is to think outside the box. A great example of this is to consider finding out more about medical cannabis.

Established cannabis access clinics UK will be more than happy to take you through the development of and the effectiveness of their finely tuned treatment process, and you may well find, should you choose to follow this route, that your blood pressure will return to normal.

  1. The Menopause

The menopause is a change in hormones that signals the end of the childbearing years. While it is most common to start at any time from the late 40s, there are some cases of younger people going through the menopause as early as their 20s or 30s, though this is not common.

It is a normal part of life, the menopause is when an older woman's hormones are constantly evolving and changing, and this condition within the body is often why women who are working through the menopause often tend to feel and appear foggy and lacking on focus.

Signs and symptoms of the menopause include the following:

  • Sudden changes in mood
  • Soreness around the breast and nipple area
  • Irregular and more painful periods
  • Night sweats, whereby you wake up drenched in sweat
  • Hot flashes in and around the neck, face, and chest area
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Vaginal dryness
  1. Flu

When you were younger, it was likely that you always dismissed talk about flu from your older relatives and simply likened it to the common cold unless you were susceptible to illnesses or had a weaker immune system.

However, flu (medical name Influenza) is not only highly contagious. Still, it can lead to other, more serious diseases and conditions of the respiratory system and if you feel as if your muscles ache. You are going to be sick; you have a fever and a persistent dry cough, or if you need to keep going to the bathroom due to diarrhoea.

Here in the UK, people over the age of sixty-five are offered an entirely free, annual flu jab to counteract the possibility of contracting the illness.

  1. Loneliness & Depression

The seventh common medical condition that tends to affect older people slightly more than younger people (even though these statistics are changing dramatically with each passing year) is that of loneliness, which can lead to social isolation and depression.

For some older adults, the only people with whom they have a face-to-face conversation will be the cashiers in their local supermarket, if they do not have any family or friends to visit or talk to often. As such, this continued isolation from social groups and settings can have an exceedingly troubling negative effect on mental health.

Regardless of your age, if you ever feel as if you are living with a mood, feeling, or lack of energy for more than a few days, and even if you are someone who has never previously entirely 'believed in' mental health disorders, you must admit that older people who feel lonely make for a worrying segment of society.

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