Health is something that can deteriorate as we age, and as we age we are more susceptible to dangerous illnesses for seniors. In fact, many of the problems that seniors suffer from are not issues that they had to worry about at a younger age.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the top five health-related problems that lead to death for seniors included: heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease.
The heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout your body. Unfortunately, changes that happen with age can increase a person’s risk of dealing with some sort of heart disease. A major cause of heart disease is the buildup of fatty deposits in the walls of arteries over many years.
There are a number of common types of heart disease including obstructive coronary artery disease, non-obstructive coronary artery disease, and coronary micro-vascular disease.
Obstructive Coronary Artery Disease
This type of heart disease occurs when there is a buildup of plaque in the large arteries causing them to gradually narrow and reduce the supply of oxygen-rich blood into the heart. Obstructive coronary artery disease means that arteries in the heart are more than 50 percent blocked and eventually these can become completely blocked.
Non-obstructive Coronary Artery Disease
Non-obstructive coronary artery disease large arteries in the heart are narrowed but not as much in obstructive disease. This condition may be caused by a number of reasons including injury to the lining of the large arteries which can affect the arteries’ ability to expand and allow normal blood flow.
Coronary Micro-vascular Disease
This type of disease affects the smaller arteries in the heart can occur along with other forms of heart disease. It generally occurs when molecular changes prevent the normal flow of blood through these arteries.
Despite all of these problems that can occur, there are ways that a person can lower, delay, or possibly avoid these risks altogether.
A few simple lifestyle changes you can make would be to exercise more, eat a healthy diet, and quit smoking if you are a smoker. These changes will not only affect your likelihood of running into cardiovascular problems, but can also reduce your chances of dealing with cancer.
Cancer is something that is not exclusive to older adults, but rather a problem that can affect anyone at any age. However, older individuals are disproportionately affected by the disease.
According to the CDC report, among the top ten causes for death among seniors, cancer was a factor in over 20 percent of them.
Cancer is a condition that begins in your cells. Normally the way your body works is it forms new cells as you need them, replacing old cells that have died. Sometimes, this process can go wrong and new cells may begin to grow when you don’t need them. This can cause a tumor that invades other cells.
Cancer can be caused by a number of different things including alcohol and tobacco. If you or a loved one uses these substances, quitting them can be one of the most effective ways to reduce your chances of cancer.
Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases
Chronic respiratory diseases are diseases that affect the airways and other parts of the lungs. It is one of the most deadly diseases that can affect seniors.
Currently more than 25 million people in the United States have asthma. It is a respiratory disease leads to inflammation and narrowing of the airways in the lungs. These problems cause repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, and chest tightness. Symptoms associated with asthma can range from mild to severe and can happen rarely or every day.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is one of the most common forms of these types of diseases and one that affects seniors most often. It is a chronic and progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe. COPD can cause coughing that produces large amounts of mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms. For those affected by COPD, less air flows in and out of the airways in the lungs. It is likely caused by irritants, such as cigarettes, that damage the lungs.
Strokes are similar to heart attacks in that they are both serious. They are one of the leading causes of death in the United States, especially among senior citizens who are at higher risk.
Strokes occur when there is a change in the blood flow through the brain. Blood works by bringing oxygen and nutrients to different parts of the body, including the brain. If blood can’t flow to part of the brain, cells will not receive enough oxygen and will die. While some of these blood cells can get better, others can’t be brought back to life and someone who suffers from a stroke can death with problems thinking, speaking, or walking.
There are two major types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic.
Ischemic stroke is the more common form of the two major types. This condition is caused by a blood clot or the narrowing of an artery that leads to the brain. This impedes the blood's ability to flow to certain parts of the brain that need oxygen.
Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a broken blood vessel causes bleeding in the brain. The break will not allow oxygen and other nutrients to reach the brain.
There are some steps that you can take to lower your risk of stroke. Again, doing things like quitting smoking and eating a healthier diet that is low in cholesterol and saturated fats can help to lower your risk of stroke.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are some of the most well-known diseases that affect seniors. Unfortunately, despite how infamous these problems are, there is not a lot known about them and there is currently no cure.
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that leads to issues with memory, thinking, and behavior. Because Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative and progressive disease, symptoms will usually develop slowly and get worse over time.
Alzheimer’s is caused by a buildup of plaque deposits in between nerve cells in the brain.
Some of the common symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease include difficulty remembering new things, mood and behavioral changes, confusion about time and events, difficulty speaking, and more.
Alzheimer’s disease, along with many of these other problems can make it difficult for your loved one to life independently as it may be unsafe.
If your loved one is dealing with problems with day-to-day life, it may be best to look for a caregiver or an assisted living facility in Hobbs that can help. Landmark Senior Living is one organization dedicated to providing your loved one with the care and support that they need at this stage in their lives. You can learn more about Landmark Senior Living by visiting our website and reaching out to schedule a free tour of one of our facilities.