When we think about aging, we often associate it with gray hair and a wrinkled face. Rarely do we associate aging with health, yet age is a major risk factor for our well-being. As we age, several changes occur in our bodies that may affect our general body condition. For instance, our physical and mental abilities gradually deteriorate. Below are some of the main health conditions associated with aging, including cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, dementia, and geriatric syndromes.
Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine. It is a common problem, especially among older adults. Although urinary incontinence (UI) can happen to anyone at any age, the risk increases with age. There are many things that can contribute to UI, including weak muscles, changes in urinary habits, and certain health conditions. As people get older, they are more likely to experience one or more of these factors. For example, the muscles around the bladder can weaken with age, making it harder to control urine flow. Changes in urinary habits, such as not emptying the bladder often enough or holding urine for too long, can also lead to UI. In addition, many health conditions that are common in older adults can cause or worsen UI. These include diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke. If you are concerned about UI, talk to your doctor. There are many treatments available that can help.
As you age, the blood vessels and arteries in the cardiovascular system harden. The hardening increases the effort that the heart uses when pumping blood. The cardiac muscles, therefore, are forced to adapt to this increased work. Therefore, your risk of hypertension and other cardiovascular issues rises with age.
High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force the heart and arteries experience when pumping blood. It normally increases when you are agitated, aroused, or grow old. With age, there is persistently high blood pressure; therefore, your kidneys, heart, blood vessels, and other body systems may suffer catastrophic consequences.
Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent type of arthritis, a degenerative joint condition. As you age, your bones shrink and weaken by reducing size and density. That’s probably why older adults are shorter than the youth. With osteoarthritis, your muscles often lose their flexibility, strength, and endurance, which increases your risk of fracture.
Dementia is a group of chronic illnesses affecting older persons’ memory and cognition. It happens when the brain stops working normally or when an injury to the brain cells kills the cells. Some symptoms of dementia include forgetfulness, mood swings, confusion, speech problems, and poor decision-making.
As we age, geriatric syndromes emerge. Geriatric syndromes are clinical problems that affect the elderly and do not fall neatly into distinct disease categories. They include delirium, syncope, dizziness, urine incontinence, frailty, and falls. These diseases are mainly the result of several underlying health issues involving multiple organ systems.
Managing Age-Related Diseases
Aging is not an illness; it is a risk factor for these many health conditions. Old age only makes us more prone to develop certain conditions. Therefore, can we stop the aging process? There is no way to stop aging; however, we may make decisions that will increase our potential to lead an active lifestyle, pursue our interests, and spend time with our family and friends.
There are many different types of health conditions that might increase with age. The above are just some of them. If you are concerned about any of these conditions, talk to your doctor and get regular health screenings.