People in the developed world now live longer than we ever did in the past. This is great news in terms of getting more out of lives and being around longer to enjoy the world. But the older we get, the more at risk we are of age-related diseases. Instances of cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases are now much more frequent, due to our aging population. There are lots of things you should be on the look out for in your grandparents, parents, and eventually yourself, your partner and your friends. Educate yourself about these conditions are you’ll know what to look for, how to catch them early and your best chances of avoiding them altogether.
When people think of age-related diseases, the first things that inevitably come to mind are dementia and Alzheimer’s. Doctors are beginning to unravel its causes and continue to research effective treatments. But we still have much to understand about Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is a very distressing condition, both for the person experiencing it and the people caring for them. Some early signs of the disease include forgetfulness, confusion, and odd behavior. These symptoms are grouped under the label of dementia. However, dementia isn’t necessarily caused by Alzheimer’s.
Joints and Bones
Your bones and joints have been with you your whole life, and eventually they start showing signs of wear and tear. When the cartilage in your joints wears away, you can develop osteoarthritis. There are other types of arthritis you could experience in old age although osteoarthritis is the most common. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, where your body attacks the lining of your joints. You might also be at risk of osteoporosis, which is a disease that weakens bones so that they break easily. Osteoporosis is caused by depleted calcium supplies in your bones. It’s more common for women, for whom absorbing calcium is more difficult.
Your cardiovascular system has also been working hard for your whole life, and you might have put more strain on it than it’s designed for. To discover how your heart could suffer in your old age, find out about arrhythmia, heart disease, and angina. To avoid heart problems when you’re older, you should look after your heart as much as possible. Regularly exercising and eating healthily are excellent ways to start. You can also avoid smoking and excessive drinking.
Eyes and Ears
Your sight and hearing can begin to deteriorate when you’re older. You should have both tested a little more regularly once you’re over 50. Problems with your eyesight could range from needing reading glasses to glaucoma or cataracts. You should remember to make appointments with your eye doctor even if you don’t notice any deterioration in your sight. Sometimes your eye doctor will be able to see problems developing before you can. Hearing is important too; unlike your eyesight, you probably don’t have it regularly tested. But you should start having hearing tests after you reach 50 years of age. Many hearing problems can be treated with a hearing aid, which will help to restore your hearing.