Home General Info & Awareness The Health Issues That Can Creep Up In Older Age

The Health Issues That Can Creep Up In Older Age

by InvisiblyMe
A photo of an elderly couple outdoors in front of a house. The woman is on a swing looking up at her husband. Below is the post title: The health Issues That Can Creep Up In Older Age.

It’s fair to say that as you get older, you are more likely to develop a wider range of health issues and experience general wear and tear. Such issues can have a marked impact on your day to day, your lifestyle and overall wellbeing. Being aware of the potential issues can help you in understanding the best ways to prevent, treat or manage them. Here are just a few of the more common health issues that can creep up in older age.

Hearing Loss 

You could find that you develop some degree of hearing loss as you get older. Perhaps you start to notice that you need to turn the volume on your TV up a little louder, or maybe you’re struggling to hear people talking. If this is an issue, then you should think about speaking to your doctor to rule out wax causing problems and booking a hearing test to assess the level of loss. Hearing loss left untreated can cause issues with the way the brain processes language and has also been linked to potential cognitive decline, not to mention the mental health aspects of feeling left out from the world around you.

Tinnitus, usually a tinny ringing in the ears, can also develop. Tinnitus and hearing aids can, in some cases, work together as the hearing aids can provide a degree of masking noise, which can reduce the impact tinnitus has on your life. The risk of tinnitus does increase as you get older though it can be experienced at any age, and is sometimes also linked to the likes of ear infections, wax build up and stress.

Aches & Arthritis

You could also find that you develop aches and pains as you get older, from creaking to joints to serious chronic pain. Loss of collagen, less elasticity and less movement can all contribute. Pain and resulting loss of mobility could be experienced in your neck, back, hands, knees and just about anywhere else, which can impact not just your day to day but your mental health, too.

Arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, can be particularly debilitating for many. Again, you needn’t be in your 70s or 80s to start experiencing this, but it’s more prevalent in older populations. A rheumatologist should be able to offer suggestions for medications, exercises or lifestyle changes.

There are a myriad of reasons for why pain might develop and where on the body it might be, but there are a few tools to try in helping you to better manage pain, from pacing, copper gloves and heat pads, to muscle rubs, CBD and prescription medications.

A close-up photo of a man's legs. He's wearing shorts and has both hands around his knee as though suffering aches and pains in the joint.

Weight Gain & Associated Risks

While weight gain may not seem like a health issue in itself, significant gain could increase the risk of other conditions like heart disease, sleep apnea and diabetes, or simply make mobility more problematic. For some people, weight can be gained incrementally and be unnoticeable until it becomes a problem, and the older you get the more difficult it often is to shed the weight. It’s a good idea to review your diet and how much movement you typically get.

Small changes like more fruit, adding antioxidants and making some healthy food swaps can add up, as can getting a little more movement where possible. Of course, weight alone isn’t an indicator of health and being underweight likewise comes with its own increased health risks, but weight management by means of diet and exercise might be an important one to consider.

Cognitive Impairments

General cognitive decline can happen with age, so it’s not generally a sign of a serious condition like dementia if you’re more forgetful or a little confused. Seeking professional support here is important to rule such conditions out though, so if there are any concerns please speak to a doctor. Some people swear by a healthy diet with Omega 3 and activities to keep their brain supple, like crosswords, reading or sudoku.

Sleep Apnea

Older adults are at risk of sleep apnea, with between 13 to 32 percent of people aged 65 and over having this condition. Sleep apnea symptoms can include pauses in breathing effort (or apnea) that last up to 20 seconds and occur as often as 100 times an hour during sleep. Anyone can develop sleep apnea, but older adults with the following risk factors are more likely to develop this condition:

  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Smoking habit
  • Narrowed airways
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • A history of sleep apnea in their family

Many sleep apnea cases in older adults go undiagnosed, which is why it’s important to ask your doctor about it during your annual checkups. If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause complications, including cardiovascular issues and eye problems. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is often essential to alleviate apnea episodes. This therapy uses a CPAP machine that provides a steady stream of air down the user’s airway to aid breathing and facilitate better quality sleep. 

Oral & Eye Health Decline

As we age, gums can recede and any dental issues can start to build up. Poor oral health can lead to pain, infections, gum disease, an inability to easily eat and so on, so it’s important to have regular dental check ups and have a solid oral health routine, involving good quality toothpaste, toothbrush, floss and mouthwash. If you do lose teeth, then veneers and dentures are options to speak with your dental professional about. Thanks to advances in treatment, dentures are becoming more accessible and comfortable; while they can still be particularly costly, such options can prove to be a priceless investment.

With eyes, degeneration, vision impairment, cataracts and other visual issues can arise. Regular eye sight tests are important as these can often flag up potential issues with eye health. If you have any concerns, speak to your doctor or optician, who should be able to refer you to an eye specialist if need be.

Osteoporosis

This isn’t restricted to just the elderly but bones can thin as we age. There’s healthy bones, then osteopenia (borderline to osteoporosis) and osteoporosis, where bone density is below what it should be. This means you’ll be at greater risk of bones breaks and fractures. As well as dietary changes to include more calcium, there are medications that might be recommended if you’re post-menopause and living with osteopenia. 

Fall Injuries

With less dexterity, perhaps being more frail, and generally less mobile comes the risk of trips and falls inside and outside the home. Small adjustments can help, like a walking stick for outside the home, or grab handles in the bathroom. A personal alarm, which you might be able to get through a charity or your local council, is a good idea if you’re living alone. Press the alarm and help will be automatically contacted. 

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, and you needn’t be elderly to experience any such issues either. But these are just a few things to keep in mind in case they need to be tackled. Prevention is better than cure, but small changes or medical intervention as you age can make a significant difference to your health outlook and quality of life for your later years to come.

A black scroll divider.

Caz  ♥

Facebook   ||   Twitter  ||  Instagram

Related Reading :

[ This is a collaborative post ]

Related Posts

13 comments

Blogging_with_Bojana May 2, 2021 - 4:30 pm

My bones are hurting just as I read this. I’m off to do some joga. This is my small daily contribution so my body feels a bit better.

Reply
Cathy Cade May 2, 2021 - 4:46 pm

Tell me about it – and they creep up so quickly!
I took up writing to help me find those words that excape me when I’m searching the pea-soup of my brain for them mid-conversation.
I recomend green-lipped mussel and turmeric for those aches and pains… – at least they seem to come back when I’m not taking the supplements. (I suspect everyone’s aches and pains are different though and respond to different solutions. Targetted exercise seems to be helping with the hands.)
As for hearing loss – I suspect this annoys spouses and families more than the ‘sufferers’. My husband is quite happy asking me to repeat everthing three times (at least) and not hearing the dogs barking. (Why else spend a fortune on hearing aids he doesn’t wear?)
Don’t get me started on the false teeth he never puts in…

Reply
ashleyleia May 2, 2021 - 4:58 pm

Macular degeneration is something I’ll be keeping an eye out for, since I have a family history.

Reply
johnlmalone May 3, 2021 - 12:19 am

so much to contend with; so little time —

Reply
mentalhealth360.uk May 3, 2021 - 12:36 pm

Oh my word! I need any of these like a hole in the head lol. Tho’ I do have arthritis and I’m starting to notice cognitive impairment 🙁 Great read Caz, as always.

Reply
Kymber May 3, 2021 - 5:16 pm

Great article, Caz. xo These are definitely important to watch out for and to be proactive about.

Reply
Sandee May 3, 2021 - 5:47 pm

I’ll be 70 in September and I can attest to some of these. Challenges that need to be addressed. It can make life much easier.

Have a fabulous day and week, Caz. ♥

Reply
capost2k May 3, 2021 - 6:53 pm

I was going to write a response to this, but I am going to be 70 in September, also. So from when I finished reading the blog before reading the comments, I can’t for the life of me remember what I wanted to say. Wait, Sandee is turning 70 in September? Am I Sandee? ???????? Thanx, Caz!

Reply
jo (arosetintedworld) May 4, 2021 - 9:21 am

I feel like I’m suffering from all of these and I’m not even 50 yet! Look after yourself while you are young!

Reply
Despite Pain May 5, 2021 - 10:38 am

You’ve listed some of the most common problems which can affect people in their more senior years. I sometimes panic a bit wondering what my later years will be like when I’m already living with problems. How bad could it become. But who knows, it might not be worse. Perhaps I’ll just be the voice of experience while everyone in the same age group catches up with all the aches and pains.

Reply
The Oceanside Animals May 5, 2021 - 4:46 pm

Charlee: “Our Dada says that twenty years ago, the way he would, say, hurt his knee was by going downhill too fast on his mountain bike, hitting a patch of sand, and crashing into a tree.”
Chaplin: “But now a few weeks ago he hurt his knee by leaning over the wrong way to check to see if our litter pan needs to be scooped out.”
Lulu: “So in other words, sand is still the proximate cause of his hurting his knee?”
Charlee: “Well, I guess so. Except that our litter is basically powdered wood, not sand.”
Lulu: “Hmm. So a tree is still the proximate cause?”
Chaplin: “You’re right! See, Dada, things haven’t changed that much after all.”

Reply
onesweatymess May 8, 2021 - 3:03 pm

When I broke my arm a couple of years ago from a simple fall, someone mentioned to me that I was at the age where I might have osteoporosis. This got me thinking and has played a massive part in my new fitness regime, as I worked hard on building bone mass. Have a good day, feel better soon. Traceyxx

Reply
Shell-Shell's????tipsandtricks August 1, 2021 - 7:28 am

Yes! I’ve been a caregiver, and have taken care of the elderly for 13 years!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Follow

Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox:

%d bloggers like this: