Home FACTS Illnesses Of The Elderly – 4 Most Common Ailments Affecting The Elderly

Illnesses Of The Elderly – 4 Most Common Ailments Affecting The Elderly

ca. 1998, Cancun, Mexico --- Lounge Chairs on Beach at Club Med --- Image by © Macduff Everton/CORBIS

As an individual grows older, he becomes more susceptible to various ailments and illnesses that may render him incapacitated in some way or other. This is a sad fact of life and every one of us has to face this eventuality at some point. However, not all ailments affecting the aged are incurable, only a few are untreatable. There are many ailments affecting the elderly that a caregiver comes across and learns to cope with. It is painful to watch a loved one succumb to a disease, but this is an inevitable fact. Some background information on a few ailments may help preparation for the worst.

1. Cancer: This is the most serious of all ailments. Over two thirds of the elderly are affected by this disease. Lung and breast cancer are the most common, with skin cancer making the occasional appearance. Cancer can be treated successfully nowadays, but the success rate is low in aged patients. Senior citizens are not strong enough to cope with the course of chemotherapy. An early diagnosis of cancer increases the chances of a full recovery. Thus, any anomaly should be checked out immediately by a medical professional.

2. Dementia: A large number of seniors suffer from Dementia. Dementia is caused due to damage of the connections between the brain and nerve endings. This ailment is not curable and its causes are unknown. There is no effective treatment for this disease, but some drugs may help to temporarily control the symptoms. The most potent and common form of Dementia Is Alzheimer’s Disease. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease build up gradually over a period of a few years. It is frustrating for the patients as they become more and more confused and lose all their memory.

3. Parkinson’s disease: This is another disease related to the nerve cells, and its causes are yet unknown. Dementia affects the mental health of the individual whereas Parkinson’s disease is primarily a physical disability. The symptoms of Parkinson’s are uncontrollable shaking of the limbs, that is just as frustrating. There is no cure for this disease, although it may be contained to some extent for a short period, with the use of drugs. After a certain period, the symptoms cannot be controlled.

4. Diabetes: This ailment is a result of bad diet and considered to be a lifestyle disease. High fat and sugar intake may be the causative factors. Diabetes is caused due to the body’s inability to produce insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control. This disease is curable with diet and medication either in injection or tablet form. Great attention must be paid to wounds in diabetics as the wounds have a tendency to degenerate faster than a non-diabetic. The result may be amputation of limbs, which is quite common. Hence, a swift diagnosis and treatment is necessary for Diabetes.

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