Senior Health (cont.)
Common Diseases and Conditions of Seniors
Common diseases seen in the elderly
population can involve many organs in the body.
- Common diseases of the musculoskeletal system in seniors are
osteoarthritis (inflammation of joints due to wear and tear), gout,
osteoporosis (bone loss), and bone fractures.
- Diabetes (impaired control of blood glucose), menopause,
high blood cholesterol, slow body metabolism signify hormonal
dysfunction frequently encountered in the elderly.
- Dementia (Alzheimer's disease or other types),
strokes, poor vision, hearing impairment, and balance problem are neurologic
problems routinely seen in seniors.
- Visual conditions as we age include macular degeneration, glaucoma,
cataracts, diabetes and hypertension related eye disease.
- Cardiovascular diseases are common in the geriatric population and
include heart attacks, congestive heart failure,
irregular heart rhythm (atrial
fibrillation), high blood pressure (hypertension), atherosclerosis
(hardening and narrowing of blood vessels) and peripheral vascular disease
or peripheral artery disease (poor blood flow as a result of narrow blood
- Lungs diseases seen frequently in seniors are
pulmonary disease (COPD), loss of lung volume, and pneumonias.
- Poor kidney function (kidney or renal disease) from long standing
diabetes and hypertension are typical kidney diseases seen in seniors.
- Cancers are commonly diagnosed in seniors. Most common ones seen in
this age group are cancers of
- Bone marrow and immune system can start to become less functional and
lose their ability to produce sufficient blood cells causing anemia,
myelodysplasia (abnormal cell production), and decreased ability to fight
- Stomach ulcers, diverticulosis (small pockets forming in the wall of
colon), colon inflammation or colitis from infection or ischemic (poor blood
flow), swallowing difficulty (dysphagia), constipation, bowel incontinence,
and hemorrhoids are some of the age-related gastrointestinal conditions.
- Urinary problems in seniors include urinary incontinence, urinary
urgency, difficulty urinating,
prostate enlargement, and urinary infections.
- Common oral and dental conditions of the elderly are gum diseases, dry
mouth, loss of teeth, poorly fitting dentures, and oral infections.
- Skin conditions such as rosacea, shingles, dry skin, easy bruising,
skin cancers, and pre-cancerous skin diseases are frequently diagnosed in
- Psychiatric conditions of depression and anxiety are common in
seniors, as are sleep disorders and insomnia.
- In addition, fatigue, general deconditioning, forgetfulness,
medication side effects, diminished appetite, weight loss, and falls are
typical causes of concern for senior health.
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