Senior Health Issues
Health Concerns in the Elderly
With age, one may notice decline in eye function. Vision problems is one of the most common elderly health issues that require urgent medical treatment to prevent further deterioration of the eye. Minor eyesight problems are often corrected by wearing spectacles. The most common age related eye disorder is given below:
Cataracts: Also referred to as clouded vision, cataracts affect the lens of the eye, thus leading to impaired vision. Cataracts is a condition in which the part of eye lens gets covered with a white film, making the lens opaque. As we all know, the lens of the eye is a transparent elastic structure that allows light to enter through it. This lights falls on the retina, that is exactly behind the lens. The light signal thus received by the retina, helps to produce clear images, which is interpreted as vision. However, as the lens becomes opaque due to formation of white film, the passage of light is obstructed, making it difficult for the person to view things clearly.
Cataracts is a progressive condition that eventually affects the entire lens. Disturbances in vision are noticed when the white film covers significant area of the lens. Blurred vision and sensitivity to light are some of the most common symptoms of cataracts. Fortunately cataracts can be safely cured using a surgery.
As a person ages, his ability to hear and discriminate different sound diminishes. It is natural for the elderly people to be upset and anxious, as it interferes with normal communication. ‘Hard of hearing’ or partial deafness are the common complaints among the elderly. However, with the advancement in science and technology, a wide range of hearing aids are available today, to treat age-related hearing loss effectively. Programmable hearing aids are the latest devices that can make understanding people easier. However, hearing impairment when detected in the elderly need to be addressed immediately to avoid complete hearing loss.
With increase in age, a significant decrease in bone mass or density is observed. Loss in bone density that makes the bones brittle and weak is referred to as osteoporosis. It is rightly said that elderly have a higher chance of developing bone fractures. A minor fall or even coughing can put elderly in the risk zone of bone fractures. Although more common in women over 65, men too can develop osteoporosis due to inadequate calcium intake.
Wear and tear of joints with age, often manifests in the form of osteoarthritis. As we all know, a joint is a place where two bones meet. The ends of the bones are covered with a tissue, known as cartilage. This covering of the end points of the bones prevent friction, that may occur during joint movement. However, over time the cartilage wears away. As the layer of cartilage depletes, the bones rub against each other, causing inflammation and pain in the joints. Joint problems such as morning stiffness in the elderly are warning signs of osteoarthritis. In this condition, the joints are less flexible and cause pain during normal movement.
One can always slow down the progression of these elderly health issues, by leading a healthy lifestyle. Habits like smoking can lead to early manifestation of cataracts. Indulging in unhealthy foodstuffs can make a person prone to wide range of problems. So, following a healthy diet and an exercise program can prolong and even prevent the occurrence of age-related problems.
Remember, an actor like Clint Eastwood who is more than 75 years old, even today, directs movies. Sounds incredible, isn’t it? Even at this age, he has ventured into film direction, which is not an easy task. He has been successful in keeping his health in optimum condition, thanks to his active lifestyle and healthy eating.