8 Common Health Concerns in the Elderly

In this article, we share the main health concerns that affect the elderly in this present day. In writing this post, we gathered statistics from reputable charities and organisations.

1. Arthritis

According to the NHS, arthritis affects more than 10 million people in the UK. Arthritis often starts between the ages of 40 to 50 years. Women are more likely to get arthritis than men. There are two main types of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The former is more common out of the two. Osteoarthritis affects the cartilage lining in the joints where it begins to thin. This can be caused by wear and tear, injury or even rheumatoid arthritis. As a result of the thinning of the cartilage, movement becomes more difficult, leading to stiffness and pain. Rheumatoid arthritis is where the body's immune system targets the joints, leading to pain and swelling. It can also develop problems with other tissues and organs.

2. Heart Disease

The British Heart Foundation reports that there are over 7 million people in the UK  that have some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD). And around 42,000 people under the age of 75 die from CVD each year. Heart disease can be caused by a number of factors including unhealthy lifestyle habits (not eating a balanced diet, no exercise), high blood pressure and chronic stress. In some cases, it is also hereditary as well.

3. Cancer

A study by Cancer Research UK has shared that the cancer rates in older people (65 and over) are among the highest. From 2013 to 2015, on average, approximately a third of new cases were people aged 75 and over, with incident rates higher in men. Of course, this study by Cancer Research UK accounts for all forms of cancer. While cancer can be hard to prevent, access to the right treatments can drastically improve the quality of life.

4. Respiratory Diseases

In the UK, approximately one in five people will develop some form of respiratory disease, according to The British Lung Foundation. This includes asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is a condition where the air sacs in your lungs become narrower, leading to breathing difficulties. The British Lung Foundation has stated that people are more likely to get the condition as they get older.

5. Alzheimer's Disease

The Alzheimer's Society has stated that Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting 62% of those diagnosed with dementia. Over 850,000 people suffer from dementia in the UK, with over 40,000  people under the over 65 bracket. We recentlu wrote an article explaining the difference between dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

6. Diabetes

A report by Diabetes UK has highlighted that out of those who are diagnosed with diabetes (both Type 1 and Type 2), over 63% of patients are over the age of 60. Type 2 is more common, and also, slightly more men are diagnosed than women. When someone you know is in risk of diabetes, it is best to encourage the necessary lifestyle choices.

7. Depression

The Mental Health Foundation have reported that depression affects 22% of men and 28% of women over the age of 65 years. Yet, and this is an alarming statistic, it is estimated that 85% of older people receive no help from the NHS. It is not clearly known why this is the case.

8. Loneliness

Loneliness has become a widespread epidemic in recent years. The Economist even wrote that loneliness is a serious public-health problem. According to AgeUK, 3.6 million people in the UK live alone, and 1.9 million people feel ignored or "invisible". Plus, AgeUK has stated that loneliness can be as "harmful" as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It is vital as carers, that you give them the elderly who are feeling lonely the time and support they need. Even the little things like having a genuine chat with them can make a huge difference.

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