6 Most Common Aging Health Concerns
As exhilarating as youth is, unfortunately, it does not last forever. The upside of aging is that you will gain a wealth of experience and partake in life changing adventures. However, the downside is a long list of aging health concerns.
In fact, the pace of population aging is much faster than in the past. Between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world's population over 60 years will nearly double from 12 percent to 22 percent.
As the world’s population undergoes such a shift, the aging health concerns only increase in number. Here’s a quick rundown of the six most common aging health problems:
When you hear the word, ‘arthritis’, you probably think of several knee joint pains - at least that is what people generally perceive it to be. However, this aging health problem is more than ‘cracking joints’.
Some of the common symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. What’s worse is that severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, making it difficult to walk or climb stairs, and can restrain you from conducting daily activities.
According to Arthritis Foundation, there are four key types of this aging health problems:
- Degenerative: Also known as osteoarthritis, this type of arthritis occurs when, “the cartilage – the slick, cushioning surface on the ends of bones – wears away, bone rubs against bone, causing pain, swelling and stiffness.”
- Inflammatory: Under this, the immune system doesn’t function properly, and mistakenly attacks the joints with uncontrolled inflammation. It can potentially cause joint erosion, and damage internal organs, eyes and other parts of the body.
- Infectious: Under this, a bacterium, virus or fungus enters the joint and triggers inflammation.
- Metabolic: Under this, uric acid can build up and form needle-like crystals in the joint, resulting in sudden spikes of extreme joint pain.
Also termed as a ‘silent killer’ by the World Health Organization (WHO), hypertension is a serious aging health condition that considerably increases the risks of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases. To add to this, an estimated 1.13 billion people worldwide have hypertension, with two-thirds of them living in low to middle-income countries like Nepal.
Fundamentally characterized by high blood pressure, this aging health issue forms as a result of unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, consumption of tobacco and alcohol, and being overweight. In some cases, it can also be hereditary, and latch unto co-existing aging health conditions like diabetes or kidney diseases.
Since it puts a huge strain on blood vessels, hypertension is a major aging health concern. If left unchecked, it can lead to potentially life-threatening elderly health conditions like chronic heart diseases, kidney diseases, vascular dementia, strokes, and heart failure.
Research conducted by the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention predicts that in 2020, the highest cancer incidence rate will be 38.5 for males and 41.4 for females in Nepal. Cancer begins when genetic changes interfere with the orderly process of the body. Cells start to grow uncontrollably, and usually form a tumor. It’s one of the most prominent aging health issues because it’s generally hard to treat - especially in its later stages.
Heart diseases are on the rise - and it is one of the most predominant aging health problems. As people age, they're increasingly living with risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, that increase the chances of developing heart diseases.
Especially in a country like Nepal, cardiovascular diseases contribute to 22 percent of the deaths. Meanwhile coronary heart diseases accounted for 18.72 percent of the deaths. To deal with this aging health problem, it’s important to start with the basics: exercise, eat a healthy diet, and get a good night’s rest.
According to WHO, “Chronic respiratory diseases are diseases of the airways and other structures of the lung.” Some of the most common examples of this aging health disease are chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, occupational lung diseases and pulmonary hypertension. There can be numerous causes of this aging health problem, including tobacco, cigarettes, air pollution, occupational chemicals and dusts, and frequent lower respiratory infections during childhood. These diseases can often make the elderly vulnerable to pneumonia and other infections.
The risk is significantly high in low to middle income countries like Nepal, where 90% of COPD deaths occur. With the high levels of air pollution prevalent in the country, it’s not all that surprising. In fact, 12 percent of Nepal's population suffers from chronic respiratory diseases. It’s not new: the Nepalese, especially the denizens of Kathmandu, are bound to live amidst dust clouds and soot.
Source: The Kathmandu Post
Mental health conditions
According to the WHO, mental and neurological disorders among older adults account for 6.6% of the total aging health concerns for this age group, and approximately 15% of adults aged 60 and over suffer from a mental disorder. This includes aging health conditions like Alzheimer’s, depression, dementia, to name a few.
The most prominent one among these is dementia. Dementia is usually of a chronic or progressive nature, in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, and ability to perform daily activities. The risk of mental aging health diseases can be attributed to conditions such as substance abuse, diabetes, hypertension, depression, HIV and smoking.
In the case of Nepal, the elderly population currently constitutes around 9 percent of the total population. In this scenario, reports show that non-communicable diseases have now surpassed the burden of communicable diseases. Aging health diseases like diabetes mellitus, hypertension, chronic diseases of the lungs, liver, heart and kidney, neuro-degenerative disorders like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and fatal diseases like cancers are on the rise.
Take your step towards a healthy life!
In the light of these aging health concerns, it’s important for us to be there for the elderly. With Embrace HealthNet, you can easily inquire about appointments online. Our partnership with Norvic International Hospital ensures that you get nothing but the best for your health.
Embrace HealthNet is designed to give you and your loved ones peace of mind when it comes to your health needs. Our goal is to enrich our patients’ lives by providing the best healthcare and wellbeing services.
We are available 24/7 - we know that your medical needs don’t stop when office hours are over. We understand the importance of self-care education, informing you and your family of the most effective ways to fight aging health problems.
We provide a complete coverage of health services based on your preferences. Each package includes a monthly home visit by our paramedics. We also have a pick-up and drop-off service for our customers at the time of their annual and quarterly check-up at Norvic Hospital.
Contact us for more information.