Common Illness in the Elderly Women
The world’s older population is increasing especially elderly women that outnumber elderly men. As we gets older, our body organs begin to degenerate and several diseases develop. Health conditions affecting elderly women include:
1.Hypertension: A normal blood pressure is defined as approximately 120-129/80-84 mm Hg. If blood pressure reading is more than this number, you are considered to have high blood pressure. Hypertension or high blood pressure in the older adults is harmful, as it is the leading cause of death globally and it is also important risk factor for stroke and cardiovascular diseases. Hypertension happens as a result of heredity, obesity or overweight, chronic kidney disease, smoking, heavy alcohol use and lack of exercise.
2.Diabetes can develop at any age but currently diabetes is mostly found in the elderly and is one of the leading causes of death. The risks for developing diabetes are being overweight or obese, problem with pancreas and genetic factor. Blood sugar test is recommended for people who have diabetes risk factors so that they can receive the suitable treatment. Diabetes symptoms include frequent urination, increased thirst, extreme hunger and more tiredness.
3.Ischemic heart disease or coronary heart disease can be serious and become fatal. It is caused by narrowed heart arteries. The arteries may become so narrow that not enough oxygen rich blood reaches to the heart muscle. The reduction of blood flow to the heart can damage heart muscle which affects affect how well the heart pumps. The factors that contribute to coronary heart disease are drug abuse, stress or pain symptom, cold temperature and smoking. Ischemic heart disease (IHD) symptoms can include chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, sweating and extreme fatigue. Visit the physician immediately if you have these symptoms.
4.Alzheimer's disease. According to the statistics, women live longer than men, so more women than men experience Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is found in women age above 60 years. Main symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are memory loss about activities of daily living and repetition of words or statements. In the later stage, when the problem gets worse, the patient cannot eat or walk by themselves. The risk for Alzheimer’s disease is associated with genetics factor, family history, increasing age and head injury. Other symptoms involve forgetting conversations that just happened, repetitive actions, mood swings, sleeping problem, hallucination and difficulty with movement.
5.Knee osteoarthritis, twice or three times as elderly women as men have knee osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA) onset usually occurs after the age of 40. The causes of knee osteoarthritis are older age, overuse of the knee joint, overweight, injuries, heredity, metabolic disorders, and rheumatoid arthritis. Person with OA will experience joint pain, swelling due to an inflammation and extra fluid which accumulates in or around the joint. Chronic OA can reduce mobility, making it difficult to bend and straighten the knee. In some cases, there may also be swelling and redness surrounding a knee joint.
6.Osteoporosis often affects elderly women especially when women reach menopause or there is a drop in a woman's estrogen levels. Osteoporosis develops when bone density decreases; bone then becomes weak and fragile. The symptoms of osteoporosis are tooth sensitivity, stooped posture, back pain and joint pain. Factors associated with osteoporosis are family history, lack of vitamin D or calcium, caffeine drinking, excessive alcohol drinking, smoking, rapid weight loss from too much exercise or diet control, high dose of steroid medications, hormone imbalance and chronic conditions such as liver disease.
7. A myoma uteri or uterine fibroid is typically found in women aged between 40 and 50 years old. It is caused by abnormal growths of muscle tissue that form in or on the walls of the uterus, from genes, or female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) which stimulate the development of fibroids. Fibroids will shrink in size after menopause. The common symptoms are abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, and frequent urination. Fibroid can put pressure on the rectum which may lead to constipation. Fibroids can also distend the stomach if the size of fibroids is very large.
8.Cancer is one of the predominant causes of mortality among older persons. Cancer can be diagnosed in people who are healthy and do not have any chronic conditions. Cancer risk increases as we get older. Cells can get damaged over time and divide out of control which lead to cancer. Frequent cancers that elderly women should beware are breast cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, and endometrial cancer. Many factors increase the risk of developing cancer and some causes cannot avoided such as heredity. However, noticing cancer symptoms is significant since treatment works efficiently when cancer is found early.
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