Your genetic makeup, living environment, economic situation, and lifestyle habits all have a part to play in affecting your health. As you age, you may begin to experience some health changes in your body. It is therefore important to know what these changes mean so you can get timely diagnoses and start treatment plans at an early stage. Here are some common health conditions in your 70s that you should know about.
Hypertension, also known as a “silent killer”, presents little or no symptoms at all. However, you shouldn’t doubt the severity of hypertension as it can result in damage to arterial walls and increase your risk of heart attack, artery disease, and stroke. You have a higher chance of developing hypertension as you grow older – about a 60% chance of developing it in your 70s. Thus, you should see your doctor and get a blood pressure reading at least every two years. Other ways you can protect yourself from hypertension is to exercise regularly, consume healthier food and most importantly, reduce your salt intake.
Another “silent killer” is hypercholesterolemia or hyperlipidemia as it’s almost asymptomatic. One of the main causes of this condition is genetics. No doubt, foods that contain high levels of fat, like cheeseburgers and fries, will significantly increase the risk of having clogged arteries. If left untreated, high cholesterol can culminate in heart attacks and strokes. To manage your cholesterol, it is advisable to eat foods low in saturated and total fat, such as avocados and nuts. It goes without saying that fast food, junk food, and processed food should be cut out from your diet.
Arthritis is one of the most common conditions associated with older adults. While not life-threatening, your quality of life will be affected because of the amount of pain you may experience. You will likely require assistance with activities of daily living too. Arthritis can present itself in the form of wear and tear due to age, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. The first warning signs of arthritis usually start in the joints where you will experience pain, swelling, tenderness and stiffness.
Cataracts affect a majority of aging adults. They occur when the clear lenses in your eyes cloud over and impair your eyesight. This is the most common condition affecting the eye besides macular degeneration and glaucoma. However, cataracts are highly treatable and manageable.
As we get older, cancer becomes more prevalent. The most common cancers in the elderly include prostate, lung, breast, and colon cancers. More than nine out of 10 cancers have been diagnosed in people who are 45 years and older. Among them, those who are over 70 make up about 28% of these cancer cases in recent years. Why is age the greatest risk factor for cancer? The reason is simple: as our body cells age, they suffer cellular damage that accumulates and ultimately causes cancer in our tissues, organs, or muscles. Additionally, extended exposure to carcinogens such as radiation, environmental chemicals, and toxic substances in our food can all increase the risk of cell mutations.
Depression is an illness caused by chemical imbalances in your loved one’s brain. If you suspect your loved one has depression, encourage him or her to visit a therapist. Depression can be treated so it is important to seek professional help instead of trying to handle it on your own.