As we age, our bodies go through many changes. Some of these changes are normal, but others can signal health problems. Many common chronic conditions worsen with age. These include conditions like arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes.
These diseases are often age-related because they are more common in older adults. But that doesn’t mean that younger people can’t get them. Many chronic conditions start during middle age.
That’s why it’s essential to be aware of the risks and see your doctor regularly. The earlier you catch a problem, the easier it is to treat.
Here are some common conditions that worsen with age:
Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints. It causes pain, stiffness, and swelling, making it hard to do everyday activities. There are many different types of arthritis, but the most common one is osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a “wear and tear” arthritis. It happens when the cartilage that cushions the joints breaks down. This can occur over time, or it can result from an injury.
Age is a risk factor for osteoarthritis because the cartilage breaks down more quickly as we get older. Other risk factors include being overweight, having a joint injury, or having a family history of arthritis.
Treatment for arthritis includes pain relievers, physical therapy, and, in some cases, surgery. Doctors may also recommend a medical knee brace to help support the joint.
Heart disease is a general term for conditions that affect the heart, such as coronary artery disease and heart attacks. It’s the leading cause of death in the United States.
Symptoms of heart disease include chest pain, shortness of breath, and an irregular heartbeat.
Age is a risk factor for heart disease because the arteries harden and narrow with age. This makes it harder for blood to flow through them. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and diabetes.
Treatment for heart disease includes lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Medications, such as beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors can also help. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.
Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body can’t properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body turn sugar into energy.
There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood, while type 2 diabetes is more common in adults. However, both types can occur at any age.
Age is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes because the body’s ability to use insulin decreases with age. Other risk factors include being overweight, having a family history of diabetes, and having high blood pressure.
Treatment for diabetes includes taking medication, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. Insulin therapy may also be necessary.
Chronic Kidney Disease
CKD, or Chronic kidney disease, is a condition that occurs when the kidneys slowly stop working. The kidneys filter waste from the blood and remove it from the body in urine.
CKD can lead to kidney failure when the kidneys can no longer remove enough waste from the blood. This can cause serious health problems, including high blood pressure, anemia, and weak bones.
Age is a risk factor for CKD because the kidneys can become less efficient with age. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, and a family history of kidney disease.
Treatment for CKD includes taking medication to control the symptoms, making lifestyle changes, and, in some cases, having dialysis or a kidney transplant.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is cut off. This can happen if a blood vessel becomes blocked or bursts. Without oxygen, the brain cells start to die.
Strokes can cause paralysis, difficulty speaking, and memory problems. They can also be fatal.
Age is a risk factor for stroke because the blood vessels become less flexible with age. This makes them more likely to become blocked or burst. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and diabetes.
Treatment for stroke includes taking medication to prevent another stroke, making lifestyle changes, and, in some cases, having surgery.
Cancer is a disease that occurs when cells in the body start to grow out of control. There are many different types of cancer, and they can occur anywhere in the body.
Age is a risk factor for cancer because of the body’s ability to repair damaged cells with age. This makes it more likely for cancerous cells to develop. Other risk factors include smoking, exposure to radiation, and a family history of cancer.
Cancer treatment depends on the type and stage of the disease. It may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
As we age, our bodies become less able to fight off disease and heal from injuries. This can lead to several age-related health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, stroke, and cancer. Treatment for these conditions includes lifestyle changes, medications, and, in some cases, surgery.