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Top Health Concerns of the Elderly and How to Combat Them

In Myanmar culture, there is a saying that when your body does not follow where your mind goes, then you will truly know what is most valuable to you. Famous teachings aside, your health is the most valuable thing and will determine the quality of life you will have as you age. Here we explore the top health concerns of the elderly that are often overlooked and simple ways to combat them. 1

Dehydration is common in the elderly

Our body’s sensing of thirst goes down as we get older even when the body needs it the most. This is why dehydration is common in the elderly. Little is known of what really causes the decline in detecting thirst in seniors. Because a senior’s body retains less water to begin with when compared to young adults, dehydration is one of the main causes of hospitalization in the elderly. More water may be the logical solution, but it can get too monotonous so alternating with water rich fruits and vegetables will be the way to go. Watch out for added sugars in fruit juices and opt out for fruit infused water instead.2

Hypertension is common in senior citizens too

Hypertension is often associated with those who live highly stressful lives, but around 58% of seniors who seek medical treatment are also treated for hypertension. It all has to do with the heart’s blood pumping ability and artery size. Also artery size can be affected by cholesterol, buildup of plaque in arteries, and diabetes. A senior could have hypertension and not know it because symptoms do not show until major medical conditions like stroke, aneurysm, or memory loss arise. Watch out for headaches, vision impairments, chest pains, and excessive pounding feelings in the body as they are a few of the common signs of hypertension. Best way to treat or prevent is to maintain a healthy weight, eat healthy, reduce sodium and sugars intake, exercise, and monitor blood pressure.3

Geriatiric Trauma is often Overlooked

Geriatric trauma is traumatic injuries that occur to an elderly person. More often than not, a senior does not know that they have an injury and when more serious medical conditions arise, it can be traced back to the geriatric trauma. Due to atypical presentations of symptoms and other illnesses masking the injuries, careful monitoring is required if a senior has been injured before. The type of geriatric traumas seniors could get are hairline fractures in hips, fractures in arms, and other musculoskeletal areas from just falling off a chair. This is because of weakness from muscle loss with age (sarcopenia), long term illnesses, and their body’s lessened ability to process nutrition efficiently. Regular resistance training, nutrition monitoring, and regular check ups are one of the best ways to prevent and treat geriatric trauma.4

Sometimes after seeing and dealing with others around you with major illnesses can be overwhelming. But staying fit and having a higher quality of life does not have to be difficult. Listen to your body, eat healthy, do moderate exercise, and get regular check ups. Check ups are important because you would never know what could blindside you in the future. Always consult a professional before taking on a new exercise regimen or changing diet plan to maximize results and reduce injuries.5



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