The baby boomer population in the United States is aging, and the number of people over 85 years old is set to triple in the next 30 years. Because older adults are more likely to develop one or more chronic health problems, the overall healthcare systems and individual families must prepare to handle providing the support this population will need. Specialties such as geriatric care Conroe mainly focus on treating conditions prevalent in older adults. Examples of these health problems include:
Osteoporosis is a health problem where bones become so fragile that mild stresses such as bending can result in a fracture. It develops with age as bone renewal declines. In younger years, the body makes new bones faster than breaking down old bones. After your early 20’s, bone renewal slows down, and by the time you are 30 years old, you may have attained your peak bone mass. Your likelihood of developing osteoporosis partly depends on the bone mass you acquired in your youth. Osteoporosis is common in women and people with low calcium intake and eating disorders. Bone strengthening medications may help prevent further bone loss and fractures if you have osteoporosis.
Osteoarthritis causes the protective cartilage in your joints to wear and tear, causing pain, stiffness and loss of flexibility. The symptoms tend to develop gradually and exacerbate with time. Osteoarthritis can affect any joints in your body, but it mainly occurs in the hips, spine, knees and hands. Besides old age, you are also more likely to develop this problem if you are overweight; increased body weight adds pressure on joints, including your knees and hips. Athletes and people with jobs that require repetitive joint movement are also at risk of osteoarthritis. There is no treatment to reverse cartilage damage, but medications may help slow disease progression, alleviate pain, and improve joint function.
Sleep apnea is a condition where breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep, causing snoring and fatigue even after a full night’s sleep. The most common type of this sleep disorder is obstructive sleep apnea; it occurs when throat muscles overly relax, partially blocking your airway. When you have obstructed breathing, your brain arouses you from sleep to open your airway; you might snort, choke or gasp. The awakening happens without you noticing, and the pattern can repeat itself up to 30 times in an hour. You may wake up the following day with a dry mouth and headache. Other symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include daytime drowsiness, difficulty paying attention, and irritability.
Urinary incontinence is a loss of bladder control, causing you to leak urine occasionally, often when coughing or laughing. This problem can progress and cause a sudden urge to urinate, so strong that you can’t get to the toilet in time. The problem is common, and not very pleasant for those who have it. Older adults usually have functional incontinence, whereby a mental or physical impairment prevents them from getting to the toilet in time. For example, if you have severe arthritis, you may not be able to walk fast to the washroom or unbutton your pants.
If you have further questions about senior care, consult your provider at Family Life Medical.