The advent of senescence is the time to ponder upon the changes the ageing body is going through, and understand the types of probable old age diseases in order to cope with them gracefully. The primary cause for the abundance of old age diseases is the deterioration of body cells and their inability to heal and multiply. The ageing cells are unable to generate disease-fighting antibodies, which is why elderly people are more prone to a plethora of infectious diseases.
There are several markers pronouncing the arrival of old age, most common of them are wrinkled skin, reduced muscle strength, stooping posture, loss of teeth, salt-and-pepper hair or baldness, brittle and weak bones, joint stiffness and pain, hardened arteries, vision errors, hearing impairment and incontinence (reduced control over bodily functions). Several mental symptoms can also occur including absentmindedness, amnesia, poor judgment and childish behavior. While the physical indicators of old age are quite prevalent, the psychological changes depend on the ageing of cortical brain cells, which can vary from person to person.
Elderly people are also more prone to diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, pressure sores, cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and amnesia. Depending on the severity of these diseases, an elderly person can experience biological deterioration, physical or mental disabilities, permanent handicap or impairments, increased dependency on others or reduced life expectancy.
It is therefore vital to understand the causes of old age diseases, and defer their occurrence through nutritious diet, regular exercise and positive mental attitude. A few old age diseases, causes and prevention techniques are mentioned below:
- Diabetes – Diabetes is caused when the pancreas cannot make sufficient amounts of insulin hormone, and whatever small amount is produced is ineffective as body cells develop insulin resistance. Heredity is the most common cause of diabetes. Diabetes is not directly caused by excessive sugar intake or increased stress, but factors such as imbalanced diet, smoking and drinking, obesity, high blood pressure and age make the body prone to increased virus infections and pancreatic dysfunction. The best way to prevent diabetes is embracing an active lifestyle with healthy balanced diets, regular exercise and weight control.
- Osteoporosis – When the body’s bone forming cells are unable to generate new bone as fast as it is removed, there is a reduction in bone density, resulting in osteoporosis. Women especially have a higher risk of osteoporosis after menopause, due to the reduction in the estrogen hormone, which protects the bones and keeps the bone forming cells functioning properly. The best way to prevent bone deficiency is to remain active and mobile, incorporate strength-training exercises, consume foods rich in calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D and essential fats, and increase intake of soy and flax.
- Cancer – Cancer has multiple causes, similar to its manifestations in the different tissues of the human body. Several factors can cause cancer including carcinogens or cancer inducing substances, genetic predisposition, age, environment, viruses, immunity levels and diet. The best way to avoid different types of cancer is to maintain a healthy weight, and increase dietary consumption of foods such as fruits, vegetables, fiber, soy and other natural phytonutrients.