People are living longer with a higher quality of life because of new healthcare research and medical advancements. However, there are still a few health conditions that we are more prone to developing as we age.
Knowing the signs, symptoms and risks of these conditions can help you establish a preventative care or treatment plan that is catered to you.
These 9 medical conditions are more common in people who are 50 or over and can be treated or prevented with the right kind of care:
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become more porous over time and decrease in density. Like other bone and joint conditions, such as arthritis, it’s common among older adults but can start developing as early as 35.
Osteoporosis can be caused by smoking, a lack of calcium or exercise, among other factors. Symptoms include back pain, easily fractured bones, or even loss of height. Women are more likely to develop this condition, but men and women should keep an eye on their symptoms to prevent bone mass loss.
While people of all ages can contract pneumonia, you’re more susceptible to a life-threatening infection as you get older. Pneumonia causes inflammation in the lungs, and symptoms may look a lot like those of a cold or the flu, such as fever, chills, chest pain and a persistent cough.
Take daily hygiene measures to avoid picking up a pneumonia virus or bacteria, and if these symptoms persist for more than a few days, call your doctor.
Shingles is an infection that comes from the same virus as chickenpox and causes a painful, itchy rash on the skin. It mainly impacts adults who contracted the virus as a child.
While it can affect anyone, shingles is most common in people over the age of 50. Talk to your doctor about getting a shingles vaccine to prevent infection.
4. Kidney disease
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) develops as your kidneys lose their function over time. Their primary job is to remove waste from the bloodstream. When they lose this ability, toxins build up and cause serious damage.
Studies suggest that more than 50 percent of people over the age of 75 suffer from various stages of CKD, and it can start developing well before then. Symptoms include bloody urine, pain while urinating or swelling in the hands and feet. Talk to your doctor about how to calculate GFR to determine how well your kidneys are functioning, as well as treatment options, such as home dialysis.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world. This condition causes damage to the optic nerve in your eyes and is more prevalent among older adults.
If you experience loss of peripheral vision, red or hazy eyes, pain in the eyes or if you see halos around light, it may be time to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. It can also occur without showing any signs at all, so be sure to stay up-to-date on your annual eye exams.
Your eyes can also develop cataracts as they get older. Cataracts are cloudy areas in the lens of the eye that can eventually cause vision loss.
This is a completely manageable condition if you are in communication with your eye doctor. If your vision is blurry or you have trouble seeing at night, tell your optometrist and they can give you more information about cataracts treatment.
Age-related depression is not uncommon in adults when they reach 50, even if you’ve lived most of your life without any signs or symptoms of mental illness. This can be associated with the lower levels of activity, lack of community or less social interaction.
Symptoms include persistent sadness, apathy and loss of energy. To learn more, talk to your doctor about therapy or medication.
8. Cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in older adults. It can show up in various related forms, such as chronic heart disease, congestive heart failure and arrhythmia.
Symptoms include shortness of breath, racing heartbeat, chest “fluttering” and chest pain. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these signs.
9. Gum disease
The mouth can often become dry with age and as a result of certain medications, increasing your risk for gum disease. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 70 percent of adults over 65 have gum disease.
If you experience dry mouth or tooth loss and decay, you may want to schedule your semi-annual dental exam and cleaning to be safe and prevent further infection.
As you get older, being proactive about your healthcare can help ensure that these are your best years yet.