19 September 2016
Do you sometimes look at your parents or guardians and suddenly realise they’ve aged for real?
Coming to this realisation is quite scary as it quietly whispers something into your ears – they will not always be around.
For a better understanding of how they have changed over time, you will begin to notice some health challenges that were not there before.
Vision and hearing problems
As people age, their sight and hearing typically weaken, Vision problems that are common in older people include cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and complications from diabetes. Almost 25 per cent of people aged between 65 and 74, and 50 per cent of people 75 and older, have disabling hearing loss, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
Arthritis is one of the commonest health problem associated with old age. Arthritis is a generic term for more than 100 conditions that affect joints or the tissues that surround them.
Oftentimes, people with arthritis experience stiffness in or around their joints. About half of adults aged 65 and older have arthritis, according to a CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) report that looked at data from 2010 to 2012. So when your granny or parents develop arthritis, they might need you to help than climb the stairs.
Heart disease includes coronary artery disease, which affects blood flow to the heart, and can lead to a heart attack. It also includes high blood pressure (known as hypertension) and stroke. Just under 30 per cent of people aged 65 and older had heart disease in 2013 and 2014, according to a CDC report.
Obesity is defined as body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. People with obesity are at increased risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers, including breast cancer in post-menopausal women, colon and rectal cancer, uterine cancer and kidney cancer.
When people age, they tend to accumulate excess weight due to decline in physical activities over the years. About 36 per cent of men aged 65 to 74 are obese, and about 40 per cent of women ages 65 to 74 are obese, CDC reported.
Accidents and falls
Falls and accidents are very common in people who are ageing majorly because of their balancing which has reduced over the years. Hearing also plays a major role in balancing, once the hearing is weak, occasional trips and falls ensue. Moreover, after a fall, many people become afraid of falling. This can cause people to do fewer activities, and lose muscle strength as a consequence, the CDC reported.
Now that you know the health problems that come with ageing, we hope you can see clearly why your ageing parents need more attention than you are currently giving them.
Author: Dotun Obatuyi
My name is Dotun Obatuyi (Dotunoba), I hail from Osun state, a public health scientist (monitoring and evaluation specialist), my keen interests are researching, critiquing and writing feature articles on health, science and technology as well as issues around the globe.