What does it mean to be afraid of getting old? Certainly, it is a fear of incurring that series of diseases typical of the over sixties. In reality, however, more than a risk of illness, the elderly are more subject to a decrease in the so-called homeostatic capacity, or the ability to resist changes, maintaining a condition of internal balance.
In short, the elderly are struggling to return to good general health after having contracted any disease. What are the most common diseases after the age of 60?
60 years? Here are the diseases to watch out for
Among the diseases that most affect the elderly – and predominantly the female gender – we find:
- Osteoporosis – Pathology that causes a decrease in bone tissue, causing pain especially in the spine, with greater exposure to the risk of fracture.
- Respiratory diseases – These include asthma, pneumonia (since the deterioration of defense systems due to age increases its probability of incidence), and chronic
- bronchitis (caused by the succession of numerous attacks by the respiratory system). The alterations of the respiratory system can be very dangerous for the elderly and, for this reason, it is essential that they are constantly subjected to control visits and that they follow appropriate therapy.
- Arteriosclerosis – Pathology that is characterized by the accumulation of material (mainly lipids) in correspondence of the arterial vessels, causing disturbances to the circulatory system.
- Diabetes mellitus – Condition characterized by a pathological increase in blood glucose concentration. Responsible for this phenomenon is an absolute and relative defect of insulin, hormone secreted from the islands of Langherhans of the pancreas, essential for the metabolism of sugars.
- Myocardial infarction – Myocardial infarction is a necrosis of the cardiac musculature, caused by the occlusion of a large, medium or small caliber coronary artery. The most frequent site of the infarct is in the left area of the heart, in correspondence of the area sprayed by the descending branch of the left coronary artery.
- Tumors – Especially in the lung, prostate, breast, colorectal, bladder, stomach and pancreas.
The most common neurological diseases fall into the category of dementias, which consist in the loss of cognitive skills as a result of a neurodegenerative process and, among these, those that unfortunately predominantly affect the elderly are Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. In particular:
- Parkinson’s disease – It is a degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system, specifically the subcortical area, and leads to the death of all cells that release dopamine.
- Alzheimer’s disease – Form of progressive dementia, which affects the subcortical area and leads to the slow destruction of all the cognitive abilities of the affected subject, to the point of preventing him from carrying out even the most basic actions. This is considered a typical senile disease and is characterized by the presence of clusters and plaques inside the brain and for the loss of connection between neurons. The triggering causes of the pathology are not entirely clear but would seem to be linked to environmental, genetic and lifestyle factors. Surely, however, a balanced diet and a stimulating social environment can help us not to be affected by the disease (or at least to slow down its onset).
How to prevent diseases of old age
To increase the likelihood of a peaceful and healthy old age, it is useful to pay attention to the prevention advice of experts in the field.
First of all, the importance of a healthy and balanced diet should not be underestimated, which should include a daily protein intake of at least 1 / 1.2 grams per kg of weight and a constant presence of fruit and vegetables.
In addition, we should maintain a fair intake of salt and sugar in meals and, of fundamental importance, it is necessary to drink a lot of water even if, with the passage of time, the stimulation of thirst tends to decrease. Everything must then be accompanied by a correct physical activity. And remember that old age is still the only system that has been found to live long!