Top 5 Health Concerns in the 50+ Year Old Range

As the aging process becomes evident, so does our emphasis on medical conditions related to aging.  However, it is also a time when we can reevaluate our lifestyle and try to improve our daily choices to avert or delay serious illness.

The following health concerns are typical of people over the age of 50.

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1. Heart health

According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. with 25% of men having some form of cardiac problems.

Risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Male Gender
  • Family history
  • Tobacco and excessive alcohol usage
  • High blood pressure
  • Being sedentary
  • Overweight
  • Diabetes

2. Stroke

Stroke (cardiovascular accident) is the third leading cause of death, following heart disease and cancer.

Risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Gender- more common in males until age 75
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Alcohol and substance abuse
  • Tobacco use
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Obesity
  • Prior history

3. Depression

More than 6 million men have depression and are 4 times more apt to commit suicide than females.

They manifest their depression with:

  • Anger
  • Alcohol and substance abuse
  • Midlife crisis
  • Risk-taking
  • Aggression
  • Work dissatisfaction and burnout

4. Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer is the #1 cause of death in both men and women, affecting more people than prostate, breast cancer and colon cancer combined. Fortunately the incidence has decreased since the 1980s due to less tobacco usage, which accounts for 90% of lung cancer.

Additional risks include:

  • Air pollution
  • Past history
  • Toxin exposure- asbestos or radon
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke

5. Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the second leading type of cancer death in men, following the lung. If discovered early enough, it is treatable. The American Cancer Society advises an annual PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test and digital rectal exam for detection.

Additional risks:

  • Age
  • High-fat diet
  • Nationality- more commonly found in North America and Northwestern Europe

Prostate cancer occurring in men under 65 is often more aggressive.

 

Four Additional Concerns of the 50+age group

1. Memory Loss

A study published in The Canadian Medical Association Journal, reports that after age 55, 64% of respondents were concerned about the loss of memory.

Diminished recall ability does not necessarily mean dementia.

Causes of fogginess and lack of focus include:

  • Excessive use of tobacco, alcohol or substance abuse
  • Stress and depression
  • Side effect of medications like sleeping pills, analgesics, antihistamines, antidepressants and muscle relaxants
  • Lack of sleep
  • Vitamin Deficiency- typically B1 and B12
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Tuberculosis
  • HIV and Syphilis

2. Erectile Dysfunction

Lack of erections can be quite emotionally traumatic and becomes more common after 50. However, if a cause is detected, correcting the problem can often lead to a successful reversal of the problem.

Causes:

  • Tobacco, alcohol or substance abuse
  • Side Effect of prescription drugs
  • Prostate enlargement
  • Venous leak
  • Vascular disease with blood vessel obstruction
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Nerve issue
  • Prostate cancer
  • Injury
  • Hormonal imbalance (e.g. testosterone deficiency)

3. Autoimmune Diseases

There are greater than 80 conditions in this category where the immune system attacks one’s own body tissues.

Seventy-five percent of autoimmune diseases occur in females, making up a quarter of disabilities in American women.

Examples of conditions here include:

Symptoms may be vague initially and in-depth examination for diagnosis may be necessary.

4. Osteoarthritis

Degenerative disease of the joints, which occurs more in men than women, is the most common type of arthritis in the U.S. Over 20 million adults are affected; and its classically due to erosion of the joint cartilage, caused by aging, trauma or overuse.

It is important to rule out other diseases with similar symptoms for proper treatment:

  • Trauma
  • Gout
  • Diabetes
  • Congenital bone and joint abnormalities
  • Hormone imbalance conditions
  • Obesity

Alternative Therapy includes:

  • Supplements- glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Fish oil and Omega 3- decreases inflammation
  • Weight Loss
  • Heat soaks and wraps

Traditional treatment consists of NSAIDS for inflammation and pain alleviation or steroid injections into the join. If nothing works, extreme situations would warrant joint replacement or joint fusion.

 

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