5 Common Health Problems in Over-50s
Getting old is one of the few certainties in life, and as we head through middle age, various health problems become more obvious and occur more frequently. Even if we strive to live a healthy lifestyle with plenty of nutritious food and lots of exercise, some consequences of ageing are unavoidable.
But by recognising the common health problems in people over 50 and taking appropriate action, we can remain active and healthy even in later life.
In 2010, more than 65,000 people died from coronary heart disease, more than for any other disease according to the British Heart Foundation. There were also 147,000 fatalities from cardiovascular disease (CVD) the same year, accounting for nearly a third of all deaths.
Heart disease is hereditary, meaning you will have a higher chance of developing a condition if your family has a history of the problem. However other risk factors include being overweight, an unhealthy diet with too much saturated fat, lack of exercise, excess stress and smoking.
High blood pressure and cholesterol can also increase the risk of a heart attack, although there is medication available to control these problems.
For women this can mean breast, cervical or ovarian cancer while men tend to suffer from testicular, bladder and prostate problems. For every form of cancer, it is crucial to catch the disease in its early stages to receive effective treatment. Being aware of symptoms will reduce the chance of clinical negligence.
Regular screening or examinations for breast cancer are highly advised while a smear or 'pap' test for cervical cancer can identify early changes in cells prior to the disease taking hold. It is more difficult to identify early symptoms of ovarian cancer, however, but these generally include indigestion, bloating, nausea or stomach discomfort.
For men, pain in the lower back, hips or pelvis could be a sign of prostate cancer, but a doctor will be able to carry out a thorough diagnosis. Bladder cancer symptoms include the frequent need to go to the toilet and pain during urination. It is highly recommended that men regularly examine their testicles for lumps to avoid testicular cancer.
While Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children, teenagers or young adults, Type 2 diabetes becomes increasingly common for overweight people and those approaching middle age.