As we get older, we become more susceptible to a variety of medical conditions. The effects of damage and wear accumulated over a lifetime begin to catch up with us, and our bodies begin to slow down. There are many conditions that are directly linked to advancing age, and understanding them will help you to deal with them effectively.
Varicose Veins and Spider Veins
Varicose veins and spider veins are characteristic signs of age. Varicose veins appear as large, prominent, blue-purple veins, usually on the legs. Spider veins are thin, web-like clusters that usually appear on the face and feet.
Both varicose veins and spider veins are caused by a weakening of the valves in the veins that prevent blood from flowing in the wrong direction. This weakening is a result of age, and it causes blood to collect in the veins, resulting in swelling. As well as being rather unsightly, varicose and spider veins can also cause uncomfortable swelling and muscle cramps.
Serious cases of varicose veins can be treated by eliminating the affected veins. This is a surgical procedure that involves 'stripping' out the varicose vein by tying it off and removing it through a small incision. Non-surgical varicose vein treatments include compression stockings, which help improve circulation, and regular exercise. Spider veins cannot be treated with surgery. Spider vein and facial vein treatments include sclerotherapy (injection of an irritating solution) and laser treatment. For more information on varicose vein treatment, talk to a doctor at a location such as The Sheen Vein Institute.
Arthritis is extremely common in elderly people. Whilst there are many types of arthritis, osteoarthritis usually affects older people. Usually the result of general wear-and-tear over time, osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that lines the joints begins to wear out, forcing the ligaments to work harder. This leads to the formation of bony growths, called osteophtyes, which can cause severe pain, stiffness, and difficulty moving.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis, but the symptoms can often be relieved with painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. In severe cases, surgical procedures such as joint replacement (arthroplasty) or joint realignment may be required.
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes a progressive weakening of the bones with age. This is because as we get older, the cells that build new bones begin to work more slowly, meaning that bone cells are broken down at a faster rate than they can be replaced. This leads to loss of bone mass.
The weakening of the bones makes them more fragile. Thus, osteoporosis sufferers are more prone to fractures, especially of the wrist and hips. Supplements and drugs can be taken to help strengthen the bones, although osteoporosis is often treated by avoiding situations that may lead to fractures.