Old people are those individuals who are past the age of 65 years. On most occasions, this is the age that an individual starts to receive his/her pension benefits. As a matter of fact, there is no specific age that can be used to describe an old person because it changes as time goes by. There are a lot of characteristics that have been used to describe old people meaning that they are distinct and not synonymous with other age brackets. Such characteristics can be physical, emotional or physiological meaning that they should be understood. As far as physical characteristics are concerned, these people have slower movements as they go about their activities. Old people are more likely to suffer from diseases and this could be because of various reasons (Scheir, 2000, p. 24). For instance, their body system is weak meaning that they are prone to a lot of diseases. Another notable characteristic of old people is grey or white hair which also comes with poor eyesight.
Further, a weaker immune system has been identified as the main cause of various diseases and ailments that catch up with old people. As far as physical characteristics are concerned, old people are known to have wrinkles. On the other hand, they might also have hearing problems as time goes by. In addition, cardigans have also been characterized by old people. From all these characteristics, old people have unique characteristics that can be useful in explaining why they are unique members of our society. Old age is defined as the last stage of a human being’s life cycle. There are cases where old people have low levels of regenerative abilities thereby being exposed to a lot of health complications (Scheir, 2000, p. 42). Old people have always had problems recalling their memory which is understandable. Overall, susceptibility to diseases is one of the major problems that face old people. As far as this paper is concerned, diabetes is one of the major health problems that old people have continued to face over the years, and thus, there is the need to develop effective health promotion strategies such as the health belief model described in the preceding discussions to rid this vulnerable population group of the complications associated with diabetes.
The Major Health Problems Facing Elderly People
It should be known that old people have major health problems that need to be given adequate consideration. Here, chronic illnesses have occasionally been reported in old people thereby leading to depression. Most of these health problems are a result of the changes that occur in an individual’s body when they become old. As much as old age is supposed to be peaceful, it has been characterized by a lot of health complications. Urinary tract problems occur when people become old because they can not control their urination cycles. Further, the prevalence of mental health problems among old people is a major concern in the current world (Furdell, 2009, p. 28). Intellectual disability should be understood but there are occasions when this leads to mental problems. There are old people who have ended up with various disabilities and this is because they lack mobility. Heart complications and cancer have been identified as the major causes of death among old people. Bone fractures and stroke have also been witnessed in various countries because of weak ion-transport systems and progressive breakdown of worn-out body parts.
On the other hand, high blood pressure has been a silent killer because it is hard for old people to know the symptoms involved. This is a health problem because it can lead to the failure of various organs including the heart. Approximately, 68% of diabetes problems have been reported among old people meaning that they are the most vulnerable (CDC, 2008, p. 38). This means that diabetes is the most common health problem among old people, which entails uncontrolled metabolism of glucose and other sugar components in the body due to lack of or limited sensitivity of body cells to the hormone insulin. As a matter of fact, diabetes has been identified as the sixth-largest global cause of death (Idaho, 2009, p. 78). Senior citizens who are above 65 years have not been getting proper healthcare services, and that is why we have a lot of diabetic cases among this age bracket. Diabetes can be described as a disorder that revolves around high levels of blood sugar. In this case, it should be known that the individual will not be able to respond to insulin. As a matter of fact, blood sugar will not be well supplied into body cells. The major reason why diabetes is a serious health problem is that it can not be cured but can only be managed. Therefore, Diabetes has some symptoms that can be identified early enough to save more lives.
As a result, the most notable symptoms of Diabetes are urination, thirst, and the development of other opportunistic infections. Extreme hunger and fatigue have also been identified as major symptoms of diabetes. Diabetes will continue to be a major health problem among old people as long as there are no proper strategies for its management. In this case, because old people have a weak body system, diabetes has given way to other opportunistic diseases. Glucose levels can be managed by old people but this has been limited by their inability to move because they are weak (De Grey, 2005, p. 39). Furthermore, it should be known that there are two types of diabetes namely type 1 & 2 diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is the most common among old people because they produce insulin but it is not used effectively. This type of diabetes is brought about by lack of activity and obesity that have been common in old people. Old people with diabetes can even go into a coma and this has been a major health concern.
Causes of the Health Problems in Old Age
From a broad perspective, it should be known that there are various causes of Diabetes as a major health problem. This means that there are causes of general health problems and also, on the other hand, are causes of diabetes. Some of the health problems discussed in the foregoing discussions can be a result of alcoholism and poor eating habits. It then follows that women are mostly affected because they are at greater risk than men. Here, heavy drinking can lead to cancer and liver problems that end up as killer diseases. Other health problems are also caused by smoking which is also prevalent among old people. As much as most of these problems come about as a result of weak immune and physiological systems, some of them have been caused by environmental and other predisposing factors. For instance, falling has been behind many unintentional injuries among old people (Furdell, 2009, p. 78). Furthermore, because elderly people have many vision problems, they might stumble and fall on stairs thereby sustaining extensive injuries. Overall, there are a lot of health problems that are caused by various underlying factors that need urgent health interventions. However, Diabetes stands out among these problems because it is the most manageable yet it is the leading cause of death among elderly persons.
There are many people who are killed from Diabetes-related cases meaning that it can be a major cause of the development of other diseases. The major cause of diabetes has been cited as lack of physical activity among old people. Thus, obesity has been blamed and identified as the major reason behind diabetic cases among old people because they don’t exercise. Excess fats are not good and that is why overweight individuals are always at great risk. Treatment of diabetics among old people is very challenging but there is always a solution to every problem. In this case, there are various things that can be done to control diabetics as can be deduced from the foregoing Health Belief Model (HBM).
From the discussions, it is obvious that Diabetics can be controlled to avoid many health problems that have been witnessed amongst old people. As the first step, they should be encouraged to make healthy food choices that will not increase their susceptibility to diabetics. This is because different food levels affect the levels of glucose in the body that will always lead to diabetic episodes. Further, because old people are weak and thereby less mobile, they should be encouraged to exercise every now and then. Diabetic patients should be encouraged to live healthy to avoid any future complications that might emanate from weakened immune and physiological systems. As a health prevention strategy, every old person should keep track of how they are doing and this is as far as their health is concerned. This is because it is easy to take care of diabetics when it is detected early for effective attention and care (Furdell, 2009, p. 66). There should be efforts to create awareness among old people on the general causes of diabetics for precautionary measures. As a matter of fact, old people should have good information on diabetics for long-term sustainability. All these issues can be sorted out to ensure that old people do not suffer as a result of diabetic complications.
CDC. Distribution of Age at Diagnosis of Diabetes among Adult Incident Cases Aged 18–79 Years, United States, 2008. Web.
De Grey, A. (2005). Like it or not, life-extension research extends beyond biogerontology. New York: Norton
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Furdell, L. (2009). Fatal Thirst: Diabetes in Britain until Insulin. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill.
Idaho. (2009). Mortality. Web.
Scheir, F. (2000). Perspectives on Personality. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.