Senior Health Issues and Care – What You Need To Know

Our health is something we can never take for granted regardless of our age. There is no point in life where we are completely immune to getting sick or developing infections, and it is always important to see our doctors regularly and use preventative care whenever possible. As we advance into our senior years, the risk of many health problems can elevate. Here you will learn about what these risks are and what you can do to keep them at bay.


Millions of adults aged 50 and over are currently suffering from osteoporosis, and most of them are women. It is a very preventable condition, and yet it continues to plague an unfortunately high number of seniors.

WebMD states that more than one-third of Seniors who are over the age of 65 experience a fall in a given year and approximately 25% of these falls will result in injury.

The United States Preventive Service Task Force recommends that women who are 65 and older get screened.

There are a few things that can be done to prevent osteoporosis. Pay attention to your calcium and vitamin D intake and be sure you are getting sufficient amounts of each. If you are a smoker, it is advisable that you quit. Regular, weight-bearing exercise is also a good way to keep your bones strong. It is also a good idea to keep alcohol consumption as limited as possible.

Arthritis And Joint Health

Arthritis is a painful condition that can cause aching, stiffness and swelling around our joints. According to the CDC, approximately 1 in every five adults has doctor-diagnosed arthritis and estimate that nearly 67 million people will be affected by the year 2030.

Many who deal with this affliction worry that physical activity will make their condition worse, but it is quite the opposite. Inactivity and sedentary lifestyles can cause the symptoms to be more painful and persistent.

Obesity can also put more strain on the joints which can cause additional problems, so it is important to stick to a healthy diet and be attentive to your weight.

Arthritis is a manageable issue so be sure to speak with your doctor about crafting a plan to treat it. Preferably in the early going.

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)

CVD can cover an array of problems, such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • Arrhythmia
  • Stroke
  • Renal Disease
  • Congenital Heart Disease

WebMD estimates that approximately one-third of men and women between the ages of 45 and 54 are affected by CVD and that the incidence increases with age which puts seniors well into a high-risk territory.

There are plenty of ways to lower the risk of heart problems. If you are a smoker, it is important that you quit as soon as you can. Regular exercise, healthy diet, and lower alcohol consumption are all things you can do for a healthier heart.

High blood pressure is often a red flag when it comes to cardiovascular issues. You should get checked on a regular basis and monitor it. If it is high, lowering your salt intake is one way to help get it lower.

Dental Issues And Periodontal Disease

According to the NIDCR, over 17% of seniors age 65 and over suffer from periodontal disease.

A few examples of dental problems that can also occur are:

  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Dry mouth
  • Oral cancer

Tooth decay can happen at any age and can occur for as long as you still have natural teeth. Cavities are not something that only affect children. Simple measures can be taken to guard against it such as using fluoride toothpaste, regular flossing and annual checkups with your dentist.

Gum disease is also preventable. It does not have to be something that naturally occurs in our older age. Gum disease can come in a couple of different forms including gingivitis and periodontitis. Much like tooth decay, gum disease can be avoided by brushing regularly, flossing and seeing your dentist each year. In addition to this, avoiding smoking and chewing tobacco can substantially increase your odds of avoiding gum disease.

Dry mouth is not a typical part of aging and should not be regarded as such. We need the saliva in our mouths to combat against harmful germs. Dry mouth can occur for a few different reasons. It can be a side effect from a medication you may be taking; it can be the product of disease or it could be indicative of nerve damage. If you suspect you are suffering from dry mouth, it is imperative to see your dentist to determine the cause and appropriate course of action.

The likelihood of oral cancer increases with age, and it is not limited to tobacco chewers. The risk of oral cancer can also increase by smoking or by heavy alcohol consumption. There are a few symptoms of which you should be familiar. According to the NIDCR, these symptoms include:

  • A thick patch in the lip, mouth or throat that feels sore or irritated
  • A patch in the mouth that is white or red
  • The feeling of something caught in the throat
  • Trouble chewing or swallowing
  • Difficulty moving the tongue or jaw
  • Numbness in the tongue or other areas
  • Swelling of the jaw
  • Pain in either ear without hearing loss

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see your dentist as soon as possible. These symptoms do not always necessarily turn out to be cancerous, but it is crucial to catch oral cancer early, and you can never be too cautious with your oral health.

It is inevitable that we will run into health issues at some points in our lives. Especially in our older ages when our bodies are less equipped to fight off infections or when our bones aren’t quite as dense as they used to be. It doesn’t mean that a lot of health issues aren’t largely preventable or treatable. Visiting your physician regularly and taking care of your body are two ways to increase the odds of living a long, healthy life.

Sean Byers, MD

Sean Byers, MD

Sean Byers is currently a Resident in the Internal Medicine program at UTMB. He studied at the University of Queensland School of Medicine as well as received his Master’s in Public Health with a focus in epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Southern California. His background is in biology, computer science, public health, and internal medicine.

Recommended Articles


  • WebMD, "Surprising Health Challenges of Aging",
  • CDC, "Arthritis",
  • NIH, "Oral Health & Older Adults",