The 5 Most Common Illnesses Among the Elderly

This is a guest post by Monica Trivedi

There is something fascinating about growing old. For some people this is a graceful and relaxing experience, while for others it can be quite terrifying. As the old saying goes: “With age comes wisdom,” and this can help to make the older generation finally come to realize that the most precious things in this life are their family and friends.

After all, when the long years of employment are finally over, this should be the time for those in their golden years to enjoy all that they have worked so hard to build. Sadly, not all senior citizens get to see their labor come to fruition because of a health condition.

Although there are a number of maladies that typically affect those people 55 years and older, there are five that are quite prevalent in this age group. These are:

  • Arthritis
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Heart Failure
  • Cancer
  • Parkinson’s disease


One of the most common afflictions is Arthritis, which involves damage to the joints in the human body and is seen most often in elderly patients.

Although this condition has more than 100 different forms, probably the most common is known as Osteoarthritis. It can typically happen following some kind of disturbance to the joint in question. This can be infection, injury, or simply years of wear. The most common complaint reported for this type of arthritis is pain and suffering in the area. Although it can be confined to one area, there are also cases where it gets worse, spreading to different locations.


Another common illness seen in senior citizens is Alzheimer’s. This is the most widespread form of dementia, and is, unfortunately, incurable. In most cases, this particular malady is found in people at least 65 years of age, but there are rare examples of seniors who have been diagnosed before this time frame. The course of this sickness can actually be divided into four distinct time frames, starting with the pre-dementia stage and then following through early and moderate all the way through advanced.

At this time, scientists have no answer to preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s illness, but there are some findings that may actually contribute to the development of this illness. These include poor cardiovascular health, poor dietary intake, and lack of intellectual stimulation.

Heart Failure

Heart Failure is another problem that seems to affect a lot of seniors. This is simply the state where the blood is not pumped in adequate amounts to satisfy the needs of the body. There are a number of underlying causes for this illness and they include hypertension (or high blood pressure), obesity, valve problems, and heart attacks. They all tend to weaken this most important muscle and make it less efficient to operate.

There are a number of different symptoms that are experienced prior to heart failure, and they include such things as coughing, shortness of breath, and swelling of the ankles. They can be warning signs to get help before it is too late.


Cancer is another problem seen in the elderly and it is the unrestrained growth of certain cells in the body. Sometimes this involves the invasion of other cells which can spread to other parts of the body. Most researchers believe that only about 10% of cancer is caused by genetics, with the balance due to lifestyle and environment. Some of the latter that have shown to be factors are infections, tobacco, and radiation.

Parkinson’s disease

The last of our five is Parkinson’s disease, which can affect people who are at least sixty years of age, although it can be seen in younger groups too. The symptoms of this condition include fatigue, tremors, problems with balance, and joint stiffness, among others.

Author Bio:

Monica writes for the Assisted Living Today Official Site, a leading source of information on a range of topics related to elderly living and retirement care and facilities.

2 thoughts on “The 5 Most Common Illnesses Among the Elderly”

  1. We find heart failure to be of up most importance mostly due to the declining nutrition of our seniors. Most seniors end up living by themselves and do not eat properly. This leads to many problems but high cholesterol and high blood pressure seem to be the the largest percentage. Kidney failure is also high on the list.

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