In many cases, one’s age influences the onset or outcome of a disease. Many chronic diseases, such as cancer, occur more often in older people, while certain types of injuries happen more often among younger people. For example, it would be extremely rare for a teenager to develop Alzheimer’s disease whereas it would be equally uncommon for a senior citizen to suffer a broken wrist from a skateboarding accident.
There are different health risks and common ailments associated with different stages in a person’s life. As one gets older, these risks and the commonality of some ailments will change based on age. In order to understand what’s normal it is helpful to have an idea of what to expect. Here’s a general idea of what’s going on as one ages.
At Any Age
The first defense against getting sick is to take charge of one’s own health – that means learning what needs to be done and when to do it. Just like a new car, the body needs regular maintenance on a particular schedule in order to run properly. It doesn’t matter how old one is, there are certain things that should be done throughout life such as limiting the amount of alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthier foods, and getting plenty of exercise.
However, throughout one’s life, there is still the chance of getting sick, regardless of age. For example, pneumonia can happen at any point, though very young children and older adults are at the highest risk of developing this very serious lung infection as well as those that have compromised immune systems, smoke, live in a nursing facility, or have another serious illness such as heart disease or diabetes.
Though there are more than 30 different causes known, fungus, bacteria, and viruses are the most common causes of pneumonia. During such an infection, the lungs’ alveoli (air sacs) will become inflamed and fill with fluid causing a deprivation of oxygen in the blood. Patients may buy Levaquin, or another antibiotic, to fight off the infection should it be bacterial.
Newborns and Children
It is important to monitor the health of both newborns and children closely, as their bodies and brains are still developing through this period. Regular health and development checks throughout childhood help to make sure that children are growing and developing normally, and to pinpoint any specific health problems or developmental issues as early as possible. It is during this period that parents should also consider immunizing their children against highly contagious and potentially fatal infections, such as chickenpox, measles, shingles, rubella, smallpox, and mumps.
Though these may not spring to mind when thinking of childhood ailments, parents should keep an eye out for these surprisingly common illnesses that children tend to develop including; Kawasaki disease, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), scarlet fever, fifth disease, croup, impetigo, Reye’s syndrome, whooping-cough, and hand, foot, and mouth disease.
In Your 20s and 30s
Although most people are in the prime of their lives in their 20s and 30s, they still need to pay attention to their health. Key health checks during this life stage are essential in preventing more serious health issues in the future in many cases. The key to survival is often early detection; so get in the habit at a young age of visiting the doctor regularly.
Every two years an individual should have a blood pressure check, as high blood pressure has no symptoms but is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and heart failure. It is also a good idea to have cholesterol and glucose levels checked once a year to monitor the risk of type 2 diabetes. Other annual exams include healthy weight assessments, dental cleanings, skin cancer checks, sexually transmitted disease tests, pap tests and pelvic exams for women, and testes examinations for men.
In Your 40s
Work and family distract many people at this point, but keeping an eye on one’s health should not be put on the back burner. So, continue those regular medical check-ups that started at the age of 20, but it may be time to add a few more such as an eye check for glaucoma, breast exams for women, prostate exams for men, and regular health assessments for those who are at risk of developing a chronic illness such as cancer or type 2 diabetes.
The 40s is an important decade for preventing serious health issues like certain cancers, heart disease, and diabetes, so it is essential to keep up good health habits. If one is suffering from chronic pain, it may be arthritis rearing its ugly head. However, stress also plays a big role in health problems at this age, so it might be time to talk to a professional about a mechanism to
deal with that stress.
Your 50s and Beyond
Getting older means that regular preventive health examinations become even more important. It is a good idea to continue the regular health checks mentioned above, but with more attention to blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes screenings, as the older one gets, the higher the risk for such diseases becomes. Because the possibility for osteoporosis increases during this time, think about getting a bone density test – both men and women!