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Shingles Make You Feel Sick

Growing Older And Physical Change

By Michael Vaughan on June 26, 2010

Growing older is marked with some major changes that may decrease body functionality. Apart from memory weakening, loss of hearing and sight and bone degeneration, there are a few other changes that can make finding elder care a vital consideration as we age.

1. Urogenital.

Incontinence: This is the term for loss of bladder control, from mild leaking to uncontrollable wetting, that is very common in senior citizens. It is not caused by aging alone; factors causing it may be urinary tract infections, vaginal infection or irritation, constipation, or certain medicines. Many cases of incontinence can be controlled or cured with treatment, so it is important to talk to a doctor or someone else involved in your elder care about this.

Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH): Since the prostate gland grows with age, it may begin to squeeze the urethra. Tumors in the prostate may also contribute to this problem. This growth or unrelated infections may cause problems with passing urine. Some men experience this symptom in their 30s or 40s, whereas others do not notice this until a later age.

Prostate cancer. This is another common type of cancer in men. Frequent check-ups are important in identifying and treating this disease.

2. Dental: Gingivitis, Periodontitis, Loss of Teeth.

Tooth decay can occur regardless of age as long as you have natural teeth. It ruins the enamel that covers and protects the teeth. Plaque forms when you neglect your teeth and bacteria clings to them, forming a sticky, colorless film that can lead to cavities and tooth decay. Another factor in causing tooth decay is gum disease. Using a fluoride toothpaste can help protect your teeth.

Gum diseases. These are sometimes called periodontal or gingival diseases, and they are infections that harm the gum and bone holding the teeth in place. If plaque stays on the teeth for too long, it forms tartar, which brushing doesn't clean and which continues to damage the teeth. When plaque and tartar remain on the teeth, gingivitis is formed. Gingivitis can form areas in which your gums lift away from your teeth, forming easily infected pockets. This is called periodontitis, which, if not properly treated, can ruin the bones, gums, and tissue supporting the teeth. It could even loosen your teeth in time, warranting removal of those teeth.

3. Skin Care for the Elderly.

Staying out of the sun is the easiest and least expensive way of avoiding skin damage. Smoking can also increase the number of visible wrinkles because the chemicals in cigarettes damage elastin proteins in the skin. Skin also loses fat, causing it to appear less smooth. Still, senior citizens can take steps to protect themselves from the sun's harmful effects.

Dry skin. This appears mainly on the lower legs, elbows, and forearms and affects many senior citizens. Skin may feel rough, scaly, and itchy. This could be aggravated by low humidity, which can be worsened by overheating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. Dryness is also caused by the loss of sweat and oil glands that accompanies aging. Other things that may lead to dry skin are overusing soaps, antiperspirants, perfumes, and hot baths or dehydration, sun exposure, smoking, and stress.

Skin cancer. Three types of skin cancer are the most prevalent. These include basal cell carcinomas, the most common, which grow slowly and rarely spread; squamous cell carcinomas, which seldom spread but do so more often than basal cell carcinomas; and the most dangerous common skin cancer, melanoma, which can spread to other organs.

Shingles. This affects nerves, causing pain and blisters in senior citizens. It is caused by the same virus that afflicts people with chickenpox. After you recover from chickenpox, the virus remains in some of your nerve cells and, for reasons unknown, can become active again. When this happens, the result is shingles. Senior citizens with shingles feel sick with a rash on their body or face. Shingles targets older people rather than children, and about 20 percent of people who have had chickenpox as children will develop shingles after the age of 50.

4. Functional Abilities.

Senior citizens often suffer from injuries caused by falling. This may be caused by other changes, including loss of sight, hearing, muscle strength, coordination, or reflexes. Diabetes, heart disease, or complications with your circulation or nervous system may negatively affect balance, and some medicines can cause dizziness. Any of these could cause a senior citizen to be more prone to falling.

As with most problems experienced by senior citizens, the better you take care of yourself, the less prone you will be to falling. A test called a bone mineral density test can tell you how strong your bones are. If necessary, your doctor can use the results of this test to prescribe medications that will make your bones stronger and less likely to break. Moreover, you can arrange for caregiving for your elders so that someone is always near to lend a hand.

For information on independent caregivers in your area, visit http://www.TheCaringSpace.com.

Original article published on SooperArticles.com

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