Ageing related diseases
, the most common cause of dementia among older people,
is evidenced by a progressive, irreversible decline in mental functioning.
The symptoms, including thinking, understanding, and decision-making
impairment are followed by such behavioural
alterations as agitation, aggression, depression, wandering,
memory loss and decline in cognitive abilities.
Alzheimer’s disease is characterised by the
presence of intracellular and extracellular plaques composed
of a protein fragment called beta amyloid. The exact role of these
plaques in the disease process is not yet known but it is possible
that they play an active role in , in the loss cellular connections with other neurons
and provoke neuronal death.
A possible association between
and Alzheimer's exists but
factors may also be responsible for the initiation of this disease.
There are no known treatments or medications for curing this disease;
however, clinical studies indicate a potential for delaying its onset
or improving the functional ability of persons with it. For example,
estrogen replacement may help slow the decline in memory in post-menopausal
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Parkinson's disease is characterised by the insidious onset of a
slowing of emotional and voluntary movements, muscular rigidity, postural
abnormality and tremors. The predominant lesion in
pathology is cell degeneration and loss of pigmented neurons
Most cases of Parkinson's disease are not due to a genetic defect
but are caused by other factors that are probably
(exposure to chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides, diet and
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is a disease that thins and weakens bones (especially bones in the
hip, spine, and wrist) to the point where they break.
Osteoporosis is preventable. A diet rich in
and vitamin D and a lifestyle that includes regular weight-bearing
are the best ways to prevent osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis can be treated by hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
This treatment should by administered carefully because all side effects
and risk of long-term use are not perfectly understand.
Cancer is the most common cause of death and morbidity in the elderly.
Cancer occurs when some of the cells start to divide and spread in
an uncontrolled manner. Cancer predisposition is genetic but could
be also influenced by exposure to thousands of carcinogenic factors.
cancer increase with age.
to breast cancer.
Graphs with death rates for malignant neoplasm can be .
Normal functioning older adults are at no greater risk of depression
than younger adults. However, personal dependence, medical histories,
disabilities and ill-health may increase
the possibility of developing depression or committing suicide. 20
percent of all suicide deaths are from depression, with white males
being particularly vulnerable.
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Particular efforts are being made to learn more about possible life
prolongation and more attention is being given to . Premature ageing diseases (,
Werner syndrome, Senescent accelerated mice), animals genetically modified
by insertion or inactivation of genes (transgenic animals) and in
vitro cell cultures allow identification of several mechanisms involved
in life extension. Increased capacity to resist oxidative stress is
There is compelling evidence that can lead to better health
and longer life in laboratory animals.
Equilibrated diet is a source of ,
and naturally occurring anti-oxidants.
The unbalance in the dietary supply of sugars, proteins, and lipids
may initiate major health problems including obesity, coronary heart
disease, cancer, diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, stroke, gout,
and gall bladder disease. In old people a lack of vitamins causes
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Antioxidants are natural substances that may help prevent ageing-related
fight ROS and can prevent partially ROS-initiated diseases. Some antioxidants,
such as the enzyme , catalase, glutathinone peroxydase are produced in the
body. Others come from food.
With age, the efficiency of antioxidant enzymes declines and ROS
induced damage increases. To compensate for
antioxidant enzyme failure, food supply in antioxidant is necessary.
The best way to get antioxidants is and vegetables rather than by taking vitamin pills
but more research is needed before specific recommendations can be
You can perform a
(HRT) can ease symptoms of menopause and protect
against risk of heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis.
However, all treatments related to hormone replacement should be
undertaken with caution since several side effects may be observed.
is not inevitable. Some simple devises may help to keep the memory
intact: writing things down, always putting frequently used items
in the same place, repeating information that one needs to remember
over and over again, making associations and relying on situation
to trigger the memory (for example, leaving an umbrella by the door).
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Memory test :
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Social impact of an ageing
Physical exercise is essential for a successful ageing. It helps
to keep cardiovascular fitness reduces risks of osteoporosis and increases
the sense of equilibrium
An ageing population certainly has an impact on society. The presence
of an increasing number of old people may provoke by generating competition between the young and old for
a limited amount of resources, (economical, ecological, ,
This tension may compromise the intergenerational equity and the .
In order to deal with an ageing population and create an ageing " ", it is necessary to constantly review and
revise social systems relating to employment, pensions, medical care,
welfare, education, social involvement and living environments so as
to adapt them to an ageing society. To
this goal, both national and local governments, as well as corporations,
local communities, households and individuals, must co-operate.