As a person reaches their twilight years, their body begins to deteriorate and the chances of them developing certain age-related medical conditions increases. Read on to learn more about some of the most common health issues that affect older people.
Presbycusis is the medical term used to describe any form of age-related hearing loss. It is usually the result of the atrophying of the sensory hair cells inside the inner ear. However, presbycusis can also be caused by the desensitisation and stiffening of the Corti, a membrane that can be found within the cochlea.
When a person develops this condition, they may find it difficult to understand what people are saying, particularly if the people in question have very high-pitched voices or if the conversation is taking place in a crowded, noisy environment, such as a busy restaurant or supermarket. They may find themselves continually asking those that they converse with to repeat what they have said and may feel the need to turn up the volume when watching television or listening to music.
While there is currently no cure for presbycusis, there are medical tools available which can improve (but not completely restore) a person's hearing. Hearing aids, for example, can help to amplify sounds. This type of device is worn on the ear and is made up of three components; a speaker, an amplifier and a microphone.
Those with very severe cases of presbycusis whose hearing loss cannot be improved through the use of a hearing aid may opt to have cochlear implant surgery instead.
Age-related macular degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the most common causes of vision loss in elderly people. This condition leads to the deterioration of a part of the eye known as the macula, which is located in the middle of the eye's retina. When this deterioration occurs, a person loses their ability to see small details within their central vision. In most cases, the peripheral vision remains unaffected.
There are two kinds of AMD; dry and wet. The former results in the development of small deposits on the macula that, over the course of a long period of time, start to enlarge. This enlargement then causes vision distortion. Currently, there is no treatment available for this type of AMD.
The latter tends to develop very quickly. Wet AMD leads to the development of large blood vessels around the macula, which then start to leak. This leakage is what leads to distortion of a person's vision. There are several different ways to treat this form of AMD, including injections, photodynamic therapy and laser sessions. All of these treatments are designed to prevent the growth and subsequent leakage of blood vessels.