Articles Posted in Health Issues in Aging

As we begin to age our bodies react to the changing conditions and often sleep disturbances can begin to occur. The effects of aging can have an impact on the sleep cycles of the elderly. Sleep disturbances, common amongst seniors, bring about less meaningful REM sleep and shorter sleep periods in general. This puts them at risk of developing serious health conditions and increases the risk of injuries.

While the elderly need about 7-9 hours of sleep a night, many of them do not manage to sleep undisturbed for this long. About 50% of elders’ experience sleep insomnia and about 30% suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness. Both insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness can bring about muscle strength loss, impaired mobility and balance, slower gait speed and awareness, often leading to accidents that could injure a senior. Other conditions, such as increased inflammation or insulin resistance, can also develop from these sleep disturbances.
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Diabetes is characterized by high blood glucose levels and is the most common age-related disorder of the endocrine system. Diabetes is found in an estimated 10% of people between the ages of 56 and 64, 20% in those ages 65 to 74, and 40% in those over the age of 85. Approximately 24 million people in the US have this disorder.

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