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5 Rare Conditions Found in Aging Adults

By Ilse du Bernard, 9:00 am on

Some diseases are common among seniors, such as osteoporosis, diabetes, arthritis, glaucoma, and dementia. However, there are several other conditions affecting the elderly that many people are not quite as familiar with. Kingwood, TX, in-home caregivers have put together a list of 5 rare diseases found in older adults.

1. Amyloidosis

Amyloidosis is extremely rare, but it can occur in some people over age 60. This condition affects the body when amyloid proteins build up in the heart, liver, and kidneys, causing damage to the organs. There is no cure for the disease, but it can be treated if caught early enough. Symptoms may include swelling in the ankles, shortness of breath, severe fatigue, and diarrhea after eating. 

2. Paget’s Disease

Paget’s Disease is a rare bone disease that occurs exclusively in the elderly. Bone tissue deteriorates in the pelvis, skull, legs, or spine, and when it reforms it is brittle and breaks easily. Symptoms may include headaches, hearing loss, misshaped bones and joints, and pain in the hip, back, and extremities, depending on which area of the body is affected. 

3. Celiac Disease

About one percent of the population has celiac disease, but it seems to be more commonly diagnosed in seniors. Essentially, when a senior who has this autoimmune disease is exposed to gluten in foods and other products, his or her body begins to attack itself. Symptoms may include joint pain, irritability, depression, anemia, and fatigue. 

4. Bullous Pemphigoid

Bullous pemphigoid is a rare autoimmune disease that affects the skin, and typically only occurs in people over 65. If you notice any unusual redness on your elderly loved one’s arms and legs, abdomen, groin, or armpits, keep an eye on it. These red spots will eventually become hard, fluid-filled blisters if he or she has developed bullous pemphigoid. Most of the time, the disease manifests every few months up to every few years, but it can lead to complications like pneumonia in serious cases. 

5. Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) is a rare form of dementia that generally appears in people over 65. This disease of the brain can cause changes in personality, blurred vision, forgetfulness, insomnia, difficulty swallowing, and jerky movements. There is no cure for CJD. Seniors with the condition eventually fall into a coma and experience heart or respiratory failure.

Though many conditions affecting seniors can be difficult to prevent, following a healthy diet, exercising often, and making other important lifestyle decisions can reduce your loved one’s chances of developing a wide array of ailments. At Home Care Assistance, we designed a program called the Balanced Care Method (BCM) because we believe focusing on healthy living can significantly increase a senior’s chances of enjoying a longer and healthier life. For additional information on BCM and the in-home care Kingwood seniors and their families can count on, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at 832-412-1345 to schedule a free in-home consultation.