Have a symptom?
See what questions
a doctor would ask.
News » Symptoms of old age may be similar to many other treatable conditions

Symptoms of old age may be similar to many other treatable conditions

Over time, it has become obvious that the symptoms of aging present themselves differently in different people and at different ages. Also, different parts of the body tend to age at different rates. For example, some people will develop lung function problems as they age whereas others will suffer from memory loss. This makes it difficult to work out whether the symptoms a person is feeling are related to aging or to some other condition. Assuming that someone is simply being affected by age may prevent the diagnosis and hence treatment of relatively simple problems. In one case, a man in his late 80's was hospitalized for what was believed to be a heart problem. After his hospital treatment, the man suffered from increasing confusion. A geriatric specialist then began to suspect that his symptoms were not age related but due to medication. The man then ceased his heart medication and his symptoms cleared up totally. Some symptoms to be wary of are reduced appetite, reduced mental functioning, incontinence, falls, dizziness, pain and reduced functional ability (eg getting dressed or climbing stairs). Drug toxicity is a common cause of correctable symptoms that may be attributed to aging. As a person ages, their liver and kidney function becomes poorer as does their body's ability to process chemicals. This means that drug levels can quickly concentrate inside the body. Another condition to be aware of is infection. Elderly people tend to have lower body temperatures and infections that would cause fever and chills in younger people may present in older people as confusion or reduced functional abilities with no temperature change. Elderly pneumonia sufferers may present with symptoms such as rapid breathing, reduced appetite and reduced functioning. Elderly urinary tract infection sufferers may present with incontinence, confusion and may suffer from falls. If these symptoms are assumed to be related to aging, the infections may continue to ravage the body with sometime fatal consequences. Some symptom misdiagnoses to be aware of in the elderly include: reduced mental functioning over days of weeks may be caused by medication or side effects of anaesthesia; falls may be caused by heart problems, osteoporosis, vertigo, leaking brain blood vessel, hearing loss, vision loss, incontinence and toxic drug buildup (particularly psychoactive drugs, sedatives, blood pressure lowering drugs and drugs that reduce blood sugar level; dizziness may be caused by anemia, abnormal heart rhythm, drug toxicity, depression, infection, ear disease, eye problems, stroke, heart attack, brain tumor, drug toxicity or impacted wax in the ears; reduced appetite may be caused by progressive heart failure, the initial stage of pneumonia, depression and loneliness; delirium may be caused by drug toxicity, dehydration, reduced blood oxygen levels, anemia, nutritional deficiencies, infections, thyroid disease, vision loss and hearing loss; incontinence may be caused by urinary tract infections, limited mobility, metabolic abnormalities and medications such as diuretics and sedatives; reduced functional ability may be caused by anemia, thyroid disease, infection, cardiac insufficiency or reduced lung capacity.

Source: summary of medical news story as reported by Independent Record

Related Disease Topics:

Related Symptom Topics:

Article Source Details

About: Symptoms of old age may be similar to many other treatable conditions

Date: 25 January 2005

Source: Independent Record

Author: Jane Brody


Related Medical Topics

This summary article refers to the following medical categories:

More News Topics

  • Eosonophil presence directly linked to asthma
  • Ephedra-containing drugs banned by the FDA
  • Epilepsy patients more prone to depression
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Erectile dysfunction drug acknowledged to be effective for 36 hours instead of 24 hours
  • Erectile dysfunction drug linked to high risk sexual practice
  • Erectile dysfunction drugs shown to increase testosterone levels
  • Erectile dysfunction is often a symptom of other bigger problems
  • Erectile dysfunction linked to vascular problems
  • Erectile dysfunction may be influenced by psychological and/or physical factors
  • Erectile Dysfunction may be symptom of cardiovascular disease

    By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use. Information provided on this site is for informational purposes only; it is not intended as a substitute for advice from your own medical team. The information on this site is not to be used for diagnosing or treating any health concerns you may have - please contact your physician or health care professional for all your medical needs. Please see our Terms of Use.

    Home | Symptoms | Diseases | Diagnosis | Videos | Tools | Forum | About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Site Map | Advertise