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Depression In The Elderly

Aug 18, 2007
Often the elderly are misdiagnosed due to the multiple illnesses and medicines they are subject too. It is not uncommon to find that depression coexists among other medical illnesses and disabilities. Advance aging is found to be accompanied by the lost of a spouse or siblings ; lack of a social support; retirement; and relocation. It is common to find that due to changes in circumstances, and the actually fact that the elderly is slowing down ,doctors tend to miss the diagnosis of depression in the elderly. This has been know to delay much needed treatment. The elderly find themselves having to cope with symptoms that could have easily been detected and treated.

Depression lasts a lot longer in the elderly. It has been known to cause cardiac diseases and increase the chance of death due to illness, which reduces one's ability to be rehabilitated. When the elderly is placed in a nursing home or in substantially increases their risk of death associated with multiple illnesses. Therefore , if you love your elderly parents or grandparents it is essential that you get them evaluated and treated, even if you suspect that are just suffering from mild depression.

The elderly is more prone to committing suicide. Suicide is one of the major concerns among the elderly that suffers from depression. Elderly men between the ages of 80 to 84 and white are more at risk of suicide. Elderly around the age of 65 that suffers from depression are considered to be a major health problem .

Know the risk factors for depression among the elderly. There are many factors that increase the risk of depression in the elderly.

Being female

Unmarried/widowed

Stressful life

Lack of social interaction

Physical conditions- stroke; hypertension; diabetes; cancer; atrial fibrillation

Even though it has been found that depression can be an effect of other health problems , it has been proven to increase the chance of the elderly developing other illnesses, mainly illnesses affecting the immune system like infections.

There are risk factors for depression that are often found in the elderly.

Medicines

Illnesses

Lack of social interaction

Bereavement

Chronic or severe pain

Amputation

Cancer

Heart attack

Fear of death

History of depression

Family history of major depressive orders

Suicide attempts

Substance abuse- drug or alcohol

Often in the elderly, when imagery is taken of the head, it is very common to find tiny spots in the brain that show that there is not an adequate blood flow. Chemical changes in these cells enhance the likelihood of depression, from any other form of life stress.
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