Midterm Exam Question
March 12, 2014
How do chronic diseases differ from changes associated with normal aging?
As we grow into middle ages of 35 to 65, we encounter another set of physical changes. These primary changes are wrinkling, hair loss, and hair color to name some examples. Secondary changes are chronic diseases such as cancer development. These normal (primary) changes are inevitable and are built into our systems and are going to happen one way or another as time progresses. Changes due to disease are referred to as impaired aging in addition to secondary aging. These are both a function of an abnormal set of changes afflicting a segment rather than the entirety of the older population, which secondary changes do. (textbook page 6)
Chronic disease could be avoided if taken the proper precautions by healthcare specialists and doctors who are regularly seeing their older patients. It is crucial to be able to distinguish the difference between what are primary changes, and what are symptoms of secondary aging. As patients get older, doctors need to recognize and treat the onset of a disease instead of masking it as a primary change. I think that often, older people complain about the changes they are going through so doctors might not think it is an early symptom of a disease.
On the other hand, primary changes could be altered and prevented using the right medications or remedies. Doing so is called optimal or successful aging, when an individual has done preventative or cosmetic procedures to avoid the negative changes that come with old age. Primary changes are intrinsic and universal where chronic diseases aren’t. I feel that in this day in age, because of our social media and what our generation is exposed to, the majority of the older population will be doing preventative things to mask their old age.
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