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What Common Senior Disorders Are Caused by Genetics?

Though seniors can develop health conditions for many different reasons, genetics are often one of the largest contributors. Bridgewater senior care experts recommend gaining a better understanding of some common genetic-related disorders to help reduce your elderly loved one’s risk of developing them or alleviate existing symptoms.

Heart Disease

A combination of genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors can cause heart disease to cluster in families. A common familial disorder called hypercholesterolemia can cause high levels of bad cholesterol to develop at an early age, leading to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke throughout life. The best way for your loved one to reduce the likelihood of developing heart disease is to focus on the factors he or she can control, such as eating a nutritious diet, staying physically active to maintain a healthy weight, and avoiding smoking.

Blood Clots

Genetic abnormalities and low levels of natural anticoagulants can lead to an inherited predisposition to blood clots. In most cases, the individual exhibits a tendency to develop clots prior to middle age. The clots often occur with no apparent cause and tend to reoccur throughout life. The risk of clots increases with age as the vascular system becomes less efficient and the individual becomes more sedentary. Walking and using compression stockings can increase peripheral circulation and reduce your loved one’s risk of clots.

Hemochromatosis

This is a common genetic disorder that allows the body to absorb too much iron from foods and supplements. The iron builds up in the organs and tissues over time and can eventually damage the joints, heart, pancreas, liver, and pituitary gland. Typical symptoms of hemochromatosis include weakness, abdominal pain, fatigue, and joint pain. The condition is diagnosed through a simple blood test and treatment involves the removal of blood on a regular basis.

Colorectal Cancer

Genetic abnormalities and behavioral risk factors are prime contributors to the development of colorectal cancer. The risk is greatest in individuals who develop other forms of cancer at a young age or have first-degree relatives with colorectal cancer. It’s recommended to begin annual colorectal screening at age 50 and continue until age 75.

With the right care, many of these disorders can be prevented or more easily managed. If your loved one needs help maintaining a healthy lifestyle, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can help with regular exercise routines, prepare nutritious meals, provide transportation to medical appointments, and assist with many other important tasks. We also offer specialized Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s care Bridgewater seniors can rely on. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our qualified Care Managers at 908.450.9400 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.