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Scientific/Medical Question 16
Name two medical conditions which are more prevalent in the elderly and explain why this is the case
Alzheimer’s - Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia. It’s a degenerative brain disease seemingly caused by buildup of beta-amyloid plaque and tau tangles. It is irreversible and progressive. It is most common in those over the age of 65, affecting 1 in 15 people over 65 and 1 in 6 over 80. It’s a disease of the elderly because buildup of beta-amyloid plaque and tau tangle happens gradually over time.
Heart Failure - heart failure is a syndrome, rather than a single pathological process. The following features constitute heart failure: symptoms including breathlessness, exhaustion at rest and fatigue; signs of fluid retention; and objective evidence of abnormality of heart structure or function. Incidence increases steeply with age, and the average age at diagnosis is 77. This is due to a range of underlying reasons, which become more common with increasing age, including: coronary artery disease, ventricular hypertrophy and atrial fibrillation (an irregular heart rhythm).