never mind the bedsocks

Are You Over 50? Here are 20 Humiliating Injuries & Common Medical Conditions Heading Your Way Soon.

hungover woman cartoon

Old people diseases

If you are on the wrong side of 50, you should pour yourself a stiff brandy, sink into your favourite comfy armchair, and pay attention. 

Please don’t shoot the messenger, but you need to know about this stuff.

OK, ready? Here goes …

So, you are likely aware that “old people” almost invariably get what are known as “old people diseases,” but you may not have given too much thought to what this actually means as yet – particularly if you live a healthy lifestyle and you’re generally feeling as fit as the proverbial fiddle. 

But what you may not know is that, on the journey towards “old people diseases,” you will begin to suffer a series of common, increasingly humiliating micro-injuries.

11 Humiliating Micro-Injuries

  1. Bending to sweep up a few crumbs of burnt pizza from the kitchen floor = a deafening shriek worthy of a banshee trapped in a cathedral, as your arthritic knees buckle and you hit the deck unceremoniously, all while cursing yourself for forgetting to apply the Voltarol you’ve had to remortgage your house to keep buying.

  2. Drinking one small glass of wine before bedtime = waking at 6am with the most excruciating headache anyone has ever experienced, rendering you utterly useless for the rest of the week.

  3. Doing something as ridiculously innocuous as reaching for the remote control whilst letting out an unplanned sneeze = lying flat on your back for six weeks due to a slipped disc that will never be the same again, and which periodically “pops out” during the most important events of your life (think your daughter’s wedding, or the first day of your new job).

  4. Gazing up in wonder to admire the romantic new moon = being stuck in a brace for three months after herniating discs in your neck.

  5. Serving up a roast chicken dinner for the family = a very nasty bout of food poisoning, due to misreading the “Use By” date on the chicken as the 18th, when it actually says the 13th (you’re too proud and stubborn to admit that you definitely need reading glasses at this point). Several years pass before you realise you could just take a photo of Best Before and Use By dates with your phone, and then simply zoom in. Duh!

  6. Before serving up the aforementioned roast chicken dinner, you somehow managed to reach into the oven with the hand that wasn’t wearing the oven glove = spending the entire night in A&E, after the second degree burns and the food poisoning both start to take effect simultaneously.

  7. Tearing tendons in your shoulder when trying on a top in Monsoon that’s obviously too small for your sagging, middle-aged body = struggling to do absolutely everything, from washing the dishes to picking up a glass of water. And it’s probably best to not mention the pain. Oops, sorry, too late. You will never take your shoulders, arms, hands, and wrists for granted, ever again.

  8. Reaching for the shampoo in the shower and suddenly finding yourself legs akimbo, unexpectedly taking a close-up look at the state of the grouting around the bottom of the shower tray = huge, brutal-looking bruises all over your body, even the parts you didn’t land on, and didn’t think were capable of bruising. At this point, you admit to yourself that you should probably invest in that anti-slip bath and shower mat you saw in the Easy Life catalogue that’s been appearing on the doormat every month since you turned 50.
     
  9. That joke you’ve seen on greetings cards, where three blokes are out walking, and one says, “It’s windy today”, the second says, “No, it’s Thursday”, and the third says, “So I am. Let’s have a beer!” actually happens to you in real life = a sign that your hearing is deteriorating to the point that you realise it’s time to book your first-ever hearing test. Did you know that you can now get this done at Specsavers? Yep, that’s right – the place where you get your eyes tested, because it’s called “SPEC(S)avers!” Talk about confusing us old-timers even more!

  10. Crying inconsolably at every single episode of DIY SOS = to be fair, this one may only affect menopausal women who are already prone to crying at the drop of a hat. (Much more on that topic to come in future posts …).

  11. Realising that you suddenly seem to have short term memory loss. And, on top of that, you’re also dealing with short term memory loss = developing short term memory loss. It also means getting this for Christmas from one of your grown-up kids. Often, it’s not forgetting things completely that’s most annoying; it’s remembering that you forgot to remember something that will really irk you.
funny quote about memory loss

And this is just a small collection of all the potential possibilities that await you as you age. You can forget (perhaps literally!) that “ageing gracefully” notion you’ve heard about. It’s an unachievable myth.

So, why do all these alarming accidents and injuries suddenly start happening on an almost daily basis?

Decades and centuries ago, people probably just accepted this stuff as part of the normal ageing process. But there was a key difference between them and us – their average life expectancy was much lower than ours. In 1900, the average age of death in the UK was around 48, whereas, today, it’s about 82. This means that, back then, people would die at around the same age we start to experience many of the injuries and ailments discussed here.

(Of course, there are many other differences between now and 122 years ago, besides this. For instance, most of our ancestors didn’t have access to Voltarol, reading glasses, or anti-slip bath mats. There was no Monsoon to browse in, no A&E to howl in, and no mildly humorous greetings cards or snarky Christmas gifts on Amazon. And there was no TV, meaning there was also no remote control or DIY SOS). 

9 Common Medical Conditions

Nowadays, we have medical terminology for the underlying causes of the mishaps mentioned above. You will no doubt have heard of most, if not all, of these common medical conditions.

  1. Osteoarthritis (painful, worn-out joints) – see #1 – also commonly affects hips and fingers.
  2. Presbycusis (hearing loss) – see #9
  3. Age-related macular degeneration (vision loss) – see #5
  4. Age-associated cognitive decline (brain fog, memory loss, dementia, alzheimers, etc) – see #6 and #11.
  5. Vestibular disorders (balance problems – causes falls, etc) – see #8.
  6. Menopause – #10 (OK, strictly speaking, this isn’t classed as an ailment as it’s a naturally occurring hormonal process, but it can most definitely cause innumerable unpleasant effects and other health issues).

These are what doctors refer to as “degenerative conditions,” meaning that they’re an expected consequence of the body gradually ageing and getting worn out as we embark on the final couple of laps towards the great finish line.

If you’re wondering about torn tendons and slipped discs, these most often occur as a result of the body being in a deconditioned state. This deconditioning happens more rapidly as we age, which is why it becomes harder to keep as fit and strong with the same amount of exercise. We’re also much more likely to tear tendons and slip discs when we fool ourselves into thinking we still have the body of a 25 year old, and  pursue activities not really designed for 50 or 60-somethings.

By now, you may be thinking, “That list above only refers to six terrifying medial ailments. The title of this article promised me 9. Either this writer can’t count or he/she/they is experiencing #11 and has forgotten to include the final three. 

Actually, dear reader, there is a perfectly logical reason. The final three are listed separately from the ones above as they are usually much less obvious, but still very common health conditions you are probably experiencing without even realising. These include:

  1. Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  2. Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol)
  3. Hyper or Hypothyroidism

These silent but potentially deadly conditions all include the prefix “hyper,” signalling that there is “too much” of something swirling around our bodies. In the first case, it’s caused by your blood pumping with too much pressure or force against the walls of your arteries. In the case of hyperlipidemia, it’s too many lipids (fats, also known as LDL or “bad” cholesterol) in your blood, causing blockages in your blood vessels. With hyper/hypothyroidism, it’s too much or too little of the hormone thyroxine which is made by your thyroid. 

It goes without saying that none of these conditions tend to end well if left unchecked. Both high blood pressure and high cholesterol can lead to heart disease and strokes, while having too much or too little thyroxine can lead to a multitude of potential complications, such as heart failure, stroke, blood clots, brittle bones, eye problems, muscle weakness, tremors, and many more.

arthritic knees cartoon image
back pain slipped disc
cartoon woman walking into lamp post outside opticians shop
Toilet woman
slip hazard in the shower
crying woman cartoon image
common medical conditions - cartoon woman swallowing pills

Depressed yet? 

OK, let’s leave it there for now, before the anxiety causes your blood pressure to rise to dangerously high levels.

In future articles, we’ll explore other riveting health-related issues faced by the over 50s. Questions such as: 

“Which is better – Voltarol or Ibugel?”

and …

“At what age do you start ‘having a fall’ (see micro-injury #8), as opposed to just falling over because you’re a klutz?”

Until next time, ditch the carbs, don’t look up, don’t bend down, keep taking the tablets, and don’t forget to remember to write everything down, lest you should forget what the hell you’re supposed to be doing.

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