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Kids & Family Health

The Most Common Health Problems at Every Age

Health is a lifelong journey. From infancy to retirement and beyond, our bodies and minds experience significant transformations, challenges and opportunities for well-being. By understanding the most common health problems at every stage of life, we can be proactive in preventing them and help ourselves grow healthy.

Whether you’re 18, 80, or anywhere in between, discover the health concerns you should watch for in the present and the future. 

Infancy (0-1 Year)

In just the first year of life, infants are at risk for a variety of serious health concerns. New parents should watch for:

  • Respiratory Infections Conditions such as common cold, bronchiolitis, and pneumonia.
  • Colic Frequent, prolonged crying and fussiness without an obvious cause. Colic often takes place during the late afternoon or evening. 
  • Jaundice Yellowing of the skin and eyes due to high levels of bilirubin in the blood. It typically occurs because a newborn’s liver is not mature enough to process bilirubin.
  • Diaper Rash Skin irritation caused by prolonged exposure to wet or soiled diapers. Factors like friction, changes in diet, sensitive skin, and certain medications can also contribute to its development.
A mother holds her young daughter outside.

Early Childhood (1-5 Years)

Through social interaction or time spent exploring, young children may encounter:

  • Ear Infections  Otitis media is the most common ear infection. It happens when the middle ear gets infected and swollen, trapping fluid behind the eardrum. This causes an earache and can also lead to fever.
  • Gastroenteritis An illness that causes diarrhea and vomiting. It is usually due to a bacterial or viral stomach bug. It affects all ages but is especially common in young children.
  • Allergies Including those to certain foods or environmental irritants like pollen. 
  • Common Cold Frequent upper respiratory infections. Most children get six to eight colds a year. Colds are more common in fall and winter.

School-Age (6-12 Years)

As your kids continue to develop their skills and personality, monitor them for:

  • Asthma respiratory condition causing wheezing and shortness of breath. It is the most common chronic long-term disease in children. Childhood asthma is more common in boys than girls.
  • Obesity A disorder where the body has excessive amounts of fat, often due to poor diet and lack of physical activity. Around 20% of American children are obese.
  • ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)  ADHD is a common childhood disorder that can last into adulthood. Symptoms include trouble focusing, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity. 
  • Injuries Often from playground activities and sports.
A teenage girl speaks with a care provider.

Adolescence (13-18 Years)

Though they may believe themselves to be adults, parents should continue to closely monitor their teenager’s health. That includes:

  • Acne skin condition in teens caused by hormone changes during puberty, resulting in blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, or cysts. It often runs in families.
  • Mental Health Issues Common mental health disorders in adolescence include anxiety, depression, ADHD, and eating disorders.
  • Sports Injuries Due to increased participation in physical activities and sports.
  • Substance Abuse Experimentation with drugs, alcohol, and smoking.

Young Adulthood (19-40 Years)

In the early portion of adulthood, women should pay attention to:

  • Reproductive Health Issues — Including Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, and menstrual disorders.
  • Thyroid disease — Thyroid disorders are quite common among women, and lead to either an overactive or underactive thyroid gland. These conditions often emerge during puberty, potentially leading to menstrual irregularities, fluctuations in weight, and mood swings.
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) These are common bacterial infections in women, though men can also get them. About 50-60% of women will get one in their lifetime.
  • Mental Health Issues Including anxiety and depression. Women are twice as likely to be affected as men.

For men, regular problems include:

  • Testicular Issues This age group may encounter problems in their testicles such as testicular cord torsion (twisting of the spermatic cord) and varicocele (enlarged veins within the scrotum).
  • Mental Health Issues Depression and anxiety can appear during this stage of life.
  • Injuries — Often related to sports or physical labor.
  • Hypertension While this illness is more associated with older age, high blood pressure can start to appear in young men, especially if they have an unhealthy lifestyle like poor diet, high stress levels, or lack of exercise. 
An adult man runs in the city.

Middle Age (41-60 Years)

In the middle of adulthood, women’s health risks will evolve to include:

  • Breast Cancer  Women over 40 years are nearly 1.9 times more vulnerable compared to younger women. Factors like diet, health, and environment play a role, but age is a big factor.
  • Osteoporosis  Bone density loss, particularly post-menopause, increases the risk of fractures and bone weakness.
  • Menopausal Symptoms Many women experience hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep disturbances as they transition through menopause.
  • Cardiovascular Disease  Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in women worldwide. The risk of heart attack and stroke increases during this age, influenced by factors like blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and lifestyle habits.

Meanwhile, men should monitor for:

  • Cardiovascular Disease Increased risk of heart attack and stroke. The contributing factors include high cholesterol, stress, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise.
  • Prostate Issues Risks of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer, increase after the age of 50.
  • Hypertension High blood pressure becomes more prevalent in this age group. This condition can lead to serious health complications like heart disease, stroke, and kidney problems if not managed properly.
  • Type 2 Diabetes As men get older, their risk of type 2 diabetes rises, especially with poor diet, excess weight, or a sedentary lifestyle. Balancing nutrition, exercise, and medication, if needed, is crucial for preventing diabetes complications.
A senior couple dances at home.

Older Adults (61+ Years)

In our golden years, both women and men may experience:

  • Arthritis A degenerative joint disease which causes pain and stiffness and is more common in women.
  • Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia  Alzheimer's disease affects memory and cognitive function. Dementia is not a typical aspect of aging. Rather, it results from brain changes over time.
  • Diabetes Type 2 diabetes is more common due to metabolic changes and lifestyle factors.
  • Hypertension High blood pressure remains a common issue.

At this age, women should also stay vigilant against:

  • Osteoporosis Continued risk of fractures due to bone density loss.
  • Cardiovascular Disease The leading cause of death in elderly women.
  • Breast Cancer — An ongoing risk in older age.
  • Urinary Incontinence Often due to weakened pelvic floor muscles.

For men, likely health problems can include:

  • Prostate Cancer — Continued risk increases with age.
  • Hearing Loss Common in elderly men, often due to noise exposure and aging.
  • Respiratory Issues Such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Depression Often related to loss of independence and social isolation, or even due to suffering one or more of the illnesses mentioned above.

Growing Healthy, Always

AltaMed is your health partner at every stage of life. When addressed early, many common problems can be treated successfully to ensure your continued comfort and happiness. However, it’s important to remember that unique genetics, family history, and lifestyle factors will all play a role in your well-being. 

Regular check-ups and healthy choices are vital. Make an appointment today online or by calling (888) 499-9303.

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The Most Common Health Problems at Every Age