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4 Rare Diseases Found in Aging Adults

By James R. Buscemi, 9:00 am on

Seniors can develop rare diseases because of a compromised immune system. These diseases sometimes have genetic causes. However, the reasons often remain unknown. Early diagnosis and cautionary measures can help seniors prevent these uncommon medical conditions. North Broward in-home senior care experts take a look at some of the rare diseases found in the elderly.

1. Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

This extremely rare disease tends to occur in small geographic regions once every few years. While doctors are not exactly sure about what causes Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, they believe it develops after coming into contact with infected tissue during transplants. Seniors who have had a living tissue transplant within the last five years and are experiencing symptoms similar to dementia should speak with a doctor about being tested for this disease.

2. Fabry Disease

Anyone who has a family history of renal or enzyme disorders should be tested for this disease once every few years. When it is caught early, many seniors can be treated with enzyme replacement therapy. Common symptoms include skin rashes, stomach cramping, sparse hair growth, and general weakness. While some people develop this condition as young adults, it is typically not diagnosed until much later in life.

3. Stiff Person Syndrome

Also referred to as stiff man syndrome, this autoimmune disorder is very similar to fibromyalgia and lupus. When left untreated, it can produce many unusual side effects ranging from seizures to IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome). Some preliminary studies have led doctors to believe it might be caused by infections such as tetanus. The side effects of stiff person syndrome can be treated with a mixture of antidepressants, anticonvulsants, painkillers, and muscle relaxers.

4. Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD)

The symptoms of this disease vary greatly, which makes it extremely difficult to diagnose. Much like dementia, researchers now believe CBD might be caused by certain webs of protein that eventually starve and kill brain cells. Seniors who are diagnosed with CBD must undergo extensive testing before a comprehensive treatment plan can be developed. Most treatments include a mixture of physical therapy, pain medication, and speech therapy.

If you have a loved one with a medical condition who requires assistance with the daily tasks of living, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We provide comprehensive dementia, post-stroke, and Alzheimer’s home care. North Broward seniors can benefit from our professional caregivers who can help them manage their conditions and motivate them to make healthy lifestyle choices. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our experienced Care Managers today at 954-906-5161.

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