Aging America - Common Chronic Illnesses We Face as We Get Older
Advances in medical science equals an aging America. With longevity comes health issues that develop as we get older. Often these lead to long-term care placing a drain on savings.
Americans today can expect to live longer than ever before, with data suggesting that if you can make it to 65, you can expect to live another 19.3 years on average according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For many seniors, daily living entails carefully managing one or multiple chronic diseases in order to stay healthy and enjoy a good quality of life.
Healthy lifestyle choices such as losing weight and quitting smoking can help you significantly reduce senior health risks. It is imperative to remember to eat healthy and engage in regular exercise as well. If you make the necessary lifestyle changes at a fairly early age you too can become one of the 41% of Americans over the age of 65 who state that their health is in peak condition.
There are a number of common health concerns that become prevalent as we grow older, necessitating us to plan towards long-term care should as it may become necessary and educating ourselves about the illnesses we often know very little about.
Dr. Marie Bernard, deputy director of the National Institute on Aging in Maryland said that arthritis is probably the number one medical condition that people over the age of 65 have to contend with.
The CDC estimated that up to 49.7% of all adults over 65 are affected by the condition and that it can lead to extreme pain and a decreased quality of life.
While arthritis can discourage you from leading an active lifestyle it is important to work closely with your doctor to develop a treatment plan that can help you maintain your health.
Heart disease remains the leading killer of adults over the age of 65 according to the CDC, accounting for nearly 490,000 deaths in 2014. As a chronic condition, heart disease affects up to 37% of men and 26% of women older than 65. As people grow older, risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol become more common, increasing the chances of having a heart attack or stroke.
Cancer is the 2nd most leading cause of death among seniors in the USA with 413,885 deaths recorded in 2014. The CDC reports that 28% of men and 21% of women over the age of 65 are currently living with cancer.
If detected early, many types of cancers are treatable and although you may not be able to prevent it, you can significantly improve the life of a senior living with the illness through compassionate long-term care.
The Alzheimer’s Association of America reports that as many as 1 in 9 people older than 65 have the illness but due to the challenging nature of the diagnosis it is difficult to know exactly how many people are living with the chronic condition.
The cognitive impairment has a major impact on senior health across the spectrum ranging from issues such as safety and self-care to the cost of care in either the private home or a long-term care residential facility.
Living with chronic disease is never a walk in the park but with a rock-solid support and care systems in place a senior can maintain a good quality of life regardless. Whether you choose to (and are able to) continue to live at home or in a care facility, preparing for the unforeseen will enable you to tackle any health-related obstacles head-on and continue living a happy and fruitful life.
About the Author
Sally Phillips is a freelance writer with many years’ experience across many different areas. She enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family, and traveling as much as possible.
Contributor since November 4th, 2017
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