5 Most Common Health Problems for Seniors

People who’ve reached the age of 65 are likely to live for another 19.3 years on average, according to the CDC. This is good news for individuals who are enjoying good health, but unfortunately, only 41% of people over the age of 65 say they are in good or excellent health.

Since we live longer than ever before, it’s important to make healthy lifestyle choices and manage chronic issues successfully so we can thoroughly enjoy the two decades ahead. August 21st is National Senior Citizens Day. Let’s look at which illnesses are most common among seniors and what we can do to plan for optimal health in our old age.

1. Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the medical conditions that affects the most seniors – about 49.7% of adults over the age of 65 suffer from some kind of arthritis. Our lifestyle choices and injuries are catching up with us – whether we played football in high school or loved wearing high heels each day.

The pain and discomfort people with arthritis experience often discourage them from being active, but it’s important to move around to keep the joints lubricated. Work with your doctor to devise the best treatment plan for your lifestyle and condition.

Here are a few things you can do to avoid and manage arthritis more effectively:

2. Heart Disease

Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading killers among seniors. According to the CDC, this disease caused the deaths of 489,722 people over the age of 65 in 2014. 37% of men and 26% of women over the age of 65 are affected by heart disease.

The older we get, the greater the risk factors causing high blood pressure and high cholesterol leading to heart disease and stroke. A healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 80%. Here are a few risk factors to be aware of:

3. Depression

According to the American Psychological Association, between 15% and 20% of Americans older than 65 have experienced depression at some stage. Depression is a significant threat to our health, both mentally and physically. Depression lowers our immunity, which compromises our bodies’ ability to fight infections.

Seniors are often more prone to depression due to the loss of their parents and friends, the onslaught of health issues, kids leaving home, and having to prepare for retirement even though they still feel too young for it.

A few ways to combat depression include:

4. Diabetes

Diabetes caused 54,161 deaths to people over the age of 65 in 2014. According to the CDC, about 25% of seniors suffer from diabetes. It is one of the illnesses that can be identified early with simple blood tests, and can be addressed and successfully managed once you know you have it. The sooner you know, the sooner you can start to make changes to control the disease and improve your health outlook.

Diabetes can also be avoided with healthy lifestyle choices through a balanced, fresh, plant-based foods diet and regular exercise.

5. Dementia

Dementia affects about 11% of all people over the age of 65. Alzheimer’s disease, which is one of the most common forms of dementia, caused 92,604 deaths of people older than 65 in 2014. Dementia is a progressive biological brain disorder causing the person to forget things, and to struggle to communicate efficiently and to think clearly.

Keep your brain healthy by avoiding stressful situations that cause anxiety and mental overload such as multitasking.  Learn effective coping mechanisms to transform stress into positive action.

Tips for Treating Age-Related Health Problems

Looking after your health and living a balanced life will help you stay healthy as long as possible and you’ll be able to avert the onslaught of many diseases or at least make them more manageable. Following are some tips on what you can do to stay healthy:

As integrative healthcare providers, Advanced Health can help you work out a lifestyle program and healthy diet to keep you in good shape and prepare you well through the aging process. Visit Dr. Payal Bhandari for your personal health roadmap.

Author
Dr. Payal Bhandari Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. is a leading practitioner of integrative and functional medicine in San Francisco.

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