5 Common Health Issues Seniors Face
As of now, there are approximately 56 million Americans aged 65 years and above. However, by 2060, this number is predicted to rise to a staggering 94.7 million. On average, a senior citizen of 65 years can look forward to another 17 years of life. It’s no secret that good health is paramount to ensuring autonomy, safety, and efficiency as they age. However, countless older adults experience daily struggles with chronic illnesses, lack of physical activity, falls, oral health concerns, and behavioral issues, which can have a detrimental effect on their quality of life.
Here are five of the most common health issues faced by senior adults in America are:
Cardiovascular diseases: This includes conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans aged 65 and older.
Arthritis: This is a condition that causes joint inflammation and pain, and it is more common among older adults. Arthritis can affect mobility, making it difficult for seniors to perform daily activities.
Diabetes: Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the body’s ability to produce or use insulin properly, leading to high blood sugar levels. According to the CDC, more than 25% of Americans aged 65 and older have diabetes.
Respiratory diseases: These include conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, which can make it difficult for seniors to breathe.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia: These are progressive brain disorders that affect memory and cognitive abilities, making it difficult for seniors to perform daily activities independently. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 11% of Americans aged 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease, and the prevalence increases with age.
Tips to Help Prevent Common Health Issues
The preventative measures are very similar across different health issues. Here are some general steps that older adults can take to help prevent the most common health issues they face:
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle: This includes regular physical activity, a healthy diet, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and managing stress.
- Stay up-to-date with recommended health screenings: Regular health screenings can help detect health issues early, when they are easier to treat. Examples of recommended health screenings for seniors include blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and cancer screenings.
- Manage chronic conditions: If a senior has a chronic condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, it’s important to work with their healthcare provider to manage the condition and keep it under control.
- Stay socially engaged: Social isolation and loneliness can increase the risk of many health issues, including depression, cognitive decline, and cardiovascular disease. Seniors should stay socially engaged by participating in activities they enjoy, volunteering, or joining clubs or organizations.
- Get enough sleep: Adequate sleep is important for overall health and can help reduce the risk of many health issues. Seniors should aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night and talk to their healthcare provider if they have trouble sleeping.
It’s important to note that specific preventative measures may vary depending on the individual’s health history and current health status. Seniors should work with their healthcare provider to develop a personalized preventative care plan.