Aging can seem daunting, especially with wrinkles, greying hair, and even forgetting where you parked your car. But jokes aside, getting older increases the likelihood of unique health issues.
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And although people in the U.S. can now expect to live much longer than ever, it’s still important to understand the various challenges that people face as they age and identify the preventative measures for healthy aging.
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Table of Content
7 Most Common Health Concerns:
This is perhaps the most common condition that seniors over 65 contend with. According to CDC estimates, arthritis affects 49.7% of the adult population over 65, and for some seniors, the condition can cause pain and lower quality of life. And while arthritis might discourage you from being active, you should work with your physician to devise a suitable activity plan and treatment to maintain good health.
2. Cognitive Health
This is focused on a person’s ability to learn, think, and remember. Dementia is one of the most common cognitive issues that the elderly face, which is simply the loss of cognitive functions. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.
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In the U.S., as many as 5 million people over 65 suffer from the disease. The National Institute on Aging asserts that chronic diseases and health conditions increase the risk of developing dementia, like hypertension, substance abuse, diabetes, and smoking.
3. Heart Disease
Heart disease is among the leading killers of people over 65. According to the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging and Related Statistics, chronic heart disease affects 37% of men and 26% of women over 65. As people age, they increasingly live with risk factors like high cholesterol and hypertension, increasing their risk of developing heart disease or stroke.
CDC estimates suggest that 25% of people over the age of 65 are living with diabetes, which is a significant health risk for seniors. In general, the sooner you find out you have diabetes or are at risk of developing it, the sooner you can begin making the right changes and improve your senior health outlook for the long term.
5. Physical Injury
Since aging causes the bones to shrink and the muscles to lose flexibility and strength, seniors are more vulnerable to losing their balance, falling, bruising, or even fracturing a bone. Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are the two diseases that contribute to this frailty. Practical modifications, increased physical activity, and education can prevent falls.
6. Sensory Impairments
It’s prevalent for older Americans over 70 to develop sensory impairments such as hearing and vision. CDC estimates that one out of four seniors has a hearing impairment, and one out of six has a visual impairment. Fortunately, both issues are treatable via aids like hearing aids and glasses.
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7. Substance Abuse
Alcohol and tobacco abuse and drug-related problems are more prevalent among senior citizens than often realized. However, this is a major concern for the elderly because it can impact their overall health, interfere with prescription medications, and increase health risks such as falls.