5 Common Health Conditions That American Seniors May Experience

old woman exercising

The lifespan around the world is increasing. An average American is expected to live to around 78.7 years old, as of the data released in 2018.

Growing old means that you likely will experience some health concerns due to poor lifestyle choices throughout your life or, simply, age. As early as now, you should make changes in your diet, exercise regularly, and quit your vices or you might end up experiencing the health concerns below and in need of elderly nursing care services.

Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the most common conditions among seniors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2013 to 2015, 54.4 million adults were diagnosed with some form of arthritis by their doctor.

Arthritis targets your joints. Those who have it typically experience swelling, pain, and stiffness of the affected area. It occurs when there is too much uric acid in your blood. The excess uric acid forms uric acid crystals that form in your joints.

People who are at risk of arthritis include those who have a family history of gout, have high blood pressure, have high cholesterol, have diabetes, and have heart disease.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is an illness that causes your bones to become weak and fragile. If you have it, a mild fall or even just coughing can lead to a fracture.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation says that, as of 2014, an estimated 54 million Americans above the age of 50 have osteoporosis.

Your diet may affect your likelihood of getting osteoporosis in the future. Being underweight, having a low calcium intake, and undergoing gastrointestinal surgery are risk factors for osteoporosis. Women, Asians and Caucasians, and people with small body frames are also at a higher risk.

Diabetes

About 25% of seniors who are above the age of 65 have diabetes.

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that occurs when a person’s blood sugar level rises too high. There are two types of diabetes. When you have type 1 diabetes, your immune system attacks the cells that are responsible for producing insulin. When you have type 2 diabetes, your body either does not produce enough insulin or has stopped responding to insulin.

The latter, type 2 diabetes, is caused by poor lifestyle choices. Those who do not exercise and consume large amounts of processed sugars are more likely to get it. Although common among seniors, anyone — including young children — can get diabetes.

senior couple eating together

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one killer among seniors in the United States. On average, about 647,000 Americans die from heart disease every year.

Heart disease refers to conditions wherein the blood vessels of the patients are narrowed or blocked, leading to chest pains, cardiac arrest, and stroke.

Age is the primary risk factor for developing heart disease. However, smoking, poor diet, physical inactivity, stress, poor hygiene also increase your likelihood of developing heart disease later on.

Cancer

Cancer is the second leading cause of death after heart disease. The National Cancer Institute says that, in 2018, an estimated 1,735,350 new cases were diagnosed. Over 600,000 will die from the illness. There are several types of cancer, all affecting a specific body part, with breast, lung, prostate, colon, and rectum being some of the most common.

There is no one way to prevent cancer, but early detection will make the disease easier to treat. Lifestyle changes can also lower a person’s risk of being diagnosed.

Getting old does not mean you have to suffer from an illness. You can continue living a healthy, happy, and long life by improving your body and your mind’s well-being.

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