5 common health problems for older people (cont’d)

For older people, once they make it to 65, data suggests that they can live another 19.3 years, on average. This is according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For many, living to and beyond 65 means carefully managing chronic conditions to stay healthy. The following are some common health problems affecting older adults.

1. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis can contribute to becoming less mobile and potentially disabled should you fall and have a fracture. The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that 54 million adults over the age of 50 are affected by low bone mass or osteoporosis. Putting them at risk for a fracture or break that could lead to poor senior health and reduced quality of life. The same study estimates that the number rose to 64.4 million in 2020.

2. Diabetes

The CDC estimates that 25 percent of people ages 65 and older are living with diabetes. According to this data, this ailment caused 54,161 deaths among adults over age 65 in 2014. Diabetes can be identified and addressed early with simple blood tests for blood sugar levels. The sooner you know that you have or are at risk for diabetes, the sooner you can start to control the disease. And improve your long-term health.

3. Obesity 

Obesity is a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other chronic conditions that impact the quality of life. As one’s weight increases, so does the risk. Of the adults between 65 and 74, 36.2 percent of men and 40.7 percent of women are obese. This means that their body mass index is greater than or equal to 30, according to the CDC. It can also signal that an older adult isn’t as active.

4. Oral Health

Healthy teeth and gums are essential not just for a great smile but also for overall adult health. According to the CDC, 25 percent of adults over 65 have artificial teeth. As you age, your mouth tends to become dryer and cavities are more difficult to prevent, so proper oral health care, including regular dental checkups, should be a priority.

5. Falls

The risk of falls needing emergency room care increases with age. Each year, 2.5 million people ages 65 and older are treated because of falls, according to the CDC. That’s more than any other age group. Also, be aware that most falls occur in the home, where tripping hazards include rugs and slippery bathroom floors.

Making healthy lifestyle choices, like quitting smoking and losing weight, can help you avoid such health risks, though you also need to be physically active and eat a healthy diet. Including a geriatrician on your care team can help you learn how to live better with any chronic diseases.


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