Studies show that Americans are living longer than ever before. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if you live past the age of 65, you’re likely going to live for another 20 years on average. But to be able to stay healthier in your senior years, buying a health insurance plan is a must. In doing so, you would not have to worry about getting preventive screenings and lab testing, as well as seeing your doctor regularly who can monitor your health.
But having medical coverage is not enough. You also need to make healthy lifestyle choices like losing weight and quitting smoking, so you can avoid health risks that are prevalent among people in their 50s and 60s.
Here are the most common health issues that effect seniors:
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among adults over the age of 65. According to the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, it affects 26% of women and 37% of men over 65. As people age, they become more susceptible to developing heart disease or stroke, and to lower your risk you can start to eat well, exercise and get a good night’s rest regularly.
Nearly half (49.7%) of people over the age 0f 65 suffer from arthritis to some extent. But even though it may seem counter-intuitive, you need to stay active and work with your medical provider to develop a plan that can improve your quality of life.
Based on 2014 data from the CDC, Alzheimer’s disease accounted for around 92,600 deaths of individuals over 65. An estimated 1 in 9 people over 65 have Alzheimer’s but the number could be much higher, considering how difficult it is to diagnose the disease.
Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death for seniors, and it accounted for 414,000 deaths in 2014. About 21% of women and 28% of men over the age of 65 have cancer. The good news is the majority of cancers are highly treatable if diagnosed early. Screenings like skin checks, colonoscopies and mammograms can help catch cancer.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other chronic lower respiratory diseases make up the 3rd most common cause of death among seniors. About 13% of women and 10% of men over 65 have asthma, while many others have emphysema and chronic bronchitis. With proper treatment and regular screenings, seniors can lower their risk of lung infections that could quickly advance due to the patient’s weak immune system.
According to the CDC, as many as 25% of seniors over 65 have diabetes. It’s been identified as the cause of 54,160 deaths in 2014. Checking for blood sugar levels can help uncover the disease in its early stages so that proper management and treatment can be given. The earlier it is treated, the better the long-term health outlook for the patient.
Nearly 20 percent of Americans over 65 suffer from depression, according to a report published by the American Psychological Association. While it is a psychological disease, depression also affects a person’s physical health as it can lower one’s immunity. People suffering from depression are often prescribed medication, but doctors also recommend exercise and social interaction to overcome this disease.
For seniors to live longer and to have a better quality of life, it’s crucial to eat healthy, exercise, interact with others, and see their doctors regularly so that their health and well-being can be monitored.