Aging and Chronic Disease Management

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Read about the Senate Finance Committee’s hearing on improving Medicare coverage for patients with chronic illnesses

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the life expectancy of an American is between 78-79 years. Women (81.2 years) are expected to live longer than men (76.3 years). But as you age, your risks for chronic diseases increases.

 Source: National Institute on Aging

Chronic Disease Facts

  • Nearly 61% of Americans aged 65 and older have multiple chronic conditions
  • Approximately 92% of older adults have at least one chronic disease, and 77% have at least two. Four chronic diseases—heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes—cause almost two-thirds of all deaths each year.
  • Chronic diseases account for 75% of the money our nation spends on health care, yet only 1% of health dollars are spent on public efforts to improve overall health.
  • Diabetes affects 12.2 million Americans aged 60+, or 23% of the older population. 90% of Americans aged 55+ are at risk for hypertension, or high blood pressure.
  • Women are more likely than men to develop hypertension, with half of women aged 60+ and 77% of women aged 75+ having this condition. Hypertension affects 64% of men aged 75+.

Sources: National Council on Aging & National Institute on Aging

In order to battle these chronic conditions it’s important to follow these steps to live a healthier and longer life:

  • Get physically active: The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. People who don’t get enough physical activity are much more likely to develop health problems.
  • Make healthy food choices: The National Council on Aging encourages giving your body the right nutrients.  It will help you maintain a healthy weight and preserve your independence by spending less money going to the doctor.
  • Health Screenings are Key: According to NIHSeniorHealth.gov , “health screenings are tests that look for diseases before you have symptoms. Screening tests can find diseases early, when they’re easier to treat.”
  • Do things you enjoy: HelpGuide.org suggests,  “doing healthy activities that you enjoy. If you don’t work as much or you are retired, it’s important to find activities outside of work and immediate family that you like to do. Take time to nourish your spirit so it’s never wasted.”

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