We reviewed statistics for “major health problems for seniors”! Find the * in the following article and create your TO-DO’s to live the best and healthiest life you can.
So, let’s take a stroll through the statistics according to the CDC in 2018. Ranked in order of most common:
- Heart Disease /Stroke
- Respiratory Disease (Pneumonia)
- Injuries / Falls
- Alzheimer’s / Neurological System
- Musculoskeletal System (Arthritis)
The American Heart Association numbers should be the most frightening. More seniors die of heart attacks and strokes than all forms of cancer combined. NOTE: Almost twice the number of women die of heart attacks than men, every year. So, learn your numbers B/P, cholesterol and blood sugar. *
Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer. According to the Heart, Lung, Blood Institute chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) such as, bronchitis emphysema can be significantly improved if you STOP SMOKING. *
According to both the Mayo Clinic and CDC falls and injuries from car accidents are the fourth highest cause of death. Quick trick keep a copy of your living will in your glove compartment and always wear your seat belt. AAA has a free program to help you adjust your seat belt and rear-view mirrors to the safest position. *
Falls in the home are more complicated, as the reasons are so varied:
- What medications are you taking? Check with your pharmacist if any new interaction from medications may cause you to be unsteady. *
- Have you fallen before? Write down the details, including when, where and how you fell. Be Honest and let your primary care doctor know. *
- Keep moving. Physical activity can go a long way toward fall prevention by walking, water workouts or tai chi or just natural movement throughout your day Activities that keep you moving improve strength, balance, coordination and flexibility. Ask your doctor for vestibular training with your physical therapist if falling has become an issue. *
- Remove home hazards around your home and keep it well lit. *
- Use assistive devices such as hand rails or grab bars in the shower, if necessary. *
Diabetes kills men and women in equal numbers. A 2016 CDC report 29.1% of the population had diabetes and 86% were pre-diabetic! 96% of all diabetics are Type 2 which can most often be treated without medication by losing weight, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet. *
According to the National Alzheimer’s Association one of three over 70, two out of three over 80 may begin to show the signs of some form of dementia. Even scarier is that 67% of the care givers die first. The best defense is learning something new every day. * So, do the crossword puzzle one day, then Word Find and then Sudoku the next. Another “trick” is learning to do as much as you can with your non-dominate hand: brush your teeth, comb your hair, eat a meal (at home) as that fires up all the neuron connections on the “unused” side of your brain. *
Arthritis seems to be so common, that it is a surprise when you talk with someone our age that does not have it as a complaint. There are two common forms of Arthritis: Osteoarthritis & Rheumatoid. Arthritis is described as the inflammation of one or more joints, most common in people over 65.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, occurring when the cartilage protecting your bones wears away over time. This damage can impact multiple areas of your body but is most common around the joints in your hands, hips, knees, and spine. While you can’t really reverse the effects of osteoarthritis, there are ways to treat it. According to WEB MD the most common treatment is to increase your calcium intake to around 1,200 milligrams per day* You can get this extra calcium from foods like tofu, leafy greens, and yogurt as well as supplements.* Also, try to avoid foods high in phosphorus such as red meats and soft drinks, as these can promote bone loss.* Try to exercise more frequently if possible, and do weight-bearing exercises like running, walking, and weight lifting as this will help your bone density. *
Rheumatoid arthritis, is the tougher of the two and first thing to do is implement an early and aggressive treatment strategy to reduce inflammation, with a rheumatologist. Drugs like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help ease the pain and inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Corticosteroids can also slow down disease activity and make your arthritis more manageable. Best to find a good rheumatologist and follow their guidance.
So how many * are you willing to own up to? Each asterisk represents something that you can do today to lead a healthier life and offset these statistics. Be outstanding and be the healthiest senior you can be!