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The Most Common Elderly Diseases and How to Care for Them

It is no secret that age can bring with it some serious health challenges. By being aware of some of the more common conditions, you can take measures to both prevent them and plan for the care of them in the future. However, if you or a loved one is currently living with a challenging health condition and need comprehensive, no-cost care, know that free home healthcare services are available. Such services cover treatment for the common and not so common elderly diseases detailed in this post.

High Blood Pressure

Hypertension is the most common chronic health condition in adults aged 65 years or older, affecting approximately 58 percent of the population. High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” because it presents no symptoms but causes significant damage to the blood vessels and increases one’s risk of stroke and heart attack. Though genetics play some role in high blood pressure, lifestyle has the greatest impact on one’s risk for developing hypertension. Some things you can do to manage your condition or reduce your risk of contracting it include the following:

  • Limit salt and alcohol;
  • Reduce stress; and
  • Exercise and maintain a healthy weight.

Arthritis

Arthritis is another extremely common elderly condition, affecting approximately 49.7 percent of seniors. Arthritis, though not a fatal condition, can significantly reduce one’s overall quality of life and result in chronic or even lifelong pain. Though arthritis can discourage you from maintaining an active lifestyle, activity is actually the best thing for pain management. Work with your doctor to develop a personalized activity plan that, along with other treatment, can help you maintain a happy and comfortable lifestyle.

Cancer

Cancer is the leading cause of death in the United States for seniors, accounting for over 400,000 senior deaths in 2014. However, the rate of cancer deaths is on the decline thanks to advanced detection and screening methods and state-of-the-art treatments. Research indicates that mammograms, skin checks, colonoscopies, and annual screening for certain types of cancers can significantly reduce one’s risk of dying from cancer. There are certain measures you can take yourself as well to reduce your cancer risk, including exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding cancer-causing agents, such as tobacco and alcohol. If you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, you can improve your overall quality of life with the disease and work to combat it by working with a cancer care specialist to devise a treatment plan.

High Cholesterol

Nearly 50 percent of seniors in the Medicare system have been diagnosed with high cholesterol. If not managed, high cholesterol can lead to heart disease and possibly death. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with high cholesterol, you can manage the condition by doing the following:

  • Quit smoking;
  • Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink or cut it from your diet entirely;
  • Exercise regularly;
  • Maintain a healthy weight; and
  • Eat fewer saturated and trans fats.

Diabetes

The CDC estimates that approximately 25 percent of seniors live with diabetes, which occurs when a person’s body does not produce enough insulin and the level of glucose in his or her blood becomes too high. This in turn leads to high blood sugar. Over time, high blood sugar can severely damage the heart, kidneys, nerves, eyes, teeth, and blood vessels and lead to conditions such as stroke, heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, gum infections, nerve problems, and amputation. For this reason, it is imperative that you take measures to prevent diabetes or, if a diagnosis has already been made, to manage it. Some tips to help you manage diabetes include the following:

  • Eat a healthy diet;
  • Limit if not eliminate alcohol from your diet;
  • Exercise often, about 30 minutes a day, five days a week; and
  • Lose approximately five to seven percent of your body weight (if diagnosed with pre-diabetes).

Influenza and Pneumonia

Though the flu and pneumonia are not chronic conditions, they are diseases that routinely affect the elderly, and they can be deadly. You can reduce your risk of contracting either or by getting the flu shot each year, along with a pneumonia vaccine. If you do contract either of these conditions, you risk developing life-threatening complications along with them.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a common elderly disease, or if you are at risk of developing one, you may be eligible for free healthcare services. (Learn more of the qualifying illness for DOL EEOICPA)Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today at United Energy Workers Healthcare and Four Corners Health Care for more information about how we can help you.