While every senior and the chronic conditions they are affected by are different, those that afflict this age group tend to be more disabling, cost more to treat, and require more care than those of younger age groups. Approximately 80% of seniors have a least one chronic condition, according to the National Council on Aging, and 68% have two or more.
As stated in an article by agingsociety.org, a chronic condition is one that has persistent or recurring health consequences lasting for years. Six of the most common diseases seen in the elderly population include the following:
- Arthritis — the most common form of arthritis in older people is osteoarthritis. As we age, the cartilage, which is the tissue that pads the joints, wears away causing bone to rub bone creating pain. The pain can range from mild to severe depending on the damage that has occurred in the joint.
- Diabetes — 1 in 4 seniors has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This makes them more at risk of cognitive impairment, vision and hearing problems, and mobility problems. Even those whose disease is well-controlled are at an increased risk of developing these problems.
- Hypertension — high blood pressure can lead to stroke, kidney damage, heart disease, and many other health problems.
- Heart disease — due to genetics, poor lifestyle choices, and heredity, heart disease tends to become more prevalent in the elderly, but once it is diagnosed, the severity of symptoms can be managed.
- Vision problems — vision loss is a major healthcare concern of the elderly, and the common causes include macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts.
- Alzheimer’s disease and dementia — this is a disease where there is a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form seen.
As people age, chronic conditions become more common which can lead to other diseases and injuries if not managed properly. If you have an elderly person you take care of who deals with chronic illness, contact us for further information.