"State of Aging and Health in America" report and the results are not good, even though they try to put a positive spin on their results.
Aging diseases and chronic diseases are largely preventable.
Some of the statistics:
88% of those over 65 years of age have at least one chronic health condition
Nearly 40% of deaths in America can be attributed to smoking, physical inactivity, poor diet, or alcohol misuse
Almost 20% of older Americans suffer from a mental disorder that is NOT part of normal aging
Even though cognitive decline (becoming senile) is NOT a normal part of aging, many people assume it is and 25% of the elderly have experienced it.
Arthritis and related conditions are the leading cause of disability in the U.S.
Heart disease is still the leading cause of death with Cancer coming in second
20% of people over 65 have diabetes
Falls are the leading cause of injuries - one in three people over 65 fall each year
And guess what? All of these are preventable! I guess that's the good news but it sounds like a wake-up call to me. Statistics show that in the over 65 age group, 30% have 3 or more chronic diseases. These multiple diseases can complicate diagnosing as one could mask symptoms of another during times of stress like when fever exists.
How To Prevent Aging Diseases
The answer is in the the statistics listed above. A change in lifestyle and behaviors is REQUIRED if we are going to live healthy lives as we age.
Quit ALL Tobacco Use
This should be a no brainer. We've been hearing for years how smoking affects our health and the health of those around us that don't smoke. Yet there are still many that think the occasional cigar or chewing tobacco doesn't count.
Regular Physical Activity
You don't have to become Jack LaLane - even regular walking will do you good. Strength training of some type will help in a variety of ways. By age 75, about one in three men and one in two women do not engage in any physical activity. That's really sad.
Simple basic stuff. Low fat, lots of fruits and vegetables. Sadly, less than one-third of adults over 65 meet the 5 Servings A Day recommendation.
Increase Your Social and Mental Activity
Research has shown that the more socially active older person has less chance of developing depression and other mental disorders associated with aging. And doing something as simple as crossword puzzles will help to maintain your mental acuity.
As the aging population increases in the U.S., healthcare and other services for this age group will come to the attention in a more dramatic fashion for those who make program decisions and governmental policy for services senior citizens require. Prevention of these elderly diseases will be foremost in policies to come.
Of course, there's a lot more you can do to live a healthy, happy life as you age. There are some surprising good news and studies being done in the field of anti aging. Keep yourself informed.