Health Information for Senior Citizens
Chronic diseases exact a particularly heavy health and economic burden on Senior Citizens due to associated long-term illness, diminished quality of life, and greatly increased health care costs. Although the risk of disease and disability clearly increases with advancing age, poor health is not an inevitable consequence of aging.
Much of the illness, disability, and death associated with chronic disease is avoidable through known prevention measures. Key measures include practicing a healthy lifestyle and the use of early detection practices (e.g., screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers, diabetes and its complications, and depression).
For chronic diseases and conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, depression, psychiatric disorders, osteoporosis, Parkinson's disease, and urinary incontinence, much remains to be learned about their distribution in the population, associated risk factors, and effective measures to prevent or delay their onset. This site is intended to provide health tips for Senior Citizens to help them live longer, healthier lives.
Chronic Illnesses Affecting Senior Citizens
Chronic Diseases are generally not prevented by vaccines or cured by medication, nor do they just disappear. To a large degree, the major chronic disease killers â€” heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes â€” are an extension of what people do, or not do, as they go about their daily lives. Eighty-eight percent of those over 65 years of age have at least one chronic health condition.3 Health damaging behaviors â€” particularly tobacco use, lack of physical activity, and poor eating habits â€” are major contributors to the nation's leading chronic diseases. Clearly, promoting healthy behavior choices, through education and through community policies and practices, is essential to reducing the burden of chronic diseases.
Arthritis and related conditions are the leading cause of disability in the United States affecting nearly 43 million Americans. Although cost-effective interventions are available to reduce the burden of arthritis, they are currently underused. Regular, moderate exercise offers a whole host of benefits to people with arthritis by reducing joint pain and stiffness, building strong muscle around the joints, and increasing flexibility and endurance.
Cardiovascular Health is a growing concern for all Americans. Heart disease is the nation's leading cause of death. Three health-related behaviorsâ€”tobacco use, lack of physical activity, and poor nutritionâ€”contribute markedly to heart disease. Modifying these behaviors is critical for both preventing and controlling heart disease. Modest changes in one or more of these risk factors among the population could have a profound public health impact.
Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States. Cancer is largely controllable through prevention, early detection, and treatment. Reducing the nation's cancer burden requires reducing the prevalence of the behavioral and environmental factors that increase cancer risk. It also requires ensuring that cancer screening services and high-quality treatment are available and accessible, particularly to medically underserved populations.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, accounting for 10% of all cancer deaths. The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with advancing age. Lack of physical activity, low fruit and vegetable intake, a low-fiber diet, obesity, alcohol consumption, and tobacco use may contribute to the risk for colorectal cancer.
Three screening tools flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and the fecal occult blood test (FOBT) are widely accepted and used to detect colorectal cancer in its earliest stages, when treatment is most effective. In 1999, 66% of Americans aged 50 years or older reported not having had a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy within the last five years, and 79% reported not having had a fecal occult blood test within the last year.4
Breast Cancer is best detected in its earliest, most treatable stage by mammography. Seventy-six percent of all diagnosed cases of breast cancer (are among women aged 50 years or older.4
Diabetes is a serious, costly, and increasingly common chronic disease. Early detection, improved delivery of care, and better self-management are the key strategies for preventing much of the burden of diabetes. Seven million persons aged 65 years or older (20.1% of all people in this age group) have diabetes.5
Epilepsy and seizures affect about 2.3 million Americans, and result in an estimated $12.5 billion in medical costs and lost or reduced earnings and production annually. People of all ages are affected, but particularly the very young and the elderly. About 10% of Americans will experience a seizure, and about 3% will have or will have had a diagnosis of epilepsy by age 80.
Obesity has reached epidemic proportions among Americans in all age groups. Obesity among adults has doubled since 1980. People who are obese or overweight are at increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis-related disabilities, and some cancers.
Oral health is an important and often overlooked component of an older adult's general health and well-being. Oral health problems can cause pain and suffering as well as difficulty in speaking, chewing, swallowing, and maintaining a nutritious diet. During the past 50 years, the oral health and use of dental services among Senior Citizens have improved. Although this trend is expected to continue, additional improvement will depend on access to appropriate dental care.
The information on this site was produced by the CDC or other government agencies, and has been compiled byt the site owners, who are not responsible for errors or omissions. Site design is a trademark of hiaxis.com (c)2007
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