Ways to Avoid Common Chronic Conditions
Aging Matters

As a society, our older population is living longer. If you make it to 65, data suggests that an individual can potentially live 20 more years. That sounds good, right? But for people living another two decades, well into the mid-eighties, they will likely develop at least one chronic condition. Even today, the National Council on Aging says 92% of older adults (65+) have at least one.

The downside of living with chronic diseases, it requires help with routine activities like bathing, dressing, meal preparation, and transportation. The assistance is not low-cost either. And if the person develops more ailments and diseases the demand for help becomes certain.

Common health ailments

  1. Heart Disease
  2. Stroke
  3. Cancer
  4. Diabetes
  5. Arthritis
  6. Obesity
  7. COPD

The Centers for Disease Control says the cost are

  • Heart disease and stroke, $315.4 billion (in 2010).
  • Cancer care, $157 billion (in 2010).
  • Diabetes, $245 billion (in 2012).
  • Arthritis and other rheumatic conditions, $128 billion (in 2003).
  • Obesity, $147 billion (in 2008) and medical expenses were $1,429 higher than those with a healthy weight.
  • COPD, $50 billion (in 2010).

Apply these prevention guidelines to live better:

Drop the Junk Food

  • The food is calorie dense and nutrient poor.
  • It plays a significant role in obesity.
  • It causes chronically high insulin levels.
  • It has high-sodium--a significant contributing factor to high blood pressure and heart, liver and kidney diseases.


  • It lowers the blood sugar level.
  • Physical activity helps control weight and boost energy.
  • It regulates the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.It reduces pain and strengthens muscles and reduces joint stiffness.

Brain health

  • Remain socially active.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Learn to cope with stress.
  • Do crossword puzzles.

Bone Health

  • Avoid smoking, excessive alcohol, drinking colas.
  • Strengthen bones through aerobics, jogging, weight, and resistance training, walking and water aerobics.
  • Get a bone density test.
  • Take calcium and Vitamin D.

Stay upbeat and positive:

  • Control stress to boost a healthy esteem and the immunity system.
  • Connect with family and friends in times of crisis.
  • Treat depression to keep it from worsening.
  • Simplify life.
  • Join a support group.
  • Don't isolate.

Lower cholesterol and blood pressure

  • Lose weight.
  • Eat less sodium.
  • Eat more fiber.
  • Consume fruit and vegetables.
  • Take calcium and magnesium.
  • Reduce caffeine.

Keep away from chemicals:

  • Filter drinking water to reduce carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals.
  • Don't top the gas tank-to avoid contact with skin and lungs.
  • Avoid processed, charred, and well-done meat.
  • Don't dry clean clothes-the solvents can cause liver and kidney cancers according to an EPA study.
  • Keep the cell phone away from the head.

When standing at the check-out lanes at the market, don't fall for the candy bars, potato chips, cigarettes, and sugar-sweetened beverages, if hungry or thirsty. Commit to eating healthy snacks and drinking water instead. Load the cart with apples, hummus, and raw vegetables.

Part of the Aging Matters Weekly Syndicated Column

Aging Matters is a weekly column tackling everyday challenges that our growing elderly population and their loved ones face. It is also published in a variety of syndication partners including newspapers all over the country.

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