An estimated 25 percent of adults aged 65 and over have type 2 diabetes, and with people living longer than ever, it's important to be aware of the health risks and challenges that come with aging. Let's take a look at the most common health problems among older people and some tips on how to better manage them. Did you know that one in nine adults aged 65 and over has Alzheimer's disease? This equates to the fact that approximately 11.3 percent of older Americans are affected by this chronic condition, which can have serious effects on a person's overall health, including their mental health, safety, and ability to live independently. Diabetes is another serious health risk. About 25 percent of older adults live with diabetes, while thousands of people die from this condition every year.
Fortunately, diabetes can be identified and treated with blood tests that check a person's blood sugar levels. Once an older person discovers that they have diabetes or are at risk of developing it, they can take the necessary steps to better control their disease and improve their long-term health. The risk of falls increases with age. About 2.5 million older people are being treated in the emergency room because of serious falls. This can increase the risk of a person suffering more falls, as well as the likelihood that they will need care and assistance during their recovery period.
For older people, this is a great fear because it means giving up their independence, even if it's only temporary. Because falls often occur at home, it's important to follow safety guidelines to prevent older people from falling. Heart disease is a serious health problem for people 65 and over. The Federal Inter-Agency Forum on Statistics Related to Aging indicates that heart disease is a chronic condition affecting 37 percent of men and 26 percent of women aged 65 and over. There are several factors that can increase an older person's risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
To reduce the risk of suffering from this condition, older people should consult their family doctor for suggestions. Your doctor will likely suggest eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. Oral health care is also important for seniors. As you age, your mouth tends to dry out and cavities are more difficult to prevent, so proper oral health care, including regular dental checkups, should be a priority for healthcare. Vaccinations are also important for seniors; they should get vaccinated against the flu every year and get vaccinated against pneumonia if recommended by their doctor. Substance and alcohol abuse are a source of concern for the health of older people because of potential interactions with prescription drugs, their impact on overall health, and the increased health risks of older people associated with poisoning.
While having chronic respiratory disease increases older people's health risks, making them more vulnerable to pneumonia and other infections, getting lung function tests and taking the right medications or using oxygen as directed will go a long way to preserving the health and quality of life of older people. Including a geriatrician - a doctor who specializes in health problems related to aging - on your senior healthcare team can help you learn how to live better with any chronic illness.