Today, people who reach age 65 can expect to live an additional 20 years. Knowing what to expect from the last two decades of life can help you stay as healthy as possible to enjoy those golden years.
It is eminently obvious that living well means making healthy choices such as not to smoke, to control weight, and avoid other risky behaviors. In addition, finding a specialist in the aging population, a geriatrician, to help you live better with any chronic illnesses you may develop, is a lifestyle choice that can make your life more livable. There is a happy 41 percent of people above 65 who say their health is very good or excellent. Try and become a member of that club.
Some of the most common issues people over 65 have to contend with are:
According to geriatrician Marie Bernard, MD, deputy director of the National Institute on Aging in Bethesda, Maryland: “Arthritis is probably the number one condition that people 65 or older contend with.” Almost 50 percent of people over 65 have some arthritis, and it can cause pain which reduces quality of life. Work with your doctor to stay active and healthy, despite arthritis.
This is the number one killer of people over age 65 in the United States. In 2013, 488,156 people died from heart related illnesses. Risk factors that increase with age are high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol. Those increases can elevate the chances of stroke or heart disease. “Exercise, eat well, get a good night’s rest. Eating well means eating in a fashion that will allow you to keep a healthy weight with a well-balanced and healthy diet,” says Dr. Bernard of the CDC.
Obesity increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The statistics are frightening: 76.9 percent of men and 73.8 percent of women between 65 and 74 are overweight. Overweight is defined by having a Body Mass Index over 25. This can also be and indicator that the person is not getting enough exercise, or is simply not as active as he/she used to be.