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5 Most Common Chronic Conditions in Seniors & How to Manage Them

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The best way to keep seniors healthy is to understand the most common chronic conditions for their age group and how they develop. After all, 80% of seniors have at least one of these conditions, and 68% have two or more. Our long-term care team in South Jersey put together a list of the 5 most common chronic conditions in older adults and tips on how to successfully manage them, helping your loved one stay as healthy and independent as possible.

#1 – Hypertension

58% of seniors have hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. It’s often called the silent killer because it has no easily noticeable symptoms until it causes a stroke or heart attack. High blood pressure can have a genetic component, and seniors who are overweight, sedentary, smokers, or have a poor diet are most at risk.

The best ways to manage this condition is to:

  • Quit smoking
  • Get 30 minutes of gentle to moderate exercise per day
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Monitor blood pressure each day
  • Reduce stress

#2 – High cholesterol

47% of seniors suffer from high cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance that is in our blood. When there’s too much of it, it starts coating the inside of our arteries, narrowing them and making it more difficult for blood to travel to the brain, heart, and other vital organs. This causes heart disease and puts you at risk of heart attack or stroke.

The best ways to manage this condition is to:

  • Quit smoking and limit alcohol intake
  • Get 30 minutes of gentle to moderate exercise per day
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Reduce intake of salt and trans fats

#3 – Arthritis

Arthritis affects 31% of seniors, with osteoarthritis being the most common form of this health condition. Here, the cartilage that cushions joints wears down, causing pain, stiffness, and inflammation that can become debilitating.

The best ways to manage this condition is to:

  • Exercise gently and regularly to improve joint function
  • Maintain a healthy weight to relieve pressure on joints
  • Avoid high-impact activities that can damage joints
  • Use gentle heating or ice pads
  • Gently massage affected joints

#4 – Coronary heart disease

Heart disease, also called ischemic heart disease, affects 29% of seniors and is a leading cause of death in the USA and worldwide. It’s caused by plaque building up in the arteries (due to high cholesterol), causing the arteries to narrow and decreasing blood flow to the heart. It can result in heart attack, blood clots, angina, and sudden cardiac arrest.

The best ways to manage this condition is to:

  • Limit intake of trans fats, salt, and sugar
  • Improve sleep quality and duration
  • Reduce stress
  • Exercise gently and regularly
  • Quit smoking
  • Manage risk factors such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure

#5 – Diabetes

Around 27% of seniors have type 2 diabetes. Here, the body doesn’t make enough insulin, so it can’t move the sugar in the blood into the cells where it is used for fuel or to create fat. When the blood has high sugar levels, it damages the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, gums, and blood vessels. This increases the risks of heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and limb amputation.

The best ways to manage this condition is to:

  • Eat a nutritious, balanced diet to keep blood sugar levels within a healthy range
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Monitor blood sugar levels regularly

Community living and long-term care in Cape May County

The Shores is a beautiful community offering long-term care in New Jersey. Our team is passionate about helping seniors live full and rewarding lives in a safe and welcoming environment. With a great calendar of events and social activities, some of the best dining in town, and advanced long-term care facilities, we’re the best place to be for senior living.

To find out more about skilled nursing care in New Jersey, give us a call or visit our website at:

https://umcommunities.org/theshores/

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