What Are Chronic Health Conditions?
By Kevin Edwards, President
About 80 percent of elderly men and women in the U.S. have one chronic condition. The National Council of Aging also reports about 68 percent have two chronic conditions. What is a chronic health condition? Can you name the most common ones?
Understanding Chronic Health Conditions
A chronic health condition is a health condition that will not magically go away. In many cases, the condition is something the senior will have for the rest of his or her life. Medications can help ease the symptoms and lifestyle changes may also help, but they’re usually a health condition that has no cure.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes are the most common chronic health conditions. Chronic kidney disease, heart failure, depression, dementia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) round out the top 10.
What do you know about these diseases?
#10 – COPD typically links to one of two health conditions: chronic bronchitis or emphysema. The irritation makes it hard to breathe and can cause a persistent cough. A tight feeling in the chest is also common.
#9 – Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. The diseases progress and impacts cognitive skills. As the memory deteriorates, many compare it to watching your parent go from being an adult to being like a toddler.
#8 – Depression impacts 14 percent of senior citizens. When it hits, the appetite, sleep patterns, and mood are all impacted.
#7 – Heart failure also affects 14 percent of elderly men and women. When the heart struggles to pump blood around fast enough to reach all the organs, it’s heart failure.
#6 – Chronic kidney disease is present in about 18 percent of elderly men and women. As the kidneys slow down, there’s a higher risk of heart and kidney failure.
#5 – Diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin to balance out the sugar in the bloodstream. When insulin production slows or stops, blood sugar levels increase to dangerous levels.
#4 – Heart disease involves plaque build-up and narrowing arteries. This makes the heart work harder. Angina, blood clots, and heart attacks become a risk.
#3 – Arthritis is a painful condition where inflammation hits the joints. In addition to the pain, it can be harder to move around.
#2 – Having high cholesterol puts you at a higher risk of developing clogged arteries in the body.
#1 – High blood pressure is the most common chronic condition. If blood pressure is high, the heart is working harder to pumping the blood through your arteries.
Arrange to Have Home Health Care Services Available
When your parent has a chronic condition, proper attention to diet, exercise, and medications is essential. Many seniors struggle with instructions from a doctor. Caregivers can help. With home health care services, your parent has help with everything from medication management to appointment scheduling.
Talk our home health care agency about meal preparation services, transportation, and companionship. All of those can help your parent manage a chronic health condition.