Apr 13, 2019 • Longeviti

Health Living is as Important as Age When Evaluating Risk Factors for Chronic Disease


  “Although the risk of developing chronic health problems increases with age, the root causes of many of these conditions begin earlier in life,” says Reyzan Shali, MD,  internal medicine specialist at Scripps Coastal Medical Center Vista.


“Research has shown that people who eat healthy, stay active and avoid tobacco use can significantly lower their risk of developing many of the chronic health conditions we often associate with aging,” Dr. Shali adds.

Top 10 health concerns for “baby boomers”:

  1. Type 2 diabetes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the last 20 years, the number of adults with diabetes has more than tripled, in line with the aging of the US population and the increased in the rate of obesity, one of the leading risk factors for diabetes.

High blood pressure, loss of vision, nerve damage, foot problems, amputation, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease are all strongly associated with Type 2 diabetes.

  1. Heart disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women age over the age of 60.

Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease and the main cause of heart attacks.

While you can’t control your age or family history, you can lower your risk of heart disease by doing what you can control:

  • blood pressure (through medication, if necessary)
  • lower cholesterol
  • avoiding all tobacco products
  • getting regular exercise,
  • eating a low fat/low sodium diet
  • keeping a healthy body weight

Don’t forget to meet with your Longeviti Health physician to discuss your overall condition and to get your personalized eating and fitness plan.

  1. Cancer

Cancer-related death rates are declining, and the chances of surviving cancer are now higher than ever before.

The routine use of cancer screenings is very helpful in detecting early-stage cancers, sometimes before a patient can feel the symptoms. That’s good news but, many forms of cancer are have been linked to lifestyle and behavior, so to lower your risk, you’ll want to make smart food choices, exercise, avoid all tobacco products and maintain a healthy weight.  

  1. Depression

Depression in older adults, often occurs alongside serious illnesses like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease, making them worse.

“It is important for both physicians and patients to recognize that depression is not a normal process of aging,” says Dr. Shali. “Unfortunately, many patients feel uncomfortable with the subject of depression. Many feel that seeking help is a sign of weakness. It is very important for you to accept that you need help.”

Speaking to your Longeviti Health physician is an excellent place to start.

  1. Eye problems

According to the CDC, the number of cataract cases among Americans age 40+ is expected to increase to 30.1 million by 2020.

  • Annual eye exams can help catch vision problems in their earliest stages
  • Recent advances have improved the precision and safety of cataract surgery, resulting in easier and shorter recoveries
  1. Alzheimer’s disease

Age is the most obvious risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.

There is no clear evidence yet as to what causes Alzheimer’s, but it has been shown that avoiding tobacco, healthy eating, and regular physical activity help to maintain brain health.

  1. Osteoarthritis and joint replacement

When the cartilage that cushions your joints begins to break down, the bones rub together, resulting in pain, swelling, and stiffness. If the damage becomes severe, joint replacement surgery may be necessary.

Maintaining a healthy weight helps to prevent excessive pressure on your joints and physical activities like walking, aquatic therapy and yoga help you to maintain joint flexibility.

  1. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis affects about 25 % of women and 5% of men aged 65+. Many people don’t know they have it until they break a bone.

Prevention is key. Osteoporosis screening is recommended for women over the age of 65 and for women 50 to 64  with particular risk factors, such as having a parent who has broken a hip. That said, men do suffer from this disease and, if they’re at risk, will also benefit from screening.

Tobacco and alcohol use in early life and being underweight can increase your risk.

Talk to your Longeviti Health physician about the possible use of calcium supplements and other osteoporosis treatment options.

  1. Flu and pneumonia

For older adults, influenza and pneumonia are among the top causes of death. People 65+ are more likely to suffer serious complications as their immune systems are somewhat weaker.

Vaccinations are now widely available for both diseases. Ask your Longeviti Health physician about protecting you and your loved ones.

  1. “Sandwich Generation” stress

Many boomers are now caring for their elderly parents in addition to their own families. The stress of being a dual caregiver can be severe, especially on those who are working and struggling financially.

“It’s important to take care of yourself first,” says Dr. Shali. “Make an effort to get enough sleep, eat right and exercise regularly.”

Sharing your situation with your Longeviti Health physician will enable them to work with with you on an action plan and to identify resources that can help. www.longeviti.health


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