THE BLOG
08/26/2015 07:13 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

7 Ways To Avoid 7 Common Chronic Diseases

In the next few decades, people worldwide can expect to live much longer. And if you make it to 65, data implies that you can potentially live another 20 years. That's the good news. The bad news is that those living another two decades after that age will likely live with at least one chronic condition. But some health factors can help lessen that concern.

The Top 7 Chronic Conditions Older Adults Encounter

  1. Heart Disease
  2. Stroke
  3. Cancer
  4. Diabetes
  5. Arthritis
  6. Obesity
  7. COPD

The costs of the diseases are extremely high, and they put a burden on our health care system. According to the Centers for Disease Control, here's a breakdown of the numbers per chronic condition.

  • Heart disease and stroke costs (2010) were $315.4 billion and $193.4 billion of it paid for the direct medical costs. It did not include the costs of nursing home care.
  • Cancer care cost $157 billion (2010).
  • Diabetes was $245 billion (2012), including $176 billion in direct medical expenses.
  • Arthritis and other rheumatic conditions (2003) was $128 billion dollars and direct medical costs $80.8 billion.
  • Obesity was $147 billion (2008) and medical expenses for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those with a healthy weight.
  • COPD was $50 billion (2010), which includes $20 billion in indirect costs and $30 billion in direct health care expenditures. Indirect care costs, the value of lost work, insurance, and wages.

The price of living with a chronic condition is substantial. And if you plan to live well into your 80s, you'll need to circumvent direct and indirect cost of care and try to be in the 39 percent of folks that will NOT need long-term care in their lifetimes. The answer is prevention. The trick to preventing a chronic disease is to be physically active and eat healthy foods. Another good habit to embrace is to manage chronic conditions if you have one or several at a younger age. Here are the seven prevention tips to live better with or without a chronic condition. Follow closely and you can be among the older adults to live past 85 with good or excellent health.

Drop the Junk Food

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  • Junk food is calorie dense and nutrient poor.
  • It plays a significant role in obesity.
  • It causes chronically high insulin levels.
  • It's loaded with high-sodium that is one of the contributing factors to high blood pressure and heart, liver and kidney diseases.

Exercise

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  • Interval training is tolerated easily in people with heart disease, and it can produce significant benefits.
  • It can help lower your blood sugar level.
  • Physical activity can help you control your weight and boost your energy.
  • It helps control the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.
  • Physical activity and exercise reduces pain, improves muscle strength in affected joints and reduces joint stiffness.

Brain Health

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  • Stay mentally active.
  • Remain socially active.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Stay active physically.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Learn to cope with stress.

Preserve Bone Health

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  • Avoid bone robbers like smoking, excessive alcohol, drinking colas.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day to strengthen bones.
  • Do weight-bearing exercises like aerobics, jogging, weight and resistance training, walking and water aerobics.
  • Get a bone density test.
  • Take calcium and Vitamin D.

Stay upbeat and avoid misery

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  • Control stress at all costs to increase resilience and boost healthy-esteem.
  • Reach out to family and friends in times of crisis.
  • Get ongoing treatment at the earliest sign of depression to keep it from worsening.
  • Simplify your life.
  • Locate a support group.
  • Don't isolate.
  • Take it easy and relax often.

Lower cholesterol and blood pressure

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  • Lose weight.
  • Eat less sodium.
  • Eat more fiber.
  • Increase fruit and vegetables intake.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol.
  • Increase calcium and magnesium intake.
  • Decrease caffeine intake.

Avoid Chemical Contact

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  • Reduce exposure to carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals by filtering your drinking water. And drink lots of it.
  • Don't top the gas tank. It can come in contact with skin and lungs.
  • Avoid processed, charred, and well-done meats that contain cancer-causing heterocyclic amines, which forms in seared meats.
  • Don't dry clean your clothes. Solvent known as perchloroethylene may cause liver and kidney cancers and leukemia, according to an EPA.
  • Keep your cell phone away from the head.
  • Choose an experienced doctor to read your mammograms.

The next time you go through the check-out lane in the grocery store, avoid the temptation to pick up candy bars, potato chips, cigarettes, and sugar-sweetened beverages. Start a health revolution and request to have healthy options offered in those lanes instead.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

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