The aging process is inevitable and, with it, comes a number of physical, mental, and emotional changes. While many older adults may experience an increased susceptibility to certain illnesses and diseases, they are not necessarily increasingly vulnerable to all health issues. This article examines the research into older people and their health, providing evidence to demonstrate that older people are not increasingly susceptible to a variety of health issues.
Falls, Motor Vehicle Related Injuries, and Suicide
Injuries among older adults can be an issue of concern. According to a study published in Injury Prevention in 2013, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death among older adults and are responsible for 80% of all injury-related hospital admissions. Motor vehicle related injuries and suicide are additional causes of injury and death for older adults, but these accounts for much less of the injury-related hospital admissions among this population. Furthermore, the study indicates that efforts to reduce these types of injuries and death among older adults have the potential to reduce the burden of medical costs associated with these events.
Diabetes, Arthritis, and Heart Disease
Nearly 95% of older adults have at least one chronic condition, such as diabetes, arthritis, or heart disease. While these conditions may become more prevalent as one ages, they are not necessarily increasing in prevalence. For instance, heart disease is the leading cause of death among all age groups, but the rate of death due to heart disease does not necessarily increase with age. Furthermore, the prevalence of diabetes in the United States has not increased in the general population since 2008. Similarly, the prevalence of arthritis, which affects over 50 million adults in the United States, is also not increasing.
Common Cold Viruses and Dementia
Although studies have shown that the elderly may have an increased susceptibility to certain illnesses, such as pneumonia, this is not necessarily true of all illnesses. For example, the common cold virus does not necessarily affect the elderly any more frequently than it affects younger individuals. Similarly, while the prevalence of dementia increases with age, it is not necessarily an age-related illness.
This article has explored the evidence that indicates older people are not increasingly susceptible to a variety of health issues, such as falls, motor vehicle related injuries, suicide, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and common cold viruses, and dementia. While older adults may be more susceptible to certain illnesses, this does not necessarily mean that they are increasingly vulnerable to all health issues.