man with aching heart

Age-related Diseases that Cost Healthcare Systems the Most

Many adults develop diseases as they age. Hence, most of their retirement savings go toward their healthcare. It’s a sad reality. Ideally, seniors should enjoy their income through vacations and other fun activities. But instead, their body catches up to the unhealthy habits they had during their younger years.

The healthcare system is burdened, too. Kidney disease, for example, cost Medicare nearly $100 billion in 2015. During that time, there were over 124,000 cases of end-stage renal disease, nearly 500,000 patients receiving dialysis treatment, and well over 200,000 living with a kidney transplant. This resulted in Medicare spending more than $64 billion for beneficiaries with chronic kidney disease and another $34 billion for those with end-stage renal disease.

Heart disease, the number 1 cause of death in the U.S., also costs billions to treat. By 2035, it’s expected to cost $749 billion.

These staggering numbers are enough to prove treatment could be a privilege instead of a right. Yet many adults still take their health for granted. To enlighten you on the costs of healthcare, here are the most expensive age-related diseases to treat:

1. Kidney Diseases

As pointed out above, kidney disease costs the healthcare system billions every year. As of 2017, the U.S. government was spending $114 billion on dialysis treatments every year. Hospitals partner with reputable dialysis centers to relieve their spending for this particular treatment. But even so, they would appreciate it if fewer seniors get admitted due to kidney disease.

Kidney disease kills more people than breast and prostate cancer. As such, it’s recommended for adults over 60 years old to undergo annual kidney disease screening. If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney stones, or a family history of any kidney disease, you might have higher risk factors. Prolonged intake of over-the-counter pain medications can also increase your risks.

It’s crucial to get checked because 1 in 7 adults with chronic kidney disease don’t know that they have it. Even if you’re not getting symptoms, get checked to be sure.

To prevent kidney disease, manage your blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight. Cut down on salt intake, and eat a heart-friendly diet. That means high fiber, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables. And of course, drink plenty of water.

Quitting vices will improve your kidney’s health, too. Eliminating alcohol from your system can decrease your weight while avoiding tobacco increases blood flow to your kidneys. Not to mention reduce your risks for liver and lung diseases.

2. Cardiovascular Diseases

The collective cost for treating coronary heart disease is $89 billion. For high blood pressure, it’s $68 million and $37 billion for stroke.

Six hundred people die of cardiovascular diseases every year. To ensure that you won’t be one of them, keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control. Instead of eating fried fatty food, consume sources of healthy fats. Healthy fats are called monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. The former is found in avocados, tree nuts, olive and olive oil, and canola oil. Polyunsaturated fats, meanwhile, are from omega-3 fatty acids. Source include salmon, mackerel, tree nuts (except peanuts), and shrimp.

Manage your weight as well. Obese adults have a higher risk for heart disease. Maintain an active lifestyle, and don’t stop exercising even when you’re over 60.

old man with aching back

3. Falls, Injuries, and Broken Bones

Senior adults with mobility issues are at risk of injuries if they live alone. Every year, 300,000 older adults are brought to the hospital due to hip fractures. As such, falls are a top concern in senior independent living.

If you’d also like to live independently in your golden years, that’s another reason you shouldn’t stop exercising. The more sedentary your lifestyle becomes, the more brittle your bones become. Focus on balance and strength exercises like yoga. Get your vision checked regularly too. If you’re agile but your eyes are weak, you’d still risk yourself for a fall.

You can also install modifications in your home to be sure. Grab bars, ramps, and stairlifts are the most common modifications in a senior adult’s home.

4. Osteoarthritis and Joint Problems

Surprisingly, many adults younger than 60 develop osteoarthritis. It is estimated that by 2040, 78.4 million adults aged 18 and above will have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. The aging population contributes to the predicted rise as well.

Weight management is also the key to reducing your risks for osteoarthritis and joint problems. Increasing your flexibility will help, too. So perform exercises like yoga, swimming, and cycling. They’re friendly for adults of all ages and highly effective for maintaining a healthy weight.

Preventing any disease all comes down to your lifestyle. Don’t assume that your age makes you healthier or unhealthier. Getting old doesn’t have to make you weak, and being young doesn’t make it alright to abuse your body. Make the most out of your youth by loving your body, and enjoy your old age through leisurely activities, not on a hospital bed.

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