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What Are the Leading Causes of Death for Seniors in America?

Life expectancy in the U.S. has been steadily increasing for the last 100 years, but there are still a few key medical conditions that continue to cause the vast majority of deaths in the elderly population. The Anchorage, AK, home care experts at Home Care Assistance discuss these leading causes and offer tips to help your aging loved one remain healthy and prevent an untimely death.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one cause of death for all ethnicities. According to the CDC, heart disease accounted for 488,156 deaths in 2013, and it was still the leading cause of death in 2014. Staying at a healthy weight and controlling cholesterol levels can help prevent this condition.

Cancer

When all forms of cancer are taken into consideration, it is the second most common cause of death in the United States. There are currently over 200 different types of cancer recognized by the National Cancer Institute, but most seniors tend to develop bladder, breast, colon, or skin cancer. The CDC claims nearly 40 percent of cancer cases can be prevented by making certain lifestyle changes, including quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol, staying at a healthy weight, keeping active, and enjoying the sun safely.

Respiratory Diseases

Preventative medicine has advanced quite a bit in recent years, but many seniors still have a high risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Symptoms of COPD include wheezing, chest tightness, chronic fatigue, frequent respiratory infections, and shortness of breath. Most seniors who are diagnosed with COPD are smokers, but airborne toxins can also play a role in the development of this respiratory disease.

Diabetes

Even though Alzheimer’s-related deaths have slowly been increasing over the last few decades, diabetes remains the fourth most common cause of death for the elderly. Seniors and their loved ones will be glad to learn the vast majority of diabetes cases can be prevented or reversed by adopting healthier lifestyle habits. Much like the prevention of heart disease, staying at a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and eating well can help prevent diabetes.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be more challenging in the senior years. If your loved one needs help maintaining healthy habits, turn to Home Care Assistance. All of our caregivers are trained in our proprietary Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to get plenty of exercise, eat healthier, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. For more information on the live-in and respite care Anchorage families trust, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at (907) 770-0907 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.