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Which Health Issues to Watch for after 50

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Assisted LivingMoney Talks News’ recent article entitled “7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50” says that, as we get older, health issues often arise that threaten an enjoyable retirement. Treating some of these diseases and conditions can be costly.

However, there are ways to cut these costs. Let’s take a look:

Arthritis. Arthritis strikes roughly 54.4 million Americans, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that in 2013, adults with arthritis on average paid an extra $2,117 in medical costs. Check out the Arthritis Foundation webpage for ways to cut costs for arthritis care.

Osteoporosis. Approximately 54 million Americans have low bone density or osteoporosis, and among women over 50, one in two will break a bone due to the disease. Among men that age, it’s one in four. Try some weight-bearing exercise, like lifting weights, walking or running, and activities, such as tennis. These can build bone density with little expense. You can also add vitamin D supplements to help your body use calcium and strengthen bones. Check with your doctor.

Diabetes. There are more than 34 million Americans with diabetes, and the risk for the disease increases as you age. In fact, over 25% of adults ages 65 or older have diabetes. Insulin is expensive, and a way to cut costs is to get tested early. Read up on this in the ADA’s Diabetes Forecast magazine for tips on persuading your insurer to help pay for diabetes devices and supplies.

Obesity. At least a third of adults 65+ are obese, studies show. An obese person spends 42% more for health care than people of normal weight. If you lose the weight, it will significantly reduce your risk of being diagnosed with many costly health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer and osteoarthritis. Again, a healthy diet and exercise will help.

Smoking. A no-brainer. Quitting smoking is one of the best ways to improve your health and save money.

Poor oral health. About a quarter of Americans ages 65 and older have eight or fewer teeth, says the CDC. Oral health declines as we age, and conditions, such as severe periodontal disease and oral and pharyngeal cancer primarily affect older adults. Treating these conditions can be expensive, so stay regular with visits to the dentist. Dental visits can be costly if you don’t have dental insurance, so look at the ADA website for help finding more affordable care.

Shingles. Shingles is not as dangerous as some of the other maladies on the list, but experts say it deserves attention because it is so common in people over 50. There are also complications related to shingles, such as blisters, and an ongoing type of pain called post-herpetic neuralgia, or PHN. The easy and affordable fix for shingles is a vaccination, which is more than 90% effective in preventing shingles in those age 50 and older.

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Reference: Money Talks News (Jan. 30, 2021) “7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50”

Suggested Key Terms: Health, Aging, Health Insurance