Living with a chronic disease can be a difficult, expensive and frustrating medical experience. After all, you might feel you have it well in hand, when suddenly it flairs up again to cause pain or other problems in your life. What can you do when your chronic disease is controlling your life? Is there any hope? Thankfully, yes.
At AgeWell Medical Associates in Colorado Springs, we are well versed at handling chronic conditions for all of our patients. We specialize in older adult care, exclusively serving those aged 60 and older. Thanks to our experienced on-site staff and full spectrum of health services, we can provide on-site resources for most chronic medical conditions.
If you or a loved one wonder how we at AgeWell can help you with your chronic disease, please contact us today to schedule an appointment:
Keep reading for answers to common questions about treating chronic disease …
What Is a Chronic Disease?
A chronic disease is any medical condition that you live with for months or years. Often, these diseases have no cure and doctors help you live with or manage the symptoms. This brings us to the next question.
What Is Chronic Disease Management?
As touched on above, when a medical professional comes up with a treatment plan for your chronic disease, this is called chronic disease management. It might not make your symptoms go away or cure your disease. However, it does help you ‘manage’ the symptoms of the disease.
When Do You Need Chronic Disease Management?
You might consider chronic disease management if you have a disease that interferes with your life on a regular basis. You don’t want to suffer for months or years on end with a disease. Thankfully, chronic disease management is a good way to restore your life in some form. Though it doesn’t remove the disease entirely, it is designed to control the disease, causing your disease to be considered stable.
What Is the Process of Chronic Disease Management?
Your disease is managed differently based upon your individual condition. Below you will find a list of common chronic diseases. Each of them will be managed slightly differently. In most cases, you meet with a medical professional who goes over your disease history. They will come up with a plan of action. This might include medication, therapies, surgery or regular office visits, or some combination of treatments. The idea is to manage your disease in a way that makes your life livable, to stay on top of the condition.
How Well Does it Work?
Each disease is managed differently as mentioned above. In general, chronic disease management works well to create a more stable and happy patient.
Most Common Types of Chronic Disease in Older Adults
- Arthritis: According to Marie Bernard, MD, who is the Deputy Director of the National Institute on Aging, arthritis is likely the number one chronic condition affecting individuals aged 65 and older. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates some 49.7% of all older adults, age 65 have some form of arthritis they live with daily.
- Heart Disease: The CDC names heart disease as the leading killer of adults over 65 years of age. Heart disease is also a common chronic condition. It affects 26% of women and 37% of men aged 65 and older. The risk factors for heart disease include having high cholesterol and high blood pressure, both of which are monitored in chronic disease management.
- Cancer: This terrible disease that has taken so many lives is often thought of as simply a killer. It is that, but it also is another type of chronic disease. The CDC states 21% of women and 28% of men aged 65 and older live with cancer daily. This of course is when its considered a chronic disease. Cancer is also considered chronic when medical professionals monitor cancer for recurrence.
- Respiratory Diseases: Another category of chronic diseases are those affecting the lower respiratory area. This can include asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The CDC estimates there are currently 13% of women and 10% of men over the age of 65 who live with asthma. Another 11% of women and 10% of men have some form of emphysema or chronic bronchitis they deal with on a regular basis. These chronic diseases should be monitored closely in older adults as they are more susceptible to getting pneumonia and other infections in the respiratory area.
- Osteoporosis: The National Osteoporosis Foundation states that 54 million people over the age of 50 live with osteoporosis in some form. This, of course, means they are at a greater risk for bone fractures and breaks.
- Diabetes: The CDC says 25% of individuals aged 65 and older live daily with diabetes. This condition caused some 54,161 deaths in 2014 in older adults, aged 65 and above. Thankfully, when addressed early and managed well, the long-term outlook of a patient improves.
- Depression: Although many consider depression a purely mental condition and not a medical problem, depression is a very real medical condition that can cause chronic problems. The American Psychological Association estimates around 15 to 20% of all individuals 65 years of age and older have experienced depression in some form.
- Alzheimer’s Disease: This horrible disease that breaks down the fabric of who a person in from the inside out is a devastating disease with no known cure. The Alzheimer’s Association states that some 11% of individuals aged 65 and older currently live with the disease. They explain that since diagnosing this condition is difficult, that actual number is likely higher.
Have More Questions?
If you are your loved one live with a chronic condition listed above, or one not listed, you are not alone. In fact, if you are aged 60 years of age or older, there is an 85% chance you live with at least one chronic condition according to the CDC. Thankfully, at AgeWell Medical Associates, we are proud to provide you with chronic disease management services. Contact us today to schedule your medical appointment.